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Brilliant Black Bean Quesadillas

Serves: 4

This easy-to-make dish is a family favourite that we can’t wait to share with all of you 🙂. Quesadillas are a colourful addition to your weekly food plan – and a healthy one too! This strong source of protein is packed with veggies and cheese, making it not only a fun dinner choice but a complete meal option as well 😉. These are super quick to make so whip up a few for your family and friends and let us know what you think in the comments!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 can (17 oz/500 mL) black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) cumin
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) red chilli powder
  • 1 cup nonfat mozzarella cheese
  • 4 soft tortillas

Instructions:

  1. Drain and rinse black beans in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan on high heat. Add onions and stir until they start to become soft and almost clear in colour.
  3. Turn heat down to medium-high and add beans, corn, red pepper, as well as cumin and red chilli powder. Stir for about 4 minutes.
  4. Remove mixture and heat the first tortilla on the saucepan.  Add ¼ cup of your cheese on top along with ¼ of the mixture on half of the tortilla. Fold over the other half and cook until golden brown and crispy.
  5. Happily serve 🙂.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

350 kcal / 20g protein / 50g carbs / 6g healthy fats

Photo credit: Lauren Allgood, Pinterest

Bran Muffins

Makes 12

Need help getting enough fibre? Try these fibrous and easy to make bran muffins! (No electric beater required!). Add it to your breakfast or grab it as a snack! The fibre will keep you full and help keep you regular! Wheat bran not only contains B vitamins, minerals and some protein, but also has soluble fibre – which forms a gel in your gut trapping some cholesterol and removing it 🤯! So why not try these yummy muffins that can improve gut health along with your heart health ❤!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (87g) wheat bran
  • 1 ⅓ cups (165g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (68g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, ground (optional)
  • 1 ⅓ cup (330 ml) 2% milk
  • ⅓ cup (75 ml) canola oil
  • 1 egg

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine wheat bran, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set it aside.
  3. In large mixing bowl, combine milk, egg and oil with a whisk. Add dry ingredients and stir only until combined.
  4. Scoop batter evenly into twelve muffin pan cups greased with cooking spray or lined with paper muffin liners. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until a fork/toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Serve warm.

⚠ Always remember to increase fibre intake slowly and to have more water when you have more fibre to avoid discomfort! Talk to a dietitian to find out if you are having enough.

Nutrition Information (per muffin):
161kcal / 4g protein / 23g carbohydrate / 3.5g fibre / 7g healthy fat

Photo Credit: AllBran

Honey Garlic Salmon

When I come home from a long day and want to make something quick, yet healthy, fresh and tasty – I make honey garlic salmon! With ingredients that can be found in our fridge and cupboards, and a short cooking time, dinner will be ready in minutes! High in protein, healthy omega fats, and a good source of vitamin D!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp (10ml) honey
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) low sodium soy sauce 
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp (10ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tsp (10ml) canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • 4 salmon fillets (4-5 oz or 150g each) 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Season salmon fillets with a mixture of honey, soy sauce, lemon juice, pepper, paprika and thyme. Let fillets marinate for 15 minutes in the fridge, covered.  
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, and saute garlic for 1 minute. Add salmon fillets, along with the marinade into the pan. Cook each side for 4 minutes, while periodically basting the top of the fillets with the marinade. 
  3. Place fillets in a baking sheet,and  broil the salmon in the oven for another 5-6 minutes or until cooked.
  4. Serve with sliced lemons, and drizzle with any extra marinade.

*Tip*  Great with a side of steamed greens and a whole grain such as bulgur, quinoa or wild rice. 

Nutrition Information (per serving):

256kcal / 25g protein / 3.8g carbohydrate / 12g healthy fat

Photo Credit: Cafe Delites

Mexican Veggie Burgers

Every now and then on cold days such as these (when the snow is at full blast and I can’t walk to the corner store without risking frostbite) I like to prepare meals that remind me of warmer and happier times. One such meal is the wonderful Mexican veggie burger 😌. My mum would always prepare these for us as kids during the summer holidays and I have fond memories of fighting my siblings to the death for the last patty. Ah! Such fun 😅. Whip some up today and maybe double the recipe so no one gets hurt!

