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March is Nutrition Month and we're celebrating with nutritious and delicious dishes
Eating a healthy diet can help prevent illness and lower your risk of developing chronic diseases. Food provides the nutrients our bodies need to boost immune function and fight infections keeping us healthy and strong. I like to think of each meal and snack as an opportunity to get these nutrients.
Research has shown that eating patterns, such as the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) and the Mediterranean Diet—that emphasize vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes, dairy, fish and healthy fats from nuts and olive oil—can help prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and some types of cancer.
At home, I try to include one new recipe a week. Getting the kids to help choose the recipe helps ensure I’ve got “buy in” from them. I find that having a list of the five or six dinners I will cook that week and writing a grocery list based on those meals helps ensure I only need to shop once a week and reduces food waste.
Here are three of my go-to recipes to keep my family healthy…
One of the ways I incorporate these eating patterns is by finding delicious ways to fill half my plate with vegetables. I love making meal-in-one salads like this Avocado, Mango and Black Bean Salad on Wilted Kale by Avocados from Mexico. I always buy two bunches of kale when I do my grocery shopping on Saturdays. When I get home, I wash it, cut off the tough stems and tear it into bite-sized pieces. I keep this in my fridge for the next three or four days and top it with different proteins such as beans, salmon or chicken and vegetables like tomato, peppers and avocado for quick weekday lunches. Eating leafy greens can also help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
I find having homemade salsa or guacamole in the fridge is an easy way to get my kids eating more vegetables. Mint Basil Guacamole served with tortilla chips, cucumber rounds and bell peppers is the perfect after school snack to tide them over until dinner. Just mash the avocado with a fork and add your favorite herbs, spices and lime juice. This recipe also calls for soft tofu and some seeds for added protein.
Courtesy of Avocados from Mexico; credit Erin Ireland
I also try to find creative ways to serve fish a couple times a week. Fish tacos are a big hit and another great way serve salsa and this guacamole. Omega-3 fats from fatty fish like salmon and trout can help reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels.
I like to include more plant proteins such as nuts and legumes in my family’s meals. Veggie burgers made with lentils and Spanish Bulgar with chickpeas are delicious recipes found on the free Cookspriation app that help boost protein and fibre without saturated fats.