The 10 foods dietitians wished you ate more of

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Photo: Unsplash/Leonie Wise
By now, you probably know to side-eye the low-fat yogurt parfait at Starbucks or the extra-large glass of (not-fresh) OJ at brunch—both options that are deceptively unhealthy.

But there are other ingredients that you might be avoiding that are not only totally fine to eat, but dietitians wished you ate way more of.

“[These myths] prevent people from enjoying certain foods like potatoes, fat in general, and egg yolks,” says wellness expert Katie Cavuto, RDN. In other words, not all foods with bad reputations deserve them.

The key is pinpointing foods that do the body good. (That means forget the calorie count—go ahead, add an extra scoop of almond butter to your smoothie.) Ever wondered what foods to fill your shopping cart with? Here, Cavuto shares the foods that dietitians swear by.

Keep reading to find out which 10 foods dietitians want you to eat more of—some of them might surprise you.

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Photo: Flickr/United Soybean Board
Photo: Flickr/United Soybean Board

1. Potatoes

Why you want to eat more of it: Potatoes are a nutritious source of carbohydrates—and yes, that’s a good thing. Your brain and muscles rely on carbs in order to function. What makes potatoes superior to other sources of carbohydrates? (Sorry, bread.) “[Potatoes have] as much if not more essential vitamins and minerals as brown rice and more potassium than a banana,” explains Cavuto, who is totally over the bad rap that the white carb gets.

A genius way to get an extra serving: “You can bake whole russet potatoes and stuff them like a taco shell,” Cavuto says of this genius #tacotuesday hack. “Load it up with nourishing ingredients like ground turkey, beans, avocado, salsa, or your favorite kraut.”

Photo: Unsplash/Brina Blum
Photo: Unsplash/Brina Blum

2. Whole eggs

Why you want to eat more of it: “While egg whites may be lower in fat and calories, the whole egg, which includes the yolk, is far richer in nourishing micronutrients,” Cavuto says. If you’ve long been told that your omelet habit is going to raise your cholesterol, Cavuto wants you to let that fear go—there isn’t a link between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Much of an egg’s nutrients, in fact, are found in the yolk. Some of the biggest do-gooders? Phosphorus (key to forming healthy bones), immune-boosting zinc, and choline, which will do your heart and brain some favors. 

A genius way to get an extra serving: Omelets, frittatas, and scrambles are delicious, but they aren’t the only way to use eggs. “Plan ahead and make a batch of hard-boiled eggs to eat as snacks,” advises Cavuto.

Photo: Stocksnap/Martin Philpot
Photo: Stocksnap/Martin Philpot

3. Olive oil

Why you want to eat more of it: There’s no reason to skimp on fats—the healthy ones, that is. Why? “They’re satiating, anti-inflammatory, and highly protective,” says Cavuto. And though there’s nothing wrong with sautéing your veggies in EVOO, Cavuto recommends consuming it raw for optimal nutritional benefits. Just make sure you’re getting a bottle of extra virgin that is marked “first cold-pressed” in order to guarantee that you’re getting prime nutrient density for your drizzle.

A genius way to get an extra serving: Treat EVOO like a condiment on any savory meal for a finishing touch—yep, it’s that simple. From soups to grain bowls, the olive oil will add flavor and help you feel satisfied.

Photo: Unsplash/Mike Kenneally
Photo: Unsplash/Mike Kenneally

4. Frozen fruit and vegetables

Why you want to eat more of it: The farmers’ market is paradise in prime harvest season, sure, but frozen produce can be just as rich in nutrients. “Frozen vegetables are very under-appreciated,” Cavuto laments. “Allowed to fully ripen and then quickly flash frozen, some frozen fruits and vegetables are more nutrient dense than their fresh counterparts.” Plus, you can stock up on the frozen stuff without worrying about it spoiling before you get a chance to eat it. (I mean, a girl can only eat so many raspberries in a week.)

A genius way to get an extra serving: Cavuto recommends pureeing frozen fruits and vegetables (yup, veggies) into smoothies. Not sure what vegetables to throw into the blender? Try cauliflower, beets, or greens, for starters.

