Tag Archive | Spinach

Foods to Combat Stress!

Do you find that when you’re stressed you start reaching for the cookie jar, a bag of chips or a chunk of pie? After you have had these high-calorie binges, do you TRULY feel better or is there at least a hint of regret? Try these guilt-free foods that have been found to reduce your stress!

 

Almonds, pistachios and walnuts: Loaded vitamin E: an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system and Vitamin B: a vitamin that is known for helping your body “hold up” throughout stressful events

almonds

Avocados: helps reduce cravings and frantic feelings

Avocado

Skim milk: helps reduce muscle spasms and soothe tension

Glass-of-Milk

Oatmeal: high in fibre which increases the transit time

Oats Heap

Oranges: A study found that those who took 3,000 mg felt less stress

tumblr_llg6m3lpZk1qk7jq5o1_500

Salmon:  a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids kept cortisol and adrenaline from geysering

Cooked Salmon,Norwich, Norfolk, Jason Bye, 08/09/09

Spinach: Contains magnesium, a helpful mineral that may relieve migraine headaches and make you less likely to feel fatigued

Pile of baby spinach

Want more information? Check out the rest of the article here!: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/stress-busting-foods?page=1

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Tasty Tuesdays – Quinoa Salad

I admit that the name of this recipe does not give this salad justice.  The additions of roasted butternut squash, goat cheese and spinach make this not only a rich source of many nutrients, but very tasty.  Although this salad is best when eaten right after preparation, it can last in the refrigerator for a few days and is still scrumptious when warmed up.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 ½ cups quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 20 g of goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Cut butternut squash in ½ and scoop out the seeds.
  • Place both halves, inside facing up, on a baking sheet and roast for 1hour and 20 minutes or until tender and a fork can pierce easily.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Peel off skin and chop one ½ into bite sized pieces.  Save the other ½ in the refrigerator for another meal.
  • Combine the quinoa, vegetable broth and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat to low-medium and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork and stir in fresh spinach until wilted.
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Cut cherry tomatoes in half and add to the mixing bowl.
  • Stir in roasted squash pieces and crumbled goats cheese.
  • Add toasted pine nuts and combine.
  • Salt & pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Interesting Facts

Spinach is an edible flowering plant which comes in three different varieties distinguished by their leaf type; savoy, smooth and semi-savoy (LeStrange et al., 1996).  All three types are extremely nutritious and found in season now until the end of October.  One cup of raw spinach contains an abundance of dietary fiber, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K.  As well, this leafy green has trace amounts of heart healthy fatty acids (USDA, 2012).  While spinach does have noteworthy concentrations of calcium, it also contains high amounts of oxalates which bind to this mineral and substantially decrease absorption by the body (Holmes and Kennedy, 2000).  However, spinach is still a great source of magnesium and vitamin K, which are both important for bone health (Armas et al., 2010).  The body’s conversion of vitamin K activates osteocalcin which is a protein responsible for bone mineralization (Kapustin and Shanahan, 2011).  Vitamin K not only helps to increase bone mineral density and decrease the chances of fractures, but has also been shown to play a major role in blood clotting (Weber, 2001).  Coagulation is extremely important for proper bodily functioning and if not maintained could lead to a wide range of problems.  Overall, spinach is a highly nutritious food containing several antioxidants which protect the body against oxidative damage and ensure proper health (Moser et al., 2011).   So it isn’t a stretch to think that Popeye was talking about more than just muscles when he said, “I’m strong to the finish when I eats me spinach”.

Comfort Food for the Chilly Season: Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Baked Pasta

Comfort Food for the Chilly Season: Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Baked Pasta

 By: Samantha Goren, RD

 This spinach and pepper pasta bake is a healthier version of the traditional cream based pasta bake, using vegetable broth instead of cream and light cream cheese for extra “creaminess”. Pair this dish with a fresh green salad to make it a complete meal!

 Serves: 4

 Ingredients:

  •  250 grams of any pasta noodle (I recommend penne rigate)
  • 3 generous cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 125 grams light cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

 Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and set aside (Tip: follow instructions on pasta box).
  3. Add olive oil to a large frying pan (medium heat). Add garlic and cook until lightly golden brown. Add green onions, cook for an addition 30 seconds. Then add spinach and roasted red peppers (or sun-dried tomatoes), cook for approximately 1 minute.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth, ¾ of parmesan, cream cheese, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Add pasta and stir gently until combined.
  6. Transfer pasta mixture into baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
  8. Bake uncovered for approximately 15 minutes.

 Tip: Double up recipe and divide pasta mixture between two baking dishes. Freeze one for later use and simply bake from frozen.

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