Spring Into Good Health + My Favorite Strawberry Apple Chicken Salad
Happy March, lovelies! Ready or not spring is coming! Spring just might be my favorite season and it’s the perfect time to reevaluate any New Years goals you have set. Plus, I’m bringing you one of my go-to lunches, my favorite Strawberry Apple Chicken Salad!
I teamed up with Kroger to share simple, doable tips to make sure you are successful at becoming a healthier, happier you this year!! As always, all opinions are my own.
We’re two full months into 2018, so what’s working regarding your health and wellness? Are your goals set in motion? Is there an area that’s going to require additional changes so you can propel yourself toward aspirations of a healthier lifestyle?
March is not only the start of spring, but it is also National Nutrition Month. It’s that time of year to re-focus our health needs and, if needed, kick-start our health goals.
Making healthy lifelong lifestyle changes does not have to be an overwhelming process, but it is an important process. To help prevent or beat chronic conditions we often struggle with, such as obesity and heart disease, it’s essential to make long-term lifestyle changes.
Eat What You Love; Eat What You Enjoy, But Be Smart About It: All foods can fit into a healthy diet. Keep in mind the following and be mindful:
- Balance: Balance eating for enjoyment with eating for nourishment. At breakfast, instead of eating a biscuit or doughnut that leaves you feeling hungry in a couple of hours, try a simple yogurt parfait with whole grain cereal and fresh fruit such as strawberries. It will be a satisfying and a nutritious choice. Recent research confirms that eating strawberries may help lower cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk factors, so enjoy them in your favorite recipes. Kroger has a wide variety of fresh produce, which includes a huge selection of organic options. And my favorite yogurt is the Kroger brand CARBmaster – super tasty and figure-friendly.
- Variety: Don’t get stuck in a rut; eat a variety of foods to keep your diet interesting and nutritious. You don’t want to get bored and potentially turn to unhealthy choices more often than you should. See my favorite Strawberry Apple Chicken Salad below for a new idea!
- Substitutions: We can always enjoy foods we love and find ways to make them healthier. For example, you like a slice of pizza every now and then? Substitute the whole-milk cheese with a lighter cheese. Or, if you want a bagel with cream cheese, have it, but don’t glob on the cream cheese. Use a reasonable amount. Or, eat a whole-wheat bagel instead of white. Every little bit counts.
- Moderation: It’s key to long-term health. For example, if you want a burger, eat a slider with lean meat. If you are a dessert lover, get a mini dessert or share your favorite dessert with everyone at the table.
Take Small Steps to a Better You (Literally!): Now, in order to eat what you love, you have to give a little to yourself by staying active. I’m not saying go from zero to 60 in a day or sign up for a marathon tomorrow, but physical activity is an essential component to a healthier you. Long bouts of inactivity can lead to health complications.
- Think about the small things you could do to get moving on a daily basis. Have you ever taken the elevator up to your meeting on the 4th floor? Maybe take the stairs up next time.
- Pick an activity you love already and do it more. Ever catch yourself dancing around to your favorite song? Why not do that more? It’s actually burning calories and keeping you active.
Get Your “Numbers” Checked Regularly: It’s time to face the facts. Nearly 70% of American adults are either overweight or obese. Being obese puts you at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and more. These can be serious health complications to live with, but we can do our part to prevent or better manage chronic conditions. Visiting your doctor on a regular basis is important to help prevent and control health conditions. Keeping a close eye on your “numbers” helps make sure you’re not at risk or suffering from any chronic conditions. If you need help managing high blood pressure, stop by The Little Clinic at Kroger or the Pharmacy anytime for a free blood pressure screening, and ask about any hypertension management programs that are available. It’s easy to stay on track with healthcare guidance right in your store.
Nutritious and Delicious Can Co-exist – Research shows that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meats; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains. Individuals can combine foods in a variety of flexible ways to achieve healthy dietary patterns, and these strategies should be tailored to meet the individual’s health needs, dietary preferences and cultural traditions.
Clearly whole foods are the optimal way to get the nutrients you need. They will always reign supreme because the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in food work together uniquely and synergistically to provide us with the perfect little nutrition package. That package can’t be replicated in a pill, even if it claims to have a similar nutrition profile. Like that one cookie that claims to have more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than a sweet potato….LOL.
That said, we’re all busier than ever. We’re traveling. We’re eating out. We forget to each lunch (I mean that’s never happened to me but I hear it happens). Long story short, sometimes we reach for supplements to give us the little boost that life can’t quite give us. And that’s ok! Kroger offers a wide selection of products to help fill in nutritional gaps. From a huge selection of vitamins to fiber and protein supplements and much more!
I am sharing one of my favorite recipes to demonstrate that nutritious and delicious can co-exist! This quick and tasty favorite Strawberry Apple Chicken Salad is filled with plump juicy strawberries, sweet apple slices, crunchy almonds and topped off with the most wonderful poppy seed dressing you’ve ever tasted! Enjoy!
Make My Favorite Strawberry Apple Chicken Salad:
A quick and tasty salad, filled with spring flavors!
- 3 cups boneless skinless cooked chicken, chopped (I buy the Simple Truth brand rotisserie chicken from Kroger)
- 6-8 cups baby spinach or baby kale/baby spinach mix (I buy the huge Simple Truth containers of pre-washed mixed greens from Kroger)
- 1 apple, thinly sliced (any yellow-red apple will do great, I use honeycrisp or gala)
- 1½ cups quartered strawberries
- ¼ cup chopped almonds (you can find the organic raw nuts from Simple Truth in the produce department at Kroger) (any favorite nut will work)
- salt and pepper to taste
- ⅔ cup mayo*
- ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (any milk product will work)
- 5 tablespoons Lite&Sweet, xylosweet, baking splenda, Stevia or sugar
- 7 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or other oil
- 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
First prepare the dressing by blending all dressing ingredients together (except for poppy seeds) until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds. Cover and chill until ready to use.
In a large bowl toss together chicken, spinach, apple and strawberries. Add poppyseed dressing and toss to coat. Top with almonds and serve immediately. If making salad ahead of time, toss the salad without the dressing, then add the dressing and toss immediately before serving OR you can serve the dressing on the side.
*I use an all-natural mayo, like Avocado Oil Mayo from Chosen Foods or Just Mayo from Hampton Creek. Both can be found at Kroger. Feel free to also sub part or all of the mayo with plain Greek yogurt. Using Greek yogurt will change the flavor some, but will yield a lighter, lower calorie dressing. **Nutritional info is calculated using all of the dressing and I'm not so sure you would want to use all of it. The dressing recipe makes quite a bit. Nutritional info is also calculated using Just Mayo from Hampton Creek and Lite&Sweet.