Super Easy: Super Foods
By Regine Leger and Augusta Hasse

If you are confused by the unending stream of news about the latest fad nutrition product or cure-all exotic supplement, you are not alone. Americans spent nearly $27 billion on supplements in 2009, according to Consumer Reports Magazine.1

Why spend money on questionable supplements when you can easily find cheap and super-nutritious foods at your local grocery store, at the farmersâ€TM market, or growing in your backyard? While no single food is better than the rest, eating foods that are high in several different nutrients can be beneficial to your health and give you more nutritional bang for your buck.

Keep an eye out for these affordable and seasonal super foods easily found in your local Tennessee market!

Fall: Pumpkin – The pumpkinâ€TMs deep orange color means that it is packed with powerful compounds called carotenoids. According to the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, carotenoids have been linked to cancer prevention, reduced risk of heart disease, and improved vision.2 Pumpkins also are a great source of fiber!

Heartwarming Pumpkin Oatmeal (serves 1) Ingredients:
½ cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup skim or 1% milk
¼ cup canned pumpkin
½ tsp. cinnamon

Directions: Combine oatmeal and milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix pumpkin and cinnamon into cooked oatmeal.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):Calories: 260 Fat: 4 g
Carbohydrate: 45 g
Sodium: 131 mg
Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 14 g

Winter: Kale – Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. One cup of raw kale contains only 36 calories and packs a nutritional punch of fiber, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Crunchy Kale Chips (serves 4)
1 large bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves torn into pieces
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions: Position racks in upper third and center of oven; preheat to 400°. If kale is wet, very thoroughly pat dry with a clean kitchen towel; transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle the kale with oil and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, massage the oil and salt onto the kale leaves to coat evenly. Fill two2 large, rimmed baking sheets with a layer of kale, making sure the leaves donâ€TMt overlap. (If the kale wonâ€TMt all all fit, make the chips in batches.) Bake for 88 to 1212 minutes, or until most of the leaves are crisp.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 110
Fat: 5 g
Carbohydrate: 16 g
Sodium: 210 mg
Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 5 g

Spring: Spinach – Spinach contains a rich combination of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids that are helpful in preventing cancer, heart disease, and macular degeneration of the eye.3

Garlic Sautéed Spinach (serves 4)
1 1/2 pounds baby spinach leaves
2 tbsp. good olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped garlic (6 cloves)
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Rinse and dry the spinach leaves. Sauté garlic in a skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add all the spinach, salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted. Transfer the cooked spinach to a serving bowl and top with a squeeze of lemon. Serve hot.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 125
Fat: 15 g
Carbohydrate: 1 g
Sodium: 600 mg
Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 0.5 g

Summer: Blueberries – These delicious little berries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin E. They also contain nutrients called “phytochemicals” that help reduce inflammation in your blood vessels. This reduction in inflammation reduces the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, which can be caused by inflammation.3

Bubbly Blueberry Crisp (serves 10)
Filling Ingredients:
6 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries ¼ cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup oats
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup cold butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚. Spray a 9x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, flour, and cinnamon. Pour mixture into the pan. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the mixture until it forms small crumbs. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the blueberries. Place in the oven and bake for 50–60 minutes (or until the top is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbly).

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 234
Fat: 10 g
Carbohydrate: 39 g
Sodium: 22 mg
Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 3 g

Regine Leger and Augusta Hasse have recently completed the dietetic internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Regine is originally from Les Cayes, Haiti, and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 2011. Augusta is originally from South Bend, Indiana, and graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2012. They are both very excited to become registered dietitians!

1. 2. Cooper, D.A. “Carotenoids in Health and Disease: Recent Scientific Evaluations, Research Recommendations, and the Consumer.” J. Nutr. 2004; 134(1): 221S-224S. 3. Pratt, S.G., and K. Matthews. SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc; 2004.