Bored with turkey, broccoli and bran? Think if you eat another endive salad, you might actually become a lettuce head? Or worse, have you hit a plateau in your weight loss program, with just five pesky pounds, or an inch around the middle keeping you out of your skinny jeans?
Introducing the following foods into your diet will not only make eating an adventure again; it could also kick-start your metabolism.
Called the “mother grain” by the ancient Peruvians, Quinoa is an edible seed indigenous to Peru. What makes this seed superior to other seed yielding crops is it’s high protein content (12 to 18 percent), in addition to a balanced blend of amino acids, dietary fiber, and essential vitamins. While you can eat Quinoa raw—such as in salads—it is best when prepared in a similar way to rice or couscous.
Amaranth comes in both a grain form and a green form. While the grain is high in protein and dietary fiber, the green—also called Chinese Spinach—is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc. In addition to part of a successful weight loss program, amaranth is used as a supplement for people with gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney disorders.
3. Spaghetti Squash
Due to its pasta-like consistency when prepared, spaghetti squash is an excellent alternative to traditional pasta dishes. Top it off with your favorite sauce, lean meats and cheeses, and enjoy a hearty, low calorie entrée.
Speaking of pasta, papadini is a lentil-based pasta, packing 13 grams of protein, five grams of fiber, and only 190 calories per one cup, cooked. The protein content saves you the necessity of adding meats and cheeses, while the dietary fiber makes the dish more filling than traditional white flour pastas.
5. Sprouted Pulses
Sprouted pulses, akin to been sprouts in source and texture, can be eaten raw, added to salads, steamed, or stir-fried in olive oil. Sprouted pulses are rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, and salad-crunch flavor. Each 50 gram severing of sprouted pulses has only 140 calories.
Arame is a mild tasting seaweed that is excellent steamed, added to salads, or sautéed in olive oil. Because of its mild taste, it blends well with other flavors, such as garlic, basil and oregano. Arame is an ideal source of iron, calcium, zinc, and iodine. It is also a source of Lignans, known to fight the development and spread of cancerous cells.
7. Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are another excellent crunchy munchie. Because they are larger in size than many other nuts, such as almonds and cashews, it takes fewer of them to feel you have satisfied the need to munch. Not only are these nuts high protein and dietary fiber; the selenium in Brazil nuts protects against cancer and heart disease, and also promotes a healthy thyroid. Add sliced Brazil nuts to your salad, pasta, brown rice, our couscous side dish. Keep a container of nuts in your desk or car glove compartment, for sudden drops in energy or blood sugar.
8. Frog Legs
Now let’s get down to the meat of things. Frog legs, though not the leanest meat in the world, is a pretty darn tasty alternative to the boring chicken wing. Each boneless 3 oz. serving contains 200 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. When preparing them yourself, consider baking them in a batter of buttermilk, bran and breadcrumbs, as opposed to frying them.
The Diamondback Terrapin is a species of turtle, indigenous to the coastal swamplands of the eastern United States. Terrapin meat, high in protein and low in fat, is often used in turtle soup and other steamed dishes. Terrapin is also surprisingly high in potassium, with 230 mg, per 3 oz. cooked.
Cicadas and other high protein insects, such as crickets and beetles, are actually a part of the same biological family as crawfish, lobster, shrimp and crab. Though they aren’t nearly as popular in the U.S. as they are in Africa and Asia, these little buggies are packed with protein, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, for less than 100 calories per serving.