3/12/10

Lettuce Wraps & Baked Sweet Potato filled with deliciousness

As I mentioned in my previous post about food, I am fine with eating similar foods. Especially as a vegetarian, I have similar proteins that I eat on a daily basis in an effort to fulfill my protein requirements. If I ate meat, I'm sure I could replace some of my typicals; eggs, tofu, yogurt, beans/chickpeas, veggie burgers, cottage cheese, whey protein, milk with tuna, fish, chicken and turkey. Remember, protein is critical for all individuals (unless you have a protein disorder such as Phenylketonuria, PKU) and it is important that if you are exercising (which you should be and I'm sure you are :) that you focus on the many foods you can eat, on a daily basis, that will provide you with an array of amino acids (specifically essential amino acids).
So, because my training changes (as should yours) on a daily/weekly basis, so should my food. Oatmeal + nuts works great for me for breakfast on Mon after a light swim but my Monday breakfast would not properly refuel my muscles after after my Wednesday workout. My Wednesday post-workout breakfast of a whey protein smoothie and oatmeal concoction would likely work on Sunday after my long bike + run but considering I typically eat "breakfast" around 11:30am or 12pm on Sunday, I like to change up the ingredients in my smoothie for a good post-workout recovery drink so that I can wait an hour or so before having a real meal. Oatmeal is usually my pre-training meal so I don't really use it as my post-workout meal on the weekends.

Sound confusing? Well, I know what works for me due to experimenting. It didn't happen overnight. I'm sure you would agree with me that we all need to eat and if weight loss or maintenance is on your mind, well, you don't just have to focus on what you SHOULDN'T eat (I like to say de-emphasize). Really, it's much more exciting and fun to focus on what you CAN eat. I must admit, my diet isn't 100% consistent on a week to week basis. However, I always think about my workout volume and intensity, as well as work/life commitments (ex. will I have a late lunch due to a meeting? what time does Karel get off work? what time will I finish training, etc.) in order to plan for the day.

Are you bored with salad, pizza or potato.....
Here are two creations to get you inspired to change up some of your normal meals.



Lettuce Wraps
1 large (clean) romaine lettuce leaf
4 thin slices polenta
1/4 container firm tofu (cubed)
1 spoonful marinara sauce
1 clove garlic (chopped)
Pinch of mozzarella cheese

1. Cook polenta (both sides) on a non-stick skillet on medium heat w/ a little non-stick spray, until a little brown and firm.
2. Remove polenta and place on romaine leaf.
3. Cook tofu and garlic in 1 tsp olive oil (toss after 1 minute) for 2-3 minutes. Season with pepper and parprika.
4. Add marinara sauce and toss lightly.
5. Place tofu mixture on polenta and top with cheese.
6. Fold lettuce wrap, flip it over and secure with toothpick.
*Serve with a dollop of Greek Yogurt.
(There is no un-messy way to eat this. At least it looks pretty before you open it. Don't forget to eat the lettuce!)
*One of the pics has a piece of Turkey in it. That's Karel's wrap, in case you wondered what mystery food I was wrapping up :)









Baked Sweet Potato filled with deliciousness
1 sweet potato
2 tbsp oats
pinch of cinnamon and all spice
1 tbsp greek yogurt
1 tsp blackstrap molasses (great source of iron for vegetarians, as well as potassium, copper, manganese and magnesium)
1 tbsp honey roasted nuts (chopped)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Heat sweet potato in microwave (around 8-10 min), in stove or in hot water until soft.
3. Mash potato in bowl (remove skin) and add oats, yogurt, spice, molasses and nuts.
4. Stir and add to casserole dish.
5. Bake for 15-20 min.