Identifying Healthy Foods to Eat Every day helps to eat healthy more comfortable- especially in the busy times that we are living in. Read on to dive into a strategy to start small and introduce ten simple and healthy foods to eat every day.
How to Start Eating Healthy for the Busy?
As a first step, it is good to think about why we want to adopt healthy eating. That answer is highly personal and can make the change easier if written down. Then, for the second step, instead of starting with a diet-overhaul, we can choose from extremely nutritious foods and include them in our daily routines. Finally, it is helpful to have a plan to incorporate those nutritious foods in our diets.
In this post, I share a list of healthy foods to eat every day. I’ve also shared an exhaustive plan that I had followed to incorporate those in my days! You can download the planner and tracker; I sincerely hope that it helps you and that you succeed in baking them in your schedules.
Disclaimer: This list contains simple everyday foods that are known to be nutritious. Please consult with your doctor/nutritionist before making any change or introducing any new food.
Download the “Planner and Tracker – Healthy Foods to Eat Every Day”
10 Healthy Foods to Eat Every Day and Why they work!
These ten foods are among the many healthy foods to eat every day for a healthy body and mind. The planner and tracker that I’ve created have foods with varying colors, curcumin, Vitamin E, electrolytes, calcium, probiotics, antioxidants, and Omega-3s! The more variety of whole foods we eat, the better it is for our healths. Please modify the tracker if you’ve other foods in your mind.
The goal is to start small with a checklist, especially if you are busy. And the obvious next step is to develop it into a habit and build on eating healthy. Instead of worrying about what not to eat, this approach helps eating right and thereby once that becomes a habit the “bad” will go!
Turmeric has been my go-to medicinal spice forever – for body pains or cold – Drink one hot cup of turmeric milk, and it works like magic. Recent studies have shown its anti-cancer effects because of an ingredient called curcumin. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been known, and it is used in practically all curries prepared in India. However, the dosage should be limited. I typically consume 3-4 tsp of turmeric per day. If you are using turmeric for the first time, you may choose to consult with your doctor.
A simple way to incorporate into the daily routine: Add a teaspoon to hot milk, or add to curries (Roast in a bit of Ghee/Oil).
Berries are extremely nutritious! They reduce the risk of diabetes and inflammation because they are rich in antioxidants. In layperson terms, oxidative metabolism in our body releases energy but also free radicals as a by-product. These free radicals can damage the body’s cells and tissues. Antioxidants neutralize these very free radicals!
Berries are the only food in this list which we didn’t regularly eat while growing up in India. We often ate grapes and rarely strawberries. However, I came across blueberries and blackberries only after coming to the US. Hence, I find it the most challenging to stick to eating them. But due to their immense benefits, I add them to our smoothies or consume a bowl of blueberries as a snack. And they don’t disappoint at all! Please give them a try if you haven’t already.
Simple ways to incorporate into the daily routine: Add to your smoothie for a delicious taste and color. Or, have them as is – Keep them on your work desk and have as a snack.
Having Bananas every morning helps provide potassium to our bodies. Dr. Dean Ornish, in his book, “The Spectrum” highlights the importance of potassium in our daily diets – “an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure.” I’ve experienced relief in muscle soreness by having a banana every day. Digging deeper into this, minerals like potassium, sodium, etc. are electrolytes that need to be maintained in our bloodstreams.
A simple way to incorporate into the daily routine: Have a banana early morning – it is filling and extremely nutritious. I also have recipes on the blog for banana smoothie and frozen banana-nut bites that we love.
There has been a time when we popped Vitamin C capsules/supplements every morning before leaving for work. If you do the same, that is perfectly okay. However, citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are a handy and completely natural way of consuming Vitamin C and fiber. Also, it feels refreshing to start your day with lemon water. Squeeze it in hummus, on the curries, or salads.
A simple way to incorporate into the daily routine: Start your day with lemon water and let that cup of coffee or tea waiting for a while.
