Healthy Eating Habits. 5 Nourishing Recipes with Greens for a Healthy Lifestyle.

Finding Balance in Healthy Eating. How to Add More Greens to Everyday Meals.

Becoming a new mom was an incredible and life-changing experience. However, amidst the joy and wonder of motherhood, I faced a significant challenge: organizing healthy eating habits. Time seemed to slip through my fingers, exhaustion weighed me down, and my primary focus was caring for my precious baby. It was a whirlwind of emotions and responsibilities that left me little room to prioritize my own well-being.

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I soon noticed a concerning pattern emerging in my diet. In my quest for quick bursts of energy, I found myself gravitating towards fast carbs and constantly craving them. These sugary indulgences provided an instant spark of vitality, but it was short-lived. Before I knew it, exhaustion would creep back in, leaving me feeling drained once again. It was a vicious cycle that I desperately wanted to break free from.

Realizing the toll this pattern was taking on my overall health and energy levels, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I knew I needed to find a solution that would help me regain control and feel more energized without relying on a constant stream of cookies and sugary treats.

That’s when I discovered the power of incorporating greens into my daily diet. Adding a variety of nutrient-rich vegetables became my secret weapon in regulating my energy levels. The leafy greens provided me with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that nourished my body and fueled me with lasting energy. I began to experience a significant shift in how I felt throughout the day.

Now, let me be honest with you—I didn’t completely eliminate sugar and fast carbs from my diet. I believe in balance and indulging in life’s sweet pleasures every now and then. However, I made a conscious effort to reduce my intake of these energy-draining foods. By prioritizing greens and incorporating them into my meals, I found that I felt much better overall.

Here are some recipes and the benefits of eating some particular greens:

Young leafy greens with beetroot, goat cheese, Sicilian orange, and toasted walnuts/pumpkin seeds

Leafy Greens Recipe 1 - Healthy Eating Habits. How to Add More Greens to Everyday Meals

Incorporating young leafy greens into my diet brought about a myriad of benefits that I hadn’t anticipated. Not only did they provide a burst of freshness and vibrant colors to my meals, but they also played a significant role in boosting my energy levels and overall well-being.

Young green salad leaves are packed with essential nutrients that are crucial for a new mom. They are a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate, iron, and calcium. These nutrients helped support my immune system, enhance my bone health, and replenish vital nutrients lost during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

One of my favorite salad recipes that incorporates these nutritious greens is a delightful combination of baked beetroot, young leafy greens, creamy goat cheese, juicy Sicilian oranges, and toasted pumpkin seeds. This salad not only satisfies my cravings for a wholesome meal but also provides a symphony of flavors and textures that keeps me coming back for more.

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Here’s the recipe for my revitalizing salad:

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-sized baked beetroots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups of mixed young green salad leaves
  • 1 small goat cheese log, crumbled
  • 1 Sicilian orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large flat salad bowl, combine the mixed young green salad leaves, crumbled goat cheese, and segmented Sicilian oranges.
  2. Add the roasted beetroot slices to the salad plate.
  3. Drizzle the salad dressing over the ingredients in the plate.
  4. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds over the top for an added crunch and nutty flavour.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy the burst of freshness and nourishment in every bite!

This salad has become a staple in my meal rotation, providing me with a balanced combination of nutrients and flavors. The sweet, earthy taste of the baked beetroot complements the tangy Sicilian oranges and creamy goat cheese, while the young green salad leaves add a refreshing crunch. The toasted walnuts or pumpkin seeds add a delightful nuttiness that brings the whole dish together. You can do it without oranges or add some balsamic vinegar and honey into the salad dressing, add avocado slices or strawberries. There are lots of modifications you can make. Enjoy!

