Roasted Vegetables Recipe

When it is cold outside, I find a dish of warm roasted vegetables is so comforting. Vegetables are incredibly versatile and this recipe is so easy to prepare. So what’s not to love about them! Roasted vegetables are are a great addition to the table in the fall and winter months. They are a great option for vegan and vegetarian  meal planning.

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You can use any vegetables you like but the combination I have been working with lately includes broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green peppers and onions. I find this combination offers a variety of flavours and textures that go well together. Using a red pepper instead of a green one would create an even more festive appearance to this dish if you are looking for a great addition to you holiday meal menus – just saying!

You can adjust the spices you use as you feel you need. If you want to keep it simple just season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Otherwise, you can use the other spices I recommend (garlic powder and chili powder) for a little extra kick and to round out the flavour.

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Vegetables are nutritionally very important. Besides the different vitamins and minerals they contain which are important for the health and vitality of our bodies, vegetables are a source of fibre which is extremely important for proper functioning of the digestive track and soluble fibre may help with lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol which may reduce the risk for heart disease.

Cooking vegetables, especially fall and winter root vegetables, is important because it makes it easier for us to eat and digest them. Roasting is a healthy cooking method which uses dry heat to cook food. The food is covered and cooked in the oven. This method helps preserve nutrients of the vegetables more than other methods like boiling. The process of roasting does much to enhance the flavours of the food in the cooking process.

Broccoli is a high-fibre, nutrient dense food making it a nutritional powerhouse! Just some of the important nutrients found in broccoli include B vitamins, folate, riboflavin, potassium, iron and vitamin C. Broccoli also provides carotenoids beta carotene and lutein. Beta carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body. Lutein has been shown to protect vision from macular degeneration by possibly functioning as an antioxidant to protect the eyes from free-radical damaged caused by UV rays from sunlight. Cooking actually makes these caroteinoids more bioavailable so your body can process and start using them more easily!

Cauliflower provides vitamin C, folate, vitamin B6 as well as potassium. It is also low in calories and an excellent source of fibre.

Carrots offer a great source fibre, potassium, vitamin B6. Carrots appropriately contain compounds called carotenoids, which may have antioxidant properties. Beta carotene is one of these which can be found in carrots but carrots also provide alpha carotene and lutein.

Olive Oil is a source of healthy fats like mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which have improved blood cholesterol levels. Olive oil is also a source of Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin with powerful antioxidant properties.

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This is an easy side dish to prepare and serve with any sort of entree or cooked meat. The simplicity of the recipe means that it won’t clash with anything else you are cooking. The vegetables will have a subtle but substantial presence in your meal. You can also add chopped up roasted vegetables to pasta, rice or quinoa to make a more substantial meal or add them to a salad to boost your vegetables intake. Either make them for one of these meal planning options specifically or reinvent your leftovers. You can easily double or triple this recipe which makes it great for batch cooking!

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How to Redefine and Enhance your Connection with Food

Your connection to food is something you will carry with you through the rest of your life. The foods we choose to eat and how they make us feel have such an impact on our lives. Improving our connection to food is something we can all commit to and strive for.  It is always evolving as we encounter new situations and gain new knowledge and understanding of ourselves and our world.

Although we live at a time like no other in our food history, when there has never been such an array of food products available and food transportation around the globe has never been so limitless, there simultaneously exists such a disconnection between ourselves and the foods we eat. A disconnection that is detrimental to our health and natural state of being. How do we rebuild our food connectivity?

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First, there is the question of how do we become disconnected with food? So many factors shape our lives and our identities. One would think in this age of incredible interconnectivity across the globe we would be more connected. However, when you consider the vast amounts of boxed, packaged, prepared and “ready in 90 second” meal options out there it is easy to lose sight of and connection to what exactly “real food” is. A lack of connection is noticeable if you learn how to look for and observe it.

Our assumptions about food are another factor that contribute to this disconnect. Assumption are our taken for granted beliefs that something is real, when it may not be. Assumptions influence our actions and behaviours–sometimes without us even realizing it. How about “Eating healthy takes too much time” or “Eating healthy costs too much”. Our assumptions can hold us back and impede living authentically and finding the solutions we need to live our best lives.

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Here are some ideas on how to find a new perspective and create a new level of connection with food.

