By Shana Fischer
Keeping up on healthy food trends can be a full time job. Your friends are doing Whole30, Paleo and Keto, and you’re still trying to figure out how to pronounce quinoa. (For the record, it’s keen-wah)
Don’t worry about the newest Instagram-worthy food plan, there are three food trends that you can start tomorrow that will never go out of style and will improve your health.
Partake in Plant Protein
You don’t have to go full on vegetarian or vegan. Studies show going meatless once or twice a week can have tremendous health benefits. You can lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. There are easy ways to get your protein through plants. The most obvious and accessible way is through beans. A flavorful veggie chili filled with cannellini or kidney beans is easy to whip up in a crockpot or on the stove.
Add chia seeds or pumpkin seeds to some greek yogurt. There are even pea-protein powders available at your grocery stores that can also be used in a morning smoothie.
But, before you venture into the veggie world, be smart about it. Pasta and sauce is most people’s idea of going meatless. That dish can be high in calories and offers virtually no protein. Turn Meatless Mondays into an adventure and look for cookbooks that offer fun vegetarian/vegan recipes. One to try is “Thug Kitchen”. A humorous and definitely “adult” take on vegan recipes. Written in a hip-hop style, Thug Kitchen started as a popular blog and now offers three best-selling cookbooks. Easy to follow and full-flavored recipes that mimic popular everyday food items and don’t call for exotic or hard-to-find ingredients.
Inflammation is caused by an overload of stress. And, boy, do we all know stress! When your body encounters stress, it becomes inflamed. That inflammation can damage your heart, your other organs and leave you feeling horrible. While yoga and a nice glass of rose can help, so can food.
- Blackberries are a great addition to a morning smoothie or yogurt parfait or freeze them for a nighttime snack.
- Try Brussel sprouts. Everyone says they don’t like the mini-cabbages, but try roasting them. Cut a small “x” in the stem of the sprout and then toss them in olive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast them at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Shake them around every 10 minutes or so. Right before they are finished, drizzle a little store-bought balsamic glaze over them and then serve.
- Add a few dashes of cinnamon. Try it on oatmeal or sprinkle some on your coffee grounds before you brew that pot or add it directly to your cup.
Ancient grains are trending right now and these nutrient-packed puppies will never go out of style. Grains are a great source of fiber which can help with reducing cholesterol and that fiber can also leave you feeling full longer.
Quinoa is among the most well-known of the super grains. First used by the Incas, quinoa is the most complete protein that is also a grain. You can find quinoa-based pasta and cereal at your favorite supermarket.
Also, look for barley. It’s high in protein and also has a bit of a chew so it’s good in stews or as porridge. It cooks quickly (some varieties can go from stovetop to table in 10 minutes) so try it in soups or salads.
Branch out and try teff. Used in Ethiopian cooking, this grain is small like a poppy seed and has a nutty flavor. It’s used a lot in stews.
Finally, give sorghum a chance. It resembles Israeli couscous and can be used as a base for a veggie bowl or ground into a flour for baking. Keep in mind, it’s gluten-free so you will need to add xanthan gum to act as a binder.
By making a few changes to your regular rotation of ingredients, what you eat can have a lasting impact on keeping you healthy.
For more healthy tips, be sure to check out the new show, “Your Health“ on YurView Arizona, Cox channel 4 in Arizona.