Eating for Iron Absorption and Energy {After Baby Un-Diet}

Despite the self-improvement bent of this series, I have to say I am really high on this body. I mean, it’s not even it’s fault its been growing, delivering and feeding babies almost non-stop since late 2011. If this has done anything, it’s made me realize how important eating is for nutrition — getting this body what it needs to perform. And by perform, I mean do normal stuff running on a few hours of interrupted sleep like getting my work done and remembering where I put my dang coffee cup after I set it down to change a diaper, feed a baby, clean up a spill and put [insert unsafe object] on a shelf that RB can’t reach.

Some days I feel more on top of my game than others. Rest helps, but rest is relative with little ankle biters this age. So just like when I was pregnant, I’m focused on what kind of nutrition I can cram into my calories. Namely protein, to assist my 4-5 times weekly workouts where I’m trying to restore some lean muscle, and Iron to keep up with the increased demand my body is under. B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, Zinc and other wonders are right up there too. And you know what I’ve learned? Turns out, when a plate calorie for calorie is packed with nutrition, the empty, pointless, drag-you-down foods just don’t get a spot in the line up. Un-dieting, for the win!

Enter beef, and specifically, this incredible Spinach Salad with Flank Steak made by Chef Kirsten. Here’s the thing. I really like salad, always have. But IMHO salad is a side, or it’s for dieting. But a steak salad, that is a freaking meal. And her homemade Roasted Red Pepper & Pumpkin Seed Dressing? It will change your life.

One bite (super ungraceful, I really, really need more practice eating on camera) and I was completely hooked. This is a good option for me because I don’t use low fat/low calorie salad dressings or dairy products. Having an alternative that is a more of a nutrition booster than a fat and calorie bomb is helping me where I really need it. And it’s a total flavor party for my face. Here’s the recipe, for your face.

Spinach Salad with Flank Steak and Citrus with Roasted Red Pepper & Pumpkin Seed Dressing

6-12 cups cleaned baby spinach

1 grapefruit, segmented (reserve the juice to add to the dressing)

1 orange, segmented (reserve the juice to add to the dressing)

¼ red onion, thinly sliced

1 flank steak, cooked to your liking and thinly sliced (or use thinly sliced deli roast beef!)

For the dressing:

Reserved juice from the grapefruit and orange

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1 roasted red pepper (use jarred for a quick and easy option! About 1 cup)

1 lemon, juiced

1 Tb honey

¼ cup cilantro

1 clove garlic

1 large pinch salt and pepper to taste

Make the dressing by blending the reserved juice, pumpkin seeds, roasted red pepper, lemon juice, honey, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth and creamy. This can be done in advance and kept in the refrigerator until needed. To assemble the salad prepare a bed of baby spinach. Top with the thinly sliced beef, fruit segments and thinly sliced red onion. Top with the dressing and enjoy!

What is the nutrient you find most difficult to work into your diet on a regular basis? Comment below and Chef Kirsten can provide some tips and meals to help you up your nutrition game.

Remember! You have the chance to WIN A YEAR of Chef Kirsten’s Menus by Mesa De Vida service. That’s a menu plan each week for an entire year, each with a shopping list and helpful nutrition information about one of the delicious, seasonal ingredients used in the meals. Enter by any of the following (earning an entry each time):

+ Commenting on the After Baby Un-Diet blog posts

+Commenting on Mesa De Vida and Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner in Washington State Facebook posts about the After Baby Un-Diet.

+ Follow the Ranch Wife Life blog by subscribing with your e-mail address (link in the comments section or upper right side of the page).

2 thoughts on “Eating for Iron Absorption and Energy {After Baby Un-Diet}

  1. Lower carb veggie options. I mean I could eat a bag of mini carrots everyday. But I’m pretty sure I can do batter than that. An extra challenge: kid veggies. My kids like green. Green beans (home canned and fresh), broccoli, sweet peas, snap peas. But that’s where we come to a screeching halt. Help 🙂

  2. Iron is definitely one of the more difficult ones to incorporate in our household. During hunting season we generally are eating a lot of venison that my husband harvests, but that tends to run out around February so for the rest of the year we rely on other affordable protein. Beef is a luxury for us. And getting my kids to eat greens can be difficult. This recipe definitely looks great for one of our “beef nights”.

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