What you should eat: Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes

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We asked St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center Dietitian Amber Cranfield, what we should be eating more of in 2018. The answer? Quinoa and sweet potatoes.

Quinoa

What it is: Quinoa is a grain, similar to rice or barley, but has much more nutritional quality.

Why it’s so good: When looking at a list of healthiest foods, quinoa is always near the top, and for good reason. Quinoa contains healthy anti-inflammatory fats and a high amount of complete protein. Quinoa also earns praise for its high content of antioxidants, or cancer-fighting properties.

How you get it: Quinoa is great in salads, but it’s more versatile than that. It cooks relatively quickly and freezes well. Ten of the tastiest quinoa recipes to try, per Bon Appétit: quinoa burger with sweet potato and mushroom; farmer’s market quinoa salad; quinoa grilled Cobb salad; broccoli-quinoa salad with buttermilk dressing; quinoa with coconut milk; cider-glazed carrot and quinoa salad; quinoa salad with walnuts and shallots; red quinoa with parsley and toasted pine nuts; quinoa oatmeal with apples and toasted walnuts; cherry-quinoa bars.

The bottom line: Quinoa is much more than just a delicious grain. Try adding it to more of your dishes for flavor and a nutritional boost.

Sweet potatoes

What they are: This orange cousin to the russet potato is more than just a sweeter version with a pretty color.

Why they’re so good: Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, responsible for keeping the eyes healthy and helping with night vision. They are also high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. Other benefits: vitamin b6, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and iron.

How you get them: Some studies have suggested that boiling or steaming sweet potatoes leaves more of their nutritional value intact. You can add them to breakfast hashes, to casseroles, or mash them for a different and delicious take on an old favorite. Looking for a snack idea? Try Sweet Potato Nachos from St. Elizabeth.

The bottom line: Because the sugars in sweet potatoes are natural and released slowly, you won’t get the blood-sugar spikes that are associated with weight gain and chronic fatigue.