Whether you’re here for more energy, clearer skin, weight loss, or to level up your wellness game, it’s no secret that healthy eating = a healthier you.
Nutrition comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Basically, a healthy food is any edible item packed with nutrients your body needs — like protein, nutrient-rich carbs, healthy fats, and nourishing vitamins.
Whipping up a healthy dinner or noshing on wholesome snacks is delish — and surprisingly simple. Mix and match these incredibly healthy foods for a back-to-basics approach in the kitchen.
|Food||Nutrients||Why it’s good for you|
|apples||fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants||An apple a day, right? It’ll fill you up between meals, keep you regular, and pack in some vitamins at the same time.|
|avocados||Healthy fat alert! Avo also has potassium, fiber, and vitamin C.||Fat is brain food. Do we really need another reason to order more avo toast?|
|bananas||potassium, vitamin B-6, and fiber||Potassium is essential for everything from brain function to heart health. Maybe the saying should be “A banana a day…” 🤔|
|blueberries||antioxidants and fiber||These juicy little numbers are packed with antioxidants to help you fight off sickness, among other benefits.|
|oranges||vitamin C, baby||Oranges are the OG vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C helps keep your immune system running smoothly.|
|strawberries||vitamin C, fiber, and manganese||These babies are low carb, delicious, and packed with vitamins. Need we say more?|
|eggs||protein, protein, protein||Eggs once had a bad reputation as a cholesterol bomb, but recent research suggests they’re perfectly healthy. They’re also tiny packages of protein goodness.|
|lean beef||protein + iron||Lean beef is the king of protein sources. The fact that it’s rich in energizing iron is the cherry on top.|
|chicken breasts||protein + B-complex vitamins||Chicken isn’t as high in protein as lean beef, but it is lower in fat. It’s an all-star in the protein department.|
|lamb||protein (again) + omega-3 fatty acids||Most lambs are grass-fed, which means they’re likely to be lean and packed with nutrients. The omega-3s are good for your heart.|
|almonds||vitamin E, antioxidants, magnesium, and fiber||Aside from adding a bit of protein, a handful of almonds boosts your vitamin and mineral intake.|
|chia seeds||Get this: 1 oz of chia seeds = 11 g of fiber + magnesium, calcium, and manganese||There’s a reason chia seed pudding is like a secret superfood dessert. Chia seeds keep your gut regular while loading you up with essential minerals.|
|coconuts||fiber and fatty acids (medium-chain triglycerides, aka MCTs, to be exact)||Sure, coconuts taste like heaven. But their MCTs, which promote ketosis, really set this plant apart.|
|macadamia nuts||healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals||Macadamia nuts are crunchy and full of healthy nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium.|
|walnuts||healthy fatty acids, alpha-linolenic and linoleic acids, and other common nutty nutrients||Research suggests eating walnuts on the reg could lower cholesterol, which can reduce your chance of a heart attack.|
|asparagus||vitamin K||What’s better than popping a vitamin K supplement? Noshing on low carb, low cal roasted asparagus.|
|bell peppers||antioxidants + vitamin C||These colorful beauties boost your immune system in the crunchiest, yummiest way.|
|broccoli||vitamins C and K, fiber, and even a bit of protein!||Protein in a veggie? Plant eaters, enjoy your vitamin-induced healthy hair and immune boost on the side.|
|carrots||beta carotene, vitamin K, and antioxidants||The same beta carotene that makes carrots orange will convert to vitamin A in your body, promoting healthy skin.|
|cauliflower||sulforaphane, fiber, and several minerals||Research suggests sulforaphane (try saying that three times fast) could protect against heart disease.|
|cucumber||vitamin K and other nutrients… plus, hydration!||TBH, cukes are mostly water. This makes them a super-healthy low carb snack that also sneaks in a few vitamins.|
|garlic||bioactive organosulfur compounds||Science says bioactive compounds in this Italian cuisine mainstay are so powerful they’ll weaken your cold and flu symptoms. Garlic knots 4evah.|
|kale||vitamins C and K, fiber, and… is salad a nutrient?||We all know leafy greens are the lifeblood of superfood green smoothies and crunchy summer salads. Kale is fibrous and rocking that vitamin life.|
|onions||nutrient-dense — full of a vitamin/mineral combo||Love ’em or hate ’em, these bad boys offer a nutritional bang for your caloric buck. (See what we did there?)|
|tomatoes||vitamin C and potassium||It’s a vitamin-rich fruit so low in sugar that it acts like a vegetable. How much more #wholesome could it be?|
