10 Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think by Dana Angelo White in Healthy Tips, January 14, 2010
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Figuring out what to eat can be tough. Some foods may be marketed as “healthy” but they’re hardly that. Other foods may have a bad reputation (dark meat, anyone?) and you’re passing them up. Here are 10 foods you may be avoiding unnecessarily.
So it may seem weird for a fruit (yes, avocados are fruits) to contain fat, but avocados are one of the few produce items that do. Their heart-protecting monounsaturated fats are actually one of the things that makes them so healthy. Eating these green guys can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke — so have some of that guacamole!
2. Spaghetti and Meatballs
Thanks to the iron and protein from the beef, lycopene from the tomato sauce and energy-producing carbs from the pasta, this dish a healthy trifecta. If you stick to modest portions and lean beef, you can enjoy its benefits without overdoing it. Limit yourself to three ounces of meat and a cup of cooked pasta per serving.
Often bashed for their high sugar and carb content, bananas are a ridiculously healthy fruit that everyone can enjoy. A small banana has the same calories, carbs and fiber as an apple. They also come packed with vitamins C and B6 and good-for-your-heart potassium.
Healthy and delicious banana recipes »
4. Peanut Butter
I always hear “peanut butter is fattening!” Sure, it contains fat, but 30% of your daily calories should come from healthy fats, so why not add peanut butter in as an option? The nutty spread is also a great way to get protein, fiber and vitamin E. The same goes for whole peanuts or nuts such as almonds and walnuts — they’re a great way to get your daily dose of healthy fats.
Along with adding a little pep to your step, coffee is teeming with antioxidants. Research has linked drinking the brewed beverage to a decreased risk of type-2 diabetes and improved mental health as you age.
Some folks frown on corn because it’s a starchy vegetable. Well, it is starchy — because it’s actually a grain! One cup of corn kernels has 5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber (that’s more than 25% of the daily recommendation) and energy-producing B-vitamins. You can also eat corn is a wide variety of ways — polenta, tortillas and popcorn are all healthy whole-grain options.
Yes, burritos can be a healthy choice. When filled with vegetables, rice, beans and small portions of meat, these Tex-Mex treats can cover all your nutrition bases in one tortilla. Opt for 8-inch, whole-wheat tortillas and lay off the sour cream and loads of cheese to keep the calories and fat in check.
8. Chicken Thighs
Dark meat chicken has a bad rep for being fatty and artery-clogging when it’s actually the skin you should be avoiding. Dark meat, like avocados, is high in healthy monounsaturated fats. Thighs are also more affordable than skinless chicken breasts, so they’re an all-around smart addition to your weeknight dinner routine.
Yet another veggie shunned for its starch content, potatoes are a nutrition powerhouse! A medium potato has 165 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 10% of your daily iron and 70% of your daily vitamin C needs. Craving greasy French fries? Make some oven roasted “fries” and save more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat.
Eggs do contain some cholesterol, but that doesn’t mean they’re a total no-no. According to the American Egg Board, healthy individuals can eat up to two eggs per day without significantly affecting blood cholesterol levels. Eggs are also full of vitamins A, D and the antioxidant lutein. Don’t skip the yolks; there’s just as much protein there as in the whites.