Trader Joe’s Is a Hidden Haven of Wellness Finds—These Are Our Top Picks

At the unlikely possibility that you don’t visit Trader Joe’s multiple times a week (like I proudly/shamefully/compulsively do), I’ll fill you in with some news: the popular retailer isn’t just a grocery store—nor is it simply a crucial part of your seasonal entertainment. It’s a treasure trove for all the best health and wellness products, too. Across all of our favorite food categories—snacks, bevvies, dairy and gluten alternatives, and immunity-boosting shots—Trader Joe’s delivers. And bonus: when you’re shopping on a budget, TJ’s should be your go-to.

It comes as a surprise to exactly no one that eating healthy and finding inflation-proof deals can be challenging. While you don’t always have to splurge on organic and there are other strategies for cutting healthy corners, I personally find that Trader Joe’s comes in clutch when I’m in need of groceries that support my wellness goals, come in under budget, and indulge my cravings for a snack or meal that’s consistently delicious without fail. (So, always.)

*Please enjoy my Christmas socks and leopard slides combo*

The Best Healthy Trader Joe’s Products

In the spirit of streamlining your Sunday shopping trip and helping you sift through Trader Joe’s many amazing products, I took it upon myself to do the good (and fun) work of sampling all of the best wellness-supporting picks. Below, you’ll find the result of my research—and all of my favorite healthy Trader Joe’s finds.

But before you get to it, I’ll admit… there’s a lot of cauliflower going on with the products below. Instead of writing off the gluten alternative as passé, take heart: we can always trust Trader Joe’s to be on top of food trends—and to make those that may seem out of date interesting again. I’ll get into the details below, but trust: each of the following products check my all-important boxes of being 1. tasty (re: addictive); 2. budget-friendly; and 3. supportive of all your 2024 wellness goals.

So get your shopping lists ready, these are my top healthy Trader Joe’s picks.

Note: All prices reflect pricing at my local Trader Joe’s in Chicago and may vary depending on location.

Trader Joe's Cauliflower Slims

Cauliflower Slims: $3.99

*Previously Cauliflower Thins* When it came to selecting a gluten-free wrap alternative, these won out against the also-popular Jicama Wraps. Nothing against jicama, of course, (we love it in our tacos, sliced thinly into matchsticks), but I was definitely swayed by the clearly-visible fluffiness of these “delicious and versatile” bread alternatives. Compared to other cauliflower/bread hybrids, these actually contain a significant amount of cauliflower—comprising over 60% of the ingredients.

Add to that only eggs, parm, cheese, salt, and yeast, and you have a clean option that’ll happily hold all of your favorite sandwich ingredients. And if you’re tempted to eat these on their own, you’re not alone—I’ve been known to tear into them between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m.

Trader Joe's Peppermint Herbal Tea

Peppermint Herbal Tea: $2.99

Spend a few minutes in the depths of wellness content on Instagram or TikTok and you’re bound to see any number of creators indulging in a warm mug of peppermint tea. Known to support digestion, relieve cold and flu symptoms, and provide a healthy dose of antioxidants, the soothing bevvy makes for a functional routine as well. I love a bag steeped for a few minutes on its own, but you’re welcome to drizzle in a little honey or add any sweetener of your choice. It’s my favorite post-dinner ritual.

Pineapple Probiotic Juice Shot

Pineapple Probiotic Juice Shot: $1.99

Would it be a roundup of the best healthy Trader Joe’s products if I didn’t include a juice shot? While $1.99 can seem pricey for a two-ounce bottle, this shot is proof that good things come in small packages. 2024 is all about quality over quantity, y’all—and this TJ’s fave packs plenty of wellness-boosting goodness. Each bottle contains the juice of 1/5 coconut, a wedge of pineapple, some lemon, and a slice of ginger. What’s more, the shot provides 1 billion CFU (colony forming units) of the probiotic strain Bacillus coagulans, which is known to aid in digestion.

Beyond technicalities, this juice shot tastes good. While others boast a flavor profile that’s turmeric- or ginger-dominant, the pineapple helps make this probiotic supplement a healthy habit you’ll look forward to.

Sparkling Elderberry + Pomegranate Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage

Sparkling Elderberry + Pomegranate Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage: $1.69

Admittedly, this is one of the few products of my healthy haul that I hadn’t tried before, but when I saw it sitting among the kombucha and juices, I knew I needed to pick it up. We’ve written before about apple cider vinegar being one of the best immunity boosters. And because I’m among (the many) who can’t handle a straight shot of ACV in the morning—or even enjoy it diluted with water—this incredible elderberry-pomegranate concoction comes as a delicious alternative. It’s one that I’ll happily sip on every day.

Creamy Cashew Cultured Yogurt Alternative

Creamy Cashew Cultured Yogurt Alternative: $4.99

Tell me if this resonates: I swap between smoothies and oatmeal for breakfast on a whim… after eating each for weeks straight. I’m not sure if it’s neurotic, but I can—and will—eat my oats for breakfast 15 days in a row. (Creatures of habit, raise your hands.) All that being said, I will happily swap in a yogurt bowl here and there. Because a fruit plus a grain plus a protein equals early-morning happiness. But because all hot girls deal with digestive issues from time to time, I also opt for dairy-free alternatives when I want to satiate a yogurt craving.

Trader Joe’s—once again—delivers. The ingredients list boasts plenty of gut-supporting live cultures and this yogurt manages to clock in four grams of protein. For the dairy-free among us, this is a solid choice.

Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Cups: $3.49

IYKYK—Trader Joe’s is my happy place when the inevitable sweets craving strikes. And while the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are a go-to, this peanut-free pick is a must. Because I’m down to try anything (for *research*), these sunflower seed butter cups made their way into my cart. Spoiler: I’m grateful they did. They retain all the sweet-and-salty creaminess of their PB counterparts, and thanks to their snack-size packaging, just a few make the perfect anytime snack.

Chomps Sticks

Chomps Sticks: $1.99

The majority of what you’ll find at TJ’s is branded by the store itself. However, some third-party products have made their way through Trader Joe’s rigorous vetting process and been awarded with a spot on the shelves. Enter: Chomps. Everyone’s obsessed with this brand for making meat sticks cool again—and what’s more, we love that each non-GMO, sugar-free stick is all about the low-processed protein without any of the ick. (Otherwise said: fillers, gums, and harmful ingredients.) I love that I can reach for one of these whenever my energy dips or hunger strikes. Slip back the seal and you’re met with 10 grams of protein. I keep them in my car, purse, and next to my desk. Basically, anywhere and everywhere within reach.

Date Syrup

Date Syrup: $3.49

Speaking of products that are exactly and only what they say they are… dates might be my ultimate fave. And while I always pick up a box of Trader Joe’s delish Medjool dates for snacking, I also love this date syrup for topping just about everything. Pancakes, yogurt bowls, oatmeal—yes, everything. Other syrups can be packed with fillers and oils, but every tablespoon of this easy-to-squeeze vessel is pure, unadulterated organic date syrup. There’s not much more to be said.

Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera Juice: $10.99

Don’t be turned off by the price—this is a whole gallon of organic, whole-leaf aloe vera juice for just over $10. And while you might wonder why you need to add aloe to your already abundant hydration routine, the benefits will have you convinced. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can help boost digestion, stabilize blood sugar, and even improve oral health. This jug will last you a while too, as you want to be mindful to consume in moderation—studies have linked excess consumption to diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Freeze-Dried Blueberries

Freeze-Dried Blueberries: $3.99

As someone who loves her yogurt bowls and oatmeal (see my diatribe above), I’m always looking for ways to work a mix of textures into my go-to breakfasts. I’ve added flaxseed, chia seeds, bananas, and sliced almonds (all from Trader Joe’s, mind you). But now, with the addition of these freeze-dried blueberries, my perfect morning meal is complete. These are crunchy, fruity (of course), and taste exactly like blueberries. The reason being, they’re the only ingredient. No added sugars, no added anything. The five grams of fiber and six grams of protein per serving simply seal the deal.

Riced Cauliflower Bowl

Riced Cauliflower Bowl: $2.99

I couldn’t skip over Trader Joe’s well-known and much-talked-about prepared meals section. This (vegan) Riced Cauliflower Bowl comes with everything you need for a well-balanced and colorful lunch or dinner. Of course, cauliflower serves as the bowl’s base, but marinated chickpeas, sweet potatoes, baked tofu, and roasted onions join in to make it a complete and flavorful meal. But the real kicker? The tahini sauce. As I write this, I’m mentally confirming that this will be today’s lunch. The countdown to deliciousness starts now.

