Monday, January 30, 2012

Superfoods Challenge: Week 4

I'm back for week 4 of the Superfoods Challenge! In case you missed it, we are adding a new Superfood (and its Sidekicks) each week in order to improve our health and eating habits. So far, the list on your fridge from the first 3 weeks should include:

Broccoli (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, turnips, cauliflower, collards, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard): 1/2 to 1 cup per day
Wild Salmon (Alaskan halibut, canned albacore tuna, sardines, herring, trout, sea bass, oysters, clams): 2 to 4 times per week
Yogurt (kefir): Two 8 ounce servings per day

How are you doing keeping up with these foods? Have you been able to continue eating more of them as we add new things each week? I found that it takes some focus to get them into my diet, but those Superfoods also displace less healthy things we could be eating instead! Have you tried any new recipes? There are some great ones posted over in my BlogFrog Community! Thank you for continuing to contribute over there.

This week's Superfood is a super yummy one: walnuts! I *love* walnuts, so this is going to be an awesome week for me. But if you aren't a fan, don't worry! There are some delicious Sidekicks you can try instead: almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and cashews.

According to the Superfoods Rx website, nuts and seeds are a rich source of nutrients; "a nut or seed is basically a storage device that contains all the highly concentrated proteins, calories, and nutrients that a plant embryo will require to flourish." Walnuts are an exceptional Superfood because of the antioxidants they contain and their antiinflammatory benefits that decrease risks of some types of cancer, help prevent against cardiovascular disease, and protect against type 2 diabetes. One fourth of a cup of walnuts will give you 95% of your daily value of omega-3 fatty acids, 42% DV of manganese, 20% DV of copper, 3.8 grams of protein, 1.7 grams of fiber, 3.4 grams of carbs, and a wealth of other vitamins, minerals, and amino acids for only 163 calories. WHF recommends eating one ounce of nuts as a serving; this is approximately 28 grams or 1/4 cup of walnuts (about 14 walnut halves). SuperFoods Rx recommends five servings of walnuts or its sidekicks per week. For those who are doing Medifast, a half ounce of walnuts, pistachios, or almonds is an optional snack.

You can eat nuts and seeds out of hand, or you can include them in other foods and recipes. I love to add toasted walnuts to oatmeal. Slivered almonds or sunflower seeds often find their way into my salads. And you can also enjoy your nuts in the form of natural nut butters; look for butters without added sugars or oils. I have enjoyed natural, freshly ground almond butter from my grocery store and also enjoy sunflower seed butter on occasion. You can also grind your own fresh nut and seed butters at home with your food processor!

I have a recipe to share with you, but it's not for low carbers! I bake these for my children, because they are a sweet treat that is much healthier than your standard cookie. They are so yummy. All my kids love these (and so do I, although I'm not eating any at the moment!) I tore the recipe out of Clean Eating magazine some time ago. These cookies are gluten free, dairy free, and lower in sugar than most cookies. They contain all the health benefits of almonds (and dark chocolate! a wonderful combination) and the recipe only makes 2 dozen, so it works well for our family. I hope you like them!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup natural, unsalted, unsweetened almond butter
3/4 cup sucanat (an unrefined sugar; you can substitute brown sugar or even white, but sucanat is excellent)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 oz good quality dark chocolate, broken or cut into chunks (darker is better!)

In a bowl mix everything but the chocolate using a wooden spoon until well combined. Stir in the chocolate.
Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (NOT wax paper!)
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until very lightly browned.
Cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes; then remove to a rack to finish cooling.

1 cookie = 110 calories, 8 g fat, 10 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 2 g protein.


How will you enjoy YOUR nuts and seeds this week?


Lori said...

Sounds YUMMY!!

Nmmumaw said...

I literally JUST received an order of three different nut butters I put in last week. Almond flax (earth balance), organic peanut butter (arrowhead mills) made with valencia peanuts, and Justin's chocolate peanut butter (oh man...)

I had a spoonful of each on my "dessert plate" last night. Ate them with a mini slice of super-healthy carrot cake.

And that cookie recipe sounds amazing! Out of curiosity, what purpose does the egg serve? I ask because if I wanted to make it, I'd look for a way to cut out the egg (I like to go vegan where I can). Thanks!

Lyn said...


the egg serves as a binder; it holds everything together in 'cookie' form. If you find a vegan substitute, please come back and share!

lisa~sunshine said...

I have this same recipe from the cleaning magazine.. I've made it and my kids love it.. me too..

I love your superfood from this week.. walnuts are a favorite..

Cathy said...

I am allergic to walnuts, but eat cashews daily.

Anonymous said...

I often replace an egg with ground flax seed and water. The exact measurements to do this are generally found on the box in which the flax seed comes in, but I'm pretty sure it's 1 tablespoon flax to 3 tablespoons water.

Bobbie said...

I saw on Dr Oz today that cashews, beets and avocados are brain foods and will help with brain fog. Gonna try it. Flax seed mixed with water is a vegan egg substitute. You can find the ration on Bob Mills flax seed wrapper.

Bunpoh said...

Actually, that could totally be a lowisher-carb treat if you just sub out the sweetener to a low-carb approved one and use chocolate sweetened with something low carb or that you sweetened yourself. :) I totally have to try this, sounds great.

spunkysuzi said...

I just bought walnuts today to make a brussels sprouts salad :)

Jamie Mckay said...

Yay! Week 4! I'm glad it's back :))

Diandra said...

I've got 20g of walnuts in my berry breakfast every morning, and sometimes when I am starving I will have 20g of nuts/almonds later in the day. I also love baking with them - nuts and nut butters are so great!

Vanessa Joy said...

Goody! I have walnuts in my pantry.

Finding Me, One Pound at a Time said...

mmm...thanks for sharing!

Kat said...

I had pecans today! I wrote about it in my post

:) Thanks Lyn!!

Jane said...

The cookies sound good! I love walnuts, and all kinds of nuts!