By: Chef Eric Rose ~ Rose Optimal Health
“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are…” Anthelme Brillat-Savarin has been simplified into something we have surly all heard before “You are what you eat” and there certainly is a lot of truths to these statements.
Research study after research study continues to validate that the Mediterranean diet — and other diets rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats — promote anti-aging and healthy bodies and minds. Eating this way can be so delicious and fulfilling not to mentions keeping you satiated all day long as well as setting you up to live a longer more active life. Having a dozen go to recipes that are complete with fresh vegetables, protein and healthy fats makes it so easy. Equally important to optimizing your health is making sure that your body is fully hydrated as well as reducing processed foods; it’s best to keep them to the bare minimum. If it needs an ingredient label, then you could probably make a better choice.
Limiting dairy and carbs while also boosting your intake of all of those good-for-you foods is another important step you can take. To help, I’ve collected my favorite healthy recipes that just might aid you to live longer and more optimally. What’s more, we’ve included some tips along the way to help you make the right choices while enjoying uplifting, easy, and nutritious meals.
First, let’s start with vegetables. Green or not, putting just about any vegetable forefront on the plate is a healthy choice, as all the colors and varieties boast different vitamins and antioxidants. As one of our recipes shows, a satisfying baked zucchini can be transformed into a meal when carved out and topped with tomato, mushrooms, and sausage. Another tasty option is a mouthwatering vegetable-forward take on Olive Garden’s famous Zuppa Toscana Soup, which features cauliflower and kale. If you want something zesty and warming, whip up a batch of Cheesy Taco Vegetable Skillet for the family. And whatever you do, don’t miss out on a trip to the local farmers market where literally all the vegetables are fresh bursting with flavor—and will elevate pretty much any recipe.
While fat hasn’t always been on the good list, science has brought us right back to enjoying it. Just make sure you pick the right fats. Opt for ones that support our brains, healthy weight, and sustain fullness such as avocado, raw nuts and olive oil — go ahead and finish any dish with a drizzle of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Eating the right amount of protein is another important part of a healthy diet. Go with the healthiest sources of protein, such as fish, legumes, and poultry. Introduce a vegetarian weeknight dinner with a fantastic protein-rich plant-based option as the main dish.
As for fish, make sure to try wild salmon and other varieties of wild caught fish (wild has more nutrients and omegas than farmed salmon will). If intimidated by cooking fish. You can try cooking almost any fish in an air fryer, or simply wrapped in foil with some herbs, citrus and a little oil in the oven or on the grill. It will prove to you just how easy it is to cook sensational seafood at home.
This is just a foray into the variety tips and dishes you can enjoy while fueling your body, mind, and general health to live a more optimal life. Remember, you can’t control what goes on outside, but you CAN control what goes inside.” Anonymous Develop the mindset that you are going to build your wellness or otherwise you will eventually be treating disease. The truth is everything you put in your mouth is either improving your health or diminishing your health. It’s that simple!
Spicy Italian Zucchini Boats
Makes 2 servings
2 medium zucchini
2 garlic cloves, minced
1lb Italian breakfast sausage (turkey or chicken)
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
Preheat oven to 400° degrees F.
Brown the sausage into crumbles and drain. Set aside.
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp and seeds, leaving 1/4-inch shell (use a small spoon for this). Reserve pulp from two zucchini and chop. Combine cooked sausage, zucchini pulp, garlic, tomato, mushrooms, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil and 1/2 cup cheese in a medium bowl. Divide mixture among zucchini shells.
Place stuffed zucchini in a 13 x 9 baking dish; cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Top with fresh basil.
Zuppa Toscana Soup
1 ½ pounds Italian sausage (chicken or turkey)
4 cups cauliflower (cutting florets in half is necessary)
4 slices turkey bacon
½ cup scallions
4 cloves garlic
4 cups chicken stock
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cups kale
1 ½ cup reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, cook the turkey bacon until crispy.
Drain any grease, set aside.
Add the sausage, breaking it apart as it cooks.
Once the sausage is browned and crumbled, remove sausage and drain of any grease leaving a Tbsp. to sauté the scallions, add to bacon.
Add the scallions to the pan; sauté until translucent, add garlic, sauté until fragrant. Add the bacon and sausage back into the pot.
Stir in the stock and cauliflower, season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
Add kale and yogurt.
Bring to a simmer. (Not a boil).
Top with Parmesan cheese when serving.
Cheesy Taco Vegetable Skillet
14 oz lean 93% ground beef, 10 oz cooked
1 cup (5.26 oz) assorted bell peppers, chopped
10 oz can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies, do not drain
3/4 cup (3 oz) zucchini, chopped
3 cups (3.18 oz) baby spinach, chopped
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp lower sodium taco seasoning
1 cup (4 oz) 2% reduced fat cheddar cheese
Green onions to garnish
Jalapeno slices to garnish
In a large skillet, brown ground beef and drain cooked meat of excess fat.
Add bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and kale to ground beef.
Stir in taco seasoning and cook for about 5 more minutes or until spinach is fully wilted.
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top and cover pan allowing the cheese to melt or put the meat mixture in a 9-inch pie dish and place in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes until cheese has melted. Garnish and serve.