Top 10 Foods High in Folate

grains are typically fortified with folateAs I mentioned previously (and will probably mention many more times over the next 6 months), A is pregnant. One of the most common pieces of pregnancy health advice you will hear is the importance of pregnant women consuming plenty of folate.

What is folate?

Folate or Folic Acid is Vitamin B9. The B Vitamins are a class of water-soluable vitamins used by the body to aid in cell metabolism. Folate is necessary for cell division. Because pregnancy is a time of rapid and pro-longed cell division, getting enough folate is especially important for pregnant women and for women trying to get pregnant. Consuming at least 400 micrograms (mcg) before becoming pregnant and 600mcg can help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida which affects 1500 babies each year.

Folate vs Folic Acid

Many places will use the terms “folate” and “folic acid” interchangably, but they are actually different. Folate is what is known as “bioavailable.” That means it is in the form your body will use it. It is the compound that the body uses in cell division. When you are getting your Folate from fruits, vegetables, and nuts, it is coming in the form of folate. Folic Acid, on the other hand, is the form most commenly found in suppliments such as multi-vitamins and in enriched flour. The body needs to metabolize folic acid to produce folate.

Top 10 Foods High in Folate

Lentils contain 90% of your DV of folate1) Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit! For folate, you can’t go wrong with beans. Lentils contain 90% DV per cup! Other good sources include pinto beans (74%), garbonzo beans (aka hummus) have 71% DV, black and navy beans (64% DV), and kidney beans with 57% DV.

Spinach contains 65% of your DV of folate2) Dark Leafy Greens

Spinach is a superfood. Not only is it high in iron and fiber, but it’s also one of the best sources of folate. One cup of spinach contains 65% of your DV of Folate. Other leafy greens for a folate punch include mustard greens, collards, and romaine.

3) Asparagus

Asparagus is a biennial vegetable in which only the female sprouts are eaten. Bet you didn’t know that! I love it brushed with olive oil and grilled. Contains 262mcg of Folate per cup, which works out to 65% DV.

Beets contain 34% of your DV of folate4) Beets

Remember the cartoon Doug? Almost everything in the show was named after some sort of food, including the hit band, the Beets. You can’t prepare beets a way that I won’t like, but my favorite is Harvard beets. One cup contains 34% DV of folate.

Papaya contains 24% of your DV of folate

Orange-Whole-&-Split” by Evan-AmosOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

5) Citrus Fruits

If you are looking for some fruit to snack on, you can’t go wrong with citrus. Not only are citrus high in Vitamin C, giving pregnant women a much needed boost to their weekened immune systems, but they are higher in folate than any other fruit. To maximize your B9 intake, go with papaya. It contains 29% DV.

6) Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts contain 24% of your DV of folate

Brussels sprout closeup” by Eric Hunt – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

I heard a rumor that not everyone likes brussels sprouts. That can’t be true! They are awesome. And one cup is packed with 25% DV of folate.

7) Nuts

Nuts are another great source of folate. While not technically a nut (it’s a legume, which is basically a bean), peanuts top the list of folate sources in nuts with 22% DV per cup. Allergic to peanuts? Try sunflower seeds (21%), flax (14% DV), or almonds (12%)

Avocados contain 22% of your DV of folate8) Avocado

Next time you are out for Mexican, be sure to add the quacamole. Half an avoccado contains 22% DV of folate.

9) Corn

Corn is the most ubiquitous crop in America. It also contains 20% DV of folate per cup.

Squash contains 10-14% of your DV of folate

Crooked Neck Squash” by Hebert72Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

10) Squash

I eat zucchini and yellow squash all summer long. In the fall and winter, spaghetti squash and butternut find their way onto my table. Winter squash has 14%DV per cup and summer has slightly less as 10%.

This is just a short list. It’s almost impossible to not get enough folate these days. Flours used in commercially sold baked goods are always fortified in folate. If you have a tendency to drink energy shots, B Vitamins, such as folate, are always prominent ingredients. You will also find them in some fortified waters, such as the XXX flavor of Vitamin Water (my favorite).

What are your favorite sources of Folate?

Baked Veggie Tostada

Vegetarian meals can be a good way to keep that New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. This veggie tostada is no exception. Weighing in at just170 calories, this Mexican dish will fill you up without filling your calorie allotment.

