Meals on the Goga - Nov 2015

November is here! And so is Meals on the Goga's second edition. 

Meals on the Goga is a monthly installment of a work-week of healthy, easy, and affordable meals. Eating clean is not hard or unsatisfying if you know a few easy tips and tricks. It’s also possible to eat healthy, while still eating a few meals out.

These recipes and food suggestions are a way for you to get your gears moving, try something new, and maybe inspire you to come up with some recipes of your own! If you like these recipes – please share them! They’re for everyone. Inspired to try a recipe? Snap a picture and tag @onthegoga. Once a month one winner will score some sweet On the Goga goodies. Happy Feasting!


BREAKFAST

Breakfasts are the first meal of the day. Your stomach is empty and ready to do some serious nutrient absorption. You’re also in need of carbohydrates to energize you, and protein to keep you going till lunch.


MONDAY: GOUDA STUFFED RASPBERRIES WITH YOGURT

Ingredients:
- 1/2 C Raspberries
- 1 oz Gouda Cheese
- 3/4 C (6oz) of Greek Yogurt

Instructions:
- Cut your cheese up into pieces small enough to fit in your raspberries
- Wash the raspberries and stuff with cheese
- Enjoy with some greek yogurt of any flavor!

Benefits:
Sometimes you just need to start the day with a treat. This serving of raspberries and cheese is only 131 calories, but has 7g's of protein. It also has some fat, but first thing in the morning, that fat will serve to give you energy throughout the day. Greek yogurt kicks the protein and fill-factor of this meal up to breakfast level. With 6 oz of 0% greek yogurt, the protein count on this meal is 25 g's. 

Notes:
Protein helps build lean muscle, rebuild your body, and keep you energized during your day. But how much should you be eating? Check out this super helpful chart from POPSUGAR to find out how much protein you need in your day.


TUESDAY: RASPBERRY ANTIOXIDANT SMOOTHIE

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Ingredients:
- 1 C fresh (or frozen) berries
- 1 frozen banana (peel, break and freeze)
- 1 handful of kale (washed)
- 1/2 C vanilla greek yogurt (or plain + 1 tbsp honey)
- 1/2 C almond milk
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 5 fresh raspberries (for garnish)

Instructions:
- Throw it all in a blender (except raspberries for garnish) and blend
- Top with raspberries - enjoy!

Benefits:
What the heck is an antioxidant?! Get ready to have your mind blown: Exposure to oxygen, yes the air we breathe that keeps us alive, actually breaks down the atoms in our body. Once an atom is broken - it tries to repair itself with the goodies from a neighbor atom. These unstable atoms are called "free radicals" and they lead to all kinds of nasty stuff like aging, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, cognitive degeneration... you get the idea. Foods with antioxidant properties can lend out their electrons to free radicals looking to steal form their neighbors - stopping the chain reaction in it's tracks. TL;DR: Antioxidants protect your body from aging and all types of associated diseases by stabilizing the atoms of your cells.

Notes:
You can make any of these smoothies the night before, store them in a mason jar in the fridge, and blend them with some ice cubes in the morning to make them cold!


WEDNESDAY: GRAPEFRUIT AND BLUEBERRY CARDAMOM YOGURT (TO GO)

Ingredients:
- 1/2 Grapefruit
- 1 Fancy Yogurt

Instructions:
- Search the grocery store yogurt shelf for something different! Make sure it's got live active cultures, and shoot for naturally low-fat options
- Cut the grapefruit and serve!

Benefits:
Live cultures in yogurt are literally good bacteria. You've got bacteria in your digestive tract that helps you digest food, break down sugars, and keep things going they way there supposed to go, but sometimes those bacteria can get wiped out and cause all kinds of problems like upset stomach, bloating, and cramps. Yogurt is a great, natural way to replace those guys and make your intestines happy again.

Notes:
Have you ever heard of a grapefruit spoon? Game changer.


THURSDAY: CHIA SEED YOGURT PUDDING WITH HOENY RASPBERRIES

Ingredients:
- 1 C Live and Active Culture Yogurt
- 1/4 C Chia Seeds
- 1/3 C Fresh Raspberries
- Drizzle of honey

Instructions:
- The night before, combine your yogurt and chia seeds
- Mix well, cover, and store in the fridge
- The next morning simply uncover, top with raspberries and honey and try not to eat it in under a minute

Benefits:
Chia Seeds + Yogurt = Protein Packed Antioxidant Glory

Notes:
Chia seeds expand when they are exposed to moisture, leading this pudding to thicken overnight!


