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Originally published Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 2:00 PM

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Five underrated foods

Garbanzo beans, watermelon, sunflower seeds, unsweetened yogurt and leafy greens are among the underrated foods.

The Dallas Morning News

Foods That Deserve More of Your Respect

Today we're offering the flip side of the gastronomic dangers inherent in movie theater popcorn and Chinese food: Five Underrated Foods. Get your grocery list out and jot these down:

1. Garbanzo beans.

While all beans are good, these (a.k.a. chickpeas) are as versatile as they come. Buy the protein- and fiber-rich babies salt-free and canned.

Rinse, then doctor 'em up with olive oil, chopped scallions and lemon juice.

Coat them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and chopped garlic, then roast until crunchy.

Or just stir them into salads, soups or chili.

2. Watermelon.

If you haven't had it in a while, here are a few reasons eating it is a splendid idea: A two-cup, 85-calorie serving provides 38 percent of a day's supply of vitamin C and 32 percent of vitamin A. It's thick skin keeps bugs and pesticides at bay; thus, it's labeled one of the "Clean 15" — fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residue.

3. Sunflower seeds.

They may not get the good-for-you press that almonds and walnuts do, but a quarter-cup packs three grams of fiber, six grams of protein and 25 to 75 percent of such daily nutritional needs as copper, vitamin E, manganese and selenium. Downside: The same amount packs 180 calories. Try eating them un-shelled; they'll take longer to eat so you're less likely to eat too many.

4. Unsweetened yogurt.

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Chances are, your daily yogurt is of the sweetened variety. Swap to plain for several benefits; namely, more calcium, potassium, protein, zinc and vitamins B-6 and B-12. You can also jazz it up with your choice of fruits or cereal, or dollop it on a baked potato. Cut the tartness by mixing it with a little vanilla yogurt.

5. Leafy greens.

If they're so good for us, why don't we eat more of them? Because we're a bit in the dark about how to cook them. Start by buying them already chopped, bagged and washed (then wash them again for good measure). Saute garlic in olive oil and add the greens. Cook, stirring occasionally, for five to 20 minutes or until they're soft.

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