Creamy Cauliflower Jalapeño Dip

Creamy Cauliflower Jalapeño Dip: $3.79

I won’t lie—I’m not much of a dip girl. I can get down with hummus and I love a salsa-soaked summer. Dips, however, often just seem too gloppy and frankly—a bit gross. But because I consider myself an adventurous person (and I didn’t want my dip prejudice to compromise this article’s journalistic integrity), I went for the Creamy Cauliflower Jalapeño Dip. And friends, I was pleasantly shocked.

I’ll get a few disclaimers out of the way. You’ll taste the jalapeño, but this dip doesn’t deliver the pepper’s expected kick. And while I did miss that bit of heat, its lack made it easier to scoop up this dip with reckless abandon. What else helped? The fact that the cauliflower makes this dip both creamy and incredibly light. Whereas other dips might fill you up immediately (I’m looking at you, artichoke), this one satiates and satisfies without any bloat or discomfort. So for all you dip fans out there—myself now included—this is a must-buy.

73% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bar

73% Cacao Dark Chocolate Bar: $1.99

I will NEVER understand those people who say they can have “just a square” of dark chocolate post-meal and be satisfied. I’m a dessert girl, and as such, I need no less than a bowl of ice cream or a cookie in each hand to leave the table. But this dark chocolate bar? I can hang with it. Meaning: a fiber- and protein-packed dark chocolate is my jam, and I’ll reach for this whenever my mind drifts to the land of sweets but I’d rather not deal with the sugar crash. The taste is earthy, a little bit fruity, and deliciously bold. Keep it nearby at all times.

Healthy Trader Joe's products.

Honorable Mentions

I’d be remiss not to say that, among Trader Joe’s exclusive-to-the-store wellness products, there are a few additional healthy staples that I include in my cart on a weekly basis. While you can certainly find these elsewhere, if you’re already hitting up TJ’s, why not drop them in your cart as well? See below for my favorite healthy staples.

  • Frozen fruit. From blueberries to strawberries to mango and pineapple chunks—Trader Joe’s frozen foods section has everything you could ever want to blend up your dream smoothie. If you’re looking to get that additional hit of antioxidants from your brekkie, don’t skip this section.
  • Coconut oil. I surprise even myself with how quickly I can go through a jar of coconut oil. If you’re looking for an affordable cold-pressed option, Trader Joe’s has you covered.
  • Alternative pastas. Brown rice, lentil, and quinoa pasta—oh my! At Trader Joe’s, you’re welcome to dream beyond the expected gluten-laden pasta options.
  • Vitamins. While the packaging might not be as cute as some of the more expensive supplement brands, I’ve been taking Trader Joe’s Vitamin C Complex, Vitamin D, and their Omega-3 Fatty Acids supplements for years and my habits have been met with promising results. Of course, consult a medical professional before beginning any supplement program.
  • Nuts. Last but not least, the nuts. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and more. The prices are unbeatable, and whether you like your nuts raw, roasted, or salted, there’s an option for you. Pro Tip: I store my nuts in the freezer to keep them from going rancid.

Best Healthy Trader Joeu0026#8217;s Products

When to Use an Exfoliating Face Wash—and Our Top Picks for Dull, Acne-Prone Skin

I’ll be honest. It wasn’t until I started double cleansing that I even thought about what kind of face wash I was using, let alone its ingredients. But the first—and one of the most important—steps of your skincare routine can transform your complexion. If it’s clear, glowy skin you’re after, the best exfoliating face washes can get the job done.

That being said, digging into exfoliating cleansers can be a little more complicated than other product categories. There are two types: chemical and physical, the latter of which can cause a bit of debate (more on that in a minute). It’s also important to find a rhythm with exfoliating face washes—they’re not typically an every night kind of thing.

But once you find the right brand fit and frequency, a great exfoliating face wash will become a glow-inducing, acne-fighting staple of your skincare routine. Trust us. For guidance, we tapped three skincare experts: board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce; Olivia Quido, founder of O Skincare; and Laura Acre, director of R&D at Thrive Natural Care.

Featured image from our interview with Kate Waitzkin.

Image by Emma Bassill

How often should we use an exfoliating face wash?

Even the most gentle exfoliating face wash is still hard working. “For most people, two to three times a week is enough, but you can exfoliate more often if your skin tolerates it well,” says Acre.

Ingredients to Look For

Plenty of brands make a great exfoliating face wash (it wasn’t hard to gather the products below), but knowing what you’re looking for can help you find the best fit for you.

“A good exfoliating wash usually has a single or combination of alpha or beta hydroxy acids and enzymes,” shares Geddes.

  • Salicylic Acid (in stronger exfoliators)
  • Glycolic Acid (in stronger exfoliators)
  • Lactic Acids (in more gentle exfoliators)
  • Mandelic Acid (in more gentle exfoliators)  
  • Milk (a mild exfoliator)
  • Soothing/Hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, cucumber, lilac stem cell, and green tea
Sanetra Longno

Is it okay to use physical exfoliators?

It’s a heated debate. While chemical exfoliators are known for gently dissolving dead skin cells, physical exfoliants mechanically get the job done with ingredients like microbeads, salts, or rice grains. But is the latter category too abrasive? It depends on who you ask.

“Avoid ingredients like fruit pits or seeds and shells as they can damage the skin with microtears,” shares Acre, who positions herself firmly with the no-physical-exfoliators team.

Dr. Geddes is far more pro, sharing that, “I think physical exfoliators get unfairly knocked. In truth, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that apricot scrub we all tried in our teen years. The problems occurred when people were using it too frequently in an effort to wash away acne. That just doesn’t work.”

Quido sees benefits on both sides but does point out an edge for chemical products. “Chemical exfoliation is most useful for improving skin tone and reducing dullness, and has long-term effects and benefits,” Quido explains. “Unlike physical exfoliation, which only stays on the epidermis layer of the skin, chemical exfoliation gently resurfaces the skin for a smoother, brighter, and more even appearance.”

Woman applying face wash.
Image by Suruchi Avasthi

The Best Exfoliating Face Washes

Armed with recommendations from our experts, tried-and-true test runs, and thorough sleuthing in the “Skincare Addiction” Reddit (a fount of wisdom if there ever was one), we feel confident recommending the following face washes (both physical and chemical) to keep dull skin at bay and provide an even, radiant glow.

Every product is curated with care by our editors and we’ll always give an honest opinion, whether gifted or purchased ourselves. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Overall: Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator

Skincare Reddit is obsessed, as are several of our experts. With a little water, the slightly gritty, rice-based powder transforms into a foamy, enzyme-packed paste to become a two-in-one hero: a physical scrub and a gentle chemical exfoliator

Best Chemical Exfoliating Face Wash: Revision Skincare Papaya Enzyme Cleanser

This creamy cleanser is a Dr. Geddes-Bruce favorite that’s gentle enough for all skin types and easy to add to any skin care regimen, including those with potentially irritating ingredients like retinoids and vitamin C.

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser

All the nostalgia of the apricot scrub from your teenage years without the crushed shell shards, this all-natural formula uses a mix of chemical (BHAs) and physical (apricot microspheres) to clean and buff out clogged pores.

Best Affordable: Versed The Purist Antioxidant Face Cleanser

This is a favorite of Camille Styles Managing Editor, Isabelle. She uses it twice weekly for an all-over glow and loves that it clears out impurities without stripping the skin. The cleanser yields a soft and hydrated result—while maintaining its seal of sensitive skin approval.

Megan Roup applying skincare in mirror.

Best Exfoliating Face Washes: Honorable Mentions

This post was last updated on December 24, 2022.

“People Are Tired of Playing It Safe”—Designers Predict 2024’s Top Home Trends

Beige and clean white kitchens had a good run, but it’s thrilling to witness a move toward bolder hues and unique touches as we head into the New Year. To get a temperature check on what’s to come, we tapped talented designers to share their 2024 design trend predictions.

Warm hues and maximalism are in, as are bathrooms (or wet rooms) that feel more like spas. There’s a focus on mixed metals, sculptural wood, and sustainability done well. A crisp, clean white will always be in, but as Chicago-based designer Devon Wegman says, “People are tired of playing it safe—at least we are—and sticking with neutrals everywhere. Today, we’re incorporating more and more graphic stone, provocative artwork, and statement chandeliers. People no longer want their home to look just like their neighbors, and in order to do that, it’s critical to take risks.”

