WIAW: Seasonal Spring Foods!

Happy Wednesday everyone! We’re officially in April and we’re half way through this week! Two good things in my opinion. :)

The weather is really starting to shape up around here! Although we didn’t hit 65 like the forecast called for on Tuesday, we did make it to 60 which was HEAVENLY. I took Ella for a nice loooong walk. I feel so bad she’s been cooped up all Winter! And she loves being outside, so I know she appreciate the sunshine, the bird chasing, and all the recently uncovered grass!

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I wanted to say how much I truly appreciate each and every comment on my last post. It’s always hard to speak out about personal struggles, especially when they have to do with mental health, but you all were so receptive and kind. So thank you for your continued support!

Today is WIAW of course and since Spring is in full swing (or at least it’s supposed to be!) I thought we could celebrate by talking about all the plentiful spring produce that’s available right now! Think of this as the ABC’s of Spring produce! I also am sharing the health benefits of these wonderful foods, as well as how to select them at their peak of freshness at the store!
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Artichokes-

What to look for in the store: Tight, compact leaves and fresh-cut stem ends.

Health Benefits: Good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. They’re number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.

Beets-

What to look for in the store: Fresh beets are often sold with their greens still attached.

Health Benefits: High in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese. Lower blood pressure, boost stamina, fight inflammation, have anti-cancer properties, and are detoxifying.

Carrots-

What to look for in the store: Look for a good, smooth form and a hearty orange color. Select carrots that still have greens attached, as these tend to keep better and taste fresher. The leaves themselves should be fresh and bright green.

Health Benefits: High in Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Calcium. Contain potassium, vitamin B6, copper, folic acid, thiamine and magnesium. Good for vision, brain health, prevention of heart disease and cancer, and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Fennel-

What to look for in the store: Look for fennel with fresh-looking greens on long branches. The bulbs should be bright white with no discolorations or soft spots.

Health Benefits: Full of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. Provides relief from anemia, indigestion, constipation, colic, respiratory disorders, and it has benefits regarding eye care.

Grapefruit-

What to look for in the store: Thin, finely textured skins that feel heavy for their size and are firm when squeezed.

Health Benefits: Packed with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Aids weight loss, prevents arthritis, works as an antiseptic, prevents colon cancer, treats common ailments, and helps lower cholesterol.

Leeks-

What to look for in the store: The top green leaves should look fresh – avoid leeks with wilted tops.

Health Benefits: Protects blood vessels, provides folate, has high antioxidant properties, decreases chronic inflammatory diseases, and is high in vitamin C, B6, and K as well as iron and manganese.

Mint-

What to look for in the store: Choose bunches that stand up and don’t droop. Look for whole, unblemished leaves attached to crisp stems. The leaves should be a vibrant green color without dark brown or yellow spots.

Health Benefits: Good source of manganese, copper, and vitamin C.  Soothes aches, pains, and stomach problems, relieves headaches, useful as a decongestant, natural antibacterial.

Navel Oranges-

What to look for in the store: Choose oranges that are smooth skinned, deep orange in color, heavy for their weight and free of blemishes.

Health Benefits: Low in calories and high in fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Provides your body with nutrients that support essential physiological systems and may help decrease your chance of developing chronic diseases

Peas-

What to look for in the store: Purchase snow peas that have a fresh, green top. The green should be bright and the seeds very small and flat.

Health Benefits: High protein, vitamin and mineral content. Contain vitamins, A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and K. Mineral content includes potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc.

Spinach-

What to look for in the store: Crisp, fresh and green spinach leaves.

Health Benefits: Extremely high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. Good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.

And now for some more food fun in the form of WIAW pictures!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArice noodles with thai peanut sauce, salmon, and veggies//toast with feta, tomato, and basil//roasted broccoli, asparagus, and parsnips

IMG_4997garnet yam//laughing cow//orange power bowl

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAchopped turkey-veggie salad//tortilla with laughing cow and jam

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbaked bean and cabbage salad//english muffin with peanut butter and jelly

IMG_4959seafood-spaghetti squash marinara with nutritional yeast//toasted everything bagel

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAclassic pear power bowl

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steamed purple artichoke with garlic and olive oil <—just like my mom used to make when I was little artichokesandlemons.jpgI got an awesome package from Frieda’s featuring their seasonal purple and baby artichokes…plus some pretty unique lemons! Much sweeter and more flavorful than normal ones!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsalmon sushi//roasted kabocha//roasted broccoli and cauliflower

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAchopped turkey-artichoke salad//crisp breads and crackers with frozen banana, peanut butter, and cinnamon

IMG_4965overnight oats with peach, strawberry, and banana softserve

IMG_4966Two bar refuel after every workout! Two of my favorites: chocolate coffee Kronobar and a cherry pumpkin seed Kits bars

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJazzed up kashi pizza: I added broccoli, pesto, more tomato sauce, and grape tomatoes…without the extra toppings, it was just sad.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApear power bowl//apple cinnamon protein muffins//freeze dried veggies

IMG_4932coconut crusted tofu and onions//roasted kabocha//roasted broccoli and parsnips

What are you favorite Spring fruits and veggies?

Any warm weather foods you’re looking forward to eating more of soon?

What are you munching on RIGHT NOW?

Oh and one more thing….I can’t believe it but this month (on the 14th!) my little ‘ol blog turns 4!!! Cannot believe it’s been 4 whole years since I started Healthy Helper! I plan on celebrating with a slew of fun giveaways from all my favorite brands just for you!! So get ready to celebrate!