FRIDAY: APPLE PIE CROCK POT BAKE WITH OATMEAL

Ingredients:
- 8 apples, cored and sliced (don't peel! keep those nutrients in.)
- 1 C rolled oats
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil (butter will work, if you're feeling sassy)
- 1 oz maple syrup
- 1 large handful raisins
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 C of plain greek yogurt (per serving)

Instructions:
- Wash, core, and slice your apples
- Throw them in the crock pot with all your ingredients, mix gently to coat the apples (don't worry if they're not all coated at first!)
- Bake on low for 4 hours, mixing every hour or 2
- Serve with 1 ice cream scoop (about 1/4 cup) of greek yogurt - viola!

Benefits:
Leave the skins on your apples - not only will you get all the fiber from those bad boys, but all the vitamins and nutrients they've got in them too.

Notes:
This greek yogurt on top literally tastes like ice cream on your apple pie. I kid you not. It's unreal.


LUNCH

If you’ve ever seen the 5 hour energy commercial, you know that 2:30pm blues, so you probably understand why lunch is important. When the afternoon rolls around, we’re often tired and hungry. Lunches should have complex carbohydrates to give you instant energy, and protein to keep you going. If you’re going to go carb-heavy on a meal, lunch is a great one cause you still have the rest of the day to use up that energy, as opposed to letting your body store it as fat for the apocalypse. Classic survival mechanism.


MONDAY: PEANUT BUTTER AND OH-MY-GOD-I-CAN'T-EVEN-TASTE-THE-KALE SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/3 C almond milk (add more if your mixture isn't blending)
- 1 large handful of kale (washed)
- 3 Tbsp PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 oz chia seeds

Instructions:
- Yep, blend.
- Top with fresh banana slices if you're feeling #sassy

Benefits:
Kale, kale, kale. The infamous decorative vegetable that's got all the hipsters excited and all the bacon loving carnivores up in arms. What are the REAL benefits of this leafy green previously found only on your 24-hour diner breakfast plate next to the orange slice?
One cup of kale contains: Vitamin A: 206% of the RDA, Vitamin K: 684% of the RDA, Vitamin C: 134% of the RDA, Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDA, Manganese: 26% of the RDA, Calcium: 9% of the RDA, Copper: 10% of the RDA, Potassium: 9% of the RDA, Magnesium: 6% of the RDA.
Then it contains 3% or more of the RDA for Vitamin B1 (Thiamin), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Iron and Phosphorus. Oh, and 3 grams of protein. So, whether or not you like it, I think we can all agree it's freakishly nutritious.


 

TUESDAY: CAPRESE SALAD OVER KALE WITH ROASTED PEPPER GUACAMOLE

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Ingredients:
- 2 small/medium tomatoes (I used Kumato for color)
- 8-10 leaves of fresh basil
- 1/4 mozzarella log
- 1 large handful of kale
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 strips of roasted red pepper
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped, smashed, or grated)
- 1 tsp cilantro
- dash of salt
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions:
- Wash your kale, throw it in a bowl
- Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella so you have equal slices of each
- Place the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil on top of the kale in an alternating pattern
- In a separate, small bowl, mix avocado, pepper, garlic, cilantro and salt into guacamole texture using a fork
- Scoop that into the center of your dish
- Dress the tomatoes and cheese with balsamic and serve!

Benefits:
This is a raw veggie, nutrient packed salad with all the satisfying glory of guacamole.

Notes:
Thin slices of mozzarella go a long way in terms of flavor and texture, don't cut the slices too thick!


WEDNESDAY: LOADED BREAKFAST STYLE GRILLED CHEESE WITH AVOCADO, TOMATO AND GOUDA

Ingredients:
- 2 pieces of multigrain bread
- 1 egg + 1 egg white
- 1 small tomato, sliced
- Thinly sliced gouda (to cover one side of bread)
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- cooking spray

Instructions:
- Scramble your eggs over medium high heat, adding garlic, rosemary, and salt
- Remove from heat and put on one piece of toast
- Assemble the sandwich with all your other ingredients
- The high tech way: Throw that sammy on a George Forman grill (spray first with cooking oil) and let it bake till it's golden brown
- The classic way: Spray a pan with cooking oil, head it to medium heat, toast the sandwich on one side (covered) until it's golden brown, flip and repeat!

