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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Comments (1,639)

  1. Marie H says:

    I absolutely agree to this list. I've been serving this at home and none of us have high cholesterol or even at risk to any heart diseases. I believe those mentioned health issues are genetically-related. Everything should be in moderation. Or else, obesity would be another problem to raise here too. Sorry I have to repose this…HTC swype didn't get the words I was typing.

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  4. Karen says:

    This is good information. It is all about choices and moderation. I love my pizza but only have one slice along with a dark green salad and veggies.

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  6. Elizabeth says:

    Yes, pizza is on the list. It is my favourite. Lettuce – yuck – of the darker the better. That's better. I add spinach to everything, including my stir fry. I use it in my sandwiches rather then iceberg lettuce – horrible stuff.

  7. Becky says:

    Please do not ruin the beef industry. There are many very reputable local farmers that are excellent beef farmers. Buy from a local farmer. Eat in moderation. Beef is a great source of protein and other nutrients that are important in many persons diets. Be informed.

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  9. PharrenM says:

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    PharrenM · 13 minutes ago
    Actually most of the foods on this list are very healthy but people just use them all wrong. The darker the chocolate the healthier it is for you considering that it would have more cocoa beans in it instead of sugar like milk chocolate and white chocolate. Cheese, nuts, and fruits are all good sources of proteins and natural sugars that the people of our country are missing out on. A good steak isnt bad for you at all especially if it isn't shot up with different types of hormones. Pizza isn't a bad thing when it's covered with good cheeses, natural sauce, and vegetables. Lettuce is the most under rated vegetable considering that it gives you a very good source of fiber and vitamins. People are told differently by fast food restraunts and places that could be harmed by this knowledge such as farms that give their cows hormones. I'm fourteen and it shocks me that it's a normal thing to see an obese child every day. All of the things on this list can be very beneficial if consumed correctly. Most people don't realize that going to mcdonalds and getting a salad instead of a big Mac can easily expand their lifetime. We should wage wars against fast food company's and farmers that take the easy way out instead of sites like this who open people's eyes to things they were unhealthy.

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