At the Yogurt In Nutrition Initiative, we look forward to a more sustainable 2020. Based on all the science we’ve read and the materials we’ve published on the subject, we bring you 12 food resolutions to protect our health and our planet! This month’s goal: introduce a greater variety of foods in your diet and…
…include some of the food groups that you don’t usually eat, like legumes (beans, lentils, peas) and seeds.
The international dietary recommendation (The FAO & WHO report) are quite clear: eat more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, and less red meat or added sugars. It advises to eat at least 400g of fruits and vegetables a day. If your diet is mostly based on processed foods, increasing the diversity of foods in your diet will benefit your health.
We tend to build our meals around the same foods that we know how to cook. However, the possibilities are greater than we think. For instance, adding germinate seeds to salads or whole grains to starters improve the nutritional value of regular recipes.
Each food group has specific health benefits:
- Fruits and vegetables are sources of insoluble and soluble fibers. They also provide vitamins, carotenoids, polyphenols and antioxidants. Try to replace jam in the yogurt by pieces of fruit, or to add fruits when you are backing a cake
- Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E and healthy unsaturated fats such as Omega-3 fatty acid. They’re a great option when looking for a healthy snack and staying dynamic.
- Legumes such as lentils are a great source of plant proteins, B vitamins and magnesium (which helps to protect against cardiovascular diseases risk).
And don’t forget dairy foods! They contain high-quality proteins, vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, zinc… and have a key role in a well-balanced diet. Dairy products are not just a nutrient-rich food group, they also have a lower environmental footprint than other animal products.
Think about combination! It is a good way to enjoy all the food benefits at the same time. For instance, a study suggests that eating yogurt and fruit together brings the nutritional benefits of each. They are both healthy and nutrient dense foods! They are associated with healthy dietary patterns. Combining yogurt with fruits provides synergistic effects on health by the interaction of prebiotic and probiotic effects on nutrient digestion and absorption.
Diversifying foods is a good way to meet our nutritional needs while reducing food costs and environmental damages. Because our health needs a variety of nutritious foods rather than large amounts of just a few ingredients, it is crucial to diversify our diet.
For more information, check out our Q&A about sustainable diets and our study reports:
- What would a more sustainable diet mean to you?
- What needs to change in food production to help us achieve a sustainable diet?
- What is a flexitarian diet?
- Magnesium found in yogurt may help protect cardiovascular diseases risk
- Yogurt and fruits: the winning combination
You may also like our recipes based on diverse foods:
- Banana yogurt pancakes
- Corn and Peach palm soup
- Deep fried potato greek yogurt shrimp and almond croquette
FAO & WHO. Sustainable healthy diets guidelines principles. 2019.
Willett W, Rockström J, Loken B, et al. EAT-Lancet Commission Summary report: Food in the anthropocene: the EAT– Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Lancet. 2019;393(10170):447-492.
Van Est L, Blom L, Peters S. Decreasing the environmental footprint of our diet – wrong paradigm? ‘Less animal more plant-based’. Translation from: Voeding Magazine. 2017:p15-22.
World Resources Institute. Ranganathan J, Vennard D, Waite R et al. Working paper: Shifting diets for a sustainable food future. 2016.
Chen C, Chaudhary A, Mathys A. Dietary change scenarios and implications for environmental, nutrition, human health and economicdimensions of food sustainability. Nutrients. 2019 Apr 16;11(4).