Perhaps you have frightful memories of trying gag down any one of the foods you see in the above picture as a child. Whether it was due to improper preparation or not understanding how to amplify the beauty of the food, our first memories with food, if they are not good, can stay with us for some time. I can remember spinach at school being boiled to an inch of its life and drooping all over the plate. Not appetizing. But as I have learned since, it is how I prepare this gold-mine of a health food that makes all the difference.
Today I’d like to share with you 10 foods that I have brought back or introduced nto my eating routine and am thoroughly enjoying. While there are many odd foods we may not know about and might be curious to try, I wanted to share more common foods that are often overlooked or forgotten and share ways to amp up the flavor and reveal to you how delicious and simple each can be.
An abundant vegetable at markets, but what to do with them? Roasting them is always an option, but if you do not want to turn on your oven, make zoodles out of them. Otherwise known as zucchini noodles, purchase a spiralizer for fewer than $20 and enjoy with your favorite salad ingredients. My recipe includes chickpeas, grape tomatoes, arugula and is finished with a lemon basil vinaigrette, but imagine it as pasta and make your favorite pasta salad sans pasta. Voila!
2. Sweet Potatoes
If you’re going to pick up a potato, pick up a sweet potato. I’ll admit, the first method of preparation in which I tried a sweet potato was as a fry: fried, salted and delicious. The subtle sweet flavor is magnificent. Since my inaugural experience, I have shifted to baking them, diced up and topping arugula to complete one of my favorite salads. Check it out. Full of antioxidants. Enjoy and be healthy!
An ancient grain which offers fiber (20% of our daily allowance in a cup) and protein, it is a versatile and healthy option, not to mention simple to make. Enjoy for any meal of the day, and I have a recipe for you that is full of options.
Delicious, sweet, lovely beets. My first memory of eating beets in which I devoured them was just about five years ago at a steak house. The restaurant sliced them into quarters and then into 1/4″ flat slices, roasted them in the oven with olive oil and finished with a smidge of salt and pepper. They were divine. Again, roasted vegetables, you really cannot go wrong and the simplicity of such a side is a time-saver. Or you can do what I did below as I learned while listening to Milk Street Radio’s podcast. Using a food processor, after peeling the beet (which is the best way to stain your hands the least, pre-cooking), using the grating blade, shred your beets. Then place in a sauté pan with either grape seed oil or olive oil for 8-10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Then finish with balsamic vinegar and pine nuts. A time saver and the sweet delicousness of the beets is amplified with the balsamic.
I have a feeling many of you are already devouring the goodness that is spinach. But from the offerings of iron, protein and calcium, not to mention the other nutrients, spinach is an affordable, healthy option to include in your everyday eating. From making it your salad green of choice, tossing with your favorite vinaigrette or steaming with garlic and lemon as a side for dinner, even incorporating spinach into your daily egg for breakfast, spinach is a powerhouse full of health and goodness.
Rich in protein containing all nine essential amino acids, quinoa is a grain to always have in your pantry. Learn more about it’s amazingness here.
The often left-out lentil. From the texture, to the simplicity, to the immense amount of health benefits, lentils pair very well with many different main sources of protein such as salmon (this is my favorite recipe in which to pair the two). And with only 230 calories a cup, this fiber-rich ingredient will leave you feeling fuller longer and help reduce your waistline, all the while stabilizing your blood sugar and much more.
Nuts are good. There are many nuts people enjoy eating in their healthy diet, and while almonds are always my go-to, I think I am going to be checkout pistachios in the near future. Why? Similar to lentils, there are few calories in pistachios for surprisingly more protein compared to most nuts.
Avocados are in a league of their own. Is there
a vegetable a fruit, due to its one seed (or pit), that offers as much creamy flavor? I have yet to find one. Offering high fiber, vitamin C and potassium, avocados provide that necessary ingredient to finish so many different dishes so that a high-fat sauce is not needed.
10. Dark Chocolate
Okay, admittedly, I have a feeling few people have forgotten about dark chocolate, but many people default to milk chocolate, when the benefits are to found in the darkness. Abundant with fiber and magnesium, it is also a powerful source of antioxidants as well. So keep your favorite dark chocolate truffles on hand. Your health will thank you.
And with it being market day today here in Bend, I am off to pick a few of these lovely items and stock up my kitchen! Bon appétit!