A Few Good Choices

We know at this point that losing weight or feeling healthier is not just about eating less or exercising more. It’s about making good, smart choices when it comes to what you put in your mouth. It’s also about finding the right balance of foods on your plate. You can find suggestions on how much at each meal in this post.

With the thought of making good choices in mind, here is a list you can start with. It is not the end all, be all list. It is however, a pretty solid selection of foods to chose from and should give you more than enough variety on your next shopping trip. What you will probably notice about this list is there are very few foods here that include much processing. I highly recommend that any chance you get, you try to find the whole food version of the ingredient you are looking for. It’s not that you can’t eat any processed foods. It’s just that, if I’m writing a list of the best foods for you to seek out, they are going to be whole and they are your best choice.

Lean Protein

Meats

  • Lean/Extra Lean cuts of beef
  • Lamb
  • Lean Pork (eg. pork tenderloin)
  • Wild Game (eg. venison, elk)

Poultry

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Eggs & Egg whites

Fish

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Haddock
  • Trout
  • Sardines or Mackerel

Seafood and Shellfish

  • Shrimp (fresh or plain frozen)
  • Mussels, clams, scallops
  • Crab, Lobster
  • Squid (calamari) or octopus

Dairy

  • Milk
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Plain Yogurt/ Greek Yogurt
  • Protein Powders (eg. Whey Protein)

Plant Based

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Peas ( Chickpeas, pigeon peas, etc.)
  • Hummus
  • Tofu, tempeh
  • Vegetarian protein powders (eg. hemp protein)

Vegetables

  • Bean Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant/ aubergine
  • Fennel/ Anise
  • Fresh Herbs (eg. parsley, basil)
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Green peas
  • Green peppers
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions, leeks, shallots
  • Turnip greens
  • Collard greens
  • Radishes
  • Rapini (broccoli rabe)
  • Red lettuce (radicchio)
  • Red peppers
  • Rhubarb stems
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Winter Squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Zucchini/ courgette

Smart Carbohydrates

These are definitely best in the whole food version, packed with lots of nutrients and fiber.

Whole Grains

  • Oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Barley
  • Brown, red or wild rice
  • Amaranth
  • Sorghum
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Teff
  • Wheat berries (whole wheat kernels)
  • Sprouted grains or breads
  • Whole grain pasta

Starchy Tubers

  • Purple, red or gold potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes/ yams
  • Yuca/ Cassava

Legumes

  • Lentils and Beans
  • Bean/Lentil pasta

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries (fresh)
  • Currants (fresh)
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Persimmons
  • Pineapple
  • Plantains
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Healthy Fats

Less processed. Whole food versions are preferred

Cold-Pressed Oils

  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Hemp Seed oil
  • Pumpkin Seed oil
  • Avocado Seed Oil
  • Flax Seed oil
  • Extra-virgin Coconut oil
  • Fish oil or Algae oil
  • Butter (grass-fed organic if possible)
  • Fresh Avocado or fresh guacamole

Nuts and Seeds

  • Raw, unflavored, unsalted nuts (eg. almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, etc.)
  • Raw, Unflavored, unsalted seeds (eg. pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds, hemp seeds, etc.)
  • Ground Flax Seeds
  • Coconut (including fresh coconut, coconut milk)
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Natural Nut or Seed Butters (eg. almond butter or tahini, etc.)

Maybe you already shop from a list that looks very similar. If you do, you’re on your way and you’ve got a great start. If you’re weekly food diary reads like a fast food menu, I challenge you to give this list of ingredients a try.

See what you like (and what you don’t). Get creative with it. It doesn’t have to be an overnight thing. Take your time with this. What other whole foods are you enjoying that you can add to the list? What spices might help you enjoy these foods even more?

Download a PDF of Healthy Choices.