Summer Meal Idea

Last night I decided to make a dinner utilizing some ingredients we had around the house that were nearing their last leg. What resulted was basically a fish taco without the taco. This dish was made up of grilled tilapia, avocado relish, grilled squash and zucchini and brown rice. I seasoned the tilapia with fresh lime and lemon juice, olive oil, rice vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. The avocado relish had a similar dressing (minus the oil, vinegar and salt).

This meal was somewhat of an experiment, as I have never prepared these items all together, but fortunately, it turned out to be a flavor packed hit! Another bonus, it was full of many healthful nutrients. Specifically, the avocado relish was packed with healthy fats from the avocado, as well as the phytochemical lycopene from the fresh tomatoes (research suggests lycopene can help prevent cancer).

With all of the great flavors in this relish, I think it would also go great with omelets, tortillas and shrimp! Below you will find the recipe so you can try this relish in one of your meals this week!

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Avocado Relish

Ingredients:

1 ripe avocado, cubed

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1/2 small onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 ears of fresh corn, corn removed from cob

1 T fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice from 2 fresh limes

Juice from 1 fresh lemon

Dash of pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients into large bowl. Let sit in refrigerator for 30 minutes- 1 hour in order to let all of the flavors percolate.

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HealthFUL Dinner Idea

Although Mexican food has gotten a bad rep in terms of healthfulness, it is possible to have Mexican and still be healthful. Another bonus- it makes for an easy and affordable dinner for the family! Below is a picture of the dinner I prepared for my family the other night. All that was required:

20 oz Package ground turkey (lean ground beef would also work)

1/2 Chopped onion

1 Packet taco seasoning

1 Cup shredded light cheddar cheese

1 Cup low-fat sour cream

1 Cup salsa

1 Cup shredded lettuce

4 Whole grain tortillas or taco shells

Yield= 6 burritos

Brown the meat along with chopped onion. Add taco seasoning. Assemble the burrito or taco as desired and enjoy!

**Use this opportunity to increase your veggie intake! Include chopped bell peppers and/or carrots on the side for people to add to their dish. Another idea, use tortilla chips and make a taco salad!

Parmesan Kale Salad with Raisins

Try this healthful recipe for your next picnic or get-together! It’s a great source of fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and it also serves as a great way to be introduced to kale. Kale is a green that is packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, iron and potassium, while still being low in calories (only about 55 calories in 1 cup)! It only requires a few ingredients and no cooking is involved. Enjoy!

Eat. Drink. Smile. » Parmesan Kale Salad with Raisins.

HealthFUL Chai Tea

Although chai tea has some very healthful qualities, if ordered from a coffee shop or restaurant it can often be packed with lots of added sugar and fat, causing it to lose many of its benefits (a grande Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks made with skim milk has over 200 calories and 42 grams of sugar!). I personally love chai tea, and although I will treat myself with one from Starbucks every once in awhile, this healthful alternative also satisfies my craving. All you need is bagged chai tea (Tazo makes a great one, and it’s even the brand of tea used at Starbucks!), water and skim milk or soymilk. Heat one cup water until desired temperature. Steep tea bag for about 3-5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup milk of choice. For those of you who like it a little sweeter, add one packet of artificial sweetener. For a stronger tea, steep two bags instead of one. You can serve this hot or add ice after steeping for a cold treat!

Dietary Fats

I’m sure if you have ever followed anything related to nutrition you have heard about saturated fats (SFA) vs. monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFA). You probably know it is important to limit the amount of SFA you consume in your diet by replacing them with MUFA or PUFA foods to promote improved heart health. Recommendations published in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that you should consume less than 10% of your calories from SFA per day. Foods high in SFA you shouldavoid include: coconut oil, butter, stick margarine, pork fat, beef fat and chicken fat. Good alternatives that are higher in MUFA and PUFA include: soft margarine, olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds and fish. Overall, as a rule of thumb, decrease solid fats you consume and replace them with more liquid fats (stick butter vs. oils). Think of it this way, if it goes in as a solid fat, thats how it stays in your body. Another important thing to remember is that no matter what source your fat is coming from, fat is high in calories (9 calories/gram); therefore, in terms of weight loss, although MUFA and PUFA are a much healthier alternative to SFA, you should still limit your intake to 5-10% of calories/day.

Information provided is from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, May, 2012 issue.

Try to include more of this in your cooking!

‘Tis the Season


As Summer continues you may be noticing more and more delicious produce becoming available (and going on sale!) in your local grocery store. Also, during this time of year you may see more farmers markets opening up, which sell fresh, local produce. Take advantage of this!! Eating local, in season produce is not only delicious, but it is also healthful due to the reduced travel time of the food, making it more likely to have its full potential of vitamins and minerals. Another plus- the food tastes better! Listed below are some healthful foods that will be coming into season during the summer months. Try to incorporate these and other fresh produce into your diet regularly to maintain a healthFUL life.

Strawberries

Melons

Swish chard (great sauteed with a little olive oil)

Asparagus

Cherries

Apricots

Go Green!

Looking to experiment with some new greens? Try this great lunch I prepared yesterday. I grilled 4 oz of chicken breast, which was marinaded in 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 2-3 fresh basil leaves (chopped) and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper. I set the chicken atop a bed of fresh … Continue reading

New Research on Dining Out 

When dining out it is important to think of all the hidden calories, fat and sodium in the foods you choose. Remember, most restaurant’s goal is to sell food, not health. If they have a small or half portion available, choose that instead of the full. You may be surprised how much that will fill you up. You will also save a lot of calories, fat and sodium if you opt to have all dressings or sauces put on the side, that way you can control how much you put on. Click on the picture below to see new research on dining out!