March is National Nutrition Month. It stresses the importance of a balanced diet and making mindful choices about healthy eating, impacting overall health and wellbeing. There are plenty of articles about fad diets and other food-based topics. However, most studies approve that a balanced diet including fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and proteins constitute a healthy diet.
March is the time for fresh cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other veggies like mushrooms, artichokes, parsnips, lettuce, and turnips. Citrus fruits are still widely available through March, and it is the best time to make use of fresh pears, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, limes, lemons, and strawberries.
Here are 2 delicious and nutritious dishes celebrating the fresh seasonal produce of March.
March is an excellent time to go foraging and pick up a variety of mushrooms that sprout in this season. Be careful of what you are picking and if you are allergic to mushrooms. This simple mushroom dish is packed with flavor and makes a great appetizer or a quick-cook midnight snack. The original recipe uses bacon, onion, and cheese for the stuffing. It can be amped up by adding artichoke hearts, chicken, shrimp, crab meat, and other ingredients of choice.
- Bacon – 3 slices
- Crimini mushrooms – 8
- Butter – 1 tbsp
- Onion – 1 tbsp, chopped
- Cheddar cheese – ¾ cup, shredded
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F).
- In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until it is evenly brown. Dice and keep aside.
- Remove the mushroom stems from the caps. Chop up the stems.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and mushroom stems and cook slowly over medium heat.
- Take a bowl and combine the onion-stem mixture, bacon, and 1/2 cup of Cheddar cheese. Mix it well.
- Stuff this mixture in the mushroom caps.
- Bake the stuffed mushrooms in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese melts.
- Remove the baked mushrooms and sprinkle the remaining cheese.
- Garnish with herbs and seasonings of choice.
- Other ingredients like artichokes, mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, cream cheese, crab meat, etc., can be used for the stuffing. The nutritional value will change accordingly.
This recipe makes 8 servings.
Nutritional Facts (per serving):
- Calories – 110
- Protein – 4.7 g
- Carbs – 0.9 g
- Dietary Fiber – 0.4 g
- Fat – 9.7 g
Quick Fruit Salad
Fruits are rich in essential vitamins and minerals. They are high in fiber and provide many health-boosting antioxidants. Such high-fiber foods can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Strawberries are packed with vitamins, fiber, minerals like manganese and potassium, and high levels of polyphenol antioxidants. They are sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. Similarly, bananas are rich in fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants, like vitamin C. Many may feel eating fruits is boring. And so, whipping up a quick fruit salad can add the taste quotient to the nutritiousness of the assorted fruits.
- Fresh strawberries – 1 pint, sliced
- Seedless green grapes – 1 pound, halved
- Bananas – 3, peeled and sliced
- Strawberry yogurt – 8 ounces
- Combine the fruits and yogurt in a large bowl. Toss it well to coat all the fruits.
- Serve immediately.
- You can add other seasonal fruits like oranges or grapefruit to the salad.
- The strawberry yogurt can be replaced with lemon yogurt or other low-fat flavors of choice.
- Add nuts, seeds, granola, or oats for texture and extra nutrition.
This recipe makes 12 servings.
Nutritional Facts (per serving):
- Calories – 81
- Protein – 1.5 g
- Carbs – 19.2 g
- Dietary Fiber – 1.8 g
- Fat – 0.6 g
Recipes ideas and sources taken from allrecipes.com