Healthy dishes, drinks to toast the new year

I always look forward to getting back into the routine after the holidays, but there is an expectation this time of year to be tackling our resolutions list.

These expectations can be stressful and we end up feeling defeat instead of renewal.

Rather than focusing on resolutions, recognize that small positive changes to our life can be made anytime throughout the year. Once a week or whenever you have time, take a few moments to ask:

  • What is working for me?
  • What could I change to make my life better?
  • What have I learned from past experience?
  • How can I improve my health?
  • Can I make my food choices more nutritious?

I received a new year promotional email from Saje Wellness that inspired fresh and encouraging thought. The headline was, “The best project you will ever work on is you,” and it made sense.

Following indulgent holiday eating, our bodies are screaming for us to make changes to allow us to function optimally. Start by refueling your system with food that is fun, colourful and nutritious. Enjoy food and drinks that naturally clean or detox the digestive system, including these suggestions.

Papaya

This fruit, which Christopher Columbus referred to as “the fruit of angels,” is antioxidant and fibre rich. Most importantly, it naturally contains papain, the digestive enzyme that helps our bodies properly digest proteins.

While our family was travelling in Maui a few years ago, the chef at our resort recommended papaya to many travellers whose stomachs were not adapting to being away from home. A few slices as a side to our breakfasts or dinners seemed to make our meals complete and our digestion efficient. We now enjoy papaya regularly for its many health benefits.

Our grocery stores offer mainly the Mexican and Hawaiian varieties, with the Hawaiian being smaller in size. Papayas are best extremely ripe, so look for fruit with skin that is reddish orange and fairly soft. It will take a few days to ripen on the counter if it is still quite yellow.

Slice the fruit down the centre, scoop out the black seeds and use the flesh for a morning smoothie or eat fresh. Source: www.draxe.com.

Pineapple

The pineapple is a tropical fruit that is native to South America. It’s thought that the plant was originally moved north by indigenous people, which European explorers then discovered when they arrived in the Americas.

The fruit is loaded with antioxidants, most importantly vitamin C, and contains the digestive enzyme bromelain, which helps our bodies break down food. Its juicy flesh is bursting with sweetness, and the unique flavour is like no other.

Choose fruit that are not too soft and have a sweet smell rather than mouldy. The fruit should feel heavy for its size when lifted.

Cut by removing the crown and the base and then carefully strip the skin. Remove the flesh until all that is left is the hard round core in the middle. Enjoy alone as a snack or as a garnish to a main course. It is also a delicious addition to a fruit salad.

Source: www.medicalnewstoday.com.

Try this smoothie with strawberries, papaya, pineapple, fresh lemon and probiotic-rich kefir, available in the dairy aisle of grocery stores. It will kick start your day.

Strawberry Papaya Smoothie

  • 1/2 c. strawberries 125 mL
  • 1 c. sliced papaya 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. cubed fresh pineapple 125 mL
  • 1 c. strawberry kefir 250 mL
  • sprinkle of vanilla protein powder (optional, but beneficial)
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. water 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. ice 125 mL

Add all ingredients to a blender and swirl until well combined. – Source: Adapted from www.draxe.com.

Ginger

Ginger root, which was introduced to us as a traditional Asian remedy, is known for its ability to calm an upset stomach, reduce bloating and banish nausea.

We always reach for ginger ale when the flu hits or our throats become sore and dry.

Add fresh ginger root to boiling water and steep for a flavourful tea or use fresh cut root in your menus.

Vegetable Beef Stir Fry

Combining fresh vegetables with a protein and ginger make this main course extremely nutritious. It also adds sizzle to winter meals.

  • 1 tbsp. oil 15 mL
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch 30 mL
  • 2 tbsp. water 30 mL
  • 1 clove garlic minced 2 mL
  • or 1/2 tsp garlic powder or seasoning
  • 1 lb. sirloin steak cut into thin strips or prepared stir fry beef 450 g
  • 2 c. small broccoli florets 500 mL
  • 1/2 each red and yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 can drained mini corn (optional)

Sauce:

  • 1/3 c. soy sauce 75 mL
  • 1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar 15 mL
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 15 mL
  • 1/2 c. water 125 mL
  • hot cooked rice or noodles

Heat the oil in a large skillet, and combine the cornstarch, water and garlic in a bowl before tossing in the beef. Add the beef once the skillet is heated and cook for three to five minutes.
Remove from the skillet, leaving a bit of cooking liquid with which to stir fry the vegetables. Add the vegetables to the skillet and cook for about four minutes.
Return beef to the skillet, as well as the soy sauce, ginger, sugar, spice, cornstarch and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for an additional five minutes or until done. Serve over rice or noodles. Substitute chicken for beef if desired. – Source: www.food.com.

Whole grain oats and seeds

Oats are a whole grain that provides a boost of soluble fibre, which helps move food through the body and aids in processes such as lowering cholesterol.

They also act like an internal scrub brush and are a good source of B vitamins, iron and zinc.

The crop can be eaten as warm porridge or oat cereal but also add whole grain oats to your diet in the form of granola, which may be mainly oats with some seeds and nuts added.

Berry Parfaits

This nutritious dessert with granola topping and a chocolate chunk provides a fibre and protein rich sweet treat. It’s delicious anytime.

The probiotics in the Greek yogurt also gives a digestive boost.

Start layering with vanilla Greek yogurt in a dessert cup or glass and top with a sprinkling of raspberries, blueberries and your favorite granola. Repeat twice. Add a chocolate chunk if desired on the top. It’s pretty and so simple.

Note: Substitute any berries of your choice.

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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