Do you remember being told to eat a colorful plate of foods when you were younger? A rainbow of green, orange, yellow, and red meant you were satisfying all of the food groups and ultimately consuming a proper amount of nutrients.
My mother always packed fruit in my lunch box and prepared vegetables for dinner.
Apples, oranges, bananas, and berries.
Beans, peppers, carrots, and squash.
There are so many other foods to thank other than the typical fruits and vegetables we grew up eating on our plates. Try adding the following foods into your diet today. You can enjoy them now and thank them later.
I must be transparent with you. Jicama is a root vegetable that I have never tried, but one that my roommate raves about. My roommate, being a nutrition major, loves jicama for several reasons. And while it is not a regular part of my diet, I might have to start consuming it daily.
Jicama is popular in Central America, but is not so common in the U.S. While the leaves and seeds of the jicama plant are toxic, the juicy, white root is edible and nutritious. However, the vegetable is loaded with nutrients including inulin, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A.
Looking to satisfy a crunch? Turn to jicama. It’s mild flavor and slightly brittle texture is the perfect way to fulfill this craving – and in a healthy way too! Jicama can be eaten in several different ways. You can skin the vegetable and eat it raw, dip it in ranch or another dressing, or saute it with other vegetables. Trader Joe’s sells ready-to-eat jicama sticks for convenient snacking!
The root vegetable has also been deemed a superfood, too. While jicama may stand in the shadows of the commonly known superfoods such as kale, acai, and quinoa, the vegetable should be top on your shopping list.
Another unexpected healthy food is pumpkin. If you are anything like me, you hear pumpkin and you immediately think of pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice. Unfortunately, those concoctions aren’t the best for your body. However, your desire to eat pumpkin this fall can still be completed in a healthy way.
Pumpkin typically has a negative connotation because of the amount of sugar people add to it. But, the vegetable can be equally delicious and healthy without the unnecessary additions.
For starters, pumpkin is a good vegetable to help cut fat and starch. Fan of sweet potatoes? Try mixing your sweet potatoes and pumpkins together. The pumpkins will help you decrease your starch intake and will provide additional nutrients that sweet potatoes lack.
During the fall and winter months, it is easy to find canned pumpkins on the shelves. However, it is important that you buy canned pumpkin puree, not canned pumpkin pie mix! While you can eat a pumpkin raw, it’s typically not recommended because it is very fibrous and thick. Canned pumpkin is usually pumpkin that has been boiled or roasted, then pureed.
For about a year now, I have been adding bean sprouts to my salads. One day, I saw them in the salad line at school, and I figured they would be a healthy addition. After doing some research, I confirmed that they were in fact good for my body!
Not only do sprouts add a unique texture to salads, but they also have added health benefits as well. They are rich in Vitamin C, low in calories, and a good source of folate – a vitamin that can treat certain types of anemia.
When the whole bean is cooked, some vitamins and nutrients are lost. However, when the beans are sprouted, the natural nutrients found in the bean are preserved, making it a healthy option.
The next time you look down at your colorful plate, I encourage you to make sure jicama, pumpkin, and bean sprouts are smiling back at you. Eat them now, thank them later.
What other obscure healthy foods do you add in your diet? Let us know!
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