As the season changes, are you looking to eat better? When the snow starts melting and the sun starts shining, I get inspired to make fresh and nourishing meals to recharge my body and brain.
Getting excited about eating well is what this year’s Nutrition Month is all about. This year’s theme – take a 100 meal journey – is focused on making small and lasting changes that will stick. There are about 100 meals in a month, and you can make small, nourishing changes in each meal to help you eat and feel better all year long.
Sometimes, I get too excited and want to take on the world! But too many changes at once can be overwhelming and hard to keep up. Choosing one change at a time and sticking with it will lead to lifelong positive changes.
One change that I made for a recent meal was to include more beans on my plate (or, rather, in my bowl!). Beans are packed full of plant-based protein and fibre, which are both great for keeping my heart healthy and nourishing my active body. 2016 is the International Year of Pulses, so the recipe I’m sharing this week features hearty Great Northern beans, but any other bean would work just as well.
Green Great Northern Soup
- 2 cups Great Northern Beans, dried (4 cups low sodium canned beans would work too)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 L chicken stock, low sodium
- 1 chorizo sausage
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme (1 tsp dried thyme would work, too)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bunch kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
Note: If using canned beans, skip to #3.
- In a large bowl, cover the beans with 2 inches of cold water. Soak at room temperature overnight.
- Rinse the beans and place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and cook for 45 minutes or until the beans are soft inside, but not falling apart.
- In a separate pot, on medium heat, sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant.
- Add chicken stock, the whole chorizo sausage, thyme and bay leaf. Simmer, covered, for as long as the beans take to cook to develop a rich flavour.
- Once the beans are cooked, take out the chorizo, sprigs of thyme and bay leaf. Slice the chorizo. Add the beans to the soup pot along with sliced chorizo, Parmesan cheese, and kale.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve this soup with fresh crusty bread and your favourite salad to round out your meal.
My small change this meal was to include protein and nutrient-rich beans in my soup to feed my body and mind. What will your next small, nourishing change be?
To make your pledge to a take a 100 meal journey, visit the Dietitians of Canada website to receive tips and strategies to stay on track.
About Erin Branco
Erin is a dietitian with Northern Health's clinical nutrition team at UHNBC. Erin has a passion for growing and cooking food as well as teaching patients, clients and families about incorporating a balanced, wholesome diet into a healthy lifestyle. In her spare time, you can find her cooking up a storm, writing about food and nutrition, and growing vegetables at her community garden. During her dietetics internship, Erin explored the north from Fort St. John to Haida Gwaii, learning about clinical and public health dietetics with many adventures along the way.