Hello everyone! To match her 10 Top Nutrition Tips, Tiffany Rusch Dietitian is providing weekly recipients to inspire you to take those tips and put them into action!
Week 4 – Reduce your salt intake
It is week 4 of the recipe series and soup weather is upon us! Soups and stews are a great way to warm up on a cool day, and with crockpots and instant pots they can be a convenient meal prep option for busy families. While it is easy to pack lots of good nutrition into a pot of soup one of the downfalls can sometimes be the broth we choose. Storebought broth and bouillon cubes can be quite high in sodium, so why not try making your own?
This “recipe” is a great way to squeeze every bit of nutrition out of the foods you grow or purchase while cutting down on food waste, saving money, and reducing your sodium intake!
This is actually less of a rigid recipe and more of a loose formula which you can modify and customize depending on what ingredients you have.
The key to this recipe is the “scrap bag” (or container) that you are going to be keeping in your freezer and adding to every time you are prepping vegetables.
Homemade Soup Stock!
1. Frozen vegetable scraps (and/or fresh if you have them) – Suggestions: carrot ends/peels, celery ends/leaves, discarded portion of leeks, cilantro/parsley stems, pumpkin guts, squash peels, bell pepper innards, tomato ends, spinach, etc…
3. Spices (1-2 bay leaves, italian seasoning, chili flakes, peppercorns, extra garlic)
Dump vegetable scraps in a large pot. Add extra spices as desired, and anything in the fridge that is wilting. Add water to a few inches above scrap pile. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for ~30 minutes.
Let cool and pour into jars. Refrigerate if making a soup this week, or freeze for longer storage.
*While I included cilantro, too much can be over powering, so use sparingly.
*Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, turnip, cabbage) may give broth an unpleasant pungent taste, so not recommended to include unless you REALLY like that cabbage soup taste (remember you want a broth that will complement whatever soup recipe you are making next)
*Do not include any vegetables which have SPOILED. Wilted veggies are okay but if you have tomatoes with mold spots or slimy peppers those need to be tossed!
*To make chicken/turkey broth, the same process would be done with the carcass. I usually add a few cloves of crushed garlic, poultry seasoning, and some onion/leek from my scrap bag for extra flavour.
Feel free to experiment with different flavours and combinations…if it tastes terrible, write it off as an experiment. At least you were only using scraps anyway!
Week 3 – Eat and Cook at home more often
Breakfast is a problem area for many busy people, which is why coffee shops and fast food restaurants do so well in the morning! While choosing Starbucks or Tim Hortons egg bites are not the worst fast food breakfast, you can save time and money by preparing them at home instead…Plus you get to choose the ingredients! This recipe is very customizable and can suit all dietary needs and preferences. Prep in advance and enjoy all week long!
Freezer Friendly Egg Cups (Think Starbucks egg bites!!)
(Makes 12 egg cups)
12 large eggs
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup chopped mushroom
½ cup finely diced onion
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
¼ cup crumbled feta or shredded cheddar (optional)
¼ tsp dried basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray (or use silicone muffin liners set on a baking sheet).
Divide vegetables between the 12 cups (Should be about ⅔ full).
Whisk together eggs and spices and divide mixture between cups (Should now be about ¾ full).
Sprinkle cheese on top, if desired.
Bake for 24-28 minutes, or until egg has set.
Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen. Enjoy immediately or let cool on a wire rack before freezing
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or individually wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat gently in the microwave (once thawed or directly from frozen) until hot and warmed through to the center, about 30 seconds (from thawed) or 1 minute (from frozen), depending upon your microwave. If you plan ahead and thaw your egg cups, you can also pop them in the toaster oven for 2 minutes for a crisper texture.
