Fresh Mango and Avocado Salsa

Hello Friends!

Today I am sharing a recipe for a fresh salsa-like side dish. This pairs very nicely with fish, or add black beans and top on lettuce to make it a full meal! It keeps well for a few days, and is a good source of vegetables along with healthy fat!

Fresh Salsa 

Ingredients:

1 avocado, chopped

1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped

1 mango, chopped

1/2 cucumber, chopped

5 radishes, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1-2 limes

salt + pepper

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients into a bowl. Stir.

2. Let sit for an hour or so.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know if you make it!

– SG

 

All About Pasta; Healthy Pasta Options, Favourite Brands + A Pesto Recipe

Hi friends!

Today I am talking about pasta. Coming from a 1/2 Italian background, pasta plays a huge role in my life. Nothing beats Nonna’s pasta!

I 100% believe in eating what you want and what feels good for you, pasta included. However, I wanted to compile a list of my favourite pasta options that may be more conducive to some of your health goals, and talk about some more nutrient-dense pasta options, if that is your thing!

Another disclaimer is that these pasta options are not all the same, nutritiously, and can not necessarily substitute one another. I highlight some ways to include the different options, to hopefully give you a better idea of how they can all play a role in a balanced diet.

My Favourite Pasta Options

1. Lentils or Chickpea Pasta

These pasta options contain roughly 21 g of protein, and ~10 g of fibre, making this a very nutrient-dense option. I enjoy lentil or chickpea pasta with pesto (see: recipe) or tomato sauce. When I enjoy lentil or chickpea pasta, I do not worry about having a protein along with it, whereas if I have another type of pasta, I always ensure I have a good source of protein to help balance my blood sugar. Lentil or chickpea pasta, with sauce + veg is a balanced, delicious meal option.

Brands: Chickpea Pasta and Explore Cuisine

2. Egg Pasta

Egg pasta is wheat pasta made with eggs and traditionally found in Italian pasta brands. I love pasta made with eggs because it actually contains protein, roughly about 12 g per serving. It is not a full serving, so I would still add some protein to your meal, but it will be a bit more stabilizing to your blood sugar. Keep in mind, egg pasta does not contain fibre, so you would still want to load up your plate with vegetables, as well as a bit more protein and a healthy fat!

Brands: Some brands that I know of are Caponi, Benedetto and Spinosi, however you can check the ingredients and they should contain wheat and eggs as the only two ingredients. 

3. Kamut or Spelt

A higher-fibre option to white pasta, these ancient grains provide a nice alternative to whole wheat pasta and can be up to 10g of fibre per serving. They are a bit more grainy than semolina wheat, but less grainy than whole wheat. Ancient grains contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, even when they are milled into flour. You can replace any pasta with a kamut or spelt pasta to add some variety.

Brands: Eden Organics

4. Brown Rice

Brown rice pasta is a great gluten-free alternative, and quite accessible/easy to find. Most grocery stores carry brown rice pasta now, and it can replace any pasta. The only issue is that it can over cook easily, and so you have to watch the pot! This is generally not a great source of fibre, so again I would add your veggies to the sauce or on the side.

Brands: Rizopia, Tinkyada

5. Spirulized Vegetables or Spaghetti Squash

Before I get an eye roll for insinuating that vegetables replace pasta, hear me out! Firstly, I do not think spirulized zucchini replaces pasta. I think that spirulized vegetables, with a tasty sauce, can be a nutrient-dense option and a way to add more vegetables to your diet. I have a lot of clients who find sauce to be the best part of pasta and enjoy a tomato bolognese, or shrimp with pesto on a plate of zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash equal to that of pasta. To spirulized vegetables, I would add a source of protein, healthy fat + even some more vegetables to make it a well balanced meal.

PESTO RECIPE 

I love pesto, and find it quite easy and versatile. You can add vegetables like kale or arugula, and use any nut or seed that you have on hand.

Ingredients:

3 big handfuls or 2.5 cups fresh basil

1/2 cup olive oil

1 handful or 1/2 cup nuts/seeds of choice ( I used sunflower seeds)

2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast

2 cloves garlic

sea salt

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Add more olive oil until desired consistency.

2. I added the pesto to chickpea pasta and topped a big bowl of arugula!

 

 

MONTHLY NOURISH | AUGUST

Hello friends and Happy August!

We have been running our Monthly Nourish series for almost a year now- how fun!

We hope it is inspiring you to try something new and include healthy foods at a pace that suits you!

Monthly Nourish for August is basically bruschetta in a list, because in Ontario these foods are fresh, in season and oh so delicious.

I hope you enjoy this month’s edition of Monthly Nourish and try to include these three foods in  some news ways. Let us know what you make with the hashtag #monthlynourish.

