Having a healthy food list is an excellent way to stay on track. This particular healthy food list is based around nutritious whole foods chosen for their nutrient profile. This is not a comprehensive list. To make things interesting, I picked one food for each letter of the alphabet. Mixing things up and trying new things is a great way to keep making progress on your goals. I hope that you have as much fun utilizing this healthy food list as I had making it!
Apples are a tricky cup of tea. With the genetic alterations that have been taking place for the last several decades, some of our favorite species are not as nutritious as they once were. Apples are extremely high in phytonutrients. I love them for the crunch the provide! When buying apples at the grocery store, stick to Braeburn, Cortland, Fuji, Gala, and Granny Smith apples. Sticking with these species is going to give you the biggest nutrient bang for your buck.
Berries in general are some of the most nutritious foods you can possibly eat. Blueberries in particular are rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins, have a low glycemic index, and are full of fiber. They are also a low calorie and low sugar fruit! Cooking blueberries can increase their phytonutrient content, which is cool since most veggies and fruits lose nutrients when cooked. My favorite thing to do with cooked blueberries is a spiced blueberry yogurt. Follow me @catouellettefit on Instagram to see! The frozen blueberries are just as nutritious as the fresh ones, so stock up!
Coffee beans are a high antioxidant food. Like you needed another reason to drink more coffee! However, loading the brewed coffee down with sugar and creamer is not helpful to you if you are trying to live a healthier life. Find a coffee that you truly enjoy and brew a cup. Add a touch of almond milk and a sprinkle of stevia. Bottoms up!
I am not going to lie, dandelion tea is a little earthy. If you can’t stomach the taste of dirt, this might not be for you 😉 While honey does help, the tea still has a very distinctive flavor. The benefits of drinking dandelion tea is regularity (it works as a diuretic), improved immune system, soothes digestive issues, and balances blood sugar levels. You can find this tea at your local supermarket.
Eggs are an excellent source of choline and selenium, and a good source of high-quality protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, phosphorus andriboflavin. In addition, eggs are rich in the essential amino acid leucine(one large egg provides 600 milligrams), which plays a unique role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis (Egg Nutrition Center). Many of these nutrients lay in the yolk of the egg, which is also high in cholesterol. I usually make an omlette with 1 whole egg and 3 egg whites.
Flax seeds are so versatile that they were a shoe in for this list. High in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin B1, and copper, these tiny seeds will help you with your all around nutrition. I add them to smoothies, smoothie bowls, and oatmeal. You could add them to anything, as they don’t have a distinctive taste.
Red, pink, and white. Perfect for Valentine’s Day right? These slightly bitter citrus fruits have a wide range of nutrient benefits. The red grapefruits have the highest nutrient content of them all, providing lycopene and phytonutrients while also being the sweetest. Next up is the pink grapefruits, which are higher in antioxidants and are sweeter than the white grapefruits. The white grapefruits, while not as nutritious as the pink or red, still provides numerous nutritional benefits.
This is not a nut that most people typically snack on and I don’t know why. These are delicious! Plus they remind me of coffee. Hazelnuts are abundant in vitamin E, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Add them to a smoothie bowl or just snack on them straight from the bag. Just make sure you watch your portion size, because they are high in fats, but healthy fats!
These are not a typical food for me. Most likely these are not a typical food for most people. However, if you decide you want to try something different these would be a good choice. High in antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C. You can get powdered Inca Berry on amazon, which I like to make smoothies!
I LOVE jalapenos. I add them to burgers, cheese spreads, salads, and anything else I can possibly think of. These spicy little peppers are full of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. These are a low calorie food as well, so they are perfect for adding flavor to bland foods.
I know it is typical to see kale on a healthy food list. However, it is damn hard not to put it on when it is one of the most nutritious foods in the world. Delivering vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron to your body to help it run at the peak of its ability.
The king of vitamin C, this puckery fruit will give plain water or chicken a kick in the pants. High in vitamin C and antioxidants, the delicious lemon is an excellent staple fruit to keep on hand. Choose the ones that have no green on the skin, as this is an indication of their ripeness. Add the zest of the lemon to meals as well to get an extra hit of nutrients.
