I’ve led my fair share of healthy shopping tours. While walking through the aisles of the supermarket, I explain the Guiding Stars program and how it helps shoppers identify more nutritious choices. One of my favorite things to point out is that you can find the best nutritional value in fresh, canned, and frozen produce. I select an obviously nutritious product like fresh green beans then show canned and frozen versions in the store that also earn our best score: 3 Guiding Stars. If a tour group is focused on eating better on a budget, I’ll note the varying unit prices among the three forms. Through this exercise, I discuss some key factors to consider when deciding between fresh, canned and frozen vegetables. I also want to share those here, in our latest edition of Surprising Stars.
An annual March tradition, National Nutrition Month (NNM) highlights ways of making conscientious choices to improve your diet and emphasizes the helpful role that dietitians play in maintaining a healthier lifestyle. The NNM 2020 theme, “Eat Right, Bite by Bite,” celebrates small steps for creating big change. Using a step-by-step, weekly approach to shift toward healthier habits, NNM 2020 helps you establish a path to better eating that everyone can achieve and maintain.
The curry below does include milk in the recipe, but please note that it works very well substituted with any unsweetened dairy alternative, such as almond, soy, or oat milk. Avocado is a great source of heart-healthy fats, making it a better-for-you option for creating a smooth and creamy sauce. Silken tofu also works as an excellent, nutrient-rich base for sauces and has a, well, silky texture when pureed.
“Any food allergies?” the nutritionally woke waitress asks with a smile as she takes our order. “Why yes,” I answer, “Do you have any dishes without fermentable short-chain carbohydrates?” Smile fades to furrowed brow. “Uuuuuum, let me talk to the chef and see what we can do.” If you have ever tried the FODMAP diet, you know how real this imaginary interaction can seem.
Bean sauce is already a popular appetizer. Hummus, traditionally made with chickpeas, can be a creamy replacement for sandwich spreads, for pizza sauce, and for roasted veggies. Chickpeas are not your only option, though! Any bean can be turned into a sauce. White beans, like cannelinis, are an excellent mildly flavored bean if you want something that will disappear under the seasonings you’re adding. Black beans have an earthiness that makes them work well paired with strong flavors like cilantro, jalapeño, and lime. Red beans, like kidneys and pintos, have a hint of sweetness that plays well with root vegetables like winter squash and sweet potato and warmer spices, like a Jamaican jerk seasoning.
If you have ever looked at the dairy case in the supermarket, you know that there are a lot of options for yogurt. If you were to shop one of our client’s stores you might be surprised by the lack of Guiding Stars-earning yogurts. This is not to say that their assortment is less nutritious than their competitors, but rather that the sweeteners added to yogurt have a negative effect on nutrient density. In fact, just 20% of yogurts earn Guiding Stars due in large part to added sugars.
The French have what I consider an ingenious tradition called “Le Goûter.” Le Goûter consists of a cup of tea/coffee and a snack, typically a chocolatey one. It is consumed in the late afternoon/early evening to get you through the rest of the day, tiding you over until dinner. I am a chocolate lover and need no additional reason to consume chocolate other than the fact I like it, but this is a tradition I embraced while in France and was happy to continue here in the States.
Whether you’re making a smooth vegetable soup or a vegan “cheese” sauce, a blender is a must for getting a great sauce with no dairy.