02 Jun Achieving A Fulfilling Springtime Meal
Why do we crave certain foods as the seasons change?
Recipe and tips to feed your seasonal cravings this Spring.
Springtime is Here!
Springtime has arrived again. As we enter into the warmer months and winter’s grip steadily fades, many of us are venturing outdoors to get fresh air and seek to achieve our healthiest self to take on the rest of 2020. Spring reminds us of new beginnings, fresh starts, inspiration for growth, and embracing positive change. And, what better place to start than your health!
Climate, environment, and seasonal change play a profound role in the foods we crave and the nutrition we need. Seasonal cravings are real. As temperatures heat up, a desire for lighter meals – rather than the dense lunches and dinners we indulged in all winter – kicks in. We often crave fresh salads and veggies as our bodies naturally want to rid ourselves of any extra weight we had put on during the winter months. So, it is time to replace the heavy stews with drier, lighter, more fragrant meals, crisp veggies, and juicy fruits – particularly those harvested during the Spring months.
Benefits Of Eating Seasonal Springtime Meals
The concept of eating foods that match the season is anything but new. In fact, this idea has been around since the beginning of time when hunters and gatherers consumed only the foods available to them given the time of year. However, with exponentially more options available to us today, eating seasonally calls for a little more intuition, mindfulness, and listening to what our bodies want.
What To Eat For Your Springtime Meal
Eating seasonally has its benefits; in-season foods tend to be more reasonably priced and have a richer flavor compared to out-of-season produce. To incorporate seasonal foods into your diet, start by foraging for fruits and veggies at your local farmers’ markets and grocery stores adhering to these Springtime tips:
- Opt for fresh, organic vegetables and fruits and legumes, lentils, and beans.
- Go light on meat, wheat, dairy, and sugar to avoid digestive strain.
- When it comes to grains, choose lighter options such as millet, quinoa, and rice.
- Add fresh seasonings and spices, such as black pepper, sea salt, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin, and mustard seeds.
- Go for color! A plate with greens, yellows, reds, purples, oranges, blues, etc. can indicate a nutrient-dense plate.
While in-season fruits and veggies are dependent on the region you live in, common in-season Spring options to put in your cart include:
- Fava Beans
Grilled Kale Salad With Ricotta, Plums
And Mary’s Gone Crackers
The key to mastering a healthful, light spring diet is rooted in a solid grocery list and nutrition plan. Head to the store with some Spring-centric meals in mind and stick to the ingredient list.
The grilled kale salad with ricotta plums and Mary’s Gone Crackers is a great place to get started. To satisfy all of your spring cravings, this recipe combines light nutrition with deep satisfaction. With a hearty mix of greens, juicy fruits, and protein-packed crackers, this is a sure-fire combination that will keep you full and satisfied.
Under 10 ingredients, the grilled kale salad combines Lacinato kale, ripe plums, fresh ricotta, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, and a pinch of salt to taste. Easy to make, this salad will be on the table and ready to eat in under thirty minutes.
Here is how to make it:
First, mix the balsamic, olive oil, mustard, honey and salt in a sealed jar. Set aside. This will serve as the dressing to drizzle over the final creation.
Second, preheat the grill or stovetop to high heat. Toss the kale in oil and season with salt. *Kale can be massaged prior to this step to give it a softer texture to support easier digestion.
Next, grill the kale on the preheated stove or grill. Set aside in a bowl to cool.
Divide the ricotta between three to four plates and season with salt and pepper as you please.
Finally, place the kale on top of the ricotta, then place the plums on top and drizzle with dressing. Serve and enjoy!
Mary’s Gone Crackers Rosemary Super Seed
For a protein punch and extra nutrients, add in Mary’s Gone Crackers Rosemary Super Seed as a “crouton” alternative topping or side. The piney, herb taste of Mary’s Super Seed Rosemary Crackers combines rosemary with the rich, organic ingredients of the Super Seed cracker. Every ingredient that is blended into these crackers – including whole grain brown rice, whole grain quinoa, pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds, brown flax seeds, brown sesame seeds, and fresh seasonings – is whole, plant-based, organic and gluten-free. The perfect complement to add a much needed “crunch” to your salad.
