Music can set the mood for a perfect meal. BBQ loves blues. For Cajun, fire up Dixieland. And reggae flows seamlessly with island cuisine. Find the best soundtrack for your palate with foods to make your mouth happy while keeping your tummy humming along.
Certain tasty foods don’t always harmonise with your health. Deep fried dishes might hit the note in the moment, but rarely give you the balanced feeling you’re craving in your diet. And while they make for a yummy treat, sweets and other sugary offerings are rarely good for you. Be sure you’re eating the healthy foods your body needs while giving your taste buds something to sing about.
Strike the right chord with a balanced variety of foods to feed your soul and give you energy to stay active and healthy—you may even try a weight-management kit to jumpstart your journey. Most importantly, find a mix of ingredients you actually want to eat. Lots of us love a simple arugula salad, but day-in, day-out it may start to feel like listening to the same song on repeat.
Here are some healthy headliners for your supper plate. Give them a try paired with some sweet tunes for your next evening meal.
- 28 calories per 20-gram serving
- 2.2 grams of protein
- 2.2 grams of carbohydrates
Zesty and peppery, arugula is a top opening act for any meal. It has a certain bite that keeps you coming back for more. Toss a simple arugula salad with a light dressing of olive oil, lemon, and Himalayan salt. Serve with toasted almonds and shaved parmesan cheese for a crunchy kick—all less than 160 calories per serving. Plus, arugula gives sandwiches and soups an extra oomph while providing vitamins C and K, potassium, and calcium.
- 101 calories per 100-gram serving
- 4 grams of protein
- 35 grams of carbohydrates
This carb never goes out of tune—wild rice is healthy to serve with lean meats or seafood. An aquatic grain from North America, it makes an incredibly nutty guest star for any side dish. A light, earthy flavour and rich chewiness blends with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, Italian parsley, olive oil, and feta cheese for a delicious chilled salad. It’s packed with zinc, copper, manganese, and folate for a nutritious meal.
- 22 calories per cap
- 0 grams of fat
- 4 grams of carbohydrates
A nutritional powerhouse, the portobello mushroom is a spectacular solo artist—especially if you’re looking for a healthy, nutrient-packed meat substitute. Low in calories, fat, and sodium, they’re loaded with antioxidants to help protect your body from free-radical damage. Not only are they nutty with a creamy texture, portobello mushrooms are an excellent source of riboflavin, copper, and potassium. As a side dish or a main entrée, grill the mushroom caps with olive oil, minced shallots, and fresh herbs—or swap your beef hamburger patty with a portobello at your next BBQ.
- 52 calories per fruit
- 0 grams of fat, cholesterol, and sodium
- 64% of daily vitamin C
Tangy, sour, and absolutely delicious are three ways to describe this tropical citrus fruit. Loaded with vitamins C and A, potassium, fibre, and low in calories, grapefruit is a great way to start your morning, or as a sweet(er) treat at the end of the day. Grapefruits are unique. They contain higher levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals than oranges. Given the average grapefruit has 2 grams of fibre, it can help with appetite suppression while delivering a heart-healthy level of potassium. Plus, a grapefruit’s tough skin makes it an ideal snack to bring to work.
- 111 calories per 85-gram serving
- 17 grams of protein
- 0 grams of sugar or carbohydrates
Sardines are a rich food source. Both sustainable and delicious, they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals that target brain, organ, and bone health. For a good source of protein, vitamin B, zinc, magnesium, and selenium, both canned and fresh sardines can fill your dietary needs. Try sardines on toasted sourdough bread with crushed red pepper and basil for a Mediterranean treat.
To take your taste buds to the next level, consider this: a new mindset gives you a fresh food approach. Having a good balance in your diet is a great way to keep your nutrition and health singing in perfect harmony.
Ben Raskin is a bluesman and nutritional expert from West Valley City, Utah. He loves spending time with his pit bull, Magpie, and bike riding. Follow along with his adventures @USANABen.