lunch

Avocado Toast

There is a lot of debate about breakfast.

Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Others say it’s better to skip breakfast. And some others say it’s the consistency (eat breakfast everyday or never) that’s important.

We believe that having a nutritious breakfast can be a great way to start the day! How about our Super Easy Avocado Toast for breakfast tomorrow?

Avocado Toast

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 1/3 tsp salt

  • 1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/3 tsp red pepper

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp sunflower seeds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mash the avocado and mix it with olive oil, salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice.

  2. Toast the bread.

  3. Spread the mashed avocado on the top.

  4. Fry an egg to your preferred consistency and add it on the top of the toast.

  5. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on each toast.

If you’re not a morning person, you can start with a piece of fruit or some homemade smoothies. Have a great day!

Smoothies

REFERENCES:

  1. Guinter MA, Park YM, Steck SE and Sandler DP. Day-to-day regularity in breakfast consumption is associated with weight status in a prospective cohort of women. Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 Mar 29. doi: 10.1038/s41366-019-0356-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30926951

Carrot & Apple Soup

On a freezing day, coming back from a long day of work, how does a nice warm cup of soup sound?

Here is a simple, delicious soup recipe that can be made ahead to make your week easier!

Carrot & Apple Soup

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 onion (diced)
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves (minced)
• 8 cups vegetable broth
• 1 lb carrots (ends chopped off and sliced into 1/4 inch thick discs)
• 2 apples (peeled, cored, and diced)
• 2 tsp turmeric
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1/2 tsp salt
• milk or cream, fresh herbs (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Sautée the diced onion in olive oil.
2. Once onions are translucent, add in the minced garlic cloves and sautée for another 1-2 minutes.
3. Add in vegetable broth and the sliced carrots. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until carrots are tender.
4. Add in the diced apples, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until apples are tender.
5. Using an immersion (or regular) blender, blend the soup until smooth.
6. Top with a splash of milk or cream and fresh herbs.

Carrots

Carrots contain vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, flavonoids, etc. Because of these nutrients, carrots may be beneficial in preventing cancer and enhancing your immune system. There are also some reports suggesting their effects in preventing diabetes, and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

Apples

How about apples? There’s a saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” so they must be really healthy, right?

Unfortunately, a clinical study that compared people that typically ate at least 1 small apple a day vs. those who didn’t concluded that there was no evidence that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

However, many studies show an association between eating apples and a decreased risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and asthma. Apples contain various phytochemicals, many of which have antioxidant and/or anticancer functions.


REFERENCES:
1. Silva Dias, J.C. (2014) Nutritional and Health Benefits of Carrots and Their Seed Extracts. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 2014. 5;2147-2156. http://file.scirp.org/pdf/FNS_2014120411490798.pdf
2. Davis MA, Bynum JP, Sirovich BE. Association between apple consumption and physician visits: appealing the conventional wisdom that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. JAMA Intern Med. 2015 May;175(5):777-83. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2210883
3. Boyer J and Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutr J. 2004 May 12;3:5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442131/pdf/1475-2891-3-5.pdf

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

Halloween is coming up - what are you going to be this year?

Pumpkin's beautiful bright color comes from an antioxidant called beta-carotene. Diets high in foods with beta-carotene may be associated lower risk of certain types of cancer and heart diseases.

How about some Roasted Pumpkin Salad for dinner today? It’s full of different flavors and textures.

Roasted Pumpkin Salad

INGREDIENTS: (2 servings)
• 1 lb 5 oz cubed pumpkin
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tbsp granulated sugar
• 1/2 tsp chili flakes
• Dash of salt and pepper
• 4 handfuls of spinach leaves
• 2 oz pistachios
• 3 oz feta
• Pomegranate seeds (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Mix the pumpkin with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Place them in a baking tray and bake at 390º F for 30 minutes.
2. Rinse and dry the spinach leaves. Place spinach in a bowl, add roasted pumpkin, and top it with pistachios and feta.
3. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds for a crunch (optional).

