70 Healthy Foods to TryNov 1, 2019
Tired of eating the same foods every single day?
Or maybe you’re unsure about whether certain foods are really “healthy”? (That means you, granola and “veggie chips”!)
You’re not alone. That’s why we’ve rounded up this list of 70 healthy foods. From almonds and apples to walnuts and zucchini this roundup will help inspire you while you’re planning your meals for the week, or making an impulse buy at the store.
And feel free to get creative and make substitutions. For example, butternut squash made the cut, but you could swap in other varieties, like acorn, Hubbard, or kabocha. If some of the foods are new to you, a fun challenge could be to toss one in your shopping cart every week or two.
Note: Each section is in alphabetical order so you can quickly find your favorite healthy foods to eat every day!
Healthy Foods to Eat Every Day
2. Blueberries and other berries: Rich in fiber, berries in vibrant shades of blue, red, and purple are as healthy as they are delicious. Blueberries, in particular, may protect memory/cognition. Berries are also one of the lowest sugar fruits.
3. Broccoli: Broccoli only contains about 30 calories per cup, but it contains 2.5 grams of protein and nearly as much fiber. For a simple side dish, roast it, then toss with lemon zest and juice.
4. Cashews: These creamy nuts not only provide zinc — crucial to immune health and wound healing — but are also an excellent source of iron and magnesium. Full of healthy fats, cashews are also a good source of protein (5 grams per ounce). Try them as a vegan queso swap!
5. Coconut oil: Coconut oil contains a type of saturated fat called medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs are believed to help control cholesterol — and modest weight loss — but the research remains mixed at best. Use it as you would any oil, and remember that all oils contain about 120 calories and 14 grams of fat per tablespoon, so while it’s super healthy, keep an eye on the serving size.
6. Dark chocolate: Yes, chocolate is “healthy” — when you choose varieties that are 75% dark or higher. Studies show that eating chocolate may contribute to reduced inflammation and blood pressure. Limit yourself to a square or two and savor it! Approximately 100 calories per serving/day is a good rule of thumb.
7. Dark leafy greens: From spinach to turnip greens, Swiss chard to collards, dark leafy greens should grace your plate daily. They contain only a handful of calories per cup and plenty of phytonutrients. Bulk up your meals with these nutrient-dense greens, which may help keep your brain sharp.
8. Ginger: Equally at home in sweet and savory dishes, ginger adds warmth for almost no calories. It’s more than just a spice — ginger may also help quell nausea! Ginger tea is tasty after meals.
10. Onions and garlic: Alliums like onions and garlic provide foundational flavor in almost any savory dish. They’re an important part of many heart-healthy diets and may themselves support your health, including cardiovascular health.
12. Tomatoes: One cup of diced fresh tomatoes contains about 30 calories and 2 grams of fiber. Pair them with peppers and onions for salsa — but skip the chips. If you prefer yours cooked, that’s fine, as it boosts levels of the carotenoid lycopene, which may enhance their health benefits.
13. Turmeric: Turmeric lends an earthy, bitter flavor to foods, and its most active constituent, curcumin, has powerful antioxidant activity. Sprinkle it (and some black pepper to help absorption) on eggs, and into sauces, dressings, and smoothies.
14. Vinegar: Whether you choose balsamic, red wine, or apple cider vinegar, this acidic, nearly-calorie-free condiment adds loads of flavor. And, yes, ACV may indeed have some health benefits, including lowering the glycemic index of other foods, when eaten in combination with ACV, and assisting weight loss.
15. Water: OK, so it’s not a food, but it is the number one thing we need to consume daily to stay healthy. Stay hydrated — and learn how much water you really need.
Healthy Foods to Eat for Breakfast
17. Bananas: Sliced into your oatmeal or added to a smoothie for extra creaminess — you can’t go wrong with bananas for breakfast. A medium banana contains about 420 milligrams of potassium and 105 calories.
18. Chia seeds: Per ounce, chia seeds have 138 calories, almost 10 grams of fiber (which is HUGE considering we require 25-35 grams per day), and about 5 grams of protein — plus they contain some calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. These tiny seeds fluff up and reach their full potential when soaked in liquid, so whip up some chia pudding!
19. Eggs: Eggs are a superfood, for sure: Each large egg provides 70 calories — and 18 vitamins and minerals! “Eggs are protein and also very versatile,” says Vanessa Rissetto, RD, who runs a private nutrition practice in New York City. She says she eats them hard-and soft-boiled for snacks and on salads.
20. Flax seeds: Like chia seeds, tiny flax seeds contain major nutrients. Two tablespoons contain almost 6 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, plus about 9 grams of fat (including omega-3s). Make sure to grind them first, so your body can access more of the nutrients!
21. Grapefruit: A whole grapefruit has 103 calories, with 4 grams of fiber and plenty of vitamin C. For a sweet start to the day, broil grapefruit halves sprinkled with a small amount of sugar. Be sure to check with your physician before going crazy with grapefruits if you are taking medications as grapefruits can interfere with the absorption of many medications.
