pad thai

Photo: Aran Goyoaga

Superfood Credentials: High in satiating fiber and vitamins C and K, which are important for immune health and strong bones, respectively.

How to Add It to Your Life: Long before zoodles became a thing, food writer Andie Mitchell was trying to figure out what to do with leftover cabbage and wound up shredding the fiber-rich vegetable. The next thing she knew, with about half a head of green cabbage standing in for rice noodles, she was making pad Thai. It still has that salty-sweet flavor, plus she also tosses in a thinly sliced bell pepper, upping the dish's health factor even more.

Get the recipe: Lightened-Up Pad Thai
creamy farro

Photo: Aran Goyoaga

Superfood Credentials: As if you don't already know, this cruciferous veggie is a good source of iron, vitamin A for good vision and calcium, among other essential vitamins and nutrients.

How to Add It to Your Life: Farro, a barley-like grain, can taste plain on its own, but not when Mitchell mixes it with white beans, browned portobello mushroom slices and Gruyère and Parmesan. The cheeses make a creamy sauce that's rich enough to soften the addition of supernutritious kale leaves. Bonus: The dark green color gives the dish welcome color.

Get the recipe: Creamy Farro with White Beans and Kale
steak tacos

Photo: Ditte Isager

Superfood Credentials: In addition to filling and gut-health-promoting fiber, it's an excellent source of vitamins C and B6, which helps your body break down and make use of the protein you eat.

How to Add It to Your Life: Precut broccoli slaw isn't just a timesaving ingredient when you need a quick side dish. Mitchell also loves the julienned veg for its ability to add volume to main courses—even, surprisingly, tacos. She'll stir two big handfuls into whatever protein she's cooking (such as ground turkey or beef), along with taco seasoning, and swears most eaters won't even notice it's there. It's an easy way to bulk up the tortilla filling, help make you feel full and get more vitamins into whatever you're cooking.

Get the recipe: Taco Fiesta
spinach mac n cheese

Photo: Alison Gootee

Baby Spinach
Superfood Credentials: Along with hefty amounts of vitamins C and K, spinach is high in manganese, which helps with calcium absorption, and folate, part of the family of B vitamins that helps convert the food you eat into fuel.

How to Add It to Your Life: The quickest trick to healthifying any—and we mean any—pasta dish? Mitchell says it's adding tender, mild and nutrient-dense baby spinach, since the leaves wilt in a flash. Their subtle flavor makes them mesh seamlessly with a range of flavors (garlic, a building block for many pasta recipes, is an especially good match), and the soft texture won't take away from anything else that's going on, whether you're making creamy mac 'n' cheese or hearty rigatoni with sausage.

Get the recipe: Marcus Samuelssons' Mac 'n' Cheese

Photo: Ozphotoguy/iStock

Granny Smith Apple
Superfood Credentials: Research suggests that this tart treat is good for your gut, thanks to a wealth of compounds like nondigestible fiber and polyphenols.

How to Add It to Your Life: Making your own burgers means you can use whatever type of meat you'd like, and for health-conscious cooks, that often means lean beef or turkey. The only problem is that such cuts can become dry when you cook them. Mitchell's secret solution: Stir some grated apple into the meat before forming it into patties. You'll wind up with a more moist burger that has the added benefit of extra fiber.

Get the recipe: Turkey Burgers with Coleslaw and Gruyère

Photo: Iamthatiam/iStock

Carrots and Other Root Vegetables
Superfood Credentials: These underground growers are generally high in vitamins C, B and vitamin A, and carrots, in particular, are a great source of beta-carotene, which supports your vision.

How to Add It to Your Life: Mashed potatoes with a cauliflower makeover may be all the rage, but other vegetables can be pureed just as nicely, and offer unexpected color and flavor. Mitchell likes to stir roasted carrots, turnips, parsnips or butternut squash into mashed potatoes (so the mixture is about half potato and half other vegetable). You still get a fluffy side dish, but it's got more good-for-you ingredients.

Get the recipe: Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes