We all know the benefits of popularly celebrated superfoods like blueberries, nuts, and salmon… but here are some underrated foods that should be a part of any nutritious diet plan. These six foods are packed full of nutrients and taste great, adding variety and nutrients to your meals. Fill up on more of these and you’ll be healthy, energised and ready to lose weight.
It’s everyone’s favourite summertime fruit. Refreshing, watery and naturally sweet, watermelon is a delicious treat for a warm day. And because it’s so high in water content, it’s very low in calories, and has the added bonus of helping you to meet your fluid needs.
Watermelon is packed full of vitamins A, B and C, so it’s great for keeping you energised and boosting your immunity. It also contains plenty of powerful antioxidants including lycopene, that help to neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals, along with potassium, magnesium and electrolytes.
All yogurts are great sources of protein, calcium, potassium and vitamins, but Greek-style yogurt in particular stands out as a nutritional superstar. Greek yogurt has a thicker, creamier texture because the liquid whey has been strained out. Depending on the brand, it can contain twice as much protein as other yogurts, which helps you to feel full for longer, and it doesn’t contain the added sugar. Choose plain, non-fat Greek yogurt and add flavour with fresh fruit or wholegrain cereal.
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are often overlooked as bland ‘hippy food’, but they are a great addition to your diet plan- and they can be used in plenty of delicious ways! Legumes are full of protein, fibre, and complex carbs, as well as iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
Canned beans make it convenient to add more into your meals- you can lower the sodium content of canned beans by rinsing them in water before using them. Throw them into salads, soups, stews, casseroles, curries, stir fries, anything! You can also create your own delicious dip by pureeing beans and adding your favourite seasoning.
While eating fresh tomatoes is great for you, cooking them helps to release lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that fights disease, helping to prevent cancer, heart disease, cataracts and more. Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamins A and C.
A good way to get more cooked tomatoes into your meals is to buy them canned. Then you can easily add them to casseroles, soups, stews, pasta sauces, salads and more.
Sweet potatoes are a highly underrated vegetable. Colourful, tasty and very versatile, they’re a great way to add some nutritional variety to your meals, with plenty of vitamin C, fibre and potassium. Sweet potatoes, especially the deeper-coloured ones, contain a wealth of orange-hued carotenoid antioxidants, which act as a precursor of vitamin A.
The nutrients in sweet potatoes have been shown to help boost immunity, regulate blood sugar, promote healthy heart function, and aid digestion.
It may be less popular than its green relatives, but red cabbage is a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. One whole cup of chopped red cabbage has only 22 calories, so you can use it to add guilt-free volume to your meals. And it’s versatile- eat it raw, cooked, or added to any meal from salads, soups and sandwiches to casseroles and more.
Red cabbage is a great source of vitamins A, D and K, along with folate and other trace minerals. So keep some in the crisper and use it to add colour and nutrients to all your meals.
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