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Affordable superfoods 

Do you keep seeing articles about "superfoods"? These are foods that pack a nutritional punch and are recommended in our daily diet. Most people think good for you foods cost more. Surveys have shown that, during the recent recession, most of us have been opting for price over nutrition. But if you take a look at the list of superfoods, you'll see most of them are inexpensive. Here is the list and how you can use them in everyday cooking.

Beans

When it comes to nutrition and value for money, beans get an A-plus. They're high in B vitamins and fiber, and all for just pennies a serving. They're also easy to add to everyday dishes. Plus, with so much variety, you'll never get bored. Try adding them to soups and stews and using less meat. Also, you can make bean burritos, tacos and even bean dips.

Blueberries

With all the positive press about blueberries, it's hard to overlook that these little berries contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than most other foods. And they're not hard to dislike. You can freeze them and eat them frozen as a snack, add them to your morning cereal, blend them into a smoothie, or even add them to your muffins, pancakes and waffles.

Broccoli

It's great for your immune system and supports cardiovascular health. Some people can tolerate eating it raw by combining it with a dip. But if that's a bit too much for you, you can use chopped broccoli in casseroles and soups and not even realize it's in there.

Oats

Oats are low in fat and an excellent source of fiber. If a bowl of oatmeal doesn't appeal to you, try adding oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs next time you make a meatloaf, or use it as a topping along with nuts for fruit desserts. I usually buy mine in either the bulk bins or opt for the store brand canisters.

Oranges

We all know oranges are packed with vitamin C that helps boost our immune system. If you're thinking orange juice is a good way to get your daily requirement, try eating an orange instead. Eating a whole orange lowers the cost, you'll be consuming fewer calories and carbs, and you'll be getting some fiber, too.

Pumpkin

It seems it's not just for Thanksgiving. It's said to lower our risk of lung, colon and breast cancer. And apart from the usual pumpkin pie, you can add it to soups, make brownies with it, and even add it to rice pudding.

Salmon

This superfood is the most expensive one of the bunch. If your budget can't stretch to fresh salmon, maybe eat it just once a month and for the rest of the time, try the canned variety. Salmon can be used in place of tuna or added to sandwiches, and a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes is to make salmon fishcakes.

Soy

Soy has certainly been in the news lately, which isn't too surprising with all the health claims it's been generating. Just about every supermarket sells soy products now. From veggie/soy burgers and soy milk, you can buy edamame ... soybeans themselves, and yes, if you don't mind it, there's also tofu, which is a bargain. I often make pot pies using tofu, but not just plain tofu. I've found this trick. A day or two before I want to make the pot pie, I drain and chop the tofu into bite-size pieces. I add them to a plastic bag and add soy sauce, sesame seed oil, a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds, some black pepper, chopped garlic and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. I seal the bag and let the tofu marinade in the fridge for a day or two. While I'm making the pastry for the pot pie, I add the contents of the bag to a baking pan and cook the tofu for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. The key is to keep turning it, making sure all sides get browned and almost crisp. This marinade gives it a great taste and the oven seems to dry it out, making it seem more like "meat." Once it's cooked, I add vegetables and some stock and top it with the pastry.

Spinach

It seems Popeye was ahead of his time. I know most people pull a face when you mention spinach, but if you add it to dishes with lots of other ingredients, you'll hardly notice it's there. And as it's full of iron, calcium, folic acid and Vitamin K, definitely don't overlook it. I sometimes add just a little to minestrone soup, make pesto with fresh spinach, and often make a spinach and mushroom frittata.

Tomatoes

I probably don't have to give you any suggestions on how you can add tomatoes to your everyday foods. However, just don't think tomatoes; there are also tomato-based sauces and soups, too.

Walnuts

I always use toasted walnuts for recipes like fruit cobblers, crumbles, and when I make homemade pesto sauce. You can also add them to muffins or sprinkle toasted ones on your salad. These can also be found in the bulk bin section at the supermarket.

This story previously appeared on Featurewell.com and budgetsmartgirl.com.

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