I'm continuing to celebrate National Nutrition Month here on the blog and at work.
Last Wednesday was National RDN Day. Did you miss my awesome spotlight round-up of RD's? If so, click back here and check it out!
Last Wednesday I also gave my monthly Food is Fuel lecture at our village wellness center. The program is growing a little each month, and I now have an undergraduate student helping me out which is really exciting and fun!!
|With my undergraduate dietetic student, Brittni|
Sorry for the blurry pic!
This month's them was "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right" to go along with the Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right motto of NNM. One message that I am passionate about sharing is that eating healthy does NOT have to equate to boring or bland food! YES, dishes can taste great, be satisfying and be good for you too... it's all in your pairing of foods and the ways you choose to add flavor and interest.
The focus of our presentation was on the benefits and use of herbs and spices to add interest and flavor to recipes without loading them down with extra fat and sodium. Herbs and spices are often underutilized in cooking and their nutritional benefits widely unknown. Here's a quick summary of some of the nutritional benefits of common herbs and spices:
Parsley: Rich in Vitamins A & C, calcium & iron, may inhibit cancer cell growth. Fresh parsley pairs well with most recipes!
Garlic: Contains a potent antioxidant, allicin, which is known to protect against heart disease and certain cancers. Raw garlic preserves its antioxidant properties better than cooked or powdered, so add it into your recipes towards the end of cooking for even greater flavor and nutritional benefits!
Sage: May help with memory and mood, aid in digestion. Sage is best sprinkled on soups or sweet potatoes.
Turmeric: Contains the powerful antioxidant, curcumin, which reduces inflammation and fends off cancer growth. Turmeric is a great addition to indian dishes, lentil soups, chicken or tofu.
Cinnamon: Is best known for its ability to stabilize blood sugar levels, but also contains antioxidants to fight cancer and reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease. Cinnamon is effective for people with diabetes as it helps individual cells increase their ability to utilize insulin and pairs well with many foods including fresh fruit, oatmeal, coffee or tea.
Thyme: Contains antimicrobial properties to ward against infections and aids in digestion. Thyme is a great addition to dishes containing chicken, fish or root vegetables.
Ginger: Not only is ginger an effective in digestion, it protects against gastric ulcers and inhibits inflammation related to osteoarthritis. Ginger pairs well in most Asian and Indian dishes, but can also be a tasty additive to baked goods for a little extra "zing!"
Rosemary: Contains carnosic acid which may lower risk of stroke and Alzheimer's. It is also known for its relaxing properties and a common addition to soups, lotions, perfumes and other bath products. Rosemary pairs well with roasted chicken and vegetables.
What do you think? Enough motivation to wipe off the dust on that spice rack and experiment a little more with some herbs and spices??
To go along with the presentation, I did my usual recipe demo. This one was a little more intricate in terms of steps so I'm really glad I had an extra hand to provide assistance! Originally inspired by some homemade sushi making endeavors (i.e. utilizing the leftovers), this recipe brings a tropical twist to traditional stir fry. Plenty of bright colors with the tang of added herbs and spices makes this a fun way to 'taste the rainbow'!
1 cup black thai rice (dry measure)*
16oz firm tofu or boneless, skinless chicken
1 c. mango, diced
1 c. pineapple, diced
1 lb asparagus, steamed, diced
1 large sweet potato, baked, skin removed & diced
2 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons
1 small onion, finely diced
Olive oil or coconut oil
Fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c. Braggs Liquid Aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 orange
Dash of tumeric
Pepper, to taste
*Substitute brown rice if unable to find black thai rice (or 'forbidden rice'), canned pineapple and frozen mango if necessary. Substitute your meat of choice is chicken or tofu is not preferred: this also pairs well with shrimp!!
First, prepare your rice in either a rice cooker or boiled on the stove using a ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice. For an even tastier version, prepare with lite coconut milk instead of water.
Next, prepare your veggies and fruit. You may find it helpful to pre-cook your asparagus and sweet potato as these tend to need more cooking time and moisture to soften.
In a large wok or cooking pan: heat olive oil (or coconut oil) over medium high heat. Add your tofu (or chicken) and saute until lightly browned and golden. Set aside. Add addition oil, then saute onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes until golden and fragrant. Add your asparagus and sweet potato and saute an additional 3-4 minutes. Finally, add your carrots, mango, pineapple, tofu or chicken and sauce ingredients. Stir fry 2-3 additional minutes to allow flavors to combine.
Pair over rice and garnish with coconut, walnuts and fresh parsley to taste.
"Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right" with a colorful rainbow on your plate!!!