Photo: Flickr/Ken Hawkins

5. Sea vegetables

Why you want to eat more of it: “With anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antiviral properties, sea vegetables offer an immensely broad range of minerals that are often lacking in other foods,” says Cavuto, pointing specifically to calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, and a handful of others. Beyond their nutrient density, sea vegetables are also sustainable. 

A genius way to get an extra serving: Seaweed might not be in your go-to rotation of ingredients, but it totally can be. “Swap out salt for dried dulse flakes, which can be added to salad dressings, popcorn, scrambled eggs, grains, and more,” Cavuto suggests.

Photo: Flickr/Jules

6. Fermented foods

Why you want to eat more of it: You know those fancy probiotics that are eating up your paycheck? You can get the benefits in whole-food form. “Kimchee, kraut, kefir, and kombucha are a few examples of fermented foods that boast healthy bacteria essential for gut health,” explains Cavuto. Plus, since the healthy bacteria in fermented foods feed off of prebiotic fibers, you get both a probiotic and a prebiotic boost with every bite.

A genius way to get an extra serving: Forget ketchup and mustard—fermented foods make for delicious condiments. “One of my favorite snacks is half an avocado topped with kimchee or kraut,” says Cavuto.

avocado pit
Photo: Pixabay/Skeeze

7. Avocado

Why you want to eat more of it: The OG trendy superfood isn’t going out of style for a reason—sure it’s delicious, but it’s seriously good for you. “Avocados are a rich source of heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory, mono-unsaturated fats, as well as cholesterol-lowering fiber and antioxidants to boot,” Cavuto praises. Plus, the versatile fruit tastes good with just about everything.

A genius way to get an extra serving: Avocados don’t always have to be savory. “Blend two ripe avocados with half a cup of real maple syrup and half a cup of dark cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, and cinnamon to create a luxurious chocolate mousse that pairs perfectly with fresh or frozen berries,” suggests Cavuto.

Photo: Unsplash/Juan José Valencia Antía
Photo: Unsplash/Juan José Valencia Antía

8. Nuts

Why you want to eat more of it: Nut butters, nut mylks, nut cheeses…is there anything nuts can’t do? “Rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, and heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats, nuts and seeds also contain commonly deficient nutrients like calcium, iron, and magnesium,” says Cavuto. In other words, if you’re looking for a good bang for your (nourishing) buck, nuts are a worthy MVP.

A genius way to get an extra serving: A scoop of nut butter goes well with just about, well, everything. (Smoothie bowls, oatmeal, fruit….) Make sure you have a fresh batch at the ready by making your own. “Simply add one to two cups of nuts like almonds and cashews to your food processor and give it a whirl,” Cavuto explains. “It takes about 10 minutes for the oils in the nuts to release and the butter to get creamy, so be patient.”

Photo: FoodiesFeed/Jakub Kapusnak
Photo: FoodiesFeed/Jakub Kapusnak

9. Fish

Why you want to eat more of it: “Seafood has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, improvements in brain function, and healthy fetal development,” explains Cavuto, pointing to fish as a rich source of high-quality protein and omega-3s (not found in most animal proteins).

A genius way to get an extra serving: You might be surprised by how quickly you can roast a piece of fish. Cavuto’s go-to recipe? “Mix one teaspoon of whole grain mustard and real maple syrup and use it to glaze a piece of salmon,” she says. It’ll only take 10 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees. Dinner? Done.

Photo: Stocksnap/Lukas Budimaier
Photo: Stocksnap/Lukas Budimaier

10. Herbs and spices

Why you want to eat more of it: Your spice cabinet is good for so much more than seasoning. In fact, it can just about double as your medicine cabinet. “Cinnamon can help with blood sugar control and oregano is anti-bacterial,” Cavuto points out. Pass the salt, pepper, turmeric, cayenne….

A genius way to get an extra serving: Purée fresh herbs with olive oil and freeze them in ice cube trays. You’ll have fresh herb oils all year long—just defrost and add to veggies, soups, or marinades.

All these foods do your body way more favors than so called “diet” drinks. Plus, here’s why you should consider having brown rice for breakfast.

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