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Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think

 

Today’s post is a companion piece to the post I published last Friday, Common Food Myths. In that post I shared information about foods we think are healthier for us than they really are.

Today I am doing the opposite. I am sharing information about foods we tend to think of as bad when they are often very healthy.

There are many, many more foods than I list today that are healthier for you than you think. This is not an exhaustive list by any means. However it is a good start.

Full Fat Cheese

We tend to think of cheese as full of fat and calories and cholesterol. So we often opt for fat-free or low-fat cheese with all of the taste, nutrients and joys of eating sucked out.

Full fat cheese is generally the kind you get in a whole chunk and that you have to slice yourself, as opposed to individually wrapped cheese slices. Full fat cheese is tastier and it is certainly more filling.

Men’s Health magazine reports when eaten in moderation, 1-ounce per day, people lost weight because they felt full longer and thus ate less the rest of the day. And according to Danish research when eaten in moderation full fat cheese did not affect cholesterol levels.

Here inAmerica we have so bought into the Food Police’s dictum that all fat is bad and should be eliminated that we have forgotten the pleasures of eating full-bodied foods. . That is too bad for several reasons. One, we do not know how DELICIOUS full fat foods are. And two, we do not know how satisfying and filling full fat foods are.

So give yourself a treat and get some full fat cheese and eat an ounce a day and enjoy. You are worth it!!!

Eggs

Eggs are a much-maligned food. In the 80’s all we heard was how bad they were because of their high cholesterol count. The theory (guess) was that if we ate foods high in cholesterol we would increase our cholesterol.

Dieticians and researchers believed that foods high in cholesterol transferred their cholesterol directly to us. But that is not how it works. It is more complicated than that.

Now 20 years later the incredible edible egg is still very much maligned.

That is incredibly sad indeed. Eliminating eggs from your diet eliminates one of life’s real taste pleasures. And two, it eliminates one of nature’s nutrition powerhouses. Eggs are low in calories: 78. They are an inexpensive source of protein, Vitamins A, D, K, B12, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Don’t believe me? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has put out new nutrition data on eggs. To get the new data click the following link:    Cracking the Cholesterol Myth.

In addition to their deliciousness, I like eggs because they are relatively inexpensive, convenient, and versatile. You can hard boil them, fry them, scramble them and turn them into hundreds of different delicious and healthy meals in little time.

If looking for egg recipes be sure to check the Recipe Tab at link above. Lots of great recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Potatoes

Potatoes are on the dieticians and food polices target hit list these days. I guess since they can’t kick eggs around any more they are turning their sights on potatoes.

 

Like with eggs,  this is incredible. Like eggs, potatoes are incredibly nutrient rich. Remember your history?  Potatoes kept Irish peasants alive during 1840-41 famine.

Potatoes are high in protein and fiber. They are high in Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, iron, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin. They only have 1 gram of fat. They are a good source of carbs. [Source: International.]

My word they are nearly the perfect food!!!!

Here’s the issue. It is not the humble potato. Like with salads, it is what and how much of what, we put on our potatoes.

Does that mean I have to eat a potato plain? No. I don’t think so. When it comes to food my best suggestion is always think MODERATION.  Just put fewer of each of your goodies on your potato.

Corn

Just because corn is a starch does not mean you should eliminate it from your diet.

A six inch cob of corn (about ½ cup) has only 75 calories. It is full of protein, fiber, and loaded with the B-vitamins. One (1) cup of corn contains about 4 grams of fiber or 25% of the recommended daily amount.

At 56 on the glycemic index corn is only at the moderate level,  not high as many claim.

Corn is sweet and for me there are few summer treats as lovely as cooked or grilled fresh corn-on-the-cob with a bit of butter and salt and pepper.

Again, moderation is the key.

Pizza

Yes!!!! Pizza. Combine some bread, lycopene rich tomatoes, and some veggies and you have a darn good meal. Home made is best. And by home made I am not talking grow and mill your own wheat to make your own dough. If you have the time to do that, by all means….do it!!  However, if you subscribe to the K.I.S.S. Principle* as I do, you can use English muffins or tortillas as I did in So All May Eat. Just as healthy and just as delicious.

*Keep It Simple Sweetheart!

Eating Slowly

Before closing, just a few words about eating slowly. Slow eating is the antithesis of living in the fast lane.

It takes 20 minutes for the brain to receive the signal from the stomach that it is full.

There is a growing body of evidence that eating slowly is healthier, can help you lose weight, promotes better digestion, and gives you more time to socialize with your family and friends.

For me eating slowly is less about the health benefits and more about pure hedonist and pleasurable eating. When I eat slowly I can taste and savor every flavor I love. If that has additional health benefits, then so be it. I wrote about this in detail in Eating With Pleasure.

Featured Recipe        Beef Taco Rice Skillet

This is a super easy dish to make any night of the week. And your children will love it too. It is a great meal for teen parties.

This recipe also lends itself to substitutions to make it your own. For instance, if you wanted another layer of taste substitute taco or other seasoned shredded cheese for the plain cheddar cheese. You could also use one half cup cheddar and one half cup Swiss cheese. You could also get canned tomatoes with jalapeño peppers. Use a spicy Taco Seasoning Mix. The variations are endless.

Since you will only need one-half a head of iceberg lettuce you could use the other half to make a salad. The salad could be in place of the nachos or in addition to.

At the last minute, I realized I had green onions in the fridge. So I chopped those and added that to the dish. You could also add black olives.

The only drawback to this recipe is if you have leftovers, the lettuce does not hold up well. But I don’t think you will have any leftovers.

This is what you will need for 4 servings:

1 pound ground beef, chuck, or sirloin

1 envelope taco seasoning mix

1 ½ cups water

1- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 ½ cups uncooked instant rice

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded lettuce (½ head iceberg)

1 medium fresh tomato

Optional: sour cream, nachos, green onions

NOTE: The green onions are not in the picture since they were a last minute inspiration when I saw them in the crisper of my fridge.

Here is what you do:

Cook the beef in a skillet over medium heat, breaking it up as you go along,  until the pink is gone. Drain the excess fat, if there is any. I had no excess fat at all.

While the beef is cooking shred the lettuce and chop the tomato into a medium dice. Set aside.

Stir the taco seasoning mix, canned tomatoes with liquid, and the water into the cooked beef.

Mix well and heat to boiling.

Then stir in the rice. Boil 1 minute ……………………

……………….and remove from the heat. Cover and let sit 8-10 minutes.

Fluff the rice mixture with a fork…………………

…………………….and sprinkle with the cheese. No need to mix the cheese into the rice mixture.

Cover and let stand 1-2 minutes. 

Sprinkle the lettuce around the outer edge of the skillet, and then sprinkle the tomato dice in the circle next to the lettuce. If adding anything extra like green onions, add them too.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and the nachos if using.

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

1 pound ground chuck                                 $1.02*

1 envelope taco seasoning mix                     $0.68

1 ½ cups water                                            ——

1- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes                   $1.09**

1 ½ cups uncooked instant rice                    $2.16

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese                   $1.34              

1 cup shredded lettuce                                $1.06

1 medium fresh tomato                               $0.64

* I had a $2.00 off coupon 🙂

** On sale & in my pantry

Total cost = $7.99
Cost per person = $2.00

Optional: sour cream, nachos, green onions

The sour cream will add about $0.05 per person; the nachos about $0.31 per person, and the green onions about $0.05 per person

Quote of the Day

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Zig Ziglar
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