14 Healthy Foods From a Dietitian’s Fridge
Every professional has trade secrets, and dietitian Sue Mah is no exception. Here are 14 healthy foods she makes sure to keep in her fridge at all times.
Healthy foods: Broccoli
"This is one of the best veggies you can eat because it's so high in phytochemicals," says Mah. Sulforaphane, for example, helps protect against the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which causes ulcers and may be linked to stomach cancer. Here's more on how this common food protects against cancer.
Healthy foods: Ground flaxseed
One of the best sources of the plant version of omega-3s, flaxseeds also contain lignans, a plant chemical similar to estrogen that is thought to protect against breast cancer. (Check out how your diet may help lower your risk for breast cancer.) "Grind it and sprinkle it on yogurt. Women don't need a lot — one to two tablespoons (15-30 mL) a day," says Mah.
Healthy foods: Whole-wheat flour
"It has almost four times more fibre, two times more calcium, six times more magnesium and four times more zinc than enriched white flour." Mah sneaks it past her kids by substituting it for half the white flour when making muffins or pancakes. Storing it in the fridge prevents it from going rancid.
Healthy foods: Pomegranate juice
It's more expensive than most fruit juices, but has more antioxidants. But if you're looking for a breakfast-worthy treat, give this antioxidant-packed smoothie bowl a try.
Healthy foods: Salmon
"Salmon is head and shoulders above other fish when it comes to vitamin D and omega-3s," says registered dietitian Sue Mah. "It's also so easy to cook."
Healthy foods: Red peppers
Mah calls red peppers a "real superstar." They are an excellent low-calorie source of vitamin C and beta carotene, and contain folate. Eat them raw with a low-fat dip, or julienne them into a stir-fry. Here are some more foods that are high in vitamin C.
Healthy foods: Bok choy
"As a kid, I grew up eating this all the time. I just love it," says Mah. The big bonus, in addition to great taste, is that of all the green vegetables available in the fall, it has the most calcium (1/2 cup/125 mL of cooked bok choy has 84 mg of calcium; the same amount of broccoli has 33 mg). Make sure you know these 4 things about calcium.
Healthy foods: Pears
"They're one of the most fibre-rich fruits you can find at this time of year," says Mah. One medium pear has five grams of fibre, as long as you leave the skin on. (Women need 25 grams a day.) Slice them thinly and add to a salad, she suggests. Check out the real reason why you should increase your fibre intake.
Healthy foods: Tofu
Look for tofu set with calcium sulphate: One serving (5 oz/150 g) of medium-firm tofu has about 345 mg of calcium, about the same as one cup (250 mL) of skim milk. "People say tofu is bland, but I say that's the beauty of it — it picks up any flavour you add," says Mah. "The key is marinating it." Try this one-pan ginger-chili baked tofu recipe — it's a real time saver.
Healthy foods: Swiss cheese
Swiss offers more calcium per slice than either cheddar or Monterey Jack. Here are 9 signs that you are not getting enough calcium.
Healthy foods: Salsa
A good low-fat dip or spread, tomato salsa is loaded with lycopene. Here are some low-calorie dips that are anything but bland.
Healthy foods: Peanut butter
"I always eat peanut butter at breakfast (try these granola bars to fuel you all morning long), especially if I'm going to a long meeting. It gives me staying power," says Mah. It has protein, folate and vitamin E, as well as zero trans fats. Instead, it contains the good fats: mono- and polyunsaturated.
Healthy foods: Orange juice
"There are so many orange juices available now: OJ with probiotics, omega-3s, calcium... I rotate every now and then, but the one I buy most often has calcium and vitamin D," says Mah. Find out the real deal on probiotics.
Healthy foods: Soy beverage
"I look for the word 'fortified,' which tells me that certain nutrients such as vitamins D and B12 have been added to it." Also, look for a brand with nine grams of protein per cup (250 mL), suggests Mah. Check out these surprising ways B12 can benefit your entire body.