The Nutrients You Need and the Snacks To Get Them
Get the recommended daily amounts of the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain good health. Plus, check out our favorite snacks for each.
Unless you keep a record of everything you eat every single day, you may not really know if you’re managing a healthy diet. A recent government report found that Americans aren’t getting enough calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, or vitamins A, C, and E. “You’re not going to have a major health event as a result,” says Alanna Moshfegh, an author of the USDA report What We Eat in America, “but the recommended amounts will help you maintain your health and decrease your risk of chronic diseases.”
Seemingly healthy snacks are often secretly loaded with sugar, saturated fats, and carbohydrates, so we’ve handpicked our recommended snacks for each nutrient (because healthy doesn’t have to mean bland). Here are the figures, as they pertain to women, and a little help interpreting them.
Recommendation: 1,000 milligrams a day.
Benefits: Bone health.
Sources: Dairy products; fish with bones; dark, leafy greens.
While some yogurts are loaded with extra fat and artificial sweeteners, Stonyfield Organic Plain Fat Free Yogurt is a healthy, calcium-packed alternative. Mix in fresh berries, chia seeds, or pure vanilla extract for natural sweetness and bonus nutrients.
Recommendation: 25 grams a day.
Benefits: Protects against coronary heart disease and reduces the risk of diabetes.
Sources: Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains.
For a fiber-rich snack, we love Cascadian Farm Organic Dark Chocolate Almond Granola, which has 37 grams of whole grains and offers 19% fiber content in one serving. Plus, a dose of dark chocolate makes this a delicious breakfast or snack to perk up your day.
Recommendation: 310 to 320 milligrams a day.
Benefits: Helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function and develop and maintain bones.
Sources: Nuts, seeds, bran, halibut and other fish.
Even though dark chocolate has relatively high levels of magnesium, that doesn’t mean you should start grabbing M&M's by the handful. Instead, try this RAWMIO Hazelnut and Fig Chocolate Bark, which offers natural sources of magnesium.
Recommendation: 4,700 milligrams a day.
Benefits: Helps maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce the effects of salt; may reduce the risk of recurrent kidney stones and possibly decrease bone loss.
Sources: Potatoes, tomato paste and puree, white beans, yogurt, soybeans, bananas.
Bananas are well-known for being a potassium-rich fruit—one banana contains 12% of the daily recommended value. They’re the perfect snack to stash on-the-go, or add them to smoothies, peanut butter toast, and healthy banana bread.
Recommendation: 2,310 international units a day.
Benefits: Important for vision, red blood cell production, embryonic development, and immune function.
Sources: Organ meats; orange vegetables; green, leafy vegetables.
Recommendation: 75 milligrams a day.
Benefits: Acts as a disease-fighting antioxidant; may help to maintain a healthy immune system.
Sources: Fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, red and green peppers, kiwis, and guavas.
These Organic Slammers Superfood Pouches might resemble baby food, but they’re chock full of delicious antioxidants. With 90% of your daily value of Vitamin C in one serving, we’ll squeeze and snack on them all day long.
Recommendation: 15 milligrams a day.
Benefits: Acts as a disease-fighting antioxidant; may support eye health.
Sources: Some ready-to-eat cereals, some oils, almonds, peanut butter.
Nuts are always a go-to health snack and we love Trader Joe’s Trek Mix for its vitamin E-rich ingredients like almonds and cashews, plus cranberries, which are high in antioxidants.