Monthly Nourish | August 

Tomato

Tomatoes have been featured on Monthly Nourish before, but I couldn’t resist highlighting them again. Tomatoes are notably high in a phytochemical called lycopene. Lycopene is found in any fruit or vegetable that has a red pigment to it. Lycopene is known to been good for heart health, prostate health and skin health.

Try them raw in salads, or cooked in a sauce or curry! Try out this recipe for Caponata Panzanella by The First Mess and check out our Pinterest board for more recipe inspo! 

Basil 

Basil is a powerful green that contains many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is very nutrient dense, and a great option to include if you are a not a huge vegetable lover.

You can add basil to salads, soup, stews or make a pesto! Here is a recipe to try for Zucchini Linguine with Fava Bean Pesto from Goop and check out our Pinterest board for more recipe inspo! 

Garlic

Vampires beware! Garlic contains powerful antioxidants, and the active ingredient, Allicin, is anti-inflammatory and great for our immune system. A fun fact, is that allicin is only released when garlic is crushed or chopped, not when consumed whole.

Add garlic to dressings, broth and sauces. Try this recipe for Garlic Tahini Dressing by Veganosity and check out our Pinterest board for more recipe inspo! 

I hope you enjoyed this month of Monthly Nourish! Let us know what you make!

-SG

The Ultimate Summery Salad

Hello friends!

Dramatic title aside, this salad recipe is delicious, and one that I have been and will continue to make on a regular basis until summer ends. Inspired by a salad I enjoyed at my friend’s house a few weeks ago, I knew I had to make my own to share it on the blog!

It is full of summery, local to Ontario vegetables, and tastes so flavourful and fresh. When ingredients are good, they speak for themselves, and you don’t need to add much to them. It is a privilege to have access to fresh fruit and vegetables, and one that I do not take for granted!

Here is a recipe for a simple, summery chopped vegetable salad! Please enjoy!

The Ultimate Summery Salad

Ingredients:

2 bell peppers ( I used purple + red), chopped

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 cucumber, chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

2 green onions, chopped

handful basil, chopped

handful parsley, chopped

handful oregano, chopped

1.5 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup sheep feta

1 lemon, juiced

4 tbsp olive oil

salt + pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Add all chopped vegetables and herbs into a bowl. Mix. Add chickpeas and mix again.

2. Top with drizzled olive oil + lemon juice + salt + pepper.

3. Top with cheese at the end.

4. Enjoy!

Please let me know how you like this recipe. I also encourage you to switch it up with vegetables of your choice, herbs of choice or anything else!

-SG

 

 

Toast Three Ways, Why We Like Bread + Our Favourite Bread Brands

Hello friends!

Today I am going through three toast combinations, that can be enjoyed as a healthy breakfast or snack.

Bread often gets a bad reputation but I personally love bread and think that it can be part of a healthy diet.

Reasons I like bread:

1. It is a great source of carbohydrates to provide the body with energy, as well as a source of fibre and other vitamins.

2. It can be quite cost effective.

3. Easy + quick!

4. Restricting or limiting bread ( especially if you love it!) can lead to cravings and binge eating.

5. Satisfying + versatile!

Now, when choosing bread, there are a few things I typically try to keep in mind. I try to keep it whole grain, so that you are in fact getting fibre. I also keep the ingredients minimal. You can read the ingredient list of bread and see 10 + ingredients, most of which are unnecessary. I also like a sourdough bread or bread using a sourdough culture, instead of yeast, which can be easier to digest. Lastly, I prefer an ancient wheat like spelt, rye or kamut, or a sprouted grain, which is also often easier to digest and generally more nutritious.

My favourite bread brands include: 

1. Ezekial Sprouted Grain Bread

2. Silver Hills Sprouted Grain Bread

3. Stone Mills Sprouted Grain Bread

4. Dimpflmeier 100% Rye Sourdough Bread

5. Shasha

6. Little Stream Bakery

Toronto Bakeries

St. John’s Bakery, sourdough bread

Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, gluten-free sourdough bread

Praire Boy Bakery

Now that you know why I love bread, and the brands I choose, here are three different toppings that you will commonly see me make.

1. Avocado Toast

How to make: 

Add 1/2 avocado sliced, with 1 tbsp hemp hearts, sea salt, a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of nutritional yeast + any spice or herb of choice (I added zaatar spice here).

2. Coconut Cream + Jam

How to make:

Spread sunflower seed butter as a base, top with a spoonful of coconut cream and a dollop of your favourite jam.

