5 Foods to Try in the New Year

5 Foods to Try in the New Year

By: CHRISTINA COLAVECCHIA

The beginning of the New Year marks, for many, the chance to start fresh with a new resolution or vow to stay fit and eat healthy. It can be difficult to eat right during the cold winter months when comfort food reigns and curling up with a blanket by the fire sounds more appealing than lacing up the runners and hitting the gym. These five new foods to try in the new year are packed with nutrition and protein, yet delicious enough to enjoy without feeling restricted by a newfound diet or resolution.

1. Quinoa
Quinoa is considered one of ‘the world’s healthiest foods’ and, while it is mostly commonly considered a grain, it is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but it is packed with complete proteins, meaning that it provides all nine essential amino acids, including lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. The high protein content found in quinoa is perfect for vegans looking for sufficient protein intake and people suffering from migraine headaches, diabetes and cardiovascular issues. The health benefits and meal options are endless. Luke Corey, a professional dietitian at CHN (Complete Health and Nutrition) in Halifax, Canada, explains that grains and vegetables like quinoa are necessary to maintain energy levels and a healthy digestive system during the winter months when fruit and vegetable consumption usually decrease.

2. Salmon
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) cites two new studies that offer even more evidence that eating several servings of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids each week may reduce the risk of heart disease and death. Dr. JoAnn E. Mason, an author of one of these studies, suggests that people should eat more fish as part of a healthy diet to combat and lower the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiac issues. Corey says that during the winter, the main concern is the intake of vitamin D to maintain strong, healthy bones. “We usually get a heavy dose of vitamin D from exposure to the sun, but as it gets colder, we get less sunshine, and, therefore, require our daily dose from other sources,” says Corey. One 4 ounce serving of wild salmon provides a full day’s requirement of vitamin D as well as over half the necessary intake of B12, niacin, and selenium, all essential nutrients. Canned salmon also contains large amounts of calcium due to the bones of the fish.

3. Avocado
“The objective of most young, active females should be to maintain a healthy weight, and to provide the body with the essential nutrients for maintenance of good health and prevention of disease and disorder,” says Corey. Avocado is one of the easiest and most delicious ingredients to incorporate into healthy recipes. Avocados are rich in vitamins A, C, and E are packed with other nutrients like potassium, and contain folate, monosaturated fats and antioxidants. The regular consumption of avocados can act as a defense for oral cancer, breast cancer, and poor eye health. Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, and glutathione, an important antioxidant that is important in preventing aging and heart disease.

4. Raisins
Raisins are the perfect snack food. High in energy and antioxidants and low in fat and calories, raisins are an ideal snack for athletes who need a lot of energy without accumulating cholesterol. Raisins are also rich in vitamins, amino acids and minerals, which help facilitate the absorption of other nutrients and proteins in the body. It’s easy to increase our food intake and overeat in the winter months when holidays and celebrations rule our social calendars. “To accommodate these events, one should maintain their normal, healthy eating habits and treat the special meals like a regular meal (from a quantity and quality standpoint),” says Corey. “If intake increases during the winter months, activity levels should increase accordingly.” Small, healthy snacks like raisins that are full of fiber and help to curb overeating while providing essential nutrients that could be missed at this time of year.

5. Chickpeas
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a great source of dietary fiber, protein and folic acid. There are all essential nutrients for the active diet. Like raisins, chickpeas are a great source of dietary fiber, which aids in the proper functioning of the body and helps improve the absorption of nutrients. Chickpeas are also rich in iron, a vital component to an active diet, which helps move oxygen through the body and produce energy. Corey explains that it is imperative for the active person to rovide the body with the fuel and nutrients it requires to maximize performance. “Including protein (like chickpeas) with meals contributes to a more efficient and speedier recovery from activity,” says Corey.

No matter what the resolution or new year vow is, eating healthy is an important part of any well-balanced diet.

Asian Quinoa Wraps

Makes 4 wraps.
2 cups cooked quinoa
3 Tbsp Vegenaise (Mayo or Greek yogurt work too)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 scallion
4 large wraps (10 inch)
3 cups arugula
1 avocado, diced
1 carrot, grated
reduced sodium soy sauce (optional)

1. Combine quinoa, vegenaise, rice vinegar, hot sauce and scallions. Place in a whole grain wrap and top with ¾ cup of arugula and a quarter of the carrots. Drizzle with soy sauce if desired.
2. Roll and cut into half. Repeat with remaining wraps. Serve with additional soy sauce if desired.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Salmon Salad Sandwich

Makes 4 sandwiches, perfect for an easy dinner and lunch the next day.

2 6-ounce cans boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained
¼ cup minced red onion
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese
8 slices pumpernickel bread, toasted
8 slices tomato
2 large leaved romaine lettuce, cut in half

1. Combine salmon, onion, lemon juice, oil and pepper in a medium bowl. Spread 1tablespoon cream cheese on each of 4 slices of bread. Spread ½ cup salmon salad over cream cheese. Top with 2 tomato slices, a piece of lettuce and another slice of bread.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

‘Best’ Guacamole

3 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup finely minced red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tsp ground cumin
1 Tsp salt
3 to 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients, except lime juice, in a medium bowl. Mash to desired consistency. Add lime juice to taste; mix well and serve.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Sweet and Crunchy Raisin Granola

Olive oil spray
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
½ Tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, sesame oil, peanut oil, hemp oil or extra light olive oil
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the syrup, oil and vanilla extract. Add the liquid mixture to the oat mixture, stirring well until the oats are coated.
3. Spread the mixture across the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove tray from the oven and sprinkle granola with the raisins. Using a large spatula, mix the raisins and granola well, breaking up any large pieces. Return to oven and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes.
4. Allow the granola to cool completely

Preparation and baking time: 60 minutes

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
½ cucumber. Peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tsp extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Alternate: A bit of feta cheese adds a tangy, creamy note to the salad. Crumble 6 Tbsp feta cheese over the salad.

1. In a large bowl combine the chickpeas, onion, cucumber, pepper, tomatoes, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Toss to mix. Allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes for flavours to blend.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

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Categories: Home, Sections, Your Nutrition

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