Acai, quinoa, goji berries, bee pollen, chia: you might not know what they actually are, but chances are you’ve heard them bandied about as the bold new face of superfoods. But are they all that?
These exotic products do pack a nutritional punch – and they also come with a heart-stopping price tag. So, if you don’t want to shell out for superfoods, are you missing out?
“If you don’t have the finances to splurge on some of these trendy superfoods, you can get plenty of the same nutrition from commonplace foods,” says 12WBT nutritionist Lisa Donaldson.
Here are Lisa’s top picks for super products you’ll find in the humble grocery aisle:
• Sardines are super cheap and a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, says Lisa. These fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatories that help keep your heart healthy. “Sardines are delicious served on wholegrain toast with tomato and pepper,” Lisa adds.
• Blueberries have one of the highest anti-oxidant contents of all fruits and veggies, containing both cancer-fighting anthocyanins and memory-boosting flavonoids. “Use frozen blueberries with skim milk and natural yoghurt for a fabulous protein-packed smoothie,” Lisa suggests. As a bonus, blueberries help fight signs of premature ageing.
• The humble egg contains 11 vitamins and minerals, and nature’s perfect protein-heavy snack keeps you fuller for longer. Don’t be afraid of the yolk – it contains choline, which is thought to help prevent age-related memory loss.
• Avocados aren’t just delicious, they’re packed with stress-busting B vitamins, help lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol and keep you full with their high healthy-fat content.
• “Broccoli is one of my favourite foods – it’s a green dream,” says Lisa. “It’s packed with multi-tasking folic acid, immune-boosting vitamin C and cancer-fighting carotenoids. Broccoli is a perfect dinner vegetable that can be added to stir-fries and curries or you can enjoy it simply steamed.”
• Kick anxiety and stress to the kerb with mushrooms – they’re a good source of B vitamins, as well as cholesterol-lowering beta-glucan. Bonus: they help boost disease-fighting white blood cells.
• With as much as 300mg of calcium per 250ml serving, skim milk is the ultimate bone-building food. “It’s an excellent, fat-free rehydrator and also contains leucine, a powerful amino acid that helps repair and replenish muscles after exercise,” says Lisa.
• Comforting sweet potatoes make you feel good. They help increase the happy-mood chemical serotonin, and they’re low-GI to boot.
Lisa’s Budget-Smart Swaps
Instead of: A bowl of quinoa porridge with acai berries, chia seeds, coconut yoghurt and almond milk.
Try: A bowl of rolled oats with blueberries, crushed almonds, natural yoghurt and skim milk.
Instead of: An organic gluten-free wrap with curly kale, golden grape tomatoes, kangaroo prosciutto with tapenade spread.
Try: A wholegrain mountain bread wrap with baby spinach, beetroot, tomato, grated carrot, lean turkey and a spread of avocado.
Instead of: A grilled piece of organically farmed game meat with broccolini, purple cauliflower, fennel and adzuki bean mash.
Try: A grilled salmon steak with broccoli, corn, beans and sweet potato mash.
Instead of: A cup of coconut yoghurt with chia seeds and dried goji berries, and one cup of organic kale chips.
Try: A cup of strawberries with a generous dollop of natural yoghurt, and one cup of air-popped popcorn
This is ridiculous. You just took out all the gluten free and dairy free options. Many people that eat this way have intolerances or Coeliacs disease. I did the Michelle Bridges program and her meal plan was HOPELESS for gluten free options.
I don’t consider myself fat or skinny but my BMI would disagree. I am a hopeless eater, often skip breakfast eat whatever for lunch then have dinner as main meal of the day. Am now having smoothies for brekky and am getting into healthy lunches. I don’t eat too badly but probably never enough calories. Perhaps that’s why I feel tired all the time?
Hi Anne, our nutritionist Georgie suggests making better food choices such as picking foods that have a low GI, and eating more regular meals. Georgie says check your iron levels – do you eat red meat and if so, are you having enough?
is an important indicator for health and weight although not always
100% accurate. If you’re not sure of your health status, maybe also look at your waist measurement – females should be 80cm or less for optimal health.
Ive had lots of trouble with my low iron levels, and I’ve been given a brochure stating that caffeine, red wine, tea and a few other thing can inhibit your iron absorption! I’m positive I eat enough iron so it must be my absorption thats the problem, any ideas or info of this?
Hi Tracey. It is best to always consult advice from someone who can look at your diet history and your blood results one-on-one. I recommend seeking help from an Accredited Practising Dietitian in your local community. http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/find-an-apd/ In the meantime, try adding a squeeze of fresh orange juice as a dressing on salads/greens as the Vit C will help boost the absorption of non-haem iron, and incorporate lean red meat at least 3 times into your weekly meal choices.
Have already started on the road to the new person that I know lives inside of me joined gym 4 weeks ago, start pilates next week. I have always for several months walked 3 km to work I have my own business and if I was busy wasn”t eating at regular hours have tried to retify that habit. Also stopped having a brought coffee before starting work not a huge coffee drinker anyway so wasn’t to difficult. I would say that generally have a good diet we hardly have any take away but since menopause have struggled to shift the roll around the middle gone from size 12 to 14 so I am still in need of direction and support.
Elizabeth, Georgie says that as we get older so our metabolism continues to slow down, but do consider portion control: “although she is eating well, she may still be eating too much.”
Keep going with the exercise, Georgie advises “make sure you are getting your heart rate up 5-6 times a week if possible (ideally). Keep up the good work!”