An important part of a healthy diet is planning to eat healthy foods. Your intentions to eat healthy, unprocessed foods made with vegetables and whole grains can go right out the door if you find yourself in an empty kitchen at the end of a long, exhausting day – pizza, anyone? If you don’t plan to eat healthy, you are planning to give into your urges for fast, fatty foods. Make it easy on yourself and easy to eat healthy by keeping smart food choices around all the time. Resolve to keep the following five foods on hand for health, and you’ll be able to make better eating choices every day.
1. Berries. Yes, berries such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries can be expensive. However, they are also very high in nutrients including vitamin C and fiber. They also contain phytochemicals--powerful ingredients that help protect your body’s cells from damage. Even better: berries take little to no preparation – just wash them and you’re ready to go! Always having a basket of berries in your fridge means that you’re just seconds away from enjoying a sweet fruit treat instead of a sugary processed snack. Plus, their high price works to your advantage – you won’t want to waste pricey berries, so they’ll end up in your belly, not the trash.
2. Spinach. Packed with iron and other crucial nutrients, spinach, like all dark leafy greens, is a superstar of the healthy foods world. Having a carton of fresh, pre-washed baby spinach leaves in your fridge makes it easy and convenient to throw a handful in your eggs at breakfast, your salad at lunch or your soup at dinner. When you get tired of spinach, switch it up with chopped chard, kale or mustard greens.
3. Walnuts. Need a snack? Head for a handful of walnuts. Containing high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, walnuts are full of the “good” type of fat that our bodies and brains need to function correctly. Toss them into breakfast cereal, pancakes, salads or any other dish that needs a crunch. Bonus: walnuts have been shown to improve sperm vitality and motility in men.
4. Dark Chocolate. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, everyone craves a sweet treat now and then. Keep a high-quality bar of dark chocolate on hand for such occasions, and you won’t find yourself indulging instead in cookies, cake or other high-sugar bomb foods. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and other nutrients that improve brain function control blood sugar – and make you a happy camper.
5. Eggs. Eggs could be the perfect food. Paired with a piece of whole wheat toast and a handful of your favorite vegetable, an egg scrambles, fries, boils or poaches up to a healthy and well-rounded meal. Plus, eggs are cheap – organic eggs cost less than fifty cents each – and they are quick and easy to cook for breakfast, lunch or dinner.