The good-for-you staples, snacks, and treats that health experts are really eating—plus, how you add them to your diet.
1. Almond Butter
“When I need a boost after a workout, I’ll eat a small spoonful right out of the jar,” says Kathy Kaehler, a fitness expert in Los Angeles. A bonus: Studies show that eating almonds can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. Frozen Grapes
“If I crave ice cream at night, I have a handful of these instead,” says Lacey Stone, a fitness professional in New York City. “They’re so sweet, they do the job.”
“Believe it or not, I’ve loved them since I was a kid,” says Elisa Zied, a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips. “They’re rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.” She eats them straight from the can: “But no heads or tails, please!”
4. Greek Yogurt
“It’s one of my favorite foods,” says Yvonne Castaneda, a fitness manager at the Sports Club/LA, in Miami, who eats it with berries, honey, and almonds. Plain Greek yogurt is generally higher in protein and lower in sugar than regular yogurt, so it helps keep blood sugar stable and staves off a midmorning crash.
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“The healthy fats help me focus and perform better,” says Tiffany Boucher, a trainer at Equinox in New York City. “I’ll put a few fillets in a Ziploc Zip’n Steam bag, throw it in the microwave, and have dinner for several nights—no need to prep food after a long workday.”
6. Shredded Wheat
“It provides fiber, which fills me up, and I have it with fruit for even more nutrients,” says Zied, who adds a sliced banana to her bowl before pouring on skim milk. “Shredded wheat is a great choice because it has very little added sodium. That’s rare when it comes to ready-to-eat cereals.”
7. Parmesan Cheese
“You don’t need much to get a lot of taste payoff,” says Lisa Drayer, a registered dietitian in New York City and the author of The Beauty Diet. She sprinkles it on pasta, salads, and soups. Parmesan packs more calcium than many other cheeses: One ounce provides over 30 percent of most women’s daily recommended intake.
Naturally, every expert extolled the virtues of plain water. But, yes, even they get bored with it sometimes. Drayer switches it up with seltzer: “I add a splash of cranberry or orange juice—sweet, easy, and refreshing.” Those not watching calories should feel free to go with up to a 50/50 mix, says Drayer.
“I eat one almost every day,” says Michael Kaplan, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and the chief medical officer of the Center for Medical Weight Loss, headquartered in Tarrytown, N.Y. They’re full of fiber and antioxidants and may help reduce your risk of developing colon and liver cancers. “A Brazilian study even found that eating three apples daily may aid in weight loss,” says Kaplan.