Kaila

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Todays’s Healthy Help: Offered to make photocopies for my group in my team based learning class!

Never too late to start Lending a {Healthy} Hand for this week’s round-up! Tell me what you’ve done to help someone else lately!

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WIAW: Elevate Me Oatmeal Giveaway and Review!

I think I have a sugar high…because the sweetness of the comments on my race recap post totally overwhelmed me!

Okay, that was totally corny. But in all seriousness…you all are too kind. Thank you for all the congratulations and support! I still feel like I am riding a high from the race! Hey, I’ll take it. Gotta love those feel good emotions!

Today is WIAW of course. The best foodie day of the week! And I have lots of great pre-race eats to share with you all!

But first…a new product (AND GIVEAWAY!) to share!

One of my favorite parts of going to exhibitions like Expo East is all the new products and new product releases from my favorite companies that I get to try. There is nothing better than having a company that you already love and support, come out with new flavors of their products…or better yet, totally new additions to their brand!

That’s exactly what happened recently with one of my favorite protein bar companies…Elevate Me! These are my solution to the whole ‘quest bar craze’. I prefer protein bars with real, whole food ingredients! And this company makes them! Oats, nuts, whey protein, and fruit…nothing else!

Well, not only has Elevate Me totally rebranded and redesigned their packaging (which looks GREAT if I do say so!), but they’ve created a line of instant oatmeal that follows the same principles that their bars are created with.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe oatmeal cups contain wheat free oats, pieces of Elevate Me’s energy bars, raisins, cane sugar, maple and brown sugar and chia seeds.

Right now they come in 3 flavors: Tropical Fruit Chia, Very Berry Chia, and Cocoa Coconut Chia!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am not a huge fan of the fact that they added brown sugar as I think their bars are sweet enough without any added sugar and I don’t have a huge sweet tooth to begin with. But the oatmeal cups really aren’t overly sweet at all which leads me to believe that the amount they added is pretty negligible! All the flavors taste great and I LOVE how high in protein and fiber each of them are! They definitely pack more a of a nutritional punch than a typical bowl of oats….over 10g of protein per cup!

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All the flavors have a healthy dose of good fats as well and I love that the addition of chia seeds and the energy bar crumbles gives them a really unique texture! Love the dried fruits as well! The oats are a little thinner than a typical bowl of rolled oats, but I actually prefer them like this! My favorite way to enjoy these oatmeal cups was with some plain yogurt, frozen fruit, and nuts on top! The yogurt provided a great contrast to the fruity, sweet flavored oats!

Do these sound like something you’d want to try? They are so convenient for a healthy breakfast or snack when you’re pressed for time! Plus they’re much more satisfying than a regular bowl of oats because of all the extra, healthy ingredients!

Now’s your chance to try Elevate’s new oatmeal for yourself! Enter below for a chance to win a WHOLE CASE (12 cups!) of Elevate Me’s Energy Oatmeal!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

IMG_4854sprouted lentil and cabbage salad//tortilla with frozen banana and peanut butter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcrab salad//tortillas with laughing cow and jam

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAspaghetti squash with veggies and a chopped up turkey burger//toasted everything bagel//roasted veggies

IMG_4849mahi mahi//sauteed veggies//homemade tortilla//japanese sweet potato//a little kabocha//laughing cow//steamed broccoli//black bean dip

IMG_4842grilled cheese//orange slices

IMG_4837snickerdoodle larabar//berry cheeky nakd bar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsprouted lentil salad//corn tortillas with apple butter, humus, and cucumber

IMG_4833corned ‘bean’ and cabbage burgers//sweet potato and peanut butter//roasted veggies

IMG_4885sweet potato//peanut butter//shredded cheese//toasted scuffin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAitalian-crab stuffed mushrooms//roasted veggies//orange slices

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAturkey-veggie salad//toasted pita with humus and cucumber

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmiracle rice (sample left over from Expo East!) mac and cheese with veggies//toasted ezekiel bread with feta//roasted veggies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcheesy quinoa and broccoli burritos from Oh She Glows cookbook

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApanckaes//japanese sweet potato//peanut butter// blueberries//roasted broccoli and parsnips

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApear power bowl with cafe mocha amazing grass, cinnamon, and whey protein crunchies

A few things to wrap up this post…

-A couple times a year I like to take a prolonged break from exercise. Usually when I start to feel like my workouts are not serving their purpose of making me feel good and more of a burden and anxiety provoker than anything else. I feel like I am entering one of these phases right now, and that means it’s time to listen to my body and ease up. I am not sure if this will be a full break, but I will be cutting down on my workouts and taking it easy for the next little bit. Don’t know how long this will last, but I am just gonna roll with it until I feel like myself again. So you may see a little less fitness posting around here for the next little bit! Hope you don’t mind the absence….but I gotta do what’s right for me!

-Saw this little notion at the store the other day and I thought it was a  good thing to think about…

IMG_4844Basically I take the meaning to be, accept where you are right now and do what you can with the tools you have in front of you. There is always time for progress, improvement, and getting to places that others are at. But sometimes the best thing is to just appreciate yourself for who you are RIGHT NOW. So judgments, no criticism. Just all out appreciation for what YOU have and what YOU can do.

See you all soon!

Kaila

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Todays’s Healthy Help: Gave someone who just started their blog some tips on how to get organized!

Never too late to start Lending a {Healthy} Hand for this weeks round-up! Tell me what you’ve done to help someone else lately!