Here is another one of my favorite lunches! It is also one of my most popular side dishes I bring to BBQs and family parties and always gets great reviews. This salad is super fresh tasting as well as very satiating and full of nutritious ingredients.
Black Bean & Corn Salad:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn
½ avocado, diced
½ red bell pepper, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
Directions: Whisk together lime juice, oil, garlic, and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss.
As the name suggests, the base of this salad is black beans and corn. Black beans provide a wide range of health benefits. They are rich in complex carbs as well as protein, which help stabilize blood sugars and keep you satisfied longer. This is especially important if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The high protein content of beans also makes them a great option for vegetarians and vegans as ½ cup of beans provides the same amount of protein as an ounce of meat. They are also a great source of fiber, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, folate and potassium. Beans are also inexpensive and take no prep time if you buy them canned.
Corn is a good source of B vitamins including pantothenic acid, thiamine, niacin, and folate. The darker the corn, the more nutritious it is, so steer clear of white corn and choose the darkest yellow corn you can find. The yellow color comes from the lutein and zeaxanthin in the corn. Lutein and zeaxanthin are phytonutrients that are needed for optimal eye health and development—both for you and your growing baby.
Avocados are surprisingly great sources of antioxidants, containing more antioxidants than red cabbage, broccoli, grapes and even bell peppers. They are also a good source of fiber with 6 grams of soluble fiber in just half of a medium avocado. Fiber is especially important in preventing constipation which is common in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Avocados are full of good fats that improve the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, like zeaxanthin, and lutein.
Bell peppers are great sources of vitamin C and potassium. Red and orange peppers are especially nutritious as they high in carotenoids, which are important for cardiovascular health, can protect against certain cancers, as well as eye health. The fresher they are the sweeter they are so it’s best to only store them in the refrigerator for a few days.
For the tomatoes in this recipe, I like to use grape or cherry tomatoes. Not only do they taste sweeter, but they also contain more lycopene and other antioxidants than their larger relatives. Lycopene has been linked with fertility so if you are trying to conceive including foods that are high in lycopene, like tomatoes, may be beneficial. Antioxidants, including lycopene, are important during pregnancy to help keep levels of inflammation and cell damage at bay. Inflammation is linked with the root cause of many diseases, including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
The dressing is a combination of olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and salt. These flavors combined with the other ingredients provide a great combo of carbohydrates, fat, and protein to provide you with the energy and nutrients you need while leaving you satisfied.