These are the experts’ best bets for the top design trends of 2024.

Featured image from our interview with Amanda Gunawan.

Image by Nathan Schroder

No More Gray Haze

“Any remnants of the gray trend for paint and flooring stains will officially say goodbye in 2024—finally!” says Eddie Maestri, principal architect and founder of Maestri Studio in Dallas, Texas.

Peak Peterson, interior design principal at Hoedemaker Pfeiffer in Seattle seconds that sentiment. “Cool gray rooms are on the way out, as a preference for warmth and dimensionality is becoming more popular,” she adds.

Modern bathroom.
Image by Dustin Halleck

The Rise of the Wet Room

“Something I hope more people will lean into is the concept of a wet room,” shares Devon Wegman (she/her), Founder and Design Director of Devon Grace Interiors. Incorporating a bathtub right into your shower space (and not the tub-showers you had growing up) allows you to soak while capturing the steam and heat in the space, making the tub experience even more luxurious.”

White bathroom.
Image by Lance Gerber

Spa-Like Amenities At Home

And speaking of wet rooms, several designers are predicting more luxurious bathrooms all around.

“With the push to work from home and exercise at home we’ll see more spa time at home,” shares Brad Ramsey of Nashville-based Brad Ramsey Interiors. “Steam showers, infrared saunas, and cold plunges are being incorporated more and more into our designs as they get more affordable and accessible.”

Designer Peak Petersen also envisions elevated bathroom lighting in 2024. “A step past a simple sconce pair flanking the mirror, 2024 will explore the options of backlit mirrors and wall washing with integrated ceiling lighting which adds a minimalist edge to the bathroom,” shares the interior design principal of Hoedemaker Pfeiffer

Purple powder room.
Photo by Read McKendree

The Power of Purple

“We saw this emerge slowly, but a new color family has now taken the town by storm: purple–but not the purple that pops to mind!” shares Joshua Smith, principal and founder of Joshua Smith Inc. “Think deeper shades like plum and amethyst, even deep magenta. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, from a psychological perspective, purple promotes harmony of the mind and the emotions.”

Demaudecia Taylor, a color consultant for Farrow & Ball, notes that this 2000s trend resurgence comes with a modern twist. “Instead of using these colors solely for small powder rooms, people are now using rich shades like Preference Red No. 297 and Brinjal No. 222 to create intimate and cozy spaces in large areas such as bedrooms and formal dining rooms,” Taylor notes.

Modern dining room.
Image by Jenifer McNeil Baker

Sleek Sustainability

Smith expects an even greater push toward green living this year, with better education for clients and transparency for vendors. And when it comes to recycled materials, architect principal Tori Masterson of Hoedemaker Pfeiffer anticipates a more polished look.

“Rustic reclaimed materials are on their way out, to be replaced by reclaimed materials that have been refurbished and revived for their next life,” Masterson notes.

White kitchen with large windows.
Image by Laurie Black

Beyond Bringing the Outdoors In

“Nature will be embraced in design in 2024, but it’s not just about bringing the outdoors in—it’s making a part of the design,” shares Katie Browning and Heather Lucas of Lucas Browning Designs. “We will be incorporating large windows framing picturesque views, skylights that invite starry nights, and mirrors strategically positioned to multiply the goodness.”

White modern bathroom.
Image by Zeke Ruelas

“We’re seeing a lot of clients request extra long sinks these days—anywhere from four to six feet long,” shares Wegman. “With that, we’re able to fit two main faucets, filtered water dispensers, disposal switches, and soap pumps (one for hand soap, one for dish) with plenty of room to spare.”

Curved living room furniture - 2024 design trends predictions
Image by Jenifer McNeil Baker

Curved Love

Designers agree: curves are here to stay. “Whether they are on a furniture silhouette or in the actual architecture, they are back in a big way and softening our living experiences,” Ramsey says.

White kitchen.
Image by Jenifer McNeil Baker

Less Open Kitchens

“Open kitchens are on their way out as people crave segmented spaces after the adjustment to work from home,” shares Maestri. “In terms of what’s in for kitchens, clients are opting for built-ins to look like furniture instead of traditional cabinetry, and there’s a pull toward retro details such as the use of tiles on countertops and tables.”

Printed wallpaper in bathroom.
Image by Haris Kenjar

Several designers are predicting more powder-coated pipes and less expected metals, like pewter, rose gold, and polished copper. It all essentially confirms one of Pinterest’s 2024 Home Decor Trend Forecast predictions—”Hot Metals: Melty metallics will make their way into the mainstream in 2024 as people trade in their trusty neutrals for something a bit more hardcore.”

Twin beds in bedroom.
Image by Read McKendree

Warm Layers

“This year, the color palette is all about warm neutrals, and we are even seeing a resurgence of pastels—a dash of pastel pink for a sweet touch, moody blue for a mysterious allure, light blue like a clear sky, and soft yellow or bold ochre to add a sunny pop,” Katie Lucas and Heather Browning of Lucas Browning Designs. “Together, these shades create a room that’s not just stylish but also oozing with comfort and charm.”

Interior designer Brad Ramsey calls it “tailored eclectic.” “That term usually elicits images of cluttered rooms with no true design direction,” he notes. “But no more, it’s time to layer it up the right way.”

2024 design trends predictions
Image by Matti Gresham

Organic Shapes, Textures, and Colors

“I think designers and consumers will draw inspiration from nature and incorporate more organic shapes, textures, and colors using materials like raffia, bone, and papier-mâché,” says Jamie Young, founder of Jamie Young Co. “I’m expecting to see a shift in decor trends, emphasizing individual expression with handmade, artisanal décor opposed to the reserved and minimalist style choices that have been prevalent in the past few years.”

The Top 10 Books Our Editors Obsessed Over in 2023

Reading is an unparalleled pleasure. There’s little else in life that can ground and inspire you at once. I find that no matter what I need, reading always seems to be the salve. Stressed? Cozy up with a book. A lack of motivation? Head straight to the self-help shelves. While it can be hard to prioritize reading when our attention is divided among so much, I consider it a key habit in my everyday wellness routine. And clearly, our team of bibliophiles does as well. That’s why I had to tap our editors for their thoughts on the best books of 2023.

Our Slack channels, email threads, and chats IRL often drift to the topic of reading. Whether it’s social strategy or content planning, everything can segue into the books we can’t put down. We read not only to learn, but to experience worlds outside of our own—coming back to our own lives with a greater empathy and understanding of others’ stories. Otherwise said: books offer us a gift and level of connection that little else can.

The Best Books of 2023, According to Our Editors

Whether or not you caught the book bug this year, there’s a beautiful truth about reading: it’s a habit you can always return to. So many of us think about reading the same way we do working out. There’s just not enough time! And sure, while a busy day might not allow for an hours-long reading marathon, pockets of time do present themselves. Whether it’s in the five minutes between meetings or in the parking lot for school pick-up, we just have to be more intentional with how we make space for what’s important. Swap your scroll for a few minutes spent reading. You’ll never go back.

So, if you’re wondering whether our Goodreads looked anything like yours or you simply want to update your TBR for the year ahead, keep reading for the best books of 2023 that our editors couldn’t put down. There’s something for everyone.

