As a trainer, I see first hand the biggest problem that faces anyone embarking on a new healthy lifestyle change. It’s difficult to come up with meal ideas that are both nourishing and weight loss friendly while providing you efficient energy to work out and plow through your day.
Super-nutrient combinations can be a great way to kick-start the body into health and so, on that note:
Once per week I am going to highlight a super-nutrient dense meal that you can make for yourself (feel free to tweak it).
Buy all the ingredients before your prep day! And make sure to let me know if you liked it.
Today’s meal is what I’ll call the anti-inflammatory power bowl. It is a perfect choice for anyone who is looking to lose weight – inflammation is the root cause of weight gain. Weight gain doesn’t happen without inflammation unless you’re pregnant.
The body is capable of absorbing a lot of additional calories, chemicals and sugar, but once it reaches a certain point of inflammation, its response is to store fat in those ever active fat cells.
Well, this is an anti-inflammatory meal, rich in vitamins and minerals and a perfect choice as flu season approaches since it kick starts the immune system too.
This meal is very high in Vitamin C as kale and tomatoes are both excellent sources and beets are a good source too.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant within the body.
Antioxidants (overused buzz word!) are basically forms of molecules that help maintain balance of the chemical reactions that take place all over the body.
It’s damage control!
The reason I talk a lot about inflammation with my clients is because of how detrimental it is to our entire life. If inflammation gets out of control within the body, cancer happens. Weight gain is a HUGE symptom of inflammation. That is but one of the reasons that overweight people have greater risk of cancer than normal weight individuals.
This vitamin is super important in the beginning of a healthy lifestyle change because Vitamin C plays a very large role in keeping inflammation in check. Inflammation is the enemy!
Getting enough C is paramount for good health and I don’t mean supplement forms of C. Get it from food! Try eating this meal once per week for the first month.
This forgotten vitamin is provided in large amounts any time you eat Tuscan kale. It’s one of the reasons that I choose this vegetable to eat.
Vitamin K works hand in hand with Vitamin D, meaning if you are deficient in one, the other doesn’t work well within the body. So without both of these vitamins, you are deficient in both.
K is harder to come by than D. D is mostly absorbed straight from sunlight and in my part of the world, that’s pretty easy. K is another story, you have to eat it. Not only that, you must eat it along with a little bit of fat.
Vitamin K aids in bone health (BIG deal when you’re working out regularly) and helps the blood to clot.
Almost everyone is K deficient.
It also helps the body with insulin sensitivity which is another thing we talk a lot about in our training. Vitamin K is helpful for weight loss.
Vitamin A is a complex vitamin that should be called Vitamin A GROUP. It comes in many forms and all play different roles. Animal sources provide Retinoids and plant sources provide Carotenoids. Both are necessary for optimal health of the body.
Collectively, they provide benefits in your immune system, inflammatory response, pregnancy and blood cell production, just to name a few.
Kale is one of the very best sources of A – carotenoids. Tomatoes are another great source. Double WHAMMY.
A is considered anti-cancer and anti-aging because of the powerful effects on the inflammatory response in the body. Vitamin A aids in cell-to-cell communication – think overgrowth of cells which translates into cancer. This is one of the components of anti-inflammatory that helps to prevent cancer.
When you eat a diet rich in antioxidants, cell buildup and overgrowth are less likely. Therefore, cancer is less likely.
Great source of Vitamin K, A, C, B6 and 45 different flavonoids. It’s known to help lower cholesterol levels (probably because of it’s really high fiber content), is recommended to anyone who is battling cancer and is only a 3 on the glycemic index. With only 33 calories for an entire cup, you cannot go wrong adding this into your diet on a very regular basis.
White Northern Beans
Can you say FIBER? This is true fiber, unlike whole wheat bread and oatmeal that our government has brainwashed everyone into thinking is fiber, beans are one of the very best sources in the food supply. 1/2 cup of these beans will give you 10 grams of protein too. Also a great source of maganese, phosphorus, thiamine, folate and B6. This is the part of the plate that will keep you feeling satisfied until your next meal.
So trendy right now that I almost hate to even blog about them. They are a super source of folate which means they are an antioxidant powerhouse. Great source of vitamin C, potassium, and even offers 2 grams of protein in only 4 pieces.
This american favorite offers a rich source of lycopene and vitamin A and C. The list is long: biotin, vitamin E, beta-carotene and it’s only a 2 on the glycemic index. With only a few calories and plenty of flavor, tomatoes should be a staple on your plate of healthy foods.
Tuscan Kale and Beans
1 cup Tuscan kale
1/2 cup cooked white beans (I used white northern)*
4 ready to eat beets, cut into bite size pieces**
6 grape heirloom or regular tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
salt and pepper
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the beans and stir often just until warmed; 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir around. Add the kale and stir until kale has wilted and beans are hot.
Serve with tomatoes and beets.
Remember organic is best.
*I used beans that were leftover that I cooked from scratch; I show you how in this blog post. If you don’t have leftover beans, use canned, but please rinse thoroughly. AND remember, canned beans will add a ton of sodium so try really hard to make this when you have leftover beans. I make a pot of beans to use for a variety of dishes.
**I used a package of steamed and peeled baby beets from Trader Joes. This is fine as long as you read the ingredient list. It should say: beets. That’s it. They are really easy because you just open the package and they taste great, if you like beets.