Superfood to keep your body going
You probably don’t remember or maybe you’re trying not to remember what you had for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year Eve meals. You may have used the excuse that it’s the holidays, and you should eat, drink, and be merry. It’s not the beginning on a new year and outside temperatures may be a bit on the frigid side. Fight the urge to cozy up with comfort foods like mac ‘n cheese and high-fat creamy soups. Yes, you can work off these high calories. But think about how many extra minutes that you must add to your workout. How about looking at superfoods that are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and immune-boosting powers that your body needs to power itself through cold weather…and are great to have on those chilly days.
Skip the cans at the grocery store. You can make a pot of chili in in minutes with simple ingredients like lean meat (chunked or ground), your favorite beans, lycopene rich tomatoes (stewed, paste, or fresh), onions, and chili pepper powder.
When you add any variety of beans, you have a high source of protein and fiber. So, you can either skip the meat, or add a little lean proteins like beef, chicken, and turkey for flavor. Tomatoes in any form contain lycopene, a cancer-preventative phytonutrient, which is an antioxidant with a laundry list of amazing benefits. Onions are high in vitamin C, a good source of dietary fiber, and folic acid. They also contain quercetin, a flavonoid another antioxidant.
As if your simple bowl of chili can’t any more, did you know chili pepper is not only tasty but good for you, too? The capsaicin in chili has been shown to boost metabolism and burn fat.
Beef and barley soup
If you think barley tastes good in beer, how about trying a nice warm bowl of beef and barley soup? A cup of this tasty soup contains 16 grams of protein, high in vitamin A and selenium. Barley is one of the best complex carbohydrates to eat for weight loss. (Notice the word “eat” and no mention of “drink.”)
Oatmeal is not just a breakfast food. You can enjoy any time of day and is a perfect warm meal before you hit the outdoors. Oats are a whole grain, so you know you’ll have fiber and protein to provide your body with slow-burning fuel. Every bowl also contains a powerful starch called beta-glucan. A National Center for Biotechnology Information research study found that just 3 grams a day of the beta-glucan in oats may reduce your bad cholesterol levels by 5 to 10%.
Bake a batch of oatmeal cookies or bars for a wholesome snack. Just watch the amount of butter, or better yet, try a more healthy substitute.
Time for some veggies!
Brussels sprouts. Even though, eating these mini cabbages may just help you fight a cold, ‘Yuck!’ is what many people still think. It doesn’t matter that these little guys are superfood packed with fiber and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, and high in vitamin C (at 74.8 milligrams a cup!).
Roasting in olive oil vs. steaming will bring out the sweetness. Add a little salt and pepper to taste, and you’ll wonder why you were afraid of this superfood.
Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A. One medium size baked potato contains 438% of your daily value. Plus, you’ll get vitamin C, calcium, potassium, a bit of iron, and nearly 4 grams of fiber when you eat the skin – make sure you clean the potato before roasting.
Many people go wrong by adding the butter, brown sugar, and even marshmallows. When you simply bake or pan roast them with olive oil, you’ll bring out the natural sweetness of the potato.
Squash. Most varieties of squash are in the superfood category because they high in potassium, some calcium and vitamin C. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a diet high in potassium (while also curbing sodium) could reduce risk of stroke by 21% and lower odds of developing heart disease. Squash is also rich in vitamin A and contains hunger-busting fiber. Try a cup of baked butternut squash, it has 457% of your daily vitamin A, 7 grams of fiber, and
just 82 calories. Even better, you can warm up all its parts. Bake the insides and season with garlic salt, pepper, even cumin or turmeric, You can also eat the seeds if you roast them.
Now for dessert!
Apples. These portable fruits taste great as-is or cooked. Apples are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber when eaten with the skin. This superfood can make you feel less hungry while
helping digestive system by slowing digestion and helping other food pass through your system more efficiently. Plus, apples add to your hydration since 86% of the fruit is water.
Baked apples make the perfect sweet treat for fall. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon before you throw them in the oven, and you’ll get more antioxidants.
Hot chocolate. Drinking a cup of hot cocoa, especially, when it’s consumed with a loved one, is doubly good way to get your sweet fix. Make your own, so you know what goes into your hot cocoa. Whichever type of milk (cow, soy, almond, etc.) you use will give you the protein to keep your body’s insulin levels steady while the antioxidants in the chocolate will fight free radicals, potential instigators of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Who thought a cup of sweetness could be a superfood, too?
Are you hungry yet?
Good. These ideas are perfect to use as pre-workout snacks or your post-workout meals to keep you warm and fueled during this cool time of year.
What superfood do you eat to keep you warm and fueled during the cold months? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below.
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