Top 5 healthiest super foods
The best super foods to cook with
This article lists five foods that are both super healthy and versatile to cook with. The criteria is that the foods need to have a high nutritional content as well as be able to be eaten and enjoyed by the family.
Lentils and chickpeas
It’s cheating slightly, but I’ve included lentils and chickpeas in the same category here as they have similar properties and uses. Both are popular amongst vegetarians as meat replacements due to their minimal fat and high protein contents. They also contain a range of vitamins and minerals.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are available in canned and dried forms. Dried chickpeas need to be soaked in water for around ten hours and then simmered for two hours before they are ready to use.
In contrast, the canned form is instant to use, and can be blended, with lemon and garlic, to make a hummus dip. The dip is a delicious high protein topping for sandwiches and salads.
Lentils can also be bought in canned or dried formats. Dried lentils only take around half an hour cooking time, a lot less than the chickpeas. Both chickpeas and lentils can be used in soups and as a base for vegetarian “meat” dishes. They are popular in Indian cooking, and can be used in curries, dips, casseroles and stews. They work well with onion, garlic and tomato. Try them as an addition to rice, along with coriander (cilantro), chilli and paprika.
One reason apricots are included here is because they have many similar properties to vegetables. So if you have trouble convincing your children to eat more vegetables, you could encourage them to enjoy the sweeter taste of apricots. Like carrots, they contain high levels of beta-carotene, the natural form of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A assists vision and healthy skin, bones and soft tissue. Studies have also linked it to cancer-prevention. Apricots also contain potassium and iron and are high in fibre.
Apricots also make the list because they are very versatile in cooking. They can be used as toppings on breakfast cereals and porridge, in fresh, canned or dried form.
They can also be included in chutneys, salads and marinades. Try adding them as a sweetener to rice and cous cous dishes. Dried apricots are handy for snacking on and make good additions to school lunch boxes.
Apricots are excellent in baking. Use dried or fresh to add to cakes and muffins, or make apricot tarts. Apricot and apple crumble is delicious. They are good teamed with almonds and hazelnuts.
LSA – ground linseed, sunflower and almonds
Together linseed (or flaxseed), sunflowers and almonds are a potent antioxidant combination. They are rich in protein, fibre, Omega 3, 6 and 9, Vitamins A, E and D, as well as a host of other minerals. The main source of Omega 3 is fish, so LSA should be particularly important to those who do not eat seafood. We need Omega 3 for brain development, heart health and maintaining good eyesight.
LSA combines well with apricots and berries which are also listed in this article. For example, top porridge with apricots and a sprinkling of LSA.
LSA is also useful in baking. It can be added to muesli, muesli bars or biscuits and as a topping for crumbles. Some people enjoy adding it to smoothies or as a light sprinkling over salads. Please note, do not eat LSA if you have nut allergies.
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries are known for their high Vitamin C content, anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties.
The uses for berries are about as long as your imagination. They can be used as additions to yogurt, smoothies, salads and sauces. They are also fantastic in baking, being delicious in cakes, pastries and puddings. Try adding berries to apple crumbles and tarts. Make pancake batter, pour the mixture into the pan and add blueberries as the pancakes cook. Strawberries in particular make a great sauce. Try pureeing berries, with a drizzle of honey for a healthy sauce. Many people also enjoy fresh berries as breakfast toppings.
Fresh berries only last a few days. However, they can be stored in your freezer, so you always have a supply on hand. They can be defrosted in the microwave.
Broccoli has been credited with cancer fighting properties and is high in Vitamins A and E, iron and calcium.
Broccoli can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Serve it raw as part of a dip platter. Alternatively, it can be dished up as a side serving by itself or with a cheese sauce. Broccoli is also great in soup, stir fries, or as an addition to rice dishes and casseroles.
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