Healthy Food Options That Taste Great

12/22/2021 | 5 min. read

Healthy Directions Staff Editor

Healthy Directions Staff Editor

Maintaining a healthy diet is an essential part of our overall wellness. Despite this, it is often the hardest part of living a balanced lifestyle.

People struggle to eat healthy for several reasons, including having a busy schedule, not knowing how to cook, or thinking healthy food tastes bland.

It can be difficult to give up the food you love in favor of a healthy diet, but many healthy foods taste great.

Make Nutrients a Priority

The first step to eating healthy is to make sure you load up on all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs. To make sure you are getting them all, you have to incorporate all types of foods into your diet. After all, a tasty diet is one with lots of variety.

There are six essential nutrients, all of which you can receive from different foods:

Water

The human body is mostly made up of water, so water intake is imperative. One way to hydrate your body is, obviously, by drinking water. Here are some more ways to increase water intake:

  • Dairy and nut milk, which are also high in calcium
  • Sugar-free smoothies
  • Produce with high water content, like watermelon, cucumber, and tomatoes
  • Low sodium soups and unsweetened tea

Carbohydrates 

Carbohydrates are our bodies’ main source of energy. But to give your body the best fuel, make sure to choose healthy options:

  • Whole wheat and whole-grain bread, pasta, and rice
  • Oats, which are also full of fiber
  • Fruits
  • Root vegetables like sweet potatoes

Fat

Fat is our secondary source of energy. Bad types of fat, like saturated fats, can be very unhealthy and lead to a plethora of health problems. Here are some of the good types of fat:

  • Fatty fish like salmon
  • Avocados
  • Flaxseeds and chia seeds, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Olive and almond oil
  • Eggs and dairy products
  • Nuts like peanuts

Protein 

Protein is essential for growth and development. These are some of the healthiest protein-packed foods:

  • Lean red meats and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs and yogurt
  • Nuts, seeds, lentils, and beans

Vitamins and Minerals 

There are several different vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function. A few of the most important include:

  • Vitamins A, E, and K
  • Vitamins C and D
  • Folic Acid and Iron

If you suspect you have a vitamin deficiency, it is best to speak to your physician. You may want to consider taking a multivitamin to supplement your diet and make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need.

Add Spices and Herbs

Adding variety to your diet by incorporating nutrient-packed foods proves that healthy food comes with many different options. If you are still not satisfied with the flavors, spices and herbs are a great way to enhance any dish.

To stick to your goals, be sure to avoid spices with excessive amounts of salt and sugar.

Here are a few:

  • Garlic can help regulate cholesterol levels in the blood. You can use it with several types of food, including fish, vegetables, or pasta.
  • Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which can strengthen your immune system. You can put turmeric powder on rice, vegetables, and in curries.
  • Cayenne pepper is sure to satisfy all spicy lovers, especially because it can help speed up metabolism. This spice can go on just about any food if you are brave enough.
  • Basil and other green herbs can help improve immune system function. They are not only aromatic and delicious, but they also add a pop of color to dishes. Try them with shrimp or chicken.
  • Ginger has been used for centuries for its gut calming effects. You can add this to food for an Asian-inspired twist.
  • Cinnamon has a myriad of benefits, including improvements to metabolism and blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is perfect for when you are craving something warm and sweet, but want to stay healthy.

Tasty But Healthy Food Options

Using different combinations of nutrient-dense healthy foods and herbs and spices means no limit to the number of tasty meals you can make.

Here are some delicious and nutritious ideas for every meal of the day:

Breakfast

  • A spinach and goat cheese omelet with whole-wheat toast combines protein and fat from the eggs and cheese with carbohydrates from the toast. Spinach is rich in iron, vitamin C, and potassium.
  • Greek yogurt with oatmeal, berries, and cinnamon will satisfy your sweet tooth and fill you with energy for the day. Greek yogurt supplies protein and fat, and oats supply carbohydrates. Berries are packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Lunch

  • A brown rice bowl with grilled chicken, tomatoes, beans, and greens is a well-rounded meal to help you keep going strong throughout the day. Just make sure to avoid using salad dressings with too much sugar or sodium. Use some lemon juice and olive oil instead.
  • Almond butter and banana whole wheat sandwiches pay homage to the childhood PB & J without the excessive sugar. This meal is full of healthy carbohydrates to keep you energized. Pair with carrots and celery sticks to load up on vitamins.

Dinner 

  • You can never go wrong with grilled salmon paired with herb-roasted asparagus and potatoes. This classic dinner provides heart-healthy fats, light carbohydrates, and vitamins.
  • Vegetable soup with quinoa, peas and onions is the perfect way to end the day with a bowl full of nutrient-dense vegetables and herbs. Add some meat or chicken for protein, but avoid using too much salt. Instead, load up on spices for a punch of flavor.

Snacks

  • Half an avocado with lemon juice and black pepper will keep you full until your next meal while also providing healthy fats and vitamins.
  • Fruits are the simplest and most versatile snack. Keep your favorite on hand for energizing carbohydrates and vitamins.
  • Cheese sticks are full of protein and healthy fats. Just make sure to read nutrition labels before buying and avoid eating too many.
  • Nuts and seeds are some of the most convenient snacks because they are portable and do not spoil. Avoid varieties with salt and sugary flavorings.

Summary

A healthy and balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your health overall. Healthy food does not need to be boring and making sure to incorporate a variety of different foods can keep things interesting while still supplying you with essential nutrients.

Sources:

6 Simple Ways to Stay Hydrated | Scripps Health

Choosing Healthy Fats | Help Guide

The Six Basic Nutrients | Virginia Family Nutrition Program

5 Spices with Healthy Benefits | Hopkins Medicine

Healthy Directions Staff Editor