Seven Easy Superfood Strategies to Improve Your Diet

Updated on April 23, 2018
Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle spends as much time in the kitchen as she does at a keyboard. It's no surprise that cooking and food are favorite article subjects.

Fresh and Colorful

Sweet peppers, broccoli and garlic are a good start for a super stir fry.
Sweet peppers, broccoli and garlic are a good start for a super stir fry. | Source

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?

FOOD
Ways to Use
Nutrients
Fresh fruits
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,
Protiens
Add cooked chicken, fish, lean meats to stir fry, salads
Protien, iron , B vitamins and more
You don't have to add everything at once. Start by adding a few at a time and make a habit of using fresh nutrient rich foods instead of junk.

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

Keep fruits in plain sight: hide the cookies.
Keep fruits in plain sight: hide the cookies.

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.

Whole grain cereals, perhaps with almond milk, get an upgrade in flavor and nutrition by adding berries.
Whole grain cereals, perhaps with almond milk, get an upgrade in flavor and nutrition by adding berries.

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.

The trick is to put firmer vegetables on the bottom-- they can marinate in a little dressing. Add leafy greens on the top, above the dressing so they won't wilt. Dump in a bowl when ready to eat, to mix the dressing and ingredients.
The trick is to put firmer vegetables on the bottom-- they can marinate in a little dressing. Add leafy greens on the top, above the dressing so they won't wilt. Dump in a bowl when ready to eat, to mix the dressing and ingredients. | Source

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.

"Superize" your stir-fry recipes by making sure they have lots of colorful vegetables.
"Superize" your stir-fry recipes by making sure they have lots of colorful vegetables.

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.

Adapt a bran muffin recipe to include dried fruits, nuts, seeds, wheat germ and other super ingredients.
Adapt a bran muffin recipe to include dried fruits, nuts, seeds, wheat germ and other super ingredients. | Source

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?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Rochelle Frank

    Comments

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      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

        2 days ago from USA

        A great read with so much important information. I have been trying to eat a diet made mostly of superfoods.

      • Rochelle Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Rochelle Frank 

        4 months ago from California Gold Country

        It's probably the favorite of many, and perhaps I didn't even need to list it, but some people don't know how good it is for you -- in modration, of course.

      • OneHappyFeet profile image

        Lora Riley 

        4 months ago

        Love dark chocolate. You can mix them with berries or in a muffin. Thanks for more tips!

      • Rochelle Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Rochelle Frank 

        4 months ago from California Gold Country

        You are right, Erica. Most natural unprocessed foods have a lot of benefits. I'll bet we still haven't discovered a lot of them.

      • PrekTeacher profile image

        Erica 

        4 months ago from Michigan

        Hi Rochelle, I enjoyed this article! I voted that I would add chocolate (haha), but I guess that was sort of cheating because I already eat a bit of dark chocolate. I am surprised that nobody chose avocados.

        Anyway, I've really only taken an interest in my health,food-wise, recently. I find it very interesting that even by adding a few healthy foods here and there, you can improve your overall health. Thanks again!

      • Rochelle Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Rochelle Frank 

        6 months ago from California Gold Country

        Thanks, Larry. It's really pretty basic. I know there are lots of artilces that are list of "superfoods" and their benefits. I tried to change the focus of this a little bit. I'm thinking that some people buy a sackful of these foods and wonder what to do with them. It's a fact that most of these foods can be eaten with little or no preparation. Fresh and raw is best.

      • Larry Fish profile image

        Larry W Fish 

        6 months ago from Raleigh

        I am a big eater of fresh fruits. Blueberries are my favorite and I understand it is one of the best foods someone can eat. I also love apples, strawberries, bananas, Also I love nuts, walnuts, peanuts, cashews. Great article, I am sure it will change some minds.

      • Rochelle Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Rochelle Frank 

        6 months ago from California Gold Country

        Most of us have access to all of these. With all of the choices of healthy foods we have, it should be easy to design good menus without a lot of work.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        6 months ago from Houston, Texas

        I love all of the foods you showcased in this article. We try and keep many of these ingredients on hand for daily consumption.

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