Top 10 foods for energy

Add these ingredients to your life for more energy and well-being

Hazelnut butter muffins

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Hazelnut butter

The news: Move over, peanut butter. One of our favorite Western nuts is now available in spreadable form.

Feel-good factors: Especially high in good-for-you monounsaturated fats, hazelnuts can help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. They’re also high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.

Ways to try it: Use hazelnut butter in our muffins or spread it on a sandwich or apple slices.

Recipe:  Hazelnut Butter Muffins

American kiwi

Photo by Thomas J. Story

American kiwi

The news: This small, tart-sweet, fuzzy green fruit, long identified with New Zealand, is now being grown in the United States, particularly California (you’ll even see it at farmers’ markets).

Feel good factors: With more vitamin C than an orange, more potassium than a banana, and high amounts of fiber, a serving of two kiwis packs quite a health punch. New research also suggests a high vitamin E content―uncommon in fruits.

Ways to try it: Sure, it’s tasty in fruit salad, but give it a whirl in smoothies, fruit salsas, and green salads too.

Roasted Bison with Velvety Pan Gravy

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Bison

The news: Bison used to come ground only―if you could find it at all. Now you can savor its subtle yet rich flavor in everything from steaks to roasts, available at well-stocked grocery stores.

Feel-good factors: It’s leaner than beef and usually grass-fed (which is better for the animal and, since you’re eating healthier meat, you too).

Ways to try it: Substitute it for beef in your favorite recipes, but reduce the cooking time and cook to rare or medium-rare. (Because bison is so lean, it cooks very quickly; fat slows down cooking.) Bison burgers, chilis, and steaks are all excellent.

Recipe:  Roast Bison with Velvety Pan Gravy

Potatoes with Sea Vegetables

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Sea vegetables

The news: Many types of dried seaweed, each with its own distinctive flavor and texture, sit neatly packaged on grocery store shelves: dulse, wakame, hijiki, kombu, nori.

Feel-good factors: In general, sea vegetables are an incredibly rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A and E and iodine.

Ways to try them: Simmer in chicken stock for a haunting, briny flavor. Scatter snipped nori and toasted sesame seeds over steamed white or brown rice. Wrap seafood salad in a nori cone; spoon salmon caviar into the top.

Recipe:  Potatoes with Sea Vegetables

Sicilian-style pan-fried sardines

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Fresh sardines

The news: As fish shops expand their sustainable-seafood choices, you’ll see more of this strong-flavored, delicious little fish, caught in well-managed West Coast fisheries.

Feel-good factors: Sardines abound in omega-3 fatty acids. Also, because they’re little, they don’t accumulate mercury the way that larger fish can.

Ways to try them: Marinate in olive oil with chiles and herbs, then grill. Marinate as above but skip the chiles; then lay over sliced tomatoes on baguette slices, drizzle with marinade, and broil. Dip in beaten egg, then in seasoned panko (crunchy Japanese-style bread crumbs) and bake.

Recipe:  Pan-Fried Sardines with Sweet-and-Sour Onions, Pine Nuts, and Raisins

Chioggia beets

Photography by Thomas J. Story

Chioggia beets

The news: Still found mainly in farmers’ markets but starting to show up in specialty grocery stores, these red-and-white–striped roots are sweeter than other beets―and so beautiful, they might win over any beet doubters.

Feel-good factors: Beets have lots of fiber, potassium, iron, and folic acid, a B vitamin. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives beets their color, is a powerful antioxidant.

Ways to try them: Sauté the greens. Roast beets until just tender; cut up for salads (they’re great with avocados). Slice raw beets paper-thin; add to soup.

Recipe:  Gold Beet and Beet Greens Soup

Quinoa

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Quinoa

The news: It’s popping up on restaurant menus across the country. A tiny, tasty seed (not a grain) native to the Andes, quinoa is now a major crop in Colorado.

Feel-good factors: Quinoa is a good source of protein and fiber, and it’s gluten-free. Plus it comes in white, red, and black―so you can make a healthy dinner that’s beautiful too.

Ways to try it: Quinoa cooks very quickly (15 minutes) and is a great substitute for rice (it even cooks well in a rice cooker). Use it in pilafs or as a bed for stew.

Recipe: Spicy Seafood Stew

Scarlet runner beans

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Scarlet runner beans

The news: These big, gorgeous, crimson-and-black heirloom beans are showing up more often in grocery stores and farmers’ markets―usually dried.

Feel-good factors: Packed with soluble fiber (which helps lower cholesterol), scarlet runners are also a fine source of protein.

Ways to try them: Add sautéed garlic, onions, and herbs to cooked beans and eat as a side dish, or spoon them over whole-wheat pasta, with a bit of parmesan grated on top.

Artisanal tofu

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Artisanal tofu

The news: Fresh, flavorful handmade tofu puts the big-brand stuff to shame. Look for it at farmers’ markets and natural-foods stores.

Feel-good factors: It has no preservatives and doesn’t use genetically modified soybeans. Protein-rich and low-fat, artisanal tofu is a great alternative to meat when eaten in moderation―up to 1 cup daily (it acts like weak estrogen, so avoiding big helpings may be wisest).

Ways to try it: Drizzle soft tofu with soy sauce; top with green onion and grated ginger. Add firm tofu to stews, or marinate in soy, chile, ginger, and garlic; grill.

Blue corn

Photo by Thomas J. Story

Blue corn

The news: Sweet, flavorful blue corn is a staple in the Southwest, but for many of us it’s still waiting to be discovered (apart from blue-corn tortilla chips) .

Feel-good factors: Blue-corn tortillas have 20 percent more protein than white-corn ones, and often have more zinc and iron too. The corn’s blue anthocyanin is an antioxidant.

Ways to try it: Mix a 50-50 ratio of blue-corn flour and all-purpose flour in pancakes; try the cornmeal in muffins. Use the tortillas for tacos or huevos rancheros.

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