Halloween

REFERENCES:
California Department of Public Health. Harvest of the Month. Published: 2012. Accessed: Sep 13, 2018. http://harvestofthemonth.cdph.ca.gov/documents/Fall/Pumpkin/Pumpkins%20-%20Educator%27s%20Newsletter.pdf

Green Quinoa Salad

Preparing your lunch and/or dinner on weekdays is not an easy task, but it’s definitely worth it. It is so much easier to control your weight when you’re preparing your own meals. Here’s an easy healthy recipe for a weekday meal – Green Quinoa Salad.

Green Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS (serves 4):
• 1 cup dry quinoa
• 3.5 oz edamame (frozen or fresh)
• 3.5 oz peas (frozen or fresh)
• 12 asparagus spears
• 1 carrot
• Grated zest and juice of half lemon
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp honey
• 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar.
• Handful of coriander
• Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook the dry quinoa as per package instructions and spread it on a wide plate to cool.
2. Boil edamame and peas for 4 minutes.
3. Cut asparagus spears in half, blanch for 2 minutes, and leave to cool.
4. Using a vegetable peeler, shave carrot into ribbons.
5. In a small bowl, make the dressing by mixing grated zest and juice of lemon, olive oil, honey, and balsamic vinegar.
6. In a separate bowl, mix the quinoa, vegetables, and coriander (chopped), add the dressing, and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Quinoa contains higher amounts of protein than other grains (~8g protein per 1 cup cooked quinoa), and unlike some plant protein, it is a complete protein (i.e. contains all 9 essential amino acids). It is also rich in fiber, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, and thiamine.

Quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice and pasta in many dishes. You can also try making a breakfast quinoa cereal with some fruits and cinnamon!

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REFERENCES:
Harvard School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source: Quinoa. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/quinoa/. Accessed Aug 9, 2018.

Whole Wheat Pancake with Applesauce

Looking forward to the weekend?

LOVE going out to brunch and getting those pancakes?

Eating out and experimenting different restaurants is definitely fun, but making your own pancakes from scratch is also a lot of fun! It's also a great way to make it healthier so you don't have to feel guilty afterwards. 😊

Whole wheat pancake with applesauce

Try our Whole Wheat Pancake with Applesauce.

INGREDIENTS (~10 pancakes):
• 1 cup and 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 1 tbsp honey
• 6 tbsp applesauce
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• Oil or butter for the pan
• Fresh seasonal fruits

DIRECTIONS:
1. Mix the whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2. Add unsweetened almond milk, honey, applesauce and vanilla extract to the bowl. Mix to incorporate.
3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Brush a bit of oil or butter and cook the batter until bubbles form. Flip and cook the other side.
4. Serve them with fresh seasonal fruits and some extra drizzles of honey.

applesauce

In this recipe, applesauce is the secret ingredient, preventing the pancake from being dry without having to add extra fat/oil. This secret tip works for many other recipes - when you're baking a muffin or a cake, try replacing 1/3 to half the fat/oil with applesauce.

Roasted Carrots with Ricotta Cheese

Looking for a delicious side dish to impress your friends or significant other with? Try our Roasted Carrots with Ricotta Cheese. You don't need to buy any fancy ingredients, but the dish will still be delicious and impressive!

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INGREDIENTS:
• 1 whole bunch of carrots
• Olive oil (enough to coat carrots + 1 tsp)
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp pepper
• 1/4 cup pine nuts or silvered almonds
• 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
• Balsamic vinegar (to taste)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Chop the stems off the carrots and lay on a baking sheet.
3. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat the carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 20-30 minutes in the oven until carrots are browned.
5. While the carrots roast, in a small frying pan, add in olive oil and pine nuts (or slivered almonds).
6. Roast in the frying pan for 2-3 minutes until the nuts are lightly toasted.
7. On a serving plate, spread the ricotta cheese. Layer the roasted carrots on top, and then top with toasted pine nuts. If desired, add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top. Enjoy!

