31 Days To An Improved Me…Day 21: “Superfoods”

Healthy HabitsEveryone needs a little self-improvement, right? That’s why I’ve set a personal challenge for the month of July to tweak here and there areas in my life that need some extra attention. Nothing radical mind you. Just little things I can do to bring more clarity, more joy, and more vitality to improve my daily routine.

Day 21: Eat More “Superfoods”

My Problem: I am a big fan of whole grains and other “superfoods,” but just don’t incorporate enough of them in my daily diet.

My Goal: Eat “superfoods” at every meal

My Plan: Include “superfoods” with my regular menu planning.

What are superfoods? A loosely defined collection of produce that have extraordinary nutritional benefits such as high levels of antioxidants or Omega-3′s. Superfoods include old staples like blueberries, spinach, avocados, almonds, cantaloupe and new exotic foods like acai berries, chia seeds, kale, and whole grains such as amaranth and quinoa.

Quinoa is one of the superfoods that I am trying to eat more of.  It is high in protein and calcium and is gluten free. It can be cooked up like rice or made into flour and added to recipes. Best part? It contains ALL 8 ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS. Quinoa has been a staple of Andean diets for several thousand years. It has to be rinsed thoroughly before using to get rid of its natural bitterness.  Because the grain is tiny, that can be tricky. I bought a tiny sieve at IKEA a few years ago just for this purpose. If youcan’t find a sieve small enough, put the quinoa in a bowl with a lid and cover it completely with water. To drain the water, hold the lid over the opening, pressing down, and allowing a space just big enough to let the water drain out but keep the quinoa grains in the bowl.

I found this great recipe for a Quinoa Salad. A great way to get s few superfoods in one dish:

1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1 large English hothouse cucumber, cut in 1/4” pieces
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1) After rinsing, bring quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1-1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.  Spread quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet; let cool.
3) For dressing: Whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4). Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and mix in 1/4 cup dressing. Add cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, green onions, and feta to bowl. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle remaining dressing over. Bon Appetite!!!
Day 21: Eat More Super Foods