It seems every day there’s a new demon in the diet world, from ingredients once praised as superfoods to entire food groups. We’re here to shine a light on some of our fave foods that have earned a bad rep why they can actually be good for you.
Although dairy fat isn’t the healthiest, hard cheeses like cheddar, gouda and parmesan can actually be quite good for you. During the aging process, the amount of lactose in the cheese lowers, making it easier to digest. Hard cheeses can also contain good amounts of protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin K.
On the other side of the cheese spectrum, some super soft cheeses can also be good for you. Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in calories, ricotta packs a punch with whey protein, and goats cheese is low-cal and contains an easier to digest protein called A2 casein.
A giant tub of salty, buttery movie popcorn probably isn’t going to be doing you any favours, but a couple of handfuls of air-popped, lightly seasoned popcorn is a pretty healthy snack. Popcorn is a high-fibre whole grain, linked to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. It’s also pretty low calorie, making it a great snack if you’re trying to trim down. One of our fave ways to season air-popped popcorn is with a pinch of salt and some paprika for extra flavour and a touch of added antioxidants.
Because potatoes contain starch and are associated with fried and processed foods, they’ve earned themselves a bit of a bad rep over the years. However, potatoes are actually loaded with nutrients and resistant starch (aka. the good type), that is digested in the large intestine and can help feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Whole potatoes contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, fibre and antioxidants. To get the most nutrition from potatoes though, it’s best to cook them with the skin on and bake, boil or steam, rather than fry them. Get a tasty helping of baked lemon and oregano potatoes in our nutritious Yiayia’s Greek Chicken & Potatoes, drizzled with olive oil and minced garlic.
Because of its caffeine content and the way some coffee shops serve it up (aka. with squirts of sugary syrup, ice-cream and/or whipped cream), some people assume coffee is quite unhealthy. A cup of black coffee is actually packed with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients though, making this popular drink a safe one to add to your diet.
In a cup of coffee you can find vitamin B2, B5 and B3, manganese and potassium. Studies have shown black coffee to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, protect against a range of other diseases and can even help you live longer. Never has it been so easy to include a healthy drink in our diet!
You might associate beef jerky with junk food, but if you choose the right beef jerky (or make your own), it can actually be a tasty, high-protein snack. When buying from the supermarket, opt for jerky made from lean meat and low sodium, and you’ll be in for a healthy and nutritious treat. Alternatively, you can easily make your own jerky at home by marinating thin strips of lean meat, before patting dry and putting in a dehydrator.
White rice and brown rice are the same, except for one big difference: white rice is highly processed, while brown rice only has its hull removed. Due to this, white rice is less nutritious than brown rice, but that doesn’t mean you have to banish it to the land of forbidden foods.
Some athletes prefer to eat white rice as post-workout, muscles tend to be low in glycogen (sugar) and energy. White rice is a great carbohydrate choice to help replenish glycogen stores in the muscles and is gentle on the stomach. Get a serving of white rice with our protein-packed Tex Mex Turkey Bowl, paired with spiced turkey mince, corn, black beans and capsicum.
Frozen Fruit And Veg
Most people assume frozen fruit and veg is of a lower quality than fresh fruit and veg, but that’s not always the case. Fresh produce picked straight from the garden or farm and eaten shortly after harvest will always be of the highest quality, but the longer after picking fruit and veg is left before eating, the more nutrients it loses.
Freeze drying fruit and veg actually helps to preserve the nutrient value of produce. For example, studies have shown that frozen peas and spinach can have more vitamin C than fresh produce bought at the supermarket and stored at home for a week. Frozen fruit and veg rarely has any chemicals added to it before freezing, but if you’re unsure, you can check the ingredients listed on the packet.
It’s best to get a mixture of fresh and frozen produce in your diet, but if you’ve been avoiding frozen fruit and veg thinking it’s not as nutritious, it might be time to chuck a few bags of frozen peas in the freezer.
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