5 Foods You Should be Eating in 2017
As the sound of fireworks continued to explode into the wee hours of 4am, I was reminded that it’s officially 2017. Can we please sidestep falling for that “new year, new me” malarkey again? Let’s be realistic about the changes we’re going to make and actually stick with them, instead. That means ditching your seemingly nourishing $13 glass bottle of juice and $14.50 acai bowl in favor of foods that are easy to find, won’t cost you your left leg, and completely nutritionally underrated. These are the true “superfoods”– and ones you should definitely start singing the praises of as the new year unfolds. Happy New Year, darlings.
- Greek yogurt
If you’re currently sitting in the coach section screeching down the tracks on the “ambivalent dairy train”, it’s a good idea to hop off– like now. Incorporating a bit of plain unsweetened Greek yogurt into your daily rotation is actually a brilliant idea. Why? This type of yogurt is not the standard key-lime-pie-flavored-sugar-in-a-container-artfully-disguised-as-a-snack that you’re used to seeing.
Plain Greek yogurt is super high in protein – about 20-22 grams per cup. If that doesn’t mean much to you, that’s about 1/3 of the protein you should likely be eating in an entire day. Additionally, yogurt contains probiotics in the form of live active cultures (real strains of beneficial bacteria) that work wonders in your gut. They can improve digestion tremendously (to uh, get things goin’ if you know what I mean) and give your immune system a serious boost.
If you’re unsure how to add in a lil’ of this creamy goodness, check out my Savory Quinoa Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt Frosting or my Chai Spiced Mango Lassi, a subtly sweet Indian treat you can sip through a straw.
Contrary to popular belief, figs are actually good for a helluva lot more than decorating smoothie bowls on Instagram. When it comes to fruits that contain an abundance of fiber, figs win. A small handful of fresh figs gives you about 20% of the necessary amount of this nutrient you need in a day, according to that small organization no one has ever heard of: the FDA.
So what’s so great about more fiber in our bellies? Fiber keeps us fuller, longer (meaning we tend to eat less, which means we can more easily maintain a healthy weight) may reduce the risk of certain cancers, and improves our digestion. BOOM. The rich, complex flavor of figs lends itself well to dishes both sweet and savory, so you really can’t go wrong with these juicy little gems. I would insert a fig pun here, but I’m 99% my boyfriend would poison my overnight oats, so I’ll leave you with this pro tip instead: freeze your figs when they’re in season (and thus cheaper) then toss them into smoothies, muffins, and quick breads year-round.
Don’t underestimate the humble potato. If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s to not believe the hype. Everyone under the sun comments, “Bananas? Duh, they’re like amazingggg sources of potassium.” Lest we forget, one potato has more potassium than a banana. I got mad love for them peel-able tropical yellow fruits, but potatoes are a fantastic source of immunity-boosting vitamin C, energizing vitamin B6, and satiating fiber, too.
The worst part? Everyone shuns potatoes like they’ve got the black plague oozing through their hairy little tubers. Unless you’re pre-diabetic, diabetic, or have some other condition or disease that severely restricts the amount of carbohydrates (aka sugars) your body can safely metabolize, letting potatoes hang out on your breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner plates is actually really healthy for you.
If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy taters, peep my recipes for Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Tahini Drizzle, Ghost Pepper Hasselback Potatoes, and Creamy Tahini Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy.
Miso, the star of the show in, yep, you guess it – miso soup, may sound like the new kid on the block to you in terms of culinary constituents. Truth be told, eastern healers have been using this ingredient for centuries. Bear with me here, but when the soybeans undergo fermentation, bacteria levels rise to promote the absorption of the nutrients your body is trying to digest. This is code for miso being a badass digestion-promoting force to be reckoned with. Not only that, miso contains a shit ton of other good stuff like iron, B vitamins, and calcium. You can readily find it in a paste form in the refrigerator section, it’s cheap to buy, and so easy to plop into soups, homemade salad dressings, and sauces.
If you’re in need of more ways to sink your teeth into this savory superfood, head to my recipe for Savvy Sweet Potato Salad, Balsamic Roasted Carrot Soup, and Cauliflower Risotto and Seared Sea Scallops.
I get it, it’s been difficult in the past to find a lentil dish that didn’t make your tastebuds shrivel in repugnance. I’m here to change that for you. Lentils, out of all legumes and nuts, contain the third-highest level of protein (26% of their calories, to be exact). Along with being cheaper than dirt (a whole bag costs like two bucks at Trader Joe’s) this makes them a premium plant-based protein.
Lentils are super high in fiber and contain ample levels of folate and magnesium, which studies show lowers your risk factors for heart disease. Mixed with spices and creamy coconut milk, stirred into chunky stews and soups, or enjoyed stuffed into tortillas, lentils should be making their way into everyone’s pantry this coming year.
If you’re searching for some delicious, quick to whip up lentil recipes, look no further than my One Pot Lentil Soup, Chipotle and Lime Lentil Tacos, Spicy Indian Veggie Burgers, or my Ethiopian Red Lentil and Collard Green Stew.