9 Delicious Foods That Are Also Really Good For You
Eating healthily doesn't have to mean a life of deprivation and restriction. In fact, there are a ton of healthy recipes and foods that actually taste good out there. You just need to know where to look and make sure you're equipped with the right ingredients.
A study featured by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health states that preparing food at home may be the main factor — over all others — in how healthy a person's diet is overall. “When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and lead author of the study.
For most of us, this isn't too big of a shocker — cooking for ourselves is bound to be healthier than most takeout options. But the question is what exactly should we be making? And how can we eat a healthy diet without feeling completely restricted in our choices?
I personally love junk food. I know it's bad for me, but it doesn't change the fact that I would eat a pint of ice cream at every meal if I could, nor that I often feel super deprived when I try to change my eating habits for the better. In the spirit of eating better without being miserable, I've compiled a list of nine foods that taste awesome and that are actually good for you. You're welcome world!
Avocados are probably the number one example of a good-for-you food that tastes like it should be bad for you. It's rich and buttery, and is delicious eaten on its own, in salads, or even as a great mayonnaise replacement on sandwiches. According to Registered Dietician Megan Ware in an article for MedicalNewsToday.com, they're also the only fruit that provide the healthy kind of fat, as well contain over 20 vitamins and minerals.
2. Black Bean Brownies
Brownies made from black beans, as opposed to the traditional flour base, may sound kind of crazy, but they actually make for a fudgey, rich dessert high in fiber and protein (I promise — they're good)! Natural medicine expert and clinical nutritionist Dr. Josh Axe highly recommended black bean brownies and included a recipe on his YouTube channel.
3. Greek Yogurt
In a piece on Today Health about good-for-you-foods that also fill you up, registered dietician Angela Ginn listed Greek yogurt as one of her top picks, as it contains twice the protein of regular yogurt. "Protein not only keeps you satisfied longer but takes about 18 percent more energy to digest than fat,” she said.
The Today Health piece also highly recommended hummus and other chickpea-based dishes, as they're low in fat and high in fiber. I've also found that making hummus at home is an awesome way to tailor it exactly to your palette.
5. Sweet Potato Fries
Fitness instructor and YouTuber Alyssia Sheikh recommended baked sweet potato fries as an excellent alternative to French fries, not only noting that baked foods are way better for your body than fried foods, but that sweet potatoes offer great nutrition and antioxidants in and of themselves. Her personal recipe focuses on making sure your baked fries turn out crispy.
In a Total Beauty article on healthy recipes that actually taste good, registered dietician Alyse Brennecke recommended cooking up a batch of edamame with salt. Brennecke said it makes for a great snack because it's "high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber." It also satisfies those pesky salt cravings that you might otherwise fill with potato chips.
7. Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Healthy lifestyle expert and fitness author Danette May has a recipe for peanut butter cups with actual health benefits that will satisfy even the most serious peanut butter fan. They only contain five ingredients and use coconut oil and natural, no sugar added peanut butter. I've tried these myself, and the key is to not expect an exact replica of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, but rather a chocolatey, peanut butter dessert that tastes good in its own right.
8. 3-Ingredient Pancakes
OK, I actually make these all the time and can tell you first hand that they're awesome. There's no added sugar and, even though they're called pancakes, they actually taste more like banana french toast. Personal trainer and YouTuber Cassey Ho even recommends them as great fuel for before a workout. I personally like to add a little baking powder and cinnamon to mine for some extra fluffiness and flavor.
9. Overnight Oats
Registered dietician Min Kwon has an entire article on the health benefits of overnight oats on the Food Network's website. Perhaps the best thing about them, however, is that they're an incredibly convenient breakfast option that can be completely tailored to your tastes. I personally love mine with almond milk and bananas, but the world is your oyster with this one.
Nurturing your body through good-for-you-foods doesn't have to suck, nor does it mean you should have to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen. It's mostly about making sure you have the basics you need in the house, as well as making sure you have the healthy junk food alternatives on hand before your cravings hit.