Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day

Here are well-balanced options you can eat for days, weeks or even months at a time and feel assured that you’re getting the nutrients you need. Mix and match them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner for variation.

Soy Burger and Baked Fries

Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day - Soy Burger and Baked Fries images
Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day – Soy Burger and Baked Fries images

A burger with fries is a go-to favorite meal for many people, so turn it into a healthy choice by swapping out a fatty burger for a soy burger, and roasted or potato fries. Start with a 100-calorie whole grain roll, add your soy burger, and top with lettuce, tomato, low-fat cheese slice, pickles, and a bit of mustard and ketchup. A small baked or sweet potato (the size of your fist) baked whole or cut into six long chunks (Roasted at 400 for 30 minutes, first tossed with one teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper) is a fiber-rich starch. Complete your meal with one cup of sliced melon, or fresh fruit of your choice. That’s a 450-calorie meal with heart healthy fat, high-quality protein, and fiber-rich carbs.

Veggie Frittata

Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day - Veggie Frittata images
Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day – Veggie Frittata images

An egg is the most digestible protein in nature and an ideal choice to mix with cooked vegetables and low-fat cheese. Enjoy a vegetable frittata by beating two eggs (or egg substitute) and pouring into a non-stick pan then adding one cup of chopped veggies (fresh or frozen) and ¼ cup of shredded low-fat cheese. Cook until eggs are firm, then fold over one edge if you want it omelette-style. Include a fresh green or fruit salad and you’ve got a low-calorie healthy meal you can eat anytime of the day.

Rotisserie Chicken and Vegetables

Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day - Rotisserie Chicken and Vegetables images
Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day – Rotisserie Chicken and Vegetables images

Roasted chicken can be a calorie-watcher’s best friend. Whether grilled at home, or cut from a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, a skinless chicken breast or leg/thigh combination is a perfect source of lean protein. Just add two cups of a bagged salad and a half-cup of cooked instant brown rice to make it a meal. You can alternate one cup of fresh or cooked broccoli or other veggies instead of salad, and swap out your brown rice for half a cup of cooked couscous or a small baked potato (eat the skin for optimal nutrients). You’ve got a 450-calorie lunch or dinner loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Still hungry? Add a 100-calorie dessert of berries with low-fat topping or small low-fat yogurt or pudding.

The Best Frozen Meals

Seeking an easy way to control your portions and maintain variety? Try a frozen, low-calorie meal. Look for meals that are “lean”, “healthy”, “light” and “smart” and are high in protein and low in sodium. You can find many in the 300 to 350 calorie range. Add a bag of green beans, a fresh fruit, or frozen berries (eaten frozen or thawed) to boost your nutrient intake, and the complete meal should come in under 450 calories.

Low-Fat Deli Sandwich

When you’re on the go and want a deli lunch, look for low-fat options like Subway’s 6-inch sandwiches with 6 grams of fat or less (on whole- grain bread). Skip the cheese, and load up on fresh veggie toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cucumbers. Use mustard instead of mayonnaise. Add a small bag of baked chips or piece of fruit along with a bottled water or low-calorie soda, and you have a satisfying meal for 450 calories or less. Or try the chain’s kid’s combo, which includes a 4-inch sandwich and a choice of mini-yogurt and fruit, for fewer than 400 calories.

Colorful Veggie Salad with Tuna

Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day - Colorful Veggie Salad with Tuna images
Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day – Colorful Veggie Salad with Tuna images

You can make this healthy salad yourself, or select it at a serve-yourself salad bar. Start with three cups of dark green mixed greens and add about 4 ounces of water-packed canned tuna. Top with colorful veggies of your choice like tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, or peppers. Mix up different veggie combos to keep it interesting. Put your dressing on the side and use the “dip and scoop” method of dipping your fork in the dressing first then scooping up salad, or use a calorie-free balsamic vinegar blended with a teaspoon of olive oil. Add a 100-calorie pack of whole wheat crackers and a fresh fruit, and you’ve got yourself a 450-calorie nutrient-dense meal that will keep you satisfied for hours.

Egg and Cheese Sandwich

Who doesn’t love an egg sandwich? Make your own healthy version by starting with a 100-calorie whole-grain English muffin, bagel, or slice of bread. Add one cooked scrambled egg plus 2 egg whites (either use the stove or cook a beaten egg and 2 egg whites in the microwave in a glass cup for 1 minute). Top with a thin slice of 2% low-fat cheddar cheese. The whole grains and protein combo is filling and nutritious, and just 275 calories.

