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1. Sweet potatoes
Why they're a superstar: Sweets are loaded with carotenoids and are a good source of potassium and fiber. Toss sweet potato wedges with a little olive oil and roast until tender and lightly browned. Sprinkle with sweet or smoked paprika or chili powder. Mmm.
Why they're a superstar: A cup of mango supplies roughly two-thirds of a day’s vitamin C, 10% of a day’s vitamin A, a decent dose of blood-pressure-lowering potassium, 3 grams of fiber, and a ton of great taste. Little-known fact: grilled mango is unbelievably delicious.
Tip: If you've never tried a sweet, velvety honey mango, you're missing out.
3. Plain (0%) Greek yogurt
Why it’s a superstar: Fat-free (0%) unsweetened Greek yogurt has a pleasant tartness that’s a perfect foil for the natural sweetness of berries, bananas, or your favorite whole-grain cereal. Greek yogurt is strained, so it’s plenty thick and creamy. The lost liquid means that the yogurt ends up with less calcium, but twice the protein of ordinary yogurt.
Tip: Check out our yogurt shopping guide, which ranks yogurts from least to most added sugar.
Why it’s a superstar: It’s loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin K, and folate. Steam until bright green and just tender. Add a dusting of parmesan cheese and a spritz of fresh lemon juice. Or toss with olive oil, then roast with chunks of onion until it starts to brown. Amazing!
5. Garbanzo beans
Why they're a superstar: All beans are rich in protein, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. But garbanzos (chickpeas) stand out because they’re so versatile. Look for no-salt-added varieties. Add a handful to your tossed salad, or stir some into your vegetable stews, curries, and soups.
6. Leafy greens
Why they're a superstar: Don’t miss out on powerhouses like kale, collards, spinach, mustard greens, and Swiss chard. These and other standout leafy greens are loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, iron, and fiber. Sauté in a little olive oil with minced garlic and season with ground black pepper and red wine vinegar.
Tip: Also look for yu choy, bok choy, amaranth, gai lan, or tatsoi at farmers markets or Asian supermarkets. Try any of them with The Healthy Cook's basic stir-fry formula (or use spinach, kale, chard, or broccolini).
Why it’s a superstar: Fatty fish like salmon, which are rich in omega-3 fats, may help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Brush with a mixture of dijon mustard, reduced-sodium soy sauce, and a little maple syrup, then broil until the fish is charred in spots and flakes easily.
Why it’s a superstar: A nutritional heavyweight? You bet. A typical serving (about 2 cups) has 10% of a day’s vitamin A, 25% of a day’s vitamin C, a nice shot of potassium, and a healthy dose of lycopene, all for only 80 calories.
True to its name, watermelon is—drumroll—about 90 percent water. So are cantaloupe and honeydew. That means tons of refreshment for just 50ish calories per cup.
Tip: Is your watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe a tad underripe? Use it in a savory salad or a fresh melon salsa.
Why it’s a superstar: Quick, old-fashioned, steel-cut. Take your pick. Oatmeal makes a great whole-grain breakfast. Each half cup (dry) of plain rolled oats has 4 grams of fiber—roughly half of it the soluble kind that helps lower cholesterol—and zero added sugar.
Top your oatmeal with toasted almond slivers and berries instead of sugar or salt. Or try diced apple with cinnamon and raisins, or diced pear with walnuts and nutmeg.
Tip: Prefer cereal for your a.m. meal? See which brands have the least sugar and the most whole grains in our ranking.
10. Butternut squash
Why it’s a superstar: It’s a lip-smacking way to load up on vitamins A and C and fiber.
And it's versatile. Steam a sliced squash or buy peeled, chopped butternut squash that’s ready to go into the oven, a stir-fry, or a soup. Or sauté butternut cubes with a sprig of thyme and chopped onion in olive oil until lightly browned and tender.
Tip: For a squash that delivers butternut-like taste but with no need to peel, go for a delicata.
Every gorgeous photo in the Good Foods 2023 calendar will whet your appetite for delicious, healthy food. And the simple recipe below each photo, from Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood, will help you turn that month’s star into the star of your dinner table.