You may hear a lot about the foods you should avoid, but what about the foods you SHOULD be eating? The following foods made out list because they are nutritious, rich in vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, fiber, and protein. So try to incorporate some new healthy and delicious foods into your family’s diet this year.
Why it’s good for you: Not only is quinoa considered a whole grain; it’s also a complete protein, containing all the amino acids necessary for building muscle and upping metabolism. The B vitamins will help you synthesize nutrients and lose weight more efficiently, the fiber will make you less likely to binge on unhealthy foods, and the protein will help you maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel.
How to eat it: Boil it first, then experiment. It can be used as a substitute for cereal, brown rice, salad, and much more. Try quinoa anytime you’d ordinarily eat rice; it’s also a good ingredient for veggie burgers.
Why they’re good for you: Seeds are good sources of plant protein; flaxseeds are also high in the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called ALA and are very heart-healthy. Just be sure to grind them up before eating.
How to eat them: Sprinkle ground seeds into cereals, oatmeal, salads, breads and smoothies. Flaxseeds can also be an excellent source of healthy fat in your baked goods.
Why they’re good for you: Like other tree nuts, almonds are a rich source of protein. A daily handful could help lower your bad LDL cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
How to eat them: If you’re eating almonds plain, go for the dry-roasted, unsalted variety. Buy sliced almonds and sprinkle them on salads or into baked goods.
Why it’s good for you: Kale is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables and is full of fiber and antioxidants. It’s also rich in vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting and cell growth. Its textured leaves make it a tasty addition to any salad.
How to eat it: Bake your kale with a little extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt for a tasty potato-chip alternative. Kale is also a delicious addition to a vegetable-based soup.
Why they’re good for you: Beets are a go-to source for folate, which helps metabolize amino acids and is important for pregnant women. Also, their red pigments fight cancer and lower the risk of heart disease.
How to eat them: Roasted beets are a great side dish. Add a dash of goat cheese for an even richer taste.
Why it’s good for you: Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family of vegetables, often referred to as cruciferous, which is associated with anticancer benefits as well as reduced inflammation and higher immunity. Broccoli is also high in fiber, and a high-fiber diet can help keep blood pressure down and reduce heart-disease risk.
How to eat it: Steam it or add it to your stir-fries, salads or omelets.
Why it’s good for you: Spinach is chock-full of nutrients, including iron, calcium and vitamin A, which keeps the eyes and skin healthy. Spinach also packs folate, which helps the body form healthy red blood cells and prevents birth defects during pregnancy.
How to eat it: In your salads, sandwiches and omelets
Spinach, Apple and Walnut Salad
6 cups organic baby spinach leaves
1 green apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 ripe pear, cored and thinly sliced
½ cup chopped walnuts
4 teaspoons Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Preheat a toaster oven to 350ºF. Spread walnuts on an aluminum-foil-covered baking pan. Toast walnuts in toaster oven for approximately 3 minutes, shaking pan occasionally to prevent scorching. Place spinach, apple slices and walnuts in a bowl and toss. Serve in salad bowls and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon Gorgonzola cheese and 1 tablespoon dressing (see below).
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil
In a food processor, blend all ingredients except oil. Slowly pour oil into food processor, pulsing until well blended. Chill until ready to serve salad.
Why it’s good for you: Salmon, especially wild salmon, is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which will protect your heart. Research has found that omega-3s may also be associated with protecting against premature brain aging and memory loss.
How to eat it: Grill your salmon with lemon, garlic and a little soy sauce. If you have leftovers, refrigerate to put on top of a salad later.
Check out our next post that will include more top foods you should be eating!