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BestReviews nutrition expert shares delicious foods that are more nutritious than you think

Expertly reviewed by Molly Bremer

Eating healthy doesn't have to mean giving up on your favorite flavors. Nutrient-dense foods contain tons of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients, which are essential for a body that functions properly and feels good. Plus, they taste more delicious than you might think. We asked BestReviews nutrition expert Molly Bremer about her favorite foods whose nutrition content might surprise you.

In this article: All-Clad Stainless Steel Steamer 5-Quart CookwareArchitec EcoSmart PolyFlax Cutting Board and T-fal AirBake Nonstick Pizza Pan.

What does 'eating healthy' mean to you?

It's a popular New Year's resolution, but "eating better" can mean different things to different people. If you're setting this goal for the new year, being specific can increase your chances of success.

"As a dietitian," Bremer says, "I ask my clients to define what the word 'healthy' means to them." She cautions against trying to lose weight by limiting certain foods, because such diet changes are difficult to accomplish and frequently don't result in long-term weight change. Instead, incorporate lean protein, fiber and fruits and vegetables into your diet and set measurable, achievable goals for meals and exercise.

She also cautions against setting goals that are too rigid. "Are you able to meet your friends for Taco Tuesdays or Sunday brunch?" she asks. "Or is your ‘clean eating’ mindset taking up mental space and holding you back from enjoying your social activities?"

While it's important to add nutrient-dense foods to our diets to improve our physical health, it's also important to consider our mental, emotional and spiritual health. Cutting out foods or situations that bring you joy won't help you develop long-term healthy eating habits. Bremer encourages taking a holistic view toward health and "cultivating a positive, healthy relationship to food."

Unexpectedly nutrient-dense foods

  • Pizza can actually be a well-balanced meal or snack. It contains all three major macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) and it's portable, versatile and delicious. For additional nutrients, top your pizza with chicken, protein-packed mushrooms or vitamin-rich bell peppers or garlic.
  • Dates contribute fiber as well as vitamin A, potassium, antioxidants and other nutrients. They taste sweet and rich. You can use dates as a more nutrient-dense swap for white sugar or snack on them alongside cheese and nuts. "I recommend dipping them in nut butter and eating with chocolate chips or coconut flakes," says Bremer.
  • Full-fat yogurt has better texture and flavor than low-fat or non-fat yogurt. It makes smoothies luscious, and can be mixed with olive oil and spices for an easy sauce or dip at dinnertime. "You will be pleasantly surprised by how creamy the texture is and how satiating the meal or snack is," says Bremer.
  • Quiche is an easy, delicious meal that's easy to make from ingredients you most likely already have, such as eggs and dairy, which are full of protein, vitamin B12 and calcium. Bremer suggests adding your favorite veggies and baking the quiche in a store-bought pie crust.
  • Oatmeal may not be tasty on its own, but with a few easy additions, "you have yourself a breakfast you might actually want to wake up for," says Bremer. She recommends stirring in milk, butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, nuts, nut butter, and/or fruit to add flavor and nutrients to oatmeal's fiber, protein and manganese.

Best products for nutritious cooking

All-Clad Stainless Steel Steamer 5-Quart Cookware

"Steaming is the best cooking method to preserve nutrients," says Bremer. Avoid nutrients — and flavor — leaching out of your food by steaming it in this roomy 5-quart pot. It's safe to use on induction cooktops and it's big enough for large heads of broccoli or several pounds of potatoes.

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Kitchen Deluxe Vegetable Steamer Basket

This classic collapsible steamer basket can be used in saucepans on the stovetop as well as most sizes of instant pots. It collapses for easy storage and expands to more than 9 inches across. It comes with  a safety tool to easily lift it out of pots.

Sold by Amazon

Architec EcoSmart PolyFlax Cutting Board

This cutting board helps reduce waste: it's made from recycled food-grade plastic. It can withstand sharp knife cuts and won't absorb food odors. It comes in three colors so you can match to your kitchen decor or color-code to prevent cross-contamination.

Sold by Amazon

TeChef 12-Inch Art Pan Wok

Bremer also recommends stir-frying foods as a way to retain more nutrients, since it cooks food quickly. Try a wok such as this well-made Korean model, constructed with five layers of aluminum. It's nonstick and features higher side walls to keep food contained.

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Maldon Sea Salt Flakes

A little salt goes a long way toward making food taste better. This respected brand offers sea salt flakes that are easy to incorporate into food. They're made using traditional techniques, with no additives.

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NutriBullet ZNBF30500Z Blender

Make smoothies, sauces or even your own nut butters with this powerful blender. It has three speeds and easy controls, including a pulse function. The durable pitcher is dishwasher-safe.

Sold by Amazon, Best Buy and Target

Cuisinart Alfrescamore Pizza Grilling Stone

This 13-inch pizza stone heats up quickly to easily make personal pizzas or calzones. It's made from durable cordierite, a ceramic stone-like material that can resist thermal shock. It can be used on the grill as well as in the oven.

Sold by Amazon and Best Buy

T-fal AirBake Nonstick Pizza Pan

This nonstick pizza pan is great for family pizza night. It measures nearly 16 inches across and features perforations to help create a perfectly crispy crust.

Sold by Amazon and Target

"Just Add Sauce: A Revolutionary Guide to Boosting the Flavor of Everything You Cook"

You can dress up vegetables, replicate your favorite takeout dish or simmer satisfying proteins with this creative cookbook. It features hundreds of recipes for sauces that can be used as marinades, salad dressing, pasta sauce, stir-fry and even dessert.

Sold by Amazon and Target

Stasher Silicone Reusable Storage Bags, 4-Pack Bundle

Stasher bags make healthy eating a little easier. Because they're reusable, they're an eco-friendly way to hold precut veggies for snacks instead of using plastic bags. You can put them in the freezer and even use them as cooking vessels in the microwave or sous vide. Plus, they're made from food-grade silicone.

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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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