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Carrots contain vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and flavonoids that may prevent cancer and enhance immune system. They are available all year round, inexpensive, and lasts longer than most veggies so it's a great vegetable to always have in stock. 


REFERENCES:
1. João Carlos da Silva Dias. Nutritional and Health Benefits of Carrots and Their Seed Extracts. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2014, 5, 2147-2156. http://file.scirp.org/pdf/FNS_2014120411490798.pdf

Hazelnuts & Basil Pesto

Nuts may be calorie dense, but they are rich in healthy unsaturated fat and plant protein. They also contain vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, fiber, and various other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Eating more nuts have been associated with lower risk of heart disease. Some studies also suggest beneficial effects on hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc. 

A smart way to incorporate nuts into your diet is replacing chips and other unhealthy snacks with nuts. That way, you're not adding extra calories to your total daily intake, but can get all the healthy benefits from nuts.

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Another way to increase your nut intake is to incorporate them into your meals. Sprinkling them onto your salad or roasted veggies is an easy way. You can also try our Hazelnut & Basil Pesto for dinner. It's super easy and great for a meatless night. 

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 cup dry couscous
• ~3 oz basil
• 3 cloves garlic
• ~3.5 oz hazelnuts
• 3 Tbs olive oil
• 1 Tbs lemon juice
• Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook couscous as per packet instructions (makes 2 cups).
2. In a food processor, add basil, garlic cloves, hazelnuts, olive oil, lemon juice and salt to taste. Pulse several times.
3. Incorporate the pesto with the cooked couscous.
4. Serve it with baked sweet potato, avocado and pomegranate seeds or any side veggies you like!
*The pesto-couscous will sit perfectly in the fridge for a few days, ready for a lunch on the go!

basil and hazelnut pesto

REFERENCES: 
1. Ros E. Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients. 2010 Jul;2(7):652-82.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/pdf/nutrients-02-00652.pdf
2. Nuts for the Heart. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Web site. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nuts-for-the-heart/. Accessed May 4, 2018.

Turmeric Salmon

Everyday, we hear more and more stories about how good fish is for our health. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of fish and/or a type of fat in fish (called omega-3 fatty acids) is associated with improved body composition, cardiovascular health, and mental and cognitive status. 

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You might think cooking fish is difficult, but it's really easy - the key is to get fresh fish and avoid overcooking. Here is a recipe for perfectly cooked Turmeric Salmon:

INGREDIENTS:
• Two 4-ounce salmon steaks
• 1 tbsp coconut oil
• 1/2 tsp turmeric
• 1/4 tsp paprika
• dash of cayenne pepper
• dash of salt and black pepper
• 2 slices of lemon

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place two 4-ounce salmon steaks on separate pieces of parchment paper.
2. Lather each salmon steak in 1 Tbsp of coconut oil.
3. Sprinkle each salmon steak with 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp paprika, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a dash of kosher salt and black pepper.
4. Top each salmon steak with a slice of lemon.
5. Fold the parchment paper around each piece of salmon so that a small envelope is created (for more info on how to wrap the salmon: search "salmon en papillote").
6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

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Using the spices not only add flavors to the salmon, but may also add health benefits! For example, turmeric has been traditionally used for digestive health and some clinical studies also suggest its benefits. 

REFERENCES:
1. Fish or n3-PUFA intake and body composition: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2014 Aug;15(8):657-65. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24891155
2. Fish consumption and risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective observational studies. Public Health Nutr. 2018 May;21(7):1297-1306. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29317009
3. Association between fish consumption and risk of dementia: a new study from China and a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Public Health Nutr. 2018 Mar 19:1-12. doi: 10.1017/S136898001800037X. [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29551101
4. Fish consumption and depression in Korean adults: the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013-2015. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jan 17. doi: 10.1038/s41430-017-0083-9. [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29339828
5. Efficacy of turmeric in the treatment of digestive disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. Syst Rev. 2014 Jun 28;3:71. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24973984

Beet Linguine

Beet's dark red color is not only a great addition to various dishes, but it may also have health benefits! Its pigment called betalain is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and may be associated with lower risk of diseases.

