Being a Vegetarian During BBQ Season – Nutrilicious

It’s that time of year! Barbecue Season!

Barbecue season is upon us!  Can you be vegetarian and still enjoy all the joys that barbecuing in the great outdoors bring? Absolutely!

 

While you know the ins and outs of cooking vegetarian foods like preparing tofu stir fries and pasta with beans but the barbecue has always been a bit of a mystery. Though we traditionally think about the barbecue for burgers, steaks, chicken and fish, there are lots of options for those who choose a vegetarian or plant-based diet.  Yes, you can always buy prepared veggie burgers or hot dogs. The food companies that make these burgers and dogs have been finding ways to make these products more and more appetizing, gaining acceptance from some meat eaters and fueling the growth of the global meat alternatives market. However, they are highly processed, contain many unfamiliar ingredients and are usually loaded with salt. I will admit though, I do keep a package of frozen veggie dogs in the freezer over the summer for when we get invited to a barbecue and I don’t have much time (or feel like) preparing something from scratch. Once in a while is okay.

Are you worried you won’t be included in any backyard bashes because your friends and family don’t know what to feed your vegetarian daughter? Worried she will be stuck eating just the salad? Well, fret no more. There are loads of options for us vegetarians.

Beyond just grilled vegetables, the natural, easy-to-prepare option is barbecue tofu or tempeh.  If you have a favourite marinade, it will also work well.  For our family, some good quality prepared barbecue sauce and organic tofu usually does the trick. We simply cut the tofu into ½ inch thick blocks and marinate in the sauce for a few hours. The same can be done with tempeh, cut it into thick strips, though I have found that kids usually prefer tofu.

You can really grill more than the typical barbecue-type foods. You can use the grill as you would the oven or stove.

Here are a few options for fun, vegetarian-friendly grilling:

. Make veggie kebabs with cubes of tofu or halloumi cheese

. Grill veggies to make vegetarian quesadillas and then cook prepared quesadilla on the grill

. Prepare homemade pizza and cook on the grill

. Buy a vegetable basket or use a wok to make a stir fry on the barbecue

. Grill portobello mushrooms and use them as a stand-in for burgers

. Grill sandwiches – try using flatbreads, panini or even pita

. Make homemade veggie burgers using chickpeas, black beans or quinoa

. Cut cooked polenta into thick slabs and grill

When we are invited to barbeques, I usually ask for our meal to be cooked first, before the animal proteins hit the grill. I most often bring the vegetarian option to alleviate any stress from our host. That way I know exactly what we are going to eat and don’t worry about cross contamination. Though some people aren’t fussed, I personally don’t like to think my food has touched meat.

Summer is a great time to expand your veggie-loving barbecue skills. So turn that grill on, and start experimenting!  And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!

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Grillin’ Like A (Vegetarian) Boss – Nutrilicious

It’s that time of year! Barbecue Season!

Here is a copy of a blog post about barbecuing that I wrote for Eco Parent:

Barbecue season is upon us!  Can you be vegetarian and still enjoy all the joys that barbecuing in the great outdoors bring? Absolutely!

Most of us are fairly comfortable preparing vegetarian meals like tofu stir fries and pasta with beans but summertime barbequing can feel like a bit of a mystery. Though we traditionally think about the barbecue for burgers, steaks, chicken and fish, there are lots of options for those who choose a vegetarian or plant-based diet.  Sure, you can always buy prepared veggie burgers or hot dogs. There are plenty of options out there, some of them pretty darn tasty that even meat lovers won’t turn their noses up at. Unfortunately, many of them can be highly processed, full of unfamiliar ingredients, and are usually loaded with salt. However, if you find a reasonable brand, keeping a package of frozen veggie dogs on hand for those last-minute barbeque invitations, or those nights when you don’t feel like cooking from scratch, can be a great way to solve an otherwise stressful situation.

The summer barbecue isn’t just for meat anymore! In fact, there are loads of options for vegetarians, or even just those who’d like to eat meat less often.

Tofu on the grill!

Beyond just grilled vegetables, a super-quick, easy-to-prepare option is barbecue tofu or tempeh. All you need is some good quality prepared barbecue sauce and organic tofu. Simply cut the tofu into ½ inch thick blocks and marinate in the sauce for a few hours. The same can be done with tempeh!  If you want to switch things up a bit, substitute the barbeque sauce for a favourite marinade!

But don’t stop there! You can really grill more than just veggies and tofu! You can use the grill as you would the oven or stove.

Creative BBQ: veggie style!

Here are a few options for fun, vegetarian-friendly grilling:

. Make veggie kebabs with cubes of tofu or halloumi cheese

. Grill veggies to make vegetarian quesadillas and then cook prepared quesadilla on the grill

. Prepare homemade pizza and cook on the grill

. Buy a vegetable basket or use a wok to make a stir fry on the barbeque

. Grill portabello mushrooms and use them as a stand-in for burgers

. Grill sandwiches – try using flatbreads, panini or even pita

. Make homemade veggie burgers using chickpeas, black beans or quinoa

. Cut cooked polenta into thick slabs and grill

When hitting up friends’ barbeques this summer:

Sometimes it’s best to bring your own vegetarian option. A great way to do this is to offer to bring something to the barbeque! Then everyone gets the pleasure of a little extra veggie goodness!

If you are concerned with cooking your vegetarian option on a meat-covered grill when visiting friends’ houses, simply ask to have your meal grilled first. That way, you can feel more comfortable and it’ll help alleviate any stress your host might have.

Summer is a great opportunity to expand your veggie-loving barbecue skills. So get out there, turn that grill on, and start experimenting!

And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!

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Is your daughter always hungry? – Nutrilicious

Does this happen in your house?? You prepare a nice meal for everyone, clear the table, load the dishwasher and clean everything up only to have your daughter come back to the kitchen an hour later to make a ‘snack’ because she is hungry. I remember my mother telling me that the kitchen was ‘closed’ after she finished cleaning up from a meal.

It drives me crazy when my kids prepare something to eat after I have cleaned everything up. How many times can I tell them to make sure they eat a proper meal at supper so they aren’t hungry an hour later? Unfortunately, I have a hard time saying no when they say there are hungry. Can you say no to your kids when they tell you they are hungry?

How can they possibly be hungry when they just ate not even 2 hours before? Here are a few reasons why your daughter may be hungry after a meal:

  1. She did not eat a well balanced meal – For meals to be filling and satiating they need to contain all three macronutrients; carbohydrates, protein and fat. For example – tofu (protein) with vegetables and rice (carbohydrates) in a peanut sauce (fat).
  2. She did not eat enough – Some kids get bored and distracted while they eat and don’t eat enough to fill themselves up. Make sure phones do not come to the table during meal time.
  3. She didn’t eat real food – Real, whole foods contain nutrients that help stabilize blood sugar ensuring she feels full for a few hours. This means no chips or chocolate bars but nuts, seeds and good quality granola bars.
  4. She didn’t eat good quality plant-based protein like beans, tofu, nuts or seeds.  Veggie dogs and veggie meats are okay once in a while but they don’t always have the best ingredients. And they are usually high in salt.Some kids just need to refuel more often than others but making sure she is getting the right amount of nutrients with each meal will help support her growing body.For more information about vegetarian diets, tips and tricks sign up for my newsletter.

 

 

 

 

 

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Is it just a phase? – Nutrilicious

Your daughter declared she wants to become a vegetarian. What were your first thoughts? Do any of these resonate with you:

  1. What am I going to feed her?
  2. She’ll never get enough protein on a vegetarian diet
  3. How are we going to eat out?
  4. It’s just a phase, she’ll grow out of it

When my daughter decided to become vegetarian at 9 years old I was prepared as I had been following a mostly vegetarian diet for quite some time. However, many parents worry when their children decide to become vegetarian because they are not familiar with this way of eating. I am sure some of you hope it is just a phase your child is going through and that they will begin eating meat again soon.

I know a few moms who have teenage daughters that were vegetarian for a few years so it may have been a phase. However, whether it is a phase or not, parents still need to ensure their children are eating properly for their growing bodies at any age or stage.

Here are a few tips to save your sanity if your daughter declares she wants to become a vegetarian:

  1. Be accepting and supportive- discuss why your daughter wants to give up meat. Make sure there isn’t an underlying eating disorder.
  2. Do some research to quell your concerns – there is tons of scientific evidence these days that vegetarian diets are very healthy and good for the environment.
  3. Borrow some vegetarian or vegan cookbooks from the library  to help you better understand how to cook without meat.
  4. Get your child involved in the meal planning and preparation so she too can learn which foods she should be eating and how to prepare them.
  5. Talk to a healthcare professional about getting your daughter tested for some of the nutrients that may be more challenging to get on a vegetarian diet like B12 and iron.
  6. Sign up for my newsletter for ongoing tips, tricks and recipes!

 

 

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The lowdown on tofu and tempeh – Nutrilicious

Mention tofu to some people and they instantly say they don’t like it. I bet half of these people just haven’t tasted a good recipe with tofu. As someone who has not eaten meat or chicken in about 30 years, tofu has always been part of my diet.  I use it in soups, salads, stir fries, salad dressings and sometimes in dessert. It can be confusing because there are so many types of regular and organic tofu; silken, soft, medium firm, firm, extra firm and now you can buy sprouted tofu. Choosing which type of tofu is ultimately based on your recipe and preference. First and foremost it is important to choose organic so that you don’t eat genetically modified soybeans.

Here are more tips:

Soft or silken tofu  have the highest moisture content. This type of tofu is best used in soups, sauces, salad dressings, smoothies and desserts like pudding. Health food stores sell this type of tofu in the refrigerated section of the store. They also usually carry a shelf-stable version sold in a box in the Asian section of the store.  My family doesn’t like this type. Grocery stores usually sell tofu in the refrigerated deli section or with the organic dairy products.

