Eat Well

Smart Food Choices

5 Healthy Foods You’re Probably Not Eating
By Cleveland Clinic Wellness Editors 
Published 6/29/2010 
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1) Clementines

They’re seedless, easy to peel, easy to transport and a great source of vitamin C. This petite seedless citrus fruit is an adorable and healthful snack option. One clementine contains approximately 35 calories and delivers 60 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C. They are easy to toss in a bag or store in a desk drawer, and the peel is easily removed — making them a great snack idea for kids. Although they are perfect eaten on their own, you can also use them to add zing to your evening meal: Add chopped clementines, green olives, toasted almonds and fresh mint leaves to a bowl of just-cooked couscous, and drizzle with a little olive oil.

2) Greek Yogurt

At the Cleveland Clinic, we are major proponents of adopting the Mediterranean diet — which relies on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes as its mainstays and a smattering of dairy, poultry, fish, eggs and olive oil for lean protein and healthy fats — for its ability to promote overall health and reduce risk of several major chronic conditions, including obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But no diet is helpful if you can’t adapt it to your busy lifestyle. A simple and filling breakfast of low- or non-fat Greek yogurt, toasted nuts and a little bit of honey paired with one or two in-season fruits is easy to prepare and eat on the run. And it can be customized to every season. To gain the most benefit, take 15 minutes to sit down and savor the taste of the food as you eat.

3) Chia Seeds

What’s cute and mildly flavored and offers more omega-3s than flaxseeds? The petite chia seed, an ancient grain from Mexico that also delivers high levels of heart-friendly fiber. Chia seeds are also less likely to go rancid than flaxseeds and have a mild taste, making them more appealing to those who think flax is too gritty. To add their nutritional benefits to your regular diet, sprinkle one to two tablespoons on your morning yogurt or oatmeal, or add them to smoothies and salads.

4) Chickpeas

It is possible to have a satisfyingly crunchy and salty snack without reaching for a bag of chips. Make your own spiced, roasted chickpeas: Rinse, drain and pat dry two cans of chickpeas. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle them with olive oil. Roast in a hot oven until dark and crunchy, 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and paprika to taste, and roast a few minutes more. Chickpeas and olive oil are staples of the Mediterranean diet; the beans are rich in fiber, and olive oil delivers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. (And even your favorite picky eater will love them.)

5) Quinoa

Add more protein to your diet, meatlessly. Quinoa (keen-WAH), an ancient grain that looks like couscous, supplies eight grams of protein per serving. This seed, used by the Incas for strength and energy, supplies all nine essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), which your body needs to maintain healthy muscles, organs and glands. One cup of the whole grain, which looks and tastes like couscous, supplies a whopping eight grams of protein — more than what you get in an extra-large egg. Give it a Tex-Mex flair by tossing with chopped tomatoes, black beans, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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