20 Fittest Foods
We count down the absolute best foods to pile on your plate.
12) Sweet Potatoes
100 calories per med. potato
Eat 1 per week
A four-ounce sweet potato holds more than 100% of our daily supply of beta carotene, a hefty dose of iron, and a plentiful shot of vitamins C and E. Together, these nutrients work together to protect your body against cellular damage of all types, especially in athletes who compete in extreme environments (such as altitude, heat, cold, or pollution). They're also one of the best foods for muscle recovery after a tough workout, says California sports nutritionist Kim Mueller, R.D.
And there are more ways to eat them than just baked, boiled, or topped with marshmallows. Try stirring cooked, diced sweet potato into chili or your favorite potato-salad recipe. You can also grate them into hamburgers or meatloaf, or use them to make your own oven-baked fries.
300 calories per cup
Eat 2 servings per week
If tough Navy SEALs eat soybeans, you can, too. Dietitian Wendy Jo Peterson, of Virginia Beach, who's married to a SEAL, serves him and his Navy buddies edamame. "They think they don't like it until I make them try it, and afterward, I tell them it's soybeans." Peterson calls soy a "perfect food." It has the protein of meat, the fiber of a whole grain, and the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals of the best vegetables and fruits. If you don't like tofu and soy milk-there are easy ways to boost your soy intake. Soy nuts and the soy protein used in some protein shakes and bars not only taste great but are very guy-friendly.