How To: Work in Healthy Foods

Super foods. Vitamin enriched. Nutritionally dense. These 87684079are terms that are becoming common in the nutrition world as well as in our grocery isles.  But how do we  get our families to actually eat the foods that are good for their bodies and minds?  This is a question that meal planners have been struggling with forever.

A good starting point is to plan your meals around the rainbow. Beneficial foods are rich in color.  Offering your family a variety of them keeps the winter doldrums away, too.

That starts with thinking outside of the box – tried and true recipes are great but sometimes you really need to be creative.

Very Veggie: Don’t save setting out raw veggie platters only for company.  They are a wonderful “hold over” food while you get supper on the table.  Prepare a healthy yet delicious dip to go with them and watch even your picky eater munch them down.

Cold Spinach Dip
I like this recipe because I can make it ahead of time.

1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach
1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
1 c. mayonnaise
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 (8 1/2 oz.) can water chestnuts, chopped
1 pkg. Knorrâ„¢ vegetable soup mix

Defrost, drain and squeeze all water from spinach. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend well.  Place dip in tightly covered container and refrigerate overnight. Stir well before serving and serve cold.

Go Nuts: Nuts are packed with vitamins and protein.  Low salted varieties are available in most grocery centers. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts contain less saturated fat and are 87590468approved by the FDA as benefiting heart health.
Other simple tips:

Use whole grain pastas.

Tomatoes are rich lycopene, as is watermelon (purchase in season).

Super Salmon: Use Salmon in your menu. This fish is very rich in both protein and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.  Combine salmon with eggs in a quiche recipe and boost up the nutrition even more.

Easy Mini Salmon Quiche
Children of all ages like getting their individual pie.  They are also excellent breakfast foods, so make extra.

3 – 4 pre-made frozen puff pastry squares – defrosted
1 green onion, finely chopped
4 slices bacon – sautéed, drained and diced
2 (10g) cans salmon, drained, deboned and flaked
3 eggs – beaten well
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup grated cheese (your favorite)

Pre-heat your oven to 375° F.  Lightly grease 2 muffin pans (12 cup) with cooking spray.

In a bowl, mix the eggs, cream, salmon, bacon, onion, cheese and  salt and pepper with a fork until all mixed together well.

Using a biscuit cutter (I use the end of a drinking glass) cut circles out of the defrosted puff pastry and place into the greased pans.  Spoon the mixture into the pastry.

Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until test clean with a toothpick and are golden brown.  Remove and cool in pans on racks. Allow to set 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Bring fun (and a bit more nutrition) to your snacks: Who doesn’t love a crispy chip?  Homemade vegetable chips can be seasoned a wide variety of ways.  I have included an earthy seasoned salt recipe that is ideal on this recipe, as well, as poultry, fish and steamed vegetables.

Sweet Potato and Beet Chips
I choose smaller sized vegetables because they tend to be less stringy and more flavorful.  If you don’t have a mandolin slicer, you can use the slicing side of a box grater and make thin slices.

2 – 3 medium sweet potatoes
3 – 4 medium beets
Vegetable oil for frying – only fill your pot 2/3 full to avoid a dangerous boil over
Deep fry thermometer

Wash the vegetables and dry well. Set aside. Warm oil in a large pot – bring the temperature up to 350° F.

In a small bowl mix your favorite seasoning salt and set aside.

Trim both ends off your sweet potatoes and beets. Very carefully slice your vegetables, about 1/8-inch thick. When the oil is ready place about a quarter of the sweet potato slices into the oil.  Let fry until golden and the bubbling has almost completely stopped, about 2 – 3 minutes.  Carefully – using a mesh sieve or slotted spoon remove the chips to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with some of the seasoned salt mixture.

Continue with the remaining sweet potatoes, season, and transfer the sweet potato chips to a serving plate.  Next, fry 1/4 of the beets. Let fry until curled at the edges and most of the bubbling has subsided, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the beets to another paper-towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt mixture. Continue with the remaining beets. Let cool and transfer to a serving plate.

Garlic and Rosemary Salt
This is an adult favorite – the children like a touch of cinnamon and sugar on their sweet potato chips and just a touch of sea salt (it is coarser and they can see it) on their beet chips.

1 clove garlic, minced very fine
1 tsp. finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 T. salt

In a small bowl – mix garlic, rosemary, and salt and set aside. Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy eating your rainbow and have fun with your meal planning.  The possibilities are endless!

About Dori Fritzinger

I live and work with my multi-generational family in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. We have a farm of cows and calves, wool sheep, dairy goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, honey bees, a horse and a donkey. We have a goat's milk soap and bath products line available on our farm web site. I enjoy reading, quilting and doing embroidery.