These 9 Recipes Are Healthier Than You'd Think

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Fuel up with good-for-you grains and fats
These 9 Recipes Are Healthier Than You'd Think
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A healthy diet contains a variety of foods.

Popular diet advice can be confusing; it's always changing, and it often contradicts itself. One day, low-fat diets are in, and the next, avocado and olive oil are "good-for-you fats" that help you lose weight by keeping you fuller longer. It's almost impossible to know what we should (and shouldn't) be eating. The result of these ever-changing dietary recommendations? We mistakenly believe that some of the foods that our bodies need to function should be avoided. We're simply afraid to eat certain healthy foods.

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One of the nutrients most stigmatized by shifting dietary advice is fat. Fat plays an important role in our bodies, and it is essential for good health. Eat too little fat and your body won’t be able to absorb certain essential vitamins. Some signs that you don’t have enough fat in your diet? Your skin may dry out, you might have difficulty concentrating, and you’ll have a hard time staying warm. Yet, despite the importance of fat in our diets, the recent popularity of low-fat or no-fat diets has led us to believe that foods with fat are bad for us. In reality, eating heart-healthy unsaturated fats can help us stay fuller longer — which makes it easier to control what we eat the rest of the day. The key is choosing the right kinds of fats and controlling our portion sizes.

Even diets that don't limit fat have a tendency to point to one single ingredient or nutrient as the cause of weight-loss or weight-maintenance failure. Low- or no-carb diets are another great example; they have led us to believe that lots of healthy, whole-grain foods are bad for us. Healthy carbohydrates not only help us stay full and eat less over the course of the day, but can also help stabilize blood sugar and encourage our bodies to burn stored fat. As with fats, choosing the right carbohydrates and eating them in the right proportions help us stay healthy.

Many nutritionists agree that the key to staying healthy is eating a variety of wholesome foods and controlling portion sizes. If you’re ready to take a more balanced approach to healthy eating — and incorporate a wider range of foods into your diet — we’ve got 9 great recipes to get you started.

Casarecce with Swordfish and Eggplant

Barilla


This flavorful and easy-to-make pasta dish can help promote brain health. The combination of the omega-3 fatty acids in the fish and the complex carbohydrates in the pasta will protect your brain cells, improve your mood, and help your brain function at its best. If you can’t find the casarecce that this recipe calls for, substitute another shape of pasta that can stand up to a chunky sauce, like cavatelli or penne.

Chicken, Avocado, and Cheddar Melt

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Any sandwich labeled “melt” has the potential to pack a ton of fat and calories, but this delicious version has all the flavor and none of the guilt. With wholesome whole grain bread, lean chicken, and creamy avocado replacing mayonnaise, this melt will keep you fuller longer, making it easier for you to stick to your healthy eating plan.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

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