Posted by & filed under Healthy Eating.

Are you more active in the summer? Do you need a boost of energy to get you through the day?

I’ve got just the menu additions you most need. The summer superfoods below are so easy to use that once you’ve tried them, you actually might want to keep them on your grocery list all year long. Many are probably new to you, but you shouldn’t have trouble finding them in your local health food store or online. Print out my handy list as a guide, and you’re good to go—fast and strong, all summer long.

1. Whole, Raw Organic Chia Seeds

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Remember Chia Pets? I promise you’ll be more fascinated with this little seed as a food than as the kitschy knickknack you saw on TV. The chia seed has long been known as a powerful dietary supplement. Even the ancient Aztecs recognized its ability to lend strength when eaten. These raw, organic seeds are an excellent source of valuable omega fatty acids as well as an easily digestible form of protein, minerals, calcium, and fiber. And they have a lovely, pleasant texture. I add chia seeds to smoothies, salads, and stir fries for a little crunch.

2. Flax Cereals

OK, maybe cereals aren’t always the best choice for breakfast food, but sometimes that crunch (and let’s not forget quick convenience during the weekday morning rush) is mighty tempting. Cereals made primarily of flaxseed are a perfect compromise. Flaxseeds are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. At least two brands offer protein-rich, no-sugar options that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and lots of fiber. These choices are natural, tasty, and—did I mention this?—super crunchy.

3. Maca Powder

Maca root has been used for thousands of years for its nutrients and healing aspects. Now studies are confirming its positive effect on the endocrine system to increase stamina, boost libido, and combat fatigue. This nutrient-dense whole food packed with vitamins, essential minerals, and fatty and amino acids is easy to add to smoothies, shakes, tea, granola, cereal, and yogurt.

4. Organic Coconut Milk

We’ve long known about the benefits of coconut water and the coconut’s oil. I use coconut milk in my cooking now for a delicious, healthful fat addition with that fabulous creamy, coconut taste—and no sugar.

5. Nutritional Yeast

What tastes cheesy when sprinkled on popcorn and salads, has the B vitamins essential for vegetarians, and offers protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, lots of fiber, and minerals? Nutritional yeast, of course! There are many kinds of yeast, and some we avoid because they causes infections and discomfort. Nutritional yeast is quite the opposite: It’s a natural supplement valued for its powerful punch.

6. Shelled Hempseed

Packed with protein, omegas, iron, zinc, and magnesium, shelled hempseed is also delicious. It imparts a flavor similar to pine nuts. Opt for a ground form of hempseed for a quick, tasty, and healthful addition to smoothies, cereal, soups, salads, and veggies.

It’s important to make wise choices among entrees, but simply adding ingredients like these can take your healthful meal from satisfactory to mouth-watering—and give your engine a high octane boost as well. Pick out a few and give them a try this very week. You won’t be disappointed!

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