To continue my list format of writing and, this time, with a little less snark, I thought I would share a list of things you should include in your food repertoire whether you like them or not. Everyone knows what they like to eat, healthy or otherwise. I’m challenging you to force yourself to eat something you may not like, based entirely on the principle that it’s good for you. Then mentally force yourself to like it. Let’s be honest, there’s much worse things that you have mentally forced yourself to do/like. Here is my list of the 10 things you are stupid not to eat. (Unless, of course, you have dietary issues/allergies that prohibit you from eating them. Duh.)
10 – Barley – Barley is kind of like rice on steroids. The health benefits of this grain are ridiculous and the rich, nutty taste is delicious. Barley also has a lower glycemic index than white rice (which makes sense to the diabetic peeps). Use it in dishes like this ground turkey and kale soup (I used this Real Simple recipe but subbed the kale for the spinach. Make sure you also add some chipotle powder and a little honey and lemon too!) that is souper easy (see what I did there?) and souper yummy!
9 – Boca Sausage – I love the taste of regular breakfast sausage but then there’s that one nasty bite of something hard and bonelike and the whole thing is ruined. With Boca breakfast sausage, you get all of the flavor and none of the weird mystery bites. You also get way less fat, calories and cholesterol. They are not paying me, I really just like it.
8 – Eggs – I’m not going to reveal anything ground-breaking about eggs. If you are worried about cholesterol, I would cut the butter, or some of the steak, or even the yolk but don’t cut the eggs. I start almost every day with eggs in some fashion. Except the days that my kids make me two pieces of rye toast for breakfast in bed. Those days I will tell you (and them) that rye toast is the BEST thing to eat for breakfast.
7 – Kale – I realize that kale is super trendy right now, and you may be annoyed with it. But the nice thing about kale is that you can put it in soup (see above recipe) and it doesn’t get all slimy and snotty like spinach. And just so you know, kale is full of iron, vitamin K, vitamin A and vitamin C. So it fights cancer, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular issues, etc. It CAN also make you gassy, so don’t eat it on date night. Unless, of course, your date is your husband who probably won’t care.
6 – Salmon – If you don’t like salmon, then you should try it again. Except this time, make sure it’s cooked properly. In my opinion, salmon must be cooked perfectly to experience the glorious flavor of this incredibly healthy fish. Also, if you are of the opinion that salmon is “too fishy”, you may need to try a different type of salmon, like sockeye. It you are buying frozen, make sure you are buying from a reputable brand and thawing in cold water. Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids. These bad boys make your good cholesterol (HDL) go up and your bad cholesterol (LDL) go down. There are a ton of vitamins and protein in salmon as well. My kids eat it, so you should totally give it another go.
5 – Cauliflower- It’s not green, it’s not leafy AND it’s still good for you! There are tons of “diabetic” cook books that will tell you to puree cauliflower and put it in stuff to hide it. Or puree it and try to pass it off as mashed potatoes. I recommend cutting a head into large pieces, brushing it with a little olive oil or grapeseed oil and roasting it for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Give it a little sprinkle of salt and you will never want to mash it’s little brains again. When you roast cauliflower, it caramelizes just enough to taste completely amazing. So don’t hide it in other foods. You will hurt its delicious feelings for no good reason at all. Cauliflower is high in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and can increase blood flow.
4 – Avocado – It’s kind of like butter that is good for you. Not to bash butter, but it doesn’t have a ton of good things in it, despite its utter deliciousness. Avocados are full of healthy fats and they taste delicious. There are a gazillion (literally) recipes for avocados because they compliment so many dishes. From simple salads to smoothies to guacamole, you owe it to your table and to your body to get some green in there. Don’t forget that the fat in avocado is still fat. So don’t overdo it.
3 – Hummus – Chick peas, garbanzo beans, channa. No matter what you call them, they are awesome. There is a reason that there are 50 different flavors of hummus at the supermarket. Number 1, hummus is really good. Number 2, it’s super easy and inexpensive to make hummus so its not a big deal for large companies to make a bunch of varieties. So why not just make it? Well, I have a recipe for you right here (scroll to the bottom), thanks to the Nottingham Inn, LLC in Oxford, PA. They graciously shared their recipe a few months ago for my other blog BakeVintage.com. If you didn’t already know, chickpeas are an excellent source of stuff like folate, fiber, and are low in fat (that’s enough f-words for now). And you don’t just have to dip veges in your hummus (although cauliflower is awesome dipped up in there). You can add hummus to your sandwiches and chicken salad and you can even find dried spiced chickpeas for snacking at stores like Whole Foods.
2 – Hot Sauce – Ok, so this is technically not a food, but I think it should be. One of the trickiest things about changing your eating habits can be eliminating things like butter and salt or sauces that you think aren’t really that bad for you. I hate to break it to you but buffalo wing sauce is primarily made of butter. So, instead of getting take out wings or making dip with the buffalo sauce you bought from the grocery store. Just buy the bottle of hot sauce. Get creative with your ingredients (yogurt, low-fat sour cream, etc) and get close to wing sauce, or maybe even better. And just for the record, I put hot sauce in and on pretty much everything. It goes in my tuna salad, in my scrambled eggs, and sometimes on my pizza. It adds so much flavor without any fat or calories. It’s kind of a miracle. That said, it doesn’t have any nutritional value. So I have saved the best nutritional powerhouse for last!!!
1 – Beets!!! – DON’T STOP READING. I saved beets for last for two reasons. 1 – I knew you would be so entertained by my wit and adorable writing skills that you would hang in there for the last one. And 2 – beets really are the most amazing food ever grown in the ground. Beets have been touted as “nature’s viagra”. I mean, come on, do I really need to say more. They detox, lower your blood pressure, boost your stamina, and fight cancer. I will admit that beets are strong in flavor (you kind of have to be when you are fighting cancer and boosting stamina), but the trick to enjoying beets is pairing them with foods that complement the rich, earthy flavor. My favorite is goat cheese and honey. And before you scrunch your nose up (like my mom is if she is reading this), remember that some foods alone are just ok, until you find the perfect match that makes them exceptional. How romantic, right?! (Nature’s viagra) Just promise that the next time you go to dinner and there is a beet salad on the menu, talk someone into splitting it with you. AND if it’s date night, you should totally order it. Maybe you won’t even need to order anything else… wink wink.
Want more? Follow me on Twitter at @t1runner