You’ll hear talk about super this and wonder that. Nutrients that come from the deep, dark caves of some exotic place that you can only get by going there and cultivating it yourself … or spending way too much money for an ingredient that’s likely more hype than substance.
Today, though, we’re talking about 7 of the BEST foods you’re not eating (but should be)!
- Sardines – the usual response when we suggest sardines is a scrunched up nose and big bug eyes. Maybe it’s the quality. These little incredibly nutrient dense fish are SUPER high in omega-3’s, high in vitamin D, and very low in contaminants. They’re truly at the top of this list because they’re nutritional powerhouses! Try them instead of tuna for a sandwich — or, what I like, is mixing them with some avocado, some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and have them on a sprouted grain tortilla with a handful of greens. YUM! Both Small Planet and Bella Sardines are personal favorites you can find in most grocery stores; we have found a difference in quality, so certainly give these a whirl and let us know what you think.
- Swiss chard – this green leafy veggie is a rock star in terms of veggies. Unfortunately it’s often left on the shelf for it’s more popular "cousin" – leaf lettuce. But Swiss chard can be used just like lettuce. Chop it up fine as the base of a salad, saute it with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper or throw handfuls into a soup or a smoothie. It will cook down and load your food with nutrients like vitamin K, calcium and antioxidants. We’re growing a ton of it this year in our own garden — all the Mohr’s are big fans, including 18 month old Sophia.
- Brussels sprouts – or, what Ella named "Muscle Sprouts" last Thanksgiving. Nothing cuter than a 2.5 year old asking "can I have more muscle sprouts, please?" We know your previous experience with these. Your mom used to boil them until they became a putrid green color, then usually coated them in butter and salt hoping to create some fans. Or worse, maybe they opened up a can only to find the same overcooked, mushy tasting spheres of goodness. When cooked right, these are fantastic and pack in some serious nutrients. Here’s what we like to do — cut them in half or quarter them, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute (or roast in the oven). Just when they start to get tender and are almost done, drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar over them (drizzle, don’t pour) and cook for another minute or so. Voila, you too will be asking for more! We’re having some tonight, in fact!
- Adzuki beans – these little buggers have more protein and fiber than most other beans. You can find them in most grocery stores, often in the bulk section. They’re smaller than black beans and reddish brown in color but loaded with nutrients. In fact, these little guys contain some of the highest levels of protein and lowest levels of fat of any variety of beans. They’re also loaded with fiber, potassium and zinc (among others). Add them to salads, chili (or soups), or as Ella likes to do — pack a container of these with frozen peas. Let those defrost overnight in the fridge, then snack on them the next day.
- Cottage cheese — Little Miss Muffet was one, smart girl when she talked about "eating her curds and whey." Cottage cheese is a HUGE hit in the Mohr House — with about 16 grams of protein per half cup, it’s perfect for a snack or added to any meal. A favorite is cottage cheese and pineapple, but I tried something recently that I can’t get enough of. A Wasa Crisp cracker, topped with cottage cheese, black pepper and finely chopped fresh jalapeno pepper. AWESOME! Considering most people don’t A) eat enough protein and B) spread their protein evenly throughout the day, cottage cheese should definitely be part of the diet. If you aren’t a fan of curds — blend it to make it smooth. It’s hard to get a high quality protein like cottage cheese in such a small amount. 1/2 cup — 16 grams? YES, please!
- Quinoa — this one has certainly made waves over the last couple years. It’s a grain that’s loaded in fiber and is also a complete protein. It’s quick to make — takes about 20 minutes — and can be eaten plain or mixed with some favorite ingredients. We like to make it with chicken broth, then toss in a variety of fresh herbs for a unique flavor. You can even try it in place of oatmeal for breakfast; add some cranberries, walnuts and coconut for a savory nutrient dense breakfast.
- Hemp seeds — not THAT kind of hemp. The edible, hulled hemp seeds that are growing in popularity. These little seeds offer a great, nutty flavor that packs a good dose of omega 3 and 6 fats, is high in protein and fiber, and adds some nice texture to cottage cheese or yogurt. We also love them in smoothies, oatmeal or if you make a homemade granola, mixed in there too.
This list can go on, but we wanted to give a nice starting point.
Which one of these foods will you pick up at the grocery store the next time you go? Remember, small changes = big results, so pick one you’ll at least try, then stick with it and experiment. As for kids, it may take up to 15 attempts to understand if they like a food (or not), so if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
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