 Medium firm, firm or extra firm tofu can be used interchangeably depending on personal preference. My daughter likes medium firm while I prefer extra firm so I sometimes buy both. These are best used in stews or stir fries where you need the tofu to hold its shape.

Sprouted – made from sprouted soy beans, comes in different textures.

You can also buy tofu that comes flavoured with smoke, teriyaki or mango. Visit an Asian grocery store and you’ll see tofu in bulk, floating in a jug of water or packaged like puffs or balls. We liked the puffed tofu balls in Pad Thai. They taste great. If you see these give them a try. You can store the in the freezer until you are ready to eat them.

Some chefs recommend using a press to remove excess water from medium-firm, firm and extra-firm tofu so that it can absorb more flavour during cooking.  To press the tofu without using a tofu press, take a plate and line it with paper towels then place the tofu block on the paper towels. Put another layer of paper towels on top of the tofu, place a cutting board on top and weigh it down with heavy books or cans for an hour. You can also freeze the tofu and once it is defrosted squeeze out the water with your hands. Freezing tofu changes its texture and makes it more crumbly. Either way both procedures will allow the tofu to absorb more flavour.

Tofu is bland so seasoning it is important. The best flavour is achieved by marinating it for a few hours. Add some honey or maple syrup to the marinade to help the tofu get crispy while it cooks. My favourite marinade includes tamari, garlic, ginger and honey. I try to let the tofu marinate overnight. If this is not possible give it at least an hour.

More recently I have added tempeh to my repertoire of vegetarian proteins. Tempeh is a fermented form of tofu that originated in Indonesia. It can be marinated and cooked the same way as tofu but does not require pressing.

While tempeh is also made from soybeans, it has a different texture and is more nutritious than tofu as it is less processed and contains more fibre and protein. Its texture is very firm and it has a deep earthy flavour that becomes more pronounced as it ages. Season tempeh as you would tofu.

Do you have any favourite tofu or tempeh recipes? Let me know.

Stay in the loop with more vegetarian-friendly topics and sign up here.

 

 

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Sesame Miso Glazed Eggplant – Nutrilicious

When your kids request a certain meal for dinner how can you say no? Especially when it’s not pasta! I was really surprised when my daughter asked me to make Sesame Miso Glazed Eggplant. I have been making this Vegetarian Times recipes for a few years and she hasn’t really eaten much of it. Maybe her taste has evolved or maybe she has acquired a taste for eggplant. Regardless I am happy to prepare it as I enjoy it as well. Plus, it’s pretty quick and easy to make. Bonus for a busy work night. It was quite the challenge to find the Asian eggplants that day but thankfully after 3 grocery store visits, I was all set.

I have modified it over the years so here is my version:

2 tbsp white miso
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp rice vinegar
4 Japanese eggplants
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 Tbs. tahini
2 Tbs. sesame seeds
4 green onions, chopped

1. Whisk together miso, mirin, coconut sugar and vinegar in small bowl.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice eggplants in half lengthwise. Score in a crisscross pattern, brush with sesame oil and roast cut side up on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Flip over and roast on the other side for 10 minutes or until soft.
3. Adjust oven temperature to broil. Brush eggplant with miso mixture. Broil 4 to 5 minutes. Top with tahini, sesame seeds and green onions to serve.

We really like tahini so we drizzle lots of it.  It is a great source of calcium and iron. I usually serve this with some organic edamame on the side so we get some good quality protein as well.

Looking for more vegetarian recipes and tips? Sign up for my newsletter.

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What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian? – Nutrilicious

With all the news in the press these days about vegetarian and vegan diets, I thought I’d give you a brief description of what these diets are all about and how they differ.  These diets really seem to be in the news a lot these days both for their health and environmental benefits. Here is the scoop:

The word ‘vegetarian’ has been around since the mid 1800s while the word ‘vegan’ was only created in 1944. Fast forward to today, over 7o years later and the Huffington Post is reporting that plant-based diets will be the hottest trend in 2018. It has taken the world a long time to wake up and see the benefits of these diets that were once considered extreme or weird.

So, what is the difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet? Someone who follows a vegetarian diet doesn’t eat animal flesh but may consume other animal-based foods like eggs and dairy.  Someone who follows a vegan diet avoids all products with any connection whatsoever to animals, even honey. For some vegans their rejection of all things animal extends to hair and beauty products made with animal ingredients such as lanolin from sheep, cleaning products that have been tested on animals and shoes or clothes made with leather or wool.

While research has shown that following a vegan or vegetarian diet has many health benefits, it is important to make sure the nutrients found in animal products are replaced with good quality substitutions. A nutritionally balanced plan would include a variety of plant-based proteins, sources of iron and calcium and vitamins B-12 and D.

Here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the maximum benefit of a vegan or vegetarian diet:

. Eat a variety of plant-based foods to ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients

. Stock a vegetarian/vegan-friendly pantry and fridge so healthy options are at hand

. Eat real food and minimize the processed, packaged vegetarian/vegan foods

. Sign up for my newsletter for ongoing support!

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Are there unhealthy vegetarian foods? – Nutrilicious

Vegetarian diets are touted for their many health benefits but you can also eat lots of unhealthy food on a vegetarian diet.  The grocery store is full of packaged, processed vegetarian foods with long and complicated ingredient lists.  As with any healthy diet we want to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store and minimize the amount of food we buy from the middle aisles.

A few key watch-outs for those choosing vegetarian food:

Faux meats:

Faux meats including bologna slices, ham and bacon are definitely easy vegetarian sandwich options. However, they are super processed and come with a long list of unpronounceable components including artificial ingredients, preservatives, oils and salt. Some healthier sandwich options include:

. hummus and veggies

. avocado, lettuce and tomato

. nut butter and banana

. mozzarella cheese, pesto and tomato

. tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato

 

Alongside faux meat comes veggie burgers and veggie hotdogs. They are also highly processed and contain way too many ingredients to count. These too should not be eaten on a regular basis.  However, there has been lots of product innovation in the veggie burger category and more and more new burgers are reaching the grocery stores these days. Most of the new products I have seen are frozen and have really simple, clean ingredient lists so read labels carefully. Homemade veggie burgers are easy to make so look for recipes online, make a batch and keep them in the freezer. See recipe below.

 

Bread and pasta:

When people give up meat they sometimes look for quick, easy-to-prepare foods they know will fill them up like bread and pasta. The challenge here is these foods will spike blood sugar and leave you hungry soon after you finish eating. The best option is to look for breads and pastas made from whole grains which will take longer to digest thus keeping blood sugar levels stable longer. Also adding some clean vegetarian protein will help stave off those hunger pangs.

 

Nuts and seeds:

Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamins, minerals and even protein. For those following a vegetarian diet adding nuts or seeds to meals or as a snack can really increase your nutrient intake. However, you want to make sure you buy raw, if possible, unsalted/unseasoned nuts and seeds as some seasonings contain high amounts of salt, sugar, oil and even msg.

 

Protein powders:

One of the most common, though sometimes unfounded, concerns for those following a vegetarian diet is protein intake. Some people choose to add protein powder to their morning smoothies. These protein powders can be made from whey, pea or brown rice which are all vegetarian sources however they may also contain not-so-healthy ingredients, are highly processed and may contain added sugars and artificial ingredients. To add protein to smoothies consider nuts or seeds (hemp is my personal favourite as you can even buy hemp protein powder), nut or seed butters or even silken tofu or soy milk.

Following a vegetarian diet shouldn’t post too many challenges as long as you eat good quality, whole foods. If you are looking for tips and tricks about vegetarian diets, sign up for my newsletter. Or if you have any questions you can email me at karen@nutrilicious.ca.

 

 

 

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My vegetarian rant! – Nutrilicious

Plant-based protein is all the rage these days and maybe because I have a little bias (ok a BIG bias) I can’t help but say a little hurray. It is about time the world woke up and looked seriously at these food options.  Why has it taken so long??

I can’t even begin to tell you how I have often been made to feel like a burden when invited over to friends or even family for a meal. I always offer to bring a vegetarian dish so I don’t end up eating side dishes or salad for my meal.  I am lucky however, to be surrounded with quite a few friends who go out of their way to accommodate my preference to not eat meat.  Especially the one who made steak on the barbecue for everyone but me. I saw the Mark Bittman book  “How to Make Everything Vegetarian” on the kitchen counter when we arrived and was treated to homemade veggie burgers.  That’s going way beyond the call of duty as I would have been happy with a simple bean salad.

My husband, to this day, tells me it is difficult for people to know what to feed me. How can that be? Really! In this day and age with so many food options and access to so many different cultures, I have a hard time believing this.  Is it really so foreign to people to prepare a meal without meat or chicken?  Maybe because it is second nature to me I have a hard time understanding.

Thankfully our kids are growing up in a different era. Our communities are changing.  We are exposed to so many different cultures. It is not uncommon for us to have Middle Eastern, Indian or Mexican food over the course of the week. From your basic hummous and pita to curry chickpeas to refried beans. These things never made it to the kitchen table when I was going up.

Our vegetarian kids today are going to have such a different experience, hopefully a more positive one. And with so much in the news about diversity these days, they are more likely to be accepted for the choices they make.

For tips and tricks on how to make sure your daughter doesn’t feel like the outcast at the table, sign up for my newsletter.

 

 

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Feeding Picky Teenagers – Nutrilicious

Life with teenagers can be a roller coaster ride; one day they think you are the greatest, next day they think you don’t know anything. Gone are the days when they cry when you drop them off at school and you worry whether or not their friends will play with them at recess. Fast forward to the teenage years and now you worry how they will do on their math exam, will their face clear up before the weekend and obviously, are they eating properly.

I know from personal experience feeding picky teenagers can be a challenge. If my daughter had it her way she’d eat pasta or pizza every night.  How do I ensure she is eating properly?

Here are some of things that have worked in my house:

1. Ask your kids for a few meal options and include them in your weekly rotation.

 

2. Prepare the foods they like but with slight variations:

a. We have pasta once a week but we prepare it differently each time. A favourite of ours is pesto.

b.  We have Mexican food once a week but we rotate between black beans and pinto beans, tortillas and  tacos to keep it interesting.

c.  We have tofu once a week but vary the vegetables and sauces we use.

 

3. Get your kids involved in the preparation as kids who cook a meal are more likely to eat it.

 

4. Stock the fridge and pantry with foods you know they like and that they can munch on. This way you  know they are eating nutritious snacks and not consuming empty calories from chips and chocolate bars.

Some good options include:
. hummous and pita
. corn chips and guacamole
. plain yogurt and fresh fruit
. homemade trail mix with dried nuts and fruit

 

5. Respect your kid’s food choices but encourage them to try new things. Don’t give up getting them to  experiment. Keep at it!

 

6. Take your kids shopping with you and let them choose what they’d like to eat. Hold your tongue and  let them throw in a few not-so-healthy items here and there. Remember the 80/20 rule.

 

Last but not least, be a good role model.

 

And, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

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Health Benefits of Green Mangoes(unriped) |Health Benefits


1.Eating unriped mangoes with salt prevents the excessive loss of water from the body and helps to quenches our thirst.In addition,it also protects us from the negative effects of very high temperature.

2.Drinking unriped mango juice prevents the excessive loss of sodium chloride and iron during summer due to excessive sweating.

3.Dried mango powder called Amchur is highly beneficial in treating Scurvy(deficiency of Vitamin C).

4.Eating Unriped mangoes,a rich source of pectin, mixed with honey and salt is highly beneficial in treating gastro-intestinal disorders.It is also considered as very effective medicine for summer diarrhea, dysentery, piles, morning sickness, chronic dyspepsia, indigestion and constipation.

5.Unriped mangoes are extremely beneficial in treating blood disorders because of its high vitamin C content. It increases the elasticity of the blood vessels and helps the formation of new blood cells. It aids in the absorption of iron and prevents bleeding tendencies. It increases body resistance against tuberculosis, anemia, cholera and dysentery.

Green Mangoes
Green Mangoes

6.Boiled unriped mangoes juice mixed with sugar, cumin and pinch of salt helps to treat the prickly heat,sour throat and sun stroke in summer.

7.Helps in treating liver disorders as it increase the secretion of bile acids and clean the intestines of bacterial infections.

8.Unriped mangoes have more Antioxidants and Vitamin C than riped mangoes.These antioxidant properties protects the body against cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

9.It is helpful in treating morning sickness.

10.Being rich source of Vitamin C,it improves stamina and helps to fight against diseases.

11.As an alkaline food,it helps to control acidity to some extent.

FREE – 7 Days To Thriving On A Vegetarian Diet – Nutrilicious

Being a vegetarian has several advantages both from a health and environmental perspective. However, the perceived disadvantages of being a vegetarian sometimes discourage people from making the switch. These so-called ‘disadvantages’ are easy to overcome and should not stand in the way of choosing to become vegetarian.

The most common misconceptions around a vegetarian diet are:

. You can’t get enough protein, calcium, iron or B12

. You will always be hungry

. You can’t eat out

. All you eat is tofu and salad

Do any of these resonate with you? Would you like to give a vegetarian diet a shot to see what it is like? I am running a 7 Day ‘You Can Do Vegetarian’ Challenge to show you how easy it can be. You can sign up here.

Let me briefly address the concerns I highlighted above:

Getting the proper nutrients on a vegetarian diet means replacing the animal-based sources with vegetarian sources. For protein you must add plant-based options like beans and legumes and eat a variety of nuts and seeds. Calcium can also be found in these plant-based foods as well as non-dairy beverages. Plant-based iron is a little more difficult for the body to absorb than animal-based iron but having some Vitamin C (like an orange) when eating these foods will help with absorption. Lentils and pumpkin seeds are both options. B12 on the other hand, may be a bit more challenging as it is found primarily in animal products. BUT it is added to breakfast cereals as well as non-dairy beverages. Make sure to read labels before you purchase if you are looking for food-based sources. If you can not find these fortified foods then taking a B12 supplement is the way to go.

If you feel like you never get full from eating vegetarian-style then you need to look at your protein sources. Protein is what will keep you full. Make sure to eat protein with every snack and meal.

Eating out vegetarian style has never been easier! With our current multicultural landscape there are loads of choices; Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian or Ethiopian foods are just a few of the cultures that have lots of vegetarian choices.

Tofu and salad! Yes! But there is so much more to choose from.

Want more tips on switching to a vegetarian diet? You can sign up for the 7 Days To Thriving On A Vegetarian Diet here.

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My Biggest Worry – Nutrilicious

Even now that I have several years under my belt with a vegetarian child, I still worry about what she eats. I suppose as a mother we never stop worrying but what we worry about changes as they get older. Thankfully I don’t have to worry whether she is napping enough, whether she’ll cry when I drop her off at school or if her friends will play with her at recess. Those days are long gone and my worries have shifted. Now they are more along the lines of how will she do on that math exam, will that pimple on her face go away before the weekend and obviously, is she eating properly.

When it comes to eating properly as a vegetarian I think my biggest worry is whether or not she eats enough protein. I know protein is easy to get on a vegetarian diet but if you don’t eat the vegetarian sources of protein then you may not get enough.  Is she eating tofu, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds on an on-going basis? Well, no she is not.

Protein is so important and does so many things and is so necessary for a growing body I worry that eating macaroni and cheese, pizza and banana chocolate chips muffins (homemade of course) is just not going to be enough. I am not a fan of protein powders and I can’t be sure my daughter is going to drink a smoothie every day anyway.  She just isn’t predictable. One day she loves something I prepared, the next day she hates it.

The one thing I do know is that my daughter absolutely loves her yogurt, chocolate yogurt that is. So for days when I doubt whether or not she has eaten enough protein, I’ll suggest her favourite snack. Hey, it’s not always ideal but we make it with 2% plain Greek yogurt so she gets lots of protein and calcium.

What are your big worries when it comes to your daughter? Vegetarian-related or not. Let me know in our Facebook group.

Sign up for my newsletter for ongoing tips, tricks and recipes to support your vegetarian daughter.

 

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A Great Noodle Alternative – Nutrilicious

If your kids are anything like mine they love noodles.  Whenever we go out for Chinese food they always want the fried noodles and vegetables though I think they end up eating more of the noodles than the vegetables.

At home we have several different kinds of noodles.. the typical pasta-type noodle, rice noodles, soba noodles, udon noodles and now I have added another one.. squash noodles.

I get so frustrated with the kids just eating the noodles and not eating the rest of the meal, I decided to buy spiralized squash noodles at the grocery store.  I can probably make them myself with my mini spiralizer but these looked so easy and tempting.

Everyone loves peanut noodles in our house whether it be with rice noodles or soba noodles. However, this time I decided I would make it with squash noodles.  At least I would be reassured they were eating the vegetables.

Squash Noodles With Peanut Sauce

1 package spiralized squash – this came in a clear plastic container found in the fridge in the produce section.
1 clove garlic
1 tsp ginger

Sauce:
3 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp honey
Juice from 1/2 lime
1/4- 1/2 cup of water depending on how thick you like your sauce

Vegetables:
1 cup sliced mushrooms – my kids picked them out
2 cups spinach leaves
1 cup broccoli florets

 

Saute garlic and ginger in coconut oil until fragrant. While these are cooking prepare the sauce. Using a hand blender puree the sauce so it is smooth and thick.

Add mushrooms and broccoli to pan with garlic and ginger. Or use vegetables your kids like. Once vegetables have started to soften, add the squash noodles and spinach and simmer for a few minutes. Pour in the peanut sauce and heat through. That’s it!

This is really a quick dinner time solution.

Let me know what your family thinks.  Looking for more inspiration on feeding your vegetarian family? Sign up for my newsletter.

 

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Happy Holidays and 1-Day Body Reset – Nutrilicious

We are into full holiday mode now. Try getting into a store these days and you’ll be waiting quite some time in line.

How many parties have you been to so far? How much wine and sugar have you consumed? If you’ve been feeling bloated and stuffed and need a day to give your body a break, keep reading. It’s not always easy to give your body a rest when you are busy running around getting ready for the holidays but it is doable. I’ve put together a super easy Epic 24 Hour Body Reset you can easily implement to get back on track.

I don’t believe in deprivation, so you won’t feel deprived in any way. In fact, you’ll feel quite the opposite. Ready to give your body a break so you can get back on track and enjoy the holidays?

Upon Waking Drink:

Morning Lemon Elixir
1 cup warm or room temp water
Juice from 1 lemon
Pinch of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon raw honey OR a couple of drops of stevia

Breakfast:

Blueberry Superfood Smoothie 
1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut/hemp or rice milk
½ cup frozen or fresh, organic wild blueberries
½ cup spinach
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds
Pinch of cinnamon
Stevia or raw honey to sweeten
Ice (optional)

Snack: 10 almonds and 1 apple

Lunch:

Mixed Salad
2 cups mixed greens or spinach, chopped
½ cup carrot, chopped
½ cup cucumber, chopped
1 cup artichokes (BPA free, canned in water)
1 avocado, cubed
¼ cup hemp seeds or seed of your choice
Handful parsley, chopped
Handful basil, chopped

Chop vegetables and mix in a large bowl. Top your salad with avocado and hemp seeds. Drizzle with dressing of choice.

Snack: ½ avocado w/ tomato & sea salt

Dinner:

Carrot Ginger Soup
4 cups chopped carrots
6 cups vegetable broth or water
1 medium onion, minced
2-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
Sea salt to taste
Dash nutmeg
Chopped fresh parsley, dill or cilantro

Put carrots, ginger, and onion in a pot with broth. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and put everything in a blender or food processor to purée. Serve hot topped with fresh herbs.

Evening:

Early Evening Immune Boosting Ginger Elixir
1 cup warm or room temp water
Juice from ½ lemon
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon raw honey or stevia

Bring the water and ginger to a boil and then lower the heat. Add the lemon and keep at a low simmer for a few minutes. Then pour into a mug and drink.

If you’ve loved this mini body reset and want more support after the holidays, click here to join the Fit and Healthy Jumpstart  that kicks off in January.  Early bird pricing in effect.

 

If you are still looking for a few gifts this holiday season, here are a few of my favourite products. I requested special discount codes as per below.

Skin Essence Organic Skincare Products
One of my favourite skin care brands is Skin Essence Organics.  These are clean, pure organic products.  If you are interested in giving them a try you can get 15% off by entering ‘organic’ at checkout.

Theobroma Chocolates
Theobroma is a Quebec-based company offering an amazing selection of organic chocolates. Use the code Nutrilicious and get a 20% discount on the eco-organic collection box of 5 sticks : http://theobromachocolat.com/shop/eco-organic-collection-box-of-5-sticks?lang=en

Miski Organics
To get a 15% discount on Miski Organics superfoods like quinoa, quinoa flakes, chia seeds and maca, use the code NUTRILICIOUS+. I especially enjoy cooking and baking with their quinoa flour.

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday!

 

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Resolutions For A Healthier You – Nutrilicious

It is almost 2018, and you’ve probably started to think about your New Year’s Resolutions. Am I right?

So many people commit to huge New Year’s resolutions that are nearly impossible to achieve. Then, they end up being disappointed they didn’t achieve them. One suggestion I have for you is to make your New Year’s resolution ACHIEVABLE this year.

 

When you do achieve your goals, you will be so much healthier.

Here are four perfect resolutions that are totally achievable:

#1. Hydrate with more water

Do you notice when you drink more water you feel better? Water helps your body to run better and will even help you to lose weight. Water will help give you a beautiful, youthful glow too. Make sure that you don’t just drink it all at once. Grab a water bottle and keep it with you throughout the day. This will make it that much easier to achieve your goal, and it will be beneficial for your entire body. Add some flavour to your water using lemons, limes or fresh mint.

 

#2. Crowd out unhealthy foods

Unhealthy foods that are filled with sugar and toxins do our bodies no good. Instead of just eating because you have a sweet tooth craving or because something looks delicious, eat because you want to nourish your body. If you eat foods that will give you energy and help you to feel better, you’ll be on track for a healthier 2018. So, start the year by eating whole foods that nourish and benefit your body.  Try snacking on nuts and seeds instead of chips or other crunchy snacks.

 

#3. Move more

Most people think of a New Year’s resolution as heading to the gym every morning. Although this is a great goal, it can sometimes be a challenge with everyone’s busy schedule. You do not need to head to the gym to move more. In fact, if you sit all day it’s a good idea to go for a walk on your lunch break or stand up and move several times a day. Make moving part of your 2018 goals. You will feel so much better!

 

#4. Let go of negative thinking

Every person has thoughts that creep into their head. Sometimes we can become more judgmental and critical of others in our head, or even put ourselves down. In 2018 make it a goal to stop the negative thinking. This will help you to be an overall happier person and may even help you to become healthier.

 

When you are thinking of your goals for 2018, start with realistic goals that will help you become a happier and healthier you!

 

If you are looking for some support to get 2018 off on the right foot join my Fit and Healthy Jumpstart. You’ll get 30 days of on-going support, recipes, tips and tricks. You can find all the details here.

Not sure this program meets your needs or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch – karen@nutrilicious.ca.

 

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Managing the sugar chaos over the holidays – Nutrilicious

You can probably guess that I’m not a fan of sugar or artificial sweeteners even though I do have a sweet tooth. With the holidays fast approaching there is going to be lots of cooking and baking and perhaps you are wondering how best to handle sugar consumption over this celebratory period of indulgence.

We all know the negative health effects of eating too much sugar, especially “added sugars” like those in flavoured yogurts, soft drinks, salad dressings, cereal, pasta sauce and ketchup. (I could go on but I’ll stop here). Added sugar is hiding just about everywhere in the grocery store. Ingesting this refined sugar spikes our blood sugar levels and insulin, and increases our risk for a whole host of issues. Always read labels on processed foods to see how much sugar there is on a per serving basis.  Remember that four grams of sugar is about one teaspoon.

How about artificial sweeteners?
Research shows us that consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners may promote weight gain as well as diabetes.

