VIDEO: Three Simple and Healthy Recipes for the Holiday Season
With national holidays and long weekends approaching, you might want to treat yourself and your guests with delicious meals that are easy to prepare. Ilze Lutere, lecturer and nutritionist at the Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) Department of Sport and Nutrition, has tips for quick, healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Thick pancakes made with oat flour with a tuna, cream cheese, and vegetable filling
‘I consider that a breakfast like this that combines grains and dairy products is a good source of protein as they complement one another well. The amino acids not found in dairy can instead be found in grains meaning that this combination will ensure you get all eight essential amino acids. Preparing this breakfast will only take a few minutes in the morning,’ explains Ilze Lutere.
‘The carbohydrates found in grains should be eating early in the day because the body will use these to generate energy. Protein, on the other hand, is what we are made up of. We need both in order to start our day.
You could combine any other grain with any other dairy product for your breakfast – rye bread with cottage cheese, or oatmeal made with milk which could be eaten with berries or vegetables, depending on whether you want a sweet or savoury breakfast.’
Ingredients for a few medium-sized pancakes (1 person, 350 calories)
- Oat flour or ground wholegrain oats – 30 g (2 tbsp.)
- 100 ml milk (approx. ½ glass)
- 1 egg
- A pinch of turmeric
- A handful of salad leaves
- A slice of pepper
- 50 g tuna in brine
- 30 g fresh cream cheese
- Salad dressing: a little unrefined pumpkin seed oil and balsamic vinegar or something similar.
Add 2 tbsp. of oat flour to the egg, as well as half a glass of milk. Sprinkle in a pinch of turmeric. Turmeric is from the ginger family and one of the most researched spices. It is valued for its great antioxidant properties and it is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help fight cancer. Make the batter and let it sit for a few minutes in order for the pancakes to hold together better.
‘You will get approximately 2-3 medium pancakes from this amount of batter. If you need to feed more people, I suggest you make another batter separately. Since oat flour doesn’t contain a lot of gluten, the batter won’t hold together very well if it is made in large quantities.’
You can substitute dairy milk for water, oat or almond milk. You could also use buckwheat, quinoa or wheat flour in place of oat flour. ‘In order for the nutritional value to be higher, i.e. for it to contain more vitamins and micronutrients, I suggest that you choose spelt flour which is a wholegrain flour.’
‘First heat the pan with a bit of grease so that the pancakes don’t stick to the pan and absorb too much fat.’
When the pancake is ready, spread cream cheese on one side so that it will be easier to fold the pancake over. ‘I have chosen fresh cream cheese with a low fat content, but you can choose anything else that you like. You could use cottage cheese mixed with yogurt or sour cream instead.’
You can add your filling on top of the cream cheese. ‘I like using tuna in brine. If you do not like tuna, you can use fresh salmon, or high quality crab sticks. You could also just use cream cheese and vegetables, skipping the fish. Another option is to chop up an egg as filling,’ says Ilze.
You can serve the pancakes with a mixed salad with a little bit of unrefined pumpkin seed oil and balsamic vinegar, or something similar.
Healthy lunch bowl with chicken, egg, and fresh vegetables
In this video, you can learn how to make a healthy and simple lunch by using ingredients you currently have available, or things you like.
Ingredients for 1 portion (450 kcal)
- 1 medium-sized chicken fillet
- 1 egg
- 30g quinoa
- A handful of iceberg lettuce or other salad
- 1 tomato, or several cherry tomatoes
- 30g zucchini
- 50g avocado
- Dressing: olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and mustard
First, mix the dressing in a small jar. Take olive oil, naturally fermented soy sauce with reduced salt content, add a little mustard and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. 'When buying soy sauce in the store, make sure that the product is naturally fermented, because this contains a lot of good bacteria that the intestinal microflora needs,' advises Ilze Lutere.
Boil the chicken fillet with salt and pepper, slice it and place it in a bowl with fresh salad leaves. Then add the zucchini, sliced avocado, boiled egg, tomato and pre-cooked quinoa to the bowl. Quinoa ranks highly in terms of nutrition because it is a high in protein, iron and calcium.
Pour the dressing on. You can also add sour cream, yogurt or a warm sauce, if you'd like. 'You can also add more ingredients to the bowl, but this simple recipe is suitable for taking to work or on a picnic. The ingredients can be mixed together, or brought in separate containers,' says the nutritionist.
Healthy dinner with cheese, beans, and squash
'This dinner is made up of simple products that everyone can vary according to their preferences,' says the nutritionist who has chosen a smoked cheese for dinner because of its low fat content, green edamame beans, which are high in protein and vitamin C, as well as a baking squash or pumpkin, which must be baked with its peel still on to preserve all the nutrition.
Ingredients (1 serving)
- Smoke-dried cheese "tējas siers" – 100 g
- Frozen or fresh edamame beans, or any kind of peas or beans – 50 g
- Red kuri squash – 150 g
- Olive oil – for drizzling
- A pinch of fish seasoning
- Dressing: olive oil, ginger (dry or fresh), honey, lemon juice, garlic (dry or fresh)
- To serve: toasted black sesame seeds.
Cut the cheese into thick slices and place them on baking paper. 'I have chosen this cheese because it only contains 10% fat,' says Ilze Lutere. Place the beans and the small squash slices next to the cheese on the tray. 'Edamame beans contain a lot of nutritious substances: whole protein, omega 3 fatty acids, phytoestrogens, which are especially healthy for women, etc.' If these beans are not available, any other beans, peas or lentils can be used. 'Darker lentils are better for this dish because they will not disintegrate as much,' advises the nutritionist. 'There is no need to peel the squash because it contains a lot of nutrition. After heating, the skin becomes very thin - like paper!'
Drizzle some olive oil over the squash and the beans and add some fish seasoning. Prepare the sauce and cover the slices of cheese. To make the sauce use a small jar in which you can shake everything together. You can also use a bowl. 'If you choose to use ginger powder remember that it is much stronger than fresh ginger root.' Bake everything at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes. When ready, sprinkle black sesame seeds over everything. Toast them to release their essential oils making them more fragrant.