BULGUR- As we have said we should all be trying to eat three servings of whole grains every day, bulgur could be a great addition to your pantry to help fulfill this requirement. Bulgur is a nuttier tasting grain that has a chewier texture than a lot of the other grains. BUT you should know that Bulgur is actually wheat grain that has been partially steamed or boiled and then dried and cracked – so if wheat is restricted for you avoid bulgur. A portion of this grain is ½ cup but you are good up to ¾ cup. As we have already said eating more whole grains cuts your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and of some cancers. A quick way to utilize this grain is to substitute it for rice in your recipes; it also makes for a delicious hot cereal alternative.
CABBAGE- A ½ cup of cooked cabbage (or 1 cup raw) is a fantastic addition to any menu. This leafy vegetable has only 16 CALORIES per serving and is extremely high in fiber so it is optimal choice for anyone looking to lose weight. Cabbage is also a wonderful source of vitamin C and something called those anthocyanins we have mentioned before which may help lower blood sugar levels. Cabbage should not be overcooked because it destroys many of the beneficial properties and it will SMELL!!
CARROTS- We have all heard the tale of eat carrots and it will improve your eyesight but they do so much more!! Carrots are loaded with beta carotene and fiber and even though they won’t give you bunny vision they can help protect your eyes against macular degeneration and cataracts. Carrots are great eaten raw or cooked- raw they provide you with more vitamin C whereas cooked they provide more beta carotene so eat them either way! A serving size is ½ cup cooked and 1 cup raw. A great way to use carrots is to grate them into salads or onto sandwiches, dip them in hummus or add them to soups.
CAULIFLOWER- This vegetable is at the top of the heap when it comes to filling you up for the lowest calories in addition it is chock full of fiber and has so few carbs that it would be beneficial for anyone to eat it- just don’t coat it with butter or cheese sauce!! Cauliflower can help protect you against all kinds of cancers. This is another one you should not overcook because you cook out much of its nutritional value. Eaten raw or cooked cauliflower is a winner.
CHEESE- I was so glad to see this one on the list because I love cheese in any form! Minimal to no carbs and loads of protein make fromage one of the Magic Foods. It is loaded with calcium and other good stuff like zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and riboflavin BUT BEWARE because it is also loaded with saturated fat and calories so in this case portion sizes really matter. The rule of thumb here is that a portion is only 2 oz which really is too bad so sad because that is about the size of your thumb- boo hoo BUT at least it is on the menu!! The type of cheese can sway that size a wee bit but not much. So unless you are happy with that teensy bit opt for the low fat alternatives. In many cheeses you barely notice a difference, low fat cottage cheese or mozzarella made with skim provide the same taste as their full fat counterparts. Others may take some getting used to, the low fat cream cheese definitely has a softer texture than its fatty brother but still not bad where I have a problem is with the hard cheeses- to me they lost texture and flavor. Another option is to use cheese as a garnish instead of as a snack so that you get the benefits and the taste without feeling deprived or cheated.
photo by Suat Eman