Typical healthy meals can get boring. There's only so much plain brown rice, steamed broccoli and baked chicken your family can stand. But you don't have to rehash the same healthy dishes day in and day out. Switch things up by adding different ingredients to your menus to spice up your meals and entice your family to try new things. Some of the healthiest foods on the planet are ones that probably aren't already too familiar to you.
You can find dried seaweed for sale at certain grocery stores and at Asian markets. Incorporating seaweed into your family's diet is an easy way to up their intake of healthy antioxidants and B vitamins. Buy prepared sushi wrapped in sheets of seaweed for an easy healthy meal. Or buy dried seaweed and sprinkle it on top of a homemade rice salad full of vegetables for a healthy, crunchy one-dish meal. Crumble dried seaweed into tiny pieces and sprinkle the greens over any raw or cooked vegetable dish to ease your family into a healthy diet filled with plenty of sea vegetables.
Many types of uncommon grains are powerhouses when it comes to health benefits. Amaranth is an easy-to-digest, hearty grain packed with protein, iron, calcium and fiber. Pick up a package of amaranth to replace rice or pasta as part of a healthy family meal. Or give quinoa a try. Quinoa is a healthy grain loaded with protein and fiber. Toss cooked quinoa or amaranth with raw or steamed vegetables and a light dressing for a filling dinnertime dish with plenty of health benefits.
Challenge your family members to move beyond their comfort zones by stepping away from broccoli and green beans. Try eating unique vegetables such as kohlrabi, a bulbous green vegetable with a mild anise flavor. Toss a thinly sliced, raw kohlrabi bulb into a main dish salad for a boost of flavor along with whopping doses of potassium and vitamin C. Or make a more subtle change by replacing zucchini in a vegetable lasagna or casserole with healthy chayote squash, which tastes like a cross between a squash and a cucumber. Replace regular green asparagus in any recipe with white asparagus, which is loaded with vitamins A and C as well as healthy dietary fiber.
Unique seafood meals can be a welcome and healthy change for family dinners. If you're stuck making casseroles or sandwiches out of canned tuna, switch to canned salmon for a flavor change that's still loaded with healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. Or cook fresh prawns or scallops instead of the same old jumbo shrimp when making a seafood-based meal. If you really want to try something new, pick up cleaned squid from the seafood counter at your grocery store and saute the chopped meat into a tasty Asian stir-fry dish.
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- "Glamour"; Five Strange Foods You Should Learn to Love; Sarah Jio; March 2009
- "The Times"; Nutrition: Let's Eat Seaweed; Peta Bee; September 2007
- "Food and Wine": Seaweed Recipes
- Bob's Red Mill: Organic Quinoa
- ABC News; Thirteen Weird Fruits and Vegetables: Exotic Produce; Cari Nierenberg; March 2009
- ABC News; The 10 Healthiest Foods You've Never Tried; Cari Nierenberg; February 2009
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images