In "Eating Healthier: Picking the Right Ingredients," I covered the importance of meals that include healthy fats and anti-inflammatory ingredients, as well as the importance of avoiding saturated fats.
These recipes for five meals throughout a day provide detailed instructions to help you achieve your goal. Even if you're not a seasoned cook, these meals will be easy to prepare.
You'll need a sauté pan with lid, a pot with lid, a spatula, a sharp knife, a cutting board, a measuring cup, measuring spoons, a garlic press, a small bowl for making salad dressing and sauces, and a larger bowl for tossing salad.
Allow yourself about 15 minutes of preparation time for the lunches and dinners, including cooking if you use fast-cooking rice. Each recipe makes one serving. When cooking for more than one person, multiply the ingredients by the number of people. If you can't find coconut flour, coconut oil, pumpkin-seed protein powder, pumpkin-seed oil, pumpkin-seed butter, avocado oil, or ground flaxseeds at your local health food store, order online from Omega Nutrition.
Use organic ingredients when available that aren't too expensive. Organic food tastes better, is better for you, and better for the environment.
Breakfast: Pomegranate Blueberry Blast Smoothie
¾ cup unsweetened chilled pomegranate juice
½ cup chilled water
¾ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup fresh spinach leaves
2 tablespoons pumpkin seed protein powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil
2 ice cubes
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
Wash spinach and blueberries thoroughly. Combine pomegranate juice, water, blueberries, spinach, pumpkin-seed protein powder, pumpkin seed oil, and ice cubes in blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in ground flaxseeds. Pour into glass and drink while it's cold.
If you exercise regularly and need extra calories, add ½ cup of chopped fresh apple and an extra tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your smoothie.
Variations: Instead of spinach, use fresh kale. Instead of blueberries, use black raspberries. Instead of pomegranate juice, use tart cherry juice or purple carrot juice. If you can't find the juices at your local store, purchase them at Smart Juice.
One fresh apple, sliced. Serve with 1 tablespoon of almond butter.
Variations: Instead of apple, have a pear. Instead of almond butter, use pumpkin-seed butter.[PAGEBREAK]
Lunch: Cod filet sautéed with garlic, parsley, olive oil, brown rice and cucumber salad
5 ounce cod filet
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
⅛ teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1 mini (baby) cucumber, sliced thin
¾ cup cooked brown rice
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
Prepare brown rice according to directions on package. If you're in a hurry, try Lundberg's pre-cooked rice tubs (1 tub of the Lundberg organic short grain brown rice makes about 3 servings and takes 90 seconds to prepare). Put two teaspoons of olive oil in a pan. Use a garlic press to crush garlic cloves. Put the pureed garlic that comes out of the press into the pan and blend with the oil. Discard the garlic skin that remains in the garlic press. Heat the pan over medium heat.
Place the cod fillet in the pan and sauté for 3 minutes. Turn the fish with a spatula and sauté for 3 more minutes. Fish should be light golden brown on the outside and cooked in the center. Timing will vary depending on the thickness of the filet. While fish is cooking, wash and chop parsley. Wash and slice cucumber. Baby cucumbers have thin skin that does not taste bitter, so they don't need to be peeled. If the store near you doesn't sell baby cucumbers, use half of a regular-sized cucumber (peel regular-sized cucumber before slicing).
Once the fish is cooked, sprinkle chopped parsley over it. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 1 more minute to heat the parsley and flavor the fish. Remove the seasoned cooked fish from pan and serve over rice. Garnish with cucumber slices. Drizzle the remaining teaspoon of olive oil over the cucumber slices. Season with the ground turmeric and sea salt (salt is optional). If you want to take this meal to work, prepare it the night before, refrigerate it, and bring it to work in a cooler. The fish is delicious when it is served hot, but it also tastes great served cold.
Vegetarian Variations made with mushrooms: Instead of cod filet, use 1½ cups of Asian mushrooms (shitake, oyster, alba clamshell, trumpet royale, brown clamshell, forest nameko, velvet pioppini, or maitake frondosa). Wash the mushrooms thoroughly, then dry. If the mushrooms are large, slice them in halves or quarters before cooking. Mushrooms cook faster than fish. Depending on thickness, mushrooms need to be sautéed for only about 4 minutes. Stir the mushrooms occasionally while cooking. If you want extra protein, calcium and magnesium, add 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds to the seasoned mushrooms and sauté for 1 more minute before serving with the rice and seasoned cucumber.
½ fresh avocado, sliced. Serve with four walnuts.
Variations: Instead of walnuts, add almonds, cashews or pecans.[PAGEBREAK]
Dinner: Salmon with gingered carrots, wild rice pilaf, and mixed green salad
5 ounce salmon filet
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Juice of half of a fresh lime
½ cup fresh carrots, washed and sliced very thin
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh ginger
¾ cup cooked mixed wild and brown rice
¾ cup mixed baby lettuces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 grape or cherry tomatoes
½ fresh avocado, sliced
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
Prepare the brown and wild rice mix according to directions on the package. The Lundberg Organic Countrywild Brown Rice tub makes about 3 servings and takes 90 seconds to prepare. Wash and peel a chunk of fresh ginger. Chop ginger into very small pieces. You need 1 tablespoon. Chop more ginger if you like spicy food. Set it aside. Wash the carrots and slice into very thin pieces (about ⅛ inch thick). Set it aside.
Wash the lettuces, the cilantro, and the tomatoes. Chop the cilantro and mix with lettuces in salad bowl. Set it aside. Pour 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a pan. Heat on medium heat. Add salmon filet and sauté for 3 minutes. Turn salmon with spatula and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add sliced carrots and chopped ginger. Cover the pan with lid and cook for 2 more minutes. While salmon and carrots are finishing cooking, mix lime juice with the avocado oil and toss with salad greens. When the salmon and carrots are done, the carrots should be al dente (firm but not as hard as when they were raw). The salmon should be cooked in the center but still juicy.
Serve the cooked salmon and gingered carrots with the rice. Drizzle the remaining teaspoon of olive oil on top. Garnish the salad with the tomatoes and sliced avocado, and season the salad with the sea salt (optional).
Variations: Instead of salmon filet, use tilapia, black cod, or catfish. Instead of carrots, use fresh parsnips.
Dessert: Banana Coconut Delight
1 medium fresh banana
2 tablespoons of coconut flour (finely ground coconut)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Peel the banana, and then slice it in half lengthwise. Coat the banana halves with coconut flour. Put coconut oil in a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until oil spreads across bottom of pan. Put the banana halves in a saucepan. Sauté for 1 minute. Turn banana and sauté for 1 more minute. Place cooked banana halves on plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!