We feel ya: Sometimes you love being a matcha-spinach-cacao nibs enthusiast who whips up chef-status weeknight dinners for cold winter nights, but other days, you just wish you could hit the “Lazy Girls’ Guide to Superfood-ing Everything” button. Turns out, there are plenty of superfoods that you can shake, sprinkle and stir into any meal. We asked Lisa Hayim, New York City-based registered dietitian and founder of The Well Necessities, and Rebecca Lewis, RD for HelloFresh, a leading healthy meal delivery kit company available nationwide, to spill their go-tos.
1. Salba Chia Seeds. “These white chia seeds are delicious and add the perfect crunch into any meal. They pair with just about anything,” says Lisa. “Toss ’em in oatmeal, pasta and even into a salad dressing for an added nutrition lift. They pack in a ton of fiber and are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for human health and disease prevention, specifically heart disease.” Just let us know what aisle to pick them up in. So. Freaking. Sold.
2. Citrus Zest. Ready to get your shine… erm, lime on? “Lemons, limes, oranges!” chimes in Rebecca. “Oh my!” sings the chorus. “The oils in the skin of these fruits are aromatic and get our mouth watering. There is actually more flavor in the zest than in the juice of the fruit, and this pop of flavor will brighten any dish. I love adding lime zest to my eggs in the morning, lemon zest to any fish recipe and orange zest tastes amazing in baked goods too!”
3. Scallions. We love onions for their distinct flavor. But onion breath and teary eyes? Not so much.”Give your dinner that zingy onion taste without having to suffer through chopping up an actual onion! Bonus: They add texture and flair to your dishes and give your food pics a beautiful pop of color!” offers Rebecca. Speaking of that perfect ‘gram, check out how to take mouthwatering food photos like an Instagram pro.
4. Nutritional Yeast Flakes. “These gluten-free flakes are an inactive yeast grown on sugar cane and beet molasses, then dried into a flake or powder form,” says Rebecca. “They have a savory cheese flavor and are also an excellent source of vitamin B12. Use it as a dairy-free replacement for cheese, put it on your popcorn, in your pesto, on your pastas or even in your eggs – the sky is the limit here!”
Even better: “Nutritional yeast is also a major life-changer for vegetarians and vegans. It is one of the few plant-based foods that is a complete protein source and high in B12. Additionally, it contains all the essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own,” elaborates Lisa. Trust us, even your biggest cheese-lovin’ pals will keel over in happiness when they discover this nutrient-dense powerhouse.
5. Dried Cilantro. This potent spice may be a tad unfamiliar, but it’s definitely worth loading up on. “Dried cilantro is a must-have in the house. It’s rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids and has been used for a long time to prevent indigestion,” offers Lisa. “In addition, it helps to soothe autoimmune disorders and chronic inflammatory diseases. For a pop of great flavor, try it in pizza, stews and chili.”
6. Dulse. This red sea veggie is a true hero of the sea. “Sea vegetables do wonders in terms of nutrition. Not only do they provide a ton of fiber and protein, but they are also rich in vitamins, trace minerals, fatty acids and antioxidants,” Lisa comments. “You can put these flakes in a shaker and use just like you would salt, or add it to a salad or sandwich. If the raw flavor is too oceanic for you, try pan frying them, to bring out a smoky and savory flavor similar to bacon.” Yes, hold your rainbow rolls of excitement: Dulse is that bacon-y seaweed everyone’s been talking about. DLT, anyone?
7. Maple Syrup. “Start the day with this naturally nutrient-dense sweetener in your coffee, add it in the vinaigrette you use for your salad lunch, glaze your fish or meat for dinner and use it as a substitute sweetener in baked goods,” suggests Rebecca. “It is such a great alternative to highly processed sweeteners!” Mmmmm, maple roasted brussels sprouts, we’re looking at you.
8. Vinegar. “Apple cider, balsamic, champagne — these are all staples in my kitchen. Since vinegar is high in acetic acid, it can help increase the body’s ability to absorb the essential minerals locked in foods,” says Rebecca. Vinegar may not get all the superfood lovin’ as, say, kale, but it’s so incredibly versatile we can’t believe just how many ways you can use it. “Vinegar can be used in so many different ways when cooking: pickling, deglazing pans, marinating meats, making vinaigrettes or sauces and even to sweeten certain desserts.”
9. Dehydrated Veggies. “Tomatoes, spinach, carrots, chile peppers — all can easily be dried out in the oven and blended into your own superfoods powder!” exclaims Rebecca. (Our fave? Dehydrated collard greens!) “Then simply add ’em to your morning juice, sprinkle on top of salads, use in your own custom spice blends or mix right into sauces to load up the vitamin content.”
10. Chlorella. Nothing hits the spot quite like an exotic-sounding algae to jazz up out meals. “Chlorella is an excellent detoxifier. It is a microalgae similar to spirulina, but has thicker layers. Its outer layer is responsible for the detoxification, as it binds to heavy metals (toxins that sneak into our body), pesticides and toxins, and carry the substances out,” says Lisa. “Lately, I have been sprinkling Sun Chlorella, which comes in handy pre-portioned packets, into my smoothies to get those greens in!”
11. Nuts and Seeds. If you haven’t already, it’s time to make these healthy rockstars a regular part of your daily eating routine. “It goes without saying that these foods add loads of healthy nutrients and fiber to keep our cravings quenched, so we’re less likely to snack later,” says Rebecca. “Use walnuts over oatmeal in the morning; let almonds take over for pine nuts in pestos or add flavor in Romesco sauce; try pumpkin seeds to add a nice crunch to creamy soups. Cashews can even be blended up into a paste and added into dips,” she offers.
Got a favorite superfood you love to slip into just about everything? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)