The Top 10 Foods You Should Be Eating

Throughout my 20 years as a health, wellness and diet writer, I have had the pleasure of meeting many nice and knowledgeable experts, authors and personalities. Leanne Ely ranks at the top of the list – those folks I consider a dear friend as well as a great source.

Leanne ElyYou may know Leanne as The Dinner Diva or you may be aware of her great recipe-driven program, Saving Dinner. Leanne’s philosophy is a lot like ours at Meal Plan Map – if you cook it, they will come. And so too will the benefits of better health, a lighter weight and less stress over the hunger-driven question, “What’s for dinner!”

Her media experience includes multi-city book tours, satellite media tours, QVC several times, as well as guesting on several national television shows, including HGTV’s Simple Solutions, ABC Family’s Living the Life, Ivanhoe’s Smart Woman, Small Talk for Parents and Talk of the Town. She has been a guest chef on the cooking show, Carolina Cooks, and has taught cooking classes all over the country for Bloomingdale’s.



Leanne’s weekly syndicated newspaper column, The Dinner Diva, goes out to over 250 newspapers nationwide and in Canada.

Now, fresh from her adopted home state of Colorado, here are Leanne’s 10 foods you should be eating.



The all-powerful tomato can do all kinds of things, besides make your favorite spaghetti sauce. It’s rich in lycopene, an important nutrient that may lower the risk of all kinds of cancer, prostate included. Plus the vitamin C factor is an added bonus!





I love braised greens (steam them till bright green, then sauté in olive oil and garlic, put a lid on them and let them finish cooking after I turn off the heat). Any kind of green will do, from Swiss chard, to kale, to collard greens. They’re all delicious. I can eat half a pound in one sitting!





I’m a huge fan of nuts, especially raw almonds (and walnuts, too). I place 10 of them in a ramekin and munch them at my desk, lingeringly (it’s too easy to eat too many, so I measure them out). I take my time and they seem to last. I also make up little baggie of almonds to have on hand. One bag of these nuts is always in purse for an emergency snack!





I absolutely adore grilled salmon. It’s gotta be WILD though, if you want the benefit of the omega-3 fatty acids (farm raised doesn’t cut it). My absolute fave is wild Alaskan Sockeye. I just had it for dinner tonight (with some braised greens) and I’m in love. I heat up the barbie (I have a gas one), throw the frozen salmon on, skin side down, sprinkle some salmon seasoning from Paul Prudhomme (generously, I might add) and that’s it! EASY BUTTON and absolutely delicious; no planning necessary!




frozen berriesFrozen berries

I make my smoothies from frozen berries every morning. I buy the wild blueberries and blackberry/raspberry mix. Blueberries are especially healthy and have more antioxidants in 2/3 of a cup than FIVE servings of broccoli!




yogurtKefir and Yogurt

Kefir is like liquid yogurt. Chocked full of probiotics, kefir helps your body balance in the gut. Remember those stories of people living to be 120 years old in Russia? Yogurt and kefir were what they credit their longevity to; that’s nothing to sneeze at! I use kefir in my smoothies and eat yogurt with a splash of vanilla and a squeeze of honey, yum!





The lowly onion seems to find its way into most everything you make, especially come dinnertime! Eating onions is a cheap way to get your flavonoids in; important nutrients that help protect your lungs from cancer and your gut from ulcers. Not only that, but they help prevent heart disease and raise the “good” cholesterol in your blood.





Fiber-rich oats help your body to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. A perfect breakfast is a bowl of oatmeal with about a half-cup of frozen blueberries stirred in, yum! Fiber is critical for important bodily functions, if you know what I mean – and oatmeal is a great way to get it.




dark chocolateDark Chocolate

HALLELUJAH!!! At last, my dream came true! When some girls were singing, “someday my prince will come,” I was humming, “someday they’ll discover chocolate is healthy.” I now can have my chocolate and eat it too! Dark chocolate is rich in catechins and flavonoids, giving you a big dose of antioxidants and helping to boost the good cholesterol, too. An ounce a day is more than adequate and it needs to be dark, the darker the better.





While we may no longer suffer from scurvy, a lot of us have marginal levels of vitamin C in our blood and some of us have a deficit. When you consider the fact that oranges in their flavonoid richness have the ability to fend off cancer and cardiovascular disease and protect one’s DNA, it’s amazing that most of us aren’t chugging a glass each morning of OJ! Get the pulp-rich variety and you’ve got extra C to boot.




Thanks, Leanne. You’ve certainly given us something to chew on!

 Meanwhile, if you like what Leanne has to offer, check her out online. After all, she is a New York Times bestselling author and the creator of the 30 Day Paleo Challenge.



John McGran has been writing about health and weight loss for several national companies since 2000. He brings his knowledge of diets — and his passion for dropping pounds — to Meal Plan Map because he believes it is the future of smart, stress-free eating and improved health.


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1 comment on “The Top 10 Foods You Should Be Eating

Hey, very nice blog. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

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