Fava Beans and Ricotta Crostini

Java Beans Recipe 1

The benefits of Fava Beans:

Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are a nutrient-packed legume that offers a range of health benefits. Incorporating fava beans into your diet can be particularly beneficial for new moms, as they provide essential nutrients that support postpartum recovery and overall well-being. Here are some key benefits of fava beans:

  1. Rich in Nutrients: Fava beans are a great source of protein, dietary fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. They contain significant amounts of folate, iron, magnesium, and vitamin K, which are essential for energy production, blood health, and proper functioning of the nervous system.
  2. Postpartum Recovery: Fava beans are rich in folate, a B vitamin that is crucial for cell division and DNA synthesis. Adequate folate intake is especially important for new moms, as it supports tissue repair and helps replenish nutrient stores depleted during pregnancy and childbirth.
  3. Mood Booster: Fava beans are a natural source of L-dopa, a precursor to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating mood and feelings of well-being. Consuming fava beans may help alleviate postpartum blues and promote a positive mental state.
  4. Blood Health: Fava beans are an excellent source of iron, a mineral vital for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of iron deficiency anemia. Incorporating fava beans into your diet can help boost your iron levels and support overall blood health.
  5. Digestive Health: Fava beans are high in dietary fiber, which aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fiber promotes regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and supports a healthy gut microbiome.

Now, let’s explore a delightful recipe that combines the goodness of fava beans with creamy ricotta cheese on crispy crostini. This appetizer not only showcases the unique flavors of fava beans but also provides a nutritious and satisfying snack option for new moms.

Fava Beans Recipe 2
Fava Beans and Ricotta Crostini Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked fava beans (you can use fresh, frozen, or canned fava beans)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Baguette or crusty bread, sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves or parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl mix together ricotta cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and extra virgin olive oil. Mash the mixture lightly with a fork, leaving some texture.
  2. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as desired.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toast in the oven until golden and crispy, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Once the crostini slices are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly.
  5. Spread a generous amount of ricotta mixture onto each crostini slice. Add fava beans on top.
  6. Optional: Garnish each crostini with a fresh basil leaf or parsley for added flavor and visual appeal.
  7. Arrange the crostini on a serving platter and serve immediately.

These fava bean and ricotta crostini make for a delightful appetizer or snack option that’s both satisfying and nutritious. The creamy ricotta complements the earthy flavor of the fava beans, while the toasted crostini adds a satisfying crunch.

Bok Choy (Pak Choi) with sesame seeds

Bok Choi Recipe 1

Benefits of Bok Choy:

Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage, is a leafy green vegetable that offers a range of health benefits. It is rich in nutrients and has been a staple in Asian cuisine for centuries. Here are some key benefits of incorporating bok choi into your diet:

  1. Nutrient Powerhouse: Bok Choy is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, potassium, and folate. These nutrients are vital for maintaining healthy bones, supporting immune function, and promoting overall well-being.
  2. Antioxidant-Rich: Bok Choy contains powerful antioxidants, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. Antioxidants help protect the body against cellular damage caused by harmful free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and promoting a healthy immune system.
  3. Digestive Health: With its high fiber content, bok choy is beneficial for digestive health. The fiber helps promote regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and supports a healthy gut microbiome. Including bok choy in your meals can contribute to a healthy digestive system.
  4. Heart-Friendly: Bok Choy is low in calories and fat while being rich in potassium. Potassium is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and supporting cardiovascular health. Consuming bok choy as part of a balanced diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  5. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Bok Choy contains phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory properties, such as glucosinolates. These compounds help reduce inflammation in the body, which is associated with various chronic diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.

Now, let’s explore a simple and delicious recipe that showcases the flavors and benefits of bok choy. This stir-fried bok choy with sesame seeds is a delightful side dish that pairs well with a variety of main courses.

Bok Choy Recipe 2
Bok Choy with Sesame Seeds Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads of bok choy, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional, for added flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cut the bok choy into several pieces.
  2. Boil the water with a pinch of salt and cook bok choy for a minute, then put it into cold water to stop cooking.
  3. Place bok choy on a paper napkin to dry.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, heat the sesame oil or olive oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the bok choy to the skillet and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften.
  6. Drizzle the soy sauce and oyster sauce (if using) over the bok choy.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Transfer the stir-fried pak choi to a serving dish.
  9. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the bok choy.
  10. Serve the bok choy with sesame seeds as a side dish alongside your favorite protein source or rice dish.

This simple and flavorful recipe allows the natural taste of bok choy to shine while adding a nutty crunch from the sesame seeds.

