Healthy Living in the North

Foodie Friday: A quick and tasty fall meal (spinach & white bean soup)

Soup

A quick and healthy fall meal that makes for great lunch leftovers, too! Add spinach and white bean soup to your menu this week!

Looking for a quick and tasty meal to whip up this fall? This spinach and white bean soup is a personal favourite of mine simply because it is quick to prepare and makes for easy lunches throughout the week. Also, it’s delicious!

Kidney beans are a healthy and cost effective way to add extra protein into your diet. Just remember to rinse off canned beans under water first to remove the excess salt. Add in all the extra veggies and you are left with a fibre- and protein-packed meal that will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

This recipe calls for orzo, which is a small pasta similar in shape to rice. It can easily be substituted for any other small pasta (or quinoa) that you might have in your kitchen.

Spinach & white bean soup

Adapted from Damn Delicious

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach (or 1/2 cup frozen)
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 can (15 oz) white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots and cook until soft (approximately 5 minutes). Add in garlic and stir one minute longer.
  2. Add in chicken stock, tomatoes, and herbs (thyme, basil, and bay leaves). Bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in orzo. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender (approximately 10 minutes).
  4. Stir in kidney beans and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Remove bay leaves before serving and add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Destyni Atchison

About Destyni Atchison

Destyni is a Clinical Dietitian at Fort St. John Hospital and Peace Villa. She has been working with Northern Health for the past two years and also runs her own nutrition consulting business. In her spare time, she enjoys snowshoeing, hiking and developing new recipes for herself and her clients.

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Foodie Friday: Spring cleaning your diet

Tray of salad rolls

Spring is the perfect time to get re-inspired around healthy eating! This season, try playing up veggies in new ways like salad rolls!

Is your kitchen done with the winter blues? If you’re like me, spring is the perfect time to get re-inspired and focused around healthy eating. Fresh local produce is becoming more abundant and the bright sunny weather brings with it tasty & delicious barbecue season to enjoy all that fresh goodness!

No fancy juice cleanses needed here, just a shift in focus to enjoy fresh, whole foods again! A little planning and inspiration can go a long way:

  • Short on time? Plan out a few meal ideas on the weekend. This will save you from hitting the grocery store multiple times and will help you make a conscious effort to eat fresh, minimally processed foods.
  • Thirsty? Skip the pop, fraps and sugar-heavy beverages. Grab some lemon water or home-brewed ice tea instead. If you’re a juice drinker, try cutting back or mixing half with club soda.
  • Hot weather? Ditch the oven and try these easy options: veggie-loaded pasta salads, quinoa/grain salads, sandwiches, wraps, or fruit & cottage cheese plates.
  • Need some veggie inspiration? Try to play up your vegetables in new and exciting ways. Try grilling veggie kebabs on the barbecue, throwing together a fresh veggie platter with your favourite dip, or try my all-time favourite: Vietnamese salad rolls … because salad wrapped up is way more fun!

Vietnamese Salad Rolls

Cut veggies on rice paper wraps

Salad rolls are a great way to enjoy veggies in the spring – no oven required!

Makes 40 half-rolls

Prep time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients

Rolls

  • 20 (8 inch) rice paper wrappers
  • 4 oz rice vermicelli noodles
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch romaine or butter lettuce
  • 1 bunch green onions (white parts removed)
  • 1 bunch fresh mint

Peanut dipping sauce

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 4 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp chili-garlic paste (I used sambal oelek)
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • sesame seeds for garnish
Rice paper wrapper with mint leaves

Make sure to roll the rice paper wrap tightly!

