Enjoy Figs in your Meals and/or Snacks

Dried figs are readily available all the time usually in the produce section of the grocery store where many other dried fruits are stocked. Many probably don’t think of eating them unless they are in Fig Newtons! There are other healthier ways to eat them and they will add a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6 and more, as well as some calcium and iron to your diet! Figs can be added to any whole grain breakfast porridge for some sweetness and texture. They can also be poached in a little juice or red wine and served with low-fat yogurt or low-fat frozen desserts. Add figs chopped to a salad too. In a blender, puree 2 cups of dried figs with ¾ cup water and 2 tsp vanilla and use the puree for an excellent replacement for fat in baked good recipes! Try them this holiday season!

Beet that!

Beets have edible roots and greens!

A half cup of beet root has just 30 calories and is an excellent source of folate and a very good source of manganese, potassium and copper.  A half up of chopped beet greens have only 4 calories and are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, copper, potassium, manganese, vitamin B2, magnesium, vitamin E, fiber and calcium.  Because they are plants they are both a good source of fiber and phytochemicals!  The gorgeous red color of the beet root has phytochemicals that may help heart health and prevention of some cancers!   The green color has phytochemi cals that may help vision health and prevention of some cancers!  Eat them together and imagine all of the benefits your body is gaining! 

Try stirring chopped roasted beets, a small amount of feta and finely chopped beet greens into cooked farro or brown rice and drizzle with lemon juice.  You can also braise sliced beets, sliced red cabbage and beet greens with a small amount of apple cider vinegar and caraway seeds.   I like them roasted plain too or I also blend them into my smoothies-the beet roots and the juice!

Cabbage is Cool

cabbage PNG8804Cabbage is a vegetable used in March for the familiar ‘Corned Beef and Cabbage” meal for St. Patrick’s Day, but why not use it more often and without the meat? Cabbage is high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C and low in calories and carbohydrate. For 1 cup chopped it is only 22 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrate! It also has 2 grams of fiber and almost 3 grams of protein! It can be added as one of the vegetables in stir-fries, soups, and salads. One of my favorite ways to eat cabbage is cooked with tomato sauce over the top! It can be cut into wedges and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes with 2 Tbsp of olive or canola oil or vegetable broth drizzled on top for less fat, add some pepper and a teaspoon of fennel seed. It could also be microwaved: cut it into wedges, add 2 Tbsp water or broth, the spices and microwave on high 6-13 minutes.

Treasures at the Farmer’s Market!

Have you ever tried garlic scapes? I saw them at our local farmer’s market this week and they look similar to the leaves of green onions and chives, but they are curved. They are the plant that grows out of the garlic bulb. Scapes have a fresh, mildly garlicky flavor and crisp texture. Once chopped, which is much easier than peeling and chopping the individual pieces of the garlic bulb, they can be added to salads raw, blended into a pesto or cooked with a stir fry or soup and can top any cooked whole grain. Current research supports garlic’s role in improving immune function and also cancer and heart disease prevention. They are a source for Vitamin C, iron and calcium .

While looking at the farmer’s market this week you will find strawberries too! Strawberries are high in fiber, Vitamin C and phytochemicals! Add them to your fruit salads, green salads, yogurt parfaits and eat them as a snack without the chocolate dip..sometimes!:)

Have you tried kale yet?

It is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C and a good source of calcium and potassium.  The calcium absorbs better than from some other higher calcium green leafy vegetables because kale is low in oxalate which can inhibit the absorption of calcium.  It is a non-starchy vegetable so it is very low in carbohydrate which makes it also lower in calories.  The fiber helps keep you full longer which is good for everyone, especially those trying to lose weight.

Kale chips are a popular way to eat kale and they are delicious.  However, there are many other ways to add it into your daily meals.  Try it in smoothies, add chopped kale the last 5 minutes your pasta is cooking to eat mixed with your pasta dish, add to stir-fries, and add chopped fresh or frozen kale to vegetable or bean soups. 

Try some this week!