There are lots of arguable lists of “super foods” or the “20 best foods you can eat” and I’m all over them, particularly right after the Super Bowl–why not? Any or all of them are probably useful if you’re trying to improve your health; choose one that speaks to you and eat up. Somehow an amalgamated list of “super foods” sits most easily for me to remember lately and I try to eat and serve at least one of them every day. Sometimes, if I eat my homemade granola, for instance, I get several at one time! My list currently looks like this:
- Broccoli Rabe… (Some sites say regular broccoli.)
- Yogurt (Some sites say Raw Milk or sometimes goat/sheep milk.)
- Whole grains (Some sites include wild rice or wheatgrass.)
- Flaxseeds.. …
- Blueberries. … (Some sites say any berries.)
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark chocolate
- Red wine
Different lists, naturally, contain divergent items and foods like hemp seeds, apples, oats, celery, oranges, winter squash, walnuts, brown rice, and so on pop up, too. Want to work up a list of your own or use a ready-made one? Start with this: 10 Everyday Super Foods from Eating Well dot com.
Want to check out how you might learn more about what’s the best way to eat for health or weight loss?
*here on NPR for reviews of diets that can emphasize weight loss.
* Eating for health is the subject of this NYT article.
*eight healthy eating goals from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
Dan Buettner’s famous study and subsequent book, The Blue Zones, which documents the living/eating habits of areas in the world where people often live to be past 100 years old, also indicates simple rules we all now recognize– like no processed sugars or saturated fats– and meals that center on legumes, certain fish, whole grains (including brown rice), tea, fresh vegetables and fruits, sweet potatoes, and also sheep and goat milks, along with their cheeses. Additionally, red wine (thank God) is a common feature of the longevity diet. I went to hear Mr. Buettner speak at a luncheon several years ago and found the entire experience mind-opening and fascinating. A few of the basic rules for eating are listed as these:
Stop eating when your stomach is 80 percent full to avoid weight gain.
Eat the smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening.
Eat mostly plants, especially beans. And eat meat rarely, in small portions of 3 to 4 ounces. Blue Zoners eat portions this size just five times a month, on average.
Drink alcohol moderately and regularly, i.e. 1-2 glasses a day.
For Blue Zones recipes, click here.
Loving a good healthy bunch of anything to eat, I once participated in a delectable blogging adventure where each blogger blogged one power food recipe per week; it was not only really tasty, but fun. (Miss you guys!) In this case, there were 38 power or “super foods” from the Whole Living book, Power Foods: 150 Recipes from the 38 Healthiest Ingredients. Scroll down for a pic of the book. Want to read all about our journey on the blog? Just plug in Power Foods into my search box and see what you come up with. Below is a weekend breakfast I blogged for Power Foods: Sriracha Eggs over Biscuits with Basil Salsa. (Sub whole wheat English muffins for lower calorie/fat version.) In this case, eggs are the “super food.”
The posts on my blog have links to the other bloggers’ recipes for each week as well. Get acquainted when you have some time or order the book.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish, such as salmon, at least two times per week. The recommended serving size of fish is 3.5 ounces cooked or 3/4 cup of fish flaked.
SALMON WITH AVOCADO-ALMOND SALSA ON KALE and BROWN RICE
As brown rice takes so long to cook, you might want to begin with that unless you’re using the tasty, very quick microwavable rice available in stores-including Costco, or on amazon. Toast your almonds for the salsa stovetop in small skillet over low flame while you sauté your vegetables.
- Side of roasted or grilled salmon (recipe for roasted salmon/link for grilled salmon below)
- 3 cups cooked brown rice, warm
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper
- 2 cups shredded kale–can sub spinach or other fresh greens of choice
- 1 1/2 cups diced vegetables-your choice. I used: 1 small onion, 1 medium carrot, 1 stalk celery, 1/2 red bell pepper, (minced) clove garlic
- Avocado-Almond Salsa: Stir together: 1 ripe avocado diced, 1 large ripe tomato, diced, 1 green onion, minced, and 1/4 cup slivered toasted almonds
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- Cook salmon or cook and set aside to keep warm/at room temperature.
- In a large, deep bowl, stir warm rice with a healthy drizzle of olive oil (at least a tablespoon) and season with a generous pinch each of salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Set aside covered.
- Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. Stir in kale; season with another good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until nearly tender. Spoon into the bowl with the rice and cover again.
- Add a bit more oil to the skillet, reheat over medium heat, and sauté the diced vegetables until softening–5-7 minutes. Add to the bowl of rice and kale; stir. Squeeze one half of the lemon over all; stir well. Taste and season as desired.
- Spread the rice and vegetable mixture evenly out onto a large platter or foil-lined sheet pan and top with the side of salmon. Spoon avocado-almond salsa down the center of the fish. Squeeze other lemon half over the entire fish and the salsa. Grind a little more black pepper over everything. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Leftovers note: If you’re making this for two and have lots of leftovers, as did I, think about making a hefty salad the next night. In a large bowl or on a big platter, layer fresh greens with minced green onions and season well with salt and pepper. Chop the salmon and vegetables with the rice a bit and heat it all over low heat. Top the greens with the salmon-rice mixture and drizzle all with a lemon vinaigrette: Squeeze 1/2 lemon over all and drizzle with the first two tablespoons olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more olive oil if necessary.
- 1 side of salmon–check for/remove pin bones*
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Sliced whole lemon
*Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover rimmed sheet pan with two overlapping sheets of foil across the shorter side (13 inches) that extend 3-4 inches on each side of pan. Place salmon, skin side down, at center, lengthwise. Dry the fish a bit with paper towels. Brush salmon evenly with olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, and lay lemon slices down center of fish.
*Fold the sides of the foil up and around the fish, completely sealing to create an airtight package. Place at center of oven and roast for 12-15 minutes (depending on the size of the side of salmon) or until barely firm but still juicy and damply pink at center. (Does it flake when tested with a fork? It’s done.) Let rest a minute or two. FYI: USDA says 145 degrees for salmon; many chefs prefer stopping cooking at 120 or so degrees F; the fish will come up a few degrees while resting.
*Buy wild salmon. Less expensive wild salmon sides are often available in the frozen section of your grocery. Keep them in the freezer. Submerged in cold water, they unthaw in about an hour or you can leave them in the fridge overnight.
WINE: Oregon Pinot Noir would be my first choice here. You might have guessed.
If you like this, you might like my:
or–the simplest– Tinfoil Salmon with Buttered Tomatoes with Thyme on Brown Rice (below)
Not a big fillet of fish eater or want something quicker? Try homemade salmon burgers.
It’s been a long week on the home front with our Mr. Tucker very ill and hospitalized, but on the mend now. Good wishes or prayers, if that’s your thing, so very welcome. Here he is today with Dave at the hospital.