Posts tagged vegan


Chocolate Banana Nut Leather

Chocolate Banana Nut LeatherCreate your own healthy snacks with a food dehydrator.  When making fruit leathers you need a special thin tray that allows you to spread out the sauce so it will dry evenly.  Make your next food adventure this chewy, naturally sweet fruit leather.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/8 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Oil a fruit leather tray.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, peanut butter, and applesauce until well blended.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Using a spatula, spread thinly over fruit leather tray.
  5. Dry overnight (10-12 hours) on fruit/vegetable setting (135◦F) or until leather is no longer moist and can be peeled from tray.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and bag for quick access.

Yield: 1 tray of fruit leather


Does eating a vegetarian diet help you live longer?

Therapeutic Use of Vegetarian/Vegan Diets in Chronic DiseaseResearch reveals that when a person chooses to follow a vegetarian diet they may find it reduces the risks of many chronic diseases.  A vegetarian diet may treat, improve, or reverse the following:

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Digestive problems

Following a vegetarian diet may also provide beneficial results in the treatment for cancer and kidney disease.

Will a vegetarian diet  improve your health? Download our resource Therapeutic Use of Vegetarian/Vegan Diets in Chronic Disease (PDF) and experience the potential benefits of choosing a well-balanced vegetarian diet.


Black Bean & Mango Salsa

This makes a perfect football dip for veggies and chips. Serve it as a side dish for tacos or enchiladas. Make it your own by using pineapple, avocado, and your favorite spice!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Plum tomatoes, diced (about 3 tomatoes)
  • ½ cup Orange bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup Mango, diced
  • ¼ cup Green onions, diced
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
  • 1-15 oz can Black beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro leaves (garnish)

Directions:

  1. Combine tomatoes, bell pepper, mango, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, and rinsed beans in a medium bowl.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
Yield: 3 cups

Nutritionals (1/4 cups):

Calories: 34; Total Fat: 0 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 83 mg; Carbohydrates: 8 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sugar: 1 g; Vitamin A: 10% DV; Vitamin C: 20% DV; Calcium: 2% DV; Iron: 6% DV

Submitted by: Debbie Petitpain, MS, RD, LD, and Nina Crowley, MS, RD, LD
Yield: 3 cups


Polenta Pizza

polenta pizzaPizza night has taken a new twist at my home. The usual flour based crust has now been replaced by polenta. Instead of the pizza stone we now use our trusty cast iron skillet. Pizza night will never be the same again.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 3 cups sliced mini portabella mushrooms (8 oz. box)
  • 2/3 cup prepared hummus
  • 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 12 inch cast iron skillet

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add salt to water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce to medium low heat and add 1/3 cup polenta.
  4. Stir for 2 minutes until thickened, then add remaining polenta and stir until creamy, approximately 8-10 minutes.
  5. While the water is boiling, heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  6. Add onion, green pepper, and sliced mushrooms. Saute until soft, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove vegetables from skillet.
  7. When polenta has cooked, spread the polenta evenly in the still warm cast iron skillet. Spread hummus over polenta and spread onion, pepper, and mushroom mixture over hummus. Spread cherry or grape tomatoes on the pizza.
  8. Place polenta pizza in oven for 15 minutes.

Note: polenta pizza may need to be served with a spoon if served straight from the oven. The polenta will become firm and be easier to cut when it cools.


Spiced Chai Latte

spiced chai latteMadhu Gadia, MS, RD, CDE

Chai brewed tea with milk or milk alternatives and sugar—originated in India. It is well known to most Americans today as it gained popularity in the coffee shops. In India, Chai is a matter of personal taste and preference, just as coffee is to coffee lovers. Some like it plain, while others prefer it with spices (Masala-Chai). A Chai latte is created with a wonderful blend of Chai an extra milk or milk alternative.

