Monday, May 14, 2012

Greening for Your Pregnancy

Green vegetables are typically the missing food group in a modern day diet. When it is present, it is often over-cooked, over-buttered, or even possibly over-steamed. Eating greens help to nourish our body and help keep us from getting sick. Greens are very high calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are crammed with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. It is always better to eat more locally, and organically. But if price is an issue, eating non-organic fresh or frozen vegetables is better than no greens.
Here are the top benefits to eating dark leafy greens:
-       Blood purification
-       Cancer prevention
-       Improved circulation
-       Strengthened immune system
-       Promotion of healthy intestinal flora
-       Promotion of subtle, light and flexible energy
-       Lifted spirit and elimination of depression
-       Improved liver, gall bladder and kidney function
-       Cleared congestion, especially in lungs by reducing mucus
-       Protects mom and growing baby from toxins added to food that have been proven to be linked to devasting health problems
      -       Lowers risk of UTIs (by keeping vitamin A level at healthy levels
-       Combats legs cramps because of the levels of calcium and magnesium
-       Helps resolve constipation (due to its fiber content)
The top green veggies to eat during pregnancy for its benefits and taste are: Spinach; kale; collards; mustard greens; turnip greens; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; red leaf lettuce; even yard greens such as dandelion; These power-packed vegetables help keep the you and the growing baby healthy. They contain folate in the natural form, which has been shown to prevent spinal cord birth defects. I suggest 2-4 servings per day of these greens per day.

Dandelion Salad with Hazelnut Vinaigrette 
2 large bunches dandelion greens

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash greens, remove stems and chop into 3/4-inch pieces.

2. Place greens in a large mixing bowl.

3. Heat oil in a sauté pan on medium.

4. Add garlic and nuts, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.

5. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper.

6. Pour the cooled vinaigrette over the greens and toss well.

Penne with Vegetables
(I would recommend getting whole wheat but if don’t like the taste of whole wheat, try to put some regular penne in it to mix it up)

1 medium red pepper, sliced

1 medium green pepper, sliced

1 medium orange or yellow sweet pepper, sliced

1 cup snow peas, sugar snap peas, or green beans

1 large tomato, quartered

1 cup of broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

5 or 6 fresh basil leaves, shredded

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups dried cheese tortellini

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Cook penne as directed by the package.

2. Heat oil in a medium sized sauté pan. Add onion, cook until translucent. Add garlic, peppers, basil. and beans. Continue to cook until peppers become slightly soft.

3. Toss vegetables with drained pasta. Top with parmesan cheese.

Yields: 4 servings

Eggplant Parmigiana

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 cup water
1 small eggplant, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup dried Italian bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs)
2 cups meatless spaghetti sauce, use more or less to taste
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. Beat egg and water in shallow dish.

3. Dredge eggplant in flour, dip in egg mixture then coat with bread crumbs. Place eggplant on baking dish. Bake, turning once until golden and tender, about 30 minutes total.

4. In bottom of a new shallow baking dish,  Layer 1/2 spaghetti sauce, baked eggplant slices and mozzarella.

5. Repeat layering.  

6. Top with parmesan cheese.

7. Bake until heated through, about 15-20 minutes.

Yields: 4 servings 

       Roasted Veggies

2-4 medium carrots, chopped
2-3 medium potato  es, chopped
8-10 gloves garlic, peeled
6-8 mushrooms, halved
1 small yam, cubed
1/2 lb medium tofu, cubed
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dill
2 tbsp rosemary
cracked chilies (to taste)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place the vegetables and tofu on lightly oiled cookie sheet or lasagna pan and drizzle olive oil over them. Sprinkle with dill, rosemary, chilies, salt, and pepper and mix together until well incorporated.

2. Bake for 40-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven when potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork.

Makes 6 servings.

Veggie Stir-fry

Ingredients for Sauce:

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Ingredients for vegetables:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup carrot slices

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped red or green pepper

1. Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl.

2. In a large sauce pan or wok, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion, broccoli, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes.

3. Add the zucchini and peppers, stir, cover the pan and cook for 1 minute.

4. Add sauce, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, covered. Serve vegetables while hot.

Yields: 4 servings

Spinach and Pear Salad:

2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pears, cored and sliced lengthwise
10 walnuts, roughly chopped

8 cups torn fresh spinach

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, orange juice, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, and black pepper.

2. In large bowl, add the pear slices and 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss to coat

3. Add remaining dressing, spinach and onion and toss to coat.

Yields: 4 servings


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