5 Foods a Nutritionist Eats Every Single Day & Why You Should Too

Learn about what the experts actually eat on a regular basis, and how you can work these healthy foods into your diet by stealing their tricks.

I’m a nutritionist and love to cook and experiment with lots of types of different foods, but in all honestly I usually eat a lot of the same things day after day. Like everyone else, I’m busy. Having a list of some go-to foods makes it easy for me to grocery shop and create staple recipes that I can make over and over again without some prep. I buy these five foods at the grocery store each and every week because I love them and love all the health benefits that they have, too!

1. Oats: How and When I Have Them

I love regular, unsweetened, quick oats. Nope, not steal cut. Call me lazy but the instant/quick kinds have basically the same health benefits as the slower cooking kinds and I don’t want to cook something on the stove for 15 minutes if I don’t need to. The difference is that quick notes are cut finer so they cook up quicker, but the nutritional breakdown and benefits of both kinds are the same.

I have them for breakfast almost every single day, and no I don’t get sick of them. I vary the fruit and toppings that I use, so it tastes a little different every day. In my opinion, I eat oats so much because they are the best vehicle for all of the other really healthy things that I add to them – like fruit, nuts, and seeds.

I crave sweet things in the morning more so than savory things (like eggs), so oats just work for me. There are literally entire websites dedicated to oatmeal recipes, so needless to say there are lots of options for switching them up and not to get bored.

Benefits of Eating Them Every Day

Oats are 100% whole grain as long as you read the ingredient label and the only thing listed is “rolled oats” – you don’t want any added sugar, sodium, preservatives, etc. Whole grains can lower your risk for several diseases including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease thanks to the “lignans” they contain (a plan protein).

They have a good amount of fiber in them, which makes you feel full and helps your digestive system work properly. A half-cup serving also has 5-6g of protein, which isn’t bad for a grain (just about as much as an egg). Oats are also a source of iron, magnesium, and B vitamins.

They are gluten free. However, they are often manufactured in places where wheat is also made, so for that reason if you have a gluten allergy just look for “gluten free oats” that ensure no contamination.

2. Peanut Butter: How and When I Have it

Homemade Chunky Peanut Butter Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread

I add a big tablespoon of peanut butter right on top of my oatmeal basically every day. I like the kinds that are really crunchy, so I usually buy Trader Joe’s Crunchy Salted (I try to buy the organic kind, but honestly sometimes don’t). The only ingredients in TJ’s peanut butters are peanuts and salt. Brands like Jiff and Skippy have chemicals and hydrogenated oils in them that you don’t want.

You’ll notice when you buy a natural/unprocessed kind of PB that the oils rise to the top and separate from the nuts, but the processed kinds don’t do this. That’s because they have added processed oils and fake ingredients that keep this separation from happening. Go for the real thing and just stir it up, no big deal.

Benefits of Eating it Every Day

Peanuts are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and important vitamins/minerals. I usually stick to one big tablespoon in the morning (sometimes 2). That’s about 4-5 grams of protein (again, not bad for a plant source).

The “healthy fats” in PB are mostly unsaturated and benefit your heart by lowering cholesterol levels and helping keep arteries flexible and less clot prone. Everyone needs a certain level of fat to maintain health and the ideal kind is the one found in plant sources like nuts. Vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium are other nutrients that peanuts contain.

You may be wondering why not almond butter? Sometimes I mix the two together, but I am just a bigger fan of PB’s taste. I eat almonds on their own in trail mixes pretty often, so I don’t feel bad about skipping them with breakfast.

3. Salad Greens: How and When I Have Them

I basically put my lunch and dinner right on top of salad greens every single day, or else alongside them. For example, if I am having mixed vegetables, brown rice, and edamame, I will just put the whole mixture and its sauce on top of greens (cooked or raw). It’s a good way to make your meal seem bigger in terms of volume and therefore more satisfying, plus it ensures you eat your greens.

If I’m having a sandwich, I will also have a side salad. And whenever I have time and want to eat some more veggies, I make a smoothie with greens and fruit. Healthwise, green leafy vegetables can be considered “the king” of all vegetables (actually of all food in general, come to think of it). They are essential if you want to eat a “healthy diet;” there is just really no getting around that.

So whether you like them in a side salad, cooked with some garlic and spices, fresh, or in a smoothie, figure out how to have a lot of them each and every day. My favorites are spinach (in smoothies and pastas), arugula (in salads or pasta), kale (in salads or smoothies), and romaine (in salads), but I try to mix it up and have different kinds whenever I can since they all offer different benefits.

Benefits of Eating Them Every Day

There is almost nothing that greens don’t help with. They help prevent basically every chronic disease including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, digestive issues, hormonal problems – the list goes on. Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals.

They are rich in fiber, an important nutrient for weight loss and maintenance because it keeps you feeling full and helps control your hunger. They also contain a lot of water, which helps keep you hydrated. They contain Vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and so on and so on. Do the exact nutrients matter? No not really; just keep eating lots of them.

4. Berries: How and When I Have Them

Mix of fresh berries in a basket

I mostly mix them into my oatmeal with breakfast every day, or else add them to smoothies. I like buying the frozen organic kinds of mixed berries, honestly because they are cheap (thanks Trader Joe’s). I add them frozen right into my oatmeal and microwave the whole thing together so when it’s done and I add peanut butter, it tastes like PB & J. You want to buy organic berries; they are one of the most heavily pesticide sprayed fruits there is.

Benefits of Eating Them Every Day

Similar to leafy greens, there is not a lot that berries can’t do. They have tons of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and more. Plus they taste really good with almost anything (salads, smoothies, cereal, desserts, or on their own).

5. Beans: How and When I Have Them

Bean and grains salad

Usually in salads, pastas, stir-fries, sandwiches, wraps, or in the form of hummus. I like all kinds, but chickpeas are probably my favorite. I buy the organic canned kinds because they are still really cheap. I have beans probably 2-3 times every day, or at least I aim to. I like how they require no cooking, are versatile, make me feel full, and taste like anything you mix them with.

Benefits of Eating Them Every Day

Beans have a high level of filling fiber, so even though they are starchy and do have carbs in them, a lot of the carbs are not actually even absorbed by your body. They have a lot of protein in them as well, so if you are looking to cut down on the amount of animal products you eat, they are a great source to have frequently.

Additionally, they contain B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and folate. This combo helps keep blood sugar levels stable, boosts immunity and energy, helps keep bones strong, and reduces risk of stroke, heart disease, and cancer.

Runners Up – Very frequent, but not Every Day

Apples, flax and chia seeds, sweet potatoes, pears, bananas, brussel sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, almonds, cashews, and brown rice.

About the author

Jillian Babcock

Jill is a healthy food lover and Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She loves “healthifying” recipes and practicing yoga as she works toward become an instructor. You can find her around NYC seeking out all the latest things related to health and fitness.

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