Greek Yogurt with Fruit

Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day - Greek Yogurt with Fruit images
Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day – Greek Yogurt with Fruit images

A container of plain, low- or non-fat Greek yogurt is a quick and easy breakfast on-the-go. Mix in some sliced fresh fruit, or frozen berries, or take along a whole fruit to add on the side. If you’re drinking coffee or tea, add 1% or skim milk, and if you use a sweetener, stick to one teaspoon of a natural sweetener (honey, brown sugar, cane sugar, etc.), which adds only 15 calories to your coffee. This protein-dense breakfast is about 200 calories.

Waffles with Peanut Butter and Strawberries

Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day - Waffles with Peanut Butter and Strawberries images
Healthy Meals That You Could Eat Every Day – Waffles with Peanut Butter and Strawberries images

If you want to lose weight, fiber-rich carbohydrates are the best way to start the day. Spread one tablespoon of peanut butter on a high-fiber waffle and top it off with three sliced strawberries or a handful of blueberries. Add a small skim milk latte and you have a “grown-up” version of PB and J and milk for just 290 calories.

Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits and Veggies Each Day

Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day images
Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits & Veggies Each Day images

Tricks for Healthy Treats

Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits and Veggies Each Day, “Eat your fruits and vegetables.” We’ve heard it all of our lives. If only it were so simple.

Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need. We often think we’d survive just fine on 2-3 servings a day – or less. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA both recommend at least 5 servings per day! What you’re missing could be the difference between just surviving and all out thriving.

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible.

Tips and Tricks

Add fruit to your cereal, oatmeal, waffles or pancakes at breakfast.
Create your own yogurt flavors with plain yogurt and different combinations of fresh fruit.
Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels. Keep sugar snap peas, raisins or carrot sticks in your car, your office or your backpack.
Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
Drink 100% juice instead of addictive coffee, tea, or soda.
Going out to lunch? Take a trip to the grocery salad bar. Use lots of dark green leaves and other vegetables instead of piling on all of the extras like eggs, bacon and cheese.
Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish. It’s an easy way to get in another serving of the good stuff.
Keep fruits and vegetables in line of sight. Grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples make a colorful bowl arrangement on the table. If you see them, you will eat them.
Dried fruit is just as portable as potato chips — and less messy. It tastes especially good when added to basic trail mix.
When cooking vegetables, makes 2-3 times more than you need and immdiately store the extra away for tomorrow. It’ll save you time later on.
Add your own beans and vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, peppers, cabbage) to canned and quick-serve soups.
If you must have pizza, load on extra veggies and pineapple instead of fatty meats and extra cheese.
Try berries, melons or dates for a naturally sweet dessert rather than the usual candy bar, cookie, or ice cream sandwich.
Frozen fruit and veggies are nearly as healthy as the fresh stuff, and only take minutes to prepare.
Combine fruit with your main meal courses. Raisins, apples and tangerine slices add sweet, crunchy variety to a salad. Apples complement pork, pineapple is great with fish, and orange slices are perfect with chicken.
Besides being packed full of nutrients, fruits and vegetables can also be quite filling. They may even ward off any empty calorie snacking that might follow! Don’t be discouraged by the recommended 5 servings a day. The guide below shows that one serving is less than what you might think.

One serving equals:
1 medium piece of fruit
1/2 cup fruit (raw, canned, or frozen)
1/2 cup cooked vegetables (canned or frozen)
1 cup raw vegetables
1/4 cup dried fruit
4-6 oz. of 100% juice (serving size depends on the type of juice)
1/2 cup cooked peas or beans

The Top 20 Antioxidant Foods

If you’ve ever made a fruit salad, you probably know that squeezing lemon juice onto the apples, pears, and bananas will keep the fruit from turning brown. This brown color happens because of a process called oxidation—a reaction between the oxygen molecules in the air and the molecules in the substance the air meets.

The Top 20 Antioxidant Foods images 1
The Top 20 Antioxidant Foods images 1

A similar type of reaction happens inside your body all the time. Substances called oxidants, or free radicals, react with your cells, harming healthy tissue, weakening immunological functioning, speeding up the aging process, and contributing to chronic degenerative diseases. These free radicals are formed through normal body processes, as well as through environmental exposure to the sun, pollution, cigarette smoke, too much stress, and the intake of alcoholic beverages and unhealthy food. Antioxidants are substances that work like that lemon juice on the fruit, protecting healthy tissue by destroying free radicals before they do any damage. Antioxidants are believed to play a role in helping to fight and prevent cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic conditions.

