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!

Wookie Noodles (noodles are on the bottom of the bowl)

Wookie Noodles contains chicken which has vitamin B12, a very important for brain function!! Rey knows what’s up!

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.

Isn’t this R2D2 apron awesome!!

Threepio salad contains fruits, veggies, quinoa AND black beans. Delicious!!

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.

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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!

Pineapple

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.

Blueberries

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.

Spinach

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.

Cauliflower

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

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.

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Showing 22 comments
  • Emily @Sinful Nutrition
    Reply

    Looks like such a fun time! Love that apron!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Definitely a fun time! Thanks Emily!

  • Ginger Hultin
    Reply

    This looks like a blast! I’m totally making that yogurt parfait 🙂

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      yes! That parfait was delicious!

  • Reply

    Nomz! Love all these fruit and veggie ideas!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      I agree….very creative on the part of the Dole chef!

  • Chelsey
    Reply

    What a cool experience! I love all of these ingredients!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      thanks Chelsey!

  • Rebecca
    Reply

    Love me some bananas so versatile!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Me too!Bananas are awesome

  • Shannon
    Reply

    I just love all of this so much! That parfait looks delicious and how can I score one of those aprons? 😉

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      I’d like to know where I can score one of those aprons! I only got to borrow it!

  • Abbey Sharp
    Reply

    Looked so fun! Also love the apron!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      Can’t go wrong with a Star Wars cooking party!

  • Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy
    Reply

    This looks like such a great experience. Thanks for sharing!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      thanks sarah!

  • Reply

    Love these fun recipe ideas!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      The Dole chef did a great job in coming up with these creative and fun recipes!

  • Lauren Harris-Pincus
    Reply

    Such an awesome way to get kids interested in produce!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      absolutely! Love that Star Wars characters are being used to sell fruits and veggies!

  • Marie
    Reply

    Fantastic ideas to make produce fun and enjoyable!

    • TastyBalance
      Reply

      thanks so much Marie!

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