With so many healthy eating diets and tips on the internet it can be difficult to know what to eat. To make it simple, I have compiled a list of 10 foods that I try to eat everyday for a healthy diet. Instead of worrying about calories or macros, I just try to incorporate these foods throughout the day.
Please note that the information provided on this website is my own opinion. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist and the information provided is intended to motivate readers to make better health choices. Readers are responsible for their own health decisions. I encourage you to consult a doctor before making any nutrition or health changes xxx
1. Leafy greens
We all know that vegetables are extremely good for us yet many people don’t include them in their diet. Dark leafy greens are particularly rich in antioxidants and are also low-calorie. They contain a lot of fibre, vitamins and minerals that help to improve your health.
There are many different options of leafy greens with different benefits. Although kale might be considered one of the most healthy ones, it has a much more bitter taste than some other options. Don’t let this put you off. In the beginning try to find one type that you really enjoy and add from there. I started by adding spinach to my diet because it has a mild taste that I really enjoy.
I like to add leafy greens to my wraps, nourish bowls and, of course, salads.
2. Other veggies
In addition to green veggies I like to include other vegetables of different colours such as bell peppers, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and many more. I am a very visual eater and I get much more excited about eating healthy when I include vegetables with bright colours and different textures. Vegetables are also very low-calorie and nutrient dense so it is almost impossible to overeat on these foods, yet they provide us with many healthy vitamins and minerals.
Legumes such as beans, lentils and chickpeas are great sources of protein. I started incorporating legumes into my daily diet after deciding to cut down on meat and dairy products. I have come to love adding these foods to all of my lunches and dinners, providing me with dietary fibre and protein. Legumes also have a low glycaemic index which leaves you feeling full for a longer period of time.
In the beginning I was not used to cooking with these foods so I started by trying ONE new legume at a time and adding from there. I first added green lentils to my meals for two days, then I tried black beans, chickpeas etc. until I had a range of legumes that I enjoyed.
4. Whole grains
Whole grain foods are a great source of protein, fibre and antioxidants. Brown rice and whole wheat bread and pasta contain far more nutrients than their white counterparts but are often considered less tasty. However, I have learned to enjoy the more rich flavour of these whole-grain products.
When buying whole wheat products, remember to read the list of ingredients. Products labeled as ‘100% wheat’, ‘multigrain’ or ‘stone ground’ are not necessarily whole-grain products. Instead look for the term ‘whole wheat’ which means that the flour has to contain all three parts of the grain.
Examples of whole-grain products include brown rice, 100% whole wheat flour, oats, barley, quinoa and even popcorn.
I start every day with a bowl of porridge which keeps me satisfied until lunchtime.
5. Flax seeds + chia seeds
Flax seeds and chia seeds are both known as ‘superfoods’. Both contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and plant-based protein. Milled flaxseed provides more health benefits than whole flax seeds because they contain soluble fibre that is easier digested when milled.
I add a tablespoon each of these superfoods to my morning porridge.
Nuts and nut butters are a great way of adding healthy fats into our diets. I enjoy nuts in my salads and to snack on, and peanut butter in my porridge or with apples slices for a healthy snack (although peanuts are technically legumes).
When buying nut butters such as peanut or almond butter try to purchase the ones made with 100% nuts. Many brands will add sugar and vegetable oils to make it more spreadable.
Many spices and herbs have great health benefits for our bodies. One of my favourites is turmeric which Dr. Greger recommends as part of his ‘Daily Dozen’ checklist. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory. It is linked to improved brain-function and has even been shown to work as an antidepressant.
On top of the health benefits, herbs and spices give our meals so much more flavour and I love experimenting with different combinations.
Berries are delicious sweet treats that are also very healthy. They are full of antioxidants and, like many foods on this list, high in fibre. They also provide many vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, especially vitamin C.
I love to add berries to my morning porridge and to eat them on their own as a sweet delicacy. Good-quality fresh berries are difficult to find in all seasons so in winter I opt for frozen berries. Frozen berries are even healthier than fresh berries because the vitamin C content of fresh berries decreases over time.
Other fruits besides berries are also very nutritious with similar health benefits. They contain essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre and they provide us with plenty of energy. Some people worry about the high sugar content of fruits but the dietary fibre in fruit slows down the digestion of glucose in our bodies, preventing insulin spikes and releases energy into our bodies more slowly.
Try to only eat whole fruits. Fruit juices such as orange juice are not as healthy because the dietary fibre is removed which means that the fruit sugars are absorbed much quicker.
10. Dairy free milk alternatives
Soya milk, almond milk, coconut milk and oat milk are all great dairy-free alternatives to cow’s milk. They are often fortified with important vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 that are difficult to find in other plant-based food.
Soya milk is particularly high in protein whereas oat milk has more calories and fibre so choose which one you prefer based on your own needs and taste.