In Genius Foods, my book with coauthor Paul Grewal, M.D., you’ll find an eating plan that’s both nutritious and delicious. Make these easy swaps and watch your weight drop, your brainpower surge, and your tastebuds rejoice.
On your salad
Shake on …
Salted pistachios to take in heart-healthy fats with a satisfying crunch.
Croutons. Many packaged croutons are made with refined flour and hydrogenated oils.
Drizzle on …
DIY dressing. It’s easy. Just combine equal parts extra-virgin olive oil and an acid (lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon). Then, season to taste with salt and pepper. You get your
healthy fats without the sugar.
Commercial salad dressing. These are typically made with cheap oils. And beware of sweet ingredients!
At the coffee shop
Iced coffee. For minimal calories, you drink in a big antioxidant payload.
Frozen coffee drinks. They’re brimming with calories, mostly from sugar.
Dig into …
Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt. It’s protein-packed, so you stay fuller longer. Plus, research shows that people who eat full-fat yogurt have better metabolic health than those who eat low-fat varieties.
Regular yogurt, sweetened with “fruit.” You’ll consume less protein and often way more sugar.
Pasture-raised eggs. Compared to conventional eggs, they have more omega-3s and more beta-carotene, a pigment with antioxidant properties that protects your body from free radical damage. That’s why the yolks are often more orange.
Conventional eggs. Okay, so they’re not bad for you, but they could be even more nutritious.
Whole eggs. They contain not only protein but also vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and healthy fats.
Egg whites. They contain beneficial minerals but are mostly just protein.
Cook up …
“Spiralized”zucchini. Fiber, minimal carbs, and lots of vitamin C and potassium. Zoodles rule!
Spaghetti. The white stuff is mostly starch, and processing strips most nutrition.
On top of spaghetti
Homemade tomato sauce. Throw a pint of cherry tomatoes into a large skillet with a glug of extra-virgin olive oil and a sliced garlic clove. Heat on medium until a sauce
forms, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Commercial tomato sauce. Food manufacturers often jack up the sugar content and incorporate crummy processed oils, which affect flavor and nutrition.
Shake on …
Nutritional yeast. True to its name, it contains protein, fiber, and B vitamins to help your cells produce energy. It tastes similar to the shake-on stuff you’d normally use.
Pregrated“Parmesan”cheese. Nutritionally, it doesn’t bring much to the table. The real stuff tastes better too!
To bookend a burger
Grilled portabello mushroom cap. You’ll score fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Just brush it lightly with extra-virgin olive oil and grill over direct, high heat until tender.
White bread burger bun. It’s often made from refined flour, which is empty calories.
On a burger
Hummus. Weird? Maybe. Nutritious? Heck yeah. You’ll receive a little protein and fiber, plus a luscious creamy texture.
Ketchup. It contains a whole lot of sugar. What are you, 12?
To build a taco
Romaine lettuce leaf. It has very few calories and contains some essential vitamins and minerals.
Flour tortilla. It’s typically calorie-dense and made with refined flour.
On a spoonful of peanut butter
Top with …
Cacao nibs. They don’t have sugar. They do have disease-fighting flavanols.
Milk chocolate chips. You’ll just be adding sugar.
As a snack
Scoop with …
Cucumber slices. They’re mostly water, plus some fiber, and can handle a hefty load of guacamole.
Tortilla chips. They’re often oily, empty carbohydrates
You should also be aware that healthy snacks are actually just junk food in disguise.
Here are five you should avoid:
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