We’re not big on setting New Year’s resolutions, but January is typically a time when we try to get back to a healthy eating routine. The indulgent holiday season is over, the new year has begun, and the time is ripe for a clean slate. This year, we’re laying off alcohol, eating at home instead of at restaurants, and, of course, making lots of salads.
This usually goes well for the first couple of weeks.
The healthy stretch doesn’t last very long.
I bet you share the same setbacks as we do. The snowstorm hits and you’re stuck at home with with a tub of Trader Joe’s Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds 10 oz and your husband’s homemade banana bread. By the time the snow melts, there’s so-n-so’s birthday happy hour, Inauguration Protest party cupcakes, Superbowl nachos, Valentine’s Day pasta dinner, and you’re right back to pre-January eating habits.
There’s always something around the corner waiting to throw you off track.
This is life, and it’s why we don’t encourage strict dieting (unless you think a salad a day is strict). Strict diets don’t allow flexibility, and without flexibility it becomes difficult to wade through celebratory food occasions with your sanity intact.
So instead, we have created a weapon to help defend against celebratory snack attacks.
It’s our Superpower Salad.
The Superpower Salad contains some of the healthiest vegetables on earth.
Don’t believe us?
Check out Nutrition Action, a newsletter published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Nutrition Action scores and ranks foods on a variety of factors including nutrient content and fiber.
Kale and spinach score as the top two healthiest vegetables by a landslide. This salad has both, along with peas, carrots, red peppers, sunflower seeds, and quinoa.
We love combining the kale with the spinach. The softer texture of the spinach balances the chewiness of the kale.
Carrots and red peppers were obvious winners, and peas ranked surprisingly high on Nutrition Action’s scale. Carrots are chock full of lutein, a carotenoid that benefits eye health; red bell peppers pack a vitamin-C punch that rivals citrus fruits. Peas are high in vitamin K, which supports bone and cardiovascular health.
As Nutrition Action’s top scoring grain, quinoa doesn’t add just flavor and fill. It’s high in fiber, magnesium, zinc, and iron and is a great source of quality, plant-based protein. If you eat a lot of quinoa, the four-pound bag from truRoots can save you some cash. It’s organic, too. We love cooking it in the Instant Pot: it cooks perfectly and quickly!
We wanted to include some healthy fat from nuts or seeds, so we tossed in a small handful of raw sunflower seeds. Most nuts lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and sunflower seeds are particularly low in saturated fat compared to other nuts. (In case you’re wondering, cashews and Brazil nuts are not so great if you need to lower your LDL.)
This salad does need a bit of dressing to soften the kale, and we recommend a vinaigrette such as our Apple Cider Vinaigrette, with heart-healthy olive oil, or just a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
As the Superbowl/Valentine’s Day eating nexus approaches, we recommend having the SuperPower Salad in your healthy meal arsenal. Now those greasy game-day nachos don’t look so scary.
Go forth, enjoy life!
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