  • The most important thing you can do is gain awareness. Realize what you are eating and why you are eating. What foods do you purchase and where do you shop? You will gain tremendous insight from taking a moment to reflect, pause and examine the interwoven connections of where food comes from and how it got to your table.

 

  • Following this is being honest. And this is the hard one. Be honest with how you feel towards the food you eat and how the foods you eat affect you. If something is not serving you can you be honest enough to acknowledge that and let it go.

 

  • Eat Real by enjoying food in its purest form – as nature intended and gifted it to us. Real food is a natural source of energy and nutrients which is more sustainable and empowering than processed alternatives. Change takes time so start gradually by making more and more wholesome, natural food choices when you can. It might not always be possible, and we need some flexibility in our lives, but it will amaze you at the shifts you see in your eating habits and how you feel.

 

  • Try something new! It’s exciting and refreshing to try a new food or a new recipe. When you are interested and excited about what you are about to eat you naturally will feel more connected to it.

 

  • Visit a local farmers’ market or find sources for local food options. Eating locally and meeting the people who grow your food builds bridges and connections.

 

  • Eat mindfully and be grateful to maximize your satisfaction and satiation with your food. The simplest act of respecting and being grateful for the food you have to eat compounds your connection with food. How can you show more gratitude and appreciation for the foods you eat? The practice of saying grace is eternal, it only takes a few words at the beginning of your meal to cultivate the feeling of compassion for yourself and the food you are about to eat.

 

  • Notice and build awareness of assumptions and the ways these influence actions and behaviours and, if necessary, change them. Doing so can help you become more in aligned with what is real and authentic. You will gain tremendous insight from examining the interwoven connections of where food comes from and how it got to your table. We often form assumptions. What assumptions do you make about food?

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Especially around holidays, we have the time to connect with one another and be grateful for and celebrate the food that we have. But in reality fueling your connection to food is something that will take more practice and persistence. At the end of the day deep down we all want to eat and feel good and building a healthy connection with food supports this. What are some ways you will nourish and improve your food connection?

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The Basics of Batch Cooking

Even with a great routine in place, who wouldn’t like to save time, money and energy and still eat healthy?

Batch cooking refers to the process of preparing recipes in a large enough quantity to have several portions left-over. These extra portions are saved for future meals. Cooking this way speeds up meal planning and preparation, making it easier to follow healthy eating habits. Some examples of recipes that are good for batch cooking include chili, soups, pasta sauces and casseroles.

Batch cooking is a great way to simplify your meal planning, save time and money by shopping and cooking less and help the environment! Weekends are a great time to cook up a big batch of one of your favourite recipes so you will save so much time during the week.

With the holidays coming, which are all about cooking great meals–often in large quantities – it’s a great time to use these strategies to learn and apply to save your leftovers to reduce food waste.

To make this work, it is important to know how to store your leftover food properly. Before storing leftovers make sure you allow food to cool slightly (do not leave out of the refrigerator for more than two hours) but once cooled you can package and store it. Store leftovers in clean, airtight containers for a 2-3 days after cooking or freeze for up to 2-3 months (i.e. make your own “frozen dinners”–minus the added calories, fat and salt). Defrost leftovers in the refrigerator the night before you want to eat them to make reheating them easier.

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Worried about getting bored? It’s understandable. Everyone is different in their food comfort and preferences. Some of us are fine with eating the same thing over and over again, day after day and that is fine.  It does take a lot of the thinking out of what we will eat. Others may need more variety and shaking things up their meals. With batch cooking you can meet both needs! The secret is to pick a basic recipe that can be easily reinvented into something else. For example, make a basic chili recipe which you can have chili one day, a taco salad the next day, use as a pasta sauce the day after… Eat roasted vegetables on their own. Add the leftovers to cooked quinoa to make a vegetable pilaf or layer them in a salad with a handful of fresh greens. Keep it simple and you will not only save yourself time and energy but can have some great, empowering meal combinations!