3. Nut Butter + Fruit

How to make: 

Spread almond butter as a base, and top with sliced apple, pear + banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Now, I would love to hear from you! What are your favourite bread brands? Do you have toast toppings you love? Let me know in the comments!

– SG

POPSICLE RECIPES TO BEAT THE HEAT!

Hello everyone!

As we are enjoying (or suffering from) the hot weather in Toronto, I wanted to compile some popsicle recipes as a delicious way to cool down!

Below you can download the ebooklet with 5 recipes for healthy popsicles.

These popsicles are all made with whole food ingredients, low in sugar and even a bit nutritious!

Enjoy and stay cool out there!

– SG

POPSICLE RECIPES!

 

5 Tips To Stay Healthy During The Work Week

Hello friends!

Today I am focusing on health tips for the work week. I know that many of you find it difficult to stay healthy during the work week. Busy schedules, lack of time and stress can make it difficult to make healthy choices. I commonly hear that lunch is a rush, and that it is easier to pick up something quick on the go, or that the food choices around the office are not the healthiest. I also commonly hear my clients talk about sugary office snacks, and constant exposure to baked goods and desserts that are brought into the office and difficult to resist.

Since we spend the majority of our life at work, the health tips that we establish at work, or throughout the work week, are important. Healthy habits at work can help maintain energy levels throughout the day, decrease stress and increase focus.

Below I outlines some tips to stay healthy during the week!

5 Tips to Stay Healthy During the Work Week

1. Keep a BIG bottle of water at your desk. Most of us do not drink enough water. A strategy is to keep a big bottle at the desk and either set intervals on your phone to drink, or simply make a rule that you drink 1/2 of the water bottle before lunch, and half after. Having your water be at your desk, can also be a constant reminder to drink when you are thirsty.

2. Bring snacks. Instead of “resisting” the baked goods and sweet treats at the office, bring your own. If you are hungry, or experiencing low blood sugar, combined with potentially feeling stressed and tired, there is no way you can resist a cupcake! I want to say that it is OKAY to enjoy treats and desserts throughout the day. I am talking to those who do not feel good after these treats, but find themselves eating them anyway.

Keep non perishables at work like nuts, dark chocolate or a bar. If you are able to keep snacks in the fridge try for fruit, hummus and sliced vegetables.

3. Prep lunch. Now this is a big one, but finding time on a Sunday ( or whatever day) to prepare your lunches for the week, can be helpful. If you constantly find that you are not bringing lunch, but you want to, this can be a tip for you. Creating jar salads, batch cooking an item for lunch or always cooking extra dinner exclusively for leftovers, are all great options!

4. Keep a list of healthy take-out. I know that many of my clients find they can not bring a homemade lunch to work, however they still want to eat healthy. Creat a list of healthy take-out by your office, or through uber eats/foodora with a typical order planned out so that you can have a healthy lunch easily and without thinking about it too much.

5. Take 5 deep breaths before you eat. Now, this may seem a bit extra but eating in a “relaxed” state is important. Now, I know it may be impossible to relax when we are at work, but that is where the 5 deeps breaths come in. 5 deeps breaths is enough to relax our system. Why do we care to relax before we eat? When we are stressed our digestive system stop working optimally and we may find we experience acid reflux, indigestion or stomach aches. If we are not digesting properly our body uses extra energy to digest food, leaving us more tired after we eat. 5 deep breaths can also bring oxygen to the brain and help us focus more throughout the day. A win/win!

I hope you enjoyed these tips and that you find them helpful!

– Sarah

If you are interested to bring nutrition services into your workplace, please reach out! We offer lunch&learn talks, food demos, nutrition q&a sessions and in-office consultations. 

– Sarah

 

MONTHLY NOURISH | JULY

Hello friends!

We hope you are enjoying the Monthly Nourish segments on the blog. In case this is the first time you are checking in, each month we highlight three foods, discuss the health benefits of these foods along with recipes and new ways to include them! The purpose of this is to embrace healthy foods whenever you can, and in ways that you enjoy. We hope you are encouraged to try new foods, or new recipes, a little bit at a time!

Parsley

Parsley is notably high in vitamin C, which is a vitamin that is good for our skin, immune health and stress. It is also full of antioxidants, and ones that are not found in many other foods.

Enjoy parsley in your salad, in chicken soup or even in your smoothie!

Check out our Monthly Nourish board on Pinterest to find more recipe inspiration like this tabouli salad from Oh She Glows.

Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens are a nutrient-dense vegetable and a good source of vitamin C, B6, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Dandelion greens are particularly healthy due to the bitter flavour, which can stimulate enzyme production in the gastrointestinal system and help with your digestion.

Dandelion greens are bitter, and so we find them best lightly sautéed (which takes out some of the bitterness) or added to a salad with a sweeter dressing.

