If we know how to decode a food label and select foods that are considered healthy and nutrient-dense, can we consume as much healthy food as we want with no limits? Well, as confusing as it may seem, the answer is no. If you’ve ever heard the saying, everything is good in moderation, well that applies here too. Just as we must limit ourselves to an occasional ice cream cone instead of one every day or whenever we have a taste for it, we must also keep tabs on healthy foods, as sometimes they can pack quite the calorie punch.
The food items listed below are loaded with necessary nutrients, let’s just make sure you’re eating the right amounts:
Almonds specifically are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and Vitamin E. 1 cup of almonds is 529 calories.
Nuts are an easy, healthy, anti-inflammatory snack, so we recommend just getting yourself some portion control baggies! You can either buy pre-portioned 100 calorie packs or make your own by portioning them out in little Ziplocs. Aim for a ¼ cup (160 calories) or less for each satisfying snack.
Avocadoes are loaded with heart-healthy fats, fiber, potassium, and iron. 1 whole avocado contains 234 calories.
The serving size of an avocado is 1/3 of a medium fruit. Try adding slices to a piece of whole-wheat toast, or simply drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Save the remaining avocado in a baggie or Tupperware in the refrigerator. Protip: you can slow down the browning process by leaving the pit in your leftovers and spritzing with a little bit of lemon juice!
03 Dried Fruit
Dried fruits such as apricots, raisins, craisins, prunes, and figs, are high in beta-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), vitamin E, niacin, iron and calcium. 1 cup of raisins is 494 calories.
To keep mindless snacking to a minimum, buy prepackaged raisin boxes! These small boxes have a 1.5 ounce (129 calories) servings.
04 Olive Oil
Olive oil is rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamin E and K. 1 cup of olive oil has 1,919 calories.
The actual serving size for olive oil is 1 tablespoon, while there are only 119 calories in this serving size, it is 100% from fat (good fat) but fat, nonetheless. Olive oil is an amazing cooking oil as well. Try simmering a filet of salmon in a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper for a fresh, easy and quick meal!
05 Dark Chocolate
Who knew dark chocolate was considered so healthy? Dark chocolate is a delicious source of iron, magnesium, flavonoids, copper, and antioxidants. But of course, 1 cup of dark chocolate chips has 917 calories. 1 serving of dark chocolate (1.5 ounces) has 220 calories, while 1.5 ounces of milk chocolate has 210 calories, but, dark chocolate has half the sugar, 1/5 of the sodium and five times the amount of fiber!
There are 190 calories in a bar (41g) of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate bar.
06 Oily Fish
Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are packed with vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, and protein. 1 cup of salmon contains 412 calories.
A recommended serving of salmon is between 2-3 ounces. When cooking salmon at home, opt for small fish filets, roughly the size of your palm. Serve alongside fresh vegetables for a delicious dinner.
Quinoa is a whole grain that also doubles as a complete source of protein. It’s high in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. 1 cup of cooked quinoa is 222 calories.
The serving size of cooked quinoa is a ½ cup and has about 110 calories. You can enjoy it as a side, or add lentils and steamed vegetables to cooked quinoa for a one-pot meal like this one!
It is important to enjoy these foods, as they are truly the most nutrient dense foods we have access to. If you have questions regarding the amount to enjoy, ask your Health Advisor!