A Registered Dietitian Just Planned a Day’s Worth of Meals for Balanced Skin

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are planned: these are 10 smart grocery adds for a dewy glow, cancer prevention, and even sun protection.

Salmon & scramble.
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A good hair day often happens with the help of a little product…but a good skin day? That’s science. One benefit of the clean beauty movement—besides its helping to eliminate some of the toxins from our skincare and other products—has been the way it’s heightened awareness about the interplay between what we consume (topically, internally, or otherwise), and the effects that can have on our health.

The research community increasingly highlights this connection. As one example, a March 2022 meta-analysis in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics named a whole list of foods that are shown to help set skin off with a radiant glow. Thanks to naturally occurring bioactive compounds and healthy fats in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish, some bites in particular have been shown to decrease the appearance of wrinkles, redness, and roughness, while increasing collagen, elasticity, brightness, and hydration.

Bianca Tamburello, RDN, a registered dietitian and nutrition marketing specialist at Fresh Communications, has shared a few of her favorite dishes and snacks to nourish her skin from within. Note: Tamburello represents two of these brands (Chilean salmon and Bella Sun Luci sun-dried tomatoes), but other recent work backs up these findings (read A Dietitian Just Listed the 7 Best Foods to Keep Your Skin Young and Healthy). “As a registered dietitian,” Tamburello shares with The Healthy, “here’s what I eat for a dewy glow!”

Egg Omelet with Mushrooms, tofu and green onion
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Breakfast: Tofu scramble with veggies, whole wheat toast, and side of sliced oranges

Not only does this breakfast start your day with healthy protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies, Tamburello suggests…but tofu, made from soybeans, can help hydrate skin and minimize wrinkles.

As for the orange? It packs a punch of vitamin C, which may also help to shore up the skin’s hydration barrier. Tamburello nods to research in recent years that’s suggested vitamin C may also help decrease skin redness and dark spots. Most studies have examined its effect from topical application, but a balanced breakfast with a bit of fruit is definitely one bright way to start the day.

11 Silent Signs of a Vitamin C Deficiency You May Be Ignoring

Sun Driwd Tomatoes
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Snack: Sun-dried tomato jerky 

Tamburello says, “Sun-dried tomatoes increase collagen, decrease skin redness, and have even been proved to protect against sunburn.” (Though she notes they’re not a replacement for sunscreen.)

And while regular tomatoes are also great for your health, Tamburello says sun-dried tomatoes actually contain more lycopene—a protective antioxidant—than fresh ones. (We tried her pick, Bella Sun Luci Plant-Based Tomato Jerky, and were impressed with its six grams of fiber and six grams of protein per serving! Read Here’s How Much Protein You Really Need in a Day, with a Kidney Doctor’s Wisdom.) 

Kale salad with quinoa, apples, carrots and pomegranate seeds in wooden bowl
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Lunch: Kale salad with pomegranate seeds

Tamburello says kale increases the body’s production of collagen and elastin for greater elasticity and suppleness—while, once more, she reports pomegranates have been found to offer some protection against sunburns. (She adds that one way to round out the nutrition in this salad is to add some chicken and whole wheat pita.)

All hail kale! Read 10 Healthy Kale Recipes You’ll Actually Enjoy.

High angle view of Healthy Acai Smoothie Bowl
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Snack: Smoothie bowl made with passion fruit and banana, topped with low sugar granola 

Tamburello tells us this mid-day snack can provide antioxidants that could lower inflammation, among other benefits. (Passion fruit also happens to be another good source of vitamin C.)

And, the potassium in both passion fruit and bananas can help balance the body’s fluid levels, thereby optimizing hydration. (Another banana benefit we’re crazy about? Its effect on gut health—read The Banana Health Benefit You for Sure Weren’t Aware Of, Dietitians Reveal.)

Salmon & scramble.
Helen Yin/Getty Images

Dinner: Salmon with veggies and a healthy grain

Tamburello points to research suggesting the omega-3 fats, such as those found in salmon, may boost hydration and protect skin from environmental damage that can lead to disease, including some cancers.

She adds that her choices for sides would be roasted broccoli for its “significant amount of lutein which helps lock in skin’s moisture and protect against wrinkles” and broccoli’s sulforaphane, a compound found in cruciferous vegetables, that provides protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays; and quinoa, which adds vitamin A—a nutrient that can help promote cellular turnover to reveal new, healthy skin—read Dermatologists Say This 1970s Anti-Aging Ingredient Is Still the Gold Standard for Gorgeous Skin.

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