Sixteen of the best foods for a fit lifestyle; well, that sounds enticing, doesn’t it? But how does one determine what is considered a fit food exactly? To break it down simply, they are foods that tick most of (if not all) the boxes of what’s considered the complete nutritional package.
We’re talking about lean protein, healthy fats, good carbs, dietary fiber, and packed full of antioxidants. Of course, most foods won’t have all of these things, but combining the right ones together as a meal can help you maintain a complete diet. So let’s jump right into the list.
First off, salmon is a protein powerhouse containing 20 grams for every cooked three-ounces. With just 121 calories per three-ounce serving, you’re getting a lot of protein for very few calories. This is an ideal choice for bodybuilders, as well as anyone just trying to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Salmon is a very healthy choice for more reasons than just its protein count. It’s also densely packed with healthy omega-three fatty acids; which helps regulate your heart rhythm, slows memory loss as you age, and keeps your arteries and veins clear of blockages. And as an added bonus, it tastes delicious too. All in all, salmon is one heck of a fit food.
- Calories per 3-oz serving: 121
- Recommended servings: 3-4 per week
- Cost effective substitute: Canned tuna
15. Turkey Breast
Hey, while we’re on the subject of great sources of protein, let’s check out one for those who may not enjoy fish. Skinless turkey breast yields seven grams of protein for every lean ounce. We say lean because a three-ounce serving comes in at only 72 calories; making it a great protein source to eat for dinner, or just as a snack.
While being a good source of protein may not be much of a surprise, what you might not be aware of is its nutrient build. Turkey breast is high in B vitamins, selenium, (a known cancer fighter) and zinc. There’s also plenty of amino acids and little to no saturated fat. These make turkey breast a very solid food choice.
- Calories per 3-oz serving: 72
- Recommended servings: 3 per week
- Alternate option: Chicken breast
14. Black Beans
Since we’ve already gone over some good protein sources, it’s about time we added some healthy fiber and carbohydrates as well. Black beans are incredibly high in fiber and will help you feel fuller for longer (this is because they swell up in your stomach which promotes a feeling of fullness).
Black beans are also full of a highly complex carbohydrate which is converted to energy over a long period of time. An added bonus is that they are also jam packed with protein, but with no saturated fat like you’d find in meat. And while other members of the legume family are great, black beans top the list because they have the most fiber per serving.
- Calories per one cup serving: 227
- Recommended servings: 2 per week
- Good substitute: Dark kidney beans or garbanzo beans
13. Whole-Wheat Bread
First off, why is white bread considered bad for you while whole-wheat is good? This is because white flour actually digest far too quickly, causing a rapid energy spike that just as rapidly leads to a crash. Those insulin spikes damage your cells and can cause excess fat storage, depletion of protein, and rob you of fiber. To put it simply, avoid white bread.
Now, the whole grains that make whole-wheat bread are complex carbohydrates. These leave you feeling full for longer periods of time. They also provide the longest supply of sustained energy which is good even if you’re on a carb cutting diet. But make sure you don’t get fooled by purchasing brown bread thinking it’s whole-wheat. Cheaper breads are just colored brown with molasses. What you should look at is the ingredients list to make sure. The product will say it contains 100% whole-wheat right on the package and will be listed as the first ingredient.
- Calories per 2 slice serving: 140
- Recommended servings: 6 per week
12. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What better way to eat your whole-wheat bread than dipping it in a delicious extra virgin olive oil mixture? You see, olive oil is great for heart health as it’s rich in good monounsaturated fat. Switching out butter with a monounsaturated fat such of that in olive oil can even reduce the risk of heart disease.
But heart health isn’t the only reason for eating this healthy fat source; it also acts as a potent anti-inflammatory. A diet containing extra virgin olive oil is shown to reduce swelling and pain on par with a dose of ibuprofen. And you don’t just have to cook with it. Try adding it with balsamic vinegar to create your own healthy salad dressing. You can even add one-to-two tablespoons to your daily protein shake if you’re really feeling froggy.
- Calories per one tbsp serving: 119
- Recommended servings: two per day
- Olive oil upgrade option: Avocado oil
11. Green Tea
There’s a reason why countries that are full of green tea drinkers are also countries with the slimmest and longest living people. Green tea is a known metabolism booster and helps promote healthy weight loss. This is why you see it listed as an ingredient for many fat burners.
It’s also full of powerful antioxidants which are known to help prevent cancer and slow the development of Alzheimer’s. Green tea is also a good source of natural caffeine that will give you an energy boost without the jitters. It’s good to drink hot or cold, or you can even buy it in a liquid extract form. Just a drop of the liquid extract in water and you make instant tea.
- Calories per 8-oz serving: 2
- Recommended servings: 1-3 cups per day
- Green tea upgrade option: Matcha tea powder