When it comes to preparing meals - who doesn't like to take the 'quick and easy' option?
I'm here to tell you that the 'quick and easy' can be delicious - and nutritious - as well!
Don't fall into the trap of take-outs or fast food deliveries - when you can prepare a nourishing complete meal in half-an-hour!
When a nutritious meal is at your fingertips, don't cut corners on your health. I use a 'Paleo' eating template, which is a long-term, sustainable way of eating that focuses on consuming foods that our ancestors were eating thousands of years ago. The basic idea is that these natural foods interact best with our metabolic and endocrine (hormone-releasing) systems. Click here to learn more about eating the Paleo way!
The 'Three S's' of Saving Time
If you're strapped for time - fear not! Many Paleo meals are quick and easy to prepare. Here are my 'Three S's of Saving Time' to get you started:
Store - Prep some ingredients, like your veggies, days in advance. Wash, dry, cut and store them in the fridge so that they're ready for you to grab and prepare. I usually prep my veggies after my weekend grocery shopping trip. Also, some foods like cauliflower rice can last for days - ready for meals throughout the week!
Select - Choose cuts of meat and fish that don't take too long to cook. For example, fish cooks in about 10-15 minutes in the oven. Meats like beef tenderloin and chicken breast usually cook in 6-10 minutes when grilled. Make sure you have these fast-cooking animal proteins in your fridge at all times.
Synchronise - Plan your prepping around the cooking time of other foods. As you will see in the recipe below and in this video, I prep and stir-fry the cauliflower rice during the 15 minutes it takes to bake the salmon. This way, I don't waste any time and my food is ready at the same time.
Baked Salmon, Cauliflower Rice and Avocado-Tomato Salad
To get you started, here's a recipe for my favourite Paleo meal: Baked Salmon, Cauliflower Rice and Avocado-Tomato Salad. It's quick and easy to prepare - and it's wholesome and delicious.
Deconstructing the Ingredients - The Nutritional Properties
First, let me give you a run-down of the nutritional benefits of each ingredient and why I've incorporated them into this meal:
Salmon is an example of animal protein that is rich in Omega 3 healthy fats. If possible, buy them wild-caught rather than farmed. Because salmon is in such high demand globally, 75% of salmon worldwide is farmed. Beware especially of Norwegian salmon! Contrary to popular belief, most salmon from Norway are mass-produced and treated with antibiotics and given low-grade feeds. Instead, salmon from Australia and New Zealand are strictly regulated;
Coconut Oil is my preferred 'healthy fat' for pan-frying. As opposed to olive oil, coconut oil has a high smoke point, which prevents the healthy fats from becoming oxidized when heated.
Cilantro is a potent detoxifier and helps lowers the bad cholesterol 'LDL';
Cauliflower is chockfull of vitamin C and manganese. It's part of the Cruciferous family of veggies - like cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, among others - which help regulate the production of estrogen. I especially recommend them for women who want to lose fat from their hips and thighs. Fat-gain there is associated with excess estrogen production;
Avocado - another healthy fat - is rich in potassium, B-vitamins and mono-unsaturated fats (aka the 'heart-loving' fats), which are great for your overall circulatory system
Cherry Tomatoes contain a compound called lycopene, which is a potent anti-cancer and antioxidant. When eaten together with healthy fats - like avocados, coconut oil or olive oil - their absorption rate increases dramatically;
Olive Oil is also a great source of mono-unsaturated fats and anti-oxidants. Always choose extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil. It's best consumed raw, such as salad dressing;
Onions are a potent anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiviral and a great 'pre-biotic', which means they contain fibres that feed the good bacteria inside your gut;
Apple Cider Vinegar has antibiotic properties and helps to lower blood sugar;
Finally, a dash of Cayenne Pepper is enough to improve blood circulation and digestion - specifically, intestinal motility ... so you can poop more easily. Yes, I went there!!
Putting it all together - The Recipe
Give this recipe a try! If you're a visual learner - check out my step-by-step video here!
Ingredients (yields 2 portions)
2 x 200g slices of Salmon
10 Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 head of large Cauliflower or 1 small head
5-8 stems of fresh Cilantro
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
1-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt, Pepper and a pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Preheat the over to 200C/400F.
Lay the Salmon slices on a baking dish and season with Salt, Pepper and Cayenne Pepper. Leave it on the counter as the oven preheats.
Meanwhile, cut and scoop out the Avocado into a bowl. Cut the Cherry Tomatoes and the Onion and place in the bowl as well. Dress with Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar and leave on the counter to marinate. You can also add a pinch of Cayenne Pepper.
By now the oven should be ready, so place the baking dish with the Salmon inside and set the timer for 15 minutes.
While the Salmon is cooking, cut the Cauliflower in 4 quarters and place in a food processor. You may need to work in 2 batches so you don't choke it. Pulse a few times till the Cauliflower resembles the size of rice.
Now place the pulsed Cauliflower in a skillet, add the Coconut Oil, Salt and Pepper and stir fry for about 5-8 minutes. If you have any excess pulsed Cauliflower, place it in a bowl covered with cling wrap and keep in the fridge. You can cook this over the next few days!
When the Cauliflower is ready, remove from the heat and add the Cilantro. Mix in well till it wilts.
By now the Salmon should be ready. Remove it from the baking dish and place it on a plate, add the Cauli-Rice and Avocado-Tomato Salad.
Check back soon for more tips and recipes!
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