Cleopatra and Frankenstein

The way this book BROKE me and somehow put me back together again. I’m a girl who goes hard for the “no plot, just vibes” genre, and Coco Mellors perfected it beautifully in this debut novel. Expect stylistic writing, a devastating narrative, strangely lovable characters, and an ending that leaves you feeling empty but paradoxically understood. (Trust me, just read it.) — Isabelle, Managing Editor

Dear Edward

My favorite kind of novel is one that feels so close to reality that you can imagine yourself in the plot line—which is what made Dear Edward so heartbreaking, and also so beautiful. This is the story of a boy who has to learn to live again after an unimaginable tragedy and answers the question that we all ask ourselves: how could you find strength to fully live life when you’ve lost everything? — Camille, Editor-in-Chief

The Wrath & the Dawn

Khalid, the young king of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise, until a girl named Shahrzad volunteers to marry him. But she does so with a plan to take revenge for the murder of her best friend and the many other brides before her. This was a surprisingly quick and enthralling read that is more enchanting than thriller-esque. The storytelling is beautiful, each of the characters is intriguing, and I finished this story wanting to talk to all my friends about it. — Suruchi, Food Editor

Good Inside

We’re currently in the thick of navigating life with a “threenager” with another little one on the way—emotions are high and patience is low. SOS. Life is full and this book continues to provide solace, practical tips, and creative ways to support our growing toddler. Although I’ve mostly steered from parenting books, this is a valuable, relatable resource I often turn to. If you need empowerment, empathy, or a reminder that your children are good inside, this is worth the shelf space. — Edie, Wellness Editor

The Creative Act

I’ve always been a fan of Rick Rubin, so I was quick to get my hands on this book when it first came out in January. It turned out to be the perfect New Year’s read, full of creative inspiration and tangible advice on how to embrace your inner artist. — Michelle, Executive Producer

Hello Beautiful

Think: Little Women but with a modern and all-too-realistic narrative. Hello Beautiful was such a thought-provoking book that touches on realities hard to address in print. It’s a slower read, but one that will imprint on the way you look at realistic fiction. — Casey, Editorial Intern

Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication

I’m fascinated by the topic of charisma—what gives certain people that secret sauce of magnetism and likability? In this fascinating book, Van Edwards breaks it down, and what I love about this book is that it’s full of surprises. If you want to unlock the secrets to captivating a room, being a leader, and conveying confidence, so much of it is in the body language and vocal inflections that most of us are unaware of. And it turns out, we can subtly tweak those cues to have more influence. — Camille, Editor-in-Chief

The Guest

If you also devoured The Girls, then you’re well aware that Emma Cline is capable of weaving together a fast-paced narrative through the development of her characters alone. This relatively short read moves quickly, driven by the desperation of its protagonist to find a place for herself in an unforgiving world. — Isabelle, Managing Editor

The Trouble with Hating You

I’m not usually one for rom-com type books, but this one hooked me right away with lovable characters and a classic enemies-to-lovers arc. The main characters’ banter and individual storylines come together in the best way. This was a fun read for anyone looking for a rom-com novel that celebrates culture, friendship, and strong characters you find yourself rooting for chapter after chapter. — Suruchi, Food Editor

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

I was late to the party on this one but am so glad I finally picked it up. I’ve never highlighted and annotated a book so much in my life! I found it to be an incredible source of wisdom on how to build wealth, cultivate happiness, and live a life led by your core values. — Michelle, Executive Producer

These Are the Top Kitchen Decor Trends Designers Say Will Be Huge in 2024

Any real estate agent will tell you it’s worth investing in your kitchen, but beyond modern appliances and luxe touches (forever dreaming of a warming drawer) creating a beautiful space to serve as the heart of your home will reap intangible rewards. Thankfully, 2024 kitchen decor trends are skewing much warmer and cozier than the bright, white kitchens that have dominated for years. The heart of the home should be a reflection of you.

If you’re planning on making any culinary-adjacent updates (big or small) in the coming year, we’ve tapped a stable of talented designers to discuss the 2024 kitchen decor trends worth investing in.

Featured image from our interview with Kate Arends by Suruchi Avasthi.

Renovations are stressful. We asked the experts so you can remodel with confidence. The following trends—from moody marble to “kitschens”—are well worth the investment.

Image by Suruchi Avasthi

Statement-Making Marble

“We predict Viola marble will become a popular choice for countertops and backsplashes. The all-white kitchen trend is waning, and we’re seeing an increase in the use of white oak and walnut, cut in a less grainy style.” — Amy Mobley of City Hill Design       

Courtesy of Lisa Furay Interiors

Soft Checkered Patterns

“While checkerboard in contrasting color schemes and inverse color palettes were on the rise recently, we’re seeing a more scaled-down version of the traditional marbled checkerboard floor through incorporating a softer color palette in the same tone family that go beyond the traditional black and white.” — Munir Turunc, president of Country Floors

Individualistic Kitchens

“2024 will spell the end of the ‘all white everything, all the time’ trend in kitchens. ‘All white and bright’ has a time and a place, but moving into the New Year we’re going to see a more individualistic take on the kitchen. The kitchen wasn’t always thought to be the place where people considered choice in material or texture or even giving it personality. I guarantee if you walked into 10 different kitchens right now, nine out of 10 would be pretty similar. But, I’m here to tell you—you don’t have to have the same kitchen as your neighbor! Whether boldly stepping out of their comfort zone with a stand-out marble or opting to go moody with dark blue, and grey cabinets—homeowners are wanting to show their true colors through their kitchens, quite literally!” – Lauren Meichtry of Elsie Home

Unique Hardware

“While I will always love black and gold hardware options, the upcoming trend is all about the shift toward more unique hardware options. Personally, I’m drawn to eye-catching textures, such as knurled, reeded, or wooden finishes.” — Shaolin Low of Studio Shaolin 

Image of Claire Zinnecker’s kitchen

Organic Kitchens

“Warm wood tones, especially in contemporary or Scandinavian-inspired designs, will be warmly welcomed into kitchens. One of my favorites is using oak wood, as it brings an organic air to the kitchen.” — Shaolin Low of Studio Shaolin 

Kitchen Metalwork

“In 2024, I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of metalwork in kitchens. Designers have been loving custom cabinetry and range hoods over the last few years, but I still think we’re still in the early days of this trend. There are so many ways to incorporate metal into a kitchen while still creating a warm and refined space. I can’t wait to watch this design develop!” — Tess Twiehaus of Tess Interiors

Tile X Design, photographed by Alyssa Lee

Y2K Kitchens

“In 2024, we’ll continue to look to the past for future design inspiration, and the Y2k period is no exception. Integrating elements such as metallic finishes (whether through fixtures and accents) or high-gloss ones including reflective tiles and shiny surfaces are also a more modern way of integrating the design elements commonly found in the Y2K period.” — Munir Turunc, president of Country Floors

Bright pink kitchen.
Image of Alex McCabe’s kitchen

Kitchens With Personality

“When it comes to design, personality is key! That’s why I absolutely adore incorporating pops of color through wallpaper, backsplashes, and playful floor patterns with colorful ranges. This addition is the perfect way to infuse a fun and vibrant touch into any kitchen, making it truly unique and reflective of your individual style.” — Shaolin Low of Studio Shaolin 

Image by Danae Horst


And finally, the good folks at Pinterest have released their 2024 “Pinterest Predicts” home trends, with eclectic kitchens (AKA “Kitschens”) front and center.

“Gen X and Boomers will quirk up their cooking areas with thrifted finds, vintage appliances and eye-jarring pops of paint. No minimalist aesthetic is safe.”

A Nutritionist’s Top 12 High-Protein Meals on a Budget

If you’ve recently found yourself googling how to eat more protein—while staring longingly at an empty fridge—you’re not alone. When hanger is high and motivation is low, the result is typically one of two things: overpriced takeout or a bowl of cereal. And while both *can* satisfy a hungry belly, ultimate satisfaction comes from a protein-packed plate. Fortunately, crafting high-protein meals don’t require a chef’s hat. Everyday ingredients and simple techniques fit the bill.

With that in mind, we’re sharing tips and tricks for adding more protein to your diet (in an efficient and economical way!). Time to turn your kitchen into a protein powerhouse. No lengthy recipes or hefty grocery bills required. Scroll for 12 simple and delicious high-protein meals.

Featured image from our interview with Mariana Velasquez, by Belathée Photography

For context, the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance is set at 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is the minimum amount needed to prevent deficiency in adults. For example, a sedentary adult who weighs 70 kilograms (154 pounds) would require at least 56 grams of protein per day. But as we’ve mentioned, that number is low. Depending on your unique situation, including if you’re pregnant or lactating, consider consulting with a Registered Dietitian to get personalized guidance.

Image by Michelle Nash

When it comes to protein, how much is too much?

As with most things in life, too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily a good thing. While overdoing protein consumption isn’t a concern for most, it’s helpful to know where to draw the line. After all, eating an usual amount of protein (particularly without a balance of fiber) can lead to a higher risk of health concerns, like kidney stones.

But for the average person—someone who isn’t an elite athlete or involved in body building competitions—does that line exist? And where does it lie? Ultimately, this comes down to a several factors: age, sex, activity level, and overall health. While experts have varying opinions, it’s reasonable to aim for no more than two grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. So, that would be about 125 grams/day for a 140-pound person.

Image by Michelle Nash

Why Women Need Protein

Honing in on women’s health, protein is crucial for several reasons. We need it to maintain lean muscle mass—which is especially important as we age to support overall strength and mobility. Additionally, protein is involved in regenerating body tissues, including skin, hair, and nails. Protein also aids in the production of enzymes and hormones, supporting our metabolism and immune health. Furthermore, because protein is incredibly satiating, adequate intake can aid in stable blood sugar and feeling full.

