It may seem like dietary boredom to eat certain foods every day, but luckily we live in the land of plenty and there are a number of variations for each of the foods below, all of which are so nutritionally dense they are worth eating on a daily basis. Plus, they will fit into your diet even if you're a vegetarian or a vegan.
The laundry list of reason to eat raw nuts (roasting nuts damages some of their healthy oils) is ever-growing and while almonds get the most attention, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, macadamias — basically all raw nuts that aren't salted, honey-roasted or candied — offer benefits ranging from weight management and glycemic control to better heart health and lower cholesterol.
Antioxidants are critical for helping our bodies fight the damage of illness-causing free radicals and berries are loaded with a number of powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins, quercetin and vitamin C (kale and spinach are the only vegetables with antioxidant levels as high as berries). They're also high in water and fiber, so they're great for weight loss as they make you feel fuller, faster.
Soy and dairy milk are very controversial, so instead opt for almond milk. Not only is it low in calories (only 30 per serving; about 1/4 of regular soy or 2% milk), but since it's made from almonds, it also has most of the nutrients that you'd find in the nuts like vitamin E, magnesium, monounsaturated fats, manganese, calcium, copper and riboflavin. It's also low in fat, heart-healthy, great for your skin (thanks to the vitamin E) and because of its low glycemic index, the body will use the carbs as energy so the sugars aren’t stored as fat.
Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli…the options are endless. These leafy vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals to help protect against heart disease, diabetes, cancer and a host of other ailments.
We've all heard about the benefits of green tea and matcha is a specific type that's especially potent in its ability to help fight off a slew of ailments. It's steamed, stemmed and de-vined before being stone-ground into a very fine powder, which then gets whisked with hot water (just below boiling) in a W-shape until there is a little bit of foam. Because you are ingesting the ground leaves, the health benefits far and away exceed brewed teas.
A versatile spice, it can help lower blood sugar levels and other cardiovascular disease risk factors, and many studies have shown that it helps curb appetite. For a look at other spices to add to your diet, click here.
Made with hemp, maca, chia and camu-camu among many other superfoods, you can get these densely-packed snacks at Navitas Naturals or at pretty much every health food store in the by-the-pound food section. These snacks are also protein-rich and high in fiber, making them perfect for an afternoon snack or dessert if you're opting for ones made with cacao.
Wheatgrass, alfalfa, sunflower, pumpkin, green leaf, lentil…sprouts come in such a wide range that they're incredibly versatile. Hardier ones like mung or lentil can easily be heated, making them a great addition to soups or stews, while the more delicate ones like alfalfa are great for salads and sandwiches. No matter which you opt for, they're all packed with vitamins A, B, C and E, calcium, iron and magnesium. Plus, sprouting at home is a pretty easy process.
Once a niche food item, flaxseed is now found in countless forms, from oil to crackers. What makes it such a great dietary addition is that it's packed with heart-healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans (a chemical compound with potent antioxidant powder — flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods) and fiber.
Turns out that drinking eight glasses of water a day is a myth — the number you need depends on a number of physical and dietary factors — but within reason, drinking more than the recommended amount isn't a bad thing. Water is critical to stay healthy as well as energized and drinking it before meals helps you eat less, since thirst is often mistaken for hunger. It's also good for your skin and boosts your metabolism.