What's on my plate? Here's my go-to seasonal citrus and pomegranate salad

Planning for the holidays is stressful enough...meal planning shouldn't be!

As a holistic nutritionist, I often get asked "what types of salads should I eat, especially around the holidays?" Many women I meet face the dreaded dilemma of incorporating seasonal salads (in the winter) as part of their meal prep.  Let's face it, a standard green-tossed salad can be boring, especially if the type of lettuce (think romaine or kale) isn't in season.  I've found a fun, healthy and colourful alternative to conventional greens-only salad. 

This seasonal citrus and pomegranate salad is perfect for filling your plate with colour!  I always tell my clients that a variety of fruits and veggies is key.  Ideally, a healthy plate should be filled with 50-65% of non-starchy veggies, and contain low glycemic foods. Seasonal salads with a mix of fruits and veggies are healthy for the following reasons: they are jam packed with filled with collagen, decrease allergy response, decrease inflammation in the body and support detoxification.  

Salads are a great meal on their own, or as part of a meal.  Don't let the chocolate and candy canes deter you from eating healthy this winter. Stay focused on your health goals and get creative in the kitchen!

Seasonal Citrus and Pomegranate Salad
Serves 6

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon (packed) grated lemon peel
1 large fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, very thinly sliced
1 8-ounce Fuji apple, halved, cored, cut into matchstick-size strips
6 cups trimmed arugula leaves (from two 4-ounce packages) or substitute the arugula with pea shoots
2 mandarin oranges or tangerines, peeled, each cut crosswise into 3 slices
Pomegranate seeds

1. Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Combine fennel and apple in medium bowl; mix in 3 tablespoons dressing.
2. Place arugula in large bowl. 
3. Add fennel-apple mixture. 
4. Toss, adding more dressing to taste. Divide salad among 6 plates. 
5. Garnish each with 1 mandarin orange slice and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Recipe by Isa in San Francisco CA

Adapted from: bon appetit

*Nutritional tip - Pomegranates can help protect against heart disease, cancer and osteoarthritis. Packed with anti-oxidants, pomegranates help to lower blood pressure and support cardio-vascular health.  They are filled with Vitamin C, B1 and B2 and help to fight against cell-damaging free radicals.  

Citrus fruits, and fruits in general contain photo-nutrients.  These nutrients are great anti-oxidants and great for your skin.  On the plus, fruits contain Vitamin C, which is great for building collagen, to help boost your skin and is great for your immune system and adrenal function. Vitamin C, it is used up within the body within four hours, therefore, I recommend eating foods frequently that are packed with Vitamin C, especially in the winter months!   

**Photo courtesy of: tumblr