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5 Superfoods for Lasting Energy: Body & Brain Health

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To keep your child’s brain and body functioning at an optimal level for hectic school days, fortunately there are a few key “superfoods” to help you out. If there were a magic pill for good health, it would already exist. Not only can superfoods help promote weight control, but they taste good for kids, provide disease-fighting nutrients, fill your child up without excess calories, and are easy to add to family meals. Let’s look at a few a superfoods that are easy to find and cost-friendly.Super FoodsQuinoa: Nourishing whole grains are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is an ancient grain that is easy to make, high in protein and fiber, and a good source of iron. Quinoa also has plenty of zinc, vitamin E, and selenium to help control weight and lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It’s available in most supermarkets. Tip: Quinoa is as easy to prepare as rice, cooks more quickly, can be eaten alone or mixed with vegetables, nuts, lean protein, and even served cold in yogurt at breakfast.

Quinoa Super Food

Spinach: Popeye knew what he was doing! Spinach is a powerhouse. The rich, dark color comes from phyto-chemicals (plant chemicals that have protective or disease preventive properties), and vitamins and minerals, including folate and iron. These minerals are very helpful in protecting against heart disease and preserving eyesight. Tip: Try spinach in salads or cook them with onions and veggies to add greens to your evening meal. Spinach Super Food

Salmon: Packed with healthy omega 3’s, the “good fats,” salmon helps to reduce inflammation and plaque inside the arteries. The Food and Drug Administration and American Heart Association advise eating salmon and other cold-water fish at least two times per week. Salmon is low in calories (200 for 3 ounces), has lots of protein, is a good source of iron, and is very low in saturated fat. Tip: You can grill or bake it, top it with salsa or other low-fat sauces, or serve it on top of salads. Canned salmon can be used for school lunches when you are in a pinch for time.Salmon Super Food

Berries: Powerful antioxidants, which are good for your heart, and fiber, which aids in lowering LDL cholesterol, can be found in berries. Blueberries and raspberries also contain lutein, which is important for healthy vision. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries are widely available fresh, frozen, or dried. Tip: Berries can add flavor and nutrition to numerous dishes, from salads and cereals to baked goods and yogurt.Berries Super Food

Eggs: Eggs are versatile, economical, and a great way to fill up on quality protein. Studies show that if you eat eggs at breakfast, you may eat fewer calories during the day and lose weight without significantly affecting cholesterol levels. Eggs also contain 12 vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for brain development and memory. Tip: Enjoy them at any meal or hard-boil eggs to carry with you as a portable snack.Eggs Super Food

Nuts:  People tend to shy away from nuts due to their high fat content, but nuts have heart-healthy fats, as well as protein, high fiber, and antioxidants. The key to enjoying nuts is portion control. All nuts are healthful in small doses and studies show they can help lower cholesterol levels and promote weight loss. Whether you prefer pistachios, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans, an ounce a day helps fill you up. Nuts also add texture and flavor to salads, side dishes, baked goods, and entrees. Tip: Try putting together  single-serving bags of nuts for easy and portable snacks.Nuts Super Food

Recipe Corner

Two quick recipes, hot and cold, using the superfoods above.

Ingredients

  • Two handfuls of spinach (washed)
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 cup berries of choice (use with cold dish only)
  • 4 ounces salmon
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of quinoa
  • Salad dressing (cold dish only)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (hot dish only)

Spinach & Quinoa Salad with Salmon – served cold

  1. Cook salmon on stovetop until light pink, or in oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
  2. Boil water and cook quinoa on stovetop as directed on the box. Cool in fridge.
  3. Wash spinach and chop into smaller pieces; set aside.
  4. Chop walnuts to desired consistency and set aside.
  5. Wash berries and set aside.
  6. Hard boil an egg for 5 minutes, cool, and peel. Chop to desired consistency and set aside.
  7. Take quinoa out of fridge.
  8. Create salad using spinach as the base, topped with ingredients above.
  9. Sprinkle with quinoa as desired.

Top with the salad dressing of your choice—just oil and vinegar work wonders!Salmon Dish Super Food

Spinach & Quinoa Stir Fry – served hot

  1. Cook salmon on stovetop until light pink, or in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
  2. Boil water and cook quinoa on stovetop as directed on the box. Let cool.
  3. Hard boil an egg for 5 minutes, cool, and peel. Chop to desired consistency and set aside.
  4. Wash spinach. Using two tablespoons of olive oil, cook on low heat until dark green. Chop walnuts to desired consistency and set aside.
  5. Place quinoa on plate and top with other ingredients as desired.

 


Contributing Writer

Image of blog contributor Leslie EdsallLeslie Edsall loves to work with people to simplify the noise and develop healthier habits through nutrition, yoga and self care. She is a Certified Health Coach, Health Education Specialist and Registered Yoga Teacher. Leslie offers a variety of online and in-person health coaching programs, teaches yoga, runs workshops in the DC area and leads wellness retreats.

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2 Comments

  1. Yum. I’m going to try the cold recipe for my lunch next week. It sounds fabulous!

  2. Pingback: Lessons on Nutrition Are Lessons for Life | The Joy of Teaching - An Evan-Moor Blog

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