Tuesday, January 10, 2012

12 foods to eat more of in 2012

The holidays are over and we all have our sights set on a fresh, new year. Since many New Years resolutions include freshening-up eating habits too, over the next twelve days, I'll be blogging a series entitled, "12 Foods to Eat More of in 2012." These 12 days will help you focus on improving the quality of your diet by resolving to include some nutrition "powerhouse" foods. Forget the typical, generalized New Year's resolutions like, "I want to lose weight." Adding these 12 super-nutritious foods will help you in your journey of achieving good health and a healthy weight by including good food.

Sure there are many great foods to eat other than the ones I list in the upcoming posts. But many of our diets are lacking in certain key nutrients. So over each of the next 12 days, I'll give you one of my recommended foods to eat more of this year (they're in no particular order), reasons why it's so nutritious, and tips for easily incorporating it into your diet. Follow along--you won't want to miss it! With no further adieu...number one!

1. Soybeans (edamame)

A simple and delicious snack enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Soybeans are the perfect combination of protein, healthy fat and carbohydrate. Energizing and filling! They're also loaded with fiber and packed with antioxidants. Soybeans are one of the few non-dairy sources of calcium (10% of the daily value) and they also contain vitamin C and iron. Does the list need go on?

Whole soybeans are preferable to processed soy products (just as anything that has gone through minimal processing is preferable). So if you're looking to incorporate soy into your diet, better edamame than soy burgers and the like. If you've never tried edamame, there's one thing you need to know--how to eat it. You can purchase edamame in the shell or shelled. If you buy the kind in the shell (pictured above), just use your teeth to "pop" the beans out.

I recommend buying the frozen, pre-cooked kind so there's no preparation at all (and they'll store in the freezer for a while). Just take out a handful and seal in a snack-sized plastic baggie and they'll thaw by lunchtime. They make a great go-to snack, but I especially love them with low-sodium tomato soup and whole grain crackers for a quickly-put-together and balanced lunch. You can also toss the shelled beans onto a salad or mix in a pasta dish.

Stay tuned for food number 2 tomorrow!