Weight management and health were a central theme in my home as a child. One of the key components to keeping our weight under control was home cooking. We ate out once a week as a treat. My mother was very frugal and made a detailed grocery list so that she would have what she needed to make good, healthy meals at home. By having a core grocery list that you can build your meals around, you will always have healthy food on hand.
I eat eggs every day. Many years ago, “science” produced a study that vilified eggs as a dangerous food that would raise your cholesterol and give you a heart attack. I never quit eating eggs and every time that my cholesterol is checked, it’s in a very healthy range. Newer research says that eating an egg every day is fine. “Eggs were previously associated with heart disease risk as a result of their high cholesterol content. However, a solid body of research shows that for most people, cholesterol in food has a smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol than does the mix of fats in the diet.” (1)
Eggs have been called “Nature’s Multivitamin” because they are so nutritious. They contain Vitamins B12, B2, B5, A and selenium. They are also a rich source of minerals. At only 77 calories, with 6 grams of protein they are a true superfood. Eggs are an inexpensive source of high-quality protein.
Nothing fills you up much better than oats, partially because they are about 11% fiber. They are one of the most nutritionally dense foods in the world and are quite inexpensive. They contain beta glucans that lower bad cholesterol. Combine the fiber and cholesterol-lowering components and the 11-17% protein that is higher than other grains for a true superfood. The health benefits of oats are incredible when you consider how cheap and common this food is.
Sweet Potatoes for Health
Growing up in the South, my introduction to sweet potatoes was sugar-coated, sticky and sickeningly sweet. I couldn’t stand them. As an adult, I have learned to love them for their complex carbs and naturally sweet flavor. They power me through work-outs like nothing else! Packed with Vitamin A that is good for vision and antioxidants that may fight cancer, you can’t go wrong with these. They are a standard in my pursuit of health.
Meat, Fish and Poultry
I eat about 8 ounces of meat, fish and poultry every day. Combined with eggs, soy and other protein sources, I get a significant amount of high quality protein in my diet. Beef is high in glutathione, the “Master Antioxidant”, and minerals, including iron. It’s known to improve muscle mass and since I am a strength trainer, beef is a regular part of my menus for muscle health. I add in fish and poultry for low calorie protein options, but my favorite is beef.
Greek Yogurt for Metabolic Health
One of my favorite things is Full-fat, plain, Greek yogurt with partially thawed, frozen raspberries. This makes a delectable dessert or snack. Add your 0 calorie sweetener of choice or maybe some Raspberry Crystal Light Water Enhancer to the mix for a truly sweet treat. Greek yogurt is high in calcium and protein that keep your metabolism stoked.
These little powerhouses are wonderful eaten alone or in oats or yogurt. I only buy the shelled ones, no husks for me! They are high in antioxidants and magnesium to name just two of their benefits. The magnesium is good for heart health and the antioxidants may help reduce your chance of cancer.
Health Benefits of Romaine Lettuce
The standard Iceberg Lettuce salad is devoid of significant nutrition. Romaine lettuce is full of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and folate. Folate converts carbs into energy which is very important for a strength trainer. Romaine helps me get the most out of the carbohydrates that I eat.
The Money Myth
Something that I want you to note about these foods is that all of them, except the meat, are inexpensive. Beans are a very healthy food that I don’t eat very often. They are also cheap. The myth that healthy food is expensive is a lie. You can buy some specialty items that are expensive but it’s not necessary. Regardless of what you buy, it’s always cheaper to eat at home.
Practical Application for Health
While these foods are the core of my menus, I add in other foods for variety. You have to build your grocery list around foods that you will eat. There’s no need in buying sweet potatoes if you won’t eat them.
People ask me what I eat. You can see here that I eat relatively plain food. I do add in protein shakes and sometimes a protein cookie. None of my foods contain any added sugars and I prefer the lowest amount of processing possible in my nutrition. I may have a tortilla to carry my protein with me to work. By tracking every bite that goes into my mouth, I know exactly what I can eat at any time to reach my nutrition and fitness goals.