Ingredients:

Yield: 8 – 1 cup servings

  • 5 cups Water
  • 6 Cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger, grated
  • 1/2 Cinnamon stick
  • 2 Whole cloves
  • 8 Tea bags* (or 3 Tbsp tea leaves) – black tea such as Lipton® or English  breakfast
  • 4 cups Milk* (or soymilk)
  • ½ cup Sugar, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a 4 quart saucepan add water, cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Bring to boil on high heat. Add tea bags, reduce heat, and simmer for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add milk and sugar and return to boil. Remove from heat. Cover with lid and let steep for about 2 minutes, remove tea bags and strain tea into cups or teapot. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information: (1 cup tea w/2% milk)

Calories: 111; Total Fat: 2 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Sodium: 58 mg; Carbohydrates: 19 g; Fiber: 0 g; Sugar: 18 g; Vitamin A: 2% DV; Vitamin C: 0% DV; Calcium: 15% DV; Iron: 0% DV


Mashed Cauliflower with Lemony Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cauliflower
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup milk or milk alternative
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 spinach leaves

Instructions

  1. Prepare cauliflower: remove leaves and stem from cauliflower and cut into pieces.
  2. Prepare Brussels sprouts: remove the outer leaves, cut off the stem, and cut in half.
  3. Bring small amount of water to a boil in saucepan with steamer basket.
  4. Reduce heat to medium.
  5. Add Brussels sprouts to steamer basket and cover. Steam Brussels sprouts for 5 to 10 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside.
  6. Add cauliflower to steamer basket and cover. Steam cauliflower for 10 to 15 minutes until soft enough to mash.
  7. Remove cauliflower and mash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ cup milk.
  8. Arrange Brussels sprouts over mashed cauliflower.
  9. Drizzle lemon dressing (recipe below) over cooked vegetables and garnish with spinach.

Dressing

  1. Squeeze the juice of lemon and mix with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  2. Whisk together.

Broccoli Salad

pieroth-saladIngredients

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup sliced cucumbers, cut into quarters
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ½ cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the dressing, (recipe below) and toss until everything is coated.

Dressing

Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix with a whisk.
  2. Or measure into a small blender and combine until smooth.

Spicy Mexican Salad

Spicy Mexican SaladSubmitted by: Brenda Davis, RD,
and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD
Yield: 4 – 2 cup servings

Ingredients: Salad

  • 3 Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Ripe avocados, finely diced
  • 2 cups Fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
  • 2 Ribs celery, diced
  • 1 Large orange, red, or yellow pepper cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup Sprouted Lentils* or cooked black beans
  • 1 cup Finely chopped, fresh cilantro or parsley, packed
  • 3 Green onions, sliced

Ingredients: Mexican Dressing

  • ¼ cup Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Flaxseed oil
  • 2 Tbsp Nama Shoyu (soy sauce) or tamari
  • 1 Tbsp Liquid Sweetener (such as maple or agave syrup)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Minced red or green chili
  • ½ tsp Ground cumin

Directions

  1. To make the salad, combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid or blender. Close the jar and shake well or process until well combined.
  3. To serve, add the dressing to the salad and toss until evenly distributed. Serve at once or chill for up to 2 hours.

To Sprout Lentils

  • Makes 3-4 cups sprouts
  • ½ cup Dried green or brown lentils
  • 2 cups Water

Directions

  1. Place the lentils in a sprouting jar and cover them with the water. Put a sprouting lid on the jar or cover it with piece of mesh or cheesecloth secured with a wide elastic band. Let stand at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Drain and rinse the lentils thoroughly with cool water.
  2. Place the jar at a 45-degree angle over a saucer (to collect any water that may run off) or in a dish rack. Cover the jar with a tea towel or place the jar away from direct sunlight so the sprouts can grow in the dark.
  3. Rinse and drain the lentils 2 or 3 times a day for 3 to 5 days until a short tail is visible. Store the well drained sprouts in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Authors Notes

Raw vegan diets are hot! They help us to shed excess body weight and they provide an army of protective antioxidants, vitamins and other phytochemicals. Here are a few examples of nutritional benefits, based on the ingredients in the tasty recipe that follows:

