Do you ever wonder how fit people have found success? Nutrition and physical activity go hand and hand. You need carbohydrates and fats for fuel, protein to build and maintain lean muscle and vitamins and minerals to help both metabolism and tissue construction. Fit people tend to eat mainly whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, veggies and whole grains; all full of protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Here's a peek into a fit person's food arsenal.
1. Water: This staple carries nutrients throughout the body and keeps your body hydrated. You've always heard the rule of thumb — 8 glasses a day — but the Mayo Clinic estimates the average female should have around 2.2 liters, or 9 cups, each day.
2. Milk: We all know it is a great source of calcium, vitamins and minerals. It is naturally rich and offers a unique balance of protein and carbs. It is also good for your bones, blood and muscles.
3. Cottage cheese: The nutritional rap sheet for cottage cheese is pretty darn good, plus it's low in calories and carbohydrates but high in protein. FitDay also estimates that a serving of cottage cheese contains about 8 percent of your suggested daily calcium intake.
4. Natural peanut butter: This spread is nutritious and filling, full of good fats, potassium, protein and fiber. Peanut butter is also heart healthy and a good source of energy.
5. Greek yogurt: Like cottage cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt is low in calories and carbohydrates and high in protein. This is a great snack because the high protein content will keep you feeling fuller longer. Click here for 50 ways to lose weight with Greek yogurt.
6. Eggs: A breakfast tradition, eggs are rich in high quality protein (protein containing all essential amino acids) and B12. Women's Health also reports that women with a high intake of Choline, found mostly in the yolk, are 24% less likely to get breast cancer. Click here for eggs 7 ways.
7. Almonds: Raw or roasted, almonds have good fats, lots of fiber, and antioxidants. They are also a great snack if you're looking to lower your cholesterol.
8. Fish: Rich in high quality protein and omega-3, fish is known to protect against heart disease and aids in the development of the brain. Fish is also low fat, and like most seafood, contains important minerals like zinc, iron, iodine and selenium.
9. Blueberries: These popular berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants you can find. They can be easily frozen without damaging any of their health properties. Just be sure you're getting your blueberries raw, and not in sugary desserts! A great way to enjoy blueberries is covered in yogurt. Check out the video below or click here to see the recipe.
10. Air-popped popcorn: Depending on how you prepare it, popcorn can be a great snack! Skip the pre-buttered microwave popcorn and invest in a small air popper. With a device like this, you don't have to worry about popping it with unhealthy and messy oils. Popcorn is a great add in for healthy trail mix. Try our skinny version by clicking here!
11. Strawberries: This fan-favorite fruit has 3 grams of fiber and as much vitamin C per cup as orange juice — without the added sugar. They, like blueberries, are also a good source of antioxidants. They don't keep for very long, however, so eat up! One tasty way to eat strawberries is to stuff them with lightened-up cheesecake! Get the details here or watch the video below.
12. Oatmeal: A great way to start your day is with a hot bowl of oatmeal. It contains 6 grams of protein per cup and is full of fiber that protects against high blood pressure and diabetes. It's a great weight loss food and can help reduce your cholesterol.
>> Read more: Skinny Mom's Guide to Oatmeal
13. Quinoa: This fiber-filled food is actually a seed that is prepared like rice. Quinoa has high-quality proteins bursting with amino acids. It's also a good source of iron, magnesium and lysine. The Skinny Mom Team loves quinoa — check out our Clean Eating Quinoa Salad here!
14. Potatoes: Normally potatoes get a bad rap, but they are actually filled with potassium, fiber and B & C vitamins. Just be careful not to load on the butter, sour cream and bacon bits!
15. Hummus: This tasty dip is a low-calorie snack, full of fiber and good fats, and low in carbohydrates. Hummus will help to control your appetite so you can hold out until dinner without pigging out! Try making your own hummus! We have Mediterranean Herb Hummus, Green Goddess Hummus, and even Southwestern Black Bean Hummus recipes.
16. Avocados: You should think about adding some of these bad boys to your next salad, and not just for the taste or texture! Avocados are loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamins C, K & B6, plus a dose of good fats.
17. Whole wheat bread: A loaf of this bread has significant amounts of fiber, vitamins B & E, minerals and antioxidants, plus it reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Be wary, though! If the label doesn't say 100% whole grain or whole wheat, you may be getting tricked into a less healthy option.
18. Red, green and yellow Peppers: Peppers are low in carbohydrates and calories and high in antioxidants and rich in vitamins A & C. They make a great addition to an omelet or stir fry, and are even good to snack on raw.
19. Dark chocolate: Yum! This treat is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It also lowers your blood pressure, reduces the risk of stroke and Type 2 diabetes and increases blood flow to the brain. But be careful when you are buying! Soren Dreier warns that you'll want at least 70 percent cocoa and nothing sweeter than bitter-sweet. Click here for 8 ways to eat more dark chocolate.