Superfood is a catch all term for foods high in antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins. Superfood groups are touted to have many beneficial properties and contribute to a person’s general health. While there are many claims to the benefits of superfood, from reducing risk of disease or improving emotional wellness, the scientific studies are not conclusive. But common sense does seem to dictate that adding a superfood just makes sense. Healthy foods make healthy meal plans. So with that in mind, following are three simple superfood supplement tips to help the health professional with meal plans whether using a written or software method.
First, consider adding either strawberries or blueberries, both a popular superfood. Both are high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Both will keep well for many days when refrigerated, so they are easy to include with many meals during the week. To include either of these, consider adding them as an addition to almost any breakfast, such as cereal, pancakes, or a side to eggs. A quarter serving of either of these two berries will rarely make any significant changes to a week’s calorie range.
Second, nuts are considered a superfood as well, (just do not include them if a nut allergy exists) particularly walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts and brazil nuts. Most nuts contain unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, lots of fiber, vitamin E and more. They are affordable and store very well. To include either of these two items to a meal plan, just look for dinner entrees that go well with nuts. For instance, crushed walnuts can be sprinkled on top of almost any fish portion, adding flavor and variety. If a topping is not your style, they can be great as just a snack. Consider adding them to a mid morning or early afternoon snack. Just remember, nuts do pack a lot of calories, so go easy on the quantity.
Third, green veggies are another category of often overlooked superfood which includes lettuce, okra, asparagus, broccoli, string beans, and artichoke to name a few. Kale has more antioxidants than almost any other fruit or veggie and is an excellent source of fiber, calcium and iron. Spinach contains many antioxidants and anti- inflammatory agents, plus lots of calcium, vitamins, including K which can help prevent bone loss. Both of these can be substituted in a salad for basic lettuce or added as extra flavoring. Raw spinach can also be placed under many rice or pasta portions. For clients who are not salad lovers this is a great way to encourage them to eat greens.
With just a little thought and imagination, it is easy to include an occasional superfood into the diet to promote a healthier meal plan. Many nutrition software programs make it easy to edit meal plans or even purchase meal plans for specific purposes. One doesn’t have to go overboard with a superfood list, just insert a few items here and there in strategic places. The result can be not just a healthier meal plan, but tastier and interesting.