Eat to your heart’s content. Your grocery cart and kitchen should be stocked up with these good old fashioned healthy foods.
Cascadian Farms Organic Broccoli®
Per bag: calories 60, fat 0g, carbs 4g, protein 2g, (salt 1% DV)
Eat all you want. Frozen veggies are just as good as the fresh version. Provided the bag doesn’t add the phrase “In Sauce”. (This one doesn’t). And double check the sodium content. Some unscrupulous vegetable purveyors add salt. Jerk stores.
Per 2 cups (a small salad): calories 10, fat <1g, carbs 1.5g, protein 1g
You may know arugula as the lettuce looking stuff on top of a pizza at one of those upscale type pizzerias. I know it as a great way to add a peppery depth of flavor to a salad. Toss with olive oil and lemon, top with gorgonzola and walnuts and you may have the world’s healthiest lunch.
Organic Girl Super Greens®
Per half package: calories 20, fat 0g, carbs 3g, protein 2g
Even products that are practically perfect can’t resist sticking big exciting words on the package to increase the perceived health benefit. At least here it’s accurate. Dark leafy greens are food powerhouses. Just don’t screw it up by adding creamy dressing, croutons, or other salad ruiners.
Per tea bag: calories 0g, fat 0g, carbs 0g, protein 0g
This is like reviewing water. Water loaded with disease fighting antioxidants. Don’t add sugar and this is a five star beverage all the way.
Per 1/3 cup (half a handful): calories 80, fat 3g, carbs 8g, protein 7g
Edamame is a fancy word for soy beans. It’s also a fancy word for good-for-you. They have the right balance of fat, carbs, and protein and offer a good dose of fiber to keep you full. Although I’m only familiar with these green pods as a sushi appetizer, edamame are quite versatile and a vegetarian/vegan diet staple.
Per 1 packet: calories 100 fat 2g, carbs 19g, protein 4g
Oatmeal is easily one of the best ways to start your day. Organic makes it even better. A good jolt of fiber will keep you full and your innards in working order. Whole grain rolled oats is the sole ingredient and the pre-measured packets make the serving size idiot-proof. Now don’t be an idiot and ruin this health food with lots of added honey or sugar. For sweetness add some fresh berries. Or one, and only one, teaspoon of sugar.
Ground Turkey Breast
Per 1/4 lb: calories 130, fat 1.5g, carbs 0g, protein 27g
A good, lean alternative to ground beef, ground turkey breast gives you the burger texture without the guilt. Be aware not to get ground turkey. That has nearly as much fat as regular ground beef. If you’re going for a healthy turkey burger, make sure it’s breast meat only.
Romaine Lettuce Hearts
No surprise that romaine lettuce leaves are good for you. But think of them outside of the realm of a salad base. Tear off a leave and fill it with lean meat, some cheese and veggies, and voila, you have just made your three star taco a 4 star treat. Organic here is key.
Per cup (Large heaping spoonful): calories 25, fat <1g, carbs 6g, protein 0g
Veggies are a mainstay in 5-star league. Cauliflower is no different. I grew up on Cheez Whiz covered florets, which tasted great, but hurt the healthfulness.
Try roasting and tossing in EVOO with fresh grated parmesan and pinch of salt of pepper. Or try this recipe from Men’s Health. Cauliflower will never be the same…
Per cup (Heaping spoonful): calories 40, fat <1g, carbs 8g, Protein 2g
It’s a vegetable. No reason to make it difficult. 5 star all the way. Now , don’t cover it in butter or tons of bacon & ham (a little is ok). Try a dash of salt & pepper. Maybe some grated parmesan or olive oil. You’re eating a vegetable. Congratulations! Don’t mess it up…
Per 3 cups raw: calories 10, fat 0g, carbs 7g (0g sugar), protein 2g
I’ve already waxed poetic about my love of spinach. Chock full of vitamins, easy to prep, and tasty. I may consider it the perfect food. Non-organic status knocks this powerhouse down to a 3 star.
Per one beef shish kabob: calories 175, fat 5g, carbs 8g, protein 24g
Using meat, chicken, pork, or shrimp is of no consequence because, health wise, you can’t do much better than these guys coming off a hot grill. (Although watch out for any slathered in BBQ sauce.) I like mine brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Ah, Kabobs. Food as it was intended, impaled on a stick and cooked over a fire.
Per raw 5” pod: calories 10, fat 0g, carbs 2g, protein 0.8g
Yup, only 10 calories a pod. They’re in season right now and can be prepared in a myriad of ways. We usually sauté or grill ours. Here’s a few other ideas. Breading and frying these guys (my wife’s favorite) knocks them down to a 2 star. (Organic status is not a concern.)
Per 2” scallop: calories 38, fat 2g, carbs 2g, protein 3g
A five star for these mussels is contingent on preparation. Seared in a little olive oil? Yes please! Breaded and fried or laid on top of fettuccini alfredo? Not so much. There are some sustainability questions, so I reserve the right to knock them down a notch. But for now, a delightful, and healthful, dinner option.
Per 1 cup shredded (a side salad bowl full): calories 35, fat <1g, carbs 7g, protein 1.5g
Ok, so you’re not likely to fill a bowl with red cabbage, pour on some olive oil, and go to work. But adding cabbage to various dishes is healthy way to add crunch. Try mixing with chopped onion, cilantro, and lime juice for a fish taco garnish. As long as you don’t mix with mayo, red cabbage is nearly as healthy as it gets.
Disclaimer: I take all these pics myself at local markets. In no way am I attempting to single out a specific brand or company. One company’s product is not different or better than another’s similar product. I get all my nutritional info from the package. For items without packages I consult fitday.com and the USDA Nutrient Data Labratory website.