Fall into a New Routine
The nights are getting longer and cooler, the kids are back in school and the social whirlwind of barbecues, parties and picnics is winding down. Now that summer’s over, it’s time to get back into your regular routine with an eye toward health and wellness.
Start the day off right with a satisfying breakfast. With its convenience and portability, bowls are especially popular and perfect for families on the go. Whole grains such as oats, quinoa and amaranth provide a hearty base for fruit, seeds and nondairy milk while protein-packed bowls topped with vegetables such as greens provide maximum nutrition in one dish.
Continue the healthy theme at lunchtime. Nutritious lunches for the kids just got easier with bento boxes, a Japanese tradition perfect for properly portioned meals. Try Mini Waffle Sandwiches with pepper Jack cheese, sliced green olives and mustard or cheese tortellini, mini pepperoni and black olive kabobs (pages 18-19). With more kids experiencing peanut, gluten and other food allergies, packing your own lunches will help ensure your kids are healthy and happy.
The health trend has catapulted two superfoods to the mainstream: matcha and turmeric. Matcha is a finely ground Japanese green tea powder that can be incorporated into everything from smoothies to soufflés. Turmeric is an antioxidant-packed, orange rhizome that comes from a root similar to ginger. Add it to fresh juices and smoothies or cook with fats such as coconut milk for curries.
The demand for bold and unique flavors has put the focus on international cuisines. Among those trending are African, Middle Eastern and Asian. One of today’s hottest condiments is kimchi, a staple in Korean cooking; our Quick Kimchi recipe (page 11) offers the intense flavors of the classic Korean condiment without waiting for the fermentation process.
Fermented foods may date back centuries, but they are one of today’s hottest food trends. Spurred by the growing interest in digestive health, fermented foods contain healthy bacteria called probiotics. Since your gut is the biggest part of your immune system, incorporating probiotics into your diet may help boost your immunity and keep illness at bay. Research suggests a happy and healthy gut may play a role in helping to minimize inflammation in the body and lessen certain autoimmune disease symptoms. While you’re treating your body well with good food, make sure to keep it fit as well. Exercise can be as simple (and free) as taking a walk in the crisp, fall air.
Embrace the flavors of the season by taking advantage of this season’s bounty such as root vegetables and squash; our Beet, Rutabaga and Sweet Potato Gratin (pages 30-31) is comfort food the whole family will enjoy. Or, try skipping the steak in the Chopped Grilled Steak Harvest Salad for a dish loaded with produce.
Produce is pushing protein to the side of the plate and stepping up as the star. Another popular vegetable that will make you forget to ask, “Where’s the beef?” is cauliflower. This versatile veggie can be cut into “steaks” or roasted whole for an entrée with a lot of wow factor. And don’t throw away those scraps; try “root-to-stem” cooking. Instead of dumping those trimmings, they can be used in stocks, sautés and pestos and sauces.