  • Corn, orange sweet peppers, and parsley contain the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein that help our eyes to filter out harmful light and protect us against macular degeneration and vision loss that can occur as we age.
  • Avocadoes, corn, and yellow sweet peppers contain alpha-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that slows the growth of cancer cells.
  • Tomatoes and red peppers contain lycopene, which gives a red colour protects against cancers of the digestive tract, lungs, prostate, bladder, cervix, and pancreas.
  • Celery, cilantro and parsley contains the flavonoid apigenin, a potent antioxidant that seems to be protective against leukemia and ovarian cancer. Apigenin also has anti-inflammatory activity.
  • Legumes, such as lentils or black beans support our immune system, lower cholesterol levels, decrease blood lipids, lower cancer risks, and lower blood glucose response. The saponins present may also inhibit dental caries,
  • Garlic contains the phytochemical allicin which protects garlic from pests (insects and microorganisms) and us from harmful bacterial. Green onions contain related compounds.
  • Limes with the protective phytochemicals eriodictyol and hesperetin, can defend cells against oxidative injury. In addition, limonen increases the levels of liver enzymes that can help our body to detoxify potential cancer-causing substances.
  • Olive oil contains phytosterols that help to reduce cholesterol absorption and total and LDL cholesterol.
  • Chili peppers contain capsaicin with pain relieving and anti-inflammatory action.
  • Cumin has antioxidant activity due to the presence of the phytochemical ferulic acid.

This recipe for a full meal salad can be 100 percent raw or mainly raw, depending on your choice of sprouted lentils or cooked black beans

Nutritionals (2 cups)

Calories: 479; Total Fat: 31 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 555 mg; Carbohydrates: 48 g; Fiber: 13 g; Sugar: 13 g; Protein: 9 g; Vitamin A: 64% DV; Vitamin C: 153% DV; Calcium: 6% DV; Iron: 17% DV

Source: “Becoming Raw” by Registered Dietitians Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina.


Banana Split Waffles

Banana Split WafflesCreate a special, healthy treat fit for just two or the whole family with this spin on an old soda fountain favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 11 fl. oz vanilla soy milk
  • 1/8 cup cooking oil

Toppings

  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 6 strawberries, sliced
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Dried cherries

Instructions

  1. Prep and heat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine and then form a well.
  3. In the middle of the well, place vanilla, mashed bananas, soy milk, and cooking oil.
  4. With a large spoon, combine the mixture but do not over mix. There should still be lumps in the batter.
  5. Cook batter in waffle iron according to directions.
  6. Top with crushed pineapple, strawberries, chocolate syrup, and dried cherries.

Yield: Makes 1-2 waffles per person, depending on waffle iron size.


Asparagus and Grape Stuffed Vegan Omelet

Asparagus and Grape Stuffed Vegan OmeletOne vegan omelet is enough to satisfy one or two people.  Enjoy for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.

Ingredients

  • 10 stalks of asparagus cut into 1 inch stalks (approx. 1 ¼ cup)
  • ½ cup halved red grapes
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp dill
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

 Instructions

  1. Steam asparagus in a steamer for 8 minutes.  Add halved red grapes and steam for an additional 4 minutes.  Toss steamed asparagus and red grapes in balsamic vinegar.
  2. Spray a 10-inch frying pan with pan spray.  Heat over medium heat.  Mix together chickpea flour, baking powder, nutmeg, dill, and thyme in a bowl until well blended.  Using a whisk, slowly whisk in the coconut water until a smooth batter forms.  Add batter to the frying pan and spread evenly across pan.  Cook for 6-8 minutes until the batter is cooked through and able to be removed with a spatula.  Add asparagus and red grapes on top of chickpea omelet.  Fold in half and remove from pan.

Yield: 1 omelet


Gluten-Free Key Lime Pie

Gluten-Free Key Lime PieSubmitted by: Charles Jeffrey Wiesner, DTR
Yield: 1- 10 inch pie

Ingredients: Crust

  • ¾ cup White rice flour
  • ½ cup Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsp Ground flax seed
  • 2 Tbsp Corn starch
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp Grandma’s® molasses
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut milk
  • Pam® spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In medium-size bowl, whisk together dry ingredients with a fork.  Set aside.
  3. In a separate container combine the oil, molasses, and coconut milk.  Whisk until well-blended, and then pour liquid into dry mixture.
  4. Mix until flour mixture is evenly moistened.  Press into a 10-inch, PAM® sprayed pie plate.  Do not pre-bake.

Ingredients: Filling

  • 1 lb pkg Azumaya® silken tofu
  • 1 cup Ideal™ No Calorie Sweetener (xylitol crystals)
  • 2- 3.5 g pkgs Truvia™ (stevia)
  • ¾ cup Coconut milk
  • 1-4 oz btl Key lime juice
  • 3 drops Green food coloring
  • 1 tsp Imitation vanilla flavoring
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp White rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsp Corn starch
  • 2 Kiwis
  • 8 sprigs Fresh mint

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients except kiwis and mint in a blender.   Process on high for a minute, or until smooth.  Pour into unbaked crust.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until pie is set in middle.  When pie is done, remove from oven and let cool.  Chill at least four hours before serving.
  3. Just before serving, garnish with 2 kiwis peeled and sliced crosswise into 4 slices each and 8 small sprigs of mint.