Ingredients:

  • ½ can (10 oz/280 mL) lentils, drained and rinsed
  • ½ can (10 oz/280 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup (125 mL) breadcrumbs
  • 1⁄3 cup (80 mL) onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) paprika
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) water
  • 1⁄2 cup (125 mL) shredded Cheddar or Swiss cheese
  • Low sodium salsa

Instructions:

  1. Mash lentils and chickpeas in a large bowl using a small-holed masher or fork.
  2. One by one, slowly add in most of the other ingredients (breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, paprika, red chilli powder, water). Mix after adding each one to make sure the mixture is incorporated well.
  3. Add cheese and start to form the mixture into patties. Aim for burgers that will be about 1 inch (about 2.5 cm) thick.  
  4. Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat and cook burgers for 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve with salsa over hamburgers buns and enjoy! 

Nutritional Information (per serving):

248 kcal / 14g protein / 30g carbs / 14g healthy fats

Photo Credit: Cindy Kurman, Kurman Photography

Spicy Red Lentil & Spinach Soup

The cold weather is here and it’s here to stay, so what better way to warm yourself up than with a hearty soup! This red lentil and spinach soup is not only tasty but healthy with loads of nutrients such as iron, fibre, folate, protein, vitamin A and more. Fibre from the spinach, and protein from the lentils will keep you full, while the spices will give you a burst of flavour in your mouth! Super easy to make as well! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric 
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ inch ginger, chopped (or ½ tsp ginger paste)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped (or ½ tsp garlic paste) 
  • 2 cups (60g) fresh or frozen spinach 
  • 1 cup ( 200g) red lentils, rinsed 
  • 2 cups (500ml) water or vegetable broth (adjust for thickness)

Follow 3 Easy Steps:

  1. Place diced onion, frozen or fresh spinach and lentils into a large pot. 
  2. Add water or vegetable broth. Then add all the spices, along with ginger and garlic. 
  3. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes or until cooked. For a pressure cooker, cook for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Nutrition Information (per serving):

126kcal / 9g protein / 22g carbohydrate / 0g fat 

Photo Credit: iFoodreal

Spicy Ginger and Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry

After a cold and windy weekend, I for one need a BREAK 😂. I saw the weather forecast for the rest of the week and knew that I’d need something spicy and full of protein to get me through until Friday. Hence, the Spicy Ginger and Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry was born! It’s a simply beautiful and filling recipe that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. With the right balance of grains, protein, and colourful veggies, why not secretly prepare this in your kitchen at night when everyone is asleep and share it with no one other than your future self? Some things just aren’t meant to be shared!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups brown rice
  • 2 tbsp peanut or canola oil
  • 14 ounces very firm tofu
  • 2 large green onions, chopped
  • 1 coloured bell pepper (e.g., orange pepper), sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 inches (5 cm) of ginger, grated
  • 7 thai chilli peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups of baby spinach
  • ½ small red cabbage, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • ½ cup of sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Prepare tofu by placing on a plate and drying with a paper towel. Leave one paper towel and a heavy pan on top to flatten the tofu out and make it easier to cut into smaller pieces.
  2. Take this time to prepare your rice according to package instructions.
  3. Cut your flattened tofu into small pieces
  4. Get ready to sauté your ingredients by placing a large pan or wok on your stovetop. Set to medium-high heat.
  5. Add oil to pan and wait until it has heated up. Slowly add garlic and ginger and wait 2 minutes before adding all other ingredients except tofu and spinach. Stir.
  6. After 3 minutes has passed, carefully add cut tofu into your pan. Continue to stir and ensure that the tofu pieces are turned over frequently for an even bake.
  7. Remove pan from heat and top with spinach and sesame seeds. Serve with brown rice and enjoy ☺

Nutritional Information (per serving): 

380 kcal / 20g protein / 40g carbs / 15g healthy fats


Will Fluoridated Water Affect my Child’s IQ?

