9 Great Foods For a Healthy Diet
There are numerous lists of “super foods.” What they all have in common is fresh, nature, minimally processed foods.
Junk foods, cookies, cakes, pies, potato chips, and pastries entice you when enter a store. Then you must wade through Isle after isle of processed foods to get to healthy foods. Supermarket owners know shoppers Achilles heal and what people want.
Living a long, healthy life means passing on processed foods and making healthy choices throughout your life. I’m not saying you must totally give up cookies, cakes, pastries, and potato chips. These foods should make up a small part of your diet.
Here are some foods and recipes to consider:
Number 1: Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are one of the super foods of vegetables. It doesn’t matter if it’s kale, spinach, Swiss chard, rapini, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard, greens, or endive. They are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, lutein, and fiber. The are simple to prepare. Steam, sauté, boil, or eat them raw. Flavor with a little olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and pepper.
Number 2: Butternut Squash
Unlike zucchini, butternut squash (a winter squash available year round) is high in fiber. Butternut squash can be steamed, sautéed, or baked. Use it in soups and stews. It is high in vitamin A and C, and fiber.
Number 3: Garbanzo Beans
All beans are great foods high in protein and fiber, and low in saturated fat. Garbanzo beans can be used in dozens of recipes including hummus, salads, soups, and pasta are a natural source of iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Number 4: Broccoli
Broccoli belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables that includes cauliflower and cabbage. It is high in vitamin C, K, and folic acid. It can be eaten raw in salads or with dips, steamed, boiled, and roasted.
Number 5: Yams and Sweet Potatoes
Many diet plans omit starchy vegetables, like potatoes, because they claim it causes blood glucose spikes. Although starch is made of glucose, it is more difficult to break down compared to eating foods high in sugar like soft drinks, cakes, and other sweet desserts. The glycemic index for foods is based on eating the raw food alone. Most people don’t eat only raw potatoes.
Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams are loaded with carotenoids which gives them their yellow color like carrots. They are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Eat them baked, boiled, or fried.
Number 6: Mangoes
Mangoes is an exotic fruit many Americans see in stores but have no clue how to clean them or what to do with them. This powerhouse fruit provides a day’s worth of vitamin C, about a third of a day’s vitamin A, and about 500mg of potassium per cup. You also get 3 grams of fiber. Mangoes are also low in pesticide residue.
Enjoy mangos plain, added to hot or cold cereals, in a salad, with plain yogurt, or with a scoop of ice cream.
Number 7: Watermelon
Watermelon, you say! Isn’t it a high glycemic food? Yes, watermelon has a high glycemic index, but also a low glycemic load. Plus, it is about 90 percent water. Two cuts of this popular fruit provides about a third of days worth of vitamin A and C, is a good source of lycopene and blood pressure lowering potassium. You get all this for under 100 calories per serving.
Number 8: Wild Salmon
You all know by now that salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. While it is a popular fish, some people find the flavor overwhelming. Some options are using afordable canned salmon in tuna and salmon salad or trying some of the Alaskan salmon burgers available at most stores. The trade off eating canned salmon and frozen salmon burgers is higher sodium.
Number 9: Unsweetened Yogurt
Yogurts today are what cold cereals were in the 1970s. What is basically milk fermented with live bacteria has become the candy store of the diary case. A 6-ounce (170 g) serving of sweetened to fruit added yogurt can have up to 5 teaspoons of sugar. Some have artificial sweeteners to reduce calories and artificial colors. You can bet your Key Lime flavored yogurt wasn’t flavored with Key limes.
Natural, unflavored yogurts is a common ingredients in Asian foods. Greek yogurt can be substituted for sour cream on baled potatoes or when making dips. You can reduce the tartness of natural or Greek yogurts by adding your favorite fresh, frozen, or canned fruit. Adding fresh berries to plain yogurt is a healthier alternative to flavored yogurts.
Plain yogurt sold in the United States is available in 0%, 1%, and 2% milk fat. No matter the fat content, a 6-ounce (170 g) serving of plain yogurt has about 9 grams of protein, 18 grams for Greek yogurt.