There is certainly nothing as healthy as maintaining a balanced diet. I learned this after years of maintaining a low-carb diet beginning in 2007. I successfully lost weight (around 30 pounds). But it was a commitment that I couldn’t foresee making for the rest of my life when I got pregnant 5 years later, at which point I knew that incorporating all food groups into my daily life would be healthiest for my baby and me. I went back to carbs, I did gain some weight (all due to pregnancy). Today, I am still nursing a 17-month old and enjoying a rounded nutrition. There is no better way to get energy for an active day with a toddler.
Choosing the healthiest foods – superfoods -- among each food group is tantamount to a balanced diet. This meal is a super healthy take on the classic comfort food that is FISH AND CHIPS.
The salmon is crusted with quinoa flour and quinoa flakes, chia seeds, golden flax seeds, walnuts, garlic, and olive oil, some of the best superfoods we can eat. The quinoa flakes, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and a spritz of olive oil create a crisp crust when baking, without any breading or frying.
The dip is protein-packed and vitamin-enriched with Greek yogurt and spinach. It is seasoned with fresh dill and lemon.
The sweet potato fries are seasoned with one of the best superfood spices available – red pepper, which imparts a nice heat and subtle flavor. They are baked with some added starch to achieve crisp results in the oven.
For dessert (because we still deserve dessert!), I made a pudding from almond meal, low-fat milk, whole eggs, and agave nectar topped with rich antioxidants from blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and dark chocolate (let’s not forget dark chocolate is an antioxidant-rich superfood!).
Wash it all down with iced green tea infused with lime and slightly sweetened with agave.
All in all, this nutritional powerhouse is just one example of a protein-packed, antioxidant-/mineral-/vitamin-rich, well-balanced meal that will keep you energized and healthy.
What you’re getting:
1. Greek yogurt: protein and probiotics
2. Spinach: fiber, iron, flavonoids, potassium
3. Lemon: vitamin C and flavonoids
4. Salmon: omega-3
5. Quinoa: fiber, protein, phosphorous, iron
6. Chia Seeds: fiber, omega-3, protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, niacin
7. Flax Seeds: fiber and omega-3
8. Garlic: amino acids, phosphorous, zinc, potassium, selenium, polyphenols, and vitamins B6 and C
9. Walnuts: vitamin E, omega-3
10. Olive oil: antioxidants and phytochemicals
11. Green tea: antioxidants and alkaloids
12. Lime: vitamin C and flavonoids
13. Almonds: potassium and vitamin E
14. Eggs: protein, amino acids, vitamins D and B-12, selenium, and choline
15, 16, 17. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries: antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C
18. Dark chocolate: antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, copper, and iron
19. Sweet potatoes: vitamins B6, C, and D, iron, magnesium
20. Red pepper: capsaicsin, vitamins A and C, beta-carotene
Step 1: Superfood Crusted Salmon Sticks
1-1/2 lbs of salmon fillets, skin removed, cut lengthwise
2 tablespoons quinoa flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ tsp paprika
1/3 c quinoa flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
½ tbsp chia seeds
½ tbsp golden flax seeds
Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 425F.
1. On a plate combine quinoa flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. On another plate, combine quinoa flakes, garlic, walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds. On a third plate, lightly scramble one whole egg.
2. Lightly dredge salmon fillet in quinoa flour mixture.
3. Dip salmon in egg.
4. Coat salmon with quinoa flakes mixture, pressing the mixture gently into the salmon.
5. Line a baking tray with parchment and arrange salmon.
6. Generously spray each side of the salmon with olive oil.
7. Bake for 6 minutes. Turn salmon over and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp and golden.
Step 2: Baked Sweet Potato Fries
1 large sweet potato
2 tsbp oil
2 tbsp corn starch
½ tsp ground red pepper
1. Cut sweet potato into thin fries.
2. In a large bowl, toss the fries in oil until well coated.
3. Add the corn starch and ground red pepper, and toss the fries until well coated.
4. Arrange fries on a generously greased baking sheet, making sure they are in a single layer and not crowded to best achieve crispness. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Turn the fries over and bake for another 10 minutes or until crisp and lightly brown.
5. Remove from oven and let cool on baking tray.
Step 3: Spinach Yogurt Dip
½ lb spinach leaves, washed and drained
Bowl of ice water
1-1/2 c Greek yogurt
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Lemon, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spinach and boil for one minute.
2. Drain spinach in a colander then immediately soak in ice water.
3. Drain spinach in a colander and squeeze out the water.
4. Combine yogurt, spinach, dill, lemon, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Step 4: Almond Meal Pudding
2 c low-fat milk
¼ c agave
½ vanilla bean pod
1 c almond meal
1. In a medium sauce pan, whisk eggs and milk.
2. Whisk in agave and vanilla beans extracted from pod.
3. Whisk in almond meal.
4. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, whisking continuously to prevent milk from burning. When the mixture has thickened, removed from heat.
5. Pour into custard cups or small bowls.
6. Garnish with melted dark chocolate, berries, and almond slices.
Step 5: Iced Lime Green Tea
½ c hot water
½ tsp matcha green tea powder
½ tbsp agave
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 c ice cubes
1. Stir and dissolve green tea powder in hot water. Add agave and stir.
2. In a tall glass, pour hot green tea over lime slices and ice cubes.
3. Add cold water to taste.
Wishing you good health, always!