Winter in the Midwest can be tough, and this winter has been especially brutal. It is easy to fall into a rut this time of year with exercise and food due to the cold and snow. March is quickly approaching, which means spring is right around the corner. The availability and variety of fresh produce improves as the weather warms up, which is a great time to branch out and try new foods. March is National Nutrition Month, making it the perfect month to explore new nutritious foods with our Try New Foods Challenge.
National Nutrition Month is a campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Their key messages include topics like: the benefits of a healthy eating style, including a variety of healthful foods from all food groups on a regular basis, being mindful of portion sizes, reducing food waste, food safety, being active in a way that you enjoy, and eating the right amount for you.
Building off the topic of including a variety of healthful foods from all food groups, we have created a monthly challenge that encourages you to incorporate foods that you have never (or rarely) had as a way to explore new foods and recipes.
Each week you will be challenged to include foods from different food groups and record how you used them, and if you liked them.
Trying new foods doesn’t have to be complicated. You can keep it simple and try something plain, or add it into one of your favorite recipes.
We have ideas for different foods in each category, and will provide recipe inspiration each week throughout the month. After the challenge is over this allows you to look back at which recipes you enjoyed, and make them a part of your meal rotation.
The Try New Foods Wellness Challenge
Week 1 – Vegetables
Include new greens like Endive or Swiss Chard in your salad for a boost of vitamin A & K. Or try roasted parsnips for added potassium. Not the salad type? Brussels Sprouts are low in calories but high in many nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C. See below for a Brussels Sprouts recipe courtesy of Performance Health & Fitness Member, Kelly Potter, which provides the perfect mix of sweet and savory.
Week 2 – Plant-Based Proteins
Make your own hummus with chickpeas that are packed with protein, fiber, and folate. Sprinkle hemp seeds over your avocado toast for a boost of protein and fiber.
Week 3 – Fruits
Tart cherries have five times the amount of antioxidants compared to sweet cherries; blend them into your smoothie after a workout to help reduce muscle soreness. Or make energy bites with dates for a quick snack that provides carbohydrates for energy and added potassium.
We are excited to taste new foods and explore new flavors this month. Who is ready to get out of the winter rut, and try new foods this month? To participate, download our challenge worksheet and work through the prep on page 2. You’ll be able to read through suggestions for every week / food category, and make a grocery list before the challenge starts.
We’re excited to commit to our health and wellness, and hope you are too. Please join us in this challenge – we cannot wait to hear how much self-care will improve your overall health and wellness!
HONEY-GLAZED ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Are you a veggie hater? Not anymore! Roasting your vegetables is such a game changer to add flavor and texture to vegetables. My go-to temperature is 425 F and I always roast my veggies for 25-30 minutes, or until they hit that perfect caramelized crisp! Try it on any of your faves – or a new find this month.
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts, washed, dried, and sliced lengthwise
- 1/2 Tbsp oil of choice (I use avocado oil)
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Salt & pepper to taste
Want to learn more about Nutrition Coaching? Schedule a free 30-minute Nutrition Evaluation to chat with Ashley about your health goals and see if nutrition coaching is a good fit for you.