Even though healthy eating can look extremely different from person to person, there are a lot of totally obvious good-for-you-foods we all know we should at least try to eat more often.
Salad, smoothies, avocado anything—these wellness darlings are not surprising (seriously, we see them everywhere). Yes, they're often low in calories, high in all those nutrients we need—fiber, protein, healthy fats, etc.—and, yeah, they're pretty darn tasty, too. But they are so predictable. And while we still totally want all those nutrients, we'd also like a little variety.
That's where these eight registered dietitian-favorites come in: They're all totally healthy foods that often get left by the wayside in favor of their more predictable counterparts. R.D.s think you should eat them more often, and we agree that they deserve your attention. Give the underdog a shot.
8 foods dietitians wish you'd eat more of
8 foods dietitians wish you'd eat more of
“Artichokes are one of my favorite vegetables because they are delicious and they are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight off free radicals in the body which can prevent chronic illnesses and keep your skin young and healthy. They are also a great flat-belly food because they help fight constipation and inflammation. Fresh or frozen are fine! Add them to your salad or toss them into your stir fry.”
—Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., founder of the New York-based BZ Nutrition
“Pork has a bad reputation because we often think of the fattier cuts like bacon or ribs. It also has taken a back seat to chicken as the lean meat of choice. But when you choose the right cuts (think tenderloin and trimmed pork chops), you've got a lean protein-packed option. Pork is also a great source of B vitamins, zinc, and selenium.”
“I love cottage cheese because it is a great source of protein and calcium—a half cup contains approximately 13 grams of protein and 10 percent of your daily calcium needs—it’s also so filling, and plain cottage cheese also doesn’t contain any added sugars. I love that it’s a food you can chew, which adds to satiety and fullness cues. I think consumers forget about cottage cheese because the marketing for Greek yogurt is so strong. Cottage cheese is very versatile in that you can eat it plain or with a variety of toppings such as fruit and nuts. You can even add it to smoothies and use in dishes like lasagna and stuffed pasta shells. “
“These berries have more than double the antioxidants of conventional blueberries. While they’re only available fresh for a short time in a small part of the country, you can find them in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store. I love keeping them in my freezer and using them as an ingredient in smoothies or fruit-based ‘nice cream.’”
“Seafood, which includes fish and shellfish, is a good source of high-quality protein and other nutrients like iron and zinc. In addition, fatty fish (like canned tuna, salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines and trout) provide docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega-3 fat that is essential for brain development and function, and may help to slow down the process of brain aging as we get older.”
“Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. The high fiber helps with decreasing your waistline and improving digestion. If you buy beans in cans, be sure to rinse before cooking as sometimes they are stored in salt!”
“Everyone is buzzing about antioxidants these days, but one antioxidant super fruit tends to slip under the radar: the sweet and pleasantly tart pomegranate. Perhaps it's because of the labor involved in cracking open the fruit to uncover its ruby red arils. But rest assured there are ways to reap the benefits of the pomegranate—polyphenols, vitamin C, potassium and fiber—without all the work. I like to look for ready-to-eat POM's Fresh Pomegranate Arils. Or I’ll drink POM 100% Pomegranate Juice, year round. It’s great because there are never any added sugars, preservatives or artificial anything. In fact, a 16-ounce bottle has the juice of four whole pomegranates.”
—Kara Lydon, R.D., L.D.N., R.Y.T., author of Nourish Your Namaste and The Foodie Dietitian Blog
“Cinnamon is a seasoning we often pay more attention to in the fall and winter seasons, but it’s a great spice to consume all year round. Cinnamon has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and research has shown that it may help improve blood glucose in people with diabetes and reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Try sprinkling some cinnamon on your coffee or oatmeal, or add to your seasonings for chicken and vegetables.”