You deserve the best. And that includes fueling your body with foods that give you energy, protect you from disease, and make you feel like a rock star—without sacrificing flavor. The hard thing is figuring out what those foods are, given that nutrition can be as confusing as the Donald’s latest speech.
There are some resources out there, though, that can clear up how what you put into your body makes a huge difference in virtually every aspect of your health—and they also make it easier to adopt better habits, no Ph.D., iron willpower, or comb-over needed. Bonus: Other than the books, everything is free!
Welcome to a virtual buffet serving heaping portions of nutritional info. Curious about the vitamins in that orange or want to find foods high in potassium? Search the site and learn all about pretty much any whole food, complete with a food rating chart to see how much of your daily value of specific nutrients a serving provides plus health benefits backed by research. You can also find recipes, most of which take no more than 30 minutes to make.
It’s hard to separate the facts from the BS online. Given that physician Michael Greger, M.D., started this site and specializes in clinical nutrition, we’re pretty sure you can trust it. In articles and videos, he addresses the latest science on how what you eat impacts your health. In addition to an “ask the doctor” section with Greger, Joseph Gonzales, R.D., answers questions in the “ask the dietitian” column.
If your goal is overall wellness, this site, backed by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, is a great place to start. Catch up on the latest nutrition news, including food recalls, and get the facts on controversial issues like if BMI is a healthy measurement and if carrageenan is safe to consume.
Written by a chef, holistic nutritionist, and certified nutritional practitioner, this blog offers creative, mainly plant-based recipes that call for ingredients we know. While learning the recipe, you also learn about the benefits of some of the ingredients like coconut oil and tips such as how to pick the healthiest chocolate for your blondies.
Here you’ll find one leading lady with 15 helpers who consistently provide recipes that utilize whole foods and offer education on nutrition buzzterms like anti-inflammatory diet and clean eating. The blog is affiliated with the Nutrition Blog Network, a site powered by dietitians, so the information is stamped legit.
If you’re interested in the what, when, and where of the food you eat, this is the podcast for you. Each monthly installment digs into the history and science of the (real and artificial) colors and flavors of our food, using experts, lab visits, and even archeological digs to find the facts. Bacon, artificial flavors, microbes—co-hosts Cynthia Grabeer and Nicola Twilley cover it all. Foodies, get ready to geek out.
Every week Monica Reinagel, a board-certified, licensed nutritionist, addresses a new topic to help listeners eat better and feel better. From protein and carbs to the Mediterranean diet and healing foods, she covers it all in easily digestible segments, citing research in simple terms along the way.
Although the app is promoted for weight loss, it’s useful to anyone who wants to track and improve the quality of what they’re eating. Enter your age, weight, gender, activity level, and food goals like avoiding processed foods, and it will help you reach said goals. You can also scan the barcode of any food in the supermarket and see its nutrition grade based on whether it has added sugars, trans fat, additives, and other things you probably want to avoid. (Free; iOS and Android)
With hectic schedules, it isn’t always feasible to keep track of your diet and exercise. This app takes care of that. If you own a wearable device like a Fitbit, Nutrino personalizes a healthy meal plan based off of your activity and goals, whether that’s to gain muscle or just be healthy. It also allows you to build shopping lists through recommendations of whole foods, takes into account any food allergies you have (or if you simply prefer to eat a plant-based or gluten-free diet), and provides a virtual health coach to tie everything together. (Free; iOS and Android)
This app not only connects you to local farmer’s markets in your area, it also allows you to share what you find there by snapping and posting photos. Which means you can see what’s on sale the day before you venture out. Someone has the season’s first peaches? Better leave the house now and get there before they’re all gone! (Free; iOS)
Farmer’s markets registered with the FDA must follow specific standards for the safe growing, harvesting, and packaging of produce to prevent contamination. Find them with this app, which allows you to search by state or your phone’s location. The simple layout shows addresses and market details so that you know if the foods you’re searching for are available. (Free; iOS and Android)
Here’s your one-stop shop for all things locally grown. Type in the area you want to search along with what you’re looking for, and voilà, you can find the nearest farmer’s markets, CSAs, farms, co-ops and more. Most of the locations give detailed descriptions of the services they provide, so you can find a place to pick apples or a market with wild-caught fish. You can also find events and shop online.
Click your state on this map and receive a full list of farmer’s markets as well as retailers that provide organic options. Farmer’s markets list the months they’re open so you don’t waste your time heading off to one only to arrive and have it closed. The site also has information about what “organic” means since it can be a confusing topic.
The USDA is charged with keeping our food safe, but they’ve gone one step further in creating a detailed way of finding out what’s available near your area. The site includes details like months of operation for farmer’s markets and methods of payment accepted. You can also search for specific products—if you want, say, artisan bread or fresh-from-the-tree cider.
While it’s not the flashiest site, it is easy to find if there’s a conveniently located co-op. A co-op is a group of people who join together to exchange goods and services in an attempt to save money. Here you can learn more about the practice; note that each one has specific rules (for example, some ask that you volunteer in order to be a member), so be sure to contact a co-op if you are interested in joining.
Six years after its publication, this best-seller is still the go-to beginner’s guide for so many who are looking to eat healthier. Perhaps because author Michael Pollan answers such a confusing and huge question—What should I eat?—in the simplest of terms, breaking it down to a few rules. And luckily these are rules you won’t be tempted to break. Hungry for more? Also check out Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food.
Jeanette Bronée’s philosophy on eating focuses on properly nourishing your body rather than fixating on the scale (though weight loss could be the cherry on top). In this book, the certified holistic health counselor explains hunger and why it’s so hard to change our eating habits before she helps you become a more mindful eater—and one who stays satisfied longer.
We’ve been told to get to know our food, and this book from Jennifer Meta Robinson and J. A. Hartenfeld will help you do just that. You’ll learn the history of farmer’s markets and meet farmers, including those revolutionizing farming and food distribution. By the end, you’ll be eager to hit your local market and chat with the vendors to learn more about their methods and produce.
You don’t need to be familiar with New York Times columnist Mark Bittman to enjoy this book. A compilation of his articles, it covers everything from food safety and fast food to fad diets and the politics behind our food system, all written in a way you can understand. It’s a fascinating and somewhat rage-inducing look at the good and bad of American health.