Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a bore. While we may crave the comfort of all those fatty foods, the alternative doesn’t have to be bland. In fact, if you want to sustain a lifelong change to a healthy new you, it’s important you don’t punish yourself with a strict and narrow grocery list. Here are a few out-of-the-ordinary foods that can bring new tastes and excitement to your daily meals, with the bonus of packing a nutritional punch.
1. Kiwifruit – Hairy and brown on the outside, but a beautiful green interior that is packed with vitamin C (twice that of an orange on an ounce-for-ounce-basis), potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber and iron. Studies have shown that kiwi boosts the immune system and reduces respiratory problems.
2. Swiss Chard – Sometimes simply referred to as chard, this leafy green vegetable is high in vitamins A, K and C. While it has “Swiss” in its name, the vegetable is very popular in Mediterranean recipes. Research has found that chard leaves contain 13 or more polyphenol antioxidants, all of which support your cardiovascular health and fight diseases.
3. Kale – Here’s another leafy green that is a nutritional powerhouse. A part of the cabbage family, kale is packed with minerals, vitamins, fiber and amino acids. Like quinoa, it’s also loaded with antioxidants that reduce inflammation and lower your risk for cancer.
4. Chia – Better known as the seeds in the novelty Chia Pet, this superfood is much more important than that. Chia is the Mayan word for strength, and for good reason: the nut-flavored seed has twice the amount of protein than any other seed or grain. Other nutritional highlights include calcium, potassium, iron, omega-3, omega-6, antioxidants and fiber. In addition to the satiating fiber, chia also holds 10 times its weight in water, which helps you feel full.
5. Seaweed – This vegetable of the sea is probably best known for its high iodine content, which is important for the health of your metabolism-regulating thyroid. An underactive thyroid has been connected to a plethora of health issues, including low energy levels, depression, and weight gain, to name just a few.
Of course, you don’t have to go “exotic” to get amazing nutritional value in your foods. Broccoli and spinach should be a part of every healthy diet. But if you want to avoid boring yourself with the same old food choices, think outside the box and try something new.