Superfoods can keep the diet going

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2016

SALISBURY — Well, the diet goes on, and the thing I miss most are fresh breads from local bakers.

It used to be so easy to make a quick sandwich to chase hunger away, especially on a busy weekend day, but, no more. Nor are there any more muffins with a cup of coffee.

Strawberries have become a staple ever since the crop was ready in our area. Mostly, just sliced. Once in a while, a splash of balsamic vinegar, which really kicks up the flavor.

My evil husband made a strawberry concoction using cream cheese, cream, sugar and strawberries. I admit to eating one portion. It made me so happy.

Otherwise, do you realize how hard it is to eat at a party or reception when on this diet?

The fare at a Saturday wedding included barbecue, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, sweet coleslaw, rolls and a table so full of homemade cakes that I lost count. There was a towering coconut cake, a caramel cake, chocolate cakes. It was horrible.

I did have a ham biscuit when I saw the length of the line to get food I couldn’t eat.

Then we were at John Hart’s fundraiser for the Land Trust. The chicken wings had a sweet barbecue sauce, and there was some lovely spinach dip to go on French bread, tiny little tubs of banana pudding. Luckily I was so busy taking photos and notes I did not notice my stomach growling.

So all I had Saturday was scrambled eggs, some fresh ricotta cheese and one patty of sausage. Oh, and two cups of coffee. Oops, I did succumb to a brisket biscuit which was mostly meat and cabbage.

Starting fresh today, I had my usual plain non-fat Greek yogurt with sugar free granola that included flax seed. For lunch, I have a salad made with another one of David Correll’s multi-variety lettuce mixes, some greenhouse cucumber from Twin Oak Farms, grape tomatoes, Ashe County blue cheese and a few other things.

I hope to make a salad this week using canned tuna and some white beans, drained and rinsed from a can — they were n sale this weekend.

I also picked up some avocados and black beans, so I can have a sort of Tex-Mex salad one day, too.

The cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans) I bought have just 260 mg. sodium, and rinsing removes more. A half cup has 20 grams of carbohydrates, but 6 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein, plus a little calcium and iron.

The black beans are a little higher in sodium, 370 grams, but lower in carbs, 19 grams, and with 7 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein, plus 15 percent of the recommended daily value of iron.

The avocado is filling and creamy (very satisfying) and has tons of the good fat — monounsaturated. It’s also packed with potassium, 20 percent of your daily intake. Plus it has 20 percent of your vitamin C and 20 percent of vitamin B-6, good for energy.

At the Farmers Market this week, we picked up what will likely be the last of the asparagus of the season, more strawberries, more shiitake mushrooms, lovely French radishes, a little spinach.

Toi Degree, family and consumer agent with Cooperative Extension, was at the market making a tasty smoothie with strawberries, spinach and bananas that tasted sweet and refreshing.

She provided the recipe along with a nutritional analysis. This one has 100 percent vitamin C and 60 percent vitamin A, along with a surprising 5 grams of protein from the yogurt, which could be increased if you use a higher protein Greek yogurt.

Spinach and Strawberry Smoothie

• 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

• 2 cups water

• 1 medium banana

• 1 cup sliced strawberries

• 2 cups chopped fresh spinach,

   lightly packed

• Honey or maple syrup

   (optional)

In a blender, combine yogurt, water, banana, strawberries, spinach and honey or syrup. Blend on high until smooth. Makes 2 servings.

This recipe is from gosouthfresh.com and can be easily modified for your dietary needs. I would leave out the honey or syrup. I’d add vanilla Greek yogurt, with no fat or sugar. For a thicker drink, you could freeze the banana.

One serving has 120 calories, 5 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 25 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 5 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 15 percent daily calcium, 8 percent iron, 60 percent vitamin A and 100 percent vitamin C.

Another friend sent this recipe a few weeks ago and I still haven’t tried it, though this may be the week. I’m pretty sure we have all the ingredients.

Sweet Potato Noodles

• 2 pounds sweet potatoes,

   peeled

• 3 large eggs, beaten

• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1/4 tsp. ground pepper

• 1 Tbsp olive oil

• 3 strips bacon, chopped

• 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 5 ounces baby spinach

Put a large pot of water to boil. Using a spiral vegetable slicer or julienne vegetable peeler, cut sweet potatoes into long thin strands. You’ll end up with about 12 cups of spirals.

Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water for just 1-3 minutes, until just starting to soften. Save 1/4 cup of the water and drain the sweet potatoes.

Return to pot, off the heat. Combine eggs, Parmesan, salt, pepper and water and pour over sweet potatoes, tossing gently to coat.

Heat oil in a large skillet and cook the bacon and mushrooms until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms are staring to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, cooking just until fragrant. Add spinach and cook until wilted, one minute or so.

Add the spinach, bacon and mushroom mixture to the sweet potato noodles and combine. Top with fresh black pepper.

312 calories, 12 grams fat (5 is mono-unsaturated), 130 mg cholesterol, 38 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams sugar (from the potatoes), 15 grams protein, 6 grams fiber, 587 mg sodium (omit the salt if you need to); 818 mg potassium.

Because sweet potatoes are another super food, you’ll also get 631 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, 54 percent vitamin C, 23 percent calcium and 22 percent folate.

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