Best Choice – Super Foods
I’m sure you’ve heard of super foods (or superfoods), and you’ve probably seen lists from time to time. To clarify, because no legal definition seems to exist, superfoods are commonly thought of as being especially rich in nutrients, especially phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are the phytochemicals that occur naturally in plants, such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and selenium. Although scientific evidence linking phytonutrients to protective or curative abilities is scarce, plenty of evidence exists that eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables every day offers tremendous health benefits, in comparison to a typical contemporary diet of highly processed foods, refined grains, and sugary beverages.
If we’re going to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, it’s a good idea to choose those with the most nutrition: hence, this series. Each month we will choose a food with lots of nutrients, explain a little about it, and provide some ideas of how to use it. Not all the foods we feature will be fruits and vegetables. Nuts are among superfoods, as are oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. But we’ll be equal opportunity superfooders and give them all a chance.
Take a look at our growing list of super foods!
One tip for maintaining a healthy diet is to cook at home. Eating out is fun until you step on the scales. With rare exception, restaurant portions are too large, and that’s after you have found an entreé that doesn’t load your plate with fats and sugars. Cooking at home is a proven money-saver, and it can be a pound-saver, as well. Fresh, nutritious ingredients taste better and you can control what you put in the recipe.
Following is a collection of recipes that feature basic, healthy ingredients that are easy to put together. They feature simple food, especially soups, all of which freeze well. Divide the batch into meal-sized portions, freeze, and you have a low-calorie, low-cost, nutritious lunch or dinner that can be ready in five minutes.
NEW! Eat-Your-Greens Soup
Sauté until tender in a little oil:
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 Tblsp diced prepared garlic
Add, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer 6-7 minutes:
1 can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
3 cans low-salt chicken broth
4 cups chopped kale, heavy stems removed
2 med zucchini, diced
1 Tblsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Add and stir just long enough to wilt, about 1 minute:
1 5-oz package spinach, coarsely chopped
2 Tblsp red wine vinegar
Nutrition (per serving, based on 6): 117 calories, 6 grams fat, 18 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 980 mg sodium, 3 grams fiber
Best Beverage Choices
You’re thirsty. What do you reach for? Your options are many: water, soda, fruit juice, coffee, tea, and the list goes on. Chances are that you choose several of these at different times and in different circumstances. Which of these are best for you? Which should you avoid? This article does not rank beverages, nor is it all-inclusive of benefits and drawbacks. But perhaps it will start you on your way to better choices.