To know what fluoride is and why our water is fluoridated, check out our last Fact Friday post here. Today’s post reviews the current research on whether drinking fluoridated water will affect a child’s IQ.

A recent Canadian study looked at the association between consumption of fluoride by pregnant women and their child’s IQ. From 601 mother-child pairs in six cities, they looked at how much fluoride the mothers consumed, how much was in their urine, and then tested the child’s IQ at age three [1]. To simplify, what they found was a slight decrease in IQ when the mother’s urine had a bit more fluoride a. This was only the case for boys, not girls. However the child’s IQ (regardless of sex) slightly decreased when the mother’s daily fluoride intake was higher b.   

So does this mean I should avoid fluoride while pregnant?

In the realm of research, we investigate to add to our knowledge. While this study presents that there is a potential association, we cannot prove that it is definitely true or that there is a risk with just one study. 

This study has some limitations: 

  1. Some key measurements were off – fluoride intake did not match urinary fluoride, i.e. we don’t know exactly how much fluoride the mothers were consuming to make a conclusion. 
  2. The decrease in IQ only affected the boys it is very unclear why fluoride consumption would not affect girl’s IQ as it did in the boys, although similar studies did not find a difference in sex as they did. 
  3. Previous studies had fluoride levels way above acceptable limits in Canada – these studies took place in regions where water fluoride concentrations are well above the guideline (1.5mg/L) [2]c.  
  4. High fluoride in 3 urine samples ≠ exposure to baby three urinary samples from the mother do not reflect the overall exposure of fluoride to the fetus over the whole pregnancy. 
  5. They did not take into account different ways of intaking fluoride: As mentioned, fluoride is present in toothpaste, mouthwash, some bottled water, and food i.e. measurements were off. 

Conclusion:

Though we can’t make conclusions based on one study, we can continually review what level of fluoridation is best for us. Based on years of research, we know that drinking optimally fluoridated tap water in Canada is safe, improves oral health and is better for the environment than bottled water!

a Results: With an increase of 1mg/L of maternal urinary fluoride they found an associated decrease of 4.49 points in their child’s IQ, but only when the child was a boy, and not in girls.

b When mother’s daily fluoride intake increased by 1 mg, they found an associated decrease of 3.66 points in their child’s IQ (regardless of sex).

c The researchers try to back up their results by quoting studies that have observed a similar association. But these studies took place in regions where water fluoride concentrations are well above the guideline of 1.5mg/L (the highest acceptable amount in Canada), while the study conducted in Mexico did not report a concrete fluoride value at all [3]. 

Please be aware that these are general guidelines. Nutrition and intake varies by age, sex, height, activity, being pregnant or breastfeeding, and medical conditions. For more information or to sit with one of our dietitians for an individualised nutrition counselling session, please contact us at amananutrition@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us page to book your first appointment.

Until next time,

Almas-Sadaf Shaikh, PMDip, RD


References:

[1] Green R, Lanphear B, Hornung R, et al. Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offspring in Canada. JAMA Pediatr. Published online August 19, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1729.

[2] Health Canada (2017). Fluoride and Oral Health. [online] Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/environment/fluorides-human-health.html

[3] Bashash, M., Thomas, D., Hu, H., Angeles Martinez-Mier, E., Sanchez, B. N., Basu, N., … & Liu, Y. (2017). Prenatal fluoride exposure and cognitive outcomes in children at 4 and 6–12 years of age in Mexico. Environmental health perspectives, 125(9), 097017.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

This colourful mouth watering dish is a great way for you (and your kids!) to get some vegetables, protein, iron, vitamin A, & C! This recipe will give you all three macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat) in one. It’s super easy and the gorgeous colours match the fall season!

You will need:

  • 6 bell peppers
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or 1 tsp garlic paste
  • ¾ – 1lb lean ground beef
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper 
  • ½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn (unsalted)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (unsalted)
  • 5 cups of water 
  • 1 cup low fat (<18% M.F.) low sodium mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions:

  1. in a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of canola oil on medium-high heat and sauté the onions  until softened.
  2. Add minced garlic or garlic paste, and sauté for 1 minute. 
  3. Add the ground beef and mix together. Season with salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, slice the top of the peppers off and remove the inner membranes and seeds. 
  5. In a separate pot, boil water and place the cut peppers inside for 3-4 mins until they’re a bit soft. (This cuts down baking time in the oven). Drain well and place upright in baking dish. 
  6. Once meat is cooked, add the tomato sauce and corn. Let it simmer for another 10 minutes until reduced. 
  7. Now stuff each pepper with the filling, and top it with mozzarella cheese. 
  8. Bake at 350°F in the oven for 15-20 minutes!

*Want a vegetarian version? Use TVP (soy protein) instead of beef, or black beans and quinoa!*

Nutrition Information (per serving):

250 kcal / 20g protein / 21g carbohydrate / 7g fat

Photo Credit: Cooking Classy

Warm Vegetable Chili

As the daylight hours begin to dwindle and the cold weather approaches, I for one gravitate towards more simple recipes that don’t require too much of my energy. You know, the ones where I don’t need to stick something in the oven for about 40 minutes and twiddle my thumbs while I wait for it to cool (😂). Warm Vegetable Chili is just one of those recipes that won’t sacrifice speed for nutrition – this perfect mix of protein, fibre, and veggies is an excellent addition to your autumn repertoire. Bon appétit!

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) frozen vegetables
  • 1 ½ tsp of garlic and ginger paste
  • 14 oz (398 ml) red kidney beans
  • 14 oz (398 ml) black beans
  • 5.5 oz (156 ml) tomato paste
  • 28 oz (796 ml) chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp (7 ml) chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) paprika
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) freshly chopped coriander
  • Grated marble cheddar cheese
  • Corn chips

Instructions:

  1. Sauté vegetables and garlic paste in a pan with olive oil on medium heat. 
  2. Drain and rinse red kidney beans and black turtle beans using a large colander. Add to pan and stir.
  3. Add the rest of your ingredients with the exception of cilantro. Allow for mixture to simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove mixture from heat and allow to slightly cool. Garnish with coriander.
  5. Serve on table with bowls of grated cheese and corn chips. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information (per serving):

280 kcal / 14g protein / 45g carbohydrate / 5g fat

Photo credit: Marco Verch

Creamy Garlic Chicken

Ever wanted to have a creamy garlic chicken without all the saturated fat from cream? Well now you can! Try our new recipe where we use 2% milk instead of heavy cream and still manage to get a nice creamy texture! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 4 skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼  tsp garlic powder
  • ¼  tsp paprika
  • ¼  tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup 2% milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions: 

  1. In a large pot, heat canola oil. 
  2. In a separate bowl combine spices together and spread it over chicken pieces.
  3. Sear the chicken pieces on each side for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Add minced garlic and saute for a minute. 
  5. Add the low sodium broth and stir to incorporate everything together (including any flavours stuck to the bottom of the pot). 
  6. Cover with a lid, and cook for around 15-20 minutes until chicken is well done. 
  7. In a bowl or cup, whisk the cornstarch into the milk and add it to the cooked chicken. 
  8. Saute on a medium to high heat, stirring occasionally, until your desired sauce thickness is reached (~5 mins).  
  9. Serve with a side of lightly roasted green beans, broccoli or asparagus.

*Add mushrooms to add both flavour and some fibre. 

Nutritional information (per serving):

175 kcal / 27g protein / 4.4g carbohydrate / 4.7g fat

Photo credit: Salt & Lavender