Baked veggie tostada

Last year was all about losing weight in our household. My wife and I were very successful at the losing part with a combined 150 pounds down. What we weren’t so good at was keeping it off. Before becoming pregnant, she had put 30 of her pounds back on, and I yo-yo’ed all the back the 30 I had lost. So this year is about losing the weight again (well, after the baby is born, for her). And keeping it off. 2014 was the year of the diet. 2015 is going to be the year of the lifestyle change.

I know I’ve made poked fun at vegetarianism a bit. But vegetarian meals have as much place in a well-rounded diet as meat-based ones. Everything in moderation, as they say.

So just what is a tostada?

The way I like to describe it to people is that it is a Mexican Pizza. Everybody knows what a pizza looks like, and knows what kind of ingredients to expect in a Mexican dish, so it gets the point across. As a definition, it’s quick and dirty if not entirely accurate.

According to Wikipedia, a tostada is a deep-fried tortilla topped with things such as shredded chiken or beef, refried beans, and traditional taco type toppings such as lettuce, tomato, and cheese. So one way of looking at it is a flat taco. Or rather a flat taquito or deconstructed chimichanga since the tortilla is supposed to be fried.

Of course, that seems to be a little off to me. Tostada is Spanish for “toasted.” So it doesn’t make sense to me for it to be fried. Lucky for me, I’m no purist when it comes to my food and recipes I’m a big fan of fusion cuisine and breaking the rules to make something I like instead of what tradition says a dish is supposed to be.

That’s why this why this veggie tostada is baked. Who needs all the extra work and empty calories (along with triglycerides and everything else bad for you) just to fry a tortilla?

Baked Veggie Tostada
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This veggie tostada is baked not fried and features hearty vegetables such as squash and sweet potato
Author:
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced
  • 1 cup diced sweet potato (about one medium sweet potato)
  • 1 tsp Let's Get Cooking taco seasoning
  • 2 medium size tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded lettuce
  • ½ cup diced tomato
  • ¼ cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp sour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high until lightly shimmering. Dice zucchini, yellow squash, and sweet potato. Add to skillet with taco seasoning. Cook until moderately soft. Remove from pan and rest on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up some of the oil.
  3. Split vegetable mixture between two tortillas. Place directly on middle oven rack. Bake for 5 minutes until tortilla is crisp.
  4. Top tostadas with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 tostada Calories: 170 Fat: 5.6 Saturated fat: 2.2 Carbohydrates: 27.7 Sugar: 9.9 Sodium: 69 Fiber: 5.3 Protein: 4.6 Cholesterol: 6

Lately, I’ve switched from regular shredded cheese to shredded cheese made from 2% milk. I buy the Kroger brand from King Soopers, but I believe that Kraft makes it as well. Using 2% cheese in this recipe would saves about a gram of fat and saturated fat and tastes the same.

You can put anything you want on your tostada, but in terms of a vegetarian dish, firmer vegetables such as squash and sweet potato work best. This baked veggie tostada doesn’t include beans like most veggie tostada recipes. Why? Because my wife isn’t a big fan of beans. Me, I love beans.

Instead, this veggie tostada features zucchini, and yellow squash as well the sweet potato you will see in most recipes. Other vegetables you could try include carrot or their more spiced cousin, parsnip.

Where do stand on tostadas? Toasted or fried?

If You Can Read, You Can Cook in 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year. Welcome to 2105

Happy New Year! Photo by Christmasstockingimages.com Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog. In fact, it’s been 5 months. That’s almost half a year! Although steady readers of the blog (all three of you!) shouldn’t be too surprised. I only managed to post  9 times and three were guest posts from a blog swap. Oops.

A look at 2014

While 2014 was a slow year for this site, it was plenty eventful elsewhere.

Job

Blogging obviously isn’t my day job. I work in traffic control for road construction. Last year I was promoted to Traffic Control Supervisor, a position which oversees the running of traffic closures and the flaggers that made you late to work this morning. :)

That was one reason my blogging fell by the wayside. With the promotion, I went from averaging 40-50 hours per week to 60-70 hours per week. In 2014, a full HALF of my income was overtime pay. That’s a lot of overtime!
Of course, I can’t completely blame my lack of blogging on that. I still had some free time. Plus, it’s absolutely no excuse for December where I spent half the month snowed out of anything to do.

