The Best Superfoods for Your 20s
Your goal: Fall in love with energy-revving convenience foods.
You've entered the "real world" (career, bills, living on your own), and you're maintaining a packed social calendar. Maybe you've started a family, too -- or you're planning to. Amid all that chaos, these easy-prep foods make healthy eating practically foolproof.
Kick your junk-food habit with snack-worthy produce -- anything you can slice and dunk in hummus. Bell peppers and cauliflower are rich in folate, a B vitamin that helps prevent birth defects and depression. Filling up on raw veggies can also curb breakouts, says dietitian Ashley Koff.
This low-calorie thirst-quencher (and hangover remedy) is one of nature's top sources of potassium (most women in their 20s get less than half the recommended amount) -- a mineral that helps keep your skin glowing and metabolism running smoothly, Koff says. Other key sources include sweet potatoes, bananas and sunflower seeds.
"Young women tend to eat a lot of refined flour in white bread and pasta," Koff says. But opting instead for fiber-and nutrient-packed whole grains like quinoa (which also offers protein) helps trim belly fat, says dietitian David Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.
Low-fat greek yogurt
Getting three servings of calcium and vitamin-D-rich dairy every day is the no-fail method that most experts recommend to strengthen bones before 30, when you start losing bone mass. Mozzarella string cheese sticks are another great on-the-go option.
Women in their 20s are more likely than those in any other age group to choose sugary foods. To satisfy sweet cravings, Koff suggests keeping a stash of frozen fruit. Berries, mango slices and pineapple chunks are perfect for tossing into smoothies or yogurt, "and you don't have to worry about them going bad," Koff points out.
Chicken (and eggs)
This age group often falls short on high-quality, hunger-squashing protein, Koff says. Rather than reaching for fatty processed meats, stock up on chicken, lean beef or eggs. (If you're pregnant, they're a top source of choline, a nutrient essential to brain development.)