Every so often there seems to be a new “super food” that is all the rage. For a while it was kale (one of my personal favorites) and recently it’s been quinoa. With all this “super food” talk, I decided to create my own super food list. My criteria? The foods had to be packed with nutrition, versatile in recipes and, most of all, taste good! In no order, here are my “super foods:”
This category covers a group of veggies that include some of my personal favorites including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. Most of these veggies are good sources of fiber, Vitamin C, while being low in calories and fat-free. They are also very easily worked into recipes (think adding them to a stir fry or using them in a casserole). Broccoli and cauliflower are also great for snacking raw with a low-fat dip.
Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, tangerines and the Ugli fruit are included in this group. Citrus fruit is another good source of dietary fiber and is high in Vitamin C. These fruits can be enjoyed as a snack, thrown in a fruit salad, in a green salad or added to a recipe for a sweet and savory flavor. Squeeze the fruit to make fresh juice and use lemon and lime juice in your recipes in place of salt for flavor.
Green, Leafy Vegetables
This category includes spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, watercress, arugula and lettuces among others. These veggies are a nutrition powerhouse. They are packed with fiber, a good source of Vitamins A and C and they provide calcium–something that not many other fruit and veggies do. Like most other fruit and veggies, they are low in calories, low in sodium and fat-free. Enjoy these greens shredded in a salad, sautéed with some olive oil and garlic or added to your favorite soup or casserole.
Come the summer months, fresh berries are plentiful in my house. These include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. All berries are good sources of fiber and Vitamin C. They are a great addition to your morning cereal or oatmeal and perfect for snacking. Try adding them to a salad for a different twist.
While beans are not a fruit or veggie, they are an important part of my diet. They provide meatless, low-fat meals packed with protein that are both economical and delicious. Garbanzo beans (chick peas), kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans and navy beans are a few of the more popular bean varieties. Beans are fat-free, high in dietary fiber and a good source of folate. Some varieties are also a good source of potassium. I substitute beans for meat all the time. Use them in tacos or enchiladas. Try them in place of ground beef in your chili. Try even cutting down on the meat you do use by adding beans to the recipe. Add beans to a salad or soup (think Minestrone!) …the possibilities are endless.
If you want more nutrition information about any of the fruit or veggies listed in my “super foods” groups, visit the Fruits & Veggies–More Matters Nutrition Database. There you’ll also find storage and handling info on a wide variety of fruit and veggies, along with helpful video clips that contain prep tips and recipes.