By Melissa Fine, Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor.
When it comes to fresh produce, the more variety the better. Nutrient-dense green and red vegetables and fruit offer so many health benefits, but are often lacking in our day-to-day meals. Our new year’s resolution at GoodnessMe Box HQ is to eat more greens and reds! Here’s how.
1. Make a ‘Christmas’ Salad:
Not just over the holidays, but to accompany a meal on as many days of the year as possible. And by a green and red salad I don’t just mean throw a bit of lettuce and a few tomato slices in a bowl; Include a combination of at least five different green and red veg with a range of hues, tastes and textures. Think a bed of bitter rocket - great for stimulating digestion - and calcium-rich kale and baby spinach; Top with sweet red capsicum for some immune-boosting vitamin C, and sliced radish for extra crunch and colour. A great salad for a BBQ – Serve with fish or meat and dress with my creamy two ingredient ‘dressing’: For 4-6 serves, simply combine 4 TBS 100% tahini (nice and nutty) with the juice of 1 lemon juice.
Another festive salad I love is a mix of baby spinach and rocket, cucumber, strawberries, roughly chopped walnuts or almonds and sliced avocado, a good source of antioxidant-rich, anti-ageing vitamin E. Dress with macadamia oil and balsamic glaze to bring it all together. Yum!
2. Roast Up Veg for the Week:
Don’t just stick to the same three veg each time you do a roast. Try a mix of asparagus, red onion, beetroot, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, all good sources of insoluble and soluble fibre; Insoluble fibre helps get things moving along your digestive tract (great if you’re prone to constipation) and soluble fibre has cholesterol lowering properties. These veg intensify in flavour and sweetness when roasted, so all they need is a little brush of olive oil before going in the oven. Onion is also a source of the prebiotic ‘inulin’, which encourages the growth of probiotics, the good gut bacteria.
3. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand:
Capsicum, cucumber, celery and snow pea crudités are low in kilojoules, yet high in filling, blood sugar stabilising fibre – A great snack to bump up your vegie quota for the day. I also love cherry tomatoes - Super sweet and you can snack on them like grapes. Serve with tablespoon of cottage cheese, hummus or natural peanut butter for dipping, and for some satiating healthy fats and protein.
When you’re short on time or on-the-go, a Nutra Organics Greens Reds Multivitamin Energy Bar is another ideal, colour and nutrient-loaded snack – Keep one in your bag or desk draw at work for when you need a little something between lunch and dinner. Based on the brand’s Super Greens Reds powder, this wholefood bar is made with ingredients like alkaline barley grass, beetroot powder, detoxifying alfalfa, spirulina, pomegranate and cranberry. Delicious too, thanks to the sweet and tart contrast from the fruit and a kick from spices like ginger…Oh and a little dark chocolate ;)
4. Drink Them!
Try my Pink & Green Smoothie. Add a scoop of good quality natural or vanilla protein powder to make a meal of it.
Recipe: Pink & Green Smoothie
Serves 1 large or 2 smalls
- 2 handfuls baby spinach
- ¼ Cup fresh/frozen strawberries
- ½ frozen banana (Freeze with skin on and remove skin when ready to use)
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- ½ - ¾ Cup milk of choice (I like coconut or rice milk)
- handful ice cubes
Add spinach and then the rest of the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until evenly combined and smooth. Pour into a tall glass or portable jar if you’re on the move. Sip slowly, or enjoy in a bowl and eat with a spoon!
5. Try Something New
Make a point of trying a green or red vegetable or fruit that you’ve never tried before, or that you find a bit intimidating to prepare. I’m now a big fan of kale since I learnt how to prepare it properly – The trick is to buy the less chewy, sweeter baby kale if you want minimal prep, as you can eat this variety straight-up in a salad; I like it sautéed with my eggs too.
Curly kale is ideal for making oven baked kale chips: Simply tear off the stems, break up into big pieces and spread out in one layer onto a baking paper-lined tray; Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with a little sea salt and bake in the oven at 180 degrees C (or 160 fan forced) for about 12 minutes or until crisp. If you’re making a salad based on curly kale, give the kale a good massage with whatever you’re dressing it in – No joke! This tenderises the leaves, making them less bitter, less chewy, and easier to digest.
To find out more about Nutra Organics go to: www.nutraorganics.com.au