We asked Charissa what her top five foods are, considering both taste and healthiness. Let's just say... we didn't have to wait long for her reply. Here's a list of her favorite foods and why:
1. GROUND BISON
Ground bison is my #1 because of the fact that it is a lean, tasty and healthy meat. Bison are ruminants, so they typically feed on grass and are raised naturally. Compared to regular beef, ground bison is lower in fat and provides nutrients like omega-3s, zinc, niacin, iron, vitamin B6, and selenium. I love bison burgers, bison chili, or ground bison with onions served by itself!
All of the squash! I love butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash... They are all incredibly tasty, especially fresh out of the oven (all you have to do is bake them). And they are a nutrient-dense, delicious swap for refined carbs!
Squash has a lot of vitamin A, vitamin C, as well as vitamin E/B/B6, thiamin, niacin, folate, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid. You can make butternut squash mash with caramelized onions, have spaghetti squash with homemade tomato sauce, or acorn squash as a side.
If you are a busy, on-the-go person looking for a healthy snack, you cannot go wrong with LÄRABAR. These bars are strictly made of fruits and nuts, but they taste incredible and offer multiple flavors. My favorites are Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Cherry Pie, Lemon Bar, Apple Pie, and Coconut Cream Pie. As someone who's been focusing on eating whole foods lately, these have been a great snack.
4. LENNY AND LARRY'S THE COMPLETE COOKIE
Okay, so if you don't already know, I absolutely love Complete Cookies. I have been focused on eating whole foods for twenty days now but for some reason, Complete Cookies are still sticking in my mind. After completing 30 days of whole food eating – no dairy, no sugar, no grains – I think I'm going to reintroduce these cookies back into my diet first.
During my contest preps, Complete Cookies are something that I fit into my macros to cater to my sanity; I just enjoy them a lot. In my opinion, they aren't the healthiest snack, but according to the label, they aren't that bad either. My favorites include Snickerdoodle, Lemon Poppy Seed, Oatmeal Raisin and Double Chocolate!
Mango may be one of my favorite fruits! I love mango because of its taste and it also holds a special place in my heart. The first time I had the fruit was at my fitness internship; they would cut it in a special way and always leave me some extra because it was my favorite. The special way to eat a mango is to slice it in half, then gently slice the fruit (careful not to cut the skin!) into a grid, and push it inside out to produce a dome of squares! Healthwise, mangos have beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, and other antioxidants.