Today marks the beginning of the Superfoods Challenge! I hope you're ready for your very first Superfood today! Your challenge is to eat this Superfood at least once this week (more often is better!) and report back how you prepared it and whether or not you liked it. If this is a food you think you hate, try one of the different preparation methods listed. Many foods taste different/better when prepared various ways. If you hate it steamed, try it raw, roasted, sauteed, or mixed with other ingredients. I will give you preparation ideas for each Superfood. And if you already eat this Superfood regularly (or just plain don't like it prepared in any way), pick one of its Sidekicks to try this week. My goal for this week is to eat at least 3 servings of this week's Superfood or its sidekicks. Each Monday I will blog about one of the original 14 Superfoods, found in the book SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. This book was published in 2006; a bunch of other Superfoods books have been published since then, and even the official Superfoods Rx website has added several more foods to the original 14 (and has gotten a little gimmicky/diet-pushing, in my opinion) but I am sticking with the originals for now. I prefer the straightforward, non-diet-gimmick approach of just adding the healthiest possible foods to our eating plans. After 14 weeks, I may go on to discuss the new, added "superfoods" since no doubt they, too, are nutritious. But for now, let's focus on the original 14, and how we can get them into our daily diet.
Now let's get started! This week's Superfood is a relatively common one: Broccoli. But this challenge will be far from boring. Read on!
Broccoli is one of the world's healthiest foods. It, and its sidekicks, are potent cancer fighters. Broccoli is loaded with nutrients: for only 30 calories per serving, you get 135% RDA of Vitamin C, 115% RDA of Vitamin K, 14% RDA of folate, 11% RDA of Vitamin A, 3.7% RDA of iron, 4.3% RDA of calcium, 2.37 grams of fiber, 2.57 grams of protein, and a myriad of other vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are beneficial to your health. Raw or lightly steamed broccoli is the most nutritious, but any way you prepare it, unless you deep fry it or dip it in chocolate, it is so very good for you!
Here are my favorite ways to eat broccoli:
Raw, dipped in hummus or light Ranch (the stems, even the big ones, are *delicious* if you peel them with a carrot peeler and slice them into sticks!)
Cut up and lightly steamed (5 minutes) with a bit of sea salt
Made into broccoli salad (I love this recipe, but I use low fat mayo and less bacon and sugar when I make it)
Roasted with olive oil and garlic. This is soooo good! I started using this recipe and it is amazing. On Medifast, I make roasted broccoli by measuring out 1.5 cups of florets, tossing with 1 sliced clove of garlic and 1 tsp olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees. Yummy!
If you need a more adventurous way to eat your broccoli, here it is: Veggie Cereal. Believe it or not, this is delicious! I love it.
Here's a yummy Broccoli and Beef recipe that uses a sidekick, too!
Broccoli's Sidekicks are also cruciferous vegetables with a similar nutritional profile. You can read more about the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables here. Below I list Broccoli's sidekicks and some ideas for their preparation.
Brussels sprouts: these are EXCELLENT roasted, similar to broccoli. Here's a post from some time ago with photos and directions for roasting them: A New View of Brussels Sprouts. You can also steam them; they taste very similar to cabbage and make a great stir-fry when shredded.
Cabbage: I mainly enjoy this raw as a salad under tuna mixed with light mayo; I buy the shredded angel hair cabbage in a bag and just use it in salads. Sometimes I cook it, too. My favorite cabbage recipes from my blog are Cabbage Roll Casserole and Quick, Easy, Delicious Cabbage Soup.
Kale: I wrote a post on kale previously, here: Farmer's Market: Kale! That post includes recipes for Kale Chips and Winter Vegetable Hash. My absolute favorite way to eat kale is Kale with Ham and Onions. Seriously delicious. And last week, I tried kale raw in a salad. I will share that recipe with pictures later this week.
Turnips: I have very little experience with these. I have boiled them, mashed them, and roasted them. I am not a big fan; if you have a favorite way to prepare turnips or a recipe, please share it in the comments! I am open to trying again. I do like the greens, though. They are yummy steamed or sauteed with olive oil and garlic.
Cauliflower: this is probably my most-eaten vegetable, and one of my favorites! It is great raw with hummus or Light Ranch. I love it steamed. But what I usually do is this. I buy a head of cauliflower and quarter it. I cut off the big stems and throw them out (they have the strongest "cauliflowery" flavor and smell; the florets are milder). I cut the rest into bite sized chunks and put them in a big glass bowl with 1/4 cup of water. I cover it with plastic wrap and microwave it for about 6 minutes, then stir and if they are not fork-tender yet, microwave another 2 or 3 minutes. You do NOT want it mushy, just tender. I then cool it and keep it in the fridge for use in my favorite recipes, including:
Cauliflower Pizza (I just mash the cooked cauliflower and use it in the crust)
Cauliflower "Potato" salad
Loaded Baked "Potato" Soup
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Low Carb Split Pea Soup
Cauliflower is a low carber's best friend! As you can see, I've used it as a healthier, low carb substitute for pasta, rice, potatoes, and even split peas. It is so versatile! Love the stuff!
Collards: these can be prepared in the same way as kale in the "ham and onions" recipe above, by simmering for a long time to make them tender. They are very good!
Mustard Greens: same as collards in preparation.
Swiss Chard: These don't take as long to cook as Collards or some other greens, but are similar in taste. I did a post on chard and its preparation here: Swiss Chard.
Bok choy: I love bok choy! This Chinese cabbage is yummy in all kinds of Chinese dishes. If you can find baby bok choy, it is even more tender and delicious! I did a post with recipes and pictures here: Baby Bok Choy with Cashews, and Baby Bok Choy with Bacon.
Those are the sidekicks. I hope you'll try some this week! The Superfoods book recommends eating 1/2 to 1 cup of broccoli or its sidekicks daily. With all those recipes and suggestions, I'm sure you can find some delicious ways to include them in your diet this week. Good luck, and let me know how you did!
*p.s. I am starting a thread over at my BlogFrog community forum. Please come and share your preparation ideas and recipes for these Superfoods this week! Thanks for sharing!
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