Check out our Monthly Nourish board on Pinterest to find more recipe inspiration like this dandelion salad from Martha Stewart.

Raspberries

These bright coloured fruits are not only bursting with flavour but with loads of antioxidants, specifically querccetin. Quercetin can lower histamine in the body and help with seasonal allergies, as well as being noted as a potential cancer-fighting antioxidant.  Berries are also a low sugar fruit, and contain fibre, so a great fruit to include if you are trying to manage blood sugar levels.

Check out our Monthly Nourish board on Pinterest to find more recipe inspiration like this smoothie from Vibrant Plate.

We hope you try some new foods this month! Please tag us with #monthlynourish with all of your recipe creations an experimentations this month!

#summerhungerchallenge with Food Banks Canada

Eating for $1.00 a day.

Seems impossible, right? For the average person, it very much is impossible. I tried to eat for $1.00 a day ( 3 meals) and today I am going to describe the experience, as well as explain why I attempted to do this.

Eating for $1 a day is part of the #summerhungerchallenge and Every Plate Full campaign. This campaign aims to bring awareness to summer hunger across Canada. Summer hunger is a real issue in Canada, as the need for food banks increase while donations in the summer months decrease. Food banks are able to provide 3 meals for $1, which is incredible. However, it is very difficult to do and to me, shows the importance and value of each donation.

When I was planning my meals, it took a lot of time. I thought about the most nutritious and nutrient-dense options. Obviously, this is very difficult to do and below is my attempt.

MY MEALS FOR THE DAY

BREAKFAST | Oatmeal with an Egg 

1/2 cup oats

1 egg

_____

Cost

$0.42

Nutrition Information 

Calories: 222

Carbohydrates: 27.4 g

Fibre: 4g

 Fat: 4g

Protein: 11g

LUNCH | Millet & Lentil Stew with Chipati 

1/4 cup millet

1/4 cup red lentils

Chapati; 1/8 cup flour with water

4 pieces spinach

1 baby tomato, chopped

4 pieces sliced carrots

_____

Cost

$0.25

Nutrition Information

Calories: 413

Carbohydrates: 78.5g

Fibre: 11.25

Fat: 2.5g

Protein: 20g

DINNER | Millet & Lentil Stew with Chipati 

1/4 cup millet

1/4 cup red lentils

Chapati; 1/8 cup flour with water

4 pieces spinach

1 baby tomato, chopped

4 pieces sliced carrots

_____

Cost

$0.25

Nutrition Information

Calories: 413

Carbohydrates: 78.5g

Fibre: 11.25

Fat: 2.5g

Protein: 20g

TOTAL COST: $0.92

CHALLENGES

The main challenges that I came accross, other than eating enough food, was maintaining variety, eating nutritionally, enhancing the visual appeal and adding flavour.

My priority was to try and eat enough calories and as nutritionally as possible. This was not enough food for an average woman who is busy and active. I found I compromised on variety and made the same meal for lunch and dinner, as this kept the cost down while calories and nutrition up. For the odd day, this is okay but for me I would not want the same meal for lunch and dinner, every day.

The visual appeal of my food is also something that I value and enhances the experiences of enjoying my food. Eating bland and boring looking food, every day, is not something that I would like, longer term. I found adding the few pieces of colour, made a difference.

Adding flavour is also an added expense. I did find that a little bit went a long way and I added a small bit of cinnamon to the oatmeal, and salt to the soup. However, the meals were definately flavourless.

It is clear that when living with food insecurity, every decision is a difficult one. Every bite of food is and can be a huge sacrifice. Not only that, but making healthy choices and make food exciting is likely the last thing on the list. You just need anything.

Food banks are very important and this is an issue I have been passionate about for a very long time. Any donation helps, while it is important to be mindful of the food you are donating and think about whether or not it would be something you like, and would like to eat. I use this judgement whenever I donate to any food bank.

Now, I challenge YOU to take on this challenge. See how difficult it is to eat for under $1 a day. Donate to food banks if you can, and spread the word about summer hunger in Canada.

– Sarah

 

A Kale Salad Recipe

Hello friends!

Today I am posting a recipe for a kale salad. If you do not like kale, you can use any green- spinach, arugula, romaine – or anything else you like!

A Kale Salad Recipe 

Ingredients:

1 head of kale, chopped

handful of baby tomatoes, chopped

1 avocado, sliced

1 cup black beans

handful cilantro, chopped

5 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup crumbled feta

Dressing:

2 parts oil

1 part lemon/lime juice or vinegar

salt + pepper

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients together in a bowl.

2. Mix dressing ingredients in a container. Add to salad.

3. Enjoy!