By Brenna O’Malley and The Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
In search of a meatless option for a crowd or just an alternative to packaged veggie burgers with lots of extra ingredients? This easy make-ahead recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, a salad or lunch topper, or a great way to get some protein and veggies into your day! These are crowd pleasing veggie burgers because your whether your friends are meatless, gluten free or particular about the veggies or ingredients they like, these burgers can be adapted to fit your guests’ palates!
Yields ~8 patties
1 can black beans, mashed
½ medium onion, diced
1 large carrot or 1 cup baby carrots, grated or diced finely
1 (8oz) pkg of mushrooms, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 cup oat flour (can be made by blending 1 cup oats)
½ cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
½ cup sweet potato, diced and cooked
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced and made into paste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup sautéed spinach or kale, 2 tbsp chopped almonds, 1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
Preheat oven to 350F
If you do not have roasted sweet potato or rinsed and cooked quinoa ready, prepare those now. Sautee onions, garlic paste, mushrooms and red pepper with tbsp. olive oil until veggies are soft.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and any optional add-ins you choose. Season to taste and mix well.
Prepare a baking sheet, moisten hands with water and begin to tightly pack and shape patties for baking.
Bake patties in oven for ~25 minutes, if your patties are thicker, flipping halfway through may promote even baking.
Can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen to have on hand for the week. Enjoy!
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
Looking to clean up your eating out? Panera has even more big news! The last time we talked about Panera, we were excited about their announcement to remove all artificial ingredients and flavorings from their menus by 2016, but Panera is not stopping there. In mid-June, we had the opportunity to attend Panera’s Pantry, a pop-up space in Soho, only opened for two days. At their event the first night, Head Chef, Dan Kish, and Head Baker, Tom Gumpel, presented to us a demonstration and sampling of some new sandwiches and salad recipes from their upcoming Fall menu!
As we tasted, listened (and took lots of pictures of our plates!) Dan and Tom explained the trajectory of Panera’s journey and how they had designed the beautiful space where the event was held. Displayed along the walls and shelves of the space were all 450 ingredients used in Panera’s dishes–the ones they love and the ones they are phasing out–total transparency.
Panera has been a leader in the food industry, from one of the first to announce their removal of articulate ingredients and flavors, to working with registered dietitians to formulate ensure their meals not only tasted great, but were balanced and provided healthy choices for a individuals and families eating out. We’re giving Panera another big thumbs up as they continue on their journey, and can’t wait to try what they come up with next!
But what does a Head Chef like Dan, feed his own family after feeding hundreds across America each day? We had the opportunity to catch up with Dan on his family’s favorite meal and what is important to him when making food choices.
MDIO: What’s your family’s favorite meal to make/have together?
Dan: Thanksgiving comes to mind first. That said, there occasions all year ranging from simple grilled bread panzanella enjoyed al fresco in the summer, to slow cooked meals on weekends in the winter that perfume our home with a delicious anticipation.
MDIO: “What’s your child’s favorite food at home?”
Dan: “Simple roasted chicken, roasted vegetables and really good artisan bread with butter.”
MDIO: “What are the most important things you look for when eating out or grocery shopping with your family?”
Dan: “We do our best to know who our food is coming from. Trusted sources are always the best.”
MDIO: “How do you get your kids involved in the kitchen and in learning about the foods that you and they are making and eating?”
Dan: “Our kids know and understand food because they were involved from a young age. When my children were little, we found it best to make them a part of the shopping process. Most effective was to go to local farmers markets and farm stands so they could engage with the people who grew, raised or harvested the ingredients that became the meal.
Salads are a great way to engage kids. Washing ingredients teach care. Making a simple vinaigrette teaches about ratios and balancing flavor and tumbling the ingredients together is fun.”
The mechanics of nutrition are based on science, yet at every turn we hear new headlines and buzzwords that make it hard to distinguish the difference between true, research-based science and the latest fad. One such catchy concept is that of “clean eating’” heard regularly in gyms, on magazine covers and throughout social media. But what is it? And how do we navigate it when it’s aimed at our children?
The truth is, there is not a legal, objective, research-backed or even consistent definition to the term “clean eating”. To some, it means avoiding processed foods. To others, it’s interpreted as low carb, no meat, no dairy, non-GMO or a combination of various nutritional bends.
There are, however, many unintended implications attached to using the word clean, leading us to feel a sense of purity, superiority, a kind of “you are what you eat” mentality that takes on a moralistic emphasis.
There is a belief that if I eat this way:
I’ll be healthy, prevent diseases and have an ideal weight.
I’ll be okay, in fact because I’m eating ‘good’, I’m actually a good person.
And on the flip side, if I don’t eat this way:
I’m probably going to become ill, gain unsolicited weight, and be unhealthy.
I’m making ‘bad’ decisions, which means I’m probably bad.
For many, the path of clean eating is one that started from a positive place, where they wanted to improve their life, health or energy. This is truly an admirable thing, yet as we shift toward rigid ways of eating or behavior change, we begin a mindset and patterns that are anything but balanced. We give up experiences and social opportunities because of the need to comply with limiting eating rules. We cut out
So as a nutritionist, I have had opportunities to work with individuals in the throws of self-proclaimed clean eating. And while it’s painful to see the side effects of rigid eating rules in adults, it’s most saddening when children and teens become entrenched in it. Whether it’s through social media, friends, a coach or a parent, I’ve begun to see more young people following this good/bad food mentality and the results aren’t pretty.
Some of the considerations of ‘clean eating’ for kids (and adults, too!):
Look at what’s missing: are certain food groups limited or completely avoided? While fruits and vegetables give us some carbohydrates, they in no way to can replace the vast benefits of grains. Kids in particular are growing and using energy and at a speedy pace, and they absolutely require regular replenishment of carbs to their body and brain.
Too much of a good thing…isn’t. Focus on high fiber, for example, can be problematic for children, leading to digestive discomfort, diarrhea or potential constipation, but also interfering with the absorption of protein, fats and certain vitamins and minerals, such as iron.
Limited eating patterns can not only disrupt brain function and overall energy, but also decrease our children’s ability to create hormones and progress on their normal path toward and throughout puberty.
As we teach kids to eat based on rules of good / bad, they become further disconnected from their own bodies, the signals of hunger and fullness, and the awareness of their own individual preferences. This also disengages them from the process of being an adventurous eater, and can create an overall sense of deprivation.
The limited variety and over-focus on food can either set the stage for or activate a full-blown eating disorder.
There is certainly no perfect way of eating, much as there is no perfect body, career or person. When we label food as clean or good, unclean or bad, we’ve moralized it, and that’s a message that permeates deeply within our children’s impressionable young brains. Instead, let’s get back to food being simply food, providing a variety of enjoyable, nutrient-filled options and guiding our kid’s to trust their bodies, not a “foods allowed” list.