Don’t Walk On By: 10 Foods to Try

Don’t Walk On By: 10 Foods to Try

by Barb Green, Parish Nurse, Milton WI

Winter continues to hang on and many of us are getting weary. We long for something different to happen.

Why not be brave and try something new to eat? The more variety you have in your food, the healthier you will be. One reason there are so many food choices is that each food contributes its own nutrients to your diet and combines with other foods to increase your health. Here are 10 foods you should consider adding:


RED LENTILS are hearty, convenient and cheap. They have plenty of potassium, iron and vitamin B-1. Every cooked cup contains 16 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. At 230 calories per cup, they’ll fill you up without filling you out. Try them in stews or as a side dish.

BABY BOK CHOY is a type of cabbage with a mild, sweet flavor, crisp stems and tender leaves. A cup of cooked bok choy is loaded with vitamins A and C and is surprisingly high in potassium, calcium and iron—all for just 20 calories!

TOFU goes from package to plate in no time; just cut, blot and cook. A 4 oz. portion of firm tofu has 10 grams of high-quality vegetable protein for just 90 calories. The tofu that’s packed in water in the refrigerator case has the best texture. Tofu is compressed bean curd.

SWISS CHARD has an earthy flavor with tender leaves and crisp, edible stems that may be white, red or yellow. It takes little time to prepare and is packed with vitamins K and A. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and iron. Each cooked cup has just 40 calories.

ESCAROLE. If you’re looking for a salad with attitude, this broad-leafed form of endive is your green. Like other members of the chicory family, escarole is on the bitter side. Use the pale, inner leaves which are more tender and less bitter for salads. Save the tougher outer leaves for soups. Escarole is rich in vitamin K and folate and has only 10 calories per cup.

CHICKPEAS (garbanzo beans) have 13 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein in each 270-calorie cup. They also have folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Chickpeas are superstars that you can eat right out of the can. Try tossing a handful into your next salad, soup or sauce.

ACORN SQUASH is a small squash that is easy to prepare and hard not to like. The orange flesh has a sweet, slightly nutty flavor. Along with its great taste comes a nice shot of fiber, magnesium, potassium and vitamins B-1, B-6 and C.

EDAMAME. These delicious shelled soybeans are easy to find in the supermarket’s frozen food section. Add to salads, stir-fries, soups and grains. Each 190-calorie cup of shelled edamame supplies 17 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. They are also an excellent source of folate, vitamin K and iron.

BROCCOLI RABE is a pungent member of the broccoli family containing vitamins A, C and K and is a good source of calcium, iron and potassium. Once you’ve blanched it to remove some of its bitterness, you can turn it into a cold vegetable salad or quickly sauté or stir-fry it.

BULGUR is steamed, dried, cracked whole wheat that cooks in just 15 minutes. Its mild, nutty flavor is a welcome change from rice or potatoes. A cup of cooked bulgur has 150 calories, 8 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Don’t confuse it with “cracked wheat,” which hasn’t been pre-cooked and takes much longer to prepare, or with couscous, which is (typically refined) pasta.


Are you hungry yet? Try something different with an open mind and you may be pleasantly surprised by yet another food our heavenly Father has provided for us.

(Adapted from October 2011 Nutrition Action Healthletter)

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