|salmon||omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and protein||Did you know consuming omega-3s on the reg could help you live longer? Maximize your benefits by eating salmon on a bed of greens or with a helping of healthy berries and other fruits.|
|sardines||Loaded with nutrients, sardines are a perfectly balanced food.||Since you eat the whole sardine, you get the benefits of organs, bones, and brain nutrients. Yum!|
|shellfish||lots o’ protein, fatty acids, and micronutrients like B-12 and iron||Clams, mollusks, and oysters are nutritionally dense, so you’ll get a mini health boost in every bite.|
|shrimp||protein, selenium, B-12, and more||This is one of your best high protein, low fat hors d’oeuvre options.|
|trout||same nutrients as salmon, different taste (variety is the spice of life!)||Trout = a toast to long life, glowing skin, and strong muscles and bones!|
|tuna||lean protein + all the amino acids your body desires||Low in fat and high in protein, tuna is energizing, heart-friendly, and super healthy in general. Just watch your mercury intake.|
|brown rice||fiber, vitamin B-1, and magnesium||There’s a reason brown rice is such a staple all around the world. It’s an affordable, nutritious way to fill up on fiber.|
|oats||beta-glucan (nutritious fiber)||Science says beta-glucan helps with high cholesterol. A 2011 review of studies found that people who ate oats with at least 3 g of beta-glucan daily reduced their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by up to 7%.|
|quinoa||fiber + magnesium||Superfood alert! Quinoa is on the A-list of health foods for its tasty take on plant-based protein and fiber.|
|Ezekiel bread||packed with healthy whole grains and legumes||While many breads are full of simple carbs, Ezekiel bread is made from organic sprouted whole grains.|
|homemade low carb breads||grains, fiber, and any extra nutrients you throw in||The healthiest bread is probs the one you whip up yourself. But stick to nutritionally dense ingredients like whole grains, sprouted grains, and nutrient-packed nuts and seeds.|
|green beans||a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K.||It’s important to rinse and drain canned green beans to reduce sodium content.|
|kidney beans||fiber, vitamins, minerals||Like green beans, kidney beans offer a veg-tastic protein option. Just make sure to cook them fully — raw kidney beans are literally toxic.|
|lentils||fiber + protein||Lentils are a vegan favorite because they’re tasty, versatile, and full of meatless protein.|
|peanuts||antioxidants + protein||Peanuts are an easy, breezy energy boost… just watch the salt.|
|cheese||calcium, protein, and (sometimes!) probiotics||Let all the cheesemongers breathe a sigh of relief. Despite getting bashed as a tummy-turning artery clogger, certain types of fromage are great for strengthening your bones and boosting gut health.|
|whole milk||calcium, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals||Calcium strengthens your bones, teeth, and muscles.|
|yogurt||probiotics FTW!||Yogurt is the OG tonic for good gut health.|
|butter (from grass-fed cows!)||calcium, vitamin K-2, and omega-3 fatty acids||Research suggests vitamin K-2 could be beneficial for bone health and heart health. And springing for grass-fed butter means you’re getting more vitamin K, healthy fats, and omega-3s.|
|coconut oil||MCTs, baby!||MCTs are known to help with memory, and coconut oil itself could help burn belly fat.|
|EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)||antioxidants + monounsaturated fats||The healthy fats in extra-virgin olive oil give your body the fat it needs without all the stuff it doesn’t. It doesn’t hurt to have a few antioxidants on the side!|
|potatoes||potassium, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals||Aside from nourishing your body with healthy vitamins and minerals, potatoes are just plain satisfying. In a 1995 study of 38 foods, boiled potatoes took the prize as “most filling”!|
|sweet potatoes||antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins, and several other micronutrients||Sweet potatoes are often touted as being healthier than their basic white counterparts. In reality, they’re equally healthy. But sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index, in case you’re watching your blood sugar.|
|apple cider vinegar||acetic acid||ACV is praised as an immune booster, a weight loss elixir, and more.|
|dark chocolate||magnesium + oodles of antioxidants||Can we just say that dark chocolate is the healthiest dessert on the planet? Since science says the cacao seeds are a legit “super fruit,” yes, yes we can.|
Heads-up: We throw major shade at fad diets. Excessive calorie restriction sabotages weight management in the long run and puts you at risk for malnutrition.
