I want to talk nutrition today…I’m feeling inspired to stick up for carbohydrates and to “break it down” a bit.
Those who follow my blog probably know that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), struggle with my weight, and love to eat. Those 3 “things” are very much so intertwined. I love to eat because I’m human…and a foodie. I have always struggled with my weight and this is related to both PCOS and loving to eat. So, I eat healthy most of the time (I have splurges, too!). I also try and “control” my carbohydrates and this relates most to my PCOS and need to control my weight and my blood sugars. While I am not diabetic, I have a long history of hypoglycemia and several years ago was put on metformin (a diabetic drug) in an effort to help me lose weight.
Long story short, that didn’t work. I still love to eat. I still have PCOS. But my weight is perfectly stable, albeit 25 lbs above what I’d like!
My point with all of that is that “healthy” for me is an overall balanced diet that includes about 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal. I don’t skip meals and I don’t drink anything on a daily basis other than water or coffee. I also exercise 4-5 days/week, but let’s just talk food and nutrition today.
If you check out most of my recipes that fall above that 60 grams of carbohydrate per serving, many of them are vegetarian recipes. They probably contain a little less fat and protein than a meal containing meat, and consequently, the carbohydrate content is higher.
This vegetarian recipe, for example, comes in at 549 calories, 77 grams of carbohydrate, and 16 grams of fiber.
Some people might believe that 549 calories is a lot for a meal. I very much so disagree. Assuming 3 meals a day with a snack, this would be right on target for a 1600-1700 calorie intake. The nutrition information for a MEAL has to be looked at differently than picking up individual ingredients.
Then the carbohydrates. Of course 77 grams is more than my goal of 60, but I typically use a “net carbohydrate” concept which includes subtracting the grams of fiber from the grams of carbohydrate in order to calculate the “carbohydrate load” the body is registering. Fiber blunts the spike of glucose in the body and in simple terms, works against the action of carbohydrates.
77 – 16 = 61 “net” grams of carbohydrate. Rock on.
Then there’s cholesterol. I don’t pay too much attention to this number because 1) I don’t eat a lot of meat or eggs, or excessive amounts of dairy (cholesterol comes from animals and animal products only) and 2) cholesterol from the diet has been disproven in its role of high cholesterol levels in the blood. Most people don’t know that cholesterol is actually a hormone that our bodies need to function and our bodies naturally make cholesterol…some people just make more than others.
Sodium is a tricky one….it’s in everything. I mention it a lot, but having a higher sodium meal (ballpark 1,000 milligrams) can very much so fit into a healthy intake of 2,300 milligrams a day which is recommended for most adults. Granted, less is better…but one could certainly argue that a healthy weight and being active are just as important as a low sodium diet. I go middle of the road with this one and am pretty happy if daily totals don’t surpass that 2,300. Just for a frame of reference, one of the nursing homes I taught in had menus that well exceeded 4,000 milligrams daily. Sodium is very hard to limit, but one of the best things to do is cook at home, limit eating out, and reduce the amount of processed foods in your diet. Plenty of fruits and veggies, too! When you used canned products, like the beans in this recipe, be sure to drain AND rinse the can’s contents. You remove about 40% of the sodium by doing so!
And last but not least, protein. As mentioned in the most recent Q&A, most Americans get plenty of protein. However, protein can be helpful to increase satiety and to also help blunt the glucose spike after meals, just like fiber. This meal is much more “balanced” (less carbohydrate and more protein) by using quinoa which is high in protein versus a rice that is quite low in protein.
With all of that said…this is one delicious & nutritious meal! Enjoy!
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 1-2 limes), divided
2 tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup 2% cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 avocado, pitted and diced
1/4 cup salsa (I used Baja Fresh Grilled Salsa)
Heat water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, stir, and return to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steam for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add balck beans, half of cilantro, chili powder, cayenne, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Reduce heat to low.
When the quinoa is fully cooked, remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in remaining cilantro and remaining lime juice. To assemble bowls, divide quinoa between three bowls. Top with black beans, tomatoes, yogurt, cheese, avocado, and salsa. Serve warm.
Yield: 3 servings.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 549 calories; 19 g. fat; 13 mg. cholesterol; 456 mg. sodium; 77 g. carbohydrate; 16 g. fiber; 24.7 g. protein
Result: We loved these! I feel a bit silly calling these black bean burrito BOWLS when I served them on a plate, but that was more so to show off all the goodies it contained Mr. Prevention wolfed these down and said he’d love to have these in a “regular rotation”. These were great for leftovers and the homemade salsa made them all the better. Enjoy!
The weekend went SO fast. We kayaked and swam and played euchre and ate pizza. Donna’s visit was a blast and I was sad to see her go yesterday. I turned my frown upside down by doing some clothes shopping for work. Gotta love the great deals at Kohls!
Week #3 on the job, here…I…come!