Looking for more ideas to save time, energy and make the most of your meals at home? Eating at home has swiftly become the new normal, whether we like it or not, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are benefits to this if you take the opportunity to cook from scratch and take more ownership of your meal preparation, but there can also be a feeling of being limited, running out of ideas on what to cook and even becoming bored with your options. Even more of a challenge is not having enough information and skills to be able to make the shift from dependency on eating out to eating at home every day for every meal and not knowing where to start. Whether you are in need of some help with your transition to at home meal preparation or just looking to add variety with fresh ideas and perspectives while not having to worry so much about what you are cooking, a meal delivery service could be a highly viable and supportive option to help you with eating healthy at home. There are many meal delivery service options, which may easily make deciding on the right one and feeling confident in your choice overwhelming. ConsumersAdvocate.org created this comprehensive and in-depth guide on meal delivery services that will facilitate meals for those who simply don’t have the time to cook for their family or for those who are searching for options that will minimize their exposure to Covid-19. 

 

Big Batch Vegetarian Chili

When it starts to get cold, and there’s a chill in the air, there’s nothing like having a warm hearty bowl of something tasty. This is a very basic chili recipe which is easy to make, filling and perfect for meal prep or batch cooking. It’s also vegetarian and vegan friendly. Check out the recipe as well as tricks and tricks below!

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Not only does this recipe have spices to give it flavour but several key ingredients boost the nutritional power. All these ingredients are plant-based.

Tomatoes are a good source of dietary fibre, potassium, iron. Like other fruits and vegetables, tomatoes are source of antioxidants. Tomatoes are one of the major sources of the carotenoid lycopene. Lycopene is of particular interest because it may possibly reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Cooking tomatoes actually enhances their lycopene content.

Sweet Peppers are a good source of Vitamin C and dietary fibre. They give some colour and added flavour to this recipe.

Capsaicin is a phytochemical found in chili powder and paprika. This is the compound that gives peppers their spiciness. Capsaicin has been widely studied for many different properties which include boosting metabolism and decreasing the risk of some cancers.

Beans and lentils are an incredibly good source of fibre. They also are a vegetarian and low-fat source of protein. This combination of nutrients it was makes them very sustaining. Not only is fibre filling the soluble fibre in beans and lentils may also help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol. Folate and B Vitamins are also found in beans. Some other minerals can be found in beans and lentils including potassium, magnesium, selenium and iron. Iron is of particular importance for anyone following a vegetarian or vegan diet to try and incorporate into their meals.

Recipe Suggestions: Serve topped with some crushed whole grain tortilla chips, diced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, or even low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt!

 

Tips and Tricks

When batch cooking sometimes it is easy to get bored of eating the same thing over again. Here are five variations or hybrid recipes for the basic chili recipe. You will never get bored of batch cooking this recipe when you have these easy variations to mix up your meal plan!

Tex-Mex Casserole – Mix basic chili with cooked rice or quinoa. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Broil in oven until topping is golden brown and cheese melted.

Taco Salad – Start with a base of your favourite salad greens. Layer with chili, chopped avocado, shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

Chili Pie – Put chili into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with either a batch of cornbread or mashed potatoes, or sweet potatoes. Bake in 350 F oven until cornbread is baked or potatoes are golden brown.

Chili Stuffed Peppers – Clean bell peppers and chop off their tops. Cook peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and stuff with chili then top with shredded cheese. Bake, covered, in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes until cheese is melted.

Chili Pasta – Use the chili as a pasta sauce for whole grain pasta and top with grated cheese.

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Vegetarian Diets Explained – What Are the Advantages and What You Need to Know to Make It Work for You

The trend for following a plant-based diet has boomed recently. Just look at all the options for plant-based burgers on menus these day. What does this trend mean and why is this significant? No matter the type of vegetarian diet you follow, or even if you are a veterinarian or not, we can all enjoy and benefit from incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into our diets. Plants are powerful and they provide many known and as yet to be fully discovered and understood benefits for our health. Some of these known benefits include the high fibre content, which is important for digestive health and function. There are many studies on the effects of vegetarian diets and decreased risk for various types of cancer. Part of this is that Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for many reasons in the maintenance of good health and prevention of many chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables are also lower in calories and fat than other foods. Part of this is because of their high water content which means they will also help with keeping you hydrated which is so important for health, well-being and feeling your best.

Besides health, there are many other reasons individuals choose a vegetarian diet. Some of these include food preferences, religious beliefs and environmental concerns. Plant-based diets are being promoted for how they can support and reduce the effects of climate change, as the energy requirements for growing and supporting animals is much higher than it is for plants, and eating more plants can help us with sustainability measures.