So how do you get these magical antioxidants to work for you? Not surprisingly, a healthy diet full of a variety of fruits and vegetables will do the trick. But are all fruits and vegetables created equally when it comes to antioxidant benefits? Not necessarily!

In a study published in the July 9, 2004 issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the USDA analyzed over 100 different foods and their antioxidant levels. Each food item was ranked according to its antioxidant concentration and its antioxidant capacity per serving size.

The results may surprise you. Topping the list were small red beans and wild blueberries. Cranberries, red kidney beans, and artichokes also ranked very high, and unexpected contenders included pecans and ordinary russet potatoes.

However, every study has its drawbacks. Researchers say that although the data can help guide consumers who wish to include more antioxidants in their diet, the health benefits of these foods may not be directly proportional to their antioxidant content. So, even though small red beans have the most antioxidants, they may not offer the greatest overall health benefits when you consider the other nutrients they contain (or lack). Keep in mind that the health benefits of antioxidant-rich foods depend on how the foods are absorbed and utilized in the body, and this varies depending on the food (and where it was grown, how it was grown, when it was harvested and more).

For reference, here are the top 20 antioxidant-rich foods in the USDA study, in order from greatest to lowest levels of antioxidants.

The Top 20 Antioxidant Foods images
 

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies

1.Strawberries

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Strawberries
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Strawberries

According to the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the following fruits and vegetables are the most commonly eaten — and most commonly full of chemical. Use these tips to limit your risk of ingesting pesticides, too.

Why strawberries risky: “Strawberries are very tender and very delicate and grown close to the soil,” says says Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental exposure biology, Harvard School of Public Health. That’s also where insects live, so farmers often resort to pesticides. To prevent mold and extend shelf life, they also use fungicides, even after harvest.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic berries to help avoid harsh chemicals. A 2008 study at Emory University and the University of Washington found that certain pesticide levels dropped to undetectable (or close to it) in the urine of kids who switched to organic fruits and veggies. “The organic certification guarantees you that significantly fewer pesticides and lower amounts of pesticides were used in the growing of that commodity,” says Anne Riederer, Sc.D., assistant research professor at Emory.

2. Celery

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Celery
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Celery

Why it’s risky: Grown for months, celery is subjected to more pesticides over a long period of time. Unlike broccoli, which is sheltered by big leaves on big bushes, celery is not protected from pesticides.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic or frequent farmers’ markets with small growers who can’t afford or choose not to use expensive pesticides, says Lu. (Don’t be afraid to ask the sellers about their use of pesticides.) Or try a cleaner green veggie alternative, like avocado or asparagus, both of which have low exposure to pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

3. Peaches

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Peaches
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Peaches

Why they’re risky: To keep production up, farmers use pesticides on crops that are especially vulnerable to bugs, like peaches. The so-called “fragrant fruit” (yummy for pests) is also very thin skinned, which makes it easy for bugs and pesticides to enter. Farmers want to prevent diseases such as “leaf curl,” which reduce the number of peaches they can harvest from their trees. An August 2009 Chicago Tribune investigation reported that USDA tests showed more than 50 pesticide compounds end up on domestic and imported peaches.

How to lower your exposure: If you love peaches, go organic—especially if you’re pregnant or have a child under 6, says Riederer. Or for a sweet alternative with a similar texture, try domestically grown plums, which typically have less exposure to pesticides, according to the EWG.

4. Nectarines

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Nectarines
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Nectarines

Why they’re risky: Insects like nectarines, especially when the fruit is young or when the trees are blooming. So many farmers decide to use pesticides to lower the risk of losing the battle of the bugs.

How to lower your exposure: If organic nectarines aren’t available, skip them. The thin skin means pesticides are absorbed easily, making it impossible to scrub them clean. Try domestic plums or fruits with thick skin—like watermelon or pineapple—that protect their insides.

5. Apples

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Apples
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Apples

Why they’re risky: Chemical companies make pesticides specifically for apples since they’re hugely popular and widely grown.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic, scrub thoroughly, and peel off the skin. And when shopping for organic apples, don’t get too hung up on looks, says Lu. They may not look as good as regular apples, but they should taste fine and because they were grown without pesticides, they are better for you.

