Supercharge Your Fitness
March is National Nutrition Month, an annual nutrition education campaign of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which focuses on helping consumers make informed choices about eating and exercise habits!
There’s no one food, drink, pill or machine that is key to achieving optimal health. A person’s overall daily routine is what is most important.
Focusing on a healthy lifestyle is vital to maintaining good health and quality of life. The best advice to follow is one based on regular physical activity and an eating pattern that meets the individual nutrient needs within a person’s calorie budget.
The focus should be on nutrient-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. That includes getting in your daily allowance of produce...the more colorful the better. Why not take the “make half your plate vegetables and fruit resolution?”
Speaking of vegetables and fruit, March is also time to get your leprechaun on! Focus on green this month. Start with a Morning Green Drink by adding spinach or other leafy greens to your smoothie.
Mash avocado on your morning toast. Make a batch of zucchini muffins for your afternoon snack. And have a delicious green salad for lunch and some delicious cruciferous broccoli for dinner.
5-Minute Avocado Toast
- 2 slices of bread, preferably thick-sliced whole-grain bread
- 1 ripe avocado
- Pinch of salt
- Optional ingredients
- Toast slice of bread until golden and firm.
- Removed the pit from the avocado. Use a big spoon to scoop out the flesh. Put it in a bowl and mash it up with a fork until it’s as smooth as you like it. Mix in a pinch of salt and any other ingredient you desire for more taste (i.e. garlic salt, Harissa, Tabasco, Sriracha sauce, fresh basil, cilantro, etc.)
- Spread avocado on the top of the toast. Enjoy as-is or top with any optional ingredients to pick it up a notch (like a fried, scrambled or poached egg).
Yield: 2 servings
Kale Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 4 cups chopped kale, ribs removed
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- ½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
- ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1 ripe avocado, cut into small cubes
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
- To assemble the salad, place kale in a large bowl; top with quinoa, pomegranate arils, walnuts, goat cheese and avocado. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and gently toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
- Serve with grilled chicken or salmon for a main dish salad.
- Substitute seedless grapes cut in half for pomegranate arils
Broccoli with Lemon, Olive and Caper Sauce
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup sliced Kalamata olives
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium saucepan fitted with a steamer basket, bring one inch of water to boil. Steam the broccoli until tender-crisp, 4-5 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a serving bowl, cover and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the oil and garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute. Stir in the olives, lemon juice and capers and cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the broccoli and season with black pepper. Toss well to coat.
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 3 cups grated zucchini (about 2 whole zucchini)
- 2 beaten eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped pecans, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, eggs, vanilla, olive oil, maple syrup and honey. Stir gently until mixed; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir to combine and make a well in the middle. Pour the wet mixture from step one into the well and stir just a few minutes until barely combined. Over-mixing makes the muffins tough and hard.
- Pour the batter in a muffin tin greased with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and the tops spring back when you press on them.
Yield: 6-8 jumbo muffins or 15-16 regular-sized muffins.
Cindy Kleckner, RDN, LD, FAND is a registered dietitian nutritionist and culinary expert, a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and author of Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies, 2011 and the DASH Diet For Dummies, 2014. Email Cindy for personalized nutrition or culinary consultation at the APEX Centre or call 214-293-5306.