A Few Tasty and Healthy Foods
We’ve all been down the road before. You put on your jeans one morning and find the button just a little difficult to close, or find yourself hit by a wave of guilt as you reach for the fourth slice of pizza and glance down at your stomach. Maybe you haven’t even gained much weight, but you certainly aren’t as fit as you used to be.
Many people go through cycles of poor nutrition and healthy diets, but this is actually doing much more harm for your body than good. The secret to staying healthy and satisfied with your meals is to maintain a balanced diet that centers around the major food groups and is predominately healthy, while still allowing yourself to have those indulgent moments. Mini-Snickers bars, anyone?
It’s unfortunately a widely believed myth that healthy food equates to boring. Of course if you only ever eat a bowl of salad or plate of plain veggie sticks you’ll get bored. But there are plenty of healthy foods that actually taste great, and hundreds upon hundreds of recipes online like the ones featured on healthy eating sites like Eating Well.
Just as there’s a particular type of comfort and fast food for everyone’s palette, there are also plenty of different healthy foods that can whet your appetite and leave you craving more without having to worry about all the extra fat, sugars and sodium.
They’re the core ingredient of the guacamole you love at your favorite Mexican joint, but did you know that avocados can actually be used in a variety of dishes such as avocado bisque and an incredible baked egg and avocado breakfast?
Why They’re Awesome: Besides having a light, creamy flavor that can even be enjoyed plain with a dash of salt and pepper, avocados provide your body with tons of important nutrients like vitamins B, C and E as well as 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats in a 3.5 ounce serving.
Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have boxes of this stuff stocked by the dozen, but you may not have much experience with the crunchy goodness that is granola outside of your dollar trail-mix. Let me tell you, there’s so much more to it than that. While trail-mix can actually be made at home and be pretty good for you (check out this quick and easy recipe by Yummy Healthy Easy), granola can also be made into healthy snack bars that work great alongside a fruit smoothie for breakfast or can help you refuel post-workout, or they can be used to top your favorite low-fat yogurt.
Why It’s Awesome: Granola is packed full of healthy whole grains like wheat, oats and whole wheat flour which canbring down your cholesterol. Granola mixes also contain various nuts like almonds and walnuts,which contain the Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to good health. Of course, store-bought granola can be loaded with sugar and extra calories, so it’s important to stick to something organic and natural, or at least the serving size designated on the packaging.
Chickpeas are a versatile and yummy bean that can be fashioned into many types of dishes such as a hummus or sandwich spread, or used raw on top of a salad for some extra bite. Originally harvested in the Mediterranean and Middle East, Garbanzo beans are still popular in exotic dishes today. This more-than-7500-year-old legume can go so much further than hummus, as illustrated in this One Green Planet article that features recipes like khaman dhokla, an Indian soft, steamed Chickpea-flour cake, tangy curried chickpea salad and mini quinoa-chickpea cakes.
Why They’re Awesome: Chickpeas are packed with protein and fiber. Around 65-75 percent of the fiber contained in garbanzo beans is insoluble fiber, which remains undigested all the way until it reaches your large intestine (colon). There the fiber can be metabolized into bacteria in the colon that produces short chain fatty acids like acetic, propionic, and butyric acid, all of which help fuel the cells that line you intestinal wall. Chickpeas also provide rich antioxidants, which we can always use more of.
Eating Healthy, Staying Happy
Healthy meals don’t have to be bland, and with a little Internet research, you can find a much better alternative to all your food vices. Swapping a Big Mac for a homemade burger with a tossed summer salad, or foregoing your local grocery store’s chocolate cake in favor of some fruit parfaits, can make a huge difference on your overall health while still making meal times one of the best parts of your day.