Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about the concept of nutrient density. It started when writing about foods such as Hemp and Chia Seeds and continued at work where I was trying to explain the difference between whole grain whole wheat (WGWH) and white bread. In talking to the students about this concept, we came up with an analogy – white bread is like scrap metal and WGWW is like gold. Eating white bread with give you immediate energy while WGWW will give you energy and a host of essential nutrients.
So, in evaluating my own diet I’ve been cognizant of selecting nutrient dense foods while trying to be flexible with the time and energy I put into meal planning. With that in mind, here are a few of my favourite recipes from the last week which were made with the concept of nutrient density in mind – enjoy!
Banana Coco AM Smoothie
This is a shake that provides complex carbohydrates, healthy fat, quality protein, fiber, and enough calories to keep you alert throughout the morning. It’s also really delicious and takes less than 7 minutes (including time taken to clean up afterwards!).
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp quick oats
1 scoop Vega Energizing Smoothie Powder* Choc-A-Lot
1 tbsp nut butter; can be almond, peanut butter, macadamia, cashew, etc
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure maple syrup (optional)
Directions: Get your blender out and put 2 x tbsp oats and 1 cup of hot water. Let the contents sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, cut a banana up into chunks and toss it in the blender. Pour in Vega Energizing Smoothie Powder, nut butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Blend thoroughly. This can be taken on the go – just give it a good shake before consuming. Serves 1.
*I am not to crazy about protein shakes, especially whey based products. The Energizing Smoothie Powder is like a more laid back and less intense version of traditional protein powder. Vega is p based and totally vegan – each scoop of the Choc-A-Lot flavour contains 11 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 2 servings of vegetables, and 1 gram of omega-3 – this would be a good option for people with dairy allergies or sensitivities.
Healthier Butter Chicken
This recipe is from my favourite cookbook called Simply Great Food by the Dietitians of Canada. If you’re just getting into healthy eating and want a book that doesn’t have a slew of crazy ingredients and will not leave you feeling exhausted – this is your lady. If you like traditional butter chicken, this dish is sure to become a meal planning staple because you can feel good about the fact that the fat content is much lower without compromising the taste.
3 tbsp tandori paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp low-fat yogurt (or a soy alternative if you have a dairy allergy)
1.5 lbs or 750 grams of chicken
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 inch finely chopped gingerroot
1 green chili pepper, finely chopped
4 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cilantro (fresh or spiced version)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala (can be found in the spice section of your grocery store…even No Frills!)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup 10% cream (I use 1 cup of rice milk or 5% instead of the 10% recommended in the book)
Instructions: mix the “chicken marinade” ingredients in a decent sized bowl – add diced up raw chicken at let marinate for around one hour. After an hour, put chicken onto a baking sheet and pour the sauce over top. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes and then remove from the oven. While chicken is baking, mix the “sauce” ingredients together – everything except for the butter and cream. Get a good-sized cooking pot and melt butter…add the sauce and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken. Add cream. Serve with basmati or brown rice. Serves 8.
Teriyaki Rice Noodles with Veggies & Beans
I was pleasantly surprised at how well this recipe turned out – the ingredients are so simple yet they really work well together to bring out the flavours and contrasting textures of the veggies. It calls for beans but you could easily substitute with chicken breast or even beef if it suits your fancy. Each serving is exceptionally high in Vitamin C and Fiber (when made with beans). This recipe comes from the holy bible of fast, easy, and healthy food, Simply Great Food by the Dietitians of Canada.
2 cups rice noodles – use penne or macaroni instead of long spaghetti style noodles
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup reduced sodium teriyaki sauce
1 x 19 oz can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
Instructions: cook rice noodles according to package and set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil and add onion, carrots and celery – saute for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and garlic and then cover the skillet for 5 mins. Pour in teriyaki sauce, beans, and rice noodles. Cover for 5 more minutes. Serves 8 – tastes even better than next day when packed for lunch.
THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama):
“Spend some time alone every day.”
– Dalai Lama XIV
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