Wellness: Nutrition

The Seven Best Foods We Never Eat

Stuck in a food rut? You don't have to go far to find some overlooked food choices that are easy to prepare, pack a nutritional wallop, and avoid unhealthy fats.

Avocado

Sure, it’s great in guacamole. But why not try chopping it into chunks for a super salad topper? Or next time you make a sandwich, add thin avocado slices for a superfood treat. Avocado offers:

  • Heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat

  • Vitamins A and E

  • B vitamins

  • Potassium

  • Copper

Sweet potato

Toss cubes of these terrific fat-free tubers with chunks of carrot and apple. Drizzle with olive oil, season to taste and pop in the oven until golden brown. Sweet potatoes provide:

  • Five times your daily dose of vitamin A

  • Vitamin C

  • Calcium

  • Phosphorous

  • Potassium

  • Magnesium

  • Iron

  • Fiber

Soybeans

Soybeans show up in lactose-free milk substitutes as well as stir-fry favorites, tempeh, and tofu. The beans themselves taste wonderful roasted and salted in the pods, steamed as a side dish, or chilled on salads. Soybeans serve up:

  • 40 percent of your daily protein intake in 1 cup

  • Fiber

  • Calcium

  • Potassium

  • Iron

  • Phosphorous

  • Magnesium

Dried figs

Tasty as fig cookies are, figs stand on their own. Sneak these sweet snacks into casseroles. Replace raisins in a salad. Or just pop a few in your mouth. Figs are full of:

  • Fiber

  • Potassium

  • Calcium

  • Iron

  • B vitamins

Lentils

Try lentils tossed with rice or baked in a casserole. Or seek out spicy, spreadable lentil dips at ethnic food stores and eclectic supermarkets. Lentils are loaded with:

  • 40 percent of your daily protein intake in 1 cup

  • 65 percent of your daily fiber dose in 1 cup

  • Potassium

  • Calcium

  • Iron

  • B vitamins

  • Phosphorous

  • Copper

Kale

More robust and chewy than the ever popular spinach, dark and leafy kale is perfect for steaming. Top with diced sautéed garlic, sesame seeds, and a splash of soy sauce. Kale packs a punch with:

  • Twice your daily intake of vitamin A in 1 cup (cooked)

  • Vitamin C

  • Small amount of B vitamins

  • Calcium

  • Iron

Barley

Super in soups and smashing in casseroles, barley makes a dazzling addition to any meal. Try pearled barley as a rice substitute, or boil to create a unique stir-fry base. Barley boosts your healthy eating habits with:

  • Protein

  • 25 percent of your daily fiber needs in 1 cup

  • Potassium

  • Phosphorous

  • Iron

Each of these foods provides an opportunity for new tastes and added nutrition. Give them a try!

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