Spring is a great time to try a few new foods.  Just because you haven’t cooked with it before, or you are pretty darn sure you or your loved one isn’t going to like it, GIVE IT A GO.  You may be surprised!

1.  Kale
– Packed with nutrients: High in antioxidants, loaded with vitamin C, rich in vitamins A and K; very low in calories.  Sautee in a pan and drizzle with Bragg’s, and balsamic vinegar if desired.
2.  Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
– Good source of protein, fiber, and folate; low in fat and calories.  A half-cup serving has more than 7 grams of protein and 6 grams of dietary fiber.  Put in a salad, soup, or make hummus!
Holly’s Hummus:  Blend – 1 can chickpeas (including 1/2 the water in the can), 1 red bell pepper, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. pepper, hot sauce, season to flavor: cumin, tumeric, rosemary.  Serve.
3.  Bulgur
– More dietary fiber than oats, millet or buckwheat, adds to your iron supply (especially for those vegetarians, or people lacking in greens).  A half-cup serving prepared has 4 grams of dietary fiber.
4.  Spaghetti Squash
– One of my favorites!  Use this like spaghetti, its a fantastic replacement for starchy carbohydrate.  1 cup cooked has ~1/4 the carbohydrate as cooked spaghetti, not to mention all the nutrients: Rich in antioxidants, fiber, iron and vitamin B6.  Cook as you would other hard-shell squash.  Cut it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and either boiling or baking the halves till tender.  If baking: bake for ~45 min at ~375 degrees.  Once cooled, scoop out the flesh, which breaks into high nutritious strands and serve the same way you would any pasta; using your favorite sauce or simply drizzle olive oil and sprinkle seasonings and freshly grated parmesan over the top.
5.  Sunflower Seeds
– Very versatile and a great way to get some protein.  A quarter-cup serving of dry roasted seeds supplies ~4 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of protein and is an excellent source of vitamin E.  Sprinkle on salad, cook into a granola bar, cookie, or eat as a snack by themselves.
*Try combining: kale, chickpeas, bulgur and sunflower seeds into a salad that wakes up your taste buds and packs on the nutrients.