Weight loss should be slow and steady, baby. Bodies process different nutrients at different speeds, so the best way to reach your goal is to focus on nutrient-dense foods that keep you healthy and satisfied.
|Food||Serving size||Calories||Why it works for weight loss|
|whole eggs||1 large||74||Eggs are full of protein and healthy fat, so they’ll fill you up enough to keep the hangry vibes away. In a 2005 study of 30 women with overweight or obesity, swapping bagels for eggs in the morning helped them eat less than usual for the next 36 hours!|
|kale||1 cup, raw||12||Say hello to the superstar of leafy greens! Kale is about half water, half nutrient-laced fiber. Research suggests that kale helps regulate blood sugar, which plays a role in weight loss.|
|Swiss chard||1 cup, raw||6||If salads bore you to tears, try sautéing these luscious greens with garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice. Swiss chard is low in calories and carbs, which means you can eat a LOT of it while working on weight loss.|
|spinach||1 cup, raw||6||Science says eating a high volume of low calorie foods helps decrease your overall calorie intake. Eating a giant spinach salad for lunch will keep you satisfied all afternoon without weighing you down.|
|collard greens||1 cup, raw||11||Collard greens are full of vitamin K and calcium, which will keep your muscles and bones strong even if you’re monitoring calories to lose weight.|
|salmon||1 small fillet||320||Salmon is full of healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and iodine, which helps keep your metabolism running at full speed.|
|arugula||1 cup||5||This delightfully peppery salad base is high in fiber and protein, which makes it super filling despite a mere 5 calories per cup.|
|bok choy||1 cup||10||Cruciferous veggies like arugula, bok choy, broccoli, and brussels sprouts contain nutrients that may help fight cancer to keep your bod healthy without adding extra calories.|
|broccoli||1 cup, chopped||30||Like the veggies listed above, broccoli is tasty, high in nutrients, and low in fat and calories. It’s an ideal weight loss sidekick.|
|brussels sprouts||1 cup||38||Healthy, filling, and versatile brussels sprouts add pizzazz to your diet because losing👏 weight👏 should👏 not👏 feel👏 like👏 deprivation!👏|
|cabbage||1 cup, chopped||22||Kimchi = pickled cabbage. In a small 2011 study, people with overweight or obesity lost more weight and body fat after upping their kimchi intake.|
|cauliflower||1 cup||27||Cauliflower is bland and beige, but it is a master of disguise. It helps with weight loss by subbing in for rice or even white flour in your favorite pizza dough recipe.|
|lean beef short ribs||1 medium rib, bone and fat removed||149||Lean meat aids weight loss because it’s packed with protein, the most filling macronutrient. In a 2011 study, men who got 25% of their daily calories from protein cut their cravings by 60% and their late-night snack attack frequency by half.|
|chicken breast (skin removed)||1 medium, sautéed||211||Not big on red meat? Chicken dinner’s your winner! According to a 2005 study, swapping carbs for lean meat could speed up fat loss.|
|boiled potatoes||1 cup diced potatoes or 1 medium potato||200||You already know potatoes are filling. But did you know some research suggests the starch that forms on cold potatoes also has weight loss benefits?|
|tuna||1 cup, drained (if canned)||132||Ah, the chicken of the sea! Grab tuna canned in water, not oil, for a high protein, low carb, keto-friendly lunch.|
|black, brown, or Bayo beans||1 cup, cooked (no fat added)||236||Remember how leafy greens fill you up with fiber and lean meat fills you up with protein? Beans are the best of both worlds, which makes them a weight loss powerhouse.|