Nutritionals: (1/10 pie)

Calories: 225; Total Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 75 mg; Carbohydrate: 28g;  Fiber: <1 g; Sugar: 2 g; Protein: 3 g; Vitamin A: 0% DV; Vitamin C: 6% DV; Calcium: 4% DV; Iron: 4% DV


Festive Dips for All Occasions

Recipes by: Debbie Petitpain, MS, RD, LD and Nina Crowley, MS, RD, LD

Need a quick dish to celebrate the entrance of 2017? Instead of rushing out to see what is available in the stores, try making the following quick and tasty bean dip recipes. These recipes were submitted jointly by Debbie Petitpain, MS, RD, LD, and Nina Crowley, MS, RD, LD to a recent VN DPG recipe contest.

White Bean Dip with Rosemary

Black Bean Salsa


Mashed Parsnips with Shitake Mushroom Sauce

Mashed Parsnips with Shitake Mushroom SauceHoliday cooking lends to creative presentation. This dish, utilizing white parsnip instead of potatoes, looks and tastes great as a savory and sweet, vegetable “sundae.”

Ingredients

  • 8 cups – parsnips, cleaned and trimmed, cut into matchsticks
  • Pan spray
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup shelled, chopped pistachios
  • 1- 12 oz. container Tofutti® Better than Sour Cream
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp sliced shallots
  • 4 cups sliced shitake mushrooms (approx 8 oz)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 6-8 fl. oz water

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place parsnips on baking sheet that has been coated with pan spray. Bake 35-40 minutes or until parsnips are fork tender.
  3. While the parsnips are baking, heat one teaspoon olive oil in frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Add brown sugar and chopped pistachios.
  5. Stir approximately one to two minutes until pistachios are well coated.
  6. Take off heat and set aside.
  7. Clean frying pan and add one tablespoon olive oil. Heat over medium heat.
  8. Add shallots and cook until slightly brown, approximately three to five minutes.
  9. Add shitake mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft, approximately three to five minutes.
  10. Add vegetable broth.
  11. Stir in cornstarch and cook until sauce thickeners.
  12. When parsnips are finished baking, combine with Tofutti® Better than Sour Cream in a food processor and blend until parsnips are mashed (note: do not blend until smooth – just well mashed).
  13. For plating, scoop ½ cup mashed parsnips into a dish or bowl and top with ¼ cup mushroom sauce. Garnish with carmelized pistachios.

Yield: 8-9 servings


Sweet Potato Crisp

sweet potato crispCreate a new sweet potato side dish this Thanksgiving.  Your taste buds will dance with the taste of sweet potatoes, pineapple, rolled oats, cinnamon, and ginger.

I recommend slicing the sweet potato very thin for the best final result. This can also be accomplished with vegetable slicer.

 Ingredients

  • Pan spray
  • 2 cups thinly sliced, peeled sweet potato (approximately 1 large sweet potato)
  • 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drain and reserve juice
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup agave or maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. soy flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. roasted and salted sunflower seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350◦F.
  2. Spray an 11 x 7 inch pan with pan spray.
  3. Mix sweet potato slices and crushed pineapple.  Spread in bottom of the pan.
  4. Mix the reserved pineapple juice with the remaining ingredients, except for the sunflower seeds, in a mixing bowl and spread across the top of the sweet potatoes.  Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top.
  5. Cover and bake for 40 minutes.

Roasted Squash with Pomegranate and Pistachios

This colorful holiday side dish is simple to make and perfect for Thanksgiving dinner or your next winter event.

Simply toss squash with oil and cumin, roast, and then sprinkle with juicy pomegranate arils and crunchy pistachios before serving. Along with bringing color, convenience, and flavor to your holiday table, this vegan recipe is also packed with plant-powered nutrients and satisfying fiber to help you feel happily nourished.

Try this festive dish all on its own or serve it alongside your favorite plant-based protein source. (Try baked tofu or slow-cooked lentils!) However enjoyed, this seasonal, plant-based recipe is certain to become your family’s next favorite veggie side dish.


