One of the most exciting things we do at Mindful Chef is get imaginative during recipe development, by replacing traditional foods, we don’t believe are very healthy for you, with their more nutritious, better halves. Whether that be pasta for courgetti or white rice for cauliflower, here’s 4 of our favourites below. These are all used regularly in Mindful Chef recipes and if you read on you will understand why.
1. Courgetti vs Spaghetti
White pasta is made up of simple carbohydrates and therefore quickly digested and excreted by the body. As a result you have to eat a lot to fill you up, often causing you to overeat; this is less than ideal if you are looking to maintain or lose weight. Simple carbohydrates also spike blood sugar levels, especially worse if you are a sedentary person or eating late at night. Most of the pasta we consume comes from supermarket shelves and is usually accompanied by sauces which themselves tend to be high in calories, salt and hidden sugars.
At Mindful Chef we replace pasta or spaghetti with courgettes which are relatively low in calories but have a high water content. Courgettes provide a good amount of immune boosting Vitamin C – great for this time of year as more people get the flu. They have a high level of potassium which is key to controlling our blood pressure. Courgette’s high levels of fibre contribute to good digestion and help to stabilise blood sugar levels (unlike white pasta).
2. White potato mash for butterbean mash
White potatoes have received a lot of bad press in recent years, despite having an array of health benefits and being used in some of our recipes. However, we also love using creamy mashed butterbeans, as they contain five times the amount of protein per 100g than white potatoes. This is especially great for vegans who naturally tend to have less protein in their diet. Butterbeans are also high in iron, potassium, copper and magnesium, whilst also being high in soluble fibre – all essential for a healthy cardiovascular system and digestive tract.
3. Sweet potato noodles vs white noodles
As with white pasta, white noodles similarly spike your blood sugar. Get creative with your spiralizer and try sweet potato noodles instead, especially delicious in healthy Asian cuisine. Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients, vitamins C and A and they also have a high level of slow-release carbohydrates, helping to maintain steady blood sugar levels. They can also help you recover from training, as a single sweet potato contains more than a day’s-worth of antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps with post workout stiffness.
4. Cauliflower vs white rice
White rice raises your blood sugar levels quickly. It also has a relatively low nutrient content (brown rice has a much higher content of Vitamin B and fibre than white rice). Having less nutrients than brown rice, research suggests that over consumption of white rice and eating too much could increase the rate at which one develops type 2 diabetes. In comparison, cauliflowers are amazing; they have an impressive array of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals, being an excellent source of Vitamins A, K & B6. They are also a powerhouse of dietary fibre and rich in omega 3 (something as a Western society we do not consume enough of). It is no surprise that we try to include cauliflower as much as possible in recipes and prefer to replace white rice with cauliflower wherever possible.