Top 5 Superfoods You Should Be Eating In 2016

A superfood by definition is a nutrient-rich food that is considered beneficial for your health. These foods generally contain high levels of essential vitamins and minerals and are often a source of antioxidants. We've compiled a list of five of our favorite superfoods along with a delicious recipe to try for each.

1) Salmon - I'll start my list off slowly. Salmon is a very popular and well-known super food. It contains high levels of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. This fish also contains high amounts of vitamin D. 

This salmon recipe is fresh, healthy, and full of flavor.

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, and Rosemary (Courtesy Giada De Laurentiis)

Ingredients

 

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 8 lemon slices (about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine (or white wine)
  • 4 teaspoons capers
  • 4 pieces of aluminum foil

      Directions
      Brush top and bottom of salmon fillets with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place each piece of seasoned salmon on a piece of foil large enough to fold over and seal. Top the each piece of salmon with 2 lemon slices, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of wine, and 1 teaspoon of capers. Wrap up salmon tightly in the foil packets.

      Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Place the foil packets on the hot grill and cook for 10 minutes for a 1-inch thick piece of salmon. Serve in the foil packets.

      2) Spinach - Another well-known superfood is spinach. This vegetable contains large amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, folate, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber.

      Try out this recipe below for the perfect morning jump start.

      Strawberry Spinach Smoothie (Courtesy of Natasha's Kitchen)

      Ingredients

      1 cup mango juice (Orange Juice also works well)
      1/2 cup yogurt
      1/2 lb  fresh or frozen strawberries, halved or quartered
      1/2 lb fresh or frozen blueberries
      1 banana
      1 cup packed fresh spinach
      Drizzle of honey (about 1 Tbsp)

      Directions
      1. Add the liquid ingredients first: 1 cup mango (or orange) juice, 1/2 cup yogurt.
      2. Add in the 1/2 lb strawberries, 1/2 lb blueberries, 1 banana (broken into a few sections). Blend until smooth.
      3. Add in the 1 cup fresh spinach and drizzle with honey to taste. Blend until smooth and serve to the folks eagerly waiting in line.

      3) Chia - The Chia seed is a super food that has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. It is a rich source of vitamin B, folate, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Wondering what you can possibly cook with this super seed? Well, you can add it to just about anything, such as smoothies, cereal, yogurt, or you can make it a show stopper with this dinner recipe below.

      Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets (Courtesy of Lauren Kelly Nutrition)

      Ingredients
      • 1 pound organic, skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
      • ¾ cup ground flax seed 
      • ¼ cup chia seeds
      • ¼ freshly grated Parmesan cheese
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon oregano
      • ½ teaspoon basil
      • 2 cloves minced garlic
      • 2 eggs
      Directions
      1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or baking pan.
      2. In a medium bowl, place flax seed, chia seeds, Parmesan cheese, salt, oregano, basil and garlic. Mix well.
      3. In another separate medium bowl, place eggs and mix well.
      4. Line up the bowls and place each piece of chicken into egg mixture, then flax/chia mixture. Lay onto prepared baking sheet until all the chicken is used.
      5. Discard any remaining egg or flax mixtures.
      6. Cook chicken for 25 minutes or until cooked through, making sure to turn over once halfway through. Serve immediately.

      4) Açai - Move over blueberries, you've got some competition. The Acai berry is chock full of antioxidants and fiber. Although not all of the claims about its health benefits have been proved yet, it is still hailed as a superfood.  

      Try this breakfast bowl combination for the perfect filling breakfast that will load you with energy.

      Acai Breakfast Bowl (Courtesy of The Food Network Kitchen)

      Ingredients

      Two 4-ounce packets unsweetened frozen acai puree

      1 medium banana

      1/2 cup blueberries

      1 tablespoon honey

      3 tablespoons granola

      2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

      1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes

      Directions

      Break the frozen acai up a little by slapping the sealed packets on the countertop or hitting them with a meat mallet. Blend the berries with 1/2 the banana, 1/4 cup of the blueberries and the honey in the blender, stopping to stir and break up the mixture as needed, until it's the consistency of a thick smoothie; transfer to a cereal bowl.

      Slice the remaining 1/2 banana. Arrange the slices, the remaining 1/4 cup blueberries, granola, pomegranate seeds and coconut flakes in neat piles or rows on top of the acai.

      5) Matcha - This new superfood has been graining a lot of ground lately. Matcha is a form of whole green tea leaves that is ground into powder. This green tea contains antioxidants, and for coffee lovers, it contains caffeine without the normal caffeine crash that happens with coffee.

      Try this delicious dessert recipe below for a boost of antioxidants and energy.

      Matcha Swirl Shortbread Cookies (Courtesy of Two Red Bowls)

      Ingredients

      light green swirl:
      1/4 cup (2 oz, about 56 g, or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
      3 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
      1/2 egg yolk (optional)
      1/4 tsp almond extract
      1/2 cup (about 63 g) all-purpose flour
      1/2 tsp matcha powder
      1 pinch of baking powder
      1 small pinch of salt

      dark green swirl:
      1/4 cup (2 oz, about 56 g, or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
      3 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
      1/2 egg yolk (optional)
      1/4 tsp almond extract
      1/2 cup (about 63 g) all-purpose flour
      1 tsp matcha powder
      1 pinch of baking powder
      1 small pinch of salt

      Directions

      1. Prepare the light green dough first. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and powdered sugar vigorously until smooth. Add half the egg yolk and the almond extract, and whisk again until smooth.
      2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 tsp matcha powder, baking powder and salt. (A note on judging the color — the mixture will be a little lighter green than the dough will actually turn out.) Gradually add flour mixture to butter in batches, beating after each addition, until ingredients are fully incorporated and it has formed a thick, rough dough. Form the dough into a ball and place in the refrigerator.
      3. Next, prepare the dark green dough. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the dark green dough, but with 1 full teaspoon of matcha powder. You may want to play around with the amount of matcha you add — you can up the dark green dough to 1.5 tsp, for instance, or decrease the light green dough to 1/4 tsp, for greater contrast and a stronger green tea flavor.

      4. Here, you can either chill the dough balls or just roll them out immediately. I found that it was fine to roll them out right away the second time I made them. I placed the dough between two layers of saran wrap in order to minimize the dough sticking to the rolling pin — alternatively, you can also place them into Ziploc bags, which was amazing for getting the size of the layers exactly the same. If you want to make mini-sized cookies, like I did, roll the dough out to about 1/8″ thickness, into squares that are about 5″x5″ (or the size of one sandwich Ziploc). There should be about four in total, two of each color. If you want to reuse the Ziplocs, chill the dough at this point until hard and then peel off the Ziplocs before layering and rolling into logs; if you don’t care, just slit the sides and peel off. Place one lighter-colored square on top of one dark-colored square, lining them up as best you can, and gently roll lengthways into a log. It should form a roll about an inch in diameter, and you should get two logs out of the dough. For regular-sized cookies, roll the dough out thicker (I’d guess about 1/6″ or thereabouts), instead, so that each ball yields one 7″x7″ square, instead of two smaller ones. Roll those up together and that should result in a log that is thicker, with larger cookies. Either way, once rolled, replace in fridge and let chill for another hour to harden again. At this point, you can also freeze it if you’d like to bake it later.

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