Finding delicious healthy meals isn’t always easy - our brains are forever longing for the foods our bodies could really do without. But, believe it or not, healthy meals are both delicious and accessible once you know where to look! This guide will take you through five surprisingly healthy meals that you can be thankful for, all year round.
5 Surprisingly Healthy Foods
1. Whole Grain Pasta
Pasta comes in many forms. You have spaghetti, ravioli, tortellini, penne, fettuccine, macaroni, and orzo to name a few. Pasta made from whole grain is healthy and rich in manganese, phosphorus, selenium, copper, and fibre. It’s also low in calories. The fibre in whole-grain pasta helps promote better digestion and gastrointestinal health.
Pasta won’t be complete without its toppings. To make your pasta even healthier, consider topping your pasta dishes with guilt-free alternatives like lemon, basil, salmon, spinach, avocado, tomatoes, kale, or feta.
As much as possible, stay away from cream-based sauces and cheeses as these toppings are usually high in fat and calories.
2. Red meat
Despite the controversy, red meat can actually be very healthy and nutritious in moderation. No, we are not talking about prime ribs and hamburgers here. We are talking about organic red meat from grass-fed livestock --- the right kind of red meat.
Red meat is loaded with vitamins and minerals. For example, a 100-gram portion of raw ground beef that contains 10% fat is packed with:
- Zinc (32% of RDA)
- Vitamin B3 (25% of RDA)
- High-quality iron which is absorbed faster than plant-based alternatives (12% RDA)
- Vitamin B6 (18% RDA)
- Vitamin B12 (37% RDA)
- Selenium (24% RDA)
- Traces of other vitamins and minerals
- 20g of high-quality protein
- 10g of fat
- Vitamin A
- Fatty acid CLA
- Vitamin E
Below are some tips to make sure that your red meat stays healthy after cooking:
- Use gentle cooking methods like steaming and stewing. Avoid grilling and frying as much as possible.
- Never expose your meat to the flame.
- Minimise cooking in high heat. If you must cook in high heat, flip your meat regularly to prevent burning.
- Avoid charred or smoked meat. If burnt, remove the charred pieces.
3. Red Wine
Red wine, when taken in moderation, can help reduce your risks of developing heart attacks and coronary artery diseases. Red wine is known to contain antioxidants which are believed to help increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol in the body.
The key here is drinking red wine in moderation as too much alcohol in the body may lead to:
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Liver diseases
- Pancreas diseases
- Weight gain
Popcorn is rich in dietary fibre without packing too many calories --- qualifying it as a healthy snack. Remember that popcorn is a whole grain product which helps lower your risks of diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, popcorn also contains polyphenols --- antioxidants that promote better blood circulation and help reduce your risks of developing certain types of cancer.
The secret to making popcorn healthy is going easy on salt, sugar and butter. Stick to air-popped popcorn at home. Avoid microwave popcorns as you don’t have control on the amount of salt, oil, and butter in these.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids which protect your cells. Flavonoids are also known to improve blood circulation to your heart and brain --- reducing your risks of heart disease. Stick to dark chocolates because they contain the most flavonoids and the least amount of sugar.
While the foods listed in this guide may benefit your body in one way or another, remember to eat or drink in moderation.