Achieving a Fulfilling Meal
The key to a satisfying meal is twofold: it must provide you the necessary nutrients for energy and focus, and it must taste delicious!
To satisfy the need for nutrients, make sure your meal checks all the boxes: fruits, veggies, proteins, grains with delicious, fresh seasonings and dressing. The grilled kale salad with ricotta plums happens to have it all:
Springtime Meal Favorites
Kale has been called one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. One cup packs quite a punch:
- Vitamin A: 206% of the DV (from beta-carotene)
- Vitamin K: 684% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 134% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 26% of the DV
- Calcium: 9% of the DV
- Copper: 10% of the DV
- Potassium: 9% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
Kale is low calorie and low fat but loaded with antioxidants that have been shown to aid in many ailments. Plums, similar to kale, are low in calories and rich in important vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and folate. Too, they are packed with antioxidants that can aid in protecting the body against disease and digestive stress.
The ricotta cheese offers an excellent source of calcium, selenium, and phosphorus and brings numerous essential minerals. While ricotta can be considered high in fat, it can also add a protein boost with low carbs and is available in low-fat forms. It has vitamin A and B2, as well as small amounts of most other essential vitamins. (Ricotta can be replaced with goat cheese for the dairy intolerant and offers a lower fat/dairy free option to the recipe.)
Rosemary Super Seed
The Rosemary Super Seed crackers bring the protein and fiber to the table. You can actually see the heart-healthy seeds in every cracker, and one serving provides five grams of protein, three grams of fiber, and no sugar. The organic rosemary, garlic and herbs contribute an added zest to the creation!
Some would call olive oil the healthiest fat on earth. While many argue that fat can sometimes cause a slew of health issues, few advise against consuming olive oil. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, loaded with antioxidants and contains oleic acid and oleocanthal, which has been shown to fight inflammation and protect heart health, amongst many other benefits. The balsamic vinegar – containing antimicrobial compounds, acetic acid, and antioxidants – provides potential added benefits such as lowering cholesterol and weight loss. The Dijon mustard, honey and salt provide a healthy, tasty, and natural flavoring.
Most importantly, the flavor combination results in a truly delicious salad. Kale’s mild taste compliments the tart, sweet taste of the plum and plays off the piney, pepper and somewhat astringent flavors of the Rosemary crackers. Ricotta cheese brings a creamy, mildly sweet taste that is slightly salty. This salad will leave you satisfied and energized!
See the full recipe for this springtime meal here:
SPRINGTIME MEAL: GRILLED KALE SALAD WITH RICOTTA PLUMS
Recipe by Mary’s Team | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes
OUR SPRINGTIME MEAL INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 bunch of Lacinato kale, washed and destemmed
2 tablespoons oil of your choice for grilling
Pinch of salt
2-4 ripe plums, pitted and wedged
1 cup fresh ricotta
TRY YOUR SPRINGTIME MEAL WITH
Super Seed Rosemary Crackers
- Mix the balsamic, olive oil, mustard, honey and salt in a sealed jar
- Preheat the grill to high heat
- Toss the kale in oil and season with salt
- Grill the kale and set aside in a bowl to cool
- Divide the ricotta between plates and season with salt & pepper
- Plate kale on top of the ricotta
- Place the plums on top, drizzle with dressing and serve
Versatile in nature, salads offer the ability to swap, add, or remove ingredients. To make this salad vegan, replace the Ricotta cheese with a vegan cheese of your choice. For an additional protein pack, add grilled salmon, chicken or turkey. Goji berries, nuts and seeds make great add-ons too.
Mary’s Gone Crackers can also be paired with soups, dips, cheeses, veggies, and more. For recipe inspiration, visit https://www.marysgonecrackers.com/marys-recipes/ or follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.