Superfoods: Simple Ways to Add Them into Your Diet
I love food and spend a lot of time thinking about my next meal, but my hunger for food isn’t always reflected in my meal choices. I go through stages of eating the same thing a couple of times a week simply because it’s easy and quick to make, plus I know that the meal ticks all of the boxes. For those who are interested, at the minute this is white fish in a harissa and lime sauce, bulgur wheat and a load of green veg- yum! Although this is good for budget, ease of planning and fits into the healthy eating, that isn’t always the most exciting plan. So, this week I branched out- slightly- and incorporated some new superfoods into my meal planning. I wanted to learn a bit more about these foods as I made my meals and here is what I found out.
Until this week, I had never had lentils before. Can you believe it?! I literally don’t know where they have been my whole life. The reason I am classing these as a superfood is because of all of their nutritional values. They have a good amount of protein in them for a plant based food – 9 grams of protein in 100 grams of lentils- plus they are low in calories and contain very little fat.
Although the lentil contains lots of goodness, my main reason for falling in love is the result when cooked. As I am new to lentils, I can’t tell you whether this happened by chance, but I made a dish that I thought would resemble a grain like salad, but it was actually like I was eating a risotto… It tasted like a delicious hearty carby Italian dish, but didn’t contain them. I cannot tell you how much I love Italian food, so this dish will definitely be a new addition to the meal plan.
I always have a selection of vegetables as a side dish, so this week I purchased some 3 tiered steamer pans so that I could start steaming my vegetables instead of boiling them. The steaming process is quicker than boiling (I only steam the vegetables until they are no longer raw), so it preserves more of the nutrients within the vegetables. The first thing I tried this with is Kale and it worked a treat. Simply put the kale in the steamer for around 8-10 minutes and it is ready to add to your dish. If you are unsure and don’t know what it tastes like, it bears a strong resemblance to cabbage, but yummier.
I have included kale as one of my superfoods, because as well as being easy to cook, it is so good for you. Considering how few calories a large handful contains, it is incredibly nutrient dense, so if you are lacking nutrients in your diet, this is a great veg to add to your plate. Containing large amounts of Vitamin K, Vitamin C (a large handful contains more than a whole orange!), Vitamin A, Calcium and so much more, it is a valuable addition. I am planning to make some Kale crisps soon, so keep an eye on my Instagram.
I overate sweet potato almost a year ago and haven’t touched it since- I simply went off it. Well, this week it was back on the menu. I enjoyed a sweet potato and goats cheese jacket with honey roasted figs and a side of kale and it was so sweet and tasty. Perfect post workout meal full of goodness.
There are a couple of reasons why I have included the sweet potato as a superfood. It is so versatile and makes everything from mash and chips to roasties and soups- add a sprinkle of cinnamon if you want to add an extra flavour. If you are looking for something to keep you energised for longer then the sweet potato is a great food to include. It is naturally sweet and these natural sugars slowly release into your body meaning you get a consistent source of energy to fuel your day.
Roasted cauliflower is the most simple thing you can add to your evening meal or lunchtime salad. It is also something cheap to add to your fridge, as one cauliflower will last a few meals! I drizzled it in coconut oil, sprinkled tumeric over it and roasted the cauliflower in the oven for about 30-40 minutes at 180°c. The end result is a tender cauliflower head with a creamy yet spicy taste. Delicious!
It is one of my superfoods, because it is a good replacement for many carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and pizza bases that often feature in meals. It is low carb, has fewer calories and is also gluten free which is why it is a good switch. In my opinion, it also tastes better than rice! If you are on a rest day where you are eating lower carbs, it is the ultimate healthy choice to use as a pizza base or potato alternative. As well as being a substitute for other foods, it is full of its own nutrients that make it worth eating. It contains vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin K, is high in fiber so is good for digestion, is rich in antioxidants which reduce inflammation and so much more.
I hope the above will encourage you to add some new foods into your diet. I’ve discovered that these foods are not only really yummy and easy to add to your meals, but they all have so many health benefits too! To inspire you further, I will be adding recipes to Essentially Em that incorporate these foods!