But in short, 2014 was an exciting year for my career with a promotion and the HUGE raise that came with it.

Money

Speaking of money, 2014 was a very good year. From my day job, I made more than twice as much last year as I did in 2013.

On the online side of my income, I didn’t do as well, but still did fairly well considering. According to my trusty Excel spreadsheet, I earned about $600 after expenses and taxes. Of course, most of that was from my ebook services at SEAM Publishing and on Fiverr where I am a Level II seller. This site actually lost money (about $6) last year, but I’m confident I can turn that around this year.

Family

2014 was the year that my wife and I got serious about our weight. Over the course of the year, we lost over 150 pounds. Of course, I managed to gain back all of mine. 2015 is going to have a continued focus on health and healthy eating as I try to get that weight back off and keep it off this time.

The other big news (really the biggest news) of the year is that A is pregnant! As I right this, she has just moved onto the second trimester, a fact of which we are both rejoicing for the subsiding of the morning (or rather, all-day) sickness and overwhelming fatigue. We are expecting our little  bundle of joy in early July. In another month and a half, we will find out if we are having a little Eddie or Melody.

Goals for 2015

I made two New Year’s Resolutions for 2015. The first one I already touched on; I want to lose 30 pounds and keep it off. It’s actually fairly simple. I just need to remember that I can’t eat 3500-4000 calories when I’m not working!
My other Resolution is to write more. This is multi-pronged. I plan on writing more on this blog, bringing you more healthy, easy to cook recipes, information on finding your way around the kitchen, and other food and health-related news.

For my SEAM Publishing, I will be bringing back my self-publishing tutorials. If you think 9 posts last year is bad, the blog for my ebook business saw only one post, and that was a guest post. o.O

Finally there is my fiction. Did you know I am an aspiring novelist? My buddy (the S-M of SEAM) and I started writing short stories in 4th grade. As Freshmen, we read Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles and thought, “hey, we can do that!” Once Upon a Saturn Moon was born. Of course, our writing as 15 year olds was pretty horrendous. Long after S lost interest in the project, I toyed with it off and on over the last nearly 2 decades. Over the past few weeks, I got it into my head to finally finish it. What I have so far is terrible! But now I have a new outline and am currently working on character development.

For anybody interested in following my progress on my sci-fi novel, I’ll be setting up an author sub-blog on SEAM Publishing in the next few days.

2015 and If You Can Read, You Can Cook

Of course, the major goal for 2015 in relation to this blog is writing more. That is the main focus. But I also plan on creating a better experience for the readers. Just as I managed to get the money together to pay a web designer to redesign my blog, she went out of business when she got the chance at her dream job at StudioPress, the makers of the Genesis WordPress theme. Despite recommendations, I wasn’t able to find another web designer who understood my vision and my price range. But fear not! A site redesign is finally in the works. Don’t want to share too many details just yet, but it looks like I’ll be switching to Genesis with a customized child theme.

As a third prong of making the site better, I did practise my food photography in 2014 and was able to get some props and DIY lighting equipment. Maybe some of the posts this year will be a food photography tutorial to share what I’ve learned. And while I never did get a DSLR like I planned, we did get a Nikon CoolPix L160 for Christmas from A’s parents. No manual focus but we have a tripod!

2015 Content for If You Canread, You Can Cook

Speaking of focus, I’ve been moving the focus of this site from just easy, family-style recipes to easy, family-style recipes that are actually good for you. There will still be some comfort food every now and again, but don’t expect as many deserts or fried foods as before.

I also plan on writing more posts that aren’t recipes. I want to talk more about food than I’ve done in the past. Nutrients that our bodies need (expect a post on folate for pregnant women in a few days) and things of that nature. I figure if Food Babe has made an empire out of completely redicuolous hysteria about organics and GMO’s and spawned at least a dozen Facebook pages lampooning her, I can do okay providing solid, scientifically-backed advice on healthy eating.
How was your 2014? What would you like to see more of (or less of) on If You Can Read, You Can Cook in 2015?