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163 calories per 3-oz serving
Eat 3-4 servings per week
It's not only high in muscle-building amino acids, it's also a powerhouse of iron and zinc, which aid circulatory health. In fact, beef is so nutrient-dense that a three-ounce serving supplies more than 10% of your recommended daily intake of a number of nutrients, including protein, B6 and B12, selenium, phosphorus, niacin, and riboflavin. Worried about the fat? Don't. According to USDA data, today's beef is up to 20% leaner than it was a decade ago. In fact, 19 cuts of beef meet government guidelines as being a lean meat. To keep the meat you're buying lean as well as tender and flavorful, opt for cuts with the words round or top in the name-things like eye round roast, top round, or top sirloin steak.
9) Whole-Wheat Bread
140 calories per 2 slices
Eat 6 slices per week
White flour doesn't just rob you of fiber and protein, it also digests incredibly quickly in the body, giving you a rapid spike of energy-but one that comes crashing down just as fast. Over time, those spikes in insulin production wear on the body, damaging cells and promoting excess storage of fat. So why would you ever eat white bread?
"Even if you're cutting carbs, there's still a place for complex whole grains in your diet," says Mohr. "They leave you feeling fuller longer, and they provide the longest possible supply of sustained energy." Just watch out when you're buying something that claims to be whole grain. It may only look brown because it's colored with molasses. Rather than buying based on color, check the ingredient list. The only true whole-grain products are those that contain 100% whole wheat or whole grain listed as the first ingredient on the packaging.
82 calories per 1/2-oz serving
Eat 3 servings per week
High in protein, fiber, and vitamin E, almonds are great for your heart, digestive system, and skin. Although they're also loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, some guys avoid them because they're so calorie-dense. But that's a mistake. Gary Fraser, Ph.D., a professor of medicine at Loma Linda University in California, studied folks who added two ounces of almonds to their diet on a regular basis. Turns out they had no significant weight change. "Since nuts are such a hard food, it appears that a significant amount of their calories are never absorbed into the body," he says.
To work more almonds into your diet, try keeping a bag of dry-roasted or lightly seasoned almonds in your desk drawer at work-and snack on a handful rather than hitting the vending machine. You can also blend almond butter into smoothies, or use it in place of peanut butter to make an, uh, AB&J sandwich.
154 calories per cup
Get 3 servings of dairy per day
Yogurt has all the benefits of milk, plus active cultures that boost the number of germ-fighting bacteria along your intestinal walls, says Mueller. Why does that matter? It helps keep you from getting sick. Studies show that people who eat yogurt most often are less likely to catch a cold than people who rarely eat the stuff. Like milk, yogurt contains calcium that not only boosts fat-burning but also helps you feel satiated, making it an ideal food for weight loss. "Try to buy yogurt that is less than a week old to ensure you're getting the most benefit from the active cultures," she says. (The later the product's expiration date, the newer it is.) One word of caution: Most yogurt is packed with added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. To see our favorite lower-carb brands, flip to page 26.
7 calories per cup
Eat 2-3 servings per week
What do button-down dietitians have in common with brawl-happy cartoon sailors? They all love their spinach! And for good reason. One serving of these leafy greens is loaded with fiber, calcium, and virtually your entire day's recommended dosage of beta carotene, a nutrient vital for immune-system health, good vision, but not-as far as we know-huge wrist flexors.
If you can't stand spinach plain, Katherine Tallmadge, R.D., author of Diet Simple, suggests dropping it into burritos, pasta dishes and canned soup.
31 calories per cup
Eat 2-3 half-cup servings per week
This fleshy green should be at the top of your list when it comes to vegetables. It's rich with a healthy supply of iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamin C, meaning it's good for the circulatory system, bones, and fighting colds. "As far as vegetables go, this is the one I try hardest to get more guys to eat," says Niki Kubiak, R.D., a private practice nutritionist in Omaha, Neb. Brocco-phobic? Try it on the sly: Slip it into stir-fries, onto pizza, or use raw chunks as a vehicle for your favorite dip.
83 calories per cup
Eat 4 servings per week
Yes, it's true that tomatoes used to be called "love apples" and have a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. But that lore has nothing to do with why we picked the tomato as the best food for sexual health. Rather, tomatoes win their place on our chart-and their relatively high ranking overall-because of a single nutrient: lycopene.
This powerful antioxidant, which comes from the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color, may actually help fight off a number of diseases and ailments-most important for men, prostate cancer. Numerous studies show that men who have the most tomatoes and tomato-based products in their diet are less likely to develop prostate problems than men who rarely eat the stuff. And the good news for guys on the run: Tomatoes are also that rare food that's more nutritious when cooked than when eaten raw. "Lycopene becomes more bio-available to the body after it's been heated," says nutritionist David Ricketts, a prostate-cancer sufferer who used his disease as the motivation for writing the cookbook Eat to Beat Prostate Cancer. "You can start off the day with a glass of tomato juice and have a tomato-based sauce a couple of times a week. However you can work it in, you're pretty much on the way."
148 calories per half cup
Eat 3-4 servings per week
When it comes to eating breakfast in the morning, there's nothing better than a bowl of oatmeal to spike your energy levels and provide you with an hours-long supply of fuel. Oatmeal is also filled with stress-fighting and immunity-boosting zinc.
If that weren't enough to convince you to pop a bowl in the microwave, keep in mind that oatmeal can also help promote weight loss and lower your risk of heart disease. Oatmeal is filled with high levels of soluble fiber that protect your heart and arteries by trapping and expelling cholesterol, dropping levels by up to 30 points or more in some cases, says Kubiak.
The best oatmeal may not be the most convenient, however. Those flavored, single-serving packs that litter grocery-store aisles are often filled with added sugar-and therefore excess calories. Instead, stick with the big tub of instant oatmeal and add your own fruit and calorie-free sweeteners, if you need them.
41 calories per half cup
Eat 1-2 cups per week
Of all the fruit you can eat, blueberries may be the absolute best. Whether you're getting them raw, tossed into cereal, mixed in fruit salad or a smoothie, blueberries pack more fiber, vitamins, and minerals per ounce than any other fruit in the produce aisle. Chief among those nutrients are free-radical-fighting antioxidants. Free radicals, which increase in number as you get older, travel around your body damaging cells, promoting disease, and triggering signs of premature aging. And blueberries harness the firepower to knock them out of service.
Need another reason to eat them? How about your memory? Those same antioxidants that fight disease are also effective in helping keep connections between cells in your brain and nervous system healthy, ensuring clearer, quicker thinking and the best memory possible.
121 calories per 3-oz serving
Eat 3-4 servings per week
Salmon tops our list for a number of reasons, but the biggest has got to be because its so densely stuffed with omega-3's. These fatty acids are thought to slow memory loss as you age and boost heart health by regulating heart rhythms and keeping arteries and veins supple and free of blockages. While saturated fats lead to obesity, the polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish appear to correct and prevent obesity, according to a study published in Clinical Science.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Salmon is also an excellent source of protein. A three-ounce cooked serving contains 20 grams-making it ideal for building muscle and trimming fat. Besides helping stimulate your metabolism three to four times more than carbs or fat, protein is the absolute best food for helping fill you up, so you take in fewer calories and burn more. And that's what being a fit food is all about.