We’re big fans of mushrooms, especially when you’re looking to cut calories, or reduce animal protein and fats in the diet. That tends to be on the agenda when you’ve over indulged (for months) over the holiday season, and now need to get that weight off, and get your ‘rear in gear’ for those New Year’s resolutions.
In celebration of his new book, The Best Things You Can Eat (Bantam, January 2013), registered dietician Dave Grotto offers a roadmap to a tasty and healthy New Year with a sampling of 13 highly nutritious, go-to foods. Topping Grotto’s must-eat list for 2013: mushrooms.
“Mushrooms provide critical nutrients for this time of year, like vitamin D to add a dose of sunshine to winter days and antioxidants to help boost immunity – and the best part is that you can eat them in every meal,” says Grotto.
Thanks to mushrooms’ hearty taste and meaty texture, Grotto uses them to add big flavor, extend portions and bring an extra serving of vegetables to the plate. “Mushrooms are a natural fit for the dishes we crave and are easy to incorporate into meals, for vegans to meat-lovers and everyone in between.”
- Mushrooms can be a vegetarian’s best friend as the perfect main ingredient for meatless meals.
- Increase portion size by adding mushrooms to meat dishes; for the best results, prepare mushrooms to mimic meat’s texture and appearance – think portabella strips in fajitas and or quartered criminis in winter stews.
- To shed calories and fat without compromising taste, substitute finely chopped mushrooms for some of the ground meat in dishes like tacos and burgers. Research suggests that substituting mushrooms for meat can be an effective method for reducing calorie and fat intake while still feeling full and satisfied after meals.1
- Sauteing is the easiest way to cook whole, sliced, chopped or halved mushrooms. Boost any main dish or side with this can’t miss formula: 1. Turn pan on high; 2. Lay single layer of sliced mushrooms and “sear” them (don’t stir); 3. Flip and sear other side. Season to taste.
Reasons to love mushrooms: In season all year round, they’re naturally low in calories, fat-free, and cholesterol-free. Low in sodium, but rich in umami, mushrooms offer a great flavor solution instead of adding salt. They’re the only plant source of vitamin D and have almost as much potassium (8% Daily Value) as a small banana (10% Daily Value). Mushrooms also deliver B vitamins including riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid and other essential minerals like copper. Plus, within the produce aisle, mushrooms are a leading source of the antioxidants selenium and ergothioneine, which help strengthen the immune system.
“Mushrooms are a natural fit for the dishes we crave and are easy to incorporate into meals, for vegans to meat-lovers and everyone in between.”
Resolve to add Dave Grotto’s 13 best foods to your plate in 2013. In addition to mushrooms, look for:
- olive oil
- sweet potatoes
Combined, these foods offer a wide range of nutrients and flavors. Kick start your best year of eating by making one of the following superfood recipes each week in January:
- Herbed Spinach Quiche Portabella Caps
- Mushroom and Chicken Quinoa with Chiles
- Mushroom Tacos with Salsa Verde
- Cherry Portabella-Stuffed Pork Chops
- Crispy, Crunchy Button Mushrooms and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
1 Cheskin LJ et al. Lack of energy compensation over 4 days when white button mushrooms are substituted for beef. Appetite 2008: 51: 50-57.
Photos courtesy: mushroominfo.com