6. Blueberries

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Blueberries
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Blueberries

Why they’re risky: Blueberries, largely grown in North America, are very susceptible to pests—the skin is permeable and very fragile, which makes it easy to eat through. When growers use pesticides, many of them go right into the flesh of the berry. Don’t freeze your blueberries, either. “Freezing preserves pesticides,” says Lu. Though some pesticides break down over time, that won’t happen in the freezer.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic or from local growers who don’t use pesticides, and wash thoroughly. Berries, in general, tend to be more vulnerable to pesticides than other fruits like kiwi and bananas because of their thin skins.

7. Sweet Bell Peppers

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Sweet Bell Peppers
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Sweet Bell Peppers

Why they’re risky: Native to Central and South America, sweet bell peppers are the ripened form of the more bitter green variety. That means they’re grown for a longer time and are exposed to more pesticides than their green relatives.

How to lower your exposure: Try organic or farmers’ market sweet bell peppers—or opt for green varieties over red, at least.

8. Spinach

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Spinach
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Spinach

Why it’s risky: Because its leaves grow above ground, spinach has a lot of exposed surface that gets sprayed with pesticides. It’s tricky to get good-looking spinach that hasn’t been chemically treated to kill bacteria.

How to lower your exposure: Buy organic or farmers‘ market spinach—and, again, don’t worry if it’s not perfect looking, says Lu. “A small bug hole is not going to hurt consumers. It’s a cosmetic defect.” Or, for a leafy alternative, try cabbage, which the EWG ranks as one of the cleanest types of produce. (More than four-fifths of cabbage samples, about 82.1 percent, had no detectable pesticides.)

9. Kale and Collard Greens

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Kale and Collard Greens
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Kale and Collard Greens

Why they’re risky: Like spinach, these leafy greens have a lot of exposed surface area that can absorb pesticide and chemical spray.

How to lower your exposure: If you don’t have a local farmers’ market, why not try to grow your own? Kale, one of the hardiest of edible greens, is relatively easy to grow in a home garden. Then you can ensure no harmful chemicals were added in the growing process. Or shop for cabbage as an alternative.

10. Cherries

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Cherries
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Cherries

Why they’re risky: This fleshy stone fruit is usually grown in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. It hides behind leaves to stay safe from fruit flies and moths, but farmers tend to douse the fruit with chemicals to make sure they get a good harvest, says Lu.

How to lower your exposure: Look for farmers’ market or organic cherries.

11. Potatoes

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Potatoes
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Potatoes

Why they’re risky: Just because potatoes grow below the ground, doesn’t mean they’re safe from pesticides “We find pesticides in below-ground vegetables,” says Riederer. “They’re taking it up out of their leaves or the soil around them.” Early in the growing season, farmers inject pesticides into the soil, and later, they may crop dust, says Lu.

How to lower your exposure: If farmers plant on a very small scale, they may not need many chemicals, says Lu. Look for potatoes grown by small local farms. Or try sweet potatoes, which were among the cleanest vegetables tested by the EWG.

12. Grapes (Imported)

The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images - Grapes
The 12 Most Pesticide Polluted Fruit and Veggies images – Grapes

Why they’re risky: Grapes are tender and thin-skinned, which makes them vulnerable. To ward off the grape berry moth and other pests, farmers often turn to pesticides.

How to lower your exposure: Avoid imported grapes, unless they are grown organically. Domestically grown grapes were found by the EWG to have less evidence of pesticides, ranking in the middle of the 49 foods tested. But organic grapes are still safer.

Low Sodium Diet Foods List

Low sodium foods are abundant and many are natural, organic, and can be easily found. They can be found in every food group and there are many different possibilities for a low sodium meal.

LOW SODIUM DIET FOODS LIST images
LOW SODIUM DIET FOODS LIST images

BREADS, CEREALS, RICE AND PASTA
Most rice and pastas are very low in sodium. Compare labels to find products with less salt and don’t add salt when cooking. The following are also all viable low-sodium food items:
• Whole grain bread
• Granola
• Puffed rice
• Rolled oats
• Shredded wheats
• Unsalted popcorn
• Bread, bagels, English muffins, crackers, or bread sticks without salted tops.

