Health Notes #30

Menu Planning Tips

Using Variety With Simplicity

To strengthen the last Notes, lets look a little further at simplicity.

We should eat a wide variety of whole-natural foods. However, we should serve only a small number at each meal (3 to 4). Make sure in your planning that you have adequate portions so your family is satisfied in eating more of less kinds of food. To get the variety, plan your meals so that each day is different in some interesting, palatable, and nutritious way.

Every extra dish or complicated mixture takes time and energy to prepare, and raises the cost of the meal. If you have too many foods at one meal, it will also tempt the family to overeat, making digestion more difficult.

Meals are more palatable if they contain a variety of (1) colors, (2) textures, (3) flavors, and (4) consistencies. For example: crunchy, fresh vegetable salad, soft baked squash, bright green, steamed broccoli plus whole grain bread and spread.

Vegetables and fruits should not be combined in either a recipe or a meal as fruits are acidic and vegetables are basic or alkaline and require different digestive juices for effective digestion. Grains and nuts, as well as vegetables with seeds in the middle, are neutral foods that combine well with either fruits or vegetables. (ex. cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, peppers.)

In planning the menus, it is not necessary to balance the proteins at each meal. Studies show that the body stores and manufactures ample supplies of complete amino acids for a balanced absorption of protein foods. As long as vitamin C foods are in each days diet and the other essential nutrients throughout the week, we need not worry about lacking in good nutrition. Remember, too much protein can cause a problem with calcium balance. See Note #23.

Limiting Liquid Foods

The digestion of solid foods is slowed if liquids are taken with the meal. Long chewing and mixing of the foods with saliva will eliminate the need and desire for liquids. Also drink plenty of water between the meals and up to 1/2 hour before the meal and 1-2 hours after. (cont. next Notes).

Special Holiday Recipes

(Note: pumpkin can be replaced with winter squash or sweet potatoes.)

Pumpkin Pie

Blend in the blender:

1 c. boiling water and 1/2 c. dates

Add to the blender:

3/4 c. more boiling water and 1/2 c. cashews or sunflower seeds

Blend these two mixtures until smooth then put it in a bowl and add:

2 c. pumpkin
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. molasses
3 tsp. coriander
1/4 c. cornstarch

Mix well and put into pie shell, baking at 350o F for one hour, or until the pie is just about set in the center. 
Yield: 1 - 9" pie.

Check Notes #1 or #19 for two crust recipes.

Pumpkin Patch Cookies

Mix together in a bowl and let sit for 5 minutes:

1-1/2 c. pumpkin
2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1/2 c. sweetener
1/4 c. oil or applesauce
1 c. raisins
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cardamom

Drop onto sprayed cookie sheet. Flatten then bake at 350o F for about 30 minutes.

Main Dish Bread Dressing

6 c. soft, whole grain bread cubes
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 tsp. sage
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 tsp garlic pwd.
1 to 1-1/2 c. broth*

* Make broth with 1 to 1-1/2 c. water and 2 T. chicken-style seasoning. (The amount depends on how moist you like your dressing.) Simmer onion and celery about 5 minutes in broth. Mix all ingredients well but carefully so the bread doesn't break apart. Bake in a covered casserole at 350o F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes longer. May serve with gravy.

Cashew Gravy

1/2 c. cashews
1 T. cornstarch
3 T. soy sauce
1 c. water
1 T. onion pwd.
1 T. yeast flakes

Blend all ingredients on high until creamy. Add 1 more cup water. Pour into saucepan and cook until thick, stirring constantly.

Back to Health Note #29Health Notes IndexForward to Health Note #31