Celebrate MARCH AS National Nutrition Month with ‘Feel Good Food’

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SDRC is committed in its mission to empower diabetics and their families through its support of Stanford’s Diabetes Care Program and their efforts to provide a nurturing community for diabetics. Eating healthy can be difficult and even stressful for many of us. For diabetics who balance their nutritional needs with maintaining their blood glucose levels on a daily basis, it can feel like a daunting challenge. The Stanford Diabetes Care Program aims to educate participants and their families about healthy, easy and delicious food choices through its popular ‘Feel Good Food’ events with noted Chefs including Chef Curtis Aikens (see picture). At the end of the events, the Chef provided easy-to-cook recipes that incorporated fresh, healthy and easily obtained ingredients.

One of the key points that the Chef emphasized was to realize that any recipe can be tailored to fit one’s needs. He reiterated the importance of eating the food that makes one feel good, while also controlling portion sizes. Through his presentation, Chef Aikens encouraged participants to try new recipes and channel their creativity towards creating good food that they would love. He gave examples of healthy and natural sources of nutrients such as kale, sweet potatoes, pinto beans, eggs, apples, oranges and even chocolate and suggested food combinations that maximized their health benefits and taste. Most importantly, Chef Aikens wants people, diabetics and non-diabetics alike, to recognize that healthy cooking and eating can be a wonderful way to promote relaxation and self-care.

On the eve of National Nutrition Month, we provide some recipes that Chef Aikens shared with the participants at the Stanford Diabetes Care Program events. Feel free to improvise!

WINTER SQUASH SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium Winter Squash (Kabocha, Butternut, Acorn or Pumpkin)

  • 1 medium Leek

  • 1 medium Carrots

  • 1 stalk Celery

  • 2 Quarts of Chicken Stock

  • 3 tbsp. Butter or Olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Split squash and remove seeds or use 2 cups of pre-cut winter squash.

  2. Roast squash in a 350 degrees oven for 30 minutes and let cool.

  3. Sauté diced carrot, leek and celery in 3 tbsp of butter.

  4. Scoop roasted squash out of its skin and add to sautéed vegetables.

  5. Cover vegetable mixture with 2 quarts of chicken stock or water on low heat for 30 minutes.

  6. Blend in standard blender or use immersion blender and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Consider serving with a topping of roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and/or a drizzle of plain yogurt for garnish

EZ GREENS

Greens are great and easy to make! Kale, mustard, turnip, collard and Swiss (chard) are all fabulous greens! All can be prepared using this simple, quick easy method, except collards, which take a little longer to cook! However, here is a trick for you that will allow you to have the greens of your choice on your table in about 20 minutes.... Recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Kale (curly kale) removed from stem

  • 1 small onion diced

  • 2 Tbsp oil

  • 3/4 Cup water

  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Add oil to medium sauce pot heat.

  2. Add onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. Add Kale, cook with a lid for about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir 1- or 2-times replacing lid after each stir.

  4. Add water and drizzle just a bit of oil on greens. Season with salt and pepper. Place lid back on pot and cook on low heat.

Variations:

  1. The above recipe can be used with a variation of Greens including: Collard greens, Dandelion, Kale and Swiss chard

  2. To add protein in this dish you can add 1/2 cup of finely chopped Pancetta to the greens.

    • Sauté onion and Pancetta in the pan with oil.

    • Add the bunch of greens with the sautéed onions and Pancetta and place the mixture on low heat.

  3. To add a different flavor to the greens you can add 2 cloves of garlic to the recipe.

CHOCOLATE DIPPED ORANGES

Ingredients:

  • 2 large oranges, peeled

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy-free chips to keep vegan)

  • 1 tsp canola oil

Method:

  1. Peel the oranges and arrange them on a lined sheet (I use a silpat, but parchment paper also works). If any are wet, use a paper towel to pat them dry. Chocolate will not adhere to the wet parts of the orange

  2. Combine 1 tsp of Canola oil with 1 cup of Dark Chocolate Chips either in a heat-safe bowl or over a double boiler.

  3. Melt in a heat-safe bowl or a double boiler (using medium low heat) or by 30-second intervals in the microwave.

  4. Dip the orange slices into the chocolate, and wiggle them a little bit in the chocolate to create a smoother line of chocolate against the flesh of the orange and to make sure that the chocolate sticks. Gently shake off as much chocolate as you can or else you'll have too much chocolate on the orange piece.

  5. Place on the lined sheet, and gently push the orange slice forward (in the direction of the chocolate-dipped side). This creates a cleaner dipped look because it moves the little pool of chocolate under.

  6. Let cool at room temperature for about 5 minutes, then put in the fridge to set (10-15 minutes). Enjoy cold! Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days otherwise the orange will dry out.

EGG AND SALAD OPEN-FACED SANDWICH

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg

  • 1 slice toast

  • 1 slice ripe tomato or 3-4 cherry tomatoes

  • 1 nice lettuce leaf

  • 1 slice sweet onion

  • 1/2 tsp. mayo

Method:

  1. Scramble egg over medium heat.

  2. Spread mayo over toast and add lettuce, onion and tomato.

  3. Top with egg.

  4. Season with salt and pepper if desired and serve open faced.