Seven Easy Superfood Strategies to Improve Your Diet
Fresh and Colorful
What Are “Superfoods”?
Adding a few “superfoods” to your regular diet can boost your nutritional score and improve your health. Many whole grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and nuts along with some protien products are identified as being especially high in nutritional benefits.
You have probably seen long lists of these nutrient-dense foods that are designated as "super" and wondered, "How can I eat all of these or include them in my meals?"
Maybe you don't like kale or seaweed and can't find gogi or kefir in your local store. Don't worry, there are plenty of good "ordinary" superfoods. Many of them need little or no preparation and even save you cleanup in the kitchen.
Which "Superfoods" Are Easy to Add to My Diet?
Ways to Use
Good for snacks, on cereal or as a dessert
vitamins, minerals and fiber, folate, antioxidents.
Fresh vegetables and juices
Green salads, smoothies, stir fry or raw with a healthy dip
vitamins, minerals and fiber, low in sugar
Grains, seeds and nuts
Snacks, in salads, in muffins and cookies
vitamins, minerals antioxidants, phytochemicals,
Add cooked chicken, fish, lean meats to stir fry, salads
Protien, iron , B vitamins and more
Many foods with high nutritional values are usually best when raw and minimally processed, lot of them can be tasty snacks with hardly any preparation.
Humans need a variety of vitamins and minerals as well as protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates to maintain optimal health.
Phytonutrients, antioxidants, folate, probiotics , flavonoids and polyphenols can also help promote physical and mental well-being.
There are probably a lot of other nutritional components to be discovered, but let's not worry about all of that right now. If you are just beginning to improve your diet, keep it simple. Think of the basics : Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds as well as high quality protiens.
1. Fresh Fruit Is a Satisfying Snack
Keeping a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table may encourage you to snack healthier. Those bananas are a great source of potassium to help your body maintain consistent blood pressure and promoting the balance of acids and bases.
Apples, pears and grapes offer vitamins and minerals as well as fiber to help you feel full and satisfied, as well as aiding digestion.
Berries of all kinds have great nutritional benefits. They are excellent source of fiber, folate, potassium and antioxidents as well.( You might want to keep them in the refrigerator.) Use them on your cereal, as a dessert or as a snack.
2. A Salad Solution
Having a mixed salad several times a week is a great way to get fresh raw vegetables. When possible, choose dark greens such as Romaine lettuce and spinach, then add tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, olives, celery, grated carrot, sliced onion, raw mushrooms pickled beets and as many vegetables as you like.
Make your salad a whole meal by adding some strips of cooked chicken, hard boiled egg slices, or a little cheese.
If you are preparing food for only yourself, try making up some Salads in a jar. They can keep in the refrigerator for a few days and are ready when you are.
Don't sabotage your salad with a commercial processed salad dressing that may be filled with chemicals, hydrolyzed fats and too many calories.
Read dressing labels carefully. Better yet, make your own dressing with extra virgin olive oil and a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar plus seasonings. You can find several simple and healthy home made dressings online.
3. Superfood Stir-Fry
Colorful ingredients are a hallmark of superfoods, so stir-fry methods are very easy ways to prepare fresh vegetables in a gently cooked matter.
Toss some onions, garlic, broccoli, red bell peppers, snow peas, bean sprouts, celery, mushrooms and chopped cabbage with a touch of soy sauce and healthy oil into your pan and you soon have a colorful dish packed with "supers." Adding lean cooked chicken or other protein rounds out this meal.
You don't have to use all of the vegetables at once, try different combinations to keep it interesting. Sprinkle in some almonds, walnuts or cashews or use seeds like sesame, or sunflower.
Your goal should be to use many fresh vegetables that are simply and freshly prepared.
4. Make a Cranberry Bran Muffin for Breakfast or Snacks
Find a healthy bran muffin recipe. Make sure it uses a good vegetable oil like canola, almond, or grapeseed for the fat. Then add dried berries, nuts, seeds, and perhaps wheat germ. Maybe you want to add oat flour.
Nuts and seeds also rank high on the superfood list for fiber and protein as well as many minerals and healthy fats. Speaking of fats, nuts are quite high in calories. Enjoy them in moderation as an ingredient rather than by the handful.
5. Drink to Your Health
Choose to drink an 8 oz. serving of mixed vegetable juice a day. Adding a little fresh lemon juice boosts the flavor and nutrition. This habit adds the equivalent of several servings of vegetables to your diet each week.
If you can juice your own vegetables, that's great. If not, there are bottled varieties that are also good. Read the labels to find the most natural juices.
Orange or berry juice that is pure, natural and without added sugar is also a good choice, though you need to watch the calories. In general, fruits are almost always higher in sugar calories than vegetables.
Don't forget to drink water. Though it does not have superfood nutrients, it is very important for all bodily functions including digestion.
6. Add Avocado
Avocados are high in healthy fats which can help balance your cholesterol levels. They also have nearly 20 vitamins and minerals and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. This "good" fat makes them a bit high in calories, but the nutrients and flavor make only moderate use a good idea.
You can enjoy this nutritious treat is to slice it into your sandwich, make a guacamole dip or chop pieces into a salad. An even easier way is to simply mash pieces on a piece of whole grain toast and add a bit of salt or pepper.
7. One More Thing: Dark Chocolate
Few people need to be convinced to enjoy a square of good quality dark chocolate. This may be the easiest item to add to your daily diet. The key is to limit this treat to one or two ounces a day. Enjoy, but pay attention to the calories
One square of dark chocolate ( the darker the better), has surprising nutritional benefits. Besides being very high in antioxidents and fiber, it has vital minerals including iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
Changing the way you eat can be a daunting task, but by just substituting or adding a few of these special foods to your diet on a regular basis can make a healthy difference.
And now that you are on your way to eating healthier, you can take a look at those long lists of super healthy foods and perhaps add a few more.
Which one will are you most likely to add?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2018 Rochelle Frank