Nutrient Rich Food Substitutions

29 Jun

Lately I have been doing more research and putting more thought into the nutrient content of the food I eat.  Since my mission is to respect my body by feeding it with quality foods, I should also be thinking about how to take in the most nutrients from those foods.  I want the fruits, vegetables legumes and grains I eat to really count and offer my body as many vitamins and minerals as possible.

How you choose, store and prepare food all has an effect on the nutrient levels.  In the grocery stores and at the farmers markets, we are offered a wealth of options.  Choosing the best from all these options can be challenging.  After doing some reading and research of my own, I have begun to learn which foods to choose to get the most nutritional value.

Keeping this in mind, I developed a meal choosing the most nutritious varieties I could find of each a starch, vegetable and legume.  Read below on what each item is and why it’s a better choice.

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Black (Beluga) Lentils

What are they?

Black lentils are also referred to as Beluga lentils, getting their nickname from the Beluga caviar that they look similar to when cooked.

Why are they better?

These small, round black lentils contain anthocyanins, which is a powerful antioxidant that is also found in berries.  Lentils offer essential vitamins and minerals and are a good source of protein.  They contain 9 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup which will keep you feeling full throughout the day.

Where to find them?

Look for them in the health food store or the bulk section of your grocery store.

Purple sweet potatoes

What are they?

These beautifully colored root vegetables actually come from a plant in the morning glory family.

Why are they better?

Anthocyanin is what gives the sweet potato is purple color.  As we know, this phytonutrient fights free radicals in your body which can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.  In addition, similar to traditional sweet potatoes, they are a good source of fiber, calcium and complex carbohydrates.

Where to find them?

Look for purple sweet potatoes at a specialty produce store or at the farmers market.

Arugula

What is it?

Arugula is a member of the cabbage family.  It is a dark salad green with a slightly mustard and peppery flavor.

Why is it better?

Arugula is higher in antioxidants than most green lettuces.  It also contains more calcium, magnesium, folate and vitamin E than most salad greens.   The many phytonutrients it contains are known to have anticancer properties.

Where to find it?

Arugula can be found in any major supermarket or your local farmers market.

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