Sometimes, it can be difficult to know exactly what constitutes a food as “healthy.” Every social media “influencer,” nutrition coach, and lifestyle guru has something different to say. With all those opinions floating around, grocery shopping can be confusing and difficult.
If you’ve ever wandered through the aisles in the store wondering what you should fill your cart with, we’ve got your answers!
Keep in mind, this list isn’t exhaustive. We’ve done our best to compile foods that are the most nutrient dense. There’s no reason to eat only these foods. But, if your food choices are getting the better of you and you need a refresh, these are a great place to start. If your grocery list is bare, add these first.
In alphabetical order, the 10 healthiest foods are:
Almonds are high in fiber, healthy fat, and protein. They’re also high in vitamins E and B, manganese, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus. Almonds are also highly portable and can be added to salads and soups for an extra nutritious crunch.
We all have our favorite fruits, of course, but blueberries should be perpetually in your refrigerator. One cup of blueberries offers 24% of your referenced daily intake of vitamin C. Blueberries are also high in potassium and are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
Of course broccoli made the list! Made up of mostly water, broccoli is super low-calorie. Despite how few calories are in broccoli, these little trees have a lot of nutrients packed inside. Broccoli is high in protein, fiber, iron, and potassium. It’s also full of vitamins C and K.
Eggs seem to go back and forth on the “don’t eat” lists. We’re firmly parked in the “yes, eat” camp. Eggs are full of protein and healthy fat. They’re also full of iron, vitamins, and minerals. Eggs also include carotenoids, which function as antioxidants in the body. Eggs also boast the nutrient lutein, which is great for eye health.
Not sure which type of green, leafy veggie to pick? Start with kale. Kale has tons of protein and fiber, as well as vitamins A, C, and K. A kale salad will also provide you with omega-3 fatty acids and folate. We have a hard time saying enough about kale. It’s just chock full of nutrition for very few calories.
If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or are just trying to figure out how to liven up your “meatless Mondays,” shop for lentils. Not only are they packed with protein and fiber, they’re also full of thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B6. Lentils are also easy to cook and mix well with pretty much everything.
The humble potato really has nothing to be humble about. There’s a reason it’s been a diet staple for hundreds of years. The potato is naturally fat-, sodium-, and cholesterol-free. It’s also a good source of fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants. You can also find tons of potassium in a potato—even more than a banana. For all this, a medium skin-on potato is only 110 calories.
Quinoa is an ancient grain. Utilized by the Incan people thousands of years ago, it’s just recently been adopted by health-conscious foodies. Although it’s a grain, quinoa is also a complete protein, which means it’s great for vegans and vegetarians. It’s also a good source of magnesium, manganese, and folate.
Oily fish such as salmon are incredible sources of Omega-3 fatty-acids. Salmon is also full of protein, heart-healthy fats, and contains zero carbohydrates. It also boasts large amounts of vitamin D (almost a full day’s worth!), as well as calcium, B vitamins, selenium, and magnesium.
We can’t make a healthy foods list without spinach! Much like kale, spinach provides a lot of nutrition without many calories. Spinach is a good source of iron, magnesium, and potassium. It’s also full of vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and carotenoids. Aside from water, spinach contains a lot of fiber, which is perfect for gut health and feeling sated.
Now you know which foods are the healthiest, it’s time to hit the grocery store. Mix and match these foods on your plate to find your favorite combos. It’s also important to do a little more research of your own. Find yummy, healthy additions you can make to your grocery list and start building a staple of healthy foods you love to eat.