22. Greek yogurt (plain, low-fat): Thick and creamy Greek yogurt provides 20 grams of protein and about 150 calories per serving. Rissetto loves it “for fullness and the probiotics — I’m into maintaining gut health.”
24. Pumpkin seeds: Also called pepitas, pumpkin seeds are loaded with the essential minerals magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Toss them on oatmeal, or grind them and use to thicken salsa and sauces, which is common in Mexican cooking.
25. Strawberries: Per cup, strawberries have 48 calories, about 3 grams of fiber, and a full day’s allowance of vitamin C. Did you know that the leaves are edible (and they’ve been used in herbalism)? Serve them on the side as part of tomorrow’s breakfast.
26. Walnuts: In addition to omega-3’s, protein, and fiber, walnuts may contribute to brain health. Add them to oatmeal and salads, or pair them with dark chocolate or blueberries at snack time.
Healthy Foods to Eat for Lunch and Snacks
27. Almonds: With 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber per ounce, add these nuts to your regular afternoon snack rotation. “The protein satisfies me and I like the salty/crunchy pick-me-up,” says Natalie Allen, MS, RD, an instructor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University.
28. Black beans and other beans: Pulses and legumes are rich in plant-based protein and filling fiber, and they provide folate, potassium, and iron. Whip them into hummus or mash them for a quick lunch wrap.
29. Buckwheat: While this gluten-free whole grain isn’t as beloved as quinoa, it boasts more protein — 11 grams per half-cup! Turn soba noodles, which are made from this protein powerhouse grain, into a chilled pasta salad loaded with veggies.
30. Carrots: Another orange veggie brimming with beta-carotene, carrots are equally delicious raw and cooked. They’re also one of the best food forms of vitamin A, which is linked to benefit eye health. Snack on them solo or with hummus.
31. Kale: This popular dark leafy green is high in vitamins K, and C. Rissetto whips up a huge batch of kale salad each week: “It’s crunchy, and I know I’m getting a lot of fiber and also iron, which is always important.”
32. Nutritional yeast: With 4 grams of protein and 1.5 grams of fiber in two tablespoons, nutritional yeast is a tasty, nutritious staple for many plant-based eaters. It has a rich, cheesy taste — with almost no fat and very little sodium. Sprinkle it on popcorn or salads, or stir it into tomato soup.
33. Oranges: Citrus fruits like oranges are known for their high vitamin C content. Each orange contains about 65 calories, so snack on them or add to salads and salsas.
34. Peanuts: An ounce of raw, unsalted peanuts offers 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber for 160 calories. If you opt for peanut butter instead, look for varieties without added oils, sugars, or salt – and definitely NO trans fats!
35. Peas: These veggies offer a surprising amount of protein (8 grams per cup)! Sneak them into pasta dishes, soups, and stews for a quick protein boost.
36. Quinoa: The darling of the gluten-free whole grains world, quinoa is a complete vegetarian protein. This superfood is also super easy to cook — and is ready in under 20 minutes!
37. Sea vegetables: Also known as seaweed, these sea vegetables like dulse, hijiki, and arame provide essential minerals, including iodine. A snack-size package of nori contains just 30 calories and 1 gram of carbohydrates — (practically a ‘freebie’) and it’s a tasty way to quell a salt craving.
39. Sweet potatoes: Baked, roasted, or mashed, sweet potatoes are super tubers! Load one up with homemade chili for a quick midday meal. Per cup, they have 180 calories, 4 grams of protein, nearly 7 grams of fiber, and are full of antioxidants.
40. Whole grain products: Whether you’re choosing tortillas, bread, or crackers, opt for whole grains for extra nutrition — including more protein and fiber.
Healthy Foods to Eat for Dinner
41. Barley: Chewy in texture and nutty in flavor, barley is a whole grain that’s a nice change from the usual brown rice and quinoa. Note: Barley is not gluten-free, so avoid it if that’s a concern.
42. Beets: These root veggies are packed with nutrients, and they’re tasty raw or roasted. One cup of beets (60 calories) is a good source of fiber, potassium, iron, and folate.
44. Brussels sprouts: Whether you roast them or shred them and toss into salads as you would their cousin kale, Brussels sprouts are one tasty fall vegetable. Not only are they a good source of vitamin C, but Brussels sprouts are also rich in glucosinolates, the precursors to several cancer-protective substances.
45. Butternut squash and other winter squash: Bright orange and yellow squash like butternut contains about 60 calories per cup and is naturally sweet. The vibrant hues provide a type of phytochemical called carotenoids (which includes beta-carotene) that have strong antioxidant properties.
46. Chicken breasts: Per 3-ounce serving, boneless, skinless chicken breast — a staple on any list of healthy foods — provides about 130 calories and 27 grams of protein with just 3 grams of fat. Avoid falling into a boring routine by trying these cooking methods.