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie Recipe 1
Green Smoothie Recipe 2

Benefits of Green Smoothies:

Green smoothies have gained popularity as a quick and convenient way to incorporate leafy greens into our diets. Packed with nutrients and fiber, green smoothies offer numerous health benefits. Here are some key advantages of enjoying green smoothies regularly:

  1. Increased Vegetable Intake: Green smoothies provide a simple and delicious way to increase your intake of leafy green vegetables. Greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health and well-being.
  2. Nutrient Density: Green smoothies are nutrient-dense, meaning they offer a high concentration of essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. These nutrients help support immune function, promote healthy digestion, enhance skin health, and provide natural energy.
  3. Hydration: Green smoothies typically contain a significant amount of water due to their liquid base, which helps promote hydration. Staying properly hydrated is crucial for maintaining overall health and supporting body functions.
  4. Fiber-Rich: Green smoothies are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. Fiber also supports healthy cholesterol levels and regulates blood sugar levels.
  5. Antioxidant Power: The combination of leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables in green smoothies provides a wide range of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the body against oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and may lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Here’s a simple and refreshing green smoothie recipe to help you get started:

Green Smoothie Recipe 3
Green Smoothie Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup avocado chunks
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any preferred liquid)

Instructions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. If needed, add more liquid for desired consistency.
  3. Taste and adjust sweetness by adding a little honey or a few dates, if desired.
  4. Pour into a glass or to-go bottle.
  5. Enjoy your green smoothie immediately for maximum freshness and nutrition.

Feel free to customize this recipe by adding other fruits or vegetables of your choice. Green smoothies are versatile, allowing you to experiment with flavors and textures while reaping the benefits of a nutritious beverage.

Basil Infused Olive Oil

Basil Infused Olive Oil Recipe 1

Benefits of Basil:

Basil, an aromatic herb commonly used in cooking, not only adds flavor to dishes but also offers several health benefits. Whether consumed fresh or dried, basil provides an array of nutrients and compounds that contribute to overall well-being. Here are some key benefits of basil:

  1. Rich in Antioxidants: Basil contains potent antioxidants, such as rosmarinic acid and flavonoids, which help protect the body against cellular damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Basil possesses anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to its essential oils, including eugenol, linalool, and citronellol. These compounds help reduce inflammation in the body, which is a common underlying factor in many chronic diseases.
  3. Supports Digestive Health: Basil has been used for centuries to aid digestion. It can help soothe stomach discomfort, reduce bloating, and promote healthy bowel movements. Basil also possesses carminative properties, which help relieve gas and indigestion.
  4. Immune-Boosting Properties: Basil is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, along with minerals like iron and calcium, which are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. These nutrients support immune function, help fight off infections, and contribute to overall vitality.
  5. Stress Relief: Basil is known for its calming and stress-relieving properties. The aroma of basil can help reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve mental clarity. It is often used in aromatherapy and herbal remedies to support emotional well-being.

Basil-infused olive oil is a delightful way to add the fresh, herbal flavor of basil to your dishes, such as Caprese salad. Here’s a simple recipe for making basil-infused olive oil at home:

Basil Infused Olive Oil Recipe 2
Basil-Infused Olive Oil Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Place the basil leaves in a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Crush or pulse the leaves a few times to release their oils and aroma.
  2. Transfer the crushed basil leaves to a clean glass jar.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat until warm. Be careful not to let it boil or simmer.
  4. Pour the warm olive oil over the crushed basil leaves in the glass jar. Use a spoon or spatula to gently press down the leaves and submerge them in the oil.
  5. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  6. Cover the jar with a tight-fitting lid and store it in a cool, dark place for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to infuse.
  7. After 24 hours, strain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean jar or bottle, discarding the basil leaves.
  8. Your basil-infused olive oil is ready to use! It adds a wonderful burst of basil flavor to salads, pasta dishes, grilled vegetables, and more.

Tips for Storage:

  • Store your basil-infused olive oil in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight. Exposure to light and heat can degrade the oil and affect its flavor.
  • Properly sealed and stored, basil-infused olive oil can last for several months. However, its flavor will gradually diminish over time.
  • If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as an off odor or cloudy appearance, discard the oil.

Finding the balance between being a loving mom and taking care of my own well-being has been a journey. It hasn’t always been easy, and there have been moments of frustration and setbacks along the way. But the important thing is that I’ve taken the first steps towards a healthier lifestyle that benefits both me and my baby.

To all the new moms out there facing similar challenges, I want to remind you that it’s okay to prioritize your own well-being. Small changes, like adding a handful of greens to your meals, can make a big difference in how you feel. Embrace the journey, be kind to yourself, and remember that finding balance is a gradual process. You’ve got this!

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