We’re in the throes of putting our 2018 intentions into practice and, let’s face it, we can all use a little extra reinforcement. Committing to a healthier year is much more than just piling kale onto your plate. If you really want to create good food habits that stick you have to add an element of fun and deliciousness.
There are three main components that will ensure that a meal is satisfying—in both flavor and substance—and good for your body. Before you force down another salad you might not want, consider these elements of a healthy and delicious meal:
1. Make plants crave worthy.
There’s no way you’re going to make a healthy eating habit go the distance if the food (especially the plant foods) doesn’t taste good. By using ingredients and techniques like roasting, seasoning, and sautéing in high quality oil, you can get the best flavor out of the fresh produce you’re working with. Dive into your spice cabinet and try a new seasoning each week—and don’t forget the salt! Make an addictive dressing or sauce at the beginning of the week to top your vegetables with. Find culinary oils to work with that add to the richness and flavor of your dishes.
2. Use a good quality, organic culinary oil.
Being choosy about the oil you use to cook with is important for the health factor and flavor of your food. High-quality, expertly crafted oils provide a wide range of uses to complement your all-purpose cooking, baking, sautéing or dressing for your favorite salad. Spectrum Culinary™ Oils is the number one organic and natural culinary oil brand1, their wide array of expeller pressed and cold pressed oils (including organic coconut oil, avocado oil, and extra virgin olive oil) make perfect partners for cooking up your wholesome and tasty meals.
3. Add protein.
Protein, in tandem with fat, helps us stay full for longer and keeps our energy levels up. Whether it’s a plant-based protein like sautéed chickpeas, a coconut oil-fried eggs, or olive oil roasted chicken, it’s an important component to making a meal filling and satisfying. If you’re adding protein to an already plant-focused meal (read: lots of vegetables), along with extra flavor from quality culinary oils and seasoning, you’re on the right track to creating a healthy habit that’s easy to get on board with.
The recipe below implements our three key elements for a delicious and healthy meal:
- We’re making plants taste good by using a combination of fresh ginger, garlic, cayenne, and coconut for a punchy and rich broth.
- We start by cooking our flavor enhancers in a good-quality organic coconut oil, which not only improves the taste of the dish but it also provides those good-for-you fats. Coconut oil specifically provides medium-chain triglycerides and lauric acid.
- We’re adding a plant-based protein in the form of shelled edamame beans. You can find these in the frozen section (try to find organic, non-GMO edamame if possible). If you prefer an animal-based protein swap edamame for cooked and shredded chicken breast.
Soba Noodles & Vegetables with Coconut Ginger Broth
- 1 tablespoon Spectrum® Organic Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil
- 2 tablespoons of grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 medium garlic cloves, grated on a microplane or finely chopped
- 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons tamari sauce
- Generous pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 6 ounces of soba noodles
- 1 crown of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 medium zucchini, spiralized or peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler
- 1 cup shelled edamame beans, thawed if frozen (alternatively, you can swap this for cooked and shredded chicken breast) Fresh cilantro, to serve
- 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced, to serve
- Fill a large pot or saucepan ⅔ of the way with water and bring to a boil.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut oil over a medium-low heat until melted and warmed through.
- Add ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add coconut milk, tamari, and cayenne and stir to combine. Continue to simmer to warm the coconut milk through without bringing it to a full boil.
- Once the water is boiling in the first pot, add a generous spoonful of salt to the water followed by the soba noodles and the broccoli. Cook until the noodles are tender (usually about 5-6 minutes if they are 100% buckwheat—follow the package instructions for specific cook times). Drain in a colander.
- Assemble your bowls by dividing the soba noodles, broccoli, zucchini spirals or strips, and edamame between two bowls.
- Pour the hot coconut broth over the bowls and serve with fresh cilantro and/or scallions.