There are many tasty ways a woman can provide her body with the nutrients it needs for strong muscles, glowing skin, and healthy bones. Popping a multivitamin may seem like an attractive way to provide your body with vitamins and minerals. However, whole foods can provide a balance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and fiber to keep your body running at peak performance. If you are a woman looking for delicious ways to keep your body strong, you will want to check out this list of 15 foods you should enjoy each week.
Smooth and creamy, avocados are packed with the monounsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Avocados are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. During pregnancy, the folate in avocados is vital for your baby’s developing brain. Avocados contain the fiber necessary to promote good digestive health and keep you feeling full. Furthermore, this tasty fruit contains 3 grams of protein per cup. You can enjoy avocado mashed on toast, blended into a creamy smoothie, sliced on top of a salad, or included in a savory burrito bowl.
Beans contain plant-based proteins that can keep a woman feeling energetic and fuel her body throughout the day. Furthermore, some studies suggest that beans may help prevent certain types of breast cancer. With a wide variety of types and flavors, you need never get bored. Black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans are just a few of the tasty legumes you can include in your diet. Enjoy chickpeas blended into a delicious hummus or pinto beans folded into a savory burrito. Check out this recipe for Alton Brown’s Lentil Soup that combines lentils with veggies such as carrots, tomato, celery, and onion.
These vibrant little orbs of sweetness are jam-packed with antioxidants that protect your body against damage from free radicals. Studies suggest these sweet little goodies can protect you against cancer, lower your risk of heart disease, and boost your brain health. Enjoy a handful of blueberries as a snack or blend frozen berries into a delicious and nutritious smoothie. You can also top a leafy green salad, serving of yogurt, or bowl of heart-healthy oatmeal with these tasty treats. Mix fresh blueberries into a batch of whole-grain muffins for breakfast on-the-go.
12. Whole-Grain Bread
Including whole-grain breads in your diet keeps your digestive tract running smoothly and provides you with the fiber you need to feel full and satisfied. Whole grains can provide essential nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, and selenium. Furthermore, a study in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment suggests that adults who consume whole grains have a reduced risk of breast cancer. Enjoy a slice of whole-wheat toast slathered with avocado or your favorite nut butter. Create a nutritious sandwich from whole wheat bread topped with lean turkey, spinach, tomatoes, onion, and a dollop of hummus.
11. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts have come a long way since your mother served them as smelly, green, boiled balls. It is a good thing there are so many tasty recipes using Brussels sprouts today, since these savory veggies are rich in nutrients. These cruciferous vegetables contain protein, fiber, and vitamins. They may decrease your risk of breast cancer, help strengthen your bones, and aid in managing blood glucose levels. Ina Garten has a tasty recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts using olive oil, salt, and pepper.Related: 15 Nutritious Foods You Shouldn’t Pig Out On
Often shunned for their cholesterol content, eggs can be a nutrient-packed addition to your weekly menu. According to The Incredible Egg, the choline contained in egg yolks is beneficial for healthy cells. One egg contains 6 grams of protein necessary for building and repairing your body tissues. Prepare your eggs by boiling or scrambling them rather than frying. Increase the nutrient value of your meal by including vegetables along with your eggs. You can add veggies such as spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms to an omelet. Furthermore, a chopped hard boiled egg can be a tasty addition to a green salad.
This aromatic vegetable is a member of the allium family. As such, it is not only flavorful but also packed with antioxidants and nutrients. These nutrients may help stave off cancer, protect your heart, and help regulate your cholesterol levels. For women, studies that suggest garlic may offer protection against ovarian cancer make this tasty veggie even more attractive. Epicurious has a recipe for Roasted Garlic Soup with Parmesan Cheese that is both savory and nutritious.
8. Greek Yogurt
High in calcium, potassium, and B vitamins, Greek yogurt is a refreshing treat that also packs a punch of protein. The probiotic cultures in Greek yogurt may be beneficial for digestive health, preventing tooth decay, and protecting against liver disease. Enjoy Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and homemade granola for a delicious breakfast entrée or snack. Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream to benefit from fewer calories and lower fat content.Related: 10 Foods You Shouldn’t Eat for Breakfast and What to Eat Instead
Leafy greens like kale are brimming with antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage to organs such as your skin, blood vessels, and heart. One cup of chopped, raw kale provides over 100% of your daily vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K requirements. You can enjoy fresh kale as a salad or blended into a green smoothie. Roast kale in the oven with a little olive oil and a dash of salt for savory kale chips. Valerie Bertinelli has a delicious recipe for a Purple and Green Kale Salad with Lemon Anchovy Vinaigrette.
6. Lean Proteins
Include lean proteins in your diet to provide your body with the building blocks to build and repair strong organs and body tissues. A skinless chicken breast, roast turkey, or beef with the fat trimmed away can all be good choices. Add chopped, cooked chicken to a Caesar salad or enjoy a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread. When cooking beef, trim away any fatty portions so you can enjoy the benefit of protein, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins without excessive amounts of fat.
Chock-full of plant-based protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, nuts can be a healthy addition to your menu plan. Try topping your morning bowl of oatmeal with almonds or sprinkling your salads with toasted pecans. Combine nuts with oats, dried fruit, and a dash of real maple syrup to bake up your own flavorful granola. Enjoy your favorite nut butter on apple slices or celery sticks for a healthy snack.Related: 11 Formerly Unhealthy Foods You Can Include in a Healthy Diet
Oats are heart-healthy grains that contain fiber and nutrients such as thiamin, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium. Enjoying a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast may help prevent dramatic peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the fiber content of this grain may increase regularity as well as help with weight control. To save time in the morning, try mixing up a batch of overnight oats before heading to bed at night.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and herring are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Including two servings of fish in your weekly menu may have benefits for your heart, blood vessels, and brain. Brush salmon with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven for a simple, yet delicious entrée. Add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.
When choosing wholesome foods, don’t neglect the flavor and health benefits associated with spices. One study suggests cinnamon may not only add flavor to your food but may also provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial benefits. Meanwhile, cocoa powder contains healthful antioxidants as well. Enjoy cinnamon or cocoa powder sprinkled into your coffee, dusted on a handful of nuts, or blended into your smoothies.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Bright orange sweet potatoes contain lycopene and other antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, which is a nutrient critical for vision, immunity, and reproduction. This root vegetable is also high in fiber, which prevents drastic rises and falls in blood glucose levels. Enjoy a baked sweet potato or add chunks of this veggie to soups or stews. Slice up a sweet potato and roast it in the oven for a tasty alternative to french fries.Related: 20 Foods You Can Eat Without Gaining Weight