So much of the advice out there on nutrition has to do with what we shouldn’t be eating. I’m much fonder of the other approach – focusing on all the incredibly nourishing foods out there that we should eat! Here are some of the foods that I resolve to eat more of this coming year:
Beans: I consider them the rock stars of the food world. Beans have it all – fiber, protein, iron, B vitamins. They are the only food that you can count as either a vegetable serving or a lean protein serving. Studies have shown that people who eat more beans tend to be leaner, have healthier hearts, and also seem to live longer. I think I will start with this recipe for Black Beans and Rice with Cheese from Cooking Light - it got great reviews, and sounds kid friendly.
Oatmeal: Am I the only one who found an extra five pounds or so this year? Oatmeal for breakfast is part of my plan to lose those pounds before they invite their buddies to join them. The fiber in oatmeal really helps you to stay full for longer, which is why it's such a great breakfast. I like to heat mine with some frozen berries, a handful of walnuts, skim milk, and just a touch of brown sugar - yumm!
Red wine: Actually, this is one I don’t need to work on increasing – I’ve got this one covered, but let me just say that I plan to continue drinking red wine for it’s benefits. Studies suggest that a moderate amount of red wine (1 glass a day for women, 2 glasses a day for men) may be helpful in lowering your risk for heart disease. Just remember, more is not better on this one!
Salmon: Salmon contains a nutrient known as DHA, which is a type of fat that is essential for our brain and also plays a role in a healthy immune system. The problem is that DHA is in a limited number of foods - it is found mainly in fatty fish, although it is starting to show up in fortified products, like certain brands of milk. A great alternative for salmon is canned light tuna - both of these types of fish contain DHA, but are on the low end of fish that may contain methylmercury. Here is a salmon recipe that almost everybody loves - even people who aren't crazy about fish (I use less butter than the recipe calls for, and it still tastes great).
Kiwi: You could substitute just about any fruit here, but I've got a thing for kiwi, and so do my kids; the problem is that we rarely buy it! Did you know that the little kiwi is the most nutrient-dense of the twenty-seven most commonly eaten fruit? It also has more vitamin C per serving than any other fruit. Try it as an addition to your next salad, for a chage of pace.
To dive further into the world of super foods, I highly recommend my friend David Grotto’s book, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. It’s a celebration of the best food out there, with lots of advice and recipes.