What are the best foods for getting in shape and staying healthy?

December 28, 2013

Q: If you had to pick five foods that are essential to getting in shape and staying healthy, what would they be and why?

A: I could go on for hours on this topic, but for the sake of time and space, I’ve decided to pick five foods I eat religiously because the benefits are just too good to miss out on. Give them a try, and you’ll see why I think they are so important to a healthy diet.


Oatmeal has often been called the perfect food. It’s low in fat, high in fiber and gives you long-lasting energy. It keeps your insulin levels stable, helping you lose fat while promoting muscle growth.

It has also been proven to help lower cholesterol and is very good for your heart and circulatory system. What else could you possibly ask for in a food?


Years ago, eggs got a bad rap because they were considered to have too much cholesterol. Don’t be fooled. Eggs are an excellent source of protein because they contain all of the essential amino acids the body cannot produce. This means they are excellent muscle builders, and the more muscle mass you have, the stronger your metabolism will function. They are also loaded with every vitamin and mineral the human body needs, and recent studies have upgraded eggs to one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Don’t miss out on this muscle-building powerhouse.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbohydrates that give you long-lasting energy and help you feel full and satisfied. They are also known for stabilizing your blood sugar levels, making it difficult to gain fat. They are loaded with vitamins and amino acids and can be very sweet if you bake or grill them long enough, making them an excellent option for a healthy diet.


Blueberries are great because they are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that help your body recover from tough workouts and boost your immune system. They are also low in calories and make the perfect food to snack on. Research has shown blueberries to be one of the top disease-fighting foods, making them a must for anyone concerned with staying healthy, getting in shape or just being fit.


Fish is a great food to include in your diet because it’s high in protein, low in fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids. This means fish can help build muscle, burn fat and protect your heart all at the same time. It doesn’t matter what type of fish you prefer as long as you prepare it correctly. Don’t ruin its nutritional value by frying it. I’d suggest grilling, baking it or broiling with low-fat cooking spray or a little bit of olive oil. My favorites are tuna, salmon and catfish.

There are many other foods out there that can help you get the body you want while keeping you strong and healthy. These are five of the foods I believe are essential to achieving your goals and staying healthy.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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