5. Flax Seeds
Rich in fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids and low in Omega-6, Flax Seeds/Alsi Seeds reduce chronic inflammation [Ornish, The Spectrum]. Chronic inflammation can cause coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and depression, among others. Walnuts and flax-seeds are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. I roast and grind flax seeds during meal-preparation as one of the meal-preparation ingredients (Here is a post on vegetarian meal-preparation ingredients). You can then add this flax-seed powder to smoothies, dough, salads or curries. Here is a detailed article on Omega-3, if you’d like to dive in.
Simple ways to incorporate into the daily routine: Add it to the flour while preparing a dough or add to the smoothies, or rice (flax seed rice recipe here.)
Another food rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (read article here) is walnut – the most Omega-3 among nuts! Not just Omega-3, it is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and mono-saturated or good fats. Therefore, walnuts are good for fighting chronic inflammation and hence, diseases like depression, heart diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, its high magnesium content promotes sleep. One can soak walnuts and almonds overnight and have them in the morning. The only caution is the portion size- I usually limit the number to 4-5 halves.
Simple ways to incorporate into the daily routine: Soak overnight and have them in the morning or add to your salads/smoothies. Here is an avocado-walnut raita (yogurt dip) you might be interested to try!
7. Spinach or other Green Leafy Vegetables
A well-known benefit of spinach is that it is rich in iron (iron helps make hemoglobin which thereby carries oxygen from lungs to other body tissues). They are also rich in folate, which helps prevent the risk of heart diseases and also helps fight anemia.
Another anecdotal advantage which we knew while growing up was that spinach is good for eyes. More scientific research has concretized this. Spinach has antioxidants that prevent macular degeneration which indeed helps vision [Ornish, The Spectrum]. All the leafy greens like Kale and Swiss Chard, have these antioxidants – we must put these healthy leaves on our plates.
Simple ways to incorporate into the daily routine: Salad for lunch, add to the flour while preparing a dough or Cook into a curry during meal Prep. Also, with our smoothie, I always add a big bunch of spinach – green smoothie here. It adds to the color without affecting the flavor much. Please give it a try!
8. Green Herbs
Another nutrition and health packed food is green herbs like cilantro/coriander, parsley, and mint. They are rich in Vitamin C, A and K. A spoonful of a green dip with meals is an easy way to supplement our foods with these essential Vitamins.
I’ve not put herbs under the green leafy greens section above because their portion size is usually smaller compared to the leafy greens like spinach. Moreover, we use herbs primarily for seasoning, unlike spinach.
Simple ways to incorporate into the daily routine: Use lots for seasoning on the dishes, grind into a smooth dip, and accompany meals or snacks as much as possible.
Thanks to my parents, as kids, we ate soaked almonds every day! Because almonds have been traditionally called an essential “brain food.” Now, when I read and understand, that is scientifically proven. It is rich in Vitamin E, which is an anti-oxidant [Fata et al., 2014] and helps in brain health and Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, Almonds are rich in Magnesium, Manganese, and ‘good fats.’ All of us in the family eat around 4-5 soaked almonds every morning.
Simple ways to incorporate into the daily routine: Soak overnight and have in the morning, add to salads, grind and add to the milk, or have almond milk.
Yogurt is rich in Calcium, and I have it as a quick mid-day snack. Moreover, homemade curd/yogurt has probiotics (or live bacteria/yeast) which helps digestion. “Pro-biotic” indeed means “for-life” [Ornish, The Spectrum]! Dr. William Li, in his book “Eat to Beat Disease,” goes on to assert that the process of fermentation increases different gut bacteria and safeguards our health.
Simple ways to incorporate into the daily routine: As is with or before lunch, add finely chopped vegetables/fruits to make a dip or Raita, or make a drink out of it by adding a little salt, herbs, and water – see Mint Lassi recipe here (Mint buttermilk).
Too busy to plan to eat healthy?
Download the “10 Healthy Foods to Eat Every Day – Planner & Tracker” and start eating healthy!
Recommended Reads – Healthy Foods to Eat Every Day
If you’re interested in reading more about foods for a healthy body and mind, please read “How to Make Disease Disappear” by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. Like a few other books, he emphasizes on consuming a variety of colors in your daily diet. Another great read is “The Spectrum” by Dr. Dean Ornish. Both books may help you understand and appreciate food better – for a healthy life. Happy reading!