In this article:
- Legumes: Protein + Resistant Starch
- Fish: Fat + Protein
- Oats: Fiber + Protein
- Eggs: Fat + Protein
- Tofu or Tempeh: Fiber + Protein
- Sauerkraut: Fiber + Probiotics
- Seeds: Fiber + Fat
It’s hard to stuff enough good-for-you ingredients into your daily menu. There are so many things — protein, fiber, healthy fats, not to mention the seemingly endless list of vitamins and minerals — but there is only so much volume your stomach can hold!
1. Legumes: Protein + Resistant Starch
Loved by many vegans and vegetarians for their impressive count of plant-based proteins, legumes are the fruits or seeds (depending on which legume) from the plants of the family Fabaceae.
In addition to being high in fiber and protein, legumes are rich in the B vitamins and can help reduce cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and increase healthy gut microbes.
Try it: Add chickpeas and lentils to hot soups or chili for an added boost of flavor, texture, protein, and fiber. Also, try making your own chickpea hummus to eat with whole-grain chips or vegetables.
2. Fish: Fat + Protein
There’s no denying that fish boasts an impressive nutritional profile. Fish are chock-full of healthy omega-3s and omega-6s that promote a healthy heart, along with protein we need for maintaining our strength.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week, and Dr. G seconds that — just make sure to enjoy fish that are low in mercury!
Try it: Pan-fry some mahi-mahi with extra virgin olive oil and Hawaiian-inspired spices, or quickly sear a tuna steak over high heat. Eat your fish with a side of roasted vegetables, quinoa, or over a bed of whole-grain pasta with light olive oil and vinegar sauce.
3. Oats: Fiber + Protein
Compared to other grains, oats are loaded with dietary fiber that can help the good microbes in your gut flourish, as well as promote a whole range of other health benefits, including heart health, brain health, and reduced appetite. Also, one cup of oats provides 6 grams of precious protein.
Try it: Prepare a container of oats with mashed banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, berries, and your milk of choice. Let it sit overnight in the fridge for a hearty and tasty breakfast the next morning.
4. Eggs: Fat + Protein
Back in the day, many people thought eggs were anti-nutritious and the cause of high cholesterol. Thankfully, science has debunked that myth and you can enjoy eggs in all their nutritious glory!
A very high-quality and inexpensive source of protein, eggs also contain plenty of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron, and copper.
Try it: Scramble eggs together with sauteed onions, peppers, leafy greens, and mushrooms. Sprinkle in some high-quality, low-fat cheddar cheese for an extra burst of flavor and fat to keep you full. Serve alongside a piece or two of whole-grain toast or fruit.
5. Tofu or Tempeh: Fiber + Protein
Despite the ongoing debate about soy products — tofu and tempeh both serve as wonderful double-duty foods, supplying your body with ample fiber and protein. Tofu is made from condensed soy milk in a process similar to making cheese.
Tempeh is made from whole soybeans that are fermented into a dense, chewy cake-like substance. Both of these soy-based foods retain the nutrient profile of soy. Eat these for lots of manganese, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and zinc.
Try it: Use tofu or tempeh as a meat substitute in just about any dish. Try crumbling tofu or tempeh and sauteeing it with onions, peppers, and Spanish-inspired seasonings to make a delicious taco or burrito filling.
6. Sauerkraut: Fiber + Probiotics
When it comes to gut health, sauerkraut reigns as one of the best available foods. Particularly nutritious because it’s fermented, sauerkraut provides loads of fiber and probiotics, along with vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, folate, and more nutrients — it’s one of the best foods you can eat for gut health.
Try it: Choose an unpasteurized sauerkraut (or make your own at home) and use it to top salads, sandwiches, and tacos, or eat it on its own as a side dish.
7. Seeds: Fiber + Fat
One of the best natural sources of dietary fiber, seeds also serve as a tasty portion of healthy fats. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds are among the healthiest of seeds, offering up an impressive array of anti-inflammatory compounds, vitamins and minerals, and protein in addition to the fat and fiber they provide.
Try it: For a savory seed dish, simply sprinkle some seeds over a salad, a bowl of whole-grain pasta, or roasted veggies. For something sweeter, try adding seeds to smoothies and smoothie bowls, oatmeal, yogurt, and whole-grain toast with almond butter and cinnamon.
Why you should add these double-duty foods to your diet
The short answer is that they’ll optimize your health by making it easy to fit in all the nutrients you need each day. Each one of these has multiple health-boosting properties, from shiny hair and strong nails to a healthy heart and balanced microbiome, these double-duty foods promote radiant overall health.
If don’t eat them already, give them a whirl, and who knows — you may just find your new favorite superfood.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated for relevancy. Its first publish date was October 27, 2019.