Google “super foods” and you’ll get a gaggle of lists…top 10, top 16, a top 7? But what about actually putting these punch-packing ingredients to practical use in the everyday maelstrom? Particularly if you're new to this business of going sans gluten and dairy? Here are 5 Power Foods I rely on to fuel my generally time-starved, working out, three-kid-chasing, company-building life. Some of these also showed up in Washingtonian's Food Diary post of a day of my meals, a good quick look at real world day of eating this way.
- Almond Milk – Easy and fast to make from scratch. It takes 10 minutes, a standard blender and a nut bag (little mesh bag you use to strain the pulp for this and other nut milks…bout $7 on AMZN, nifty little thing, name notwithstanding). This milk alternative is super healthy, tastes great and can power everything from a cereal replacement for gluten-free folks to the best chocolate smoothie shake a sugar-free eater can buy.
- Guacamole – A key player in the never-ending snack search a lot of gluten-free, lower carb eaters face. My best move? Whip up a Sunday batch (4 avocados, juice from a couple of limes, handful of chopped cilantro, shallots and jalapeno, smidge of kosher salt…yum), then munch with carrots when the snack wraiths come chasing, or drop a dollop to liven up your eggs in the morning.
- Roasted Broccoli – Roast a couple of heads of broccoli tossed with olive oil and a little salt in a 450 oven and you’re in for a treat. All those blah boiled-ness memories will retreat in the face of these tasty titans of greenness. I’ll often make a bunch for a Sunday dinner side, then save the leftovers and munch on them cold as a quick snack during the week. I’ve even served as an appetizer and watched a whole bowl disappear during cocktail hour. Roasting works similar magic on cauliflower and brussels sprouts too.
- Pieced Chicken – Learning to piece your own chicken (cut up for two of everything… breasts, thighs, wings, etc.) is fun and handy. But for getting the whole family proteined-up quickly, nothing beats an already pieced chicken (most groceries have them, or at least some combo of pieces if not the whole bird). A fave of mine, toss pieces with chopped shallots, some red wine vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil and salt/pepper. Bake for 40 odd minutes, turning once, and you’ve got a delicious meal headliner worthy of a Sunday but easy enough for a weeknight star turn.
- Kale – Ok, maybe kale is dangerously close to jumping the shark. But I doubt it ever does. It’s just too dratted versatile. Kale chips, another toss with olive oil and roast gem, will win over even the most committed potato chipper. Braised kale is a surprisingly good/easy side if you’ve got a little stock to lighten things up. I’ve even enjoyed a massaged kale salad where you chop up raw kale into pieces and rub with lemon and a little salt, or your favorite light dressing, until slight wilt-age. And this greenest of green stuff makes an unexpectedly good health booster in a variety of fruit smoothies and shakes.