New Ways to Eat Better

Let’s face it, many of the most healthful foods- bitter vegetables, long-cooking beans, and squishy, bland tofu – can be a tough shell. If you or your family don’t like a good-for-you food or find that it’s too hard to cook, you might not buy it. But you still want to eat healthfully, right? We found new ways to get vitamins and other nutrients from foods like chips, dips, and pastas. For example, quinoa pasta is a great stand-in for the regular kind. You can find the foods below at most supermarkets, local farmers markets, and health-food stores. Don’t be put off by their weird names or unfamiliar shapes, colors, and flavors. There are many ways to turn these nutritional powerhouses into tasty meals and snacks.

Kefir drinks and cheese

The nutrient-dense fermented dairy drink (pronounced KEE-fur) is packed with protein and calcium. Its tangy taste and slight effervescence can take some getting used to, but it’s worth a try for its probiotic benefits. It contains more good microorganisms than yogurt, and all those health-boosting bacteria support the immune system and help combat digestive problems. It’s low in lactose and is gluten-free, making it “gut friendly” for almost everyone. If you’re going to gulp it, go for one of the tastier low-fat or nonfat flavored varieties. Try cooking with soft kefir cheese, which is similar to farmer’s cheese. Stirs plain kefir into potatoes, soups, and sauces for a creamy texture without the fat and calories of heavy and sour creams.

Kale and kale chips

Kale is one of the most healthful vegetables around – low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with vitamins A, C, and Fresh kale is available year-round. Or pay a little more for the convenience of having a bag of recipe-ready kale pieces on hand to toss into soups, pasta dishes, and stir-fries. If kale is a hard sell in your house, try crunchy kale chips. You’ll get a lot of the nutritional benefits but with more calories and fat. They’re also pricey to buy.

Kale chips are easy to make. Wash and dry one bunch of kale, then remove the stems and tear the leaves into 2-inch pieces. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt. Bake on a baking sheet in a single layer for 10 to 12 minutes at 375°F.

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