Nutrient Deficient: How Does Your Diet Stack Up? (cont.)

Some foods can help you kill many birds with a single nutritional stone, so to speak. Certain foods appear more than once on these lists. In fact, I found three foods that are on all four:

  • Swiss chard
  • Raw spinach
  • Cooked greens

I also found three foods that are in all but one of the lists:

  • Butternut squash
  • Tomato sauce/juice
  • Broccoli

These foods are top sources of two of the four nutrients:

  • Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts (magnesium and vitamin E)
  • Soy (tofu and soy nuts are rich in magnesium; green soybeans are tops in vitamin C)
  • Clams (vitamins E and A)
  • Oysters (vitamin A and magnesium)
  • Kale (vitamins A and C)
  • Cantaloupe (vitamins A and C)
  • Papaya (vitamins C and E)
  • Mango (vitamins A and C)

10 Diet-Boosting Tips

Here are some easy tips to help make sure your diet isn't deficient in these four nutrients.

1. Enjoy a handful of nuts almost every day.

2. Use raw spinach instead of lettuce for your salad.

3. Throw some papaya or mango into your smoothie (mango is available frozen).

4. Discover some of these less-popular vegetables as side dishes: greens, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, kale, and butternut squash.

5. Add broccoli to everything you can think of (salads, casseroles, pizza, side dishes) and serve it with a light dip or dressing as an appetizer or snack.

6. Enjoy cantaloupe as a snack, garnish, or part of your breakfast.

7. Drink tomato juice, enjoy some tomato soup, or have an Italian dish featuring tomato sauce.

8. For a change of pace, find a light entree recipe that features clams or oysters.

9. Pop some edamame (green soybeans) into the microwave for an easy and satisfying snack; munch on some soy nuts; and look for recipes that feature tofu. You can also add shelled green soybeans to all sorts of dishes, like fried rice, casseroles, pasta salads, etc.

10. Switch to cooking oils that contribute some vitamin E (hazelnut oil, almond oil, canola oil), and buy the higher omega-3 and vitamin E eggs if they're available in your area.

Also, try these recipes, which focus on foods that are rich in the nutrients so many of us are lacking.

Swiss Chard Italian Wraps

12 medium to large leaves Swiss chard (red or green), rinsed well; cut out the thickest part of stem (about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the leaf)
4 to 5 ounces sliced or shredded part-skim, low-moisture mozzarella
12 teaspoons tomato paste
6 small tomatoes (or 3 large), quartered
About a teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb salt-free seasoning
Salt to taste (optional)

  • Place 4 leaves (still fairly wet from being rinsed) on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on HIGH for about 25 seconds.
  • Lay the leaves face-down on a nonstick jellyroll sheet (or similar) with stems lined up from north to south. Lay 1/4 ounce of cheese in the center, in a 2-inch long rectangle, from north to south. Spread 1 teaspoon of the tomato paste over the cheese, then top with 2 quarters (if using small tomatoes) and sprinkle about 1/16 teaspoon of the Mrs. Dash over the tomato filling.
  • Fold north and south ends of leaf over the filling, then fold in the sides to create a burrito-like wrap. Place on jellyroll pan, stem side up. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Preheat oven to broil.
  • Broil, with pan about 6 inches from the flame, for 2 minutes. Flip wraps over, and broil other side 2 minutes more. Sprinkle salt over the top, if desired.

Yield: about 6 side servings (2 wraps per serving)

Per serving (2 wraps): 102 calories, 9 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 3.8 g fat (2.2 g saturated fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 3.3 g fiber, 369 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 31%.

Smoky Greens (without ham hocks or bacon grease)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
16-ounce bag of "cut and cleaned" mixed greens (collard, mustard, turnip) or collard greens
2 cups water or low-sodium chicken or beef broth
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring (available in small bottles in the BBQ section of most supermarkets)
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste (optional)

  • Heat olive oil in large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes, stirring often.
  • Add chopped greens and 2 cups of water or broth. Add the brown sugar, molasses, and liquid smoke and stir well to blend.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Continue to simmer for about 25 minutes, or until greens are tender.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 82 calories, 2.5 g protein, 14.5 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fat (0.3 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g fiber, 25 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 26%.

SOURCE: Nutrients in Food by Elizabeth Hands, ESHA Research Food Processor II.

Recipes provided by Elaine Magee; © 2005 Elaine Magee.

©1996-2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors