When to eat

“When to eat?” is a question that many often ask. It’s good to eat when you start to feel hungry. If you wait too long to eat you may feel irritable, moody, you may have a lack of energy or even a headache. Another consequence of waiting too long is that you may not make good food choices or overeat!

Eat at regular times, in moderate portions. A general recommendation is to eat every three to five hours. Many find that eating three balanced meals a day, as well as one or two healthy snacks, is easiest for them. Others eat five or six smaller meals a day. Finding what works best for you and your family may take some practice, but don’t give up! You will soon find that you have the energy you need to stay active!

I want Quinoa

Quinoa is a great dish and makes a healthy lunch. This nutritious grain is high in protein, fiber and is gluten free. The following recipe is one of many ways to prepare it. In this picture, I paired it with pickled vegetables. What a delicious dish! Do you have a favorite way to prepare quinoa?

2 cups of  quinoa white or red
3 cups of water
1/2 cup of golden raisins
1 fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tomatoes, seedless, chopped
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, sliced
1/2 cup of feta cheese

Place quinoa in boiling water for 5 minutes in a saucepan, turn heat to low and cook half way cover about 15 minutes until water is evaporated. You don’t need to stir the quinoa. Before turning off the heat, place golden raisins on top so to hydrate them and cover. Once quinoa is cooked it has to be soft but don’t let it get mushy. Place quinoa in a large platter and add the rest of the ingredients. Salud!

Salads with homemade dressings

Salads are made to be paired with a great dressing. Did you know that it is easy and healthier to make your own at home? All you need is extra virgin olive oil, vinegar (balsamic, red wine or rice are great), salt and pepper. Other ingredients that are great to add, and will change depending on your salad ingredients, are finely chopped onion, scallions, shallots, crushed garlic, fresh lemon juice, fresh herbs such as basil, oregano and thyme. Dried herbs also work well. At the end, you can add a little mustard, honey or chopped orange (or tangerine) for a little sweetness.

As a rule of thumb, the ratio is 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 3 or 4 tablespoons of oil, but you can use less oil. When you add the oil to the vinegar and spices, add it slowly and whisk to emulsify them.
If you are in a hurry, just drizzle the oil and vinegar to your salad, as I did in the photo above. ¡Salud!

Eat a salad a day

Have you ever had vegetables go bad because you didn’t eat them in time? Make it a habit to eat one salad a day, inventing your own recipe with whatever ingredients you have in the fridge. This is a chopped chicken salad with lettuce, tomato, slices of mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, sliced almonds and chopped basil. For a simple, light dressing I use a little extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. Do you eat a salad a day?

Spices: flavor with less salt

Spices are an excellent way to add flavor to your food instead of using extra salt. Pictured are my favorite spices, used to cook Indian foods. The spices are (starting clockwise at the 1 p.m. position): curry powder, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, cumin, cumin seeds, and finally red chili powder in the center. The one that I use a lot is cumin. What is your favorite spice?

Green Chile Contest

One of the best foods of the west is green chiles with pork, known as “green chile,” a delicious dish that is served with tortillas. I was honored to be one of the judges representing the TV show Los Secretos de Maya at the Cinco de Mayo green chile bowl cook off contest in Denver. The event was sponsored by Mission Foods and Tortillas Guerrero. Congratulations to this year’s winner Diego’s Mexican Food and Cantina who was voted best green chile 2012!

 

Read the food labels

Whole wheat or corn tortillas are healthy choices. Make sure to compare the nutrition fact labels and choose the one with the lowest calories. Add a moderate portion of protein and plenty of vegetables to them and you have a complete meal. Don’t forget to check the serving size! Here I am choosing whole wheat tortillas. Have you tried them?

Question about asparagus

Irma, a student in one of the community’s nutrition classes, asked me about asparagus. She has seen this vegetable in grocery stores but needs ideas on how to cook it. I admit that I had never eaten asparagus before I moved to the United States. Have you tried it?

My favorite way to cook asparagus is to steam them just like broccoli. It gives the asparagus a great flavor and it helps to preserve the nutrients. Another simple way to prepare it is on the grill or in the oven. For either of these ways, place the asparagus on foil with some olive oil, sea salt and pepper. It is excellent if you pair it with grilled fish. Cook it until it is ‘al dente’ – soft but still crisp. You can drizzle fresh lemon juice over it, and also add it to salads and stews. What is your favorite way to cook asparagus?