Acorn Squash with Pomegranate and Pistachios

Roasted Squash with Pomegranate and Pistachios

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 peeled and cored acorn squash, sliced into half rings
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or preferred cooking oil)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils (arils from about ½ small pomegranate)
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped shelled pistachios

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F and prepare a baking sheet.
  2. Combine squash, oil, cumin, and salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and then spread onto baking sheet.
  3. Place baking sheet on center rack of oven and roast until squash is tender and golden brown in areas, about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove baking sheet from oven, transfer squash to serving dish, and sprinkle with pomegranate arils and chopped pistachios before serving.

What are your favorite vegetables to serve during the holidays?


How to Become a Vegan

hummus saladA recent Harris Poll found that 47% of Americans eat at least one vegetarian meal a week.  Are you one of this growing number of people interested in eating more plant-based meals? Or maybe you just want to totally change your diet and become vegan? Either way download Eat More Plant-based Meals a resource that provides tips on how to make the changes easy, fun and sustainable.

  • Discover how to increase your plant-based meals, while keeping one or two of your life long favorites.
  • Learn how to stock your pantry and refrigerator with staples that will make it easy to eat plant foods anytime.
  • Check out the Nutrition Tips that provide incentives to make plant foods your preference.

Entertain Them With Beans

Sweet & Spicy Bean DipLooking for a new football viewing recipe? Tired of the same old bean dip? Try Sweet and Spicy Bean Dip featuring Great Northern beans.

Sweet & Spicy Bean Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 ounce can Great Northern beans, drain and wash
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked, sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese alternative
  • 1 – 1.25 oz package taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 – 8 oz. package vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 1 – 8 oz. vegan sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons dried chives
  • Spinach leaves
  • Crackers

Instructions:

  1. Blend the Great Northern beans, almond butter, olive oil, and lemon juice using a food processor or blender. Divide bean dip in half, leaving one half in the processor or blender and placing the other half in a separate bowl.
  2. Blend corn and alternative cheese with the bean dip in the processor. Scrape sweet bean dip into one bowl.
  3. Place the other half of the bean dip back into the processor or blender and blend with taco seasoning and sun dried tomatoes to create a spicy bean dip. Extra olive oil may be required to blend sun dried tomatoes
  4. Combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, and dried chives in a third bowl and stir until well mixed.
  5. Line a dinner plate with spinach leaves.
  6. Spoon sweet, yellow bean dip onto half of the plate and spicy, red bean dip onto the other half. Spoon sour cream and chives dip on top of both bean dips.
  7. Serve with the crackers of your choice.

Lunch tips for kids of all ages.

For little kids – They love to open small containers. I bought some 2 ounce containers with lids and used them for a few slices of cucumbers, nut butter or tofu spread for dipping baby carrots, 2 small ginger snaps, a couple of grape tomatoes, grapes and a couple of walnuts. Every one was like a small present.

For children 6 to 10 – School lunch is short. Some schools have a snack time or a snack that can be eaten while in class. Sandwiches are great, but everyone wants hot food in the cold weather. Heat up a thermos with hot water. Heat up a soup or stew at the last minute. Drain the thermos. The soup or stew will stay hotter in the heated thermos. Put a napkin between the thermos and any cold items. Don’t forget something crunchy to go with it – crackers or celery work fine. For the snack – a small container of apple sauce with cinnamon, snack bar or celery with nut butter and raisins work great.

For children 11-13 – Have them make lunch with you. They are beginning to need their independence. It will also get them in the kitchen and learning how to feed themselves. Set some guidelines – protein source, grain, fruit and drink. With the fall weather, you can alternating soy milk with local cider. If they have after school activities pack a snack and include water to drink.

For Teenagers – getting them to eat lunch at all is a good trick. However, either make it at home with guidelines or ask what’s available at school. Most schools have a card to swipe for purchased lunch. You set the cash amount for the card. Many food service directors will allow for specifics on purchases, such as “school lunch items only.” This means they can purchase any items designated as lunch for the school and not a la carte items such as french fries. Have your teen make their lunch. They can shop with you or make their own list of foods for lunch. Again, you are teaching them ready to feed themselves. If they have after school activities pack a snack that includes a beverage so they stay hydrated.

Hungry kids are grumpy kids. At every age, packing or purchasing enough food and drinks is the key. When you including your children in the process the food packed will more likely be eaten.


Vegetarian Myth Busters

mother-daugher-canning

Thinking about becoming a #vegan, #vegetarian, or switching to a #plant-based eating plan?

Do questions like this pop into your head?

  • Can I get enough protein?
  • Will my bones stay strong if I just eat plants?
  • Do vegan children grow properly?
  • Does soy cause breast cancer?

Discover the science based information that will inspire you to start creating vegetarian meals. Bust the myths — read 5 Myths About Building a Healthy Vegetarian Meal.

Already a #vegan or #vegetarian and want additional information about planning meals? Check out our FREE downloadable Resources on healthy meatless eating for all age groups.

Recommended Resources

Vegetarian/Vegan Myths ResourceVegetarian/Vegan Myths (PDF) provides information on how plant-based diets provide all the necessary nutrition for healthy diets free of animal food sources.

Vegetarian Toddlers Preschoolers RDLooking for ideas to go Meatless? (PDF) Follow these tips for including meatless meals into your family’s diet.

View all of our free Vegetarian Nutrition resources


Feeding Healthy Vegan Infants and Children

Reed Mangels, PhD, RD shares the science of feeding vegan infants.

I am deeply saddened when I see headlines such as “Vegan Baby Hospitalized for Severe Malnutrition” or “Vegan Couple Sentenced to Life over Baby’s Death.” These tragedies are needless and could easily be prevented by following some basic guidelines for infant feeding.

infantFor the first 6 months after birth, babies should ideally be given breast milk and only breast milk. That’s according to not only the American Academy of Pediatrics but also the World Health Organization. If breast feeding is not possible, a commercial infant formula is the only other alternative. That’s it, for the first 6 months. Juice, cereals, plant milks, even soy milk are not the right foods for young infants and can lead to inadequate nutrition. Breast milk and formula contain readily absorbed nutrients with ratios of protein, fat and carbohydrate that support the baby’s growth. Breastfeeding should continue at least through the first year with infant formula the only safe alternative as a primary beverage. When solids are introduced, after age 6 months, vegan infants should be given nutritious foods such as pureed fruits and vegetables, strained or mashed beans, tofu, and infant cereals. Vegan diets can easily meet an older infant’s or toddler’s needs for protein, vitamins, and minerals.

If we look closely into the news reports of malnourished “vegan” infants, we see that they’ve been given “mainly soy milk and apple juice” or that they have “multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies.” Infants whose mothers are well-nourished and who are breastfeeding successfully or who are getting adequate infant formula are not going to have multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Just as for any other infant, breastfed vegan infants need supplements of iron and vitamin D. Deficiencies of iron, calcium, and other nutrients that are reported in sensational news stories point to a lack of knowledge on the part of parents about what constitutes a healthy diet for an infant. Yes, it does take time and thought to feed infants and young children nutritious diets but the result is worth it.

For more information download our  simple guides for feeding vegan or vegetarian infants and toddlers.

Vegetarian Infants RDVegetarian Infants (PDF) offers tips for breastfeeding and formula feeding during the early months of a life. When it is time to add solid food, parents will discover lists of the foods that provide the best sources of iron, zinc, calcium, Vitamin B12 and other nutrients essential for a growing infant.

Vegetarian Toddlers Preschoolers RDVegetarian Nutrition for Toddlers and Preschoolers (PDF) provides information for parents and childcare providers who are planning vegetarian meals for toddlers and preschoolers.


Got Enough Protein?

No matter how prolific the evidence nor how well presented our website, there will always be someone who asks, “Can a vegetarian diet provide enough?” Enough might mean enough protein, enough variety, enough nutrients, enough of whatever the questioner fears might be lacking.

It’s not surprising that this question continues to be asked. The societal belief that a well-balanced diet must include meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods is deeply ingrained and has some roots in the association of these foods with an individual’s ability to procure them, that is, one’s personal affluence. During World Wars I and II, many foodstuffs were rationed including butter, sugar, meat, and coffee. Transportation of food was limited by fuel rationing and so people began to cultivate their own gardens and raise their own chickens. Thus, Victory Gardens appeared where flowers once grew or cars once parked. The ‘Eat locally’ movement had begun but with a slightly different intent than today’s locavores.

