There are certain foods that, when I eat them, I feel instantly healthier. Brussels sprouts, for example. When I eat them, I know the mini cabbages full of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and other amazing nutrients are seriously good stuff for my body. Roasted in the oven with olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt and pepper, and topped with a few chunks of blue cheese – these bundles of deliciousness are a “super food”, and add a flavor boost to any meal. Just don’t overcook them, or they will become less super in their nutritional value and flavor.
Here are nine more foods – super foods – to make a super meal.
Quinoa – This whole grain is like the “new black”. It has been around for centuries and is just now getting the attention it deserves. It goes perfectly with everything, and never goes out of style. What is super about quinoa is that it is an excellent source of protein, and unlike other grains, it contains all of the essential amino acids. Rinse it before you cook it, and then treat it like you would rice – but so much better. Quinoa adds nuttiness to recipes and meals (without the nuts). Serve it as a side dish, in a salad, or as the foundation to a main course. This super star will not disappoint you.
Blueberries – Have you ever met a blueberry you didn’t like? One of nature’s sweetest candies, the number of nutrients packed into each tiny ball of blueness is pretty whopping. Vitamin C, fiber and vitamin A are just a few of the honorable mentions. The super star of the show in this case is the antioxidant, anthocyanin, which give these berries their blue beauty. On top of cereal, in salads, mashed and spread, or from the palm of your hand, you can’t get more super than these guys.
Salmon – Omega – 3s are where it’s at. These fatty acids are found in abundance in salmon, making this delicious fish one of the super foods for super meals. The fatty goodness of omega-3s protects the heart in many ways, and may help to alleviate depression. Brushed with a little bit of olive oil, salmon fillets can be easily prepared on the grill, in the oven, or in a pan. Enjoy a piece of salmon with a side of quinoa and Brussels sprouts – two previously mentioned super foods.
Chickpeas – Can you say, fiber? Chickpeas are overflowing with this super stuff – both the soluble and insoluble kinds. They are cheap, easily accessible, and brighten up the days of their accompaniments. Mash them and turn them into hummus; drop a few on your salads; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and roast them for a tasty afternoon snack.
Edamame – These lovely pods have the gift of soybeans inside. Protein, fiber, calcium and isoflavones give this food super status. Good for your bones and your heart, among other things, edamame are best in their simplest form – steamed, sprinkled with sea salt, and eaten straight from their natural package.
Almonds – Diced, sliced, or whole, almonds make an awesome afternoon snack, a crunchy topping for salads, a surprising addition to yogurt, and an unpredictable combination with rice or quinoa. High in fat, yes, but the good kind - good for the heart. Plentiful in protein and fiber too. Because of the higher fat and calorie content, the key to keeping almonds super is to control the portion size. A handful of nuts are about one serving, or one-quarter cup.
Greek yogurt – Delicious and nutritious, Greek yogurt is seriously super. This stuff packs a punch in calcium, protein, probiotics, and potassium, and can be combined with a whole host of other good-for-you foods. Eat it as is, or with a dollop of honey or mixed with fresh fruit. Use it as a foundation for veggies and dip. Replace (or partially replace) the oil in baked goods for a lower calorie, higher nutrition treat.
Eggs – What’s so super about eggs? What’s not super is the better question. First, eggs can be enjoyed for any meal of the day – scrambled, fried, or folded into an omelet for breakfast, made into a sandwich or salad for lunch, hard-cooked for a portable snack, and combined with vegetables and turned into a quiche or frittata for dinner. Eggs are economical and easily accessible too. With high-quality protein and twelve vitamins and minerals, eggs are a real (super) deal.
Sweet potatoes – The dark orange color of sweet potatoes are the number one indicator of their vitamin A super stardom. Vitamin C, calcium, and potassium back it up. Simply baked, roasted, or grilled, sweet potatoes are a delicious accompaniment to any meal.
In the realm of super foods, the ten listed here are just ten of many. Start small by eating one more super food each day. You might feel instantly healthier too.