March is National Nutrition Month! It is the perfect time to emphasize the importance of healthy eating.
We will be discussing one new recipe each week for the month of March. I hope you will join me!
For our first week, our Recipe is:
“Berry Healthy Salad”
This is a very simple and quick but extremely nutritious salad. It is perfect to pack for weekday lunches. The ingredients are very versatile, so feel free to add or subtract any ingredients to make it just right for you! If I want a little extra protein, I’ll add a few chopped boiled eggs, or a few slices of baked chicken. You can even add in a little cheese, but remember this will start to increase your calories quickly so add sparingly. For your dressing, a light balsamic vinaigrette works well to complement the sweetness of the berries. Or for a more savory mix, try a light ranch dressing. So here we go….let’s eat our way to better health!
- 2 cups of raw spinach
- 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Optional protein additions: boiled eggs, baked chicken
- Optional cheese additions: feta cheese crumbles or goat cheese
Add all ingredients together, toss with your favorite homemade salad dressing and enjoy!
Spinach: Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary potassium and magnesium, two very important electrolytes necessary for maintaining human health. Spinach provides a whopping 839 milligrams of potassium per cup. It is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, copper, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium and vitamin C. Spinach is also one of the best non-heme (plant-based) sources of iron. Spinach is also an excellent cancer fighter. Scientists recently studied some of the glyconutrients from spinach and found they inhibited destruction of DNA, cancer cell growth, and tumor growth.
Blueberries: Blueberries are high in soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant containing fruits. The phyto-chemical compounds in blueberries help rid off harmful oxygen-derived free radicals from the human body, and thereby, protect it against cancers, aging, degenerative diseases, and infections.
Dried Cranberries: A serving of dried cranberries supplies 0.43 milligrams of vitamin E toward your daily goal of 15 milligrams. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help destroy free radicals. Free radicals are substances that cause cell damage, which, over time, can increase your risk of diseases, such as cancer. A serving of dried cranberries provides trace amounts of iron, potassium and vitamin C as well.
Walnuts: Walnuts are an excellent source of copper and manganese, and a good source of magnesium. Walnuts contain high amounts of polyphenols, phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties. They also are a great source of phytoesterols which are plant compounds known to help lower blood cholesterol and also provide anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
Recipe by Dacia Lyn Breeden, RD
Photo by Jay Day Images http://www.jaydayimages.com