Planning a Healthy Spring Meal With Organics

By Wild Oats Markets, Inc.

The ingredients you use can make your fresh, Spring meal tastier and healthier than ever before this season.

Believe it or not, there are many incredibly healthy and flavorful alternatives to almost all of the foods we've become accustomed to eating over the years. One of the best ways to ensure you feel better about the springtime meal you prepare is to use organics. Organics have increased dramatically in popularity; these days, people choose natural and organic foods for a variety of reasons. Some of the people who take particular interest in organics are new families who want to feed their kids organics, people with special dietary needs (such as diabetes, gluten intolerance, food allergies, etc.) and the trend toward an aging population, which causes people to want to eat and live healthier to extend their life span. Organics can provide a healthy, natural way to boost our immune systems.

Researchers say consistently maintaining a proper diet, exercise and rest will do us more good in the long run than quick fixes. Bolstering our body's immune system is actually quite simple. First, eat well and incorporate foods that will defend against viruses. Citrus fruits, rich in Vitamin C, provide antioxidants known for their ability to support the immune system. Vegetables, which contain beta-carotene, also nourish our immune system against viruses and are useful for supporting the respiratory tract. Additionally, garlic helps impede potential viruses and can be key to promote an active immune system when the weather turns cold.

Second, to have a healthy immune system, it is important to stay fit and active. Research supports that physical activity naturally helps keep our immune system alert. Finally, we all need to get a proper amount of rest and sleep. The following represents a few recipes that incorporate immune supportive nutrients. Why not give them a try as you gear up for Summer?

Sweet Ginger & Garlic Soup

Ginger is the most common worldwide culinary herb and now research reveals that its aromatic benefits may be the root of some of its medicinal qualities.

1 tbsp. olive oil
12 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 large, sweet yellow onions peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. dried thyme
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium preferred)
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
Salt to taste

Place the olive oil in an 8-cup saucepan. On low heat, sauté the garlic, ginger and onions. Cover for about 25 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. They should appear translucent. Transfer the garlic and onions to a food processor or blender and puree with the thyme and ½ cup broth. Pour the puree back into the pan, add the remaining broth, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the basil and salt to taste, and heat for 2 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: contains 83 calories, 3.7 g. fat, 0.5 g. saturated fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 193 mg. sodium (can be reduced with low-sodium chicken broth), 2.7 g. protein, 2.2 g. dietary fiber, 10.5 g. carbohydrates.

**Chewing a bit of parsley or fresh basil leaf after soup can help to neutralize the garlic taste.

Honey Grapefruit Bake

Grapefruit is high in fiber, fat free and contains no sodium. Grapefruit contains Vitamin C and antioxidant Vitamin A. Honey, nature's sweetener, made from plant nectar by honeybees, is often recommended by medical experts as a natural soother for scratchy and sore throats.

2 pink grapefruits
2 tsp. fresh thyme
4 tsp. honey

Preheat oven to 350º F. Slice each grapefruit in half and remove the seeds. Cut around the inside between the fruit and pitch, making sure not to puncture the skin. Stir the thyme into the honey and spread the mixture onto the grapefruit halves. Place them in a glass baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 59 calories, 0.1 g. unsaturated fat, 0.0 g. saturated fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 1 mg. sodium, 1.7 gm. dietary fiber, 0.7 g. protein, 15.3 gm. carbohydrates.

Get Well Toast

According to some Eastern medical beliefs, hot spices diminish cold and wet conditions in the body, such as a runny nose that accompanies a cold.

1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. butter
4 corn muffins or 4 slices of cornbread
1/8 tsp. powdered ginger
1/8 tsp. powdered turmeric
1/8 tsp. powdered cinnamon
Makes 4 servings.

Using a fork, mix the honey and butter until well blended. Slice the muffins or cornbread in half and place them on non-greased baking sheet and broil one side until toasted. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using tongs, turn the toast. Spread the honey and butter on the non-toasted sides. Sprinkle the spices on top. Put the toast back onto the baking sheet, honey side up, and broil until slightly browned.
Per serving: 169 calories, 6.7 g. fat, 2.8 g. saturated fat, 9 mg. cholesterol, 365 mg. sodium, 2.2 g. protein, 25.4 gm. carbohydrates.

Kick-a-Germ Joy Juice This homemade recipe will make you sweat and bolster your immune system to help fight an on-coming cold.

For one cup of juice...
Squeeze the juice of one lemon
1 tsp. fresh crushed garlic
1 tsp. fresh chopped ginger
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Place ingredients in a large-sized coffee mug. Pour boiling water over the ingredients and steep for 10 minutes. Strain if desired. Add honey to taste. Drinking a cup of this pick-me-up tea before bed is recommended. This recipe was developed by Loisanne Keller, O.M.D., L.A.c. of the Keller Clinic in San Diego, Calif.
Per serving: 8 calories, 0.1 g. unsaturated fat, 0 g. saturated fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 1 mg. sodium, 0.3 g. protein, 1.9 g. carbohydrates.

Wild Oats Markets, Inc. is a nationwide chain of natural and organic foods markets in the US and Canada. The company operates 111 natural foods stores in 24 states and British Columbia, Canada. The company's markets include: Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry's Farmers Market, Sun Harvest and Capers Community Markets..


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