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Spring into Health:Nutrition, Mental Health, and Three Healthy Recipes to Try

My name is Aliyah Bey and I am the Wellness Manager with Mandela Partners as well as a certified Nutritionist. I share monthly blogs with the goal of educating and inspiring readers to improve their health and well-being.The topics covered are related to health and wellness, such as nutrition, exercise, stress management, and overall healthy lifestyle habits. Through my writing, I aim to help readers make informed decisions about their health and support them in achieving their wellness goals. Happy Reading!


Spring Brings Growth

Spring is a great time to focus on your health and well-being after the long, cold winter months. Spring is a time of renewal, growth, and new beginnings. It’s also the perfect time to focus on your health and well-being. From nutrition to mental health, there are many things you can do to prioritize your health this spring. Here are some spring health ideas and first steps in nutrition and mental health, followed by three healthy spring recipes that are balanced and easy to prepare.


Nutrition for Spring


Buy in season

Spring is a great time to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Look for local produce that is in season, such as asparagus, strawberries, and rhubarb. Not only is it more flavorful, but it’s also more affordable and sustainable.


Consume protein

Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles, bones, and other tissues. Incorporate lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, and legumes, into your meals and snacks.


Try out healthy recipes

Trying out new recipes can help you incorporate more variety into your diet and prevent boredom. Look for healthy recipes that include seasonal ingredients, such as salads, smoothies, and grilled vegetables.


Prioritize hydration

As the weather warms up, it's important to stay hydrated. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, and consider adding some flavor with sliced fruit or herbs.


Eat complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, provide sustained energy and are more nutrient-dense than simple carbohydrates. Choose whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes for your carbohydrate sources.




Mental Health in Spring




Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and non-judgmentally aware of your thoughts and feelings. Take a few minutes each day to focus on your breath, observe your thoughts without judgment, and practice self-compassion.


Connect with others

Social connection is important for mental health and well-being. Reach out to friends and family, join a group or club that interests you, or volunteer in your community.


Get adequate amount of sleep

Sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Aim for 7 - 8 hours of sleep each night, establish a consistent sleep routine, and create a sleep-friendly environment by keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.



Now that we’ve covered some first steps in nutrition and mental health,here are three healthy spring recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that are balanced and easy to prepare:





Berry and chia seed breakfast bowl

This breakfast bowl is packed with fiber, protein, and antioxidants.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 1/2 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (almonds or walnuts)

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp honey (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the almond milk, chia seeds, and cinnamon. Stir well and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the chia seeds have absorbed the liquid and become gelatinous.

  2. Top with mixed berries, chopped nuts, and honey (if desired). Serve and enjoy!


Quinoa and black bean salad

This salad is a great lunch or dinner option that is high in protein and fiber. It’s also vegan and gluten-free.



Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  • 1/4 cup diced red onion

  • 1/4 cup diced bell pepper

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, black beans, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and bell pepper.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.

  3. Serve chilled and enjoy!


Grilled Salmon with kale and brown rice

This dinner recipe is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.


Ingredients:

  • Salmon fillet

  • Lacinato kale, washed and chopped

  • Brown rice

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Lemon wedges (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the brown rice in a fine mesh strainer and transfer it to a medium-sized pot. Add 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. Let the rice cook for 40-45 minutes, or until tender and fluffy.

  2. While the rice is cooking, season the salmon fillet with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the salmon fillet to the pan skin-side down.

  3. Cook the salmon for 4-5 minutes on the skin side, then flip it over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

  4. While the salmon is cooking, heat a separate pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chopped lacinato kale and sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and tender.



Takeaway


These are just a few ideas and first steps for improving your nutrition and mental health this spring. Remember, taking care of yourself is a process, and it's okay to start small and build from there. By prioritizing your health and well-being, you can enjoy all that spring has to offer.





















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