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Something that is not very well or often known is that there are different types of vegetarian diets. When most people say they are vegetarian they are following a “lacto-ovo” vegetarian diet so they do not eat any animal meat, but they still eat dairy products and eggs. A semi-vegetarian or “flexitarian” will eat dairy, eggs and sometimes eat meat, poultry and fish. A “pescatarian” is a vegetarian who eats eggs, dairy and fish but no other meats. And a “vegan” is a vegetarian who does not eat any kind of animal foods (i.e. no eggs, dairy and honey). There are lots of options and approaches to following a vegetarian lifestyle to make it work.

Regardless of the reason or motivation, fruits and vegetables are an essential part of every diet and learning to incorporate a balanced variety of them into your meals will do much to support your overall health, vitality and longevity.

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There are some important considerations if you follow a vegetarian diet include. Otherwise, there is a potential for nutrient deficiencies. With the proper planning, however, these concerns can be addressed.

Protein is often a concern for people following a vegetarian diet, especially those who are physically active and looking to improve strength and stamina. What you need to know about is called protein complimentation. While meat offers the advantage of having all the essential amino acids in one food, it is not  impossible to achieve this with plants. With plant-based foods, which don’t often have all the essential amino acids in the same food, you just  have to make sure you eat a variety of different foods which combined together make a complete protein. For instance, grains have an amino acid that beans and legumes are lacking. A misconception is that the two foods have to be eaten at the same time in the same meal. Provided we eat them within the same day your body will break down the proteins into their amino acids and properly use them in your body. Some plan-based foods already come with all the essential amino acids. These special foods include quinoa and edamame or soy products.

On a vegetarian diet there are more than enough ways to meet your body’s requirements for protein. Ensuring that there is variety in protein sources with foods that collectively cover all the essential amino acids is the key.

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Some vitamins and minerals that are more easily available to the body from animal products. They are important for the health and functioning of the body, so it is important to know what they are and make sure you are incorporating them into your diet from plant-based sources as much as possible.

Iron is a particularly important mineral. We need iron for production of haemoglobin and the transportation of oxygen in our blood. Heme iron is the iron available from animal products while non-heme iron is the iron available from plant sources. Heme iron is naturally easier for the body to utilize. A quick tip is to combine the food containing iron with a food containing vitamin C because Vitamin C helps with iron absorption. Another tip is not to eat a food containing iron with a food containing calcium or with coffee or tea. Give a few hours between the two as calcium and coffee/tea interfere with iron absorption. Plant-based sources of iron include; fortified breakfast cereals, soy-based foods, dried prunes and apricots, beans and legumes, pumpkin seeds, eggs and fortified whole-grain breads.

Another important nutrient that it’s challenging to get enough of on a vegetarian diet is Vitamin B12, which is naturally found in animal products. A deficiency in Vitamin B12 can lead to anemia and muscle weakness. There are some fortified cereals, soy beverages or some fortified veggie mats or you may require a supplement to ensure adequate Vitamin B12.

Calcium is a mineral found mainly in milk and dairy products. Some vegetarians who consume dairy products may not need to worry about the amount of calcium in their diets. Vegan vegetarians will want to look for plant-based sources of calcium such as edamame, almonds, calcium-fortified non-dairy beverages (i.e. Almond Milk), spinach, collar greens, and more.

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Awareness is key to developing healthy eating habits and eating to empower you. Whether you feel like following a vegetarian diet or maybe having vegetarian meals more often there is tremendous power in plants to nourish and sustain us. Following a vegetarian diet definitely does not have to be blah! Vegetables are versatile and the options and combinations of foods is infinite.

How will you harness the power of plants?

 

Fall Back to Food Basics

Fall is such a vibrant season where we can take the most time to appreciate, connect with and embrace nature. It’s a beautiful season but also a very busy time of year and a season that seems to fly by just like the leaves falling from the trees. September, the start of Fall, is when new schedules commence can be one of the most hectic times of the year and then October comes and goes before we realize it! When life becomes more demanding and overwhelming it can become harder to make good decisions, especially when it comes to our food choices.

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Are you trying to keep up to the craziness of the modern lifestyle? Getting back to basics with your food choices can help diminish some of the stress you might be feeling in your life. Furthermore, simplifying your nutrition can make it easier to achieve and maintain healthy eating habits.

