Eating is my favorite.
While I could most definitely eat my weight in double chocolate mocha chunk cookies, I find that fueling my bod with mostly whole foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, and whole grains makes me feel my best. Does that leave room for my favorite red wine and kettle cooked potato chips? Heck yes. And chocolate. There's always room in this belly for chocolate.
Every one is super different physically, mentally, and emotionally, so it makes perfect sense that we can't all follow a cookie cutter diet and expect to feel amazing. Whether you don't eat meat or dairy or gluten or grains or soy or cucumbers, I'd say it's pretty unanimous that a whole foods based diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies is a safe bet. If you're eating this way, you're probably not gorging on bread and pizza and cookies and chips. Unless the pizza grew from the ground, which would be all kinds of fabulous.
I'm the kind of person that finds something delish to eat and sticks with it (hence the blueberry cacao smoothie bowls I eat every morning without fail, or the boatload of roasted brussels sprouts dipped in hummus that I snack on in the afternoons.) I simply couldn't imagine my life without blueberries. And hummus. And avocado.
Without further adieu, I present to you ten foods that end up in my belly in some way or another each and every day. These whole foods not only taste delish, but they're also packed with an array of nutrients that help me power through my somewhat insane life. I really do rely on my food for energy.
You are what you eat!
1. Frozen blueberries
If you know me at all, you know my morning is not complete without my beloved Blueberry Cacao Smoothie Bowl. Since fresh blueberries often sit on temperature-controlled trucks for days or weeks before they hit the shelves, I opt for blueberries frozen at the peak of freshness and nutrition. In the winter, I use them in my Crockpot Blueberry Pie Steel-Cut Oatmeal. I'm not a huge fan of bananas in my smoothies, and I love that blueberries aren't super sweet. In addition to being packed with fiber and cancer-fighting antioxidants, studies suggest that bloobs can also help lower blood pressure, boost memory, delay cognitive decline, and fight depression and Alzheimer's. I'm a huge fan of Wild Blueberries since they pack double the antioxidant punch.
2. Raw Cacao Powder
And cacao nibs! I'm wholeheartedly obsessed with cacao. You see it in my recipes ALL the time (vegan chocolate banana muffins, anyone?). I put a tablespoon in my smoothie each day and then more on top. Besides tasting like chocolatey heaven, cacao is also high in fiber, manganese, and iron. Unlike processed cocoa powder, raw cacao has bioflavanoids proven to boost mood and blood flow. Any excuse to eat more chocolate is a very good thing.
Need I even begin to articulate my adoration for this foodgasmic delight? Lately I've been really into brown rice cakes dipped in hummus as my snack. I pretty much always go for garlic hummus and I put it on everything. I've been known to have snack attacks involving roasted broccoli or brussels dipped in hummus. My newest obsession? Chocolate hummus. I mean duh.
Beans are definitely a staple in my diet, especially since I rely on them for my main protein source. My go-to's are black beans and chickpeas, but once chili season hits I give kidney and cannelini beans some love, too. In addition to packing a protein punch, beans are also a good source of iron and fiber. Give them a whirl in these avocado bean burgers or curried chickpea salad.
5. Almond Milk
Almond milk was such a game-changer when I switched from cow's milk a few years ago. I love the creaminess, slight vanilla flavor, and overall tastiness that the whole almond milk package has to offer. It's pretty low calorie in addition to being fortified with calcium and Vitamin D---something I appreciate since I try to not consume much dairy and get my calcium from plant-based sources. Since smoothies are a daily occurrence, you bet your hiney that almond milk is, too!
Avocados are a perfect food. The creamy texture and light flavor lends itself beautifully to everything from toast (strawberry avocado please) to smoothies, salads, and sandwiches. Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy unsaturated fats that boost brain health and combat inflammation.
7. Sweet Potatoes
One of my all time favorite snacks is roasted sweet potato rounds dipped in hummus with hot sauce. There is something addicting about roasted root veggies. Sometimes when I want something quick for dinner I nosh on a baked sweet potato stuffed with black beans, avocado, salsa, and maybe a fried egg. With a boatload of fiber and beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are oh-so-pleasing for the tastebuds and the tummy.
8. Brown Rice Cakes
Weaning myself off crackers was easy thanks to brown rice cakes. I love they only have one tiny ingredient but still have a fabulous light and crunchy texture for hummus dipping. When I come home from Alchemy like a ravenous beast, crunchy brown rice cakes with hummus is my go-to snack.
9. Nut Butter
I eat nuts in some form every single day, whether it's nut butter on a rice cake, almond milk in a smoothie, almond meal in muffins, cashews in sauce, or or straight-up nuts. A brown rice cake with nut butter, banana, cinnamon, and cacao nibs is pretty much my favorite snack on the planet. Nuts boast a serious nutrition profile, from protein and fiber to vitamin E and anti-inflammatory fats.
Ever since I switched from fresh to frozen spinach in my smoothies, life has been more delightful. Not only does frozen spinach add great body and coldness-factor to the smoothie, but it's also more affordable, which allows me to buy organic. Spinach is up there on the dirty dozen list, so that's something I appreciate. Also, since it's more compact, you end up eating way more of it. Did you know a full cup of frozen spinach has a whopping four grams of protein?
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.