More than just the stereotype

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When it comes to nutrition we tend to associate certain foods or food groups with certain nutrients.

For example, if I say calcium you’ll probably automatically think of milk and dairy foods.

But while each nutrient tends to have a ‘poster food’ there’s plenty of other options on the menu.

Protein

Meat has become synonymous with protein but there are other protein-rich options that can help provide variety in your diet. These include:

• Nuts and seeds
• Dairy
• Legumes
• Wholegrain foods (such as breads and cereals)
• Eggs
• Soy products

Iron

Along with protein, iron can also be found in foods other than meat.

Keep in mind though that non-haem iron (the iron found in plants) is not as well absorbed as haem iron (the iron found in animal sources) so it’s best to couple iron rich plant foods with foods high in vitamin C, which aids in absorption. Iron rich foods include:

• Green leafy vegetables
• Nuts and seeds
• Wholegrain foods (such as breads and cereals)
• Eggs
• Legumes

Calcium

Dairy is a great source of calcium, but if you’re lactose intolerant or choose not to consume dairy products there are other calcium sources to look out for. These include:

• Calcium fortified plant milks (such as soy, almond and rice)
• Green leafy vegetables
• Tofu
• Almonds
• Tinned sardines and salmon (the bones contain calcium)

Fibre

For some people – including those with coeliac disease – many grains are off the menu due to their gluten content.

But this shouldn’t mean that you miss out on fibre, which is important for bowel health.
Other sources include:

• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Legumes

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