March is here, marking the beginning of Spring. As the weather starts warming up, the markets are gleaming with colorful seasonal fruits and vegetables. Consuming seasonal produce is great for health and is also relatively inexpensive compared to preserved products. Also, the changing seasons allow the incorporation of foods that are specifically available during that particular time of the year.
Eating seasonal food ensures the highest amount of nutrition, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, is naturally ripe and tastes better, is environmentally friendly, and support’s the body’s natural nutritional requirements according to the changing seasons.
March is the season for vegetables like artichokes, avocados, asparagus Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, and fruits like apples, lemons, limes, pears, pineapples, and more.
Here are two easy, delicious, and nutritious recipes using fresh seasonal produce to make healthy eating a fun and healthful action.
Carrot and Apple Salad
Apples and carrots can be used in savory and sweet dishes, in salads, desserts, and snacks. They are nutrient-dense and rich sources of fiber, and antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, and polyphenols. They are great for weight loss, better brain and gut health, and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. This simple salad with shredded apples and carrots can be a delightful spring dish that can be a meal in itself or an addition to the lunch or dinner table.
- Carrots – 2 cups, shredded
- Granny Smith apple – 1, cored and shredded
- Apple cider vinegar – 2 tbsp
- Garlic – 1 clove, minced
- Lemon juice – ¼ cup
- Sugar – 1 tbsp
- Safflower oil – 2 tbsp
- Fresh parsley – ½ cup, chopped
- Sesame seeds – 2 tbsp
- Ground black pepper – to taste
- Salt – to taste
- Heat a skillet and add the sesame seeds to it. Toast them for 3 – 5 minutes over low to medium heat until lightly browned.
- In a bowl, mix the carrots, apples, parsley, and toasted sesame seeds.
- In another bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, sugar, and pepper. Add the oil slowly into the mixture and continue whisking.
- Pour this dressing over the apple and carrot mix and toss well to coat evenly.
- Substitute the sugar with honey, maple syrup, or other healthy sweeteners of choice.
- You can add nuts or seeds of choice.
This recipe makes 6 servings.
Nutritional Facts: (for 1 serving)
- Calories – 97
- Protein – 1 g
- Carbohydrates – 11 g
- Fat – 6 g
- Dietary Fiber – 2 g
Although pineapples are available all around the year, their peak season is from March to July. They are loaded with nutrients like Vitamin C and manganese, and antioxidants that boost immunity and reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. They also contain enzymes like bromelain that aid in digestion and fight against inflammation. This incredibly delicious, healthy tropical fruit can be used in salads, smoothie bowls, roasted on skewers, or desserts, like the muffin recipe given below.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F).
- Drain the pineapple and reserve the juice.
- Take a large bowl, and mix in the 2 cups flour, white sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add ¼ cup of the reserved pineapple juice, milk, egg, and ¼ cup
- of melted butter.
- Mix well until it is well blended into a smooth batter.
- In another bowl, mix the ingredients of the topping, and stir together.
- Spoon the batter into greased muffin pans.
- Top it with the crushed pineapple, followed by a sprinkle of the cinnamon topping.
- Bake for around 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
This recipe makes 16 servings.
Nutritional Facts: (for 1 serving)
- Calories – 183
- Protein – 3 g
- Carbohydrates – 29 g
- Fat – 7 g
- Dietary Fiber – 1 g
Images – for representative purposes only
Recipe ideas from Allrecipes.com