If you’re hoping to start a healthy, well-balanced diet, you may be asking yourself what is absolutely essential that you eat every day.  With so much conflicting information and a number of fad diets going mainstream, it can be tough to tell what the simplest and smartest way to eat really is.  Here are five essentials to ensure you stay on the right track, according to Men’s Journal.

Lean Protein

Protein is part of every cell in the body.  It’s the building block of our bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood, and our hair and nails are made mostly of it.  Depriving yourself of protein can weaken the body.  Turkey, chicken, and pork are the best way to load up on lean protein without ingesting too much saturated fat.  If you are a vegetarian, get your protein in the form of beans, nuts, and dairy products.


Berries are loaded with antioxidants that help ward off unwanted toxins and inflammation in the body, boosting energy levels and mood.  They may also help regulate blood sugar and the body’s insulin response.  Berries are high in fiber, which aids in digestion.  They’ve also been proven to lower cholesterol and improve the appearance of your hair, skin, and nails.

High fiber cereal

Starting the day with a dose of fiber is great for promoting proper digestion.  Fiber also helps to regular blood sugar and reduce cholesterol levels, and it has been proven to aid in weight management.  And, as an added bonus, it can actually help you to live longer.

Cruciferous Veggies

These include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy.  Cruciferous veggies are low in calories and high in fiber and essential nutrients.  They help protect the body against certain types of cancers by reducing oxidative stress levels and stimulating enzymes needed to fight carcinogens.  Cauliflower can be a great substitute for many bread-based foods and is often a go-to resource for those who eat gluten-free.


Nuts are low in carbs and a great source of several nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium and selenium, as well as protein.  They’re chalked full of antioxidants and can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  Nuts are also rich in poly-saturated fats (the good kind), amino acids, and aid with weight loss.  Almonds are great for the hair, skin, and nails and walnuts have been proven to help you sleep better.

It’s important to get a wide variety of good-for-you food options.  Consuming several small meals throughout the day rather than gorging on only two or three hefty servings also helps with digestion, nutrient absorption, and weight management.  The best strategy for maintaining a long-lasting diet commitment is to keep it simple and straightforward!