Your best bet? Stay away from artificial sugars and limit added sugars.  If you are baking, use 25% less sugar. You will be surprised how sweet the dessert will still be.

To add some sweetness without adding sugar, try the following:

Raisins
With antioxidants and fibre, they will sweeten any baked good. For a creative spin on things, blend a cup of raisins in a food processor, and add it to your batter or dough.

Cinnamon
Spice up your coffee with cinnamon. This super spice adds a subtle sweetness, boosts your immunity and helps stabilize blood sugar levels without adding any calories.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
For a warm winter treat, mix some unsweetened cocoa powder in a glass of warm almond milk. It’ll satisfy your sweet tooth without the extra sugar. Add a teaspoon of vanilla of peppermint extract for extra flavour.

Processed Dates
Substitute two-thirds of a cup of dates for one cup of sugar in a brownie batter. Or, use them as a base for homemade granola bars. Dates have a low glycemic index and add a subtle caramel-like sweetness.

Puréed Fruit
Try using extra-ripe bananas and eliminate the sugar when baking banana bread. The fruit naturally becomes sweeter as it ripens, so there’s no need for extra sugar. Apples, pears and pineapples are also good options for adding sweetness.

Syrups and honeys
Maple syrup is nice alternative to white sugar as is raw honey which has a high level of antioxidants and also contains antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Lucuma powder
Made from whole Peruvian lucuma fruit that has been dried at low temperatures and milled into a fine powder. Yellow lucuma powder has a unique, maple-like taste.

And last but not least, ENJOY! If something really tempts you, go ahead and eat it. Just eat a small piece to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Here is a favourite treat of mine. I often make a batch and leave them in the freezer for when I want something sweet.

Chocolate Bliss Balls
 1 ½ cups walnuts
8 pitted dates
1/3 cup cocoa
½ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp of water if needed

Optional:  add a few teaspoons of ground espresso (my fave) for a coffee flavour or cayenne pepper (hubby’s fave) to make them spicy.

Process the walnuts in a food processor until crumbly.  Add dates and process until mixture starts to stick together.  Add cocoa, vanilla and maple syrup and process until mixture becomes wet enough to roll, add a tsp of water at a time if needed.  Roll in to 1” balls and store in the fridge or freezer.

 

If January finds you in a post-holiday funk from too much celebrating, join my

 Fit and Healthy Jumpstart

Discover simple strategies that you can EASILY add to your lifestyle to get in shape, feel great and get back on track. You’ll be plugged into an amazing COMMUNITY OF SUPPORT every step of the way.

BONUS: You’ll get delicious recipes for nutrition-packed meals, plus “knock-your-socks off” juice and smoothie recipes.

SAVE $20 when you register by  Wednesday January 10, 2018.

You can sign up here.

 

 

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Creating A Stress Free Holiday – Nutrilicious

The holidays are among us – a time of year that’s known for its busy nature that can lead to quite the load of stress.  After all, you likely have several invitations to gatherings collecting on your counter, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and the daunting task of braving the shopping mall crowds to find the gifts for your loved ones.  Perhaps you also have to plan a menu to feed everyone over the holidays. All of this, on top of your normal every day life.  It can be overwhelming to say the least.

I wanted to share with you some of my favourite ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.

These secret weapons of mine include…

Put forth great effort to be present.  It can be difficult, I understand.  It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or our email when we have a free moment – do you do the same?  One way I like to dodge this is to leave my electronics in another room.  Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with your loved ones.  When I’m feeling particularly distracted, what really helps ground me is focusing on my senses.  What do I smell?  What do I hear?  What do I feel?  Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you at that very moment really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else.  It’s a good tool to use to dial in and be present – and is a great tool to use year-round, not just during the holidays!

Give up those expectations.  A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect.  That’d be great, of course – but putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to have something go awry.  Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up.  There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned – spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can.

Find time to move.  It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel.  Even if it’s just a brisk walk after lunch or dinner – make it a habit to bundle up in your favourite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or with someone you enjoy being around.  Be sure that you are getting your time outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, not only will this clear your mind but it will also help burn off some of those calories.

Plan, plan, plan.  One of the best things you can do is make a schedule. I am personally the master of lists. Everything from which chores need to be done to grocery lists and guest lists. You name and I’ve made a list for it. The best thing about lists is that once you’ve completed a task you can cross it off! So satisfying.

Stock up. Another thing I try to manage during the holidays is to have a full fridge and pantry so I can easily whip up something to eat should unexpected guests arrive or if my kids happen to have some friends over.  Or, I’ll sometimes make double batches of cookies, soups or other dishes that freeze well. I am always glad I made a double batch when I end up pulling them out of the freezer.

What are some of your favourite ways to manage the holidays?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share? If so, let us know!

Looking for some tips for the vegetarian at your holiday table this year? You’ll find my Collection of Vegetarian Holiday Recipes here.  Or if you are looking for a January re-boot join my Fit and Healthy Jumpstart Program. You can find those details here.

 

 

 

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