Benefits:
Eggs are an EGG-cellent way to up the protein count in a sandwich. Okay I'm done.

Notes:
Don't get me started on puns, they get me all SCRAMBLED. I'll be CRACKing up all morning. You think this is some kind of YOKE?! It's not. 


THURSDAY: HUMMUS AND ROASTED VEGGIE SANDWHICH FROM LOMBARD CAFE

Another installment of how to pick a healthy lunch when you're on-the-go. Lets break this one down:

  1. Bread - this sandwich came on whole grain bread. Always opt for whole grain when you can - or even a wrap! If the sandwich you want typically comes on a hoagie roll or another kind of white bread, ask if you can make a substitution
  2. Insides - Veggies and protein - this sandwich had tons of local, seasonal veggies and protein-packed hummus on the inside. Skip the cheese, skip the fried foods, add more veggies.
  3. Side - Cucumber chips. Not every place will have this godly invention, but these were essentially cucumber bits marinated in different herbs. A crunch side dish that substituted great for chips. Don't have much of an option? Skip the chips anyway. Opt for a salad if you want a side dish, or grab a healthy dessert later like a fresh fruit smoothie or banana with peanut butter. 

FRIDAY: SUSHI LUNCH

Now, for those of you who don't know, sushi is the best food on the planet. That is an irrefutable, scientific fact. Okay, that may be less than true, but sushi is not only a delicious, but healthy option for lunch or dinner out! This week we break down the healthiest (and unhealthiest) rolls:

HEALTHIEST SUSHI ROLLS

  1. Salmon and Avocado Roll - Healthy fatty acids from both the salmon and avocado as well as well as lean protein from the salmon and other vitamins from both sides.
  2. Vegetarian Rolls - Any rolls with raw veggies (ie: cucumber, avocado, asparagus, carrots, mushroom) will give you vitamins and minerals as well as keep the calorie count down. Also a good place to start if the raw fish thing freaks you out.
  3. Rainbow Roll- Similar to the Salmon and Avocado roll, the rainbow roll has tuna, salmon, yellowtail, crab, avocado, carrots, and cucumber. High in nutrients coming in under 500 calories for a super filling roll.

LEAST HEALTHY SUSHI ROLLS

  1. Anything Fried - Avoid words like "tempura," or "crunch" if you're trying to keep your calories and fat content low. 
  2. "Mayo" rolls - Any rolls that come with "mayo" can be safely placed on the unhealthy end of the spectrum. Mayo adds unnecessary fat and calories to an otherwise clean food. Just bail on them, opt for avocado instead.
  3. Cream Cheese Rolls - It saddens me to say that any roll with Cream Cheese in it is generally not on the "healthy sushi" list. If cream cheese on sushi sounds awful to you, good. Don't even learn of it's magic. It will save you much heartache. No but really, some time when you're craving a treat you should totally try this cause it's awesome.

OTHER NOTES

  1. DO - Eat your ginger. It's great for digestion
  2. DON'T - Use the red soy sauce (if you have the option). Go for the green top with less sodium.
  3. DO - Try some wasabi. Wasabi has a ton of redeeming qualities including acting as an antibacterial, nasal decongestant, and anti-inflammatory
  4. DON'T - Order too many rolls. Start with 1 or 2 rolls, wait 10 minutes after you're done, and see if you're really hungry for more.
  5. DO - Order Miso Soup! It does pack a punch with sodium, but it's incredibly low calorie and the broth can fill you up.

DINNER

The basis for dinner: Lean protein and veggies. Tons of carbs really aren’t needed at dinner because we don’t burn as much in the evenings as we do up and about throughout the day. Love spaghetti? No problem. The trick here is to switch the role that many of us hold in our mind about the carb to veggie ratio of dinner. For example, instead of a bowl of pasta with some veggies, try a bowl of stir fried veggies with a small portion of pasta. Fill up on the stuff that gives you nutrients, not calories. All those good nutrients in vegetables help your body recover, and even sleep better.


MONDAY: SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI WITH PUMPKