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Spring Time

By Mark Mulcahy

Produce partners can help you reach your goal.
Image of veggies
Vegetables You can feel it in the air - Spring is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to take stock of those New Year's resolutions you made about losing weight, getting more exercise, lowering your cholesterol or just getting more fruits and veggies into your diet. If you are like many of us, you may have hit a little bump in your efforts and this is the perfect time to get back on track.

The first thing to do is not beat yourself up about not making the progress you thought you’d make - heck, we’re all human! Next is to find a produce partner or resolution buddy. Many studies have shown that whatever goal you have, doing it with someone will increase your chances of success. So ask your friend in the office, family member at home, or next-door neighbor if they’ll join you in your daily quest to reach your goal, and you’ll both be better for it!

No matter what your health goal, eating more Melissa’s organic fruits and vegetables will help you along the way. Make a plan with your buddy and let the fun begin - here are some examples.
Image of Organic Mangos
Make smoothies together: Throw some Melissa’s organic spinach, banana, fresh ginger, mango and almond milk in the blender and each bring enough to the office to share for lunch. Then instead of sitting and chatting, walk and chat. You’ll find that you feel more productive and have more energy in the afternoon.

Have Melissa’s organic navel oranges or carrots pre-sliced for easy afternoon snacking and leave them close at hand. Studies show that having ready-to-eat fruits and veggies where you tend to go for a snack leads to more produce consumption and less fat, carbs and processed food intake.

At lunch or dinner, instead of pouring oily or fatty dressing on your salad, mix up fresh avocado with a little lemon or orange juice to get that texture or fat fix you want while making a better choice for your heart. One study found that people who ate avocado every day for one week experienced an average 17 percent drop in total blood cholesterol. What's more, their levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol decreased and HDL ("good") cholesterol increased.

On your days off, cook together and make healthy vegetable salads or soups to share, which will make it easy to use and stay on track in your busy week ahead. Make up some quinoa ahead of time and now you’ve got a perfect start to that hearty lunch salad with grilled asparagus (that you cooked last night, of course!).

Last week I made broccoli chickpea salad that got me through the week and had me looking forward to lunch. Give this nutritious and very tasty salad I adapted from a Martha Rose Shulman recipe in the New York Times (February 5, 2009) a try!

Warm Chick Pea and Broccoli Salad
Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side

¾ small Organic Red Onion, sliced
½ pound Organic Broccoli Crowns, broken into florets
1 (15 ounces) can of Organic Chickpeas, rinsed
¼ cup Fresh Organic Italian Parsley, chopped
2 ounces shaved Parmesan

For the Dressing:
1 Tablespoon Fresh Organic Lemon Juice (I used Meyer Lemons)
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
3 Organic Garlic Cloves, minced (the recipe called for one but I love garlic)
Salt, preferably Kosher Salt, and Freshly Ground Pepper
6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

To Assemble:
Place the red onions in a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak 5 minutes, then drain and rinse. Dry on paper towels.

Make the dressing. Mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.

Steam until the broccoli is tender but still bright – about 4 minutes.

Add the beans and broccoli to a medium sized bowl and toss with the dressing. Add the parsley, onions and the Parmesan, toss again, and serve warm. The warm broccoli makes it comforting and the fresh parsley and onion give it a refreshing, lively flavor.

I had one great dinner with homemade black bean burgers and baked organic butternut squash and 3 lunches from this recipe and never tired of it.

You make the plan and find a buddy and Melissa’s will help you with the freshest organic fruits and vegetables! Now there’s a recipe for success.
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