You know you should be eating healthy, balanced meals made up of nutrient-packed superfoods. But the foods you aspire to eat don’t always make their way onto your plate. Here’s a handy guide of the five healthy foods you should eat more often – and how to prepare them.
1. Kale. You can’t turn a corner without hearing about the benefits of this dark green leafy veggie. But whatever your reason for avoiding it thus far, it’s finally time to give kale a try. Why? It’s rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, calcium – you get the point. Kale is also a fantastic source of antioxidants.
How to enjoy: Bake bite-size pieces with olive oil and seasoning to make delicious kale chips. Or try this Kale and Banana Smoothie recipe from Wellness Times.
2. Sardines. I know sardines have gotten a bad rap over the years. Packed in that tiny little can side by side, they don’t exactly look appetizing. But the truth is that sardines are an excellent source of important omega-3 essential fatty acids, protein, vitamin B12 and minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. And unlike larger fish, they’re less likely to contain PCBs, mercury and other toxins.
How to enjoy: Top your pizza with sardines straight from the can, or make a quick patÃ© by combining them with lemon juice, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese in a food processor.
3. Pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is perfect for Thanksgiving pie, but you can (and should) eat it all year long. Rich in vitamin A, it makes a healthy addition to baked goods, smoothies, hot cereal and more. Plus, it’s packed with filling fiber, to help curb those cravings for… well, pie.
How to enjoy: Mash pumpkin until smooth, then combine with coconut, toasted nuts and maple syrup or honey. Or add a dollop to your oatmeal or pancakes.
4. Beets. They may look a bit intimidating, but when it comes to nutrition, beets are hard to beat. They’re a good source of folate, manganese, potassium, fiber and vitamin C. They also contain betalains, a type of phytonutrient with impressive antioxidant properties.
How to enjoy: Roast until tender, then toss with greens and goat cheese. Or drink them in the form of beet juice. But be careful, because beets stain!
5. Beans. Packed with fiber, protein and antioxidants, beans are an excellent choice for a healthy side dish. According to this article from Wellness Times, three common beans (pinto, red kidney and small red) rank in the top five for antioxidant content in foods. Want to reduce your risk of bean-induced gas? The article suggests soaking them first, then topping with cumin or garlic while cooking.