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We’ve all heard we’re supposed to eat our greens, and now the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is putting science to that sage (forgive the pun) advice. The CDC recently published a list of 41 “Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables” based on an analysis of critical nutrients that are most important to health.

The good news: The three top scoring foods contain high amounts of vitamins B12, A and D. They’re high in fiber and protein (something to remember if you’re a vegetarian). They also contain healthy amounts of calcium, folate and potassium. The bad news: The Top 3 probably aren’t foods we’re eating on a regular basis — watercress, Chinese cabbage and chard.

But fear not. Here are easy ways to prepare the Top 3 or swap them with foods you already enjoy.

  • Watercress – you can cook it like spinach. It also makes a nice salad mixed with other greens and produce like onions, tomatoes, avocado and strawberries.
  • Chinese cabbage – it’s obviously a great choice for coleslaw. It’s also good for spring rolls, stir-fried with Oriental flavorings, or topped on a taco instead of lettuce.
  • Chard – use it in dishes that already contain greens. When eaten freshly picked, chard is sweet and buttery. So put it in quesadillas, pasta, quiche or soup.

For all the powerhouse foods, visit And as you’re off to the farmer’s market or grocery store this week, pick up a powerhouse item – especially one you haven’t tried before. Be creative. Find some healthy new recipes. Think of it as an adventure to add a powerhouse punch to your diet.

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