Top 8 Oscar-Worthy Foods: Stars of the Plate

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Oscar season is here, and there are some buzz-worthy “noms” this year. Let’s take a look at our nominees:

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Although they may not be the best-dressed on the red carpet, don’t underestimate these fungi. They will surprise you with their versatile performance. Mushrooms are able to play a range of roles in the kitchen. You may see them grilled, sautéed or playing a supporting role in a stir-fry. Mushrooms have a savory, smoky taste and are often used as a substitute for meat in a dish such as a grilled portabella mushroom burger. Mushrooms aren’t just delicious; they are packed with vitamins and minerals including potassium, selenium, B vitamins and vitamin D.

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Vegetables are the Leonardo DiCaprio of the plate. Their colorful appearance brightens any dish, and they always secure a spot on the “Best Performance” list. The recently released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that a “healthy eating pattern contains a variety of vegetables” and recommend increasing overall daily consumption. Vegetables tend to play a supporting role in the American diet, but they really should be the stars of any plate. When planning meals, try to make half your plate vegetables, and focus on incorporating different colors and varieties. High vegetable intake is associated with a decreased risk of certain cancers. Keep in mind that canned and frozen vegetables can have the same nutritional value as fresh.

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Brussels sprouts may not be voted “most popular” among the cruciferous vegetables, but you cannot argue with their natural talent as a functional food: They are a great source of phytochemicals, vitamin C and folate. The paparazzi often catch Brussels sprouts snuggling up to a different food item every night because they taste great paired with cranberries, cheese, walnuts, bacon and also many different spices. Try baking Brussels sprouts with one of their famous pairs for a great side dish addition to any meal.  

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The Big Short Rib

So we meat again … Short ribs are a popular cut of beef from the ribs and plate primal. Just like a garish outfit on the red carpet, beef gets its fair share of good and bad publicity. The bottom line is that the benefits of meat can be enjoyed in moderation. Beef is a great source of protein, which is important for tissue repair and growth. Red meat also contains a lot of important nutrients such as iron, zinc and B vitamins. Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency in the United States. Beef is a good source that contains the type of iron that is more easily digested and absorbed by our bodies. 

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Mad Hacks: Curry Road

Curry is a complex combination of spices that is used to season many dishes originating in Indian cuisine. The unique flavor of curry has people on the red carpet intrigued and dying to know, “What spices are you wearing?” Curry powder typically contains coriander, cumin and turmeric as the main ingredients. Turmeric has been shown to potentially reduce inflammation and have potent antioxidant activity. Curry-ous about how to cook with these spices? Curry can be used to season a variety of dishes that contain any combination of meat, poultry or fish and vegetables and rice. It’s a food hack for all occasions, not just awards season.

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This year on the red carpet, dark and leafy is in, and broccoli will definitely be voted “Best When Dressed.” Steamed broccoli is a classic dinner plate addition, but try dressing it up by sautéing it with garlic and soy sauce or baking it with a cheese sauce. However you choose to enjoy it, broccoli is a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are the superheroes that are called into action to help our bodies fight disease and illness.

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Bridge of Pies

Pie is the life of the after-party. Who doesn’t like a sweet treat? There is a flavor for everyone: blueberries, raspberry, apple, strawberry or peach. Pie is fun and indulgent and a delicious way to get a serving of fruit. Fruit is high in fiber, which helps digestion and cardiovascular health. Most fruits are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium and other important vitamin and minerals. It is recommended that we aim to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Of course, any serving of pie should fit into your overall calorie budget because, just like an acceptance speech that goes too long, we all have our limits!

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The Margarine

Margarine’s performance will touch your heart. It contains less saturated fat than butter because it is made from vegetable oil instead of animal fat. This makes margarine a heart-healthy choice. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that our diets consist of less than 10 percent saturated fats. Try using margarine once in a while as a stunt double for butter when you are cooking. Pay close attention when purchasing margarine to chose a product that contains a small amount of trans fat.

The plate has room for many star-studded actors, but who will take the top prize this year? And the Oscar goes to …