Feb. 28, 2013 at 8:21 PM ET
There are so many delicious and nutritious foods to eat that it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why I put together my list of favorite foods. If you’re interested, you can also check out my 5 picks from 2012. No matter what you choose, just remember to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. If you find foods you love, you’ll be more inclined to eat them. Here, a few of my favorites:
Spice up your meals this year by adding some heat! Capsaicin is the active component of hot peppers and has been shown to boost metabolic rate (and promote fat burning and weight loss) by revving up how quickly your body processes food.
What to do with it? Add cayenne pepper to your chicken marinade for a tastier way to eat this lean protein. Or get a kick in the morning by adding it to your scrambled eggs. It’s also a great way to add more flavor to your homemade salad dressing.
If you are looking for a way to switch up your usual salad, try using leafy green kale. One cup of raw Kale can provide you with 206 percent of your daily vitamin A and 134 percent of your vitamin C needs.
What to do with it? Kale is delicious as a raw, crunchy salad. Just toss it with an olive oil and lemon dressing which softens the leafy greens and add pine nuts and dried fruit for extra flavor. Kale chips are also a great choice for a healthy snack. Try making them yourself with our easy kale chip recipe.
That little seed you may have grown at home in your Chia Pet, is really, really good for you. Chia is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and should be part of your diet. It has been shown to help control blood pressure, improve mood, and help promote heart health by lowering total cholesterol and lousy (LDL) cholesterol.
What to do with it? Add this wonder seed to your oatmeal, smoothies, baked products, and non-fat yogurt. You’ll thank me for it! Start by trying our Chia Seed Muffins.
Buy a bag now in our wellness store and start enjoying the many health benefits.
Walnuts are rich in fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants such as vitamin E. A study published by Diabetes Care found that 2 ounces a day of walnuts could help improve blood flow and help lower blood pressure.
What to do with it? Walnuts are easy to incorporate into your diet. They’re perfect added to oatmeal, salad, or trail mix.
Almond butter is full of healthy fats and protein. If you are buying a nut butter, however, make sure to look at the ingredients label. You want butters that are unsalted with no added sugar and preservatives.
What to do with it? Almond butter is a fantastic way to change up your standard PB&J sandwich. It’s also delicious with raw apple slices or atop 100 percent whole grain crackers.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.