How to Add It to Your Life: Long before zoodles became a thing, food writer Andie Mitchell was trying to figure out what to do with leftover cabbage and wound up shredding the fiber-rich vegetable. The next thing she knew, with about half a head of green cabbage standing in for rice noodles, she was making pad Thai. It still has that salty-sweet flavor, plus she also tosses in a thinly sliced bell pepper, upping the dish's health factor even more.
How to Add It to Your Life: Farro, a barley-like grain, can taste plain on its own, but not when Mitchell mixes it with white beans, browned portobello mushroom slices and Gruyère and Parmesan. The cheeses make a creamy sauce that's rich enough to soften the addition of supernutritious kale leaves. Bonus: The dark green color gives the dish welcome color.
Superfood Credentials: In addition to filling and gut-health-promoting fiber, it's an excellent source of vitamins C and B6, which helps your body break down and make use of the protein you eat.
How to Add It to Your Life: Precut broccoli slaw isn't just a timesaving ingredient when you need a quick side dish. Mitchell also loves the julienned veg for its ability to add volume to main courses—even, surprisingly, tacos. She'll stir two big handfuls into whatever protein she's cooking (such as ground turkey or beef), along with taco seasoning, and swears most eaters won't even notice it's there. It's an easy way to bulk up the tortilla filling, help make you feel full and get more vitamins into whatever you're cooking.
How to Add It to Your Life: The quickest trick to healthifying any—and we mean any—pasta dish? Mitchell says it's adding tender, mild and nutrient-dense baby spinach, since the leaves wilt in a flash. Their subtle flavor makes them mesh seamlessly with a range of flavors (garlic, a building block for many pasta recipes, is an especially good match), and the soft texture won't take away from anything else that's going on, whether you're making creamy mac 'n' cheese or hearty rigatoni with sausage.
Superfood Credentials:Research suggests that this tart treat is good for your gut, thanks to a wealth of compounds like nondigestible fiber and polyphenols.
How to Add It to Your Life: Making your own burgers means you can use whatever type of meat you'd like, and for health-conscious cooks, that often means lean beef or turkey. The only problem is that such cuts can become dry when you cook them. Mitchell's secret solution: Stir some grated apple into the meat before forming it into patties. You'll wind up with a more moist burger that has the added benefit of extra fiber.
Superfood Credentials: These underground growers are generally high in vitamins C, B and vitamin A, and carrots, in particular, are a great source of beta-carotene, which supports your vision.
How to Add It to Your Life: Mashed potatoes with a cauliflower makeover may be all the rage, but other vegetables can be pureed just as nicely, and offer unexpected color and flavor. Mitchell likes to stir roasted carrots, turnips, parsnips or butternut squash into mashed potatoes (so the mixture is about half potato and half other vegetable). You still get a fluffy side dish, but it's got more good-for-you ingredients.
<strong>We're talking about:</strong> Atlantic mackerel <br><strong>Why you should eat more of it:</strong> This high-protein, heart-healthy fish also has calcium, iron, the antioxidant coenzyme Q10, and it's low in mercury, says Alexandra Sowa, MD, a clinical instructor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, in New York. Having fish like it on hand can help you reach the Food and Drug Administration's recommended 12 ounces of fish or shellfish per week. <br><strong>Keep this in mind too:</strong> You can still eat tuna (which is higher in mercury than Atlantic mackerel) if you choose your go-to variety wisely—opt for skipjack tuna and canned chunk-light tuna over yellowfin and canned albacore, per the <a href="http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/guide.asp" target="_blank">National Resource Defense Council</a>. (As a general rule, limit intake of moderate- and high-mercury fish to 3 to 6 servings per month.)