5 Healthy Foods You Probably Haven't Given a Try (But Should)
This post covers 5 healthy foods that aren't exactly popular in most households. We're guessing that most people reading this blog have only tried about 2 or 3 of these items. Leave a comment below to let us know how many you have tried (0/5 to 5/5) and be sure to give us your cooking tips.
#1 Baby Bok Choy
Aside from how fun it is to say, baby bok choy is a leafy green vegetable that packs a nutritional punch with minimal calories (just 20 per cooked cup). A type of cabbage that is loaded with vitamins A and C, it’s also a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium and iron. In the kitchen, it brings a wonderful new texture to dishes like stir-fries and soups. You can sub in other types like savoy or Napa cabbages, but they don’t have quite the impressive nutrient profile or subtle Asian flavoring as baby bok choy. Another plus is how quickly baby bok choy cooks: about three minutes in the stir fry until the leaves are wilted and the stems achieve the perfect balance between crispy and tender.
What have you made with baby bok choy? Any recipe ideas you can share in a comment below?
#2 Garbanzo Beans (aka Chickpeas)
Several of us here at Swanson Health Products rave about garbanzo beans. We think you should love them as much as we do, and here’s why...
Per cup, you get:
- 10 grams of fiber
- 14 grams of protein
- Just around 260 calories (and only 20 from fat!)
- Important nutrients like B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc
Not to mention, they’re easy on your wallet (and if you buy them dried, they can last nearly forever if stored properly).
Have you tried Garbanzo beans? Have you tried them in something other than hummus?
#3 Acorn Squash
Squash is a wonderful food that allows your creativity to run wild. Though it is a winter squash, acorn squash actually belongs to the same species as all summer squashes, which includes zucchini and yellow squash. As for nutrition, acorn squash is a natural source of dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin C.
Acorn squash has a distinctively sweet, orange flesh that also brings a hint of nuttiness to your dinner plate. Its smaller size means one cooked squash is about perfect for two people, plus there won’t be a lot of waste or leftover food to deal with. Get creative with your preparation and presentation. You can cut the squash in two, cook and use as bowls for a favorite vegetable soup, or pile on some freshly cooked rice or pilaf. If you have a sweet tooth, a sprinkling of brown sugar is all you need.
Where do you get your squash from (supermarket or farmer’s market)? How do you prepare it?
Do you like popcorn? It’s a healthy, go-to snack option that’s perfect for movies or curling up on the couch with a good book. But do you ever wish you had another healthy snack that’s just as easy? A snack you could add a pinch of salt to if you feel like it, or even a bit of melted butter? Try edamame. It’s a great snack, but far more versatile.
Edamame is simply shelled soybeans, and you can find them in the freezer section. They cook quickly in a pot of boiling water and go great in soups, on top of salads or as a stand-alone side dish. They have a unique, smooth texture and a rich nutty/buttery flavor (which is why they make such a great snack food). One cup of edamame offers 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and nutrients like folate, vitamin K and iron.
If you have a recipe that calls for edamame but don’t have any on hand, you can often substitute baby lima beans, which have similar flavor and texture.
Are you a fan of edamame? Do you buy it fresh or frozen?
#5 Broccoli Rabe
Broccoli is a popular go-to vegetable for many families. If you come from Italian lineage, however, you may be more familiar with broccoli rabe, also known as rapini or broccoli di rape. For the rest of you, this is definitely one vegetable variety you must try at least once.
Broccoli Rabe is related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower and mustard, not broccoli like you might have guessed. The taste is somewhat bitter and pungent, but blanching prior to tossing in a stir fry or sautéing in olive oil removes most of the bitterness and allows for your seasonings of choice to shine. And like all leafy green vegetables, broccoli rabe is full of good nutrition, offering vitamins A, C and K as well as calcium, iron and potassium. Look for bright, vibrant green leaves that are not wilted or turning dark in color.
Be honest. You've never tried Broccoli Rabe. If you have, leave a comment below for proof.
Source: Nutrition Action Health Letter, Oct. 2011
Now is the moment of truth. What's your score out of 5? Leave a comment below.