Clark Kent looked like a regular guy, but let him slip into a phone booth—and POW, suddenly he is Superman with superpowers. Like Superman’s alter ego, some fruits, vegetables, and grains, have been hiding their superpowers in plain sight.
Superfoods are a group of foods that contain more nutrients per calorie than other foods. While there is no scientific or medical definition of the term superfood, there are some foods that have been commonly accepted as superior.
What are Some Superfoods?
Most of the more widely accepted superfoods will be familiar to you. There are, of course, exotic fruits, vegetables, and grains that are regarded as superfoods, but these foods may not be available to you at your local market.
We have compiled a list of ten of the more common superfoods, with accompanying recipes. Your healthy eating plan will benefit from cooking with superfoods from our list that are accessible and available to you.
Kale is so nutritionally dense that every bite, not every serving, is packed with vitamins A, C, and K. Like its leafy green brothers, spinach and collards, kale also contains calcium and iron. The fiber-rich vegetable can be cooked in a variety of ways that only enhance its great flavor.
Quinoa is a seed that is cooked like a grain and can be your go-to side dish for any meal. The nutritional value of quinoa is found in the amino acids: nine of them that our bodies need are found in quinoa. The nutty flavor disguises the fiber and protein superpower of quinoa.
Who knew that the mild-mannered blueberries topping your pancake were superfoods? Blueberries contain fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C. Fresh or frozen blueberries can be used in desserts, added to smoothies, or just eaten by the handful.
Almonds, while high in fat, contain fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamins. In fact, almonds are the super superfood of the nut family, with more nutrients per calorie and ounce than any other nutty choice. One handful of raw almonds is the healthiest afternoon snack you could eat.
Sweet potatoes are a delicious root vegetable filled with fiber and vitamin A. More than four times the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A has sweet potatoes surpassing carrots for healthy eyes.
These hearty beans, also known as garbanzo beans, are a frequently overlooked superfood. The versatility of this bean is beaten only by the health benefits. They can be eaten as a snack, added to a stew, tossed into a salad, and blended into yummy hummus. Chickpeas are chock-full of fiber and manganese.
Years ago, eggs were the supervillain, accused of containing outrageous levels of cholesterol that is bad for the heart. Since then, science has determined that the cholesterol in eggs is actually the good kind, and eggs have moved from the bad column to the super column. Eggs contain nearly 5 grams of protein with fewer than 80 calories.
Salmon, and its miniature cousin, the sardine, is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 in salmon has been proven to reduce the chance of heart attack. Your body can’t make these nutrients, so they have to come from food or supplements. Salmon is much tastier than an over-the-counter pill.
Thicker, richer, and more healthy than the garden variety yogurt, Greek yogurt can be eaten with fruit, by itself, or used as a substitute for sour cream or mayonnaise. The probiotics in Greek yogurt provide amazing support to your digestive system.
Finally, the wonders of dark chocolate. Besides being chocolate, which counts in its favor for everyone, dark chocolate has fewer calories than milk chocolate and contains antioxidants that boost heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
One of the best things about breakfast is that it sets the tone for the rest of the day Containing two of the superfoods from our list, this breakfast meal is a super healthy way to start your day.
- 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup chopped spicy smoked sausage
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley for garnish
- In your cast iron, or other oven-proof skillet, heat the olive oil.
- Add the onions and sweet potatoes and cook for about seven minutes.
- Add the bell pepper, sausage, salt, pepper, and cumin. Stir while cooking for seven more minutes.
- Open the eggs on top of the hash and put the skillet under the broiler for two to five minutes, depending on how you want your eggs cooked.
These sweet potato muffins are great for a weekday, on-the-go breakfast. Make up a batch of batter the night before and bake them fresh in the morning. This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Superfood book; more than a cookbook, this book tells the story of his journey through the world of superfoods.
- olive oil
- 4 cups sweet potatoes
- 4 spring onions
- 1-2 fresh red chilies
- 6 large free-range eggs
- 3 tbsps cottage cheese
- 2 cups whole grain self-rising flour
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper, then lightly grease each paper cup.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and coarsely grate into a large bowl. Trim the spring onions, then finely slice half of the chili and add to the bowl.
- Add the eggs, cottage cheese, and flour. Add most of the Parmesan. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Mix until nicely blended.
- Evenly divide the mixture into the muffin tin. Sprinkle with sunflower and poppy seeds, add the remaining slices chili pepper. Dust with remaining Parmesan.
- Bake at the bottom of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden and set.
This is a yummy dinner menu of salmon, kale, and quinoa. The recipes are from allrecipes.com, our favorite collection of go-to recipes for healthy cooking.
- 6 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
- 1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray one 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Combine salad dressing mix, water, and lemon juice.
- Arrange salmon fillets in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Pour the water mixture over the top and place the sliced mushrooms over the salmon.
- Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes, basting with cooking liquids.
- 1 bunch kale
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Tear the kale leaves into bite-size pieces from the thick stems.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the garlic in the hot oil until softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the kale and continue cooking and stirring until the kale is bright green and wilted, about 5 minutes more.
For added fiber and a bit of crunch, toss in some chickpeas before serving.
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 dash fresh lemon juice (optional)
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the quinoa, and toast, occasionally stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in broth, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.
- In a bowl, toss quinoa together with garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, and onion.
- Sprinkle with lemon juice, and serve
You may want to follow that fabulous meal with a healthy dessert. This parfait is a light, yet super healthy, dessert, packed with superfoods.
Ingredients, per parfait:
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- a handful of blueberries
- a handful of strawberry slices
- a handful of sliced almonds
- tbsp shaved dark chocolate
- In individual serving dishes, spoon in the Greek yogurt. Top with the fruit, nuts, and shaved chocolate.
- Serve chilled.
Superfoods in Your Diet
If you are already eating healthy, you probably include these superfoods in your diet on a regular basis. These recipes are provided and intended to help you intentionally increase the amount of superfoods you eat.