7 Nutrient-Packed Foods to Keep on Hand
Choosing healthy foods can seem like a chore, but by keeping a few simple staples on hand you’ll have the makings of several no-fuss meals and snacks. These 7 foods made our list because, even in small amounts, they provide a good range of nutrients.
- Beans. Whether you simmer garbanzos in a soup, dip into black bean salsa, or enjoy baked beans on the side at your next barbecue, try to eat 1½ cups of beans each week. Beans are rich in fiber, protein, folate, iron, and other nutrients that help the body stay healthy.
- Fish. Albacore tuna, salmon, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests they may help lower the risk of heart attack. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish a week.
- Fruit. You can eat fruits with breakfast, as a quick snack, and for a healthy dessert. Adding more fruit to your daily diet (fresh, canned, dried, or frozen) will give your body a boost of essential nutrients. If you’re buying canned fruit, look for those processed in their own juice, or labeled “no added sugar.”
- Nuts. Just a handful of nuts is packed with protein, folic acid, niacin, magnesium, and zinc. Nuts also are a great source of unsaturated fat. Just keep an eye on serving sizes—fat and calories can add up quickly.
- Vegetables in all colors. Think red (tomatoes and sweet peppers), orange (carrots), green (spinach and broccoli), white (onions and cauliflower), and purple (eggplant). A variety of vegetables can give you a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, too. Frozen and canned vegetables can be a good choice too. Just be sure to look for those without added salt.
- Whole grains. Choosing whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas can help you add fiber and flavor to your diet.
- Plain yogurt. Both Greek and regular yogurt are excellent sources of calcium and protein.