Daily Archives: January 25, 2011

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Par’s Picks

With the beginning of a new year comes an overwhelming number of health articles.  I think I have seen it all, and we’re only 25 days into 2011.  The articles that always seem to catch my eye are the ones that list out “powerfoods.”  I haven’t figured out why I gravitate toward that topic, but it really does fascinate me.  I get super excited when one of my everyday foods makes it onto a list!  :)

So anyways, as I was brainstorming potential blog topics, I thought, why not create my own list of “powerfoods” that give me myinnershakti.  In order to make my list, the food had to be a regular part of my diet, be versatile, and be yummy!  So without further ado, here are Par’s Picks (in no particular order):

1. Avocados – I use avocados in guacamole, salads, sandwiches, and even on their own (a very satisfying snack).  They are rich and creamy and have a really subtle taste that works with a lot of dishes.

2. Spinach – Spinach is obviously great as the base of salad.  It also works as a nutritious replacement for lettuce.  I also chop it up and mix it into stir fry recipes, soups, etc.

3. Tomatoes – An obvious use for tomatoes is in sandwiches and salads, but I also like to eat them raw with a little sprinkle of salt.

4. Bell peppers (red is my fav) – Peppers are great in salads and stir fry recipes.  They are also really good stuffed with spiced quinoa (thanks, Monica!).

5.  Dark chocolate – THIS IS BEST ENJOYED ALL BY ITSELF! :)

6. Tofu – Tofu scrambles are my new favorite, but this seemingly boring ingredient can be jazzed up and included in a lot of dishes, including stir fry’s, casseroles, and even baked goods.

7. Ground flaxseed – I love ground flaxseed because it adds a lot of nutritional value to a dish without sacrificing flavor.  I add it to my morning oatmeal, sauces, and even Indian food (no one can ever tell its there).

8. Peanut butter – I used to be a Reduced Fat Jif girl until I tried some of the all natural varieties out there.  My favorite brand is  Maranatha.  I just love how peanuty it tastes with very few ingredients.

9. Greek yogurt – Yogurt is great, but in my opinion, greek yogurt is the best!  It’s so thick and creamy and full of protein and calcium.  I love it in parfaits, smoothies, and dips.

11. Blueberries – My new favorite berry is the blueberry!  I love eating these berries by themselves, with my greek yogurt, in smoothies, and even in my baked goods (muffins, cakes, etc.).

12. Bananas – I pretty much eat one banana a day.  It’s the best snack because it keeps you full and satisfied!

13. Apples – An apple a day keeps the doctor away!  I love all kinds of apples, but my favorites have to be Gala and Granny Smith [with peanut butter].

14. Granola – A sprinkle of granola over my oatmeal or yogurt is the best because it adds crunch and sweetness.

15. Beans – If I had to choose one “powerfood,” it would have to be beans.  I love them all – garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto, etc.  I use them in soups, salads, dips, burgers, and even my brownies! 😉  They fill you up and keep you full for a long time!

16. Balsamic vinegar – I love ranch dressing but only the full fat kind (the reduced fat/fat-free stuff is too gloppy for my taste).  However, if I used full fat ranch dressing every time I had a salad, my arteries would be clogged!  So now I use balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make my own vinaigrette.  I find it really refreshing, and I personally like the tang that it adds to my veggies.

17. Olive oil – This is my go to oil for everything I make.  It’s full of heart healthy fats, and besides that, I just love the aroma of olive oil heating up in the kitchen!

18. Quinoa – Quinoa is the newest addition to my diet.  For those of you who don’t know what quinoa is, it’s a grain like edible seed.  The cool thing about quinoa is that it contains all 9 essential amino acids needed for human development.  It can be used in pretty much anything – casseroles, stir fry’s, oatmeal, baked goods, etc.

19. Larabars – All of the foods listed above are simple, whole foods.  In my opinion, a Larabar is 5 or fewer simple, natural foods combined into one, with the base being dates!  I wasn’t too sure if they would be to my liking, but one day my friend Courtney let me graciously try her Apple Pie bar, and I instantly became a fan.  My newest favorite is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.  Other tasty flavors include Pecan Pie, Chocolate Coconut, and Chocolate Chip Brownie.  Do me a favor, if you decide to give them a try, let me know as I would love to hear your thoughts!

So, there you have it…Par’s Picks!  I’ll be sure to update this list whenever I find something worthy of being called a “powerfood,” so be on the lookout!

I would love to hear about what your “powerfoods” are and why, so if you have any, please share!  I am always looking for new ingredients to use in my everyday eats. :)