Naturally, with the rationing came a sense of deprivation that persisted until the end of the wars and the relative improvement of choices in the market. As people were able to add some of the former luxuries back into their regular diets, it wasn’t long before these luxuries became daily staples.

It’s worth noting here that as countries around the world become increasingly more developed and affluent, their diets also change to include the very luxuries mentioned above; fat, sugar, meat and another, alcohol. Patterns of disease in those countries parallel the dietary changes as both become more like disease and diets seen in Western countries.

So the question remains, “Does a vegetarian diet provide enough?”

Once again my dear photographer friend, who also happens to be a midwife, comes to the rescue with a delightful visual aid.

Take a look at the platter of food she compiled for her pregnant clients; its beauty belies its nutrient value. Not only colorful but also displaying the recommended plate proportions of protein, vegetables and fruits, this meal offers enough for an individual to meet nutrient needs as well as support good health. All the foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals and fiber while being relatively low in calories and fat as well as being free of simple sugars and cholesterol. These characteristics help to maintain appropriate weight and reduce blood pressure as well as risks for heart disease and diabetes.

White lima beans are this meal’s primary source of protein, with one cup providing 16 grams or about 30 percent of an adult woman’s daily requirement. The limas’ 30 grams of fiber meet the daily recommendation for adults and do a great job of modulating blood sugar, providing satiety and maintaining intestinal health. Besides being rich in potassium, white lima beans pack iron to the tune of 60 percent of the adult recommended daily intake. There are 140 calories in one cup.

Sugar snap peas, which are actually a hybrid of English peas and snow peas, are completely edible. One cup has barely 30 calories but more than 60 percent of recommended vitamin C intake. This is a vitamin K rich vegetable, which is why it is so aptly included in the lunch for pregnant women.

The much-maligned watermelon also does its share to support good health by providing vitamins B6, C and K, plus potassium and lycopene, a beneficial phytochemical found only in red-pigmented fruits and vegetables. One cup has about 50 calories, a trace of protein but no fat or cholesterol. What is fascinating about the protein is that it is comprised of amino acids that can metabolize to nitric oxide, a substance that helps to maintain artery function and thus improve blood pressure.

Without examining the familiar nutrient gifts of the mixed greens and herb salad, you can see that a lunch comprised of what we have just discussed can be not only quite filling but also nutrient dense, providing almost a third of a woman’s daily protein needs, wrapped in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals as well as including enough fiber for the day.

These nutrients promote good health; the fruit and vegetable packages they come in are visually and gastronomically pleasing, and the relatively low caloric load helps to maintain a healthful weight.

Is this not enough to make you curious to learn more about a vegetarian diet?


Summertime is Bean Time

Pinto bean saladBeans can make up a good part of a vegetarian’s diet yet now that it’s summer, we often forget about them. Typically we allocate beans as the protein in soups, chili and creamy, hardy dips, and lose sight of how delicious they are chilled in hot weather dishes.

Take into account the fiber-filled bean salad. Beans offer protein (repair damaged tissue, transport nutrients through your blood stream, and build strong muscles), market-fresh vegetables add vitamins and antioxidants (that improve immune function and assist in high quality absorption of beneficial nutrients), and a delicious olive oil dressing for much needed dietary fat (to carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K to muscle cells and for insulation).

And, summertime bean salads are fast and easy.  You’ll have a filling and flavorful meal the whole family will enjoy in no time!

Summertime Bean Salad

Serves 4

This fresh summer salad is filling yet leaves you light on your feet. Add more or reduce ingredients according to personal choice. If a hardier meal is desired, add in a cup of cooked farro.

Bean Salad

  • Arugula, mesclun or spring mix greens of choice
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed (or equivalent of 2 fresh cobs of corn)
  • 1 can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ small purple onion, finely diced
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 5-inch piece English cucumber, diced
  • ½ fresh mango, diced
  • Grape tomatoes, cut in half, as garnish

Chili Lime Vinaigrette

  •  2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  •  1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  •  1/2 teaspoon cumin
  •  1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1/3 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Place a handful or two of arugula on 4 medium-sized salad plates or bowls.
  2. Mix together the remaining salad ingredients from corn to mango in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl or pulse in a small blender or food processor until well combined.
  4. Stir vinaigrette into the bean salad mixture and place a few spoonfuls on top of the arugula.
  5. Top salad with grape tomatoes and additional cilantro if desired.

