I got a pamphlet in the mail recently titled, “51 Healthy Foods you can say Yes to” by Tufts University. Instinctively I usually toss these types of things in the bin but I this one caught my attention. Right off the bat I noticed several items on the list that I consume every day but there were some I was happily surprised to see listed. Of course these aren’t all the healthy choices out there (you could pretty much add every fruit and veg on the list), but merely a sampling of the variety of foods you can choose in a nutritious diet. Here are my favorites:
ASPARAGUS With just 25 calories per 8 med-sized spears, you get 25% of your daily vitamin A and 15% of y our vitamin C, plus essential folic acid.
BANANAS A good source of magnesium, which protects against bone loss & is associated with heart health. They’re also packed with potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of kidney stones & bone loss.
BEEF EYE OF ROUND The leanest cut of meat. A 3-oz serving has nearly half your daily protein and just 160 cals. Good to note; this is a tough cut of beef so the best way to cook it is in stews or by braising, both of which will tenderize the meat.
CAULIFLOWER A 1/2 cup of this white cruciferous vegetable (meaning from the mustard family like brussels sprouts & broccoli–both of which made the list as well) has 45% of your daily vitamin C. Good to note; compounds in cruciferous veg have been suggested as possible cancer protectors.
CEREAL (Bran Flakes / Shredded Wheat) Research shows that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Bran flakes contain a lot of fiber and magnesium but be sure to read the labels–watch out for added sugar and corn syrup. Shredded Wheat is also an excellent source of mag, which has been associated with reduced risk of diabetes. Most brands (save for the frosted kind) don’t have added sugar.
CHICKEN BREASTS Boneless & skinless has 1/2 your daily protein value in a 3-oz serving with only 3 grams of total fat. Of course if you fry these suckers you’re entering the danger zone.
TURKEY BREAST Like it’s chicken cousin, skinless turkey breast is nearly neck and neck nutrition-wise. Another plus–in addition to being used as a main dish or in soups, sliced turkey breast can substitute for processed meats in your sandwiches. Here’s a recipe that combines turkey breast, leafy greens and whole grains all in one!
COLLARD GREENS One of the government’s biggest changes in the food pyramid is an increased emphasis on dark green vegetables such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard and collards. Packed with vitamin A, you’ll get 150% of your daily value of A plus 30% of vitamin C and 15 % of calcium in just 1/2 a cup of cooked collard greens. I can hear the South cheering now.
MILK (Non or Low Fat) In addition to delivering calcium, fortified milk is among the best ways to get vitamin D.
OATMEAL Take it from me, oatmeal lowers cholesterol. I was told by the Doc that I have the lowest cholesterol he had EVER seen–and I eat the plain old-fashioned kind every morning. Besides this benefit, oatmeal helps you get whole grains in your diet. Again, read your labels as a lot of the flavored kinds contain lots of extra sugar.
POPCORN A cup of plain air-popped popcorn has just 30 cals, which makes a filling whole-grain snack. I can’t say it enough, read your labels if purchasing microwaveable varieties and be aware of the serving size referenced.
PORK LOIN This is the leanest cut of pork. A 3-oz serving delivers 32% of daily protein with just 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 120 cals. As you’ve noticed, I often use this cut in my recipes.
QUINOA Another whole grain option which makes a great alternative to refined grains. I am particularly partial to the gluten free quinoa pastas, which covers #50: Whole Grain Pasta. You can find this brand in your local health food grocery. Click the pic for a recipe.
WATERMELON I always think of watermelon as a great source of hydration in the hot months summer months. I gobble it up without even thinking. Good thing it’s good for us! In addition to being a good source of lycopene, a cup of watermelon a also gives you about 20% of your daily vitamin C and 15% of vitamin A, with only 45 calories.
Eating healthy never looked so bountiful did it? I’ve included recipes so you can see how easy it is to eat a well balanced diet. Click here to see the full list and remember smart choices = a healthy and happy body.