Let us face it- not many of us are ardent fans of vegetables and fruits. Between a bucket of fried chicken and a plate of loaded salad with all the colors of the rainbow, we would more often reach out for the chicken. The key to a healthy life is balance, and as much as we love something fried, the adult thing to do is to ensure that we are getting the necessary amount of nutrients into our body.
Superfoods are a must in our diet.
What are superfoods?
Superfoods concern a particular food group that is known to have a higher number of vitamins and minerals. While there is no legal definition of the word superfood, the Oxford dictionary does describe superfoods as “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary explains superfoods as ‘nutrient-dense food, loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and/or phytonutrients”. So essentially, Superfoods are food items that have more health benefits or above-average benefits than other foods.
Is there really such a thing as Superfoods?
While there is certainly hype about different food items being extremely nutrient-dense than other food items, it is always a good thing to look at scientific research and evidence. It is a widely known fact that blueberries are well-known as a superfood with a high content of antioxidants. Blueberries are a very much sought-after superfood in the beauty and wellness section as it is known to slow down and even reverse age-related skin conditions.
Apart from blueberries, there are other fruits, nuts, and berries that fall into the superfood category, and you have probably heard of the acai berry trend which was touted as having even more antioxidant properties than the blueberry. Pomegranate and beetroot are also part of the superfood family with high levels of nitrate, making them heart-healthy, lowering blood pressure levels, and reducing blood clotting in human beings.
How Can You Incorporate More Superfoods in your Diet?
Here are 15 tips to help you sneak in some superfood into your diet:
1- BLEND IT
Blending smoothies is an excellent idea to get those lesser eaten fruits and vegetables into your stomach. Smoothies are great for a snack, for breakfast, and even for pre- or post-workout meals. Certain superfoods such as flaxseed can be added into smoothies for texture and also make it easier for consumption.
2- TOP IT
Using foods like tomatoes, leafy greens, nuts, and even chia seeds as toppings for sandwiches and salads are an extremely easy way to upgrade your meal from average to healthy. Crunchy whole-grain cereal or flavorful granola is upgraded into an amazing, nutrition-dense breakfast with the addition of yogurt. Adding a bagful of spinach under your pizza toppings is a great way of adding greens to your meal.
3- PUREE IT
Pureeing food items is a great way of altering the texture, so it is much easier to eat. Pureed roasted vegetables make for a satisfying sauce as a side or even for dipping for chicken or fish meals. Pureed cauliflower is delicious as a topping for burgers. Pureed avocado becomes a great complement for salads.
4- STIR IT
Take a leaf out of Asian cuisine where vegetables are shredded before adding to fried rice, fried noodles, ramen, or broth. Soups, stews, meatloaf, omelets, and quiches are ideal recipes where carrots, cucumbers, beets, garlic, avocado, and leafy greens can be added without compromising taste.
5- USE THIS NOT THAT
Substitute rice for cauliflower rice. Substitute dairy milk for almond milk in baking. Instead of beef or chicken, substitute it for tempeh—substitute ricotta cheese with blended tofu, honey with agave syrup, and butter with olive oil. The options are endless.
6- BAKE IT
Everyone loves the smell coming out from the oven. Baking bread and muffins are a great way to upgrade it to a healthy option by adding bananas, blueberries, pumpkin, zucchini, carrots, and walnut.
7- ROAST, GRILL OR BROIL IT
Fruits and vegetables do not have to be eaten fresh all the time. Some roasting, grilling, and broiling elevates the subtle flavors of a variety of vegetables and fruits. For example, oven-dried cherry tomatoes give out an earthy flavor to any dish. Grilled jalapeno adds a rustic touch to any burgers, and grilled Portobello mushrooms are so good you can eat it on its own.
8- DIP IT
Make amazing dips with fruits such as an orange cream dip, which is refreshing and delicious. A raspberry fruit dip is great as an addition to an afternoon tea spread. A coconut cream dip is a welcome on a hot summer afternoon.
9- EAT RAW
Of course, eating things raw is probably the easiest way to eat things. If you do not have time to make stuff, then cut them up and nibble it away. Celery, on its own, is great and can be eaten with minimal attention. So, eat it while stuck in a traffic jam. Eating raw cucumbers, jicama, or even a handful of goji and blueberries as a snack is a great way to increase your superfood intake by eating it raw.
10- BUY PRE-CUT
Sometimes, if you are lazy, purchasing pre-cut vegetables and fruits will increase the chances of you eating them. Also, purchase vegetable or fruit drinks such as cold-pressed pomegranate or cold-pressed celery and cucumber juice.
11- DISGUISE IT
Shredding things like lemon or spiraling zucchini and cucumber to add it into your pasta is an excellent disguise method. Mashing up your superfoods also does the trick. Tater-tots made from vegetables such as broccoli and zucchini are a great way to ‘disguise’ your food and make it appealing to your senses.
12- SPICE IT
Herbs, spices, kinds of vinegar are essential to the body and to flavor food. You can even add a little https://elitehealthproducts.org/ to make your healthy salads and soups come alive with a little zing. Adding hemp oil to salad dressings is a healthy choice as it provides a robust flavor to the dish, and it contains a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is best used at room temperature, rather than heated or used as a cooking oil.
Sometimes, changing the way you cook things will make you look forward to cooking the foodstuff and eating it more often. For example, eggplant is a great vegetable to cook Asian way by lightly sautéing it and just added garlic and soy sauce to create an easy yet delicious vegetable dish. Salmon is super delicious cooked with teriyaki sauce. Yam is always cooked as a steamed cake in Chinese cuisine. Turmeric, chilies, onions are a staple in Indian cooking.
14- BE ADVENTUROUS
Cooking on your own is a great way to pique interest and to try new things in your kitchen. If it doesn’t turn out the way you want, learn from it and attempt to do it again. Start with simple dishes and work your way up by improving your cooking techniques and venturing outside your comfort zone. Try different cuisines and keep adding ways to add superfoods to your culinary adventure.
15- SEE HOW PROFESSIONALS PREPARE
With the multitude of cooking videos available online, it is easy to figure out the steps used to prep and cook an item like fish or chicken or beef. Watching how chefs and nutritional experts reinvent items like vegetables and nuts and seeds is an excellent eye-opener.
Whatever diet you choose or the foods you want to consume, the general rule is to have loads of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, dairy, and omega 3- fatty acid-rich foods. Even if you do consume a good mix of all these foods, the challenge is to include more of these amazingly nutritious foods regularly into your daily diet. The bigger challenge is that not many people are big fans of superfoods’ taste or texture.
It is time to look into the favorite foods you eat or the kinds of food that you eat regularly and figuring out how to add in some of these superfoods.
For example, if you love eating tuna casseroles or fish patties, then make a smart substitute by opting for salmon as a seafood choice rather than tuna or cod or mackerel.
Another example is sneaking in flaxseed. It seems pretty hard to think of how to include something that seems so non-versatile such as flax seeds, but the thing is you can incorporate it into your granola for your morning breakfast or even muffins, soups, and of course salads.
One Step at A Time
If you want to make a healthy change and start eating more superfoods, remember, do not overdo it. The problem everyone makes when starting something new, whether it’s eating healthily, exercising, attempting a new habit, or even learning a new skill, is starting strong. Starting is hard, but not having the momentum to get through can become extremely tough too.
So even with changing your dietary habits, remember you do not have to eat all superfoods at one go or all the time. The idea is to start small and make dietary tweaks one at a time till it becomes a habit.