And yes, pasta made the list.
Health and wellness experts often give us tips for filling our plates with nutritious foods that help keep the pounds off, strengthen our immune systems, and improve digestive health. But have you ever wondered what they eat every day? We asked New York City-based gastroenterologist (and Health's contributing medical editor) Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, to keep a food diary for one day. Here's what the gut health expert ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Breakfast: I begin the day with a large glass of water to stay well-hydrated. After that, I make a DIY yogurt parfait with Fresh Direct brand non-fat plain Greek yogurt, mixed berries, and Kellogg's low-fat granola. Berries are a great source of antioxidants, and the yogurt provides my daily dose of probiotics, which not only benefit your gut, but also the immune system and even your skin. I also add a little bit of flax seed powder to the granola to make sure I'm starting the day with some healthy fats.
Mid-morning snack: I reach for a handful of nuts around 11 a.m. My favorite healthy nuts are almonds (they're a great source of protein) and walnuts (they're packed with omega-3s). Keeping yourself out of starvation mode by eating healthy snacks during the day helps you make better choices at meal times. I also continue sipping on water throughout the day with a slice of lemon for extra flavor.
Lunch: I make it a goal to eat two servings of veggies every day and fish three times a week. The middle of the day can be busy, so meal prep at the start of the week makes it a lot easier to incorporate these foods at lunchtime. Today I have grilled salmon (omega-3 fatty acids are great for your heart and brain health) with sautéed spinach and grilled eggplant—yum! This meal is also terrific for your gut: fiber is considered a prebiotic, and fiber-rich fruits and veggies help support your good gut bacteria.
Dinner: I’m all about gluten-free pastas made from legumes like chickpeas or lentils at the moment. Tonight, I have chickpea spaghetti from the brand Explore Cuisine. I top it with a spoonful of pesto and sliced grilled chicken breast, a great source of lean protein.
Dessert: I'm craving something sweet, so I have a half-cup of golden raisins for dessert. They satisfy my sweet tooth and also deliver some fiber to end the day.
As told to Anthea Levi