Lighten Up!

With the summer months (hopefully!) just around the corner, many of us are looking to lighten up our dinner plates as well as our waistlines. Does ‘lightening up’ have to involve a sacrifice for your taste buds? Not at all.

There are many ways you can substitute ingredients to improve the quality of your diet while getting all your essential vitamins and minerals. Here are some ingredient replacement ideas to help you get there.

Out with: fruit juice
In with: whole fruit

Even fresh-squeezed juice can add a lot of unnecessary sugar to your diet. Think about it—how many oranges does it take to make a glass of orange juice? At least 3 or 4. Now think of how full you would feel if you ate three oranges in one sitting. One whole orange will keep you fuller than a glass of juice, for 60% less calories and 4 extra grams of fibre.

Out with: red meat
In with: legumes

As you know protein is important; however, many of us get more than the recommended weekly amount of red meat. Try beefing up that lasagna or pasta sauce with half a cup of steamed lentils added to your ground beef or turkey mixture. You’ll add 7 grams of iron and 8 grams of fibre to your meal, and subtract almost 15 grams of fat!

Out with: sour cream
In with: fat-free Greek yogurt

The taste difference between the two is minimal but replacing that half-cup of sour cream with a cup of yogurt (think double) sheds 5 grams of saturated fat from your daily total while preserving all the texture and taste of the real thing.

Out with: butter and shortening
In with: applesauce or prune puree

Fruit purees are fat-free. Better yet, they contain no unhealthy trans fats. Next time you bake, try replacing half of the fat with applesauce or prune puree. Not only will you be lightening up on the total fat content of your favourite muffin, you will be slashing up to 100 calories per piece.

Out with: white rice
In with: quinoa

Switching your dinner starch to quinoa will boost the fibre, calcium and phosphorus content of your meal while providing you with a balanced ratio of amino acids. Quinoa is one of the only plant sources of complete protein.


Recipe: Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs. Ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tbsp. Adobo seasoning
  • 2 tbsp. xoriander
  • 10 oz. onion – diced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup 1uinoa
  • Seasoned bread crumbs to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese to taste
  • 2 cups Water

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Put the quinoa and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  3. Thoroughly wash the green peppers. Cut off the tops and clean out the seeds using a spoon. Place the green peppers in a large baking dish, open side facing up.
  4. Put the diced onions and olive oil in a large deep pan. Cook the onions using medium heat until they start to soften.
  5. Add the ground turkey, Worcestershire sauce, Adobo, and coriander. Keep mixing and chopping the ground turkey until it is cooked and in fine pieces.
  6. Place the quinoa in the pan and mix it in thoroughly.
  7. Stuff the peppers with the mixture. Pack it tightly to about ¼ of the way from the top.
  8. Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on the top of each stuffed pepper.
  9. Sprinkle seasoned bread crumbs on the top of each stuffed green pepper.
  10. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. The steam generated by the water added to the bottom of the baking dish is trapped by the aluminum foil and steams the peppers while they bake.
  11. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. For softer peppers, bake for another 5 or 10 minutes.

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