Today’s Health Morsel: Whole Wheat Pasta

 

Today’s daily dozen meal plan starts with fresh fruit and ends with wholesome whole wheat pasta, plus I’ll explain how to maximize the benefits of eating whole grains.


 

Breakfast_textwp-1473665071983.jpgToday’s breakfast is canary melon and fresh figs plus the usual dates.

  • 1/4 canary melon
  • 2 figs
  • 1/4 c. dates

Checklist items: 3 other fruits (3 out of 18 servings)


 

snack_text

I need just a quick little post-run snack, so I’m grabbing a small fistful of nuts & berries.

  • 1/4 c. hazelnuts
  • 1/2 c. kumquats

Checklist items: berries, nuts (2 out of 18 servings)


 

lunch_text

I’m throwing together a green salad for lunch. Nothing fancy. But very yummy since much of it is out of my own garden.

  • 1 c. borlotti beans
  • 2 c.  salad greens
  • 1/2 c. red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c. cucumber
  • 1 T flaxseed, ground

I tossed it with My Basic Dressing, which you can find here.

Checklist items: 2 beans, 2 greens, 2 other vegetables, flaxseeds (7 out of 18 servings)


 

dinner_text

wp-1473763262330.jpgBefore I make my pasta salad, there’s something I need to consider – a phytonutrient in whole grains called phytic acid, which helps in fighting cancer, reduces cholesterol & triglycerides, improves blood sugar control, prevents osteoporosis, and works as an antioxidant. However, this same phytonutrient inhibits mineral absorption, leading to lower uptake of things like iron, which could be problematic for people who are prone to anemia. So, what do you do? How about eating whole grains along with foods that enhance mineral absorption? Garlic and onion do just that, so whenever you have whole grains, just throw a little garlic or onion or both into the mix. Another simple solution if you don’t like to eat garlic or onion, or it doesn’t go well with your meal – eat an extra half serving of the mineral source. That’s all it takes to get the full benefit of phytic acid (see sources). Now for some pasta salad!

  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat pasta, cooked & drained
  • 1 c. fresh peas
  • 1/2 c. broccoli
  • 1/4 c. onion
  • 1/4 c. zucchini
  • 1/2 c. corn
  • a few Ts each of parsley, lovage & chives

For a dressing, I used the tomato basil dressing you’ll find here.

Checklist items: 1 beans, cruciferous, 2 other vegetables, spices, 3 whole grains (8 out of 18 servings)


Taking account of the day:

20 servings in total.

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything today, plus 2 extra servings of other vegetables, or 1 extra serving of other vegetables and 1 extra serving of whole grains, depending on how you want to count the corn.

Advertisements

Saturn Peaches, Beet Greens & Corn Pasta

Breakfast_textI don’t usually buy Saturn peaches because they’re more expensive than “normal” peaches, but they were on sale this week, making them the cheapest option! Yay! I ate all of them for breakfast this morning.peaches-1446378_640

I’m counting 1 Saturn peach as half of a serving of fruit because they’re pretty small.

Checklist items: berries, 3 other fruits (4 out of 18 servings)


lunch_textI’ve got to take advantage of all the beet greens in my garden! I can’t seem to eat them fast enough, so some are going into the freezer, but I want to eat as many as I can while they’re fresh out of the garden. Today, I’m going for a beans & greens salad.

  • wp-1468826940639.jpg1/2 c. cannellini
  • 1/2 c. garbanzos
  • 1/2 c. peas
  • 1/2 c. yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c. cucumber, diced
  • 1 c. raw beet greens, chiffonaded (my favorite way to cut greens, partly because it’s so easy!)
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  • 2 basil leaves, also chiffonaded
  • My Basic Dressing

Throw everything together in a bowl. I refrigerated it for 1 hour to let the flavors really blend together, but you could eat it right away.

Checklist items: 3 beans, 1 greens, 2 other vegetables, nuts, spices (8 out of 18 servings)


dinner_textI’m trying a new kind of pasta today. It’s made from corn & rice and it’s bright yellow, so I think it’ll make a pretty plate. (Read my review of the corn pasta here.)

 

Follow the instructions in the link above with 3 simple changes: add flaxseed to the alfredo along with a little extra water, use corn pasta in place of whole wheat pasta, and beet greens in place of peas.

Checklist items: 2 cruciferous, 1 greens, flaxseed, spices, 3 whole grains (8 out of 18 servings)


Taking account of the day:

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything.

In addition, we had 1 extra serving each of cruciferous and spices.

Charentais Melon, Cauliflower, & Kamikaze Lettuce

Breakfast_text

It’s been hot the last few days, so I’m more excited about eating melons than anything else. The Charentais melon is a common & inexpensive variety wp-1468243086441.jpghere in France. It’s a kind of cantaloupe, but I find it to be lighter and more refreshing than the cantaloupe that I was used to in the U.S. I like it much better, actually.

  • 1/2 c. cherries
  • 2 c. cut-up Charentais melon
  • 1/4 c. dates

Checklist items: berries, 3 other fruits (4 out of 18 servings)


lunch_textYou already know I love my salads. Especially with red-leafed lettuce. I’ve been waiting on a Red Kamikaze Batavia in my garden. It’s not quite ready – the red has just started to develop, but I’m impatient, so I’m taking some today anyway. wp-1468244033377.jpg

  • 2 c. Kamikaze batavia lettuce
  • 1/2 c. chickpeas
  • 1/4 c. tomato
  • 1/4 c. red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c. corn
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds, toasted
  • Chef AJ’s House Dressing

Checklist items: 1 beans, 2 greens, 1 1/2 other vegetables, flaxseed, nuts (6 1/2 out of 18 servings)


dinner_text

I have a weird relationship with cauliflower. I love the way it tastes even though I’m not a huge fan of the way it smells. However you feel about it, it makes a great alfredo – a dish that I loved as a kid.