Nutritional analysis (per serving using pinto beans): 297 calories, 33 g carbs, 7.4 g protein, 18 g fat

Exchanges: 2 starches/grains, 1 oz protein, 3 fat servings


Nutty Quinoa and Vegetables

nutty quinoaSubmitted by: Shari Portnoy, MPH, RD, LD
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Whole grain quinoa
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable flavor soup base
  • ¼ cup Cashew nuts, crushed
  • 1 Onion
  • ½ tsp Oil
  • 1 ½ cups Frozen, mixed vegetables

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups water and vegetable base to boil in 2 quart sauce pan.
  2. Add the quinoa and bring back to boil and cover. Cook about 12 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Fluff with fork and let stand.
  3. Cook the frozen vegetables in the microwave or steam.
  4. Sauté the onions in a small amount of oil.
  5. Mix the quinoa, onions, vegetables, and cashew nuts. Save some nuts to garnish on top.

Nutritional Information (2.5 oz):

Calories: 138; Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 255 mg; Carbohydrates: 19 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sugar: 2 g; Protein: 5 g; Vitamin A: 8% DV; Vitamin C: 2% DV; Calcium: 2% DV; Iron: 11% DV


Layered with Love

layered with loveThis Valentine’s Day treat the ones you love with a little Mexican style parfait.  This dish includes three layers – a savory bean and mushroom layer, a smoky red pepper and corn layer, and a refreshing tomatillo-avocado salsa.  Not into the parfait look?  This dish can also be “wrapped” with love in a tortilla.

Ingredients

Savory Layer (makes approximately 3 1/3 cup)

  • 1 ½ cup, chopped, mini portabella mushrooms (4 oz)
  • 1 – 15 oz. can no salt added black beans
  • 2 cups cooked, brown rice
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder

Smoky Layer (makes approximately 1 1/3 cup)

  • 1 red pepper, roasted and chopped
  • ¾ cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Refreshing Layer (makes approximately 1 ½ cups)

  • 1 cup chopped tomatillos
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. For savory layer combine chopped mushrooms, black beans, and cooked rice in medium size saucepan and cook over medium heat until mushrooms are soft, approximately 10 minutes.  Add chili powder.
  2. For smoky layer cook onion in a frying pan over medium-low heat for five minutes.  Add corn, red peppers, and water.  Cook for an additional five minutes until water has evaporated.  Add liquid smoke.
  3. For refreshing layer gently toss tomatillos, cilantro, avocado, lime juice, salt and pepper to mix in a medium bowl.
  4. To assemble, layer approximately ¾ cup savory beans and mushrooms, 1/3 cup smoky red pepper and corn, and a heaping 1/3 cup refreshing salsa in a 1 cup glass.

Serves four one-cup servings.


Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw Diet! What’s the difference?

Plant-based diets are gaining momentum and becoming more mainstream. Pop your head into any grocery store and you’ll be able to find numerous products marked “Vegetarian” or “Certified Vegan.” It can be difficult to know what’s what! Below are brief definitions to help guide you.mushrooms

Vegetarians do not consume any fish, meat, or poultry. A lacto-vegetarian consumes dairy products and an ovo-vegetarian consumes eggs. A lacto-ovo vegetarian consumes both dairy products and eggs, but no meat. Products labeled “vegetarian” typically do not contain any meat or meat-derived products; however, there are no regulations in the U.S. governing the use of “vegetarian” on a label.  To be certain that a product is vegetarian, contact the manufacturer. An example of a meat-derived product is gelatin, which is prepared from animal bones.

Vegans are vegetarians who do not consume any animal/insect=derived products including dairy products, eggs, and honey. This group avoids animal/insect-based food dyes, binders, and additives.

Individuals following a Raw Diet consume products that are uncooked and unprocessed.   The percentage of raw foods can vary from 50-100% raw.  Their diet may or may not be vegan.  Consumers of the raw diet do not cook foods at temperatures greater than 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Examples of raw foods are typically vegan include fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, beans, and dried fruit. Depending on the individual’s preference raw meat like Carpaccio or raw fish like sushi may be eaten as well as raw milk products.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognizes that appropriately planned vegetarian and vegan diets are healthful for all age groups.   Completely raw diets are not recommended for infants and children due to concerns with nutrient adequacy