Spring with Veggies

Posted in: Nutrition, Public Health
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Romaine calm, and bring on the veggies because it’s nutrition month! This time of year, is all about focusing on a healthy lifestyle, more specifically, bring awareness on how to make smart food choices and adapt good eating habits.

Why eat them?
Part of having a healthy lifestyle is having a balanced diet which includes vegetables, they are known for their variety of health benefits due to the fact that they are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They give us energy, help reduce and fight diseases, maintain a healthy weight, and generally make us feel better.

How/What to pick out?
Seasonal knowledge is very important when it comes to picking out your vegetables. It is spring time, which is great because a lot of vegetables are at their peak during this period. Some examples of perfect vegetables that we can enjoy this season are:

  • Artichokes: Leaves should be tight, plump, and squeak when they are pressed together
  • Asparagus: Should be firm, tips compacted, and brightly colored stalks
  • Beets: Avoid wilted leaves, peeling tops, or hairy taproots
  • Carrots: Pick firm and smooth
  • Lettuce: Choose green, and crisp leaves
  • Spinach: Avoid slimy/wet leaves

There are so many more vegetables that you can enjoy during this month, it is always a good idea to take a visit to your local grocery store or food markets to find what is in season and choose based on what looks fresh and delicious.

Spring Food Ideas
A great thing about vegetables is that we can enjoy them in different forms. We all have preferences so it is important to find what we like and learn to incorporate them into our meals. Here are a couple of recipes that would be perfect to try this March.

Ingredients: Directions

Beet Salad
– 2 Beets, cooked, sliced
– 6 cups Baby Spinach
– ¼ cup Roasted Cashews (or any of your favorite nut or seed)
– ¼ cup Dried Cranberry
– ¼ cup Feta Cheese

Honey-Lemon Dressing
– 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
– 1 tbsp. Honey
– Lemon Juice

  1. Add beets, spinach, dried cranberries and your favorite crunch to a large bowl.
  2. Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a different bowl: olive oil, honey, lemon juice. Whisk until it is combined.
  3. Pour the salad dressing over the beet salad, and toss to combine. Top with crumbled feta cheese.
  4. Enjoy a salad full of flavors and textures!

Ingredients: Directions

– 1 lb. Asparagus
– 3 Cloves garlic crushed
– 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
– ¼ cup Shredded parmesan cheese
– A pinch of sea salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Trim the asparagus and spread it out across the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and the crushed garlic and ensure everything is coated evenly.
  3. Sprinkle with the shredded parmesan cheese and sea salt and pepper.
  4. Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Should be ready when the tips have crisped.

Ingredients: Directions

– 2 cooked skinless chicken breast, shredded
– 2 tbsp of olive oil
– ½ cup of cottage cheese
– 2 cups of mozzarella
– ¼ cup of parsley
– 1 tsp of salt
– 1 tsp of garlic
– ½ lemon
– 2 cups of spinach
– 18 oz of artichoke hearts, halved

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease casserole dish with olive oil
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together except for half of the cheese.
  4. Transfer into casserole then add the remainder of the cheese on top and cook for 40-50 minutes.
  5. Once cooked, let it sit for 10 minutes then serve and enjoy.

Vegetables give you the opportunity to do a lot with them, explore to see how you can transform a simple vegetable into your favorite side or meal. Share them with family and friends so that they can enjoy a spring with veggies this month too.

 

 

References:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Nutrition Month. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/food/resources/national-nutrition-month

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services & U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2015). 2015-2020 Dietary guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. Retrieved from https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf

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