When preparing meals, you may not realize how easy it is to pack in a powerhouse of nutrients your body will love you for. There are so many health-building, beautifying, and energizing benefits to incorporating whole food ingredients into your daily menu. Here is a sampling of basics that can catapult any ho-hum dish into something that will help you go about your day blazing with bright energy. I’ve included a recipe at the end so you can see for yourself how easy (and delicious) it can be.
Dark Leafy Greens
Eating vitamin and mineral rich leafy greens is the direct route to strengthening every system of your body—including bones and overall immunity. Green veggies get their color from mood-boosting chlorophyll which helps make the blood more alkaline. Say goodbye to body odor and hello to sweet breath when cleansing and deodorizing greens are included in your everyday diet.
The more the better of this anti-aging, skin-brightening, collagen-producing beauty vitamin! Hardworking vitamin C also speeds up recovery after exercise, injury, or illness. Some vitamin C superstars are bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lemon, and sweet potatoes.
Nuts and Seeds
Welcome to the wonderful world of healthy fats! The much needed and often underused omega-3 oils found in hemp, flax, chia and pumpkin seed as well as walnuts and almonds are key nutrients for lustrous hair and gorgeous skin. Nuts and seeds boast anti-inflammatory and brain boosting properties as well.
It’s always worth shouting outthe joys of another of nature’s perfect foods! Sumptuous avocados have a great supply of protein, fiber, potassium, and heart healthy monounsaturated fat—making them total skin and energy food.
Deliciously gluten free and low glycemic, quinoa is technically a seed, even though its prepared and eaten like a grain. Quinoa’s complete protein profile, iron prowess, and fiber content qualify it as a superfood. Added bonus: iron rich foods aid in eliminating dark under eye circles.
A hydrated body means moisturized skin and headache prevention! Go for juicy fruits, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, peppers, and greens when adding to your daily water intake.
Mediterranean Colorful Quinoa Salad
This salad travels well so its great for days when you take your own lunch to work or school. Aim to use organic ingredients for the most benefit. This recipe serves four.
- 5 loosely packed cups hearty salad greens—spinach torn into bite sized pieces, baby kale, baby chard, raddichio, and/or frisee
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves, loosely chopped
- ½ pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cucumber, sliced into half circles
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 thinly sliced green onion
- 2 cups already cooked quinoa, cooled
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- ¼ cup halved raw walnuts, soaked in water 4-8 hours then drained
- 2 tablespoons flax or olive oil
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Cayenne or black pepper to taste
Place all veggies in a large bowl. Gently stir in the hemp seeds, quinoa, and walnuts. Drizzle with the oil, lemon, and sea salt. Toss and enjoy!
Optional: Top with sliced avocado and additional mint leaves.