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Here are some tips to help you get back to basics with your nutrition:

Wherever possible choose fresh, whole, un-processed or minimally-processed foods. How close does what you are eating compare to what is found in nature? For instance, compare a whole apple to apple sauce to apple juice. There are more nutritional advantages to be found with foods that are more basic than those that have gone through a series of processing steps, as nutrients are lost with the more processing that occurs.
While grocery shopping, remember to read the nutrition facts panel and ingredient list before buying a product. The fewer the ingredients and more basic the ingredients are the better!

Cooking from scratch is one of the best ways to get back to basics. It’s also a great way to enjoy all the amazing produce of the harvest season. You don’t have to be fancy with what you make. Sometimes the simplest dishes can be the most delicious! And the fewer the ingredients the easier it is to prepare. Find a couple of go to recipes that you are confident in their nutrition quality and you are confident in making in no time at all. Keep them simple and always have the staple ingredients on hand. That way when life gets super-busy or overwhelming you have a fall-back plan to keep you on track with your healthy habits.

Batch cooking is the process of making a recipe in a large quantity so that you have several portions left-over, which can be saved for subsequent meals. Cooking this way accelerates meal planning and preparation making it easier to follow healthy eating habits. Many great Fall recipes like chili, soups and casseroles can easily be doubled for batch cooking. Freeze leftovers whenever possible so you have some meals on hand you can defrost and reheat as quick healthy meals for busy times.

So, how are you fueling your Fall?

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Zucchini Bread Recipe

Finding easy to prepare, portable and nutritious snacks is challenging. Healthy food is not always easy to find on the go.  If you are on-the-go and trying to stay healthy, it’s important to pack healthy snacks that will help support your energy levels throughout a long or busy day. It’s when we get tired and are low on energy that we can fall into the temptation of not so healthy food choices and break with the routines and strategies we worked so hard to set in place for ourselves. Look no further than this empowered version of Zucchini Bread to help you stay motivated and on track with your healthy eating habits.

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The combination of fibre, protein and healthy fats in this recipe make this a snack that will give you sustainable energy to power you through any day. This is a great addition to back-to-school lunches to start the school year strong!

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Key featured ingredients that make this an “Empowering Eat” include zucchini, walnuts, and flax seeds.

Zucchini is the feature ingredient here, obviously. Like many fruits and vegetables contains nutrients and antioxidants which support good health. Zucchini is also a source of lutein and zeaxanthin which can protect our eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration.  While it is a bland tasting vegetable (so you won’t taste it in this recipe at all–I promise!) zucchini provides moisture to the recipe and a way to sneak an extra serving of veggies into your day!

Flax Seeds are a fabulous nutritional powerhouse. It always amazes me how there is so much goodness contained in so small a package! Flax seeds provide plenty of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids which may help reduce heart disease risk. The fibre in flax is responsible not only for supporting intestinal functions but may also lower blood-cholesterol. Flax seeds also have lignans which is a phytonutrient which may protect our bodies from certain cancers. Find out more about flax seeds here.

Walnuts are a source of heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Healthy sources of fat are essential in our diets for many reasons such as promoting healthy skin and hair, and supporting the integrity of cell membranes. Like other nuts walnuts also provide a source of plant-based protein and some fibre.

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I’ve used a variety of different flours to give variety and provide texture and contribute unique nutritional advantages to this recipe. All these flours are gluten-free. You could alternatively substitute other types of flours as long as the volume is 1 cup. Amaranth flour may be new to you. It’s available in most bulk food stores. Amaranth is an ancient grain growing in popularity for many reasons. It is higher in protein than other grains and is a source of fibre while not having an overly strong ‘healthy’ aftertaste, so it blends well into this recipe.

 

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Instead of a loaf pan you could also make this in an 8×8 glass baking dish and have zucchini bread squares.

Meal Planning 101

September is one of the busiest times of the year. An energizing feeling build all month because it’s time to get back on track, back to school, back to routine, back to healthy exercise and nutrition practices, etc.

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The proper nutrition can make such a difference to all elements of health and performance for oneself, in what one has to offer the world and is able to accomplish in a day. This is what meal planning is all about and why it is so important. It’s like you are literally creating a blueprint or road map. Having a good sense of direction towards where you want to end up is so important. This creates self-efficacy and fosters the belief that you can and will succeed. Truly, it is through setting intentions, taking responsibility and control that we realize we have and can make an impact and create change.

