14 of The Healthiest Foods To Eat – No Vegetables Required

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Hemp seed and black bean omelette, anyone? Healthy eating isn’t about just salad and water. Take a look at what nutritionist are saying is healthy now.

The healthiest foods to add to a diet don’t always have to be vegetables (although, those should be a hefty staple as well). More dietitians and nutritionists brought to light lists of the healthiest foods for the body and mind—some of which you probably didn’t even know were healthy.

So make a new grocery list and get ready to try some new recipes to look and feel great in no time.

Kiwi

Most often found in fruit salads, this fuzzy little fruit has twice as much vitamin C as an orange and about as much potassium as a banana in just one bite. Add to a smoothie, toss with watermelon and berries, or drizzle with honey and toasted coconut.

Black Beans

Full of antioxidants and magnesium (an ideal combo for nerve and muscle function) these are most often found in burritos and stews. Try tossing canned black beans in stir fry, any soup, cold pasta or lettuce salads, or mash with a fork along with some olive oil, salt and pepper and red peppers for a tasty dip.

Blueberries

In a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, blueberries were a top antioxidant-rich pick—and the little berries also pack a high fiber punch. Eat fresh or frozen, sprinkle over frozen yogurt, or top with cardamom on a fruit salad.

Sardines

Admittedly an acquired taste, sardines are an amazing source of calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Not to mention vitamin Bs, vitamin D and protein.

Try them straight out of the can at first to see how the flavor works for you, than move on to chopping them up into pasta or on pizza. For the bolder, toss chopped sardines with cucumbers, parsley and tomatoes for a quick salad.

Dark Meat

Most choose white meat over dark because they think it has a lot less fat and better flavor. In reality, dark meat only has 20 calories more per ounce than white meat— 1/3 of which is saturated, and 86% of which doesn’t have an impact on cholesterol levels.

That percentage also brings another positive effect since it is composed of HDL cholesterol, the good kind that fights against heart disease. Next time turkey or chicken comes around the table, munch on a dark meat drumstick or thigh.

Quinoa

This protein has been becoming more common over the past couple years, but many shy away from it because it may seem difficult to work with (or pronounce).

Completely plant-based with all nine essential amino acids, quinoa gives the same result that one gets from eating meat, but without the cholesterol. Try it with lemon juice and dill mixed in, with fish or boneless skinless chicken breast, or tossed in cold pasta salad.

Greek Yogurt

Compared to regular yogurt, this variety (nonfat of course) is rich in pro-biotics and has eight more grams of protein per serving. Replace the usual yogurt with this creamy goodness and mix with cereal or fruit for breakfast, add to smoothies at any time of day, or combine with diced cucumber, garlic, cilantro and cumin as a bed for grilled chicken at dinner.

Hemp Seeds

Don’t be too quick to judge these misunderstood omega-3 fatty acid gems. Chock full of antioxidants that fight against heart disease, the seeds also contain protein comparable to meat and eggs. Sprinkle on just about anything (the flavor isn’t very strong), such as oatmeal, blended into smoothies or shakes, sprinkled on stir fry, or grilled meats and vegetables.

Eggs

The old faithful, particularly the whites, offer protein, minimal calories, no fat and no cholesterol. And you don’t HAVE to shy away from the yolks; they are packed with vitamins A and B12. Forget scrambled though; try something new.

Make an omelette with a handful of the ingredients listed here, stack a fried egg sandwich on whole-grain bread, or top a sandwich or pizza with a sunny-side up version.

Wild Salmon

Another well-known healthy protein—but it’s important to choose “wild.” It is exposed to fewer toxins than its farmed Atlantic relative, bringing a richer punch of omega-3’s to you for glowing skin and a good mood.

Grill, broil, bake or sear it—but its just as tasty smoked or poached. Combine mashed avocado with salt and pepper, spread onto whole-grain toast and top with flaky poached salmon for breakfast. Or for a quick snack, stack salmon on top of crackers with non-fat cream cheese and dill.

Cinnamon

Known for lowering blood sugar, ideally a gram of cinnamon consumed a day boosts the body’s ability to metabolize sugar, and reduce cholesterol and triglycerides (from the methylhydroxychalcone polymers). Since a spoonful of cinnamon may not go down so easily, take a supplement or make a habit of sprinkling cinnamon on just about anything for an added kick. Try the spice on grilled lamb, in a morning cup of coffee, on oatmeal, sprinkled on diced fruit, or even on cottage cheese.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This ancient staple is a fantastic source of mono-unsaturated fats and may prevent heart disease, along with being incredibly versatile in cooking. Drizzle over vegetables before cooking, use in baking instead of butter, spread on sandwiches instead of mayo, or gently heat with fresh herbs like rosemary to drizzle on pasta.

Natural Nut Butters

Particularly peanut and almond butters fall into this category since they are protein and mono-unsaturated fat rich. Make sure there are only two ingredients listed though—nuts and salt—for it to rank on the list.

For those not into PB&J’s or nut butters spread on toast, try this quick Asian dipping sauce for beef, pork, chicken or noodles. Mix the butter with soy sauce, brown sugar and rice wine vinegar, chill, and serve.

Whole Grain Pasta

Pasta isn’t as carb-laden and unhealthy as many make it out to be. Whole-grain pasta has three times the amount of fiber per serving as regular semolina pasta; but it is important to look specifically for whole grain. Forgo heavy cream or cheese sauces and toss pasta with olive oil, citrus juices, pesto, chopped pine nuts or arugula. Don’t forget the fresh herbs.

Of course, there are dozens of other healthy foods available—think of blood oranges, coconut water, scallops— but the items on this list have been rated as some of the healthiest for a normal balanced diet. Incorporating these foods can help avoid the ever-boring lettuce leaf salad or Brussels sprouts, but always make sure to eat and snack in moderation

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