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Don’t forget about broccoli and beans

Kale, avocado and acai berries dot your social media feeds and fill celebrity diets. They’re hot right now, and with good reason. They’re full of nutrients and vitamins—and they’re delicious. 

While it’s tempting to focus on popular food trends to maintain a healthy diet, don’t forget about old standbys. There are a host of foods that might seem average compared to their trendy counterparts—but they pack a punch of vitamins and nutrients that are anything but boring. 

“Eating a plant-based, balanced diet that’s well-rounded can help you manage your weight and prevent certain diseases,” said Tammy McCormick, a dietician at Geisinger. “Yes, trendy foods like quinoa, chia seeds and jackfruit deliver benefits, too, but don’t lose sight of what you’ve always known to be healthy.”

Here are five foods that may seem boring, but are healthy just the same.

Oatmeal may not look sexy, but it’s an easy and healthy breakfast that’s full of fiber that can lower bad cholesterol and make you feel full. Oatmeal is also low in fat and includes folate, magnesium and zinc. 

Instant oatmeal, rolled oats and steel-cut oats all provide some benefit; however, steer clear of pre-packaged and flavored varieties. These usually include added sugar. Instead, choose plain oatmeal and top it with fresh fruit or some unsalted walnuts or almonds for a hearty breakfast. 

Your parents forced you to eat broccoli when you were a kid for good reason! Broccoli is high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and several B vitamins. It’s a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which may help protect against certain types of cancer. Broccoli is also high in vitamin A, which can promote good vision.

It’s a versatile vegetable that can be steamed, roasted and incorporated into many salads and side dishes. 

Beans, including black beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), kidney beans, navy beans and pinto beans, not only taste good, they’re also full of protein, folate, magnesium, zinc, iron and antioxidants that can help you build muscle, reduce risk of cancer, boost your heart health and stabilize your blood sugar. 

“Beans are nutritional powerhouses that we recommend adding into your diet,” said McCormick. “There are many varieties and they can be prepared in a variety of ways, making them easy to add to your diet.”

Tomatoes are one of the original superfoods, full of nutrients that can help prevent cancer, lower your risk of diabetes and help you maintain a normal blood pressure. 

“Tomatoes also contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against certain cancers, may reduce the risk of heart attacks in women and gives the fruit its red color,” said McCormick. 

Yes, in a world full of fancy teas, kombucha and even calorie-free seltzer, one drink still rules them all: plain water. Water keeps you hydrated, makes your skin glow, flushes toxins, prevents muscle cramps and can help you control your weight—all while being completely calorie free. 

“The amount of water you should drink each day varies depending on how much water you get from food, how active you are, your age, sex, whether or not you’re breastfeeding and a number of other factors,” said McCormick. “Most people can use thirst as their guide for getting enough water. Choosing water over sugar-sweetened drinks can also help you maintain a healthy weight and stay hydrated.”

Tammy McCormick, RDN, is a dietician at Geisinger. For more information click here.
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