|lentils||1 cup, no fat added in cooking||207||Clocking in with a slightly lower calorie count than beans, lentils still pack a punch. They’ll fill your belly with nutrients (and, sure, some gas 😳 ) to keep you feeling full longer.|
|soups||1 cup, 1 bowl… you decide!||varies||Yep, we know this one’s super vague. Don’t @ us. Almost any kind of veggie- or protein-based soup is great for shedding pounds because the added liquid will help you feel satisfied.|
|cottage cheese||4 oz||111||Research shows that adding calcium-rich low fat dairy to your meals can speed up fat loss.|
|avocados||1 avocado||322||Avocados are bursting with fiber, potassium, and monounsaturated oleic acid, which scientists say is likely to help with your weight loss goals.|
|apple cider vinegar||1 tablespoon||3||In animal studies, apple cider vinegar has been known to boost metabolism, reduce appetite, and burn body fat.|
|almonds||1/2 cup||414||Repeat after us: Nuts are fatty, not fattening. In one 24-week dietary study, the participants who snacked on almonds instead of complex carbs lost more weight.|
|oats||1 cup, cooked||153||The beta-glucan in oats will boost your metabolism and help you feel full faster.|
|brown rice||1 cup, cooked||238||The resistant starch levels in cooked brown rice that has been allowed to cool for a few minutes could improve gut health and help with weight loss.|
|quinoa||1 cup, cooked||222||In one study, people who ate just 20 grams of quinoa per day had lower blood sugar, which helps with weight loss.|
|peppers||1 cup, chopped||36||Peppers add a great crunch and nutrient boost to any meal. But spicy chile peppers are the real MVP when it comes to tightening your waistline. One study found that eating 1 g of red hot chile peppers revved up the body’s fat-burning potential.|
|watermelon||1 cup, chopped||46||A 2019 study suggested that eating 2 cups of watermelon per day can reduce blood pressure and overall body weight.|
|apples||1 medium||95||Research indicates that eating apples daily for 1–3 months can trigger weight loss in people with obesity.|
|blueberries||1 cup||84||Blueberries are full of natural pigments called anthocyanins, which can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Though these aren’t directly related to weight loss, improving your overall health with good nutrition will likely help you reach your weight loss goals.|
|bananas||1 medium||105||Bananas are the perfect example of fruit’s proven anti-obesity effects — they’re infused with potassium and are extra filling to boot. Pair ’em with oats to boost your metabolism or with blueberries to level up your wellness.|
|grapefruit||1 medium||82||In a 2006 study, people with obesity lost about a pound per month just by eating half a grapefruit before their meals.|
|chia seeds||1 tablespoon||56||Chia seeds are already super wholesome, but their special talent is absorbing 10x their weight in water. This helps reduce your appetite while digesting all of chia’s fiber-y goodness.|
|coconut oil||1 tablespoon||121||A 2011 study suggested that dosing with coconut oil could reduce belly fat.|
|plain full fat yogurt||1 cup||149||The probiotics in yogurt keep your gut healthy and your digestive system moving. And full fat dairy has been shown to reduce the chance of obesity over time.|
We’re not all Julia Child in the kitchen. Premade nibbles are the bomb because they’re ready to go whenever hangry-ness hits.
Trader Joe’s has your back in the healthy food department. The grocery store is a veritable wonderland of tasty organic snacks.