Instructions

  1. For peanut sauce: whisk all ingredients together, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Set aside.
  2. For salad rolls: cut vegetables into thin strips. Lettuce leaves can be cut in half width-wise.
  3. Boil 4 cups of water in a kettle. Put rice noodles in a bowl and cover in boiling water. Let sit 5 minutes then drain out water.
  4. Prepare work surface with tray of cut-up vegetables, lettuce leaves and cooked rice noodles. Fill deep dish (I used a pie dish) with hot tap water and have rounds of rice paper ready.
  5. To roll each salad roll:
  • Place 1 rice paper wrapper in hot water until soft and pliable (approx. 10-15 seconds). Remove from water and place on dry plastic cutting board (or clean damp dishcloth).
  • Lay lettuce leaf just above the centre of the wrapper, leaving about 1 inch of space on each side.
  • Fill lettuce leaf with 1/4 cup cooked rice noodles, 2 strips cucumber, 3 pepper strips, 5-6 slices thinly sliced carrot, 2 mint leaves and small slice of green onion.
  • Fold top of rice paper wrapper over the bundle of cut veggies, then fold in sides and roll TIGHTLY.

Once you are finished rolling all the salad rolls, cut each one in half diagonally. Plate with peanut sauce for dipping.

Salad rolls can be made 2 days in advance, simply leave whole (un-cut) in a tray. Cover with a damp paper towel then wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Destyni Atchison

About Destyni Atchison

Destyni is a Clinical Dietitian at Fort St. John Hospital and Peace Villa. She has been working with Northern Health for the past two years and also runs her own nutrition consulting business. In her spare time, she enjoys snowshoeing, hiking and developing new recipes for herself and her clients.

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Foodie Friday: The Mediterranean diet featuring tilapia bowls with avocado crema!

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we eat at least two servings of fish each week but I know from speaking with clients that a lot of us struggle to do this. Fish is a great lean protein and includes many nutrients such as selenium, vitamin D, magnesium and iron, not to mention heart-healthy omega-3 fats!

Fish is also an important part of the Mediterranean diet, which may help to prevent heart disease and type-2 diabetes. The Mediterranean-style diet emphasizes eating foods like fish, fruits, vegetables, beans, high-fibre breads/whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. As February is Heart Month, it’s a great time to reflect on how we can incorporate more of a Mediterranean diet into our day-to-day meal making.

Tilapia bowl with avocado crema

Fish is an important part of the Mediterranean diet, which may help to prevent heart disease and type-2 diabetes. How can you incorporate the Mediterranean diet into your meal-making?

Need a new take on fish? I really like this recipe because it’s quick to assemble, super tasty, and makes for great lunch leftovers! This is definitely not your typical fish recipe (which let’s be honest, can sometimes get a bit boring!). The blackening spices add a whole new depth of flavour and the star of the show here is definitely the avocado crema. You’ll definitely want more!!

So what’s stopping you from trying out the Mediterranean diet?

Tilapia Bowls with Avocado Crema

Ingredients

Tilapia seasoning

  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Avocado crema

  • 2 avocado
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Other ingredients

  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 3 cups cooked rice or quinoa
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. For avocado crema: combine avocados, Greek yogurt, garlic cloves and juice of 2 limes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Prepare toppings so they are ready to assemble once your fish is cooked: 3 cups cooked rice or quinoa; dice 2 tomatoes; drain & rinse 1 can black beans; reheat corn kernels (I use frozen); prepare cilantro & lime to garnish (optional).
  3. Combine spices for tilapia seasoning on a large plate.
  4. Pat tilapia fillets so they are dry (if they are too wet, the fish will not “blacken”). Coat in seasoning mix. Cook in a non-stick pan over medium heat for ~3 minutes per side until fish is cooked and easily “flakes” apart.
  5. Assemble fish bowls: fill bowls with rice/quinoa. Then top with toppings of your choice and fillet of blackened tilapia. You can dollop the avocado crema on top or fill a Ziploc bag with the crema, cut corner edge and drizzle on top.

Enjoy!

Destyni Atchison

About Destyni Atchison

Destyni is a Clinical Dietitian at Fort St. John Hospital and Peace Villa. She has been working with Northern Health for the past two years and also runs her own nutrition consulting business. In her spare time, she enjoys snowshoeing, hiking and developing new recipes for herself and her clients.

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