Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are more readily available foods you should be incorporating into your family’s diet. We have also included some recipes that include these healthy foods to get you started!
Why they’re good for you: Legumes are cheap and easy to cook, which makes them a staple in many people’s diets. They’re also high in protein, making them a popular meat substitute among vegetarians, and they’re packed with fiber, so they help you stay full and energized. Black beans even have a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which boost heart health.
How to eat them: Black beans are great in Southwestern-inspired dishes like burritos and black-bean burgers. Add them to your salad for an extra protein kick.
Why they’re good for you: Loaded with potassium and magnesium, kidney beans help keep blood pressure in check, also high in fiber which helps reduce bad LDL cholesterol, to fight off heart disease. Kidney beans are also rich in iron and protein, making them a great meat substitute for vegetarians.
How to eat them: Kidney beans are perfect for Southwestern dishes like chili, as well as salads, sandwiches and dips.
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, drained
1 cup chunky salsa (medium or hot, depending on preference)
2 cans (28 oz. each) diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
2 pouches (2 cups) meatless ground burger
1 can (4.5 oz.) chopped green chilies, drained
2 tablespoons chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a large soup pot, sauté green peppers, onion and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over brown rice, accompany with light tortilla chips.
Why it’s good for you: A single cup of cubed red watermelon contains only 50 calories, and is further bolstered by being 92 percent water. Eating water-rich foods make the stomach feel full (in ways that drinking water does not), and at 50 calories, it allows you to meet your dietary goals without feeling the pain. Aside from feeling full, watermelon also contains antioxidants like vitamin C and lycopene, the latter of which reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease. Furthermore, the L-citrulline improves heart function, circulation, and soothes sore muscles, improving recovery time for the next day’s work out.
How to eat it: By itself is always delicious, and it also works out great in a fruit salad.
Why they’re good for you: This familiar fruit has a long list of nutrients, including vitamins A, C and K. Its deep red color comes courtesy of the antioxidant lycopene, which helps lower inflammation and cholesterol and is linked to better heart health.
How to eat them: Tomatoes can be chopped up and added to just about anything. They also make a great base ingredient for several fall soup recipes.
3 ½ lb. ripe tomatoes, halved
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
15 fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place tomatoes, onion and garlic on the prepared pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Shake the pan back and forth a few times to coat the vegetables with the oil and seasonings. Bake until tender, about 25 minutes. When cool, blend the roasted tomatoes, along with the basil and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, in batches if necessary. Transfer to a saucepan and heat if desired, or refrigerate to chill.
Why they’re good for you: Bananas are high in potassium, which aids blood pressure and is critical for the proper function of the muscular and digestive systems. They’re also high in fiber, which means they’ll keep you fuller for longer.
How to eat them: Bananas are a great to-go food. Add a dollop of peanut butter for a sweet and savory snack. Sliced bananas are a great breakfast staple for cereals, yogurts and smoothies.
Why they’re good for you: Berries’ vibrant, deep colors mean they’re high in antioxidant compounds. Blueberries are especially high in heart-protective carotenoids and flavonoids, and they encourage heart, memory and urinary-tract health. They also contain high levels of vitamins C and E.
How to eat them: Add berries to your cereal or yogurt or blend them into smoothies.
Why they’re good for you: Apples are high in fiber, specifically a soluble fiber called pectin, which targets and clears away LDL, the bad cholesterol. Many of apples’ beneficial compounds are contained in the skin, including high levels of phytochemicals, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. How to eat them: Raw, baked in muffins, dried or in applesauce
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