Pregnant or lactating? If so, your protein needs increase to support fetal development and breast milk production.

Is eating a high-protein diet expensive?

It’s as expensive—or as budget-friendly—as you make it. While some high-protein foods, like grass-fed meats and certain seafood are costly, there are plenty of affordable protein sources. Staples like beans, lentils, eggs, Greek yogurt, and canned tuna are protein-packed and wallet-friendly. Other vegan protein options, like non-GMO tofu, tempeh, and peas, can be cost-effective too.

From smart meal planning and buying in bulk to taking advantage of seasonal sales and discounts, a high-protein diet doesn’t have to break the bank.

Image by Michelle Nash

Economical Protein Options

Although affordability spans a spectrum, below are protein-rich foods that can help keep your budget in check.

Beans, lentils, and legumes

Beans, lentils, and legumes are powerhouse ingredients to boost your protein intake. Plus, they offer essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These versatile staples can be used in various recipes: soups, stews, salads, and spreads. A simple bowl of vegetarian chili checks all the boxes!


Nature’s budget-friendly protein. Eggs are a nutritional goldmine and one of the most economical sources of high-quality protein available. (But keep in mind that labels matter!) With about six grams of protein per large egg, they can be incorporated into a variety of meals—omelets, frittatas, and egg salad sandwiches.

Canned fish

Canned (or tinned) tuna and salmon are often overlooked as affordable protein sources. They’re shelf-stable, easy to prepare, and packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients. Tuna toasts, salmon patties, and sushi bowls with canned fish are all options to help you meet your protein goals.

Chicken thighs

While boneless, skinless chicken breasts are popular choices for lean protein, don’t forget about chicken thighs and drumsticks! These cuts are often more affordable and are just as delicious when prepared the right way. Marinate and bake them for a flavorful, protein-rich meal without breaking the bank.

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and can be enjoyed as a snack or incorporated into various recipes. Opt for plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt to avoid added sugars and save money compared to flavored varieties. Top with fresh fruit, nuts, or seeds (we love hemp, flax, and chia) for extra flavor and nutrients.

Protein powder

Protein powders, like whey or plant-based options, can be a cost-effective way to boost your daily protein intake. Look for budget-friendly brands and buy in bulk to save even more money. Add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothies, yogurt bowl, baked goods, and oatmeal! The sky’s the limit.

Image by Michelle Nash

Simple Protein Hacks

If you’re trying to squeeze in more protein—and aren’t sure how to do it—we have you covered. First and foremost, start your day with protein. For example, this cottage cheese breakfast bowl comes together in no time and is loaded with protein. Running out the door? Hard-boiled eggs, a piece of fruit, and jerky work too.

Speaking of jerky, keep protein-rich snacks on hand: mixed nuts, string cheese, protein bars, or dry roasted edamame. When marinating meat for dinner, use Greek yogurt! It’s a convenient way to add more protein. Lastly, don’t skimp on seeds. Add hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. to tack on a few more grams of protein to your favorite dishes.

12 High-Protein Meals

Rounding up a few of our favorites, here are 12 high-protein meals to add to your weekly repertoire.

Matcha Plant Power Smoothie

Of course, smoothies are an easy way to get 20-30 grams of protein. Add protein powder, hemp seeds, almond butter, Greek yogurt, or cow’s milk to your favorite smoothie base—et voilà, your protein needs are met.

Shredded Kale & Cranberry Salad With Crispy Tofu

Turn a beloved plant-based protein into the star of the show. The key lies in pressing the tofu to get all of the water out, allowing the flavor to seep in! Shredded kale, cranberries, and peanuts transform this salad into a crave-worthy vegetarian dinner.

Black Lentil Salad With Roasted Vegetables & Goat Cheese

Eating the rainbow never tasted so good. Caramelized carrots meet crispy, semi-spicy Brussels sprouts to make a filling meal to satisfy until dinner. The lentils are a win-win: bursts of texture and a significant source of protein. To shave time, marinate your lentils in advance.

Feta Salad With White Beans And Lemon Relish

This simple vegetarian salad is a protein pleaser. For a lunch that comes together in no time, prepare the lemon relish the day before.

Tuna Nicoise Toast

Chunks of oil-packed tuna meet toasted bread, kale pesto, creamy avocado, crisp cucumber slices, and garlicky tomatoes. It’s as good as it sounds.

Vegan Flatbread With Roasted Carrot And Red Pepper Hummus

This recipe is two-fold: it’s a clean-out-the-fridge kind of meal that everybody loves. This stunner of a flatbread includes layers of creamy, vibrant hummus topped with veggies for crunch, texture, and more protein.

Slow-Baked Citrus Salmon

Don’t love salmon? Prepare to be converted. This slow-roasting method is fool-proof and absolutely divine. Pair this flavorful salmon with crispy potatoes or jasmine rice. Et voilà, dinner is served.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

These chicken fajitas only require five ingredients and 30 minutes of your time. They’re delicious any time of year and taste even more flavorful the next day. Add your favorite toppings and dig in.

Sweet & Spicy Braised Short Ribs

Large-batch cooking for a crowd? These short ribs are it. They’re already divvied up into individual portions that can easily be scooped onto a plate, ready to eat. They’re also luxuriously tender, with a richness to elevate a weeknight dinner. Of course, short ribs are loaded with protein, too.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Made with two kinds of beans (protein and fiber for the win!), this chickpea salad sandwich slaps. Enjoy it on your favorite bread or with hearty crackers.

Power Greens Breakfast Egg Bites

If you love those egg white bites from Starbucks, try these. They’re packed with super greens like kale, chard, and spinach and are full of protein-packed nutrients. They’re incredibly simple to make and can be prepped before the week starts. The ultimate grab-and-go breakfast.

Spicy Mexican Baked Eggs

For how shockingly delicious this recipe is, it’s also paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free, and Whole 30-compliant. Rejoice, those with dietary restrictions! This Mexican spin on shakshuka is a flavorful delight.

20 Easy Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Appetizers to Put At the Top of Your Must-Make List

Of course, we go to parties to see our friends, but let’s be real: We’re also pragmatic play there for the apps. Snacks are a highlight of any gathering, especially when they can be enjoyed by everyone. But in today’s world, there’s a pretty good chance that you have at least one friend who doesn’t vibe with grains or another who’s strictly plant-based. When hosting, it can be tough to keep up with your guests’ dietary preferences, which is why we’ve rounded up the best gluten-free dairy-free appetizers to share with friends and family.

A grazing table is a perfect opportunity to mix and match a variety of different cuisines, flavors, and textures so people can personalize their plates however they please. While there can be so many options to choose from when it comes to starters, I have a fool-proof list of favorites I return to time and again that are safe for most types of eaters. The best appetizers are easy to prepare, taste great at room temperature, and are just as nourishing as they are delish.

Most of the recipes in this list only require a few ingredients, can be prepared in 20 minutes or less, and are all gluten and dairy-free, so they’re a safe bet for whoever comes your way. Scroll on for our list of the best gluten-free, dairy-free appetizers for your next party.

Featured image by Suruchi Avasthi.

Salads and Platters

White Bean & Raddichio Salad

Why We Love It: Sure, the garnish of Parmigiano Reggiano might take this app out of the dairy-free category, but one of our favorite things about salads (other than the fact that they make it super easy to get your greens) is that they’re entirely customizable. This salad balances a slightly bitter bite with a creamy texture. It’s proof that you should always ask more of your salad.

Hero Ingredient: Raddichio is the most underrated leaf vegetable in the game. Not only does it give this salad gorgeous color, but it makes it feel substantial while still, you know, being a salad.

Spring Crudité with Green Goddess Dressing

Why We Love It: If you’re craving color, fresh flavor, and veggies, this spring crudité platter delivers on all counts. You’re welcome to serve the vibrant, verdant green goddess dressing with any mix of raw and/or roasted veggies of your choosing. Need a little guidance? The more your platter mimics the rainbow, the better.

Hero Ingredient: To make this recipe dairy-free, we swap in plant-based yogurt in lieu of whole milk Greek yogurt. We love Cocojune, which gives a slight edge of coconut that’s nice with the lemon’s acidity and herby additions. Or, you can try CocoYo that’s wonderfully rich and a good source of probiotics.

