It feels like everyday there’s a new report on the latest fad food we should be eating. Let’s face it, if we tried to eat all the food that magazines, talk shows, books, news programs, and “experts” tell us we need, we would be eating sun up to sun down. May sound fun in theory, but to practice it’s pretty darn hard. So what should we eat? Fruits, veggies, whole grains, protein, and if you’re looking for specifics, here’s a list of the foods we here at Skinny Mom try to eat every day.
Why: Berries are a great source of fiber, which most Americas do not get enough of. Most berries are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants, which protect your body against inflammation and free radical damage.
Why: No offense to carrots, but we should be eating eggs to protect our eyes. The lutein and zeaxanthin found in egg yolks have been shown to reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 50. Studies show eggs also reduce the risk of cancers, heart disease, and stroke. They’re a great source of high quality protein and, contrary to popular belief, they don’t make your cholesterol shoot through the roof.
How: Traditional egg breakfasts such as scrambles and omelettes are great, but eggs can also be added to oatmeal to amp up the protein. Check out these other egg recipe remixes and our favorite ways to eat hardboiled eggs.
Why: Nuts are the best plant based source of protein, although they do have quite a bit of calories. They’re rich in fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, plant sterols, and healthy fats. Studies suggest adding nuts to your diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, and nuts are a great snack to hold you over till your next meal.
How: The easiest way to incorporate nuts into your day is to eat them by the handful, but they’re also a great addition to salads, stir frys, and yogurt. If you feel like giving your food processor a workout, try some DIY Chunky Cinnamon Raisin Nut Butter.
Why: Vitamins A, C, D, B vitamins, potassium, manganese, fiber, iron, antioxidants, and a low glycemic index starch, so why not eat them daily? Studies have suggested that sweet potatoes protect against arthritis, ulcers, heart disease, and emphysema. Sweet potatoes really live up to their superfood label.
How: Mashed (with coconut oil and cinnamon), roasted, baked, steamed or grilled, sweet potatoes are as versatile as they are healthy. Itching to try something a little more exotic? How about some Thai Jambalaya?
Why: Popeye was no dope. In addition to being antioxidant rich, spinach is loaded with vitamins, K, A, C, B2, B6, E, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, copper, selenium, niacin, and omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that eating spinach can reduce the risk of cancers, heart disease, decline in brain function, and eye disease.
Why: We know broccoli isn’t for everyone, but those who do like broccoli are a nutritional step ahead of the pack. Broccoli is high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C. Broccoli also contains glucoraphanin, which the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to hinder the growth of breast, cervical, and prostate cancers and boosts liver function.
How: Obviously smothered in melted cheese is the most yummy way to eat broccoli (no, we are not promoting this), but did you know you can eat broccoli raw, steamed, roasted, or in a stir fry? If you like spicy food give some Sriracha Broccoli a try.
Why: There’s a reason people have been saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Apples have been shown to protect against osteoporosis, help with asthma symptoms, lower cholesterol, aid in diabetes management, and protect our brains from free radical damage. Studies also show that apples can reduce the risk of lung, breast, colon, and liver cancer.
How: Apples cut up with nut butter or chopped up in yogurt or oatmeal are great snacks, but to take them into dinner try Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apples.
Why: Lycopene, lycopene, lycopene! Lycopene has been shown to flush out free radicals, fighting against cancer cells forming. Tomato has the highest concentrate of lycopene of any fruit or vegetable. Tomatoes also help keep blood sugar levels stable, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, strengthen hair, and reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones.
How: Fresh ripe tomatoes can make a salad or a BLT, but tomatoes are also great roasted and sautéed. And now that it’s getting warmer, these Grilled Pesto Chicken and Tomato Kebabs are the perfect spring and summer main dish.
Honorable mention goes to water. Yes, we don’t eat it, but we still need lots and lots of it everyday. So pour yourself a big glass of water and get to meal planning! Be sure to let us know your favorite everyday food and/or recipe in the comments.