Nutrition Is Complicated But Easier When You Choose Nutritious Foods

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When you think about eating nutritious foods, what comes to mind? Are you bombarded with images of gigantic salads loaded with vegetables, exotic fruits, and fish that you've not thought about incorporating into your diet, and herbal remedies that are downright intimidating? If so, you're not alone. 1 in 3 Americans claim that they were never "educated" on nutrition and healthy eating, and that they are clueless when it comes to planning and preparing meals that form a well-balanced diet.

Before you head into your local grocery store and raid the produce section for all sorts of foreign substances that you'll likely not stick with long term, take a few breaths. The following list is intended to give you a little more confidence that you are on the right track, and that by continuing to educate yourself and take small steps to better nutrition, you'll be a pro in no time. Incorporate these healthy foods into your regular routine. 

1 - Peanut Butter

All those peanut butter sandwiches you had as a kid did serve a purpose; they gave you power-packed protein and a satisfying taste that stuck with you through hours of play with neighbor friends. All-natural peanut butter is low-sugar, high in healthy fat and taste, and it contains protein, vitamins, and fiber. Spread some on multigrain crackers or a rice cake for a delicious and satisfying snack.

2 - Olive Oil

Move over butter....olive oil is the new "healthy fat" when it comes to cooking. Don't heat it too high when cooking, however, as its molecular structure can change, forming free radicals that are detrimental to our health. Instead, sprinkle liberally on veggies, bread, salad, and pasta for a delicious savory flavor and a dose of healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals.

3 - Dark Chocolate

What? Who knew that one of our favorite guilty indulgences could actually be good for us? Chocolate, specifically dark chocolate, is packed with antioxidants that improve heart health and reduce oxidative damage from processed foods and stress. A number of healthy options exist for indulgent snacking, and some are even combined with fruit for an extra burst of nutrition.

4 - Popcorn

While many people only get popcorn at the movie theater, they are really missing out. It can be so much more than that. Popcorn is the ultimate snack food; it's considered a whole grain snack that is heart-healthy. Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, you can indulge virtually guilt-free if you can refrain from covering your bowl with caramel and butter! Load up that bowl, for one cup popped is a modest 30 calories.

5 - Purple Potatoes

Purple potatoes bring vibrance and nutrition to your table. Their antioxidant-rich composition helps protect heart and brain function, and they are loaded with vitamins A, C as well as Zinc. Whip or mash them for the kids and enjoy some extra dinnertime banter over their "cool" color. It’s true that regular potatoes are almost as healthy as well, but it can be fun to try something a little bit different and to eat with your eyes. 

6 - Whole grain bread

With everyone boarding the paleo and keto trains these days, it seems that bread has gotten a bad rap. Whole grain bread is not to be shied away from, however, as its rich composition makes it a perfect complement to any meal. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and extra fiber, it will fill you up and keep you on a regular elimination schedule. 

7 - Seaweed

While the strong taste of seaweed isn't for everyone, the fact that it's so nutrient-dense should make you reconsider adding it to your diet. If you happen to be a sushi lover, great! You've mastered its incorporation and are now seeing heart and circulatory health benefits with every roll. Can't handle the sushi? Plenty of seaweed supplements exist on the market in capsule form that have every bit as much nutrition as a California roll. Consider adding some to your nutrition regimen for better health, greater stamina, and reduced oxidative stress. Many people will turn to a seaweed salad if they are really looking to take things farther.