If you are truly eating with me then you are increasing your intake of vegetables, vegetable juice, or fruit daily. On an average I eat 6 servings of vegetables and fruit daily. Specifically 4 servings of vegetable and 2 servings of fruit. I will break down the vegetables; I eat at least 1 cruciferous vegetable, 1 orange vegetable, and 1 dark green vegetable each day. Next up is the fruit, making sure one of those servings is a citrus.
I have two other goals each day: to stay under 26 grams of fat and to eat 30 grams of fiber each day. These are my hardest two and they take both time and research. For someone like me who never read a label at any point in her life prior, this was eye opening.
Most of you are probably wondering what the heck a cruciferous vegetable is (I know I was when it was said to me). Cruciferous vegetables are: Arugula, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli Rabe, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage (purple and green), Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Collard Greens, Horseradish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Mustard Greens, Parsnips, Radish, Rutabaga, Turnip, Turnip Greens, Wasabi, and Watercress all round out the cruciferous vegetables. I have learned to expand my palate in this group more than any of the others. I really enjoy riced cauliflower, kale and cabbage salads, brussels sprouts, and arugula.
Next you are likely scratching your head with an orange vegetable. Let me help you out: Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Pumpkin, Orange Bell Pepper, and Sweet Potatoes. Orange vegetables are rich in carotenoids, vitamin A precursors, which play important roles in the body. This one I have kept simple to carrots, pumpkin, and squash. I have dabbled with sweet potatoes but they are definitely not a favorite of mine.
Last up is the dark green vegetable, likely the easiest for me and most common. They are rich in a number of important nutrients, including folate, vitamin C, and iron. It’s also the easiest vegetable to incorporate into your diet as you can add them to salads, sandwiches or wraps, and also soups! Dark green vegetables have to be rich in color and include: Asparagus, Green Beans, Spinach, Romaine Lettuce, Mustard and Turnip Greens, Kale, Broccoli, Watercress, Red and Green Leaf Lettuce, and Bok Choy.
I’ll highlight some tips for incorporating vegetables and fruits into your daily diet:
- Include a salad with lunch or dinner.
- Use diced fruit or dried fruit in salad.
- Add chopped, diced, fresh or frozen vegetables to soup (homemade or store bought).
- Add a variety of vegetables to a sandwich (carrots, cucumber, snow peas, spinach, sprouts, etc).
- Keep fresh vegetables cut up and ready to go for snacking.
- Use fruit at breakfast or as a dessert after dinner.
- Plan to have a vegetarian meal at least once a day.
Now onto what you all have been waiting for; some new recipes to dig into! Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!
Curried Chicken Salad
- 1 lb chicken (cooked or shredded)
- 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp. fat free mayo
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 cup halved red grapes
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Honey optional
In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayo, and curry powder. Fold in the chicken, grapes and cilantro and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of honey for sweetness and stir. Serve over lettuce or in a sandwich. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: Fat 0.6g, Fruit 1/2 serving
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup original applesauce
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
Preheat oven to 325. Prepare two loaf pans with cooking spray.
Mix the eggs, oil, sugar, zucchini & vanilla extract in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Whisk flour mix into zucchini mixture until all lumps are gone. Divide batter between pans.
Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.
Serves 20-24. Per Serving: Total fat 5.4 grams, Fiber 2g
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- 2 large red or yellow bell peppers; halved lengthwise, stem intact
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 1/2 cups diced cremini mushrooms
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup fat-free, low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup chopped baby spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Microwave bell peppers fir 3 minutes until soft.
Heat oil in medium skillet on medium to low heat. Sauté onions, garlic and carrots until softened. Add mushrooms and cook until soft. Stir in cooked quinoa. Add broth, spinach and parsley and cook for 2 minutes.
Scoop one- fourth of the quinoa mixture into each bell pepper half, packing firmly. Place peppers in a baking dish, filled side up. Add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, until filling is hot.
This is a dish you can play with a bit. You can add beans, tofu, or tuna for more protein! Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: Total fat 4.2g, Fiber 6.7g, Vegetable 1 serving
I really hope that the information and recipes this week have you mixing things up, trying new things, and adding nutrient rich items to your life!
Live well, eat well, cook well, all to minimize your cancer risk! Raise those water bottles to healthy eating!!