Look no further. These 11 one-ingredient foods have stood the test of time and are great for maintaining your fitness. Better yet, they're super affordable and can be found at any local store or supermarket.
Leafy Greens1 of 12
Popeye had it right all along--leafy greens will help you get stronger. Whether you prefer spinach, kale, lettuce or chard, there's pretty much no way to go wrong by adding one extra serving of these bad boys to your diet each day. Depending on which you choose, leafy greens are high in a diverse range of vitamins: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. They're also high in fiber, iron, magnesium and calcium.
It's also important to consider what they're low in, too: fat, sodium, carbohydrates and calories. Stock up ASAP.
Eggs2 of 12
It's hard to find a more complete protein than the humble egg. Though a large egg will typically run you under 80 calories, it has almost seven grams of protein in that one tiny package! Eggs also contain high amounts of two antioxidants: lutein and zeaxanthin. Antioxidants are especially important for reducing cell damage from free radicals, which moving bodies tend to produce a lot of.
Concerned about cholesterol? Though experts once worried that eggs were too high in cholesterol to be considered a true health food, recent studies have put that theory to bed.
Flaxseed3 of 12
This plant-based food may be teeny-tiny, but don't underestimate it. It's particularly high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids (aka good fats) which have been shown to promote heart health and reduce cardiovascular disease. Flaxseed also contains soluble and insoluble fiber, which are great for keeping you full and keeping things moving.
The best part, though, is how easy it is to eat. Buy it ground and simply add it to your morning oats, to a smoothie, on top of yogurt or salads--you name it.
Oatmeal4 of 12
You didn't think we could make this list without a whole grain, right? Though fitness fanatics tend to argue for as few carbohydrates as possible, your body simply can't survive without carbs, and whole grains are one of the best ways to get them. Oatmeal is an especially versatile and delicious option. Make sure to skip the instant and go straight for rolled or steel-cut oats--they should be single-ingredient only. These oats are rich in fiber, magnesium, zinc and iron and low in calories. They're also gluten-free.
Chicken5 of 12
You can't mention fit foods without the classic chicken. For all the meat-eaters out there, adding grilled or baked chicken to a meal is a sure way to up your protein intake and unlike red meat, grilled chicken is low in saturated fats. A simple chicken breast also contains a whopping 54 grams of protein--just make sure to remove the skin. If you're concerned about the use of antibiotics and hormones, look for certified organic chicken in your supermarket.
Bananas6 of 12
Bananas are another must for a fit person's diet. Not only are they low in sugar compared to other fruits, but they have one important ingredient for tired muscles: potassium, which helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulate waste. They also contain a high amount of Vitamin C to keep you feeling your best. Perhaps most important to athletes, though, is how easy bananas are on the digestive system. After a particularly brutal workout, bananas are one of the quick refueling options you can actually stomach.
Fish7 of 12
Fish is another solid protein option if you want to get fit. Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, tend to be particularly popular among athletes since they are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and help reduce inflammation in the body. People who eat fish have been shown to have lower risks of heart disease, and some of the most healthful populations in the world consume seafood as a diet staple. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice per week.
Tart Cherries8 of 12
Tart cherries are currently having their day in the sun after studies have shown they help runners experience less soreness and faster recovery. They're particularly high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese, potassium and copper. Since they are in fact quite sour, most athletes will add a small serving of frozen tart cherries to a smoothie or drink them as a juice. Just watch your serving size. Like most fruit, they're high in sugar when consumed in large quantities.
Quinoa9 of 12
Quinoa is a gluten-free powerhouse and one of the few plant foods that contains all nine essential amino acids. Though it's technically a grain, quinoa ranks high in protein--1 cup has about eight grams. Quinoa is also high in two flavonoids: quercetin and kaempferol, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, boost immunity and even improve mood. It's also especially high in fiber, with about 17 grams per cup (sometimes more, depending on the type of quinoa).
Greek Yogurt10 of 12
If you're in need of a calcium boost, turn to Greek yogurt. Unlike its ultra-processed and flavored cousins, plain Green yogurt has significantly less sugar, but what it lacks in the sweet stuff makes up in protein. An average serving has about 12 grams.
Greek yogurt also contains probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that keep your gut happy. If you're regularly stressing your body with tough workouts, then you know how important a well-functioning stomach is. Greek yogurt will also help you meet your daily calcium and Vitamin B-12 needs.
Potatoes and/or Sweet Potatoes11 of 12
All that exercise will have you needing some complex carbs to refuel, which is where potatoes come in. Whether you prefer a classic russet or a trendy sweet, you can't go wrong with either. Though many assume the sweet potato is massively healthier than traditional potatoes, their nutritional profiles are actually quite similar. Simply choose the vegetable you're most likely to eat and enjoy it in a healthful way--notably without loads of butter, salt or sugar.