Welcome to this edition of the Healthy Teaching Kitchen, brought to you by the Miami VA Healthcare System’s Nutrition and Food Services. My name is Reut Cohen, and I’m a registered dietitian at the Miami VA Healthcare System. Finding recipes that are both healthy and delicious can be a challenge. When working with our Veterans, I always teach them how to make healthy substitutions for ingredients found in recipes.
In celebration of National Nutrition Month, I have a few healthy recipes that are sure to pack a nutritious punch. The Green Smoothie and Southwestern Chicken Wrap recipes are high in protein, full of fiber, and have tons of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C and potassium.
Benefits For Your Health
“Green Smoothie and Southwestern Chicken Wrap”
Dietary fiber is found in all plant-based foods. Some benefits of fiber:
- Helps many people feel satisfied (full) faster
- Helps with regular bowel movements and digestive system health
- Helps lower cholesterol
- May help improve glucose tolerance for people with diabetes
Food sources high in fiber include avocados, black beans, and other fruits and vegetables.
Proteins serve as the building blocks for muscles, bones, skin, cartilage, blood, enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. They play an important role in normal bodily functions and also provide calories.
Food sources that are high in protein include chicken, yogurt, and beans.
Potassium is important for the heart to function. It also helps with muscle contraction, making it important for normal bodily functions like muscle movement and digestion. People with kidney disease may need to be careful of too much potassium in their diets. Talk to your doctor or dietitian if you have concerns regarding potassium.
Food sources from the recipes that are high in potassium are bananas and tomatoes.
Vitamin C is helpful for:
- Growing and repairing tissues in the body
- Helping make collagen, which is used to make skin, cartilage, blood vessels, ligaments, and tendons
- Healing wounds
- Maintaining bones and teeth
- Helping to absorb iron from non-meat sources
Your body does not store vitamin C, so it is important to get plenty of it from food. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which can help block damage to DNA that may cause faster aging, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease.
Food sources from the recipe that are high in vitamin C are tomatoes, limes and pineapples.
Spinach Smoothie, Made with Fresh Spinach and Non Dairy Milk.
|Southwestern Chicken Wrap
Yield: 4 wraps
Serving size: 1 wrap
● 1 avocado
● 1 can (15 oz.) Black Beans Drained
● 2 cups cooked and Shredded Chicken (ie. Rotisserie Chicken)
● 1/2 tomato
● 1/2 red onion
● Black pepper
● Lime Juice
● Canned jalapeno
● ¼ cup Greek yogurt
● 1 (10-inch) tomato wrap
● 8 oz. (40 leaves) spinach
1. Cut tomatoes, avocado and red onion into thin slices.
2. Combine Greek yogurt with lime juice and canned jalapeno in a bowl.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Instruction for preparing wrap
1. Place a 10” tortilla wrap on a clean, dry surface. Smear with yogurt dressing.
2. Place spinach leaves on top of dressing.
3. Place pulled chicken, black beans, tomato, avocado and red onion slices on top.
4. Roll wrap.
Nutrition Facts (Per Wrap)
Fat: 6 grams
Protein: 11.3 grams
Yield: 2 (8 oz. portions)
· 2 cups baby spinach
· 1 cup water
· 1 cup pineapple chunks
· 1 cup Greek yogurt
· 1 medium ripe banana
1. Put all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth
Protein: 13 gm
About the author: Reut Cohen is a Clinical Dietitian with the Nutrition and Food Service at Miami VAMC