47. Green beans: Crunchy and tasty either raw or roasted into “fries,” green beansprovide 31 calories and 3 grams of fiber per cup.
48. Lentils: Like other pulses, lentils contain plenty of protein (18 grams per cup, cooked) and fiber (16 grams). Tip: The reddish-orange ones cook the fastest, while French lentils hold their shape and don’t get as mushy.
49. Potatoes: White potatoes may get a bad rap, but they’re excellent sources of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C! Just be sure to steam, roast, or saute them (instead of deep-frying), and look for purple and even pink-fleshed varieties for more nutrition.
50. Salmon: Salmon and other fatty fish provide protein (and plenty of health benefits), as well as vitamin D, essential fatty acids, including omega-3s. You should eat about eight ounces a week, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.
51. Shrimp and other shellfish: Whether you choose shrimp, crab, or lobster, you’ll get lean protein with plenty of essential minerals. This type of seafood cooks quickly, so keep frozen shrimp on hand for busy night!
52. Tofu: Firm, soft, and silken tofu all have their place in the kitchen, but when you’re looking for the most protein, opt for super or extra-firm varieties. They have the least water and about 11 grams of protein in 3 ounces.
53. Tempeh: A soy protein made from fermented whole soybeans, tempeh boasts even more protein than tofu: 17 grams per ½ cup, uncooked. It can be bitter, so steam it before sauteing or baking.
54. Tilapia: With only about 2 grams of fat, tilapia and other white fish is lower in fat than salmon and tuna, but still provides plenty of protein (23 grams per 3-ounce cooked fillet).
Healthy Foods to Eat to Lose Weight
56. Avocados: “I try to add avocado at least once a day as it is a healthy fat and a great replacement for cheese,” says Joelle Malinowski, RD, CDE, CDN, media representative for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Here’s everything you need to know about avocados.)
57. Basil, parsley, cilantro, and other fresh herbs: Herbs add flavor for almost no calories — and they don’t add salt or fat, either. They are packed with phytonutrients, too.
58. Bell peppers: No matter which color you choose, these crunchy veggies are packed with vitamin C. A large pepper has just 33 calories, so make these your go-to with dips like hummus.
60. Cherries: Sweet or sour cherries are a matter of preference, but the tart ones may be especially good for runners, as they may aid recovery. Bonus: The pits slow you down, so you can savor each one.
61. Cottage cheese (reduced-fat): Unofficially known as the healthiest cheese, 1% milkfat cottage cheese provides 81 calories per ½-cup serving, along with 1 gram of fat and 14 grams of protein! It’s among the few cheeses that count as a protein (versus a fat), so try these 12 ways to use cottage cheese that will rock your world.
62. Cucumbers: An entire (8-inch) cucumber contains only 45 calories — it’s over 95% water. If you struggle to stay hydrated, nosh on cukes daily. Drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and your favorite spices, or dunk slices into guacamole.
63. Jalapenos and other hot peppers: In addition to providing vitamin C like bell peppers, hot peppers, along with a healthy diet and exercise regimen may be linked to increased weight loss results (in a small way, due to their heat). If you can stand the heat, add them to your lineup of herbs and spices.
64. Lemons: Sure, lemons provide vitamin C like other members of the citrus family, but few people snack on wedges of lemon. Instead, consider lemons to be your secret weapons for seasoning food without salt. Often, what a dish needs is acid (not salt) to balance it out before serving.
65. Limes: Like lemons, vitamin C-packed limes can put the finishing touch a dish with their acidic tang. Swap in lime juice for the vinegar in your favorite salad dressing, squeeze a wedge over grilled fish or chicken or drizzle over simple whole-grain sides.
66. Olive oil: “Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, avocado are super important as they also aid in satiety,” says Malinowski. But, she adds, it’s best to limit it to no more than a tablespoon at each meal.
67. Ricotta cheese (reduced-fat): Like cottage cheese, ricotta is a cheese that counts as protein. It has 171 calories per ½-cup serving, with 10 grams of total fat and 14 grams of protein. Given the higher calorie content as compared to cottage cheese, keep an eye on your serving size.
68. Spaghetti squash: If you’re a fan of pasta but want a whole-food alternative, keep spaghetti squash on hand. Per cup, it only has 10 grams of carbs, along with 2 grams of fiber and 42 calories. Drain it well before adding your favorite sauce.
69. Zucchini: In addition to being a tasty whole-food pasta swap, zucchini is also a low-carb veggie, with less than four carbs per cup. When you’ve tired of “zoodles,” grill or roast it.
70. Summer squash: Sure, zucchini is the current low-carb vegetable darling, but this yellow-hued squash is just as versatile. With 24 calories per cup — along with 5 grams of carbs and a gram each of protein and fiber — summer squash should be on the menu all year round! Use a veggie peeler to create thick strips that resemble pappardelle.