  • wp-1468240819121.jpg1 heaping c. cauliflower florets
  • 2 T unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 sm. clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 c. peas
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked whole grain pasta

Instructions:

  1. Boil the cauliflower florets until tender, about 5 minutes & then drain
  2. Saute garlic
  3. Add cooked cauliflower & garlic with milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic & onion powders, and salt & pepper to a blender and blend until smooth
  4. Add cooked pasta, alfredo sauce, & peas to a pot and heat through

Checklist items: 2 beans, 1 cruciferous, 1 other vegetables, spices, 3 whole grains (8 out of 18 servings)


Taking account of the day:

18.5 servings in total.

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything.

In addition, we had 1/2 an extra serving of other vegetables or whole grains depending on how you want to count the corn.

Cornmeal, Nasturtium & Beluga Lentils

Breakfast_textCorn is a wonderful ingredient! There are so many different ways to eat it – from corn tortillas to popcorn, and it plays a double-role in your Daily Dozen, since it can be counted under either whole grains or other vegetables. I haven’t had cornmeal mush since I was a kid, and I suddenly had a craving for it, so that’s what I’m having for breakfast (minus the butter, of course).

  • cornmeal_20160627_1354541/4 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 c. hazelnut milk (+ 1/4 c. water if you like a wetter mush)
  • 1/2 c. blueberries
  • 1 T maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 nectarine (or fruit of choice)

To make cornmeal mush:

  1. Add the liquid and the cornmeal to a small pot, and simmer on a low-med heat for ~7 minutes
  2. Add blueberries & heat through
  3. Stir in maple syrup, if using

The additional fruit can either be cut up and added to the mush or, as I did, simply eaten on the side. I was thinking some chopped dates might be a very tasty addition to the mush! Perhaps I’ll do that instead of the nectarine next time.

Checklist items: berries, 1 other fruits, 1 whole grains (3 out of 18 servings)


snack_textIt’s early, but breakfast was pretty small this morning, so I’m having a light mid-morning snack.

 

  • 1 c. melon pieceswp-1467101903567.jpg

I found an interesting melon at the grocery store. There are so many types I’ve never tried. This one is a Santa Claus Melon, and it’s excellent…a perfect, light snack.

Checklist items: 1 other fruits (1 out of 18 servings)


lunch_textI’m in the mood for rice and lentils. I plan to switch soon to non-white varieties of rice (here‘s why), but for the moment, I only have Basmati, heretofore my favorite. I’ve never had black or purple rice, and I can’t wait to try! But, for now, the lentils are the stars of the show. I’m using a mix of red & beluga lentils today.

  • wp-1467108359811.jpg1/2 c. lentils, pre-cooked
  • 1/2 c. rice, pre-cooked
  • 1/2 c. beet greens, pre-cooked
  • 1/4 c. celery
  • 1/4 c. red bell pepper
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 T flaxseed, ground
  • 1/4 c. arugula
  • 2 corn tortillas

I often have some cooked rice and either beans, peas, or lentils in the fridge. This makes it super easy to throw together a nutritious meal! Also, I grow beets in my garden and, when I harvest them, I cook the greens in boiling water for 1 minute, then freeze them, so I’ve got greens from my own garden throughout the year. Here’s how I put lunch together:

  1. Saute celery & bell pepper with garam masala, tomato paste, and water
  2. Add beet greens, rice & lentils and cook just until warm
  3. Turn off heat, and add lime juice.
  4. Put 1 c. of mixture on each corn tortilla
  5. Sprinkle flaxseed on top, along with arugula
  6. Wrap & eat!

Checklist items: 1 beans, 1/2 cruciferous, 1 greens, 1 other vegetables, flaxseed, spices, 3 whole grains (8 1/2 out of 18 servings)


dinner_textI love salad. Especially this time of year, when we’ve got lettuce, arugula, radishes, beets, peas & various herbs coming out our ears. Well, technically, out of our garden. I’m always excited for when the nasturtiums start to bloom. They add both color and spice to salads. The flowers are edible, and the leaves have a robust peppery flavor.

  • wp-1467118137655.jpg1 c. peas
  • 1/4 c. broccoli
  • 1 c. red leaf lettuce & nasturtium leaves, mixed
  • 1/4 c. cucumber
  • 1/4 c. red bell pepper
  • 1/4 c. red radish sprouts
  • 1/4 c. corn
  • 1/4 c. dry-roasted sunflower seeds
  • Chef AJ’s House Dressing
  • Nasturtium flowers

The only instruction worth adding here is to put the flowers on the salad after the salad has been served. Even if you’re just making it for yourself, it’s worthwhile to take a moment to enjoy the fact that you have a gorgeous bowl of food in front of you.

Checklist items: 2 beans, 1/2 cruciferous, 1 greens, 2 other vegetables, nuts (6 1/2 out of 18 servings)


Dessert_textI’m not sure you can really call this a dessert, but after dinner I went out to the garden, picked a handful of raspberries, and ate them, along with an apricot from the store.

  • 1 c. red raspberries
  • 1 apricot

Checklist items: berries, 1 other fruits (2 out of 18 servings)


Taking account of the day:

20 servings in total.

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything.

In addition, we had one extra serving each of berriesother vegetables, and whole grains (depending on how you want to count the corn).