Welcome to the first week of New Year, New You, where this week’s theme is all about eating more produce! Each week on Thursdays in January, Lexie from Lexie’s Kitchen and I, along with a handful of other bloggers, will be bringing you recipes and tips to help you stay on track with your healthy eating goals. Our main objective is to cultivate a community of people that are moving toward positive changes when it comes to their health and wellness. Our hope is that we will all make strides toward improving our health one bite at a time, sustaining those strides throughout the new year.
Are you as pumped as I am? Let’s jump in!
This week is all about incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our diets. When we load up on fresh, colorful foods, our bodies glow from the inside out. In the past few months especially, I’ve made a significant effort to weave more colorful produce into my meals. As my body has adjusted to a high-vegetable diet, I now find myself craving dark greens, root vegetables, fresh garlic, and herbs like never before.
Work more fresh produce into your diet with these simple steps:
- Eat a huge salad at least once per day. I usually do this at lunch, loading it up with crunchy vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fat so that it sticks with me into the afternoon. Even if you don’t eat many vegetables at your other meals, you’ll know that you’re getting in some stellar nutrients by committing to just one salad each day.
- Stock “long shelf life” veggies in your fridge. I’m talking about the ones that don’t wilt after a day, like carrots, yams, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and onions. Because they last a while, you’ll always have an assortment of vegetables to grab at a moment’s notice and incorporate into your meals.
- Eat more vegetables than fruit. It’s easy to put all of our eggs in the fruit basket, so to speak, when it comes to eating more fresh produce. While fruit is rich in many health-supportive vitamins and minerals along with lots of fiber, it also packs a hefty amount of natural sugar. To keep your blood sugar stable and avoid “sugar swings,” make vegetables that backbone of your diet, incorporating a few small servings of fruit here and there as healthy side kicks.
Load up on your veggies with today’s recipe for an easy chopped chicken and vegetable salad. Packed with crunchy carrots, celery, fennel, and more, it’s guaranteed to boost your immune system and kick your new year off to a super-healthy start!
Find more veggie-packed recipes and tips this week from:
- Wendy at Celiacs in the House sharing dozens of practical tips for eating more produce
- Ali at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen sharing Kale with Caramelized Onions
- Heather at Gluten-Free Cat sharing Fennel & Orange Sesame Salad
And now for the giveaway!
UPDATE 1/11/12 – This giveaway is now closed.
First things first, swing by Lexie’s Kitchen for a chance to win a copy of Eat Fresh & D-tox for Your Life, an e-book filled with 40 tips and recipes from dozens of bloggers for energizing soups and smoothies!
Now, about today’s cookbooks. There are a dozens of cookbooks that I find indispensable in my kitchen, but today I’m giving away two books that really hit the mark when it comes to creative vegetable recipes.
I met the author of Blissful Bites, Christy Morgan, earlier this year. Her positive personality and bright smile are just delightful. In her vegan book, you'll find page after page of produce-packed recipes like Soba Noodle Sushi, African Collard Stir-Fry, and Winter White Bean Stew. The recipes are not exclusively gluten-free or soy-free, but many of them can be very easily modified to fit your needs.
Ali Segersten and Tom Malterre's book, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, is an absolute classic when it comes to natural foods cooking. I am a huge fan of every single recipe I've ever tried from this book...and I've tried many! A few favorites: Berry Hazelnut Salad, Coconut Vegetable Curry, and Tomato Peach Salsa.
Here's how to win one of these fabulous books:
- Leave a comment on this post with your favorite way to prepare and eat fresh produce.
- Follow Daily Bites or Lexie's Kitchen on Facebook and leave a comment saying you did.
- Follow Daily Bites or Lexie's Kitchen on Twitter and leave a comment saying you did.
- Share about this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and leave a comment saying you did.
This giveaway is open until 4:00 pm CST on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. Two (2) winners will be randomly selected and notified by email that they have won. They will also be announced in next Thursday's New Year, New You post. Contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only, age 18 or older.
Full disclosure: I was provided with copies of these books from the publishers to give away at no charge, however the opinions expressed about the books are strictly my own.
Easy Chopped Chicken & Vegetable Salad
For the salad:
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and finely chopped
2 large kale leaves, stemmed and finely chopped
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, quartered, cored, and finely chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 cup cooked chickpeas, roughly chopped
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, toss all of the salad ingredients to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.