The Healthiest Foods
The food pyramid divides foods into five distinct group and sets serving sizes for each food group. But it doesn't list the very best foods from each of those groups. Below is a short list of some of foods that provide optimum nutrition per calorie.
- Quinoa: Very high in protein. Cooks up light and fluffy and is a perfect grain for children.
- Brown Rice: Minimal processing means it contains more naturally occurring B vitamins and fiber than white rice.
- Whole Wheat: Whole wheat flour and products made with whole wheat are in fiber, magnesium and B vitamins. Use whole wheat bread for sandwiches and whole-wheat pasta when serving spaghetti, etc.The food pyramid does recommend consuming mostly whole grains. That's because the whole grain contains more fiber and naturally occurring nutrients that promote good health.
- Bell Peppers: An excellent source of vitamins C and A. Serve with a low fat ranch dip.
- Winter Squash: Cooks up a smooth and sweet. Rich in beta-carotene, a powerful anti-oxidant, high in vitamin C, fiber, and multiple B vitamins.
- Spinach: Spinach provides more nutrients than just about any other food. It is loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, folate, Vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin.
- Sweet Potatoes: Lower in calories than white potatoes, naturally sweet and loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and fiber.
- Oranges: One of the fruits highest in vitamin C, rich in foliates, and helps prevent heart disease and birth defects.
- Blueberries: Very high in nutrition and very low in calories. Highest of all the fruits in it's anti-oxidant capability.
- Kiwis: Loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. Beautiful green color and sweet tart flavor are perfect for kids.
- Strawberries: Not only do strawberries contain a lot of vitamin C and 12 other vitamins and minerals, and phyto-nutrients known as phenols, which are potent antioxidants.
- Low Fat Plain Yogurt: High in calcium, digestive-friendly bacteria, smooth to eat, and a good source of protein.
- Skim Milk: The most calcium for your calorie. Also a great source of vitamin D, necessary for depositing the calcium into bones and teeth.
Meats and Beans
- Soybeans and Soy Products: Tofu, soy beans and other soy products are loaded with nutritional benefits including excellent protein, high levels of essential fatty acids, numerous vitamins, minerals, isoflavones, and fiber.
- Lentils: These little beans are big on nutrition. They contain 5 important minerals, 2 B-vitamins, and protein--all with virtually no fat.
- Lean, Organic Beef: Excellent source of high quality protein and one of the best sources of iron. It is also a good source of vitamin B-12, zinc and selenium.
- Salmon: One of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. It's an excellent source of protein, vitamin D, niacin, selenium, and vitamin B6.