10 More Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think

by in Healthy Tips, September 22, 2011
swiss cheese
Great news: lower-fat cheese, like Swiss, is healthier than most people think.

There are lots of misconceptions about healthy eating. Some folks kick their favorite foods to the curb because they think they’re no good. We’ve already given you a list of ten — here are 10 MORE foods that offer more nutrition than you’re giving them credit for.

1. Cheese
While you will find some unhealthy fats, don’t count out cheese! It’s an excellent source of protein, calcium and even contains a small amount of vitamin D.  Watching your waistline? Keep portions to about 1-ounce and choose lower fat varieties like Swiss, Parmesan or part-skim mozzarella and ricotta.

2. Bread
Some people are still afraid of eating carbs and bread is usually the first to go. But don’t toss those loaves out just yet! You’ll be missing out on nutritious goodies like fiber and important B-vitamins. Limit intake to no more than a couple of slices per day and choose whole grain varieties most of the time.

3. Lettuce
Classically misconstrued as a food that “doesn’t count” – lettuce packs in nutrients like hunger-fighting fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K. The darker the leaf, the more nutrients it has so bulk up salads, wraps, sandwiches and tacos with a fresh, green, low-calorie crunch.

4. Fruit Butters
Don’t let the name fool you, there’s no butter in this cooked-down fruit puree. Commonly available in apple, pumpkin and peach flavors, it’s divine spread on toast, mixed into yogurt or used in place of some of the oil when baking. Apple butter is a key ingredient in this recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.

5. Pizza
Yes, pizza! The combination of bread, lycopene-rich tomatoes and toppings like cheese and veggies actually make for a darn healthy meal. Homemade is the best way to go to keep the portion sizes, calories and grease under control. Try this 5-ingredient recipe from scratch or make things even easier by making mini pizzas on English muffins.

6. Dried Fruit

It might taste like candy but dried fruit has a lot more to offer. Drying fruit allows the natural flavors to concentrate, making it naturally sweet. While you should be careful with portions, dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, pineapple and apricots are a healthy addition to hot and cold cereals, salads and trail mix. Look for brands without added sweeteners and keep portions to a modest couple of tablespoons.

7. Chili
When you consider the ingredients – beans, veggies, spices and maybe some meat – chili is healthy eats. Dial back on the fatty meats and toppings like sour cream and cheese and you’ve got a healthy and satisfying one-pot meal. Use our tips for Chili, Lightened Up.

8. Shellfish
Shellfish like shrimp and lobster always get the shaft for being too high in cholesterol. But it turns out they can be part of heart-healthy diet because they are low in calories and saturated fat and high in protein. Learn more about why we love shellfish.

9. Chocolate
A recent study found that chocolate eaters may have a reduced risk of heart disease. We’ve got 28 favorite ways to munch on chocolate but be sensible about your choco-indulgence. Too much fat, calories and sugar from chocolate is certainly not good for your heart (or your waistline).

10. Steak
Carnivores rejoice! Red meat can be enjoyed in moderation for the benefit of healthy goodies like protein, iron, niacin and vitamin B12. The heart-healthy trick is to opt for lean cuts like beef tenderloin and flank steak. Get the skinny on the leanest cuts of meat.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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  7. jessmayel says:

    100 % agree~!!

  8. Matt says:

    Not sure what veggies you're talking about with vitamin B12, typically considered to be from meat sources or dairy…details would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Jay says:

    agree totally

  10. tanya says:

    ummm you cant get B12 from veggies sorry and most people are not consuming enough seaweed to make that a good source for most. Same with fermented veggies.. most people do not get enough to make a difference. Grass fed beef is very healthy for you.

  11. Cate says:

    Kudos to you, KBean for posting this! I 100 % agree with you. it is disgusting what these factory farms are doing…I can't believe that the USDA allows for them to do what they do…. period. I eat only locally raised, grass fed beef….and even that is in moderation. The same goes for poultry, eggs and diary. Food Inc. is very informative and enlightening. I think that most people are afraid to know the ugly truth about what they are eating. I recall someone saying to me, "Ignorance is bliss"…..well it ain't bliss if get sick or die from unhealthy food.

  12. Candice says:

    Definitely try to buy ALL meat from a local ethical farmer (doesn't have to be organic, just allowed to roam around and eat good feed). That goes for pork, lamb, poultry…

  13. steve says:

    I'm curious are you a health practioner? Or maybe someone who is conducted studies on this? You are entitled to your opinion but its amazing that so many people these dates think they are an expert on nutrition but yet have no background, education, etc. in the field. As far as organic biggest rip-off since the pet rock. I've worked in environmental law complaince for years (15+) and you would be surprised what's in the ground, water, etc. Just because its labelled 'organic' doesn't mean its healthier or yet organic.

  14. MYar says:

    Exactly!!!

  15. jdamianlapko says:

    everything in moderation, yes, but never factory raised meat and poultry. I disagree with TLynette, factory raised meat is NOT good in moderation

  16. Annie Mas. says:

    Matt,

    Veggies like, Kale, swiss chard, broccoli, spinach, beets, beet tops, asparagus, and tomatoes offer lots of vitamins, including varying B vitamins, and nutrients for the body and should be consumed daily. General knowledge has been Vitamin B12 is predominantly in beef and milk products. However, that is NOT the only source. Check out this website below. Trout and Salmon are excellent sources for B12, and if you look on the chart on this website it gives you these recommendations: daily allowance for b12 is 2.4 mcg/ day. A 3 oz serving of trout has 5.4 mcg and Salmon has 4.8 mcg in a 3 oz serving.
    Milk products are typically closer to 1 mcg per serving and an egg a little less than that.

    Hope this helped, check out the site below
    http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb12

    ANother way for protein:
    Quinoa, which is actually a seed, contains the 9 essential amino acids (which are the backbone for helping form protein in muscle) and is thus a "complete" protein. In addition quinoa contains B2 (riboflavin), magnesium, B6, Vitamin E, iron, and zinc. It also has approx. 5.1 grams of dietary fiber per one cup serving.