Waiter, There’s a Chive In My Soup
This week, I headed back to Family Service Agency for a new “Manly Meals” cooking class. Many of the men do indeed cook for themselves, and I was challenged by the Director of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services to come up with a class focused on the tastes (and cooking methods) of men. Well, if we’re going to make general assumptions about What Foods Men Like, I thought beefy and hearty might sum things up. Generally speaking.
Then it’s my inclination as the Nutrition Educator to turn the can around and check out the sodium…
That many zeros would be sweet on a winning lottery ticket, but at 42% of a day’s worth of salt—geesh! Still, I like to think I’m an optimist, so I went to Montgomery Station determined to make the best of a salty situation. On my way, I picked up a few sweet potatoes, an onion, bell and poblano peppers, fresh tomatoes and chives.
Everyone I meet cringes at The F Word, but, personally, it’s a favorite of mine. Oh yes, I’m talking about fiber. Fiber is found in plant foods: fruits, vegetables, beans and peas, for instance. Whole grains have fiber; fiber is very filling, which is why eating a high-fiber diet can lower your calorie intake. A fiber-rich diet can also help steady blood-sugar levels and help maintain energy throughout the day.
Before we move on to how our class incorporated fiber into a filling, budget-friendly dish, a word about fiber supplements (pills, powders and drinks): these forms can contribute to over-consuming fiber and lead to gastrointestinal distress. You know, the other F word. These supplements cannot replace fiber-rich foods, which contain many other nutrients the body needs. In this week’s class, we talked about simple, affordable ways to add high-fiber ingredients (those that contain a lot of water) to convenience foods: adding beans to soups, fruit to cereal, lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers to sandwiches.
These guys (+ one woman) got straight to work:
The vegetables, especially the summer squash, released enough water that we did not have to add much to the stew. Once tender (but not overcooked), we poured in the can of soup and about ½ cup water. Lastly, we mixed in the chopped tomatoes, then heated the soup just to a simmer. Fresh chopped chives over the top and some black pepper… TWO THUMBS UP from everyone in class! Okay, okay, it was one physical thumb up since the other thumb held the spoon used to gobble up this batch. Not only was the stew heartier and healthier, but it went from four servings to nearly 12!
See? Cooking healthy is do-able and affordable.