Here are our top picks for peak health:
|Trader Joe’s snack||Why it’s healthy|
|mixed nut butter||Keto isn’t everyone’s best lifestyle, but there’s no denying the health impacts of fatty, nutrient-dense foods like almonds, peanuts, and sesame seeds. Catch ’em all in TJ’s mixed nut butter.|
|organic oatmeal cups||The best part of waking up is… oats and chia in your cup? Why not? As you know, the fiber in oats and the cray-cray nutritional density of chia seeds will set you up for a healthy day.|
|organic spicy avocado hummus||Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and avocado? It’s like a health food meet-cute. Awwww. Enjoy this combo of healthy fats and plant-based fiber for a filling summer snack.|
|marinated Mediterranean vegetables||Filling your plate with veggies = filling your belly with fiber, a bit of protein, and oodles of vitamins and minerals. In other words, this TJ’s favorite is a nutritional powerhouse.|
|protein patties||While lean meats are one of the healthiest sources of protein, it’s possible to get your fill from plants too. These patties are made from beets and peas — a delicious diversion from traditional black bean burgers.|
|organic raw almonds||A handful of almonds will give you a hefty helping of fiber, vitamin E, and manganese. They’re the perfect satisfying snack to curb late-night cravings while nourishing your hair, skin, and nails.|
|organic mighty turmeric shots||Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, has powerful anti-inflammatory powers. Research says it’s even soothing for folx without diagnosed medical issues.|
|tuna burgers||Get in on tuna’s energizing, heart-healthy benefits with this tasty twist on burgers. Maximize your meal by topping them with vitamin-rich veggies or smashed avocado.|
|freeze dried red seedless grape slices||All the sweetness of candy with none of the added sugar? Yes, please. These are a great alternative to desserts, but be mindful that the natural sugar content still adds up.|
|riced cauliflower stir-fry||Switching refined carbs for veggies is always a healthy choice. Sub this riced cauliflower for white rice in your next stir-fry, and then notice how this low carb meal keeps your blood sugar from going haywire. Sneaky swaps FTW!|
|organic extra-virgin olive oil Mediterranean blend||OK, so this isn’t technically a snack. But drizzling your salad, bread, or crackers with this organic EVOO might be just the antioxidant help you need.|
|kale gnocchi||Could Trader Joe’s literally outdo its cult classic, cauliflower gnocchi? Yes, yes, it could. With fresh kale accounting for 50% of the recipe, we dare say these are the greenest, most nutritious little pasta pillows your tongue will ever touch.|
|organic açaí bowl||Blueberries (buh-bye, high blood pressure!), bananas (hello, potassium!), and unsweetened coconut (oh hey, healthy fats!), oh my…|
|harvest grain salad||The quinoa in this blend of ancient grains will inject your day with some healthy iron and fiber. Stir in the leafy green kale and crunchy protein-packed walnuts for even more pep in your step.|
|chopped medjool dates||These sticky little numbers have just two ingredients: dates, which are high in fiber and contain 15 minerals, and coconut flour, which is rich in fiber and MCTs. Top with a dab of nut butter for a well-rounded sweet snack.|
|organic sparkling apple cider drinking vinegars||Apple cider vinegar has so many possible perks, from a glowing complexion to an immunity boost. Try this ACV-infused kombucha in lieu of a vodka soda on a hot summer day.|
|strawberry Greek frozen yogurt parfait bars||Fruit + yogurt = vitamins and antioxidants + healthy gut bacteria. The frostiness is just the cherry (er, strawberry?) on top.|
|dark chocolate almond butter cups||Your body will love the dark chocolate’s antioxidants and the almond butter’s healthy fats (brain food!). But be mindful that these do include added sugar.|
|corn, pea, bean, and quinoa crisps||Ditch the Doritos for these veggie-based chips. The balanced blend includes fiber-filled beans and vitamin-rich peas. Dip ’em in fresh guac to round out your snack with healthy fats.|
|organic salsa||TJ’s newest salsa offering is classic and nutritious, chock-full of fresh red tomatoes blended with spicy, fat-burning peppers.|
Let’s keep it real: Healthy food is any food that contributes to your body’s overall wellness. In other words, what gives your body the nourishment to accomplish daily living? Probs a mix of fat, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and more.
So why does eating healthy seem so complicated? Wellness fads and diet gurus might hype a new superfood every other week, but most of that is marketing. Our bodies know what we need to survive. Chances are, the foods that make you feel healthy are probably healthy for you.
Most whole foods — like the unprocessed, back-to-basics foods above — are full of tasty nutrition without extra preservatives and artificial flavors.
Healthy eating tips
- Keep it simple, baby. Nosh on snacks with ingredients that belong to the basic food groups.
- Fill your plate with colorful, tasty fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins you ENJOY! Also choose ones that keep you satisfied and nourished for hours to come.
- Go for fresh, whole, and unprocessed. With the exception of fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt, unprocessed is always best. That’s because the more a food is processed and refined, the more nutrients get stripped away. Processed foods often include added sugar and preservatives too.
Eating your way to a healthier body doesn’t have to be complicated. Stock up on a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to thrive.
If weight loss is one of your health goals, focus on nutrient-rich foods that are not calorie-dense. Salads and soups are a great way to eat a lot of food — full of a rainbow of vitamins! — while still keeping calorie intake low.
Be thoughtful about the foods you eat, but don’t forget to enjoy life. Healthy eating should feel like fun, not punishment.