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Want to Look & Feel Your Best? Eat Like the Top Health Gurus

It’s no secret that Kendra worked overtime to get her body back in shape after giving birth to Little Hank two-and-a-half years ago — and today she has an amazing figure to show for it. But this mother, wife, best-selling author and former Playboy model understands that it’s also important to feel as good as you look. Knowing this, we asked five nationally-known nutritionists (who regularly share their knowledge with millions of magazine readers and TV viewers) what their all-time favorite health food is and why they can’t live without it. Here’s what these five experts had to say:

Expert: Jackie Newgent, RD, CDN, classically-trained chef, award-winning cookbook author and author of the upcoming book 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes ( )
Her favorite food: California Pistachios
Why it’s tops on her list: “When I need a munchie ‘fix,’ I head to my bowl of in-shell pistachios—or as I like to call it, the ‘skinny nut,’” says Newgent. “Besides filling the need for crunch and taste, I feel good about knowing that pistachios provide fiber, protein, and so many beneficial antioxidants. Plus a handful of them daily may help promote good heart health.”

Expert: Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays and author of The New York Times best-seller, S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches ( )
Her favorite food: Dark Chocolate
Why it’s tops on her list: “In my latest book, I devote an entire chapter to dark chocolate and make a ‘Daily Dark Chocolate Escape’ a mandatory treat!” states Sass. “More and more research confirms that this treat offers a healthy dose of preventative medicine. It can curb cravings for both sweet and salty foods, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, prevent cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls (reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke), reduce levels of stress hormones, and can help alleviate PMS symptoms. And finally, dark chocolate’s unique natural substances trigger a sense of euphoria, similar to the feeling of being in love!”

Expert: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, nutrition consultant for the Chicago Cubs and author of The Flexitarian Diet ( )
Her favorite food: Beans (all kinds, like white, black and garbanzo)
Why it’s tops on her list: “Beans are a great source of plant-based protein and superstars when it comes to fiber,” says Blatner. “In fact, 1/2 cup beans has double the fiber of an apple and as much protein as an egg. I love to toss them into whole grain pitas with veggies for lunch or into stir-fries, quinoa pasta or taco salad for dinner. I also make lots of variety of bean spreads (like, hummus, cannelini and pesto, avocado and white bean, chipotle black bean) for sandwiches instead of using lunchmeat.”

Expert: Katherine Brooking , MS, RD, co-founder of Smart Cookie Productions (a media communications company providing health-related content for broadcast, web, and print) and Appetite for Health ( )
Her favorite food: Portobello mushrooms
Why it’s tops on her list: “Not only are they inexpensive and super easy to cook, Portobello mushrooms are a great source of vitamin B-2 and potassium,” explains Brooking. “They’re also a lower-calorie and lower-fat alternative to beef burgers. I use them as a base for burgers, and add lettuce, tomatoes, avocados and peppers—delicious!”

Expert: Cheryl Forberg, RD, James Beard award-winning chef, A New York Times best-selling author and original nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” ( )
Her favorite food: Quinoa
Why it’s tops on her list: “Delicious, nutritious and easy to prepare, quinoa is a versatile choice,” states Forberg. “It’s a complete protein, so it’s a healthy choice for vegans and vegetarians, too. Being that it has a fairly neutral flavor profile, quinoa works in just about any recipe from breakfast through dessert. With the increased incidence of gluten allergies and intolerance, it’s great to know there’s a fabulous grain that’s a safe swap for so many recipes.”