People often think about healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other nutrient-dense foods. They often see healthy ingredients as an option but don’t rely on them as much as possible. Here are some healthy ingredients that can be more crucial to your diet than you might think.
Chia Seeds and Hemp Seeds
You might occasionally put these seeds in your smoothies or oatmeal, but don’t underestimate their great nutritional profile.
Both hemp and chia seeds are good sources of healthy fats. Hemp seeds also contain over 6 grams of protein, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Chia seeds are an excellent source of both protein and fiber and contain Omega-3s and Omega-6s.
Unsweetened Apple Sauce
This is one of the best things to keep in your kitchen. Unsweetened apple sauce can often take the place of other sweet ingredients like sugar and is often added to cookie or cake recipes to keep it soft and moist without the added sugar.
The great thing about unsweetened apple sauce is that you get the delicious cinnamon apple flavor without the added sugar. You can then sweeten it yourself and keep it as minimal as possible, or use a natural sweetener like stevia or honey.
The reason vegetables are underrated is because most people just have them as a side dish, but they can fit in so many other dishes. You can easily add veggies to your main dishes, like soup, chili, pasta sauce, eggs, or casseroles. That way, they don’t stick out, and you can eat veggies that you may not love by themselves but don’t mind eating with plenty of other mixed foods.
Not only is Greek yogurt used as a healthier alternative to sour cream or mayonnaise, but it has a lot more protein than both of these ingredients. Simply by switching to Greek yogurt, you get an ingredient with more protein, more vitamins and minerals, and less saturated fat. It tends to be a little lower in calories but still packs a powerful flavor punch.
Another option for Greek yogurt is to make a yogurt parfait for breakfast. Just top plain, non-fat Greek yogurt with your favorite fruits, add some honey or nut butter, and a handful of chia seeds, and you’re good to go.