December 6, 2010

healthful eating

For quite some time, I have focused my cooking on completely natural ingredients; fresh, local, and organic vegetables; and seasonal eating. I've even been vegetarian for a year, which should just scream "healthiest eater around!!" right?

Wrong.

What I've recently learned is that while I cook fairly healthy, there's always room for improvement. A quick look at my most recent blog posts points to cheese, caramel apples, and a dinner without protein.

Don't worry, I'm not giving up the good stuff. But this weekend, we took a brave new approach to eating.

Nothing was covered in cheese, and we didn't skip meals. We ate only whole grains and looked at nutrition labels to figure out fiber and protein counts. Together, we constructed meals that included not just healthy vegetables and grains, but also legumes for a complete food experience.

Needless to say, we ate a lot of beans over the weekend.

But we might have just eaten healthier in the last four days than we ever have. I'm still learning about constructing meals, but whatever I learn I hope to pass along to you.

For starters, here's a recipe for our new favorite breakfast, only slightly adapted from the nutritionist. It's chock-full of wintry flavor, not to mention plenty of nutrients and fiber. And of course, we use organic everything to make it meet our strict house food policies.
It comes together in just a few minutes, but to speed things up in the morning (especially on work days), I like to have the dry ingredients and the pot sitting out overnight so there's nothing to hunt for in the wee hours of the morning.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

1 cup lowfat milk (or almond milk)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp - 1 tbls raw or brown sugar, to taste
1/3 cup canned pumpkin (or fresh pumpkin puree)
1 cup rolled oats (not the quick-cooking kind)
1 tbls ground flax seed
chopped pecans for garnish

In a small pot, bring the milk, spices, and pumpkin to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the oats, lower the heat, and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender. Serve in bowls with the flax seed and pecans sprinkled on top.

Serves 2.

4 comments:

bushidoka said...

You do not need protein in every meal. Read the 25th anniversary edition of Diet for a Small Planet for details.

amber said...

I think that what's important is to find what works best for your own body's needs. That said, it's fascinating to learn what vegetables have to offer by way of nutrients (for instance, broccoli and spinach are both high in protein). What I've found is that when I lack certain nutrients, my body tells me - usually by way of a headache. So I'm not advocating large amounts of protein at each meal (I'm going to stick with vegetarianism and organics), but just keeping an eye on how nutrients work with our bodies.

Also, I am not a big fan of meat replacements, so it's important for me to make sure that - for our health - we cover all the bases.

austingastronomist.com said...

Oh my, this oatmeal looks great. Have you tried it reheated? I usually like to cook a big batch of whatever for breakfast at the beginning of the week and then reheat individual servings. Thanks for the recipe!

amber said...

@ austingastronomist.com - I did take some to work and reheat in the microwave; it was very tasty but a little too thick. I added just a little milk and it was fine. So, I think making a big batch would work, just maybe add more almond milk or regular milk when cooking so it doesn't thicken too much. You might just play around to see what works best for your tastes!