With the right planning and preparation nutritious eating can be easy and fun. Mastering the art of meal planning is a great tool to have. I love flipping through cookbooks or scrolling through blogs. The sources for inspiration are endless!

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Here are some tips to help you with your meal planning, whether this is all very new to you or you’ve been doing it for years, there’s always something we can learn to make our methods better!

Download this simple meal planning template or create your own to get started!

This checklist offers some simple tips to save time and make meal planning a breeze:

  • Keep meals simple to prepare with as few ingredients as possible, especially for busy weekdays
  • See what you have on hand already and what will expire soon and use these items as the foundation to build your meal plan.
  • Get organized. Make copies of your meal plan to post where you can easily see it (i.e. fridge door). Have a place where you can save meal plans that worked well or recipes you really like a binder.
  • Plan ahead and prepare what you can the night before or on weekends to save time during the week.
  • Convenience products like pre-cut stir-fry vegetables and ready-bagged salad can save cooking and prep time.
  • Try batch cooking: cook enough food for 2-3 meals and save leftovers for meals later in the week. Or freeze for longer
  • Shop smarter by keeping an ongoing grocery list of items you regularly need and add items as soon as they run out. Organize your list with headings for faster shopping trips.
  • This meal planner checklist can help you stay on track to meal planning a success!
  • Share the journey and learning process by getting everyone in your household involved in some way from shopping, prepping, cooking to yes even cleaning up!
  • Check out all the cool meal planning apps like Meal Planner Pro or FoodPlanner which you can use to have more fun and creating and keeping track of your meal plan! Check out 5 other meal planning apps here.

Meal-Planning 6As with developing any system, there will be bugs that you will have to figure out. Finding the system that fits your schedule can take some trial and error. Don’t give up! Regardless of what you start with, your plan or system is NOT locked in stone, so don’t be afraid when you get off track or something is not working and needs to change. Just keep experimenting and having fun with what you are doing and by the end of this month see if you can have a system in place that will carry you to the end of this year and into the next one!

Summer Squash Salad Recipe

Summer may be almost over, but summer squash is available well into September so I took advantage of that fact to create this recipe. This is a simple but tasty and easy to prepare salad. It is rich in a variety of different vegetables and features quinoa, a well-known super-food and plant protein powerhouse.

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Summer squash and quinoa are the stand-out ingredients I find in this recipe.

The benefits of summer squash are that, like many fruits and vegetables, it is low in calories and provides a good amount of fibre, vitamin C, and potassium. Zucchini is a specific summer squash and a great source of the carotenoid pigments lutein and zeaxathin which can protect our eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. Did you also know zucchini is the most popular type of summer squash available?

Quinoa is an incredible source of high-quality plant protein. It is one of the few plants that is a complete protein source (i.e. contains all the essential amino acids). It also offers riboflavin, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and fibre.

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This recipe can make a stand-alone meal on its own or try serving it as a side dish with a grilled chicken breast. What’s even better is how quick to serve and portable it is. It is a great option for packed lunches. Because the recipe yields a good number of portions you can make it at the start of the week and enjoy for several days. Perfect for meal planning!

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Power Fruit Popsicle Recipe

Popsicles are a fun and refreshing summer treat. I created this recipe to upgrade the traditional versions, which are mostly just a lot of sugar in water, by using wholesome, real food ingredients.

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Berries are a nutritional superstar and one of nature’s richest sources of antioxidants. Like many other fruits and vegetables, berries are a good source of Vitamin C and because of their small size and large surface area they are an excellent source of fibre.

The four berries I used in my recipe were blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.

Blueberries are probably the most researched berries and are renown for their antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, which can protect the body from cell damage which may lead to aging and certain diseases. Pectin, a type of fibre found in blueberries, may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and is good for the functioning of the digestive system.

Raspberries contain pectin and quercetin, the latter may slow cancer growth.

Blackberries may have the highest antioxidant content of any berries!

Strawberries are the berry with the highest Vitamin C content!

Using coconut milk and coconut yogurt (or another type of yogurt) gives these popsicles a little more substance and additional nutritional benefits. If using a dairy-based yogurt, you will add calcium to your diet. Calcium is important for bone health.

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If the natural sweetness is not enough for you, consider adding a natural sweetener like a tablespoon of honey to the recipe.

For a slightly different taste and a more interesting version add a teaspoon of cinnamon.

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