What Healthy Ingredient Do You Cook With Most Often?


You mean to eat well. You truly do. But it’s no easy feat. Here, Real Simple readers share the go-to foods that keep them going.


Photo by Christopher Silas Neal

Fat-free Greek yogurt, which I use as a tangy substitute for sour cream. I dollop it on quesadillas and chili, and I use it in dips, spreads, and baked goods.

Amy Daniels
Kernersville, North Carolina.


Honeycrisps are my favorite kind of apple, hands down. They are a bit more expensive than other varieties at the market, but the crunchy, sweet taste is worth the extra cost per pound. I add apple slices to peanut butter and toast in the morning, and I puree them to sweeten a dairy-free butternut-squash soup that I serve for dinner. Although apples have always been my fruit of choice, now that I’m pregnant, I crave them constantly. Not surprisingly, my doctor approves.

Lindsay Zache

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I toss mushrooms into every possible dish. I often add them to stews in lieu of meat, since they are fairly substantial and have fewer calories. In my opinion, cremini are the best, but I will settle for just about any mushroom— even the oily ones you find on top of the average pizza. I insist on having them in stock: If you look inside my pantry at any time, you’ll find at least three cans of button mushrooms…just in case.

Robin Duggar

Merrimack, New Hampshire

I often turn to low-fat, high-protein skinless chicken breasts for my weeknight dinners. There’s so much you can do with this popular cut of poultry: Spice it up with Old Bay seasoning, or pair it with stir-fry vegetables. And every Sunday I bake or grill a few extra pieces so I have them on hand to throw into salads and sandwiches during the week.

Amy Allendorf

Kalamazoo, Michigan

As a vegetarian family of five, we are always looking for ways to add plant-based iron and protein to our diets. Wheat germ, which comes from milling whole-grain kernels, contains dozens of nutrients—iron, zinc, magnesium, you name it. I always keep a jar of it handy so I can mix it into shakes or yogurt or sprinkle it on cereal. My three kids, who are all under the age of nine, reap its nutritional benefits without ever noticing that it’s there.

Amy Heesacker

Athens, Georgia