How to make a Healthy Dinner?
This question may seem simple but it is something that is always on my mind, everyday and sometimes all day! I can’t help it, I love to cook and eat! My concept of a healthy dinner has evolved to such a huge extent! Before it used to be brown rice or wholegrain wheat flour as half the meal and another quarter filled with a gravy or bake of sorts and a raw salad. This may sound healthy, but what I realised was that the meal had too much grains and too large a portion! I now work on creating creative health meals for dinner which is 40% Protein, 40% Vegetables-raw and cooked including some kind of greens and 20% rice and wheat alternative grains or pseudo-cereals. Sometimes I reduce the protein and increase the alternative carbohydrates but I almost always load it with vegetables and greens of some sort.
40% PROTEIN + 40% VEGETABLES + 20% ALTERNATIVE CARBOHYDRATES
Mind you I am no carb hater. I just really enjoying eating vegetables and greens and the greater the variety that you add into your meal, the greater your nutrition intake. I also feel that when you are trying to have a more healthy and balanced diet then, eating rice and wheat to be a sort of health cop-out because there are so many other grains, pseudo-cereals and vegetables with a better nutrition profile and all you need to do is take a little effort (or follow my blog for inspiration:)!). This is also no specific science or diet plan but a method I have picked up from reading, learning and trial & error which suits me and my health needs very well and it is always important to understand which method of healthy eating or diet suits your body the best.
My favourite source of plant based proteins are lentils, beans and chickpeas as well as tofu, cheese and nuts. I also enjoy animal based proteins such as eggs, free range chicken and lamb as well as sustainable caught oily fish like salmon and mackerel and prawns. Yes, I do cook meat! Of late my posts have been so plant based focused but I do not want to be confused for a vegan or vegetarian. I love the innovative ideas that vegan recipes have but I also love my meat and diary! (Phew! glad to get that off my chest).
With the vegetables I try my best to eat as much organic food I can afford especially when buying greens. I try to get some sort of green into almost every alternate meal. I also like to use a combination of raw and cooked vegetables to boost the vegetable nutrition profile like I have done with my healthy pineapple fried rice recipe. My most fun part is to use alternative vegetables as a base for more traditional recipes. Like using greens instead of a burger bun or a wrap or cauliflower for rice or courgette for noodles or pasta. This is the way I reduce the traditional grains in my meal and I love doing this! The best part is you do not end up feeling over full or bloated or heavy after your meal but light, refreshed and energised-which is the main purpose of eating!
Finally the alternative carbohydrates that I enjoy using are pseudo cereals like quinoa and amaranth which have a high protein content, making you fuller more quickly. I also enjoy using buckwheat, sorghum, almond flour and chickpea flour. I like to choose grains or vegetables with a greater nutrition profile.
Healthy Pineapple Fried Rice
My recipe for a healthy pineapple fried rice firstly does not have any rice. Instead it is made with quinoa. I found my first authentic thai pineapple fried recipe when I was 12 years old and ever since then it has been of the recipes that I pride myself on making. The recipe called for a pineapple fried rice in a pineapple and this is how I always make it. Over the years I have found better recipes and tried making it more healthy. I finally came upon this idea of using quinoa and making it like a quinoa stir fry with vegetables and chicken. I used minced chicken to increase the protein content in the meal but this is optional. I topped it with toasted brazil nuts and sesame seeds instead of the usual cashews to make it more healthy. I also added my favourite topping of scrambled eggs, some sliced raw pink radishes and fresh green coriander.
This quinoa chicken fried rice is soo delicious! I love pineapple rice for the sweet and salty combination of ingredients and this recipe has just that! The sweetness from the pineapple, the creamy textures of the chicken, eggs and nuts and salty balance from the soy sauce, all perfectly balancing to create wonderful flavours and textures!
Healthy Dinner Ideas for Two
This recipe for healthy pineapple fried rice showcases a prefect healthy dinner idea as it has a good combination of vegetables, alternative grains and protein. It is also extremely delicious. There is absolutely no compromise on flavour or taste and the ingredients used are fun and innovative. If you like the sound of this dinner idea then you must definitely look at my other healthy dinner recipes such as the Turmeric hummus with Baked Sweet Potato, Vegetarian Stir fry with Courgetti or my Roasted Chickpea and Kale Vegan bowl.
As always let me know what you think about this recipe in the comments below. Tag your recreations of this recipe with the #meghnas or #meghnaskitchen on Instagram so that I can see your beautiful recipes as well!