Mango Salad With Rhubarb Ginger Dressing and Chili Almonds From The First Mess

Why We Love It: Mangoes are an ingredient I always like to throw into any salad-type dish. While some might think the fruit operates best in desserts and sweet dishes, we’d argue that they deserve their place in veggie-forward apps. Case in point, this stunner of a salad. The colors are bright and the entire dish delivers a whole lot of flavor.

Hero Ingredient: Chili almonds? Chili almonds. Pro tip: Double your batch so you have enough for spontaneous snacking.


Bhutta Street Corn Guacamole

Why We Love It: There’s always room for guacamole on the menu—particularly one that brings a whole host of flavor to our favorite classic app. Healthy fat-filled avocados, roasted corn, fresh cilantro, lime juice, and a blend of just-hot-enough spices. What’s not to love?

Hero Ingredient: The corn in this recipe adds a delicious heft to the texture and a satisfying charred flavor to this crowd-pleasing dish.

Carrot Turmeric Hummus

Why We Love It: While you can (and should!) feel good about snacking on any and all bites you put on your plate, this is one that’ll send your serotonin skyrocketing—especially when served with an array of colorful veggies. This hummus is also bean-free, so it’s a safe bet for anyone who might be sensitive to legumes, too.

Hero Ingredient: Turmeric does double duty, giving this dip both vibrant color and warming spice.

Edamame Dip With Mint, Jalapeño, and Lime From The First Mess

Why We Love It: Is it enough to call a recipe one of the best gluten-free, dairy-free appetizers based on visuals alone? Well, the good news is that this dip is aesthetically pleasing while also satisfying all your gustatory needs. Sweet? Savory? Spicy? Check, check, and check.

Hero Ingredient: Edamame is surprisingly buttery, and its sweet/nutty pairing is unmatched.

5-Minute Vegan Cashew Queso From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Delicious and creamy, this dairy-free queso might even win over your cheese-loving friends. It uses cashews, nutritional yeast, and hot water for the “cheesy” base, with a mix of delicious spices for some added flavor.

Hero Ingredient: I alluded to it above, but nutritional yeast deserves a spotlight all to its own. It’s key to making any vegan dish super cheesy. Minus the cheese, of course.

Cheesy Vegan Spinach & Artichoke Dip From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: Let’s be real—any gathering is really just another opportunity to make spinach and artichoke dip. Rich and creamy, this healthier take on a classic dish is sure to cure your comfort food cravings—minus any post-indulgence discomfort.

Hero Ingredient: Artichoke hearts give this vegan dip heft and body while supplying a briny bite that perfectly balances out the creaminess.

White Bean Dip From Love & Lemons

Why We Love It: This recipe requires just four ingredients that you likely already have on hand: cannellini beans, lemon, olive oil, and garlic. Does cooking get much easier than that?

Hero Ingredient: Your lemons are the MVP of this dish. Using both zest and juice lends this dip insanely good flavor.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Dip From Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: This is not your average bean dip. Starring sweet potatoes, black beans, and avocado, this appetizer is basically a mash-up of all of my favorite flavors in one bowl.

Hero Ingredient: Minced jalapeño may be optional, but if it’s that authentic kick you’re after, I’d encourage you to go all in.


Baked Sesame Chicken Wings From The Defined Dish

Why We Love It: Sweet and savory, these baked sesame chicken wings are gluten and dairy-free… and they’re packed with flavor. You’ll find yourself coming back to this recipe again and again.

Hero Ingredient: You can thank the fish sauce for the aforementioned flavor. Trust me—it ties the spice and sweetness together beautifully.

Chorizo-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates From The Defined Dish

Why We Love It: You need this appetizer at your next party. We consistently make a batch of these chorizo-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates for large-scale gatherings, and they’re always the MVPs of the night.

Hero Ingredient: I’m drooling equally over this recipe’s chorizo and bacon callouts. But honestly, with the welcome spice it imparts, the chorizo wins out.

Smoked Salmon Carpaccio With Fried Capers and Herbs From The Defined Dish

Why We Love It: Salty yet refreshing, this smoked salmon carpaccio with crispy capers will transport you to Italy after just one bite. Elevate your next grazing table with this beautiful, nutrient-packed dish.

Hero Ingredient: Capers are the briny, salty, flavor-packed gems that’ll make any savory recipe all the better.

Arrowroot Fried Chicken Nuggets From Megan Nash

Why We Love It: What is it about chicken nuggets that make them a necessity at every party? This chicken nugget recipe (created by my sister) is on the regular dinner rotation at our house, so trust me when I say these nuggets are simple, healthy, and hit the spot every time. Turns out, there’s no breading required to get that crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside texture that makes chicken nuggets such a hit.

Hero Ingredient: The secret to that crispy crust? The genius of arrowroot flour knows no bounds.


Blistered Padrón Peppers From What’s Gaby Cooking

Why We Love It: Blistered peppers are one of those appetizers that are best kept simple. Just heat up some oil in a pan, sauté the whole batch, and you’ve got a restaurant-worthy appetizer ready to go in minutes.

Hero Ingredient: Out of all the gluten-free, dairy-free appetizers on this list, this has to be one of my favorites. With so few ingredients in the mix, it has to be the Padrón peppers themselves. Their spice is subtly intense (it’s possible!) and slightly sweet. If you’ve prepared a similar dish with shishito peppers, expect a relatively similar result.

Crispy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Wings From Rachel Mansfield

Why We Love It: When I whipped up a batch of these cauliflower wings for a football-watching party, they were gone in seconds. (Don’t worry, I guarantee they’ll be a hit served for any and all occasions.) They’re flavorful, easy to make, and best served with the yummy dipping sauce of your choice.

Hero Ingredient: This recipe is just another example of the universal truth: Cauliflower can really do it all.

Why We Love It: You truly can’t go wrong with sweet potato fries. If you have a knife and an oven, you’re already well on your way to making this standout recipe. These are crispy oven fries, mastered—and it’s a recipe that’s always a go-to when my fry cravings hit.

Hero Ingredient: Cornstarch is key to getting your fries extra crispy.

Summer Fruit Salad From Love & Lemons

Why We Love It: How gorgeous is this salad? Sometimes there’s nothing better than all of your favorite seasonal fruits on a platter drizzled with a refreshing vinaigrette.

Hero Ingredient: Upon first glance, this is a simple, humble dish. But incorporating grated ginger into your dressing plays up its sweetness while also weaving in a little welcome spice.

Game Night Crispy Potato Bruschetta From Oh She Glows

Why We Love It: This crispy potato bruschetta is the gluten-free version of your favorite Italian starter. By swapping out the bread for equally delicious crispy potatoes, you’ve made this dish plant-based in a snap without sacrificing flavor.

Hero Ingredient: A marinade that leans on balsamic vinegar for a figgy, complex flavor is always a winner in my book.

Grilled Vegetable Platter From Damned Delicious

Why We Love It: Last but definitely not least, a grilled vegetable platter is a simple way to healthify your next feast. Just throw your favorite veggies on the grill or in a pan and wait until they’re soft and slightly charred. You can’t go wrong!

Hero Ingredient: When it comes to a vinaigrette whose purpose is to coat your favorite veggies with plenty of herby, charred flavor, good, fruity olive oil is key.

This post was originally published on June 25, 2021, and has since been updated.

A Nutritionist’s Top 10 Foods to Improve Your Gut Health

What houses one of the most complex and abundant ecosystems on the planet? The human gut. Shockingly, we’re more bacteria than we are human. Our bodies contain trillions of microorganisms—outnumbering human cells 10 to 1. Whoa. Everything we eat, drink, touch, lather, and interact with can change those microorganisms. Behind the scenes, your lifestyle is either helping, hurting, or balancing your delicate yet powerful gut health. And while some lifestyle factors are beyond your control, you can control what’s on your plate. What you consume can make or break your digestion. Today, we’re sharing why gut health is important, the best foods for gut health, and top offenders to avoid. Time to dig in.

Featured image from our interview with Kate Waitzkin by Michelle Nash.

A Gut Health Refresher

We all know gut health—also known as the microbiome—is important. And the science proves it. An ever-growing amount of research points to the enormous role your gut plays in overall health and wellbeing. A balanced gut is necessary for proper digestion, but having enough good bacteria also keeps you healthy in other ways. For example, by producing vitamins, supporting the immune system, and fending off harmful bacteria.

With more than 70% of your immune system residing in your gut, it’s worth keeping your gut well-nourished. The good news is, most people can enhance their gut health naturally through diet and proper supplements. Making space in your fridge for the best foods for gut health is definitely worth the effort.

