[This piece was written by Ashly Hemstreet, MS, RD, CDN, lead dietitian at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital.]
Spring is in the air. So, let the flowers blossom and the sunshine radiate! Spring is the perfect time for new beginnings. Whether you enjoy going for a jog, riding your bike, or taking a walk, it’s a great time to get outside and get your body moving.
While you are giving way to a more flexible physique, why not provide your body with some plant-powered nutrition to get it energized? This spring, think Superfoods.
Superfoods, by definition, are rich in nutrients and especially beneficial for overall health and well-being. They contain powerful disease-fighting substances that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They also promote weight loss, improve energy levels, improve circulation, and so much more. And better yet, they add delicious texture and flavor to any dish.
Did you know that kale is low in calories, but high in nutrients, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet? It is a rich source of calcium, potassium, and magnesium and acts as the perfect leafy green for any salad.
If you enjoy savory, earthy flavors, you can’t go wrong with lentils. Rich in complex carbohydrates, a nutrient that boosts the metabolism and helps the body to burn fat, lentils are an excellent source of fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol levels.
On the sweet end of the spectrum, berries are a great addition to any dish. Strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and plant compounds called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are the compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and other plants that are believed to protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer.
So, this spring, why not jump PLANT-forward and take advantage of all the extraordinary benefits that these amazing foods offer. You’ll rejoice in a healthier, happier you.
The Superfood Salad recipe below is packed full of amazing plants that provide antioxidants and nutrients to keep your spirits high all season long. A great addition at picnics, parties, and social gatherings, the Superfood Salad is also a healthy and satisfying side dish for the upcoming Easter holiday. Try it – it might become your new family tradition!
- 1 cup Lentils, cooked
- 1 cup Brown Rice, cooked
- ½ cup Edamame
- ½ cup Carrot, grated
- ½ bunch Kale
- ½ cup Red Onion, chopped
- ½ cup Grape Tomatoes
- ¼ cup Blueberries
- ¼ cup Dried Cranberries
- ¼ cup Walnuts
The Maple Vinaigrette
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
- Pinch Ground Black Pepper
- Mix all ingredients for the maple vinaigrette together in a small bowl.
- De-stem kale (optional). Break into pieces and place into a large bowl.
- Pour the maple vinaigrette onto the kale and massage with your fingertips.
- Add the remaining superfoods to the bowl and toss.
- Serve and enjoy!
This recipe was adapted from https://veganinthefreezer.com/superfood-salad-with-maple-vinaigrette/