- This recipe is very flexible! Try with different veggie and spice combos, or use up any veggies that are starting to wilt in the fridge. If you are trying to increase your protein intake, feel free to add diced cooked chicken or tempeh. Here are some other good flavour combinations to try:
- Broccoli, onion, mushroom, & cheddar
- Roasted red pepper, artichoke, onion, & goat cheese
Nutrition (1 egg cup): Cal 70 | Carbs 3g | Fiber 1g | Protein 8g | Fat 3g | Sodium 148g
Recipe adapted from https://www.wellplated.com/
Week 2 – Choose whole grain options more often
As a dietitian I often encourage people to choose whole grain options more often. Choosing whole grain breads and crackers over their white relatives is a great start, but I challenge you to go one step further! This recipe is a twist on classic stuffed peppers, replacing white rice with quinoa and beef with beans for a fiber filled, heart healthy alternative. Did you know that quinoa contains more fiber, protein and micronutrients than rice? It also has a lower glycemic index, meaning that a serving of quinoa will cause a less dramatic blood sugar spike than an equal serving of white rice.
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (serves 4)
(Image borrowed from thegardengrazer.com)
4 bell peppers (any colour)
1 medium-large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes (option to substitute tomato sauce)
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp chili powder (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheese (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Begin to cook quinoa according to package directions (or add 1 cup quinoa & 2 cups water to saucepan, Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 15-20 min or until water is all absorbed. Let stand 5 min with the lid on before serving/using)
While quinoa is cooking, cut peppers in half and remove seeds. Place in baking dish, cut side up and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Bake for about 20 minutes or until soft (this will allow peppers enough time to fully cook as the filling does not need excessive baking time).
For the filling, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; sautee until translucent. Next, add tomatoes, corn, beans, and quinoa. Combine all ingredients and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
When peppers are ready, carefully spoon topping into cut peppers (It’s okay for the topping to mound above the opening). Sprinkle with cheese if desired and return to oven for another 10 min. Garnish with cilantro for serving if desired.
-Swap out black beans for lentils or tempeh
-Add any spice combination desired (oregano/basil for an italian flavour, cumin for a mexican twist, etc)
-Sprinkle with shredded cheese or nutritional yeast if desired.
These keep well in the fridge and can be re-heated for lunch or dinner the next day!
Approximate nutrition for 2 halves: Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 19g |Fiber: 17g
Week 1 – Eat more Veggies!
The purpose of sharing this recipe is to prove that salads don’t have to be boring. Including a salad as a meal or side is a great way to increase vegetables. Depending on the ingredients, they can be full of fibre, antioxidants, and essential nutrients while being low in total calories, saturated fats, or carbohydrates. Of course salads are not the only option but for those salad eaters looking for a new idea, this is a hearty option full of seasonal vegetables and packed with flavour. The best part is, it stands up well enough that it can keep a couple days in the fridge (Did somebody say meal prep?) Add a protein of your choosing and you have yourself a balanced meal!
Looking for more salad inspiration or other strategies to boost your veggie intake? Feel free to reach out or book a 15-minute meet and greet!
Roasted Vegetable and Arugula Salad
(About 2 meal-sized servings or 4-6 side salads depending on serving size/appetite)
4-6 cups fresh arugula
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, cubed
Juice of 1 lemon
Ground black pepper, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, to taste
2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan (optional)
Proteins of choice (see notes below)
Preheat oven to 375.
Coarsely chop/cube vegetables and toss in a large bowl with olive oil and spices.
Spread evenly on parchment lined baking sheet. Roast vegetables for about 40 minutes, mixing halfway.
Add roasted vegetables to arugula. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon over top and sprinkle with parmesan if desired.
This recipe works great with any roasted vegetables. Use whatever you have in the fridge or any seasonal veggies! Other tasty options include: roasted garlic, asparagus, beets, parsnips…the options are endless!
For a lower carb version, swap the sweet potato for any other veg. For low FODMAP, eliminate the onion.
To make this salad a meal, add a protein serving…
- Grilled chicken breast
- ½-¾ cup chickpeas or lentils
- 1 cup crispy baked tofu
- ½ cup mixed nuts/seeds (roasted pumpkin & sunflower seeds are my favourite!)
No parm? No problem! Substitute feta or goat cheese for a twist, or leave it out entirely.
Because arugula is a bit of a heartier green, this salad keeps well for 1-2 days in the fridge. Great for meal prep!