What is the microbiome?

Your microbiome is an ecosystem of bacteria. It not only helps ferment the food you eat, but these bacteria can support blood sugar balance, digestion, and optimal health. Your gut helps support and protect your body from the outside world. Everything from antibiotics to inflammatory foods and birth control pills can negatively affect your gut. If you’re experiencing issues like poor digestion, stomach discomfort, or acne, it might be a sign of a microbial imbalance in the gut.

Image by Michelle Nash

How to Achieve a Healthy Microbiome

Diversify, diversify, diversify. Eating balanced amounts of both probiotics and prebiotics can help ensure that you have the right balance of bacteria to keep your gut microbiota healthy. And many factors, including the foods you eat, can impact the type of bacteria found in your digestive tract. Generally speaking, a diverse microbiome equals a healthy microbiome. This is because the more species of bacteria you have, the more health benefits they can support. In fact, several studies show that elderly people possess a more diverse gut microbiota than younger adults. Between long-living Chinese, Japanese, and Italian people, all cohorts revealed diverse and balanced gut microbiota.

5 Steps to Improve Gut Health

Given that we all want to live long, vibrant lives, let’s dive into simple ways to improve your gut microbiome. 

  1. Eat foods for gut health. Specifically, a diverse diet that’s rich in whole foods and antioxidants. A diet consisting of different food types can lead to a more diverse microbiome, which is beneficial for your health.
  2. Prioritize the Mediterranean diet. There are a variety of reasons to eat a Mediterranean diet, but mainly because of the emphasis on vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes. These are high-fiber, gut-friendly foods that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. Eating a range of fresh, whole foods, mainly from plant sources, is shown to improve gut health.
  3. Choose fermented foods. Fermented foods (or drinks!), like plain yogurt, kimchi, and tempeh can benefit the microbiome. They enhance its function and reduce the abundance of disease-causing bacteria in the intestines.
  4. Add in prebiotics. Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain prebiotics, but they can also be found on their own. Resistant starch (like an unripe banana) can also be a prebiotic. If eating an unripe banana sounds unappetizing, you can also benefit from prebiotics by eating cooked and cooled potatoes and rice. The cooling turns some of the digestible starches into resistant starches.
  5. Increase your intake of probiotics. One of the most powerful ways? Take a probiotic supplement.

10 Foods for Gut Health

As mentioned, what you eat directly influences the makeup of bacteria in your gut. Which, in turn, impacts your health. A healthy gut helps keep chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer at bay, and can also reduce inflammation, keep your brain healthy, and help you maintain an optimal weight. It’s never too late to change your diet! Research shows that diversifying your plate can change your microbiome in as little as 24 hours.


Eating asparagus is an excellent way to help meet your fiber needs and keep your digestive system healthy. As a good source of fiber, asparagus promotes regularity and digestive health and may help reduce your risk of certain conditions, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Recipe: Spring Potato Pizza With Asparagus And Burrata


Artichokes are high in fiber, which can help keep your digestive system healthy. This delicious spring veggie feeds gut bacteria, reducing your risk of certain bowel cancers, alleviating constipation, and helping mitigate other digestive woes. Plus, artichokes contain inulin, a type of fiber which acts as a prebiotic.

Recipe: Spinach Artichoke Tarts

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds can act as a prebiotic, helping your stomach produce good bacteria. In turn, chia seeds support a properly functioning digestive system. A superfood, they also act as a cleansing agent for your digestive system. They turn into a sticky gel-like substance when soaked in water.

Recipe: Protein Pancakes With Blueberries and Chia Seeds

Coconut Yogurt

Due to its probiotic nature, coconut yogurt can aid in digestive health. All yogurt is a slightly fermented food filled with healthy bacteria. Traditionally, yogurt is made from animal milk. However, there are plenty of plant-based yogurts available, including coconut yogurt. We love Cocojune and COCOYO. In fact, COCOYO boasts a whopping 25 billion probiotics per 1/2 cup serving (with no added sugar).

Recipe: Yogurt & Granola Breakfast Grazing Board


Cue: Beans, beans, the magical fruit… In all seriousness, beans are one of the most beneficial foods for gut health. A variety of beans, especially black beans, enhance gut health by improving intestinal barrier function and increasing the number of beneficial bacteria. This may help prevent gut-associated diseases.

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Chickpea Bowl with Feta Yogurt

Flax Seeds

Flaxseed is commonly used to improve digestive health or relieve constipation. Flaxseed may also help lower total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Be sure to grind your seeds or buy ground flaxseed—and keep them stored in the fridge or freezer. You can add ground flax to smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt bowls or use as an egg replacement in vegan baked goods.

Recipe: Chocolate Banana Almond Butter Smoothie

Leafy Greens

No surprise that leafy greens are included in this list of foods for gut health. Leafy greens, such as spinach or kale, are excellent sources of fiber, as well as nutrients like folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin A. Research shows that leafy greens also contain a specific type of sugar that helps fuel the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

Recipe: Green Sauce Pasta


Like beans, lentils can help improve gut health. Because lentils are a source of prebiotic fiber, they can help improve digestion. They can also help manage blood sugar levels and have been shown to make your heart healthier, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

Recipe: Black Lentil Salad with Roasted Vegetables & Goat Cheese


All fermented foods are wonderful for the gut! Sauerkraut, or fermented cabbage, is loaded with vitamins C and K, iron, and fiber, and naturally contains healthy gut bacteria. The nutritional value of certain ingredients, like cabbage, can be enriched by fermentation and it makes the food easier for us to digest. Surprise your guests and offer sauerkraut at your next brunch!

Recipe: Best Buddha Bowl from Love & Lemons


Foods rich in fermentable fibers, like sweet potato, cauliflower, butternut squash, and other squash varieties are great for stimulating the colon’s good bacteria. These ingredients also stabilize blood sugar levels, increasing low acid stomach levels and reduce inflammation in the gut.

Recipe: Roasted Delicata Squash

The Power of Resistance Starch

With each meal, consider how you can incorporate the aforementioned ingredients! Ultimately, you want to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Your good gut bacteria eat resistant starches (also known as prebiotics), which can be found in vegetables, legumes, and seeds. Other sources of prebiotics include acacia fiber, psyllium husk, and inulin. These come in the form of thin powders. You can easily add to your smoothie, coffee, or hot drink of choice—they feed your gut prebiotic fiber to create a very healthy digestive tract.

Add Fermented Foods

Beyond resistance starch, consider fermented foods. They’re a wonderful (and delicious!) way to feed your good bacteria. Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and coconut yogurt help populate your microbiome with diverse probiotics and essential nutrients.

The Worst Foods for Gut Health

Rather than classify foods as good or bad, it’s important to emphasize the importance of bio-individuality. You are unique—as is your gut bacteria. That’s a beautiful thing! Knowing how different foods might affect your gut will help you make informed decisions. Generally speaking, refined grains, refined sugars, industrial seed oils, conventional dairy, and alcohol are gut-offenders. In essence, these ingredients can have a massive impact on overfeeding yeast and candida in the body. In turn—you guessed it—affecting gut health.

How to Improve Skin Texture—Derms Share Their Top Tips

If you’ve ever had to deal with rough, bumpy, or dry skin, you’ll know first-hand how frustrating it can be. When skin issues feel out of our control, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong and how to take care of it. For answers, we tapped an esthetician and a dermatologist for their tips on how to improve skin texture.

There are a lot of reasons why our skin’s texture can be rough, making it confusing when trying to figure out the best way to fix it. Diet, genetics, medications, aging, hormones, and sun damage can all lead to changes in skin texture.

Featured image by Riley Reed.

Your Expert-Approved Guide to Getting Smooth Skin

Luckily, there are some great solutions at hand, and the options keep improving for effective ways to improve your skin’s texture. I spoke to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Parvaneh Rafaeloff, MD of Le Jolie Medi Spa and esthetician Kasey Boone of Glow Skincare LA about the causes and treatments for poor skin texture.

Keep reading for their insights to help you improve skin texture and some root issues that can cause problems.

Image by Teal Thomsen

What Causes Poor Skin Texture

Dr. Rafaeloff notes that poor skin texture is often the result of dry skin, a buildup of dead skin cells, nutritional issues, dust, and dirt, as well as a lack of exfoliation.

