10 Essential Must Eat Foods


10 Essential Foods That Every Diet Should Include

From time to time our diets really need a kick start. By diet I don’t mean the common response to losing weight, I mean the things that we regularly eat on a daily basis and the foods that makes up your daily eating. What ever you daily diet looks like whether you’re a burger binger or regularly on some sort of fad diet the chances are there you are missing some vital vitamins and minerals to ensure a pukker immune and keep the risk of diseases at bay.

The combination of busy lifestyles, work pressures and lack of cooking inspiration means all too often our eating habits can fall by the wayside. It’s easy to cook a bit of pasta and add a jar of sauce which feeds a hungry tummy but over a period of time the dullness of such a diet just make you crave for some of the naughtier foods that pack in superficial flavour such as burgers, takeaways and ready meals. The packaging and visual imagery is tempting, and much work has gone into making it tasty but the vitamin and mineral value of such foods is largely lacking. Whilst it may seemingly give you energy in the short term it may not actually nourishing you in many of the other vitamins and mineral that are essentially to steady maintainance of all of the bodies functions for longevity, fitness and well being.

So if you looking a inspiration and want to add some powerpacked nuggets into your diet here are 10 key ingredients that should be incorporated into everyday eating some way or another.

Here are my all time dessert island essential 10 favourites:

10 Essential Foods That Every Diet Should Include

1) Salmon- a meaty fish that’s full Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon contains more Omega 3 than most other white fish. Omega 3 fats are needed for the body’s normal growth and development. They are used to maintain the membranes of all cells. There is increasing evidence that Omega 3 fats, when eaten regularly can reduce the chances of heart disease. Omega 3 fats are also vital for normal brain function. It’s particularly important for mothers-to-be to get the correct levels of Omega 3 from dietary sources throughout pregnancy, as it is needed for the development of a baby’s brain and eyes.

Some people fear mercury poisoning when it comes to eating fish, but don’t let it stop you from eating salmon. Like everything else, moderation is the key. So whether you throw it on the grill or pop it in the oven, make sure your personal menu places salmon near the top of the protein section.

2) Broccoli- One of the most versatile vegetables, broccoli is great in a stir fries and even steamed in salads, it really does make a great healthy side dish sprinkled with a little cheese and grilled. Broccoli is rich in fibre rich, high in anti oxidants and will regulate your bowel motions. Its mineral rich content will help promote proper hormonal balance and is known to ward off cancer. Its also in season all year round and relatively cheap as a vegetable.

3) Eggs – Little know fact – Eggs contain 6 grams of protein per egg. Its also contains 5 grams of fat, but don’t be alarmed – its exactly the kind of fat you want to eat, remember your diet should consist of at least 30% good fat each day. Unfortunately eggs are labeled with being high in cholesterol, that’s not true – you should be looking to eat about 4 eggs per week. Have it as a scrambled eggs for breakfast or as an omelette with loads of vegetables for dinner.

4) Quinoa- pronounced “kee-noh-uh” or “keen-wah” , is a bit of a super food! and is gaining popularity with more than just vegetarians. Quinoa provides protein and is rich in all 9 amino acids. It also contain 5 grams of fibre per serving and a wide array of vitamins, Quinoa is also a cancer deterrent, great to reduce the chances of heart disease, and apparently very good to shift a migraine headaches.

5) Oatmeal- is full of whole grain goodness which soaks up stress and anxiety. It’s a fabulous way to start the day and set you up fighting fit for action, bring it on! Whole grains are essentially soluble fibre which keeps the bowel motion regular and cleans the colon. The best way to eat it would be with fruit berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries etc, also high in anti oxidants) or with a banana sliced up into it.

6) Celery- Forget the nonsense about negative calories – there’s no such thing. But Celery is very low in calories yet totally power packed – Double digits actually in minerals for example: Vitamin, A,C,E,E,K and the all important ZINC. Celery is also known to excellent cancer fighting phthalides and polyacetylenes. Make soup, its very good. Munch on it raw as a snack, keeps the mouth refreshed as well.

7) Kiwi – I am surprised Kiwi’s arent more popular seeing as they are among the most nutritionally dense fruits and full of antioxidants. One large kiwi supplies your daily requirement for vitamin C. Kiwi’s are also high in potassium and of course fibre as well as Vitamin A & E believe it not. If you’re struggling with bowel motions, then here’s the good nesw – their also a mild laxative.

8) Berries – are a powerhouse when it comes to anti oxidants, excellent for the immune system, low in calories, high in fibre, and brilliant way of combat spiking blood sugar levels. Blueberries are amongst my favorite of the berries because of their colour which contains lots of beneficial properties and cancer fighting enzymes. Don’t be a snob about using frozen fruit for desserts, purees or smoothies, freezing them locks in the goodness that often fresh don’t if they’ve travelled are or not quite as fresh. Have for breakfast with yoghurt or as a dessert. Use Agave syrup or honey to sweeten if they’re a little tart.

9 Yoghurt – food of the gods in India, Dairy products are very compact in their nutrient value and contains practically every type of nutrient your body needs. Yoghurt is excellent for its calcuim – and much more so than other dairy products as well as protein and potassium. Plain yoghurt may seem very boring but actually it has lots of by product benefits. Yoghurt is enriched with probiotics for a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, and beneficial, heart-healthy plant stanols.

Strangely enough – if you are lactose intolerant you may actually be more tolerant to Yoghurt than milk.

10) Finally Lentils, legumes or Beans are packed with nutrition. They are very good for your heart, helping to lower your cholesterol and of course high in fibre. Lentils are a low fat protein unlike meat or fish so excellent if you are on a diet, but also a low fat carb. (lentils are looking good already) Lentils release energy slowly – thus having a low glycemic index – keeping you full for longer, definatley a dieters best friend. A great and tasty dish is of course Tadka Daal. I’ve included the recipe for Tadka Daal here as it’s a bit of a special one!

A Recipe for Tadka Daal

Serves 4


200g Channa daal or split yellow peas

100g yellow mong daal

1.5 litres of hot water (or double the amount of lentils)

2 fresh green chillies – chopped

¼ tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt or to taste

2 tsp fresh ginger

Handful of fresh coriander

For the tadka

1 ½ tbsp of ghee

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tomato sliced into 1/8th

1 or 1 whole green chillies slit up to ¾ way up


Wash and soak lentils for 1 hour in boiling water, drain and put into a large pan with hot water.Bring to the boil over a high heat spooning off any frothy scum to the surface. Reduce the heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until soft.
Once cooked add minced green chillies, salt, turmeric, and ginger and mix well – continue to cook for a further 10 minutes so that the spices are well incorporated into the lentils.If the lentils are still very whole just smash a little using the back of the wooden spoon or a hand blender. Once complete add ahandful of fresh coriander.
For the tadka: Heat the ghee in a separate deep base pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and minced garlic and fry until garlic is golden brown but not burnt, add whole green chillies; sizzle for a few seconds before pouring lentils into the tadka. Cook for a few minutes for the flavours to soak in then decant into serving bowl.
Cooks Hint 1: Tadka is the process by which food is given the final seasoning, in this case with spiced ghee to flavour the dish.

Serving Tip: Place tomatoes in the centre and garnish with a little fresh coriander and serve

Written by Kumud Gandhi , Food expert, Writer, Broadcaster and Founder of The Cooking Academy, a cookery school that specialises in Asian Cookery Classes & Corporate cookery team building events. Contact – for further information


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