Nature’s packaging may not have a nutritional label, but you can be sure that plant-based whole foods can help your digestive health and contribute to better overall health—for you and for the planet. Best of all, they do all this while being simple to prepare—and delicious .
According to Health Canada, most Canadians are getting only half of the daily recommended 25 grams (women) to 38 grams (for men) of fibre in their diets. Fibre plays a key role in digestion, helping to ease food and waste through the digestive tract, making us feel fuller, and helping to lower cholesterol and glucose. Diets high in fibre and whole grains are linked to reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
It’s easy to find good sources of fibre in nature’s rich pantry of plant-based whole foods. Vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, and legumes are packed with it.
These foods also contain prebiotic phytochemicals that, studies suggest, help feed the good bacteria of the microbiome. These compounds could be responsible for keeping your tummy happy and healthy.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, in their 2019 Sustainable Healthy Diets—Guiding Principles report, recommends a plant-based whole foods diet. The idea is that food and it’s production must support not only the individual, but also the community, and be available to sustain us in the future while protecting the planet through low environmental impacts.
It seems even small changes can have big impacts. A recent study found that reducing beef consumption even slightly and selecting fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes instead can reduce our dietary carbon footprint. Adding dietary fibre, and microbiome-boosting nutrients need not be boring. Delectable whole foods lend themselves to intriguing flavour combinations and simple preparations. Look to these recipes to enliven fibre-rich whole foods and be inspired to include more of them in your diet.
Look for whole grain farro, which leaves the germ and bran intact, for this satisfying porridge that’s sure to kickstart your day. While the cooking time is longer than for pearled or semi-pearled varieties, you’ll get more nutrition. Take the time to enjoy the delicate scent of cardamom and ginger wafting through your kitchen as you prepare this.
Sage is an excellent flavour companion for squash. When combined with the earthy flavours of mushroom and hearty quinoa, this filled squash makes for a deliciously satisfying meal. Great sources of dietary fibre, winter squashes like delicata and acorn are also good sources of thiamin, which aids in the transformation of ingested carbohydrates into energy.
Licorice-flavoured fennel, tart apple, and a hint of pleasant bitterness from radicchio combines with a touch of sweet dressing for a refreshingly delicious salad. Fennel contains a number of vitamins and minerals known to be involved in digestion, including vitamin C, manganese, and niacin which helps transform the food you eat into energy. Apple adds sweet crunch and all-important fibre.
This article was originally published in the January 2022 issue of alive with the title When Fibre Meets Flavour.
There are plenty of reasons to fawn over heads of crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and impossibly sweet peaches. But, truth be told, the cream of the crop arrives on the market when summer’s bounty has come and gone. Once sweater weather arrives, and we edge ever closer to snowflake season, there is a bounty of cold-hardy power foods to get your fill of at their peak flavour and nutrition. And they’re ripe for all sorts of culinary creations in the kitchen. So, definitely < don’t > stop frequenting those farmers’ markets. Diversifying the kinds of fall vegetables and fruits we eat will let us net a wider variety of nutrients to help maintain health throughout cold and flu season. If you love carrots and apples for their comfort-food appeal, you’ll want to branch out and also grab hold of celery root, pears, chard, and other underappreciated seasonal goodies. With that in mind, here are the immune-supporting recipes to include in your rotation to help keep you on track for a healthy and delicious autumn.
School is back in session and with it, new demanding fall schedules that mean less time to focus on bringing nutritious meals to the table. Eating leftovers for dinner eases time spent in the kitchen. But it doesn’t have to mean eating Monday’s meal on Tuesday and again on Wednesday! Finding new ways to reinvent and reuse leftover ingredients to create simple and delicious meals is another perfect way to save time while still eating healthy. Less time, with less mess, means less stress! Leftover proteins can be turned into delicious soups and pasta dishes, while unused grains and starches can quickly be transformed into nourishing and satisfying stovetop or oven dishes. Looking ahead and planning meals for the week will allow you to purposefully prepare extra ingredients (think strategic leftovers!) that can easily extend into another nutritious meal.
This Asian-inspired stir-fry takes full advantage of the crunch Brussels sprouts achieve when they’re heated quickly. The sweet-and-sour sauce delivers a tangy edge, and tempeh offers plant-based protein and a blast of umami. If you want meat in the dish, you can replace tempeh with ground pork. Ready, set, go Stir-frying is a cooking method that thrives on speed. That means you want to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go into the pan. That also means no chopping on the fly.
Two fall stalwarts—rutabaga and Swiss chard—team up to bring seasonal flavour to these baked savoury cakes. A topping of velvety cashew cream adds a little extra spark. Rutabaga burgers, anyone? You can also prepare these cakes burger-style in a skillet. Simply form rutabaga and chard mixture into burger-sized patties and cook in greased skillet over medium-high, until golden brown on both sides.