Last year, before Thanksgiving and the start of all the holiday festivities, we posted about the best and worst foods for fall and winter.
I was thinking about all the yummy foods that will be piled high on the table for Thanksgiving dinner, and I decided it might be good to add in a few healthy super foods to my eating habits this holiday season.
Here are 14 of the healthiest foods that you should be eating but probably aren’t (especially during the decadent holidays):
Lean sources of protein can help speed up your metabolism and encourage your body to burn more fat. Some good examples include turkey, chicken breast, pork and leaner cuts of beef. You get muscle-building protein without the extra saturated fat.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin and stomach cancers. Tomatoes also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Red tomatoes are the best, and processed tomatoes are just as good as fresh.
Yogurt gives you calcium and protein along with millions of bacteria that are beneficial for your body. These bacteria help boost your immune system and provide protection against cancer. Not all yogurts are probiotic, so check the label for “live and active cultures.”
Carrots are filled with carotenoids, which are fat-soluble compounds that reduce the risk of a wide range of cancers and combat the severity of inflammatory conditions like asthma and arthritis. They are easy to prepare and can be added to pastas and salads or enjoyed as a snack while on the go.
Fruits and veggies should be a large part of your diet – you should strive to make them half your plate. Cruciferous vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber as well as essential nutrients. Great options include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy.
All beans are good for your heart, but black beans can boost your brain power. They are full of anthocyanins, an antioxidant compound that gives you better brain function.
Berries are a potent source of antioxidants that fight free radicals, slow down aging and reduce your risk of cancer. Berries are a healthy, refreshing snack that can satisfy a sweet craving. They also go great with your morning cereal, in smoothies and on yogurt.
Bananas are an easy, on-the-go treat. Pack in your gym back as a quick snack, or cut it up on your cereal or oatmeal. Foods high in potassium – like bananas – can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
This colorful fruit is full of antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. You can even get the benefits by drinking a glass of pomegranate juice.
Fiber is essential to maintaining a healthy body and can help in losing weight. It fills you up and keeps your digestive systems working properly. Whole-grain cereals digest slowly and keep your blood sugar at a steady level. Cereals also give you B vitamins, antioxidants, iron, zinc, copper and magnesium.
Oats are packed with soluble fiber that helps reduce heart disease. While they are loaded with carbs, like cereal, they are released slowly to keep you full and satisfied.
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, calcium and potassium. Other great dark orange vegetables include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash and orange bell peppers.
Eggs have gotten a bad rap in the past, but they are nutritious, economical and a great way to fill up on good protein. Studies have shown if you eat eggs for breakfast, you eat fewer calories through the day. Eggs also contain 12 vitamins and minerals that are good for your brain and memory.
Nuts are full of protein, heart healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants. A handful of nuts can help lower cholesterol and promote weight loss. You can mix it up with pistachios, walnuts, almonds, peanuts and pecans. Enjoy them as a snack or add them to salads, side dishes, cereals or yogurt.
So, if you’re feeling a little guilty after Thanksgiving dinner or holiday parties, add a few of these healthy foods to your regular diet. Put some diversity and color on your plate!