What do crickets, kalettes, umeboshi paste, and black mung bean pastas have in common? They are in the latest “Huffington Post” article on 15 Foods to Add to Your Diet in 2015. I am not going to eat a cricket (even if it is chocolate covered or the answered prayer) but I thought I’d share my 15 for a Healthier ‘15. Below are a few of my favorites. The bottom line is to avoid getting obsessed with all these different lists of great foods. Focus on including a wide variety of nutrient rich colorful foods, limiting higher processed foods and fats and filling half of your plate with colorful fruits and veggies. This will get your 2015 off to a healthy start.
- Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, folate, postassium, magnesium. A diet high in fiber will help you maintain healthy cholesterol, blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer. Beans are very readily available and inexpensive. Choose four half-cup servings of beans a week.
- Berries are high in fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and packed with antioxidants. They can help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and also contain anti-inflammatory properties. Frozen is just as good as fresh. Blueberries contain one of the highest amounts of antioxidants. Choose daily half to one cup of a variety of berries. As a berry farmer I am always interested in encouraging other to eat more!
- Brocolli is one of the most popular accepted vegetables that is packed full of folate, fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and flavonoids-lutein, zeaxanthin, carotenoids for healthy vision. All this packed into a one cup serving that only has 30 calories. Fill up your plates with broccoli.
- Cocoa contains magic ingredients to trigger endorphins and serotonin and make us feel happy. Cocoa is also full of flavonoids that have seen positive effects to aid in diabetes, heart disease and even blood pressure. Choose the darker the better cocoa with at least 70% cocoa or higher. This does not mean to keep large bags of chocolate in your tractors, combines, trucks and desks!
- Eggs are high in calcium, magnesium and Vitamins A, D E, B6, B12 and rich in protein. They are the most inexpensive and complete protein source available. Eggs are one of nature’s fast foods with fast and easy prep and many versatile options. Studies show that an egg a day is a real option in a healthy diet.
- Greek Yogurt is packed full of protein, calcium and choosing low or non-fat varieties can give your diet a big boost. Use plain Greek yogurt in place of mayo and sour cream in recipes to give them a nutritional boost. Choose Greek yogurt as a mid-afternoon snack to keep you feeing full till your evening meal.
- Nuts are a great source of packed full of heart-healthy fats, high fiber, and antioxidants. Some even contain some inflammatory properties. Almonds, pistachios and walnuts are the best choices at 155 to185 calories per ounce. A small handful a day (23 almonds, 49 pistachios, or 14 walnuts halves) will give your diet a powerful punch.
- Oats are low in calories and high in fiber and protein. The soluble fiber in oats can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and maintain blood glucose levels. Oats are easy and inexpensive to add to anyone’s diet. All it takes is to start your day off with a bowl of oatmeal.
- Pumpkin and sweet potatoes are other nutrient dense foods packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and fiber. Other great choices in this family are any dark orange squash, sweet potatoes.
- Soy is rich in high-quality protein with fiber and healthy fats. These phytochemicals support many health benefits including reducing your risk for heart disease, may improve brain function as well as promising research to reduce risk of breast cancer and beneficial in relief of menopausal symptoms in some woman. Include black soy, yellow soy and edamame in your diet.
- Spinach and kale are nutrient dense foods packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate and fiber. They provide antioxidant effects that have been found to be beneficial in eye health, lowering cardiovascular risk and protecting against some cancers. Just a few more reasons to fill up your cart with spinach and other leafy greens.
- Green tea contains high amounts of a disease-fighting antioxidants that have been found to help fight cancers and heart disease. Recently green tea has also been found to be helpful in good eye health.
- Tomatoes are packed full of Vitamin A, C, E and potassium. Tomato’s antioxidants have been seen to be influential in reducing your risk of pancreatic and prostate cancer. They are low calorie and versatile cooked and uncooked.
- Salmon or other cold water fish are high in omega-3s and also have anti-inflammatory characteristics. They help lower cholesterol, heart disease and may also help Alzheimer’s and arthritis. WebMD suggest including them two times a week.
- Whole Grains — don’t exclude great grains in your diet. The fiber in these products are invaluable. Make wise choices choosing whole wheat bread, cereals, grains and pastas. Cut out or limit your processed grain products.
FYI — kallette is a cross between kale and brussels sprouts and actually sounds interesting. Umeboshi paste is made from umebashi plums and is made into a fermented condiment, doesn’t appeal to me, but if you try it let me know. Mung bean pasta is self explanatory, I guess. Crickets, well I suppose if you choose to include them or other high protein insects in your diet to help reduce the carbon footprint and decrease your red meat intake that is up to you. I definitely, will not be joining you. Happy Healthy New Year.
5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake (webmd.com)
4 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3 Tbsp. lowfat milk or fat free half N half
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons fat free sour cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)
light vanilla bean ice cream (optional)
sliced strawberries or other fresh fruit (optional)
In microwave-safe coffee mug, combine whole-wheat flour, sugar, and cocoa. Pour egg, lowfat milk, canola oil, sour cream and vanilla into the mug with dry ingredients and mix well with fork.
Stir chocolate chips into the cake batter in mug, if desired. Place mug in center of microwave (preferably one that has a turn table) and cook on HIGH for 3 minutes. The cake will rise about an inch or so above the top of the mug (don’t worry it won’t drip down the sides of the mug).
Let cake cool in mug for a few minutes then turn mug upside down over a serving bowl (the cake should slide out fairly easily).
Cut cake in half for a smaller sized serving and top with a small scoop of light vanilla bean ice cream and sliced strawberries (or other fresh fruit).
Serving Suggestion: Serve with a scoop of light vanilla ice cream and some fresh fruit like sliced strawberries or raspberries. Yield: Makes 2 servings Nutritional Information: Per serving (if two per recipe): 240 calories, 7 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, .7 g saturated fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 115 mg sodium. Calories from fats: 30%.
Crustless Quiche in a Cup (cookingwithmykid.com)
4 egg whites
1/2 cup lowfat milk
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
fresh pepper & sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blanch the broccoli in boiling water, dry and chop up into small pieces and set aside. Also set aside 2 to 3 tablespoons of cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top of quiche. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine eggs and whites and lightly whisk together. Add milk and continue to whisk together. Stir in all remaining cheese and broccoli and finish off with salt and pepper to taste. Spray cups or ramekins with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet. Divide egg mixture evenly among cups, sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until beginning to brown. An 8oz ramekin should yield 4 quiches. If you use coffee mugs, you may want to put more in and make 3 quiches. You may also be able to experiment and cook in your microwave.
Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken (cookinglight.com)
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 (6-ounce) chicken cutlets
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Rosemary leaves (optiona
Preheat oven to 425°. Combine buttermilk and mustard in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken to buttermilk mixture, turning to coat.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko to pan; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Combine panko, nuts, and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture; discard buttermilk mixture. Dredge chicken in panko mixture.
Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on rack; coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 13 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.
Nutritional Information Amount per serving Calories: 292; Fat: 9.6g; Protein: 42.7g; Carbohydrate: 6.8g; Fiber: 0.9g; Cholesterol: 101mg