FRUITS
Any kind of fruit or fruit juice (fresh, frozen, or canned) is low in sodium if it does not contain sauces. Fruits particularly low in sodium include:
• Apples
• Bananas
• Blackberries
• Cherries
• Peaches
• Pears
• Raspberries
• Watermelons

LOW SODIUM DIET FOODS LIST images 2 - Fruit and Vegetables
LOW SODIUM DIET FOODS LIST images 2 – Fruit and Vegetables

VEGETABLES
As with fruits, all fresh vegetables are low in sodium. Vegetables may also be frozen of canned if, like fruits, they do not contain sauces.
• Broccoli
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Chickpeas
• Cucumber
• Green peppers
• Lima beans
• Sweet potatoes

PROTEIN
Choose fresh meats when possible. Some fresh meat has added sodium, so always check the label.
• 6 ounces daily of any fresh or frozen beef, veal, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish without salt or sodium in the preparation and without skin.
• Low sodium, water packed tuna or salmon
• Eggs and egg substitutes
• Unsalted nuts and seeds
• Low sodium nut butter

FATS
• Olive oil and other cooking oils
• Low sodium mayonnaise
• Unsalted butter or margarine
• Low sodium salad dressings
DAIRY
Milk is a healthy dairy product that contains virtually no sodium. Choose fat free or low-fat milk and yogurt more often than cheese, which can be high in sodium. Milk and yogurt are also good sources of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure.
• Low sodium cottage cheese
• Fat free or low fat yogurt
• Skim or 1% milk
• Soy-based drinks with added calcium
• Cream
• Non-dairy creamers
• Sour cream
• Ice cream

CONDIMENTS AND EXTRAS
Choose condiments that are low in sodium or have no sodium at all, and try seasonings instead of salt to flavor food.
• Spices and herbs without sodium or salt
• Vinegar
• Lemon
• Fresh horseradish or prepared without salt
• Baking soda and powder
• Cream of tartar
• Mustard
• Tabasco sauce or low sodium chili sauces
• Mrs. Dash and other sodium-free seasonings
• Yeast
• Jams and jellies
• Low sodium ketchup
• Low sodium tomato sauces and vegetable juices without salt or sodium added

LOW SODIUM DIET FOODS LIST images 1 - HIGH SODIUM FOODS TO AVOID
LOW SODIUM DIET FOODS LIST images 1 – HIGH SODIUM FOODS TO AVOID

HIGH SODIUM FOODS TO AVOID
• Buttermilk, malted milk, chocolate milk
• Bacon (all types), sausages or hot dogs, all lunch meats unless low sodium
• Breaded meats (such as chicken parmesan)
• Meats koshered by salting
• Canned or frozen vegetables if processed with salt
• Anchovies and other smoked fish; caviar
• Anything pickled (such as sauerkraut, pickles); olives

EAT LESS SODIUM:QUICK TIPS

1. Know your sodium limit

  • Healthy adults need to limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg per day (about 1 teaspoon of salt)
  • Some people, including children and those with high blood pressure, need to keep their sodium intake even lower (no more than 1,500 mg per day). Ask your doctor how much sodium is okay for you.
  • If you need to make changes, slowly reduce the amount of sodium in your foods and your taste for salt will change with time.

2. Check the label

  • Use the Nutrition Facts Label to check the sodium in packaged foods. Try to choose products with 5% Daily Value (DV) or less. A sodium content of 20% DV or more is high.
  • Look for foods labeled “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”

3. Shop for low sodium foods

  • Load up on vegetables, fruits, beans, and peas, which are naturally low in sodium. Fresh, frozen, and dried options are all good choices.
  • When you buy canned fruit, look for options packed in 100% juice or water.
  • When you buy canned vegetables and beans, choose ones with labels that say “low sodium,” “reduced sodium,” or “no salt added.”
  • Compare the sodium in foods like bread, soup, and frozen meals. Choose the ones with less sodium.
  • Limit processed foods, especially foods that are salted, smoked, or cured, like hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats.

4. Prepare your meals with less sodium

  • If you buy canned foods (like vegetables, beans, or fish), choose low sodium varieties.
  • If you use canned foods that aren’t low sodium, rinse them before eating to wash away some of the salt.
  • Use unsalted butter or soft margarine.
  • Don’t add salt to the water when you cook pasta or rice.
  • Try different herbs and spices to flavor yourfood instead of salt.

5. Add more potassium to your diet

  • Adding more potassium can help lower your blood pressure. Good sources of potassium include potatoes, cantaloupe, bananas, beans, and yogurt.