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February 18, 2014

Dietitian: To heck with pronunciation, bring on the edamame

Q: I have been trying to change the foods I eat and make better choices. I’m just confused as to what I should be looking for. I saw on TV that you shouldn’t buy anything that has ingredients you can’t pronounce and that you wouldn’t find in your grandma’s kitchen. This doesn’t leave me with much.

A: Improving the quality of foods you eat is a great way to improve your nutrition. Knowing how to do that can be challenging. It seems everywhere you turn, the advice changes. Social media, TV, the gym and even well-meaning friends can all be misleading. Just like fad diets don’t work, there is no blanket statement that can define how we should eat. Educating yourself on each ingredient is the best way to choose a food.

As you pointed out, to only eat foods that you can pronounce (or that were in your grandmother’s kitchen) would severely limit what you can choose. If you were to choose foods that fit the above criteria, you may be limiting some amazing (and nutritious foods). Think about foods and ingredients like arugula, quinoa, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), lactobacillus bulgaricus (good bacteria in yogurt), hummus, kohlrabi, amaranth, edamame, swai, kumquat, pummelo and kefir — just to name a few.

Instead of being scared away from foods that are unfamiliar, take time to educate yourself on how they are made and where they come from.

Try this delicious Roasted Edamame recipe for a protein-rich afternoon snack.

Roasted Edamame Serves 6 (1/2 cup each) All you need 1 1/2 tsp Hy-Vee chili powder ½ tsp thyme leaf ½ tsp garlic powder ½ tsp salt 2 (12 oz each) pkgs frozen shelled edamame 1 red onion, chopped 2 tbsp olive oil All you do Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine chili powder, thyme, garlic powder and salt. Add edamame, onion and oil and mix well. Spread beans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once, until edamame begins to brown. Nutrition facts per serving: calories: 170, carbohydrate: 12g; protein: 12g, fat: 10g; sodium: 210mg; fiber: 6g

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