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From Soybeans to Sweet Potatoes

From Soybeans to Sweet Potatoes

Inside the Ultimate Space Salad


Ever wondered what astronauts might eat during their long trips to places like Mars? As published in Food Science & Technology, researchers have stepped up to the challenge of creating not only nutritious but also tasty space food fit for these lengthy missions. As a result, they've developed what could be considered the "stellar space salad," a delicious vegetarian dish made from plants that can be grown aboard a spaceship. In honor of National Space Day which was May 3rd, and the salad month of May, we thought it’d be fun to share it with you! 


Because space travelers burn more calories and need extra nutrients like calcium, particularly in the environment of microgravity, it's essential to craft meals that are both satisfying and meet the unique needs of men in space.  The researchers crafted a vegetarian salad made with space-farmed ingredients. The method they used was like solving a puzzle, aiming to get the maximum nutritional value with minimal resources like water, fertilizer and space for cultivation. They also had an eye on sustainability, considering how space-grown leftovers could be reused or recycled—the ultimate zero-waste goal.


The Ingredients of a Stellar Salad

Soybeans: A legume that's bursting with high-quality plant protein and nutrients such as magnesium, fiber and antioxidants to support heart health and potentially aid in combating ailments like diabetes and insomnia.


Barley: A whole grain that not only fulfills your fiber needs but also brings antioxidants into the mix, offering protection against chronic diseases and thanks to its selenium content, supporting thyroid function for metabolism. If you like barley, you’ll love our Sesame Barley Bowls


Peanuts: These nutty delights offer proteins, healthy fats, and a myriad of vitamins and minerals that help keep you full and support various bodily functions including skin health.


Sunflower Seeds: The seed of energy, immunity, and heart health. Loaded with minerals such as copper, magnesium and selenium, they're small but mighty.


Sweet Potatoes: Rich in fiber and beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A, these tubers help in maintaining sharp vision, robust immunity, and a healthy gut.


Poppy Seeds: Not just for decoration, these seeds contain fiber, manganese, calcium, plus antioxidants that contribute to heart health and reduced inflammation.


** Although this mouth-watering mix couldn't provide all the necessary micronutrients, the ones missing could easily be supplemented.


After figuring out the optimal "space meal," researchers put it to the Earthly palate test. Reactions were a mix of out-of-this-world praise and more muted endorsements, but the bowl didn't remain full for long as seconds were dished out for all.


Next up for the scientists is adapting the meal for female astronauts and adding more variety by expanding their crop database. Whether you seek to nourish your body like an astronaut or simply add some nutrient-dense variety to your diet, this combo of plant based foods is a worthy addition to your dinner table. 


Published May 1, 2024

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