Power Up on Plants
Research shows that eating 7 or more servings of vegetables and fruit per day leads to a longer life. Not only that, but the more you eat, the better your mental well-being. Conversely, the less you eat the greater your risk for chronic disease. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s explore some refreshing and delicious ways to enjoy the produce of the season.
- Fill Your Plate with Greens.
Try the multitude of different pre-washed greens in the produce department. From Power Greens with kale and dandelion to cabbage slaw and shredded Brussels sprouts, the options are endless. Top your greens with local berries or nectarines. Microgreens make a nutrient packed garnish that really takes your salad up a notch. If you prefer cooked greens, saute Swiss chard and beet greens in garlic and drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce for a little flavour. Dark leafy greens are full of vitamins A and K, folate, potassium and fibre. Top them with grilled fish for some heart healthy omega-3 fats.
- Infuse your water.
Sugar sweetened beverages are a leading cause of obesity so it’s a good idea to limit them, but sometimes plain water can get a little boring. Why not add a splash of colour and nutrients to your water jug by adding lemon and orange slices. Strawberries and basil, cucumber and mint or strawberries and raspberries are all great combinations. Go ahead and eat the fruit from your glass! It’s a convenient snack ready and waiting for you.
- Make Smoothies and Smoothie Popsicles.
Next time you make a batch of smoothies, double the recipe and pour some into that popsicle holder you have hiding in your Tupperware drawer. I like to add a berry, a sweet fruit, a green and a starchy vegetable for my smoothies. Try Blueberry, mango, spinach and carrot. Add some Greek yogurt for extra protein and a dash turmeric and black pepper for antioxidants.
- Celebrate the season.
Spring vegetables like asparagus and peas are delicious on an arugula salad topped with feta and purple onion. Mangos are also in season in the spring (although not local). Until our local heirloom tomatoes arrive from the Okanagan, I love to make sliced mango and buffalo mozzarella Caprese salad with fresh basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Quinoa salads made with cups of fresh herbs like Italian parsley, dill, mint and chives are a fabulous way to take advantage of all those herbs in your garden. Toss them with baby spinach for extra greens and black beluga lentils for some protein. My go to salad dressing is olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and a touch of lemon and honey. The proportions are up to you, but I prefer more oil than vinegar.
- Get Grilling.
Grilled vegetables and fruit are a fresh and tasty change from the oven roasted vegetables, soups winter comfort food casseroles. Roasted red peppers and zucchini accompany lemon garlic chicken breasts perfectly. Grilled peaches and pork tenderloin or grilled pineapple salsa on salmon are also terrific pairs. Try grilling asparagus spears, sliced fennel or sweet Wala Wala onions using a vegetable grill so you don’t lose them to the fire!