Turn Regular Foods into Superfoods

No, it’s not with a Nutri-Bullet.

On the odd occasion that I flick through the TV channels, a particular infomercial pops up that really gets me riled. I created ‘rant day Tuesday’ at The Healthy Eating Hub – a day specifically set aside for my staff and I to rant about crazy nutrition claims – for the sole purpose of venting my rage for the Nutri-Bullet. The little blender that apparently “turns regular foods into superfoods”. They said it not me.

“Oh really?!” I say to myself. “A $200 electronic kitchen appliance actually adds nutrients (vitamins, minerals and fibre) to food?” I pause for effect. “No? I didn’t think so.”

Superfoods aren’t made by blenders, nor do you need a nutrition extraction system to get the most out of your daily fruit and vegetable intake. You have an in-built mechanism in your body to extract nutrition, it’s called your digestive system and it includes teeth.

Full disclosure: I do own a Nutri-Bullet because they are good blenders. The 1000 watt one is the bomb diggity. I did not buy it because of it’s non-existent superfood creation abilities. 

Please excuse my sarcastic frustration.

I’m just tired of seeing gimmick after gimmick making false and ridiculous claims about how important they are for you to achieve good health, when in reality, good health is much simpler than that.

There’s actually no set definition for the word ‘superfood’. As such, it’s used liberally in lots of marketing campaigns. Most nutritionists and dietitians agree that a superfood is a naturally occurring food that’s nutritionally superior in it’s class. This means that if we’re comparing broccoli to a cucumber, broccoli is more ‘super’ because it’s more nutrient dense – contains a higher amount of nutrients per 100g. This doesn’t mean that cucumbers are useless. Quite the contrary, they are very healthy, hydrating and a great addition to lots of meals. Superfood status isn’t the be all and end all in nutrition, it’s just one of many ways we classify and label food. In fact, I would argue that all fruits and vegetables are ‘superfoods’ and should be regularly included in our diet.

Lately, I’m finding that the desire for health, wellness, happiness and a thinner body means we’ll eagerly embrace any kind of superfood label, even when the foods aren’t much more super than their peers. It’s become so bad that a kitchen appliance can allegedly “turn regular foods into superfoods”.

With my little Nutri-Bullet rant off my chest I’d like to propose a new way to turn regular foods into super foods.

Not by blending them in a miraculous machine or magically topping them up with extra nutrients but by enhancing and preserving their natural health and flavour through simple and fresh cooking and preparation methods.

I know that this is nowhere near as exciting as an amazing bullet of nutrition extraction (which doesn’t exist) but skilling yourself in the kitchen is honestly the best way to get the most out of your food.

Fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy diet. They are the most nutrient dense foods, contain important antioxidants and dietary fibre, help fill us up and keep us hydrated and study after study confirms that regularly including them in our diets is the best way to maintain a healthy weight and long term good health. Regardless of what else you eat, meeting the guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake will be the BEST thing you can ever do for your overall health.

The ability to purchase and prepare fresh food is often the limiting factor in a person’s total vegetable consumption. If all you can do is boil vegetables, how motivated will you be to fill half your plate with them at as many meals as possible? If you’re bored of iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato, how thrilled will you be when I tell you that you need to consume five cups of that per day? If it were me, I would not be keen at all. Uggg! Boiled vegetables and boring salad. Kill me now.

My entire career has been built on this one recommendation: Eat more vegetables. You don’t need the latest cacao superfood powder or that fancy cold-pressed juice. Those things are fine to enjoy if you’re into them, but they’re not the answer to our health woes.

The ability to regularly purchase, prepare and partake in vegetables is the key.

If you’re lacking some skills in the kitchen and have no idea where to start, I can help you with that.

My business, The Healthy Eating Hub, offer a new concept called Kitchen Consultations. They’re a revolutionary way to chat with your nutritionist. Instead of sitting in an office, talking about food, you’re in the kitchen with me or one of my team, cooking, prepping and tasting food. You’ll learn how to cook vegetables that make them taste great and full of flavour. You’ll learn how to cook nutritious foods that are intimidating or unfamiliar with like seafood and legumes. You’ll learn portion sizes, healthy carbohydrate and protein rich foods, healthy snacks, easy weeknight meals and so much more!

Cooking healthy, delicious food doesn’t mean you have to be a Masterchef. I’m not teaching you how to cook a fondue or soufflé. This is really simple, fresh, balanced cooking advice for people with better things to do than spend all day in the kitchen and worry about what they’re going to eat next. Contact my team to book your first appointment and get started!
In the meantime, here are five easy tips to turn regular foods into super foods – food that tastes great and nourishes your body at the same time!

Tip #1: Dress your salads with healthy, vibrant flavours. Robust flavoured extra-virgin olive oils, lemon or lime juice, garlic or ginger, coriander or basil, wholegrain mustard and vinegars are all fabulous ways to add flavour and zing to your raw or cooked vegetables! Start experimenting with the flavours.

Tip #2: Incorporate vegetables into your snacks. Enjoying fresh, raw vegetables is so easy. Learning to appreciate their individual flavours is an important part of long term healthy eating. I’ve put together 9 snack ideas that include vegetables for you to try.

Tip #3: Beef up your salad. A bit of lettuce, cucumber and tomato with a small tin of tuna is not enough for you to eat at lunch time. I guarantee you’ll be starving and cranky by 3pm. Beef up your salad with baby spinach, grated carrot, chopped snow peas, 4 bean mix, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, pumpkin, capsicum, beetroot, sweet corn kernels and other whole foods. Make sure you add some chicken, boiled eggs, left over roast meat or feta and you’ve got yourself a winner!

Tip #4: Try different cooking methods. Have you tried poaching or braising chicken? It’s fab! What about stir frying or blanching vegetables? Without these little techniques up your sleeve you can easily get bored! Here are 10 ways to cure your vegetable boredom!

Tip #5: Food organisation is just as important as preparation and cooking. Healthy food is often fresh and has a short shelf life. Organising your day and week so healthy eating is easy it absolutely vital. Here are my BEST food organisation tips that help me eat well each and every day!

Article by Kate Freeman

Registered Nutritionist. Writer. Presenter. Home cook. Mother. Wife. Runner. Hiker. Amateur photographer.