Foods to Say “Yes” To

Don’t eat this! Avoid that! Skip this! Shun that!

Since nutrition advice so often centers on what not to eat, I thought it might be a pleasant change for us to talk about some foods that taste good and at the same time are nutritious.

Superfoods!

The Oxford English Dictionary says that a “superfood” is one that’s “considered especially nutritious or otherwise beneficial to health and well-being." On the other hand, some nutritionists believe that this word is being over-used as a marketing tool.

Even if this term is more a marketing tool than a fact of nature, I use it to stand for a healthy food that’s high in nutrients that the body needs (like vitamins and minerals) and low in substances that could negatively affect one’s health (like saturated fat, artificial flavorings, and food additives).

Many superfoods are very colorful and high in phytochemicals and antioxidants. These chemical compounds are not essential nutrients but are thought to be potentially helpful to our bodies—so far, over 10,000 such substances have been identified! Research needs to confirm the role these compounds play in our health; however, for now, this list of superfoods is a good place to start when you're planning meals.

Some stars of the superfood kingdom:

  • blueberries (3/4 cup = 15 grams carbohydrate)
  • tomatoes (a free vegetable)
  • red, pinto, and kidney beans (1/2 cup = 15 grams carbohydrate)
  • cranberries (1/2 cup is free if sweetened with a sugar substitute)
  • almonds (6 nuts = 1 fat serving)
  • broccoli (a free vegetable)
  • salmon (a lean meat)
  • leafy green vegetables (a free vegetable)
  • sweet potatoes (1/2 cup = 15 grams carbohydrate)
  • spices like cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric

How to use them

It’s fairly easy to add these foods to daily meals and snacks. Add blueberries to yogurt or cereal, or eat them plain as a snack. Make a big salad with leafy greens and add tomatoes, a couple teaspoons of dried cranberries, 6 nuts, and a handful of cooked kidney beans. Grill up salmon and eat it with a baked sweet potato and broccoli. Experiment with different spices when cooking. Cinnamon is yummy on oatmeal or sweet potatoes, cumin is used widely in Mexican foods, and turmeric is often used in Indian foods.

Add some of these foods to your grocery list every week and enjoy!

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