Nutritionist Tip: Shelter In Place Super Food Bowls
How To Use What You've Got In Your Fridge Before You Head Out For A Shopping Trip!! As a nutritionist, I'm always looking for ways to fit in more nutrients. As a mother, I'm always looking for ways to use what we already have! All you need is a bowl and your imagination (and food.)
We are staying home as much as possible to keep ourselves, our families and EVERYONE safe and healthy. Here is a recipe idea to stretch the time between your grocery trips. You can use what you already have to make a delicious meal that makes everyone at your house happy and full.
There are three basic layers to this dish and just about anything goes! You are going to prepare and/or gather separate components for diners to choose from which to build their bowls. Display your choices in a buffet style or in the middle of your table for family style.
Allow diners to choose their base, middle and toppings. Children and picky adults will make healthier choices if they are given options. Don't make a big deal about it when they choose wisely, (your pride may scare them off) smile inside, and know they are getting healthy food into their body!
1. Base layer-Choose items for your base layer that fill the bowl and are nutrient dense . These ingredients should be bite sized or cubed.
Also, choose items that are sturdy enough to hold the middle and the top. For example, a spring mix would wilt to nothing as a base component but would be beautiful on top!
potatoes, any variety
cabbage-raw or sauteed
kale raw or sauteed
brown rice pasta
butter nut squash
2.Middle- usually this is a protein and the portion will be about 1/2 - 1/3 as much as the base (again, if you're counting calories).
ground meat-turkey, chicken, beef, bison, pork
any leftover meat-rotisserie chicken, taco meat, grilled fish, steak, pork chops (cut into bite sized pieces)
beans-garbanzo, kidney, cannellini, refried
grilled eggplant or zucchini steaks
3. Top-This is where it's fun to get creative and watch your diners get inventive and even artistic with the combinations they choose! Look for a balance of fresh, crunchy and a bit of salty/sour.
pine nuts slivered almonds
drizzle of tahini or nut butter
sauerkraut or other fermented option (pickles, kimchi)
sour cream or Greek yogurt
chopped onion (any variety)
Added Bonus! Using what you can with what you have avoids waste. In addition, as you cut fruit and vegetables, it can make a huge difference to compost. Many cities have green waste to assist in this matter. This is my favorite on the kitchen counter compost bin. It sits on my counter and goes to the green bin when it is full. I have not noticed a smell in the year that I have used it.
Composting to Reduce Methane Emissions:
One of the most effective ways to combat the concerning statistic of landfills being responsible for approximately 14% of all methane emissions in the United States is through composting. When organic materials like food scraps and yard waste end up in landfills, they decompose anaerobically, leading to the production of methane.
Composting, on the other hand, provides a sustainable alternative. By diverting organic waste away from landfills and instead composting it, we create an aerobic environment where the decomposition process generates carbon dioxide (CO2) rather than methane. While CO2 is still a greenhouse gas, it is significantly less potent than methane in terms of its heat-trapping capacity.
Therefore, embracing composting as a routine practice not only reduces methane emissions but also produces nutrient-rich compost that can enrich soil and support healthier plant growth. It's a simple yet powerful way for individuals and communities to contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.
Update: It may seem that a "Pandemic Friendly Meal" may not be timely in an era where things are "getting back to normal." Certainly we are able to get to the grocery store when we need to but it is a nice thing to think about how this strategy will continue to be helpful in doing our part for Mother Earth!