This post is sponsored by Dole Fresh Fruit and Fresh Vegetables. Dole Fresh Fruit and Fresh Vegetables provided compensation for my time. All opinions expressed in this post are completely mine.
Are you ready for 2018 to get here?? I sure am! Do you have any goals for 2018? I plan on reading more books and concentrating on food and brain health. That means eating more antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables and spreading the message far and wide to adults and kids!
We’re so used to food companies using cute cartoon characters to promote junk food. Why can’t we market fruits and vegetables with kids’ favorite characters?? Guess what, we can and Dole is doing just that through it’s collaboration with Lucasfilm and Star Wars: The Last Jedi! Unite for a Healthy Galaxy!
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a healthy recipe demo led by Chef Mark Allison from the Dole Nutrition Institute in North Carolina. All of his recipes were inspired by Star Wars characters! The recipes, are great for adults, but what kid wouldn’t want to eat a delicious fruit and veggie packed dish based on his/her favorite Star Wars hero or villian! Hello, Wookie Noodles and Threepio Salad!
Chef Mark is passionate about home cooking that’s quick and easy, without a huge list of ingredients. Not only that, but he promotes delicious AND healthy food the whole family will love.
My fave dish was this super tasty Beepin’ Coloda Greek yogurt parfait. Layers of crushed graham crackers, banana, juicy pineapple and maple syrup sweetened plain Greek yogurt is fantastic for a snack or healthy dessert.
It’s known now that a key to keeping our brains healthy and in tip top shape is to keep inflammation down as much as possible. We can do our part by eating foods that contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants in addition to good mood nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins. All of the recipes I saw at the demo had a crazy amount of good mood nutrients! Let’s break some of them down!
How can we even talk about Dole without mentioning pineapple?? Featured in many of the Star Wars inspired recipes, pineapple is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse with an insane amount of vitamin C. Not only is this antioxidant great for brain health, but also for immunity.
A star of the Threepio Salad, blueberries are nature’s brain food. Not only do they contain fiber to keep the gut healthy, which also means a healthier brain, but they contain ginormous amounts of antioxidants that can help delay cognitive aging. Yes, I said ginormous.
Iron is needed to transport oxygen to all cells of the body, including the brain. It’s pretty common knowledge that spinach contains iron. What may not be as well known is that plant based sources of iron are not absorbed as well as animal based iron. To increase the absorption of plant based iron, be sure to include a source of vitamin C such as orange segments, berries, or even red bell peppers.
Whoever said don’t eat white foods to be healthy completely forgot about cauliflower. This white knight contains an array of B vitamins including folate. Folate is needed to make the insulating myelin sheath around our neurons. You need healthy myelin sheath to transmit nerve impulses. Folate is also needed for the production of the feel good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Cauliflower plays a supporting role in Wookie Noodles.
Greek yogurt contains probiotics, which is well recognized for keeping our guts healthy and functioning well. A healthy gut plays a huge role in immunity (over 70% of our immunity resides in the gut) and emerging research is showing that it also plays a role in our mood. You’ll find Greek yogurt in the Beepin’ Coloda parfait inspired by R2D2.