Just like every other aisle in the supermarket, things aren't always as they seem in the refrigerated section of your go-to grocery store. The difference between a smart choice and a poor one can mean hundreds of calories per serving, which in turn could translate into dozens of extra pounds over the course of the year! So stock your fridge with these foods that are essential for your health, happiness—and pocketbook.
The Perfect Dairy Snack
The watery whey is removed from this Greek-style yogurt, giving it a creamy texture and a huge dose of protein.
Power Play: Mix a cup of yogurt with minced garlic, fresh parsley, and a glug of olive oil for a healthy sauce for grilled protein.
The Perfect Eggs
No longer food taboo, protein-dense eggs should be a staple in every fridge. A recent study from Thailand found that eggs actually help raise good HDL cholesterol.
Power Play: Hard-boil half a dozen eggs at a time so they're on hand for snacks or to give salads a protein lift. They'll keep in the fridge for a week.
The Perfect Salsa
The best-tasting 10 calories in the market.
Power Play: Try three salsa swaps at the table: on baked potatoes (instead of sour cream), on eggs (instead of ketchup), and on salad (instead of ranch).
The Perfect Milk
Meet your new post workout beverage. Researchers found that not only does milk do a better job rehydrating the body than water or sports drinks but that chocolate milk repairs muscles 40 percent faster than plain milk.
The Perfect Fruit
USDA researchers found that Red Delicious apples have a higher antioxidant capacity than other apples.
Power Play: Leave the peeler in the drawer. The skin contains a good chunk of apple's antioxidants and fiber.
The Perfect Veggie
Broccoli Sprouts (1/2 cup)
These diminutive broccoli sprouts have 20 times more cancer-fighting sulforaphane than their grown-up counterparts.
Power Play: Add to sandwiches, scrambled eggs, salads, and soups.
The Perfect Bread
Sprouted grains and lentils produce a bread with a lower impact on blood sugar as well as more protein and vitamins than its whole-grain counterparts.
Power Play: Toast slices and top with peanut butter and sliced banana for a solid start to your day.
The Perfect Fruit Spread
A 100 percent apple spread that gives your toast a fruity bite without the sugar found in most jams.
Power Play: Swirl into cottage cheese with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
The Perfect Juice
University of Florida researchers determined that red grapefruit juice contains more nutrients per calorie than grape and apple juices. It also contains less sugar than OJ.
Power Play: For a light vinaigrette, mix 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and 1/4 cup avocado oil.
The Perfect Fish
One of the world's healthiest foods, with lots of lean protein and sky-high concentrations of omega-3s.
Power Play: Place a 4-ounce fillet, some cherry tomatoes, and sliced fennel in the center of a foil sheet. Top with olive oil, salt, and pepper and seal. Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes.
The Perfect Pepper
Red peppers supply more cancer-fighting lycopene and 60 percent extra immunity-boosting vitamin C than their green kin.
Power Play: Roasting concentrates the pepper's flavor. After charring on the grill or under the broiler, put them in a sealed paper bag to sweat. When they cool, the skin will come off easily.
The Perfect Green
For 18 calories a serving you get monster doses of vitamins like A, C, and K and a rush of phytonutrients.
Power Play: Sauté kale over medium heat with olive oil, sliced garlic, and a pinch of red chile flakes. Finish with a splash of balsamic vinegar before serving.