Five Healthy Foods You May Not Be Eating
If you were asked to list five healthful foods that many people aren't eating yet, what would you pick? Would you opt for foods that will never be widely popular, like sauerkraut and seaweed? Or foods that simply aren't realistic or affordable for most busy cooks and families today, like chia or pomegranate seeds and watercress? I shared my top five picks in one of my recent Fox 59 (Indianapolis) Morning News segments.
The first food that came to mind was the humble potato. To this day, I still hear people say they've stopped eating potatoes for one misguided reason or another. What a great opportunity to share the real story about one of my all-time favorite foods!
Potatoes are definitely the star of this segment, and rightfully so, since potatoes have so many benefits from both a practical and a health standpoint. Potatoes are:
- Nutrient-rich. Potatoes are a nutrient powerhouse. They contain essential nutrients, including potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium. Even without the skin, which contains some potassium and fiber, you’ll still get lots of potato nutrition in the flesh. Even French fries contain potassium and fiber!
- Family-friendly. There is a potato-pleasing dish for everyone, from tiny toddlers and kids to teens and adults. In fact, potatoes are especially important for women and children. According to new research, both women and young children are eating far fewer vegetables than recommended, so they’re missing out on several key nutrients, like potassium and fiber, which are found abundantly in potatoes. Average vegetable intake for women aged 19-50 years is only about 1.3 cups/day, or about 50% of the recommended amount, while average intake of white potatoes is just 0.3 cups/day.
- Easily accessible. Potatoes are available year-round in many forms—fresh, frozen, and ready-to-eat varieties are widely available in the supermarket.
- Easy to store. No refrigeration required.
- Extremely affordable. At about 25 cents/serving, potatoes are a very budget-friendly way to boost vegetable intake. For more great tips on stretching your food dollars to create healthy meals, check out the Meeting Your MyPlate Goals on a Budget guide.
- Versatile. Potatoes can be baked, roasted, microwaved, grilled, skillet-cooked, and more. They’re a tasty and nutrient-rich addition to any eating occasion—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time—not to mention a big hit at parties and celebrations, too.
Come to think of it, the potato should hardly be considered humble. It’s one mighty vegetable!
The other four healthful foods you may not be eating yet include:
- Blood oranges. If you like oranges, you’ll undoubtedly like blood oranges. Same terrific citrus taste, just slightly more complex, with all the same nutrient-richness of traditional oranges. And they are becoming more accessible and available as they grow in popularity.
- Sesame seeds. They've been around forever, but we often overlook them or just consider them “bun-toppers.” These healthy fat-containing seeds are also rich in copper, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and iron.
- Canned sardines/herring/anchovies. Accessible, affordable, and so nutrient-rich, with as much or more omega-3 fatty acids as salmon. If you like canned tuna, you may like these tiny fish.
- Kefir. If you like yogurt, you’ll probably like kefir, a cultured milk product. It typically has more good-for-you bacteria/cultures than Greek yogurt.