Environmental Versus Genetic Factors

Both Dr. Rafaeloff and Boone say that genetics plays a huge role in our skin’s appearance, but environmental factors also play a part. You aren’t in a prison of skin texture issues, even if it does appear to run in the family. They pointed to stress, diet, lack of sleep, the weather, sun exposure, hormones, and even potentially using the wrong skincare products as reasons for poor skin texture. The good news is, you can definitely work with what your mama gave you to improve your skin texture.

As we all know, what we put on our insides affects our outsides. Both Boone and Dr. Rafaeloff mentioned the importance of a balanced diet that is rich with colorful vegetables and lots of nutrients to help all manner of skin issues, including texture. Lean proteins, high-quality amino acids, fiber, and healthy oils all contribute to glowing, smooth skin. For more insights and tips, get our nutritionist-designed, skin-boosting meal plan.

Image by Belathée Photography

11 Tips to Improve Skin Texture

1. Use a retinol

There’s simply no denying the effectiveness of retinol. This vitamin A derivative is used mainly to treat anti-aging concerns, but Boone reminds us that using it regularly can make a huge difference in the quality of your skin’s texture. If you’re ready for the big time, you can ask your dermatologist for a prescription-strength cream. I began using one last year to help with my seasonal skin issues and I’m never turning back. Not quite ready to go so hardcore with an in-office treatment? There are plenty of retinol creams available at varying strengths at drugstores.

2. Adjust your diet

Loading up on skin-friendly superfoods will do wonders for your skin. And don’t forget to drink lots of water! It’s key for boosting skin hydration. These are some of the best foods to eat to improve skin texture.

  • carrots
  • leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula)
  • cruciferous veggies
  • pumpkin
  • sweet potatoes
  • salmon
  • chia seeds
  • avocados

3. Use SPF

As if we needed another reason to wear sunscreen, even on gray days! SPF is perhaps the most important part of our at-home skincare routine. Both Dr. Rafaeloff and Boone encourage using a sunscreen every day to help protect the skin not just from UV rays but to improve skin texture as well. Blotchy, damaged skin can definitely make your skin feel drier and rougher, as well as affect the visible appearance. Knock those concerns out with a great, broad-spectrum sunscreen and you’re good to go.

4. Reduce stress

I know, easier said than done, but both of our experts noted that stress and trauma can negatively affect the texture and appearance of your skin. Do your best to get eight hours of sleep, pop on a meditation app, and take some time to nurture yourself. Not only is it good for your skin, but your mental health as well.

5. Exfoliate regularly

Boone recommends exfoliating 1-3 times a week for maximum results. Her favorite way to exfoliate is with an enzyme mask and exfoliating cleanser. However, she was quick to remind us that it’s important not to over-exfoliate since that can actually make skin texture must worse. Once your skin’s natural moisture barrier is compromised due to over-exfoliation, it can lead to issues like breakouts, hives, and more. Start slowly incorporating it into your routine and see how your skin reacts before you up the ante.

6. Hydrodermabrasion facial

If you feel like you’ve tried all of the above already, then step it up with a hydrodermabrasion facial which exfoliates the top layer of dead dry skin. Boone loves this treatment because it uses vacuum extraction, exfoliation, hydration, and a serum infusion to resurface the skin. She suggests using this kind of service every 4-8 weeks as regular maintenance, which can cost anywhere from $100-$300, depending on your provider.

7. Double Cleanse

This two-step cleansing routine ensures you’ve removed makeup, dirt, and grime. Use gentle cleansers that won’t strip the skin and potentially cause breakouts or other texture issues. Start with a cleansing oil or balm to remove makeup and dirt, then go in with an exfoliating cleanser to gently polish and brighten.

8. Chemical Peels

Dr. Rafaeloff states that we can’t go wrong with a chemical peel. There are so many options at varying strengths so you can easily find a peel that’s effective with practically no downtime. I recently got the light chemical peel at my local Ject in New York City and was shocked at the immediate and long-lasting results. My skin was glowing and smooth for a full two months afterward. I’m hooked for life.

9. Morpheus8

Another good option for resurfacing, according to Dr. Rafaeloff, is the Morpheus8 treatment. This is a microneedling device that uses radiofrequency energy to remodel and contour the face. It is a fractional treatment that penetrates deep into the skin helping to resurface and tighten. There is some discomfort during this treatment and the downtime varies per patient but expect about 2-3 days and up to two weeks for full results to appear. Generally, it will run you around $1300 per treatment.

10. Microneedling

If you want to invest in an effective treatment that is great for texture, acne scars, tone, and fine lines, Dr. Rafaeloff recommends looking into microneedling. The procedure involves tiny needles that are used to create controlled micro-injuries in the skin to boost collagen production and elastin. Treatment usually starts at around $600 depending on your provider.

11. PRP Micro-needling

PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. (You’ve maybe seen it being referred to as the “vampire facial.”) This kind of microneedling involves taking a blood sample, separating the PRP from the blood, and using it during a microneedling service. Since plasma is vital for healing wounds and injuries, it can increase the efficacy of the treatment by helping the skin tissue to repair itself. PRP micro-needling can run you up to $1000, so it’s definitely an investment!

Image by Claire Huntsberger

The Best Products for Improving Skin Texture

Every product is curated with care by our editors and we’ll always give an honest opinion, whether gifted or purchased ourselves. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Cosmedix Pure Enzymes

Boone recommends this nourishing, gently exfoliating mask for polishing away dull skin cells and pore-clogging impurities. It’s made with cranberry enzymes and lactic acid, leaving skin soft, plump, and smooth.

Olga Lorencin Skincare Red Carpet Facial in a Box

Long considered a beauty secret for many a Hollywood star, this pro-grade peel gets your skin glowing in just a few minutes. Boone recommends using it anytime you need a little boost or are looking to consistently refresh your complexion.

Elemis Resurfacing Peel Pads

Boone recommends these dual-action pads to help reduce the appearance of uneven skin texture, pores, and dark spots. They’re super convenient and easy to use, and work to lift away dead cells and gently exfoliate the skin so it’s bright and smooth.

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

This three-in-one skin resurfacing mask exfoliates, peels, and visibly polishes skin thanks to a combination of powerful ingredients. Pumpkin enzyme is an incredible exfoliant that helps to smooth skin surfaces, the AHA chemically peels the skin to make it look more radiant, and aluminum oxide crystals polish the skin’s surface to improve the overall look of uneven texture. Bumps, be gone!

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator

If you prefer a physical exfoliant over a chemical exfoliator, check out this gentle, rice-based powder. It visibly brightens, improves skin texture, and clears pores. This exfoliant works to draw out excess oil while also hydrating and reducing the appearance of redness. The fact that you can use it daily is a huge bonus. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I give bottles of this to my beauty product resistant-brothers and tell them to use it as a face wash in the shower and their skin has never looked better. It seriously works.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

This effective retinol cream tackles multiple texture issues alongside dark spots, wrinkles, dryness, and dull skin. It blends retinol, peptides, and vitamin F. Retinol improves the look and feel of uneven skin tone and texture while also fighting damage. Peptides firm and strengthen the skin, which helps boost the benefits of retinol. The fatty acids in vitamin F work to improve skin texture, increase suppleness, and calm skin.

Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum

Dr. Rafaeloff recommended using vitamin C to improve skin texture, and this vitamin C serum is a cult fave with good reason. It is quickly absorbed by the skin and instantly brightens, hydrates, and firms. It also provides a powerful antioxidant boost, fighting against free radical damage, and fades dark spots and the appearance of fine lines over time.

Nature’s Bounty Zinc Supplements

Along with eating nutrient-rich veggies and using products that are loaded with skin-healthy vitamins and minerals, Dr. Rafaeloff mentioned the importance of zinc in your diet. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with textural issues like acne, rosacea, eczema, and more. Add a little zinc to your vitamin routine for an added boost of skin goodness.

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

Both of our experts stressed the importance of sunscreen, and this is one of our favorite daily options. It’s lightweight, is easily absorbed into the skin, and looks beautiful while also protecting you not just from the sun’s harmful rays, but by enriching the skin with brightening, protective ingredients.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One AHA Lactic Acid Treatment

Good Genes is one of those products that give visible results in a startling amount of time. Just a few days into trying it I was getting compliments on how bright, smooth, and even my skin looked. The powerful lactic acid formulation is one of the best things you can put on your skin and is worth every penny.  It’s a serum that targets hyperpigmentation, texture issues, pores, and more. Don’t just take my word for it, it has been clinically proven to work.

This post was originally published on June 22, 2021, and has since been updated.