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Not sure how to cook them? Try our Beet Linguine.

INGREDIENTS:
• 2/3 pound raw beets
• 1 pound chicken breast
• Salt and pepper
• 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil
• 1 tsp salt
• 10 ounces of linguine
• 1 pound baby spinach
• Grated Parmigiano cheese (optional)
• Olive oil (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 400-425º F.
2. Peel beets, slice them into ~1/4 inch thickness, and cook them in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes.
3. Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook in a frying pan with coconut oil (3-5 minutes on each side).
4. Fill 2/3 of a large pot with water, add 1 tsp salt, and boil.
5. Cook linguine for 5-7 minutes and drain.
6. Mix linguine with baby spinach, beets, and chicken.
7. Add Parmigiano cheese and olive oil to your preference and enjoy!

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REFERENCES:
1. Tom Clifford, Glyn Howatson, Daniel J. West, and Emma J. Stevenson. The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease. Nutrients. 2015 Apr; 7(4): 2801–2822. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425174/

Mashed Cauliflower (with Shrimp)

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C and also contains other nutrients like vitamin K, folate, and potassium. It belongs to a group called cruciferous vegetables, which are thought to be helpful in preventing cancer.

 
*Data from the Asken Diet app

*Data from the Asken Diet app

 

The most common cauliflower has white flower buds, but there are other varieties that are orange or purple. There is also a light green variety called broccoflower, which is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.

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Because cauliflower is low in calories and fat, it has been used as a substitute of various foods, such as cauliflower rice and cauliflower pizza crust. How about some mashed cauliflower as a healthy alternative to more starch-filled mashed potatoes?

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 minced shallot
• 1 Tbsp of butter
• 10 ounces of cauliflower rice
• 1 cup of vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a medium saucepan, sautée one minced shallot in 1 Tbsp of butter
2. Once translucent, add in 10 ounces of cauliflower rice. Sautée for approximately 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly
3. Add in 1 cup of vegetable broth and cook for 8-10 minutes, until cauliflower is tender
4. Using an immersion blender, mash the cooked cauliflower until it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency
5. Serve with grilled shrimp or salmon

Mashed Cauliflower

REFERENCES:
1. University of the District of Columbia, Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health. Cauliflower. University of the District of Columbia Website. https://www.udc.edu/docs/causes/online/cauliflowersm.pdf. Accessed September 8, 2017.

Lentil Soup

Even if you are not a vegetarian, it may not be a bad idea to have occasional meatless nights.

Recent study shows that high plant protein intake was associated with lower overall and cardiovascular death risks while high animal protein intake was associated with increased cardiovascular death.

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As we reach the end of the summer, it’s time to start enjoying warm soups! How about trying some plant-protein filled soups like lentil soup?

Lentils are a good source of not only plant-protein, but also complex carbohydrate, thiamine, iron, and other nutrients. 

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 diced onion
• 1 Tbsp butter
• 1/2 cup red lentils
• 2 cups vegetable broth
• 2 Tbsp of fresh chopped parsley
• Dash of pepper
• 1/4 cup milk or almond milk

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large pot, cook the onion in butter until it's translucent, but not browned
2. Add red lentils and vegetable broth. Simmer the broth until the lentils are cooked through (if the soup is too thick, add more broth as necessary)
3. Add in fresh chopped parsley and a dash of pepper
4. To make the soup smoother, use an immersion blender and blend until the desired consistency is reached
5. To top it off, mix in milk or almond milk. Serve and enjoy

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REFERENCES:
1. Song M, Fung TT, Hu FB, et al. Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Oct 1;176(10):1453-1463. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182.
2. USAID. Lentils Commodity Fact Sheet. USAID Web site. https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/agriculture-and-food-security/food-assistance/resources/lentils-commodity-fact-sheet. Updated: November 14, 2016. Accessed September 8, 2017.