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Monday, July 11, 2011
I think unless you’ve been living under a rock or inside a McDonald’s for the last two years, you’re familiar with the concept of superfoods (or is it super foods? I can’t be sure …). Basically, these are the foods you should eat if you want to be super healthy, super young-looking, super thin and super smart. These foods encompass all that is good in the world of food. And the best part? Most of them taste super good, or can be doctored to the point they are at least not gag-inducing.
When I moved to Switzerland, I was determined to hop aboard the superfood train and make an effort to incorporate at least some of these foods into each meal. Sounds complicated, right? Well, let me just say that I’ve found it to be simpler than I imagined. And if I, the list-it-and-ditch-it-extraordinaire, can stick with it, anyone can. Trust me. This has been simple because of the delicious recipes I’m using, so it doesn’t feel like I’m sacrificing my taste buds on the altar of healthy eating.
The superfood I’ve been most surprised to enjoy is spinach. Popeye’s momma didn’t raise no fool. It’s good for you, and it can REALLY taste good! I wouldn’t lie to you (and neither would Popeye). I have a “recipe” below for my tomato-spinach-whole wheat pasta I make at least three nights a week for dinner. For someone who loves variety, that’s saying something.
Before we get to it, here are the most commonly agreed on superfoods:
Drinks: red wine, green tea
Vegetables: avocado, broccoli, onions, peppers, soy, spinach, sprouts, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes
Fruits: açai, apples, blueberries, pomegranates, pumpkin, kiwi, oranges
Meat: wild salmon, turkey
Dairy: eggs, low-fat Greek yogurt, milk
Legumes/Nuts/Grains: beans, barley, seeds, walnuts, almonds, lentils, oats, buckwheat, whole wheat, wild rice and millet
Spices/Misc.: cinnamon, dark chocolate, garlic, honey, extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil, sea salt
Here’s a sample menu of how I incorporate superfoods into my meals every day. I’ve been eating mostly vegetarian since I got here (with an occasional cheeseburger—what? I was raised in the Midwest, so I’m entitled to some high-quality beef every now and then, right? By the way, cheeseburgers aren't acknowleged as a superfood ... yet). I’ve included some non-veggie options too, though, in case you prefer meat.
Option 1: Oatmeal with 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed; 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¾ Cup skim milk, 1/3 Cup berries, 2 teaspoons honey
Option 2: Muesli with 1 Cup Greek yogurt and ½ Cup berries
Option 3: “flaxjacks”—flaxseed pancakes. These can be made on the weekend when you have more time, and frozen then toasted throughout the week. Use honey rather than sugar in the recipes that call for sugar.
Maple-walnut and flaxseed pancakes (make sure you use whole wheat flour in this one)
Banana flaxseed pancaked with blackberry syrup (YUM!)
Option 4: Hard-boiled egg with side of berries and Greek yogurt/honey
Option 1: ½ raw pepper—or a whole one if you’re hungry
Option 2: 1 Cup cherry tomatoes
Option 3: 1 Cup raw broccoli
Option 1: egg salad sandwich (make egg salad ahead of time and store in the fridge for a couple days at a time. I make my egg salad with Greek yogurt, mustard, green peppers [or some other crunchy vegetable], cucumbers and DILL) on whole wheat bread; 1 piece fruit; small piece dark chocolate
Option 2: broiled wild-caught Alaskan salmon, 1 Cup steamed broccoli; 1 piece fruit; small piece dark chocolate
Option 3: large green salad topped with kidney beans, sprouts, avocado, tomato, hard-boiled egg and anything else that tickles your fancy (yes, I just said “tickles your fancy”. It makes me smile.); 1 piece fruit; small piece dark chocolate
Option 4: turkey sandwich (but you have to use fresh turkey—not lunch meat packed with fillers and hormones and other nasty stuff) with spinach, mustard, tomato and sprouts on whole wheat bread; 1 piece fruit; small piece dark chocolate
Option 1: Taste of Nature fruit/nut bar; 1 Cup pomegranate or orange juice
Option 2: ½ Cup Greek yogurt with 10 walnuts or almonds, ¼ Cup dried fruit and drizzled with honey
Option 3: 1 Apple with 1 Tablespoon almond butter (make sure you buy the kind with no sugar added)
Option 1: Whole wheat pasta with fresh spinach, tomatoes and basil. This is my recipe, so the quantities probably aren’t exact since I never measure anything. (Sorry, dad—I know you taught me better than that!)
For one person:
¾ Cup uncooked whole wheat pasta—I like to use penne
1.5 Cups uncooked spinach
1 small-to-medium tomato, chopped
7 fresh basil leaves (buy a basil plant—it’s a good investment and easy to keep alive)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/8 Cup fresh mozzarella (the kind that comes in water), cubed
Minced Garlic (however much you prefer)
Step one: Boil water and cook whole wheat pasta according to package
Step two: As soon as you put the pasta in the water to cook, chop tomatoes and set aside.
Step three: Heat olive oil in skillet. Saute garlic in it for approx. three minutes. Add tomatoes.
Step four: Once tomatoes look nearly finished cooking (after three-to-five minutes), add spinach. When spinach is almost wilted, throw in basil leaves. Saute everything together for about two minutes, throw in the mozzarella for 30 seconds or so, then pour everything over your whole wheat pasta.
Bon Apetit! Enjoy it with a side of fruit.
Option 2: Omelet with tomatoes, spinach, onions and peppers; whole wheat toast with olive oil; side of fruit
Option 3: Large green salad with avocado, tomato, sprouts, feta cheese, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar; side of whole wheat bread dipped in olive oil; fruit
Option 4: Pasta with walnut pesto, sausage and broccoli rabe—I haven’t made this yet, but I’m DYING to try it out (minus the sausage)
Any of the lunch options work for dinner too. Oh, and have a glass of red wine with dinner for extra antioxidants … and delicious hapiness.
SUPER easy! Now go superfood yourself …
P.S. Read more about superfoods here and here. Or, just google it and see for yourself—there is a ton of super info out there. Have a super day! ;)