Monday, March 5, 2012

Superfoods Challenge: Week 8

Are you ready to add some new Superfoods to your diet this week? It's fun! Join in and get started on our Superfoods Challenge! Every week we add a new Superfood and try to continue the ones from past weeks. You can jump in now if you like, and then go back and do the missed weeks at the end of the challenge.

So far, our Superfoods list that goes on your fridge to remind you what to eat looks like this:

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
Walnuts (almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews): five 1-ounce servings per week
Tea, green or black: 1 cup per day
Turkey Breast (chicken breast): three to four ounces, 3-4 times per week
Spinach (arugula, Romaine lettuce, turnip greens, orange bell peppers, kale, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, bok choy): 2 cups almost daily

This week's Superfood is one I added to my diet a couple of weeks ago and eat on a regular basis: pumpkin. If you think this will be boring, think again! There are lots of ways to enjoy pumpkin, and it has some delicious sidekicks as well.

Pumpkin is a winter squash and therefore is rich in many nutrients, especially vitamins A and C as well as many B vitamins. It is high in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory as well, and has been shown to have "clear potential in the area of cancer prevention and cancer treatment" according to WHF. Studies also show other health benefits of winter squash such as blood sugar regulation, potential for prevention of type 2 diabetes, and prevention of cardiovascular disease. One-half cup of plain canned pumpkin is *very* filling, and provides 380% RDA of vitamin A, 9% RDA of vitamin C, 10% RDA of iron, and 3% RDA of calcium as well as 3.5 g fiber. You get all of this for only 40 calories and half a gram of fat. Pumpkin is a slightly higher carb vegetable with 10 grams per cup, but it does have a low carb sidekick if you prefer to go that route.

My favorite ways to eat pumpkin are: Pumpkin Flax Oatmeal, mixed into protein shakes or yogurt with some pumpkin pie spice, or baked into Pumpkin Custard (a favorite of all my children). If you can get ahold of a fresh pumpkin this time of year, they are awesome roasted or you can scrape out the insides, fill it with meat/rice/vegetables, and bake. To serve, you just scoop out the pumpkin along with the filling and it is so good. I have a recipe for that; I will post it on the BlogFrog Superfoods thread this week.

Pumpkin has a couple of sidekicks, too. They are butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and orange bell peppers. The peppers are the low carb option for you Medifasters and others who are not eating starchier veggies right now. I love orange peppers sliced up in salads! Here are some other ways to eat your sidekicks:

Baked sweet potatoes, roasted sweet potato "fries" (slice, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 400 until crisp and tender, about 15 minutes)
Butternut Squash Soup, Cheesy Squash
Stuffed Peppers
Butternut Macaroni and Cheese (this is fabulous!)
Baby carrots dipped in hummus

SuperFoods Rx recommends eating 1/2 cup of pumpkin or its Sidekicks on most days. I think I will make a pot of Butternut squash soup this week for myself.

How do you enjoy your pumpkin or other Superfood sidekicks? Let me know your favorite way to prepare them. You can leave a comment here or go to my BlogFrog Community and leave a recipe or link on the Superfoods Week 8 thread. I really enjoy all your ideas!


Kathleen said...

Pumpkins are so delicious and versatile. I also adore the 'sidekicks', except carrots. I hate carrots.

Anonymous said...

pumpkin+hummus+nutritional yeast=surprisingly good and savory.

Kathleen said...

Mmmm, I love nutritional yeast! Never tried it with hummus before, though! That sounds delicious! I will have to give it a whirl the next time I pick up some hummus.

Diandra said...

Gosh, I love pumpkin. Maybe I should try to get my hands on one or two... or more... ^^

Miz said...

I could live live on my poached salmon, too.