5 Must-Eat Superfoods and Quick Ways to Turn Them Into Snacks
Eating healthy doesn't have to be a time-consuming chore. Cookbook author Cassie Johnston gives a (realistic) crash course in fitting superfood snack recipes into your daily routine.
Chocolate-Coffee-Chia Energy Bites
The superfood: Chia seeds
Eat them because: They’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids (important for brain health). Plus, the gelatinous coating they form when exposed to liquid slows digestion, which makes you feel full longer.
Makes: 12 bites
Time: 5 minutes
1 cup pitted Medjool dates (about 15 whole dates)
½ cup raw almonds
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons ground coffee
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Pinch of salt
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are in very small pieces and the mixture holds together when squeezed. Using wet hands, form into twelve 1-inch balls.
Nutrition per serving: 50 calories, 3.0 g fat, 6.1 g carbs, 1.8 g protein
Want the flavor without the buzz? Just sub in decaf coffee.
Lemon-Avocado Raw Kale Salad
The superfood: Kale
Eat it because: It contains carotenoids and flavonoids that may prevent the body’s cells from turning cancerous. Kale also helps lower cholesterol.
Makes: 2 servings
Time: 5 minutes
1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces
½ ripe avocado, pitted
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Place the kale in a large bowl. Using clean hands, squeeze the avocado flesh into the bowl and massage the avocado into the kale until the leaves relax and are all coated in avocado—about 5 minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and then toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
Nutrition per serving: 169 calories, 9.8 g fat, 18.4 g carbs, 5.0 g protein
Be sure to really massage those kale leaves with your fingers. This isn’t a job for a spoon!
Lemon-Garlic White Bean Hummus
The superfood: White beans
Eat them because: They offer big servings of fiber and protein, but make for a creamier and smoother dip than chickpeas.
Makes: 8 servings
Time: 10 minutes
2 (14–ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup tahini
4 cloves garlic, peeled
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor, mix together the beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, and hot sauce. Process until the beans are smooth, stopping to scrape the sides if necessary. With the processor running on low speed, stream in the olive oil through the chute and process until just combined.
Nutrition per serving: 194 calories, 11.2 g fat, 22 g carbs, 6.3 g protein
If you’re a huge garlic fan, feel free to toss in a few more cloves for an extra kick (and maybe keep the breath mints nearby).
Orange Balsamic Glazed Beets
The superfood: Beets
Eat them because: They’re packed with phytonutrients that act as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Beets may help lower the risk of heart disease.
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
For the beets
6 large beets, scrubbed and greens removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the glaze
Juice and zest of 2 oranges
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
To prepare the beets, preheat the oven to 400°F. Rub the beets with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each of the beets tightly in aluminum foil. Place in a small baking dish and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until fork tender. Let cool until the beets can be handled. While the beets cool, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, mix the orange juice and zest, vinegar, and honey. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the glaze becomes thick and syrupy.
Once the beets are cool, peel off outer skins and then chop the beets into bite-size pieces. Toss the beets with the glaze and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Nutrition per serving: 186 calories, 7.3 g fat, 29.3 g carbs, 3.0 g protein
This recipe works with both purple and golden beets. For a pretty platter, mix the two!
Apple Pie Spinach Smoothie
The superfood: Spinach
Eat it because: It contains more than 25 percent of the recommended daily allowances of 10 vitamins and minerals (in just one serving!). Spinach is especially dense in vitamin K, which helps maintain bone health.
Makes: 1 serving
Time: 5 minutes
½ cup milk
½ cup apple juice
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup fresh spinach
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
Pinch of ground cinnamon
A few ice cubes
Blend all the ingredients in a blender on high speed until very smooth.
Nutrition per serving: 325 calories, 2 g fat, 66 g carbs, 15 g protein
Tweak the spices to suit your tastes. Ground ginger, cloves, and nutmeg are all great additions!
Eat a Superfood-Packed Diet!
All the tasty—and super!—recipes in Chia, Quinoa, Kale, Oh My! will squelch every excuse (“I don’t have time!” “I don’t cook!”). Fuel your day with dishes like oatmeal-raisin breakfast cookies for the morning, apple slaw with goji berries for the afternoon, and beef & barley stew for the evening. Cue major mouthwatering.
Excerpted from Chia, Quinoa, Kale, Oh My! © 2015 by Cassie Johnston. Reproduced by permission of Countryman Press, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.