Mangoes are an EXTREMELY nutritious fruit, providing the taster with five times more vitamin C than oranges, five times more fiber than pineapples, and more phytonutrients than papayas. Slice them up and add them to smoothies or just snack on them for a deliciously sweet treat.
I love nectarines because they taste like a peach without the fuzzy skin. Nectarines are extremely high in antioxidants, have much less calories than a glass of red wine 😉 and are easily portable. However, these fruits carry high amounts of pesticides, therefore wash them up before biting in. The skin of a nectarine is much richer in phytonutrients than the flesh, so make sure you are getting the full benefits of this delicious fruit!
Your mother’s voice telling you to eat your oatmeal is one that you should listen to. Oatmeal, steel cut unprocessed oats to be precise, are full of phosphorus, iron (which many women are deficient in), biotin (good for hair and nails), and vitamin B6. Sprinkle your oats with some fruit, seeds, and a splash of almond milk to make a scrumptious meal!
Potatoes are good for you? What? I thought they were supposed to be a “bad carb”? Wrong!!! All potatoes are good for you, but the purple potato takes things up a notch. Purple potatoes are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants. Plus, they are fun to eat. Make sure you eat the skin, as this is where many of the nutrients hang out. Throw these on the grill for you next barbecue to mix things up!
The grain that, according to my sister, looks like sand and tastes about the same. Despite the bland flavor, quinoa is full of vitamin E, manganese, fiber, copper, and zinc. To perk up this dull food, top it with eggs, mix it with chicken and salsa, or add it to a yogurt parfait.
Raspberries may just be one of my favorite fruits of all time. These tiny sweet fruits comprise of 6 grams of fiber per half cup serving, which is about 25% of your daily fiber goal. To pick the freshest raspberries, look for those that retain their shape and are not leaking juices. If you cannot find fresh raspberries that are up to par, go for the frozen ones which are nearly equal on the nutrition scale. Add raspberries to your salads, breakfasts, smoothies, or make a dressing.
Red meat. Aren’t we suppose to cut back on the amount of red meat we eat? While there are some drawbacks to red meat (health and moral) there are also some surprising health benefits. Steak, especially grass fed beef, is a great source of protein, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Many women are too low on all of these nutrients, so once in a while go ahead and cut into a slab of steak 🙂
Red tomatoes, versus yellow or green, are the highest tomatoes for nutritional value. In general the smaller tomatoes are higher in both sugar and lycopene. Cooking the tomatoes can make the lycopene easier for the body to absorb, so making your own tomato sauce or adding tomatoes to your next pasta dish is an excellent idea!
I have personally never tried this fruit. However, I could not find a food that started with U. While researching, I came across the Ugli fruit and now am making it my mission in life to try one. A cross between a grapefruit and an orange, this recent development follows the citrus tradition of being full of vitamin C. If you find one, try and let me know where you found it so I can try it too!
Vinegar? What possible nutrients could vinegar have? Vinegar contains both calcium and phosphorus, both of which are essential to the function of the body. Plus, vinegar can be used to make vinaigrette with some of the fruits on this list!
Wasabi comes from the same vegetable family as cabbage. This vegetable is used as a flavoring for many other foods, and is a nutrient king. Wasabi contains fiber, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Next time you want to add a little spice to your rice, beans, stir fry, etc. make sure to look for wasabi to add an extra dose of nutrition!
It. Is. Chocolate. This is the Spanish root that the word chocolate is believed to be derived from. Either way, chocolate, excuse me, Xocolatl is a delicious source of fiber, iron, and antioxidants. Go ahead and indulge yourself with a piece of dark chocolate.
Yams are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. This root vegetable contains fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. It’s OK. You can eat these throughout the year and not just on Thanksgiving! Ditch the butter though if making them on a regular basis 🙂
Zucchini had to make it onto this healthy food list for a couple reasons. One, it is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and has a low glycemic index. Two, it is a widely accepted “diet” food. In other words, it is low calorie and a great snacking option! Lastly, it was one of the only nutritious food that I could find that started with the letter Z.
I hope that you enjoyed this alphabet of benefits healthy food list. I really enjoyed making it. Drop in the comments your favorite food from this list!