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.