Doable Challenge: Add a Serving of Nuts, Seeds, or Legumes

For this month’s Doable Challenge: Make Small Changes for Big Results, we teamed up with nutritionist Ellie Krieger to outline five dietary tweaks that can help us all cut calories and generally eat more healthily. In the past weeks, we’ve covered eating more fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated with water and other healthy drinks, and choosing mostly lean meats. This week, we’re turning to nuts, seeds, and legumes (including beans, soy, peanuts, peas, lentils, and more), which are such healthy sources of satisfying protein, fiber, and a host of other nutrients that Krieger gives them status as their own food group. Your challenge for this week is to include at least one serving from this group each day; or take it to the next level and try to fit one in at every meal (say nuts at breakfast, beans at lunch, and seeds at dinner). To keep calories in check, look for places you can swap these ingredients for less healthy or more caloric ingredients (edamame or nuts in your salad instead of bacon, say). For example, in the banh mi pictured above, I substituted grilled tofu for the traditional pork and pâté filling (I riffed on this Vietnamese Chicken Sandwich recipe and Ellie Krieger’s Marinated Tofu recipe to make my sandwich — I pressed the tofu between sheets of paper towel under a cast-iron skillet to remove as much liquid as possible before marinating it, and then grilled it instead of baking.) My recent blogs Go Super Nuts and Eat Some Super Beans and Other Legumes will give you more ideas, as will my older blog about Soy and Health (which also addresses the ongoing debate about how much soy we should be consuming — I am still in the moderate-amounts camp, as I was when I wrote the blog). As for seeds, Epi has hundreds of healthy recipes that include sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and even hemp seeds and chia seeds. What’s your favorite way to incorporate more nuts, seeds, and legumes into your diet? Photo: Megan O. Steintrager

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