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 we have written 5 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 white pasta
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 which isn’t good 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. 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. Coconut flour vs processed flour
The benefits of including coconut in our diet are huge and by replacing traditional white flour with coconut flour you could be helping your body a lot. The main advantage of coconut flour is that it is gluten-free which benefits everyone. Even if you aren’t a coeliac, food with gluten can lead to bloating and leave you feeling rather lethargic. Coconut flour is rich in dietary fibre and good fats (medium chain triglycerides). These MCT’s can help to increase our metabolism – great if you are looking to lose weight. Due to its high fibre but lower carbohydrate content this type of flour is also great for diabetics; there is less impact on blood sugar levels. Coconut flour also has a higher protein content than white flour making it more well rounded than white flour.
Plus it tastes delicious, why not try our lightly spiced sweet potato fish cakes and see for yourself.
Note: just because we are advocating coconut flour it doesn’t mean you can get away with baking chocolate muffins and smothering them with icing sugar. Be smart and think about how you use flour in your diet.
3. Sweet potato vs processed white potatoes
White potatoes have received a lot of bad press in recent years. On the other hand their cousin, the sweet potato, has increased in popularity due to its lower glycemic index profile. While sweet potato is rich in nutrients and Vitamin A it also contains a good amount of fibre. Although white potatoes have more essential minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium, they do have a higher carbohydrate content. Not only do sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index, provide more energy and are richer in Vitamin A, they also are better at helping you recover from training due to high levels of antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps with post workout stiffness.
4. Cauliflower rice 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.
Check out our Chicken Tikka masala with cauliflower rice on the menu this January.
5. Protein mousse vs ice cream
Although not strictly one of our recipes at Mindful Chef, I thought I would include a personal favourite that I have before bed sometimes. Protein mousse is really easy to make and all you need is a good source of protein powder and an avocado. Simply mash up the avocado and gradually add the protein powder making sure it doesn’t clump. Add a splash of water if necessary. This is a great source of protein and dietary fats. Avocados are rich in vitamins and are incredibly nutritious this recipe is a great way to incorporate them more into your diet. You can use this as a healthy substitute when craving foods like ice cream. Unlike ice cream you won’t be on a roller coaster ride in terms of blood sugar levels and this ‘dessert’ will leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied for a lot longer. Enjoy!