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.
3 of 10Photo by Thomas J. Story
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
9 of 10Photo by Thomas J. Story
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.
10 of 10Photo by Thomas J. Story
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.