Diet Tips

6 Healthy Foods You Don’t Have to Force Yourself to Eat

We’ve come a long way in our understanding of what healthy foods is. Gone are the days of the bland and boring meals focused on nutrition rather than flavor. With a bit of creativity and a well-stocked pantry, crafting a tasty, healthy diet is no problem.

Instead of relying on pre-packaged meals or “diet foods,” you can create your own wellness-boosting meals. In this article, you’ll find a variety of foods that support your healthy foods goals and satisfy your taste buds.

1. Smoothies

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and when you’re focused on fitness, that’s definitely true. Set yourself up for a good day by starting with something nutritious and delicious. Smoothies are a great way to incorporate a variety of healthy foods and nutrients into a meal. They’re also completely customizable with fruits, vegetables, and additional supplements.

When putting a smoothie together, consider your wellness goals. Adding protein or super greens powder can add extra nutrition and flavor. To make your smoothies, find a recipe you think sounds good, or experiment with what you have on hand. Depending on your preference, it can be either savory or sweet and still be a part of a healthier diet.

2. Dried Fruits

Sticking to the sweet side of things, there are plenty of ways to enjoy sweet foods and still be healthy. Examine your snacking choices and see where there is room for improvement. Most of us could use more fruit in our diet, so consider swapping dried fruits for your mid-afternoon candy bar. Look for choices without added sugar to reap the most benefits.

Odds are good you can find a dried version of your favorite fruit — apples, bananas, berries — but don’t be afraid to explore others. Prunes and dried apricots are full of beneficial vitamins, while dates are high in antioxidants and fiber. Because dried fruit is more compact than fresh, it can be more nutrient-dense than an equivalent amount of fresh fruit. Add this wholesome food to your diet when you snack, or stir it into other dishes.

3. Salads

One dish that is a popular destination for dried fruits is salad. No longer just some sad pieces of iceberg lettuce and maybe a tomato, salads have become an enjoyable and healthy meal. If you have a favorite flavor combination, it can likely become a salad. In fact, the more varied the items you add to your salad, the better for you it is likely to be.

Start with a base layer of leafy greens and have fun adding toppings from there. A variety of vegetables, seeds, fruits, and even some cheeses will increase the nutritional value of your meal. When you get to the dressing, don’t stress too much about it, as consuming certain fats with vegetables aids nutrient absorption. Provided you don’t overdo it, you can enjoy your salad with your favorite salad toppers.

4. Dark Chocolate

Moderation is the name of the game for many foods, even the healthy ones. You may be surprised to learn that one of the most popular indulgences can benefit your diet. Dark chocolate with 70%-85% cacao is full of antioxidants and a variety of minerals. It can also help ward off heart disease when consumed every so often.

This isn’t your excuse to fill your diet with chocolate, but you don’t have to remove it completely. Indulging in a little sweetness every once in a while won’t make or break your diet. It may also help you on your wellness journey, as you won’t be making extreme sacrifices to meet your health needs. You’re more likely to stick with a nutritional regimen that doesn’t suck all the culinary joy out of your life.

5. Salsas

If you prefer savory flavors, you don’t necessarily have to give up your favorite treats, either. In fact, including them in more of what you eat may be a benefit. Chips and salsa are a popular appetizer or snack that can seem unhealthy. While chips aren’t typically part of a nutritious diet, salsa can be.

When you break it down, salsa is just a combination of vegetables, seasonings, and sometimes fruit. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those ingredients! Scoop them up with a baked, reduced-sodium chip, and you’ll have nothing to feel guilty about. Alternatively, if you don’t like plain veggies, adding salsas to your dishes is a great way to get those vitamins and minerals in your diet.

6. Baked Potatoes

Any food that helps you get more of the nutrients you need is good food. If it tastes great, that’s even better. While not necessarily considered a health food, baked potatoes can help you reach your wellness goals. Baked potatoes are full of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium and are relatively low in calories.

How you cook potatoes impacts their nutrition benefits, so baking them is a good option over frying or boiling. What you top your potatoes with will also make a difference, so go easy on the butter, sour cream, and bacon. Instead, load up your potato with other vegetables, Greek yogurt, and/or turkey bacon. Or enjoy it with just a smidgen of butter and some seasonings.

Full-Flavor Wellness

Ensuring your diet is full of flavor is key when committing to a significant lifestyle change. A diet loaded with foods you don’t like won’t be a healthy one. If every bite leaves you craving something better tasting and less nutritious, you won’t be able to sustain it.

Instead, find ways to incorporate foods you like or add new favorites from this list. A diet full of good flavor will be much easier to maintain.

Health2Wellness

We are nutritionist, health writer's, and food bloggers. Check it out our latest health & wellness articles on fitness, diet, and healthy living.

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