In honor of Earth Day this week, be good to your body and to Mother Earth. Make an effort to eat foods “close to the earth” with the least amount of packaging, processing, energy and use of your time.
Here are a few “go green” recipes to enjoy this weekend and beyond.
SNACK: Pop Your Own Popcorn
Start with a jar of corn kernels. In a large stockpot, heat a healthy oil (canola, corn, etc.) and then add kernels and cover the pot with a lid. Listen for “popping” kernels for the next 1-2 minutes. When the popping stops, remove pot from the stove. Serve popcorn hot, just straight up, or add a little Parmesan and seasonings (that stick with cheese and heat). Seasonings such as dried oregano, parsley, thyme, or unsalted Italian or Greek seasonings are delicious.
OTHER SNACKS: unsalted, uncoated nuts, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables dipped in hummus or bean dip
INSTANT OATMEAL: Yes, even instant counts.
Try the new larger bagged portions of instant oatmeal, prepared in 1 minute in the microwave or on a stovetop. Convenience and speed are there, but less packaging. The larger bag contains, in essence, multiple “instant oatmeal packets”. You control your portion, as well as the added salt, sugar, or sugar substitutes. Quaker Perfect Portions comes in two flavors – cinnamon or maple syrup – and the flavors add no additional calories. Great idea!
BEANS WITH GREENS SOUP- How much earthier can you get!
Soak a package of 16-bean mixture overnight in water in a stockpot. The next day, drain the water. In a large stockpot (or slow-cooker), sauté half a pound of extra lean ground beef, chicken or turkey. Add unsalted broth to water, in the amount recommended on the bean package. (I like to choose Kitchen Basics broth, with the Heart-Check logo, meaning it meets the saturated fat and sodium criteria of the American Heart Association.) Add in beans and 2 cups each of the following chopped vegetables: carrots (about 5-6 big carrots), celery (ons bunch) and a large onion. You may also substitute a thawed bag of these frozen mixed vegetables. For speed and convenience: 1) chop all veggies in a food processor, one type at a time or 2) purchase fresh chopped onions and tiny petite carrots at your grocery store; 3) buy celery sticks in water and slice in half; use the water as part of the water added to the beans for cooking.
Bring to a boil and simmer 60-80 minutes. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add a bag of washed, chopped kale, after you have chopped it more finely into strips for quicker cooking. Spinach may be substituted or added. Add seasonings such as a tablespoon of vinegar, your favorite unsalted seasoning blend, black pepper and garlic powder. When beans are cooked tender, enjoy a bowl-ful! Refrigerate or freeze left-overs for a snack or meal the next day This soup tastes better each day, as flavors continue to blend. I even eat it for breakfast!
For more ideas on healthy eating, check out The Cooper Clinic Solution to the Diet Revolution: Step Up to the Plate (2009). My guidebook of tips makes healthy eating more enjoyable and more manageable. Connect with me online at @GeorgiaKostas and Facebook/Georgia KostasNutrition and visit:http://www.georgiakostas.com.
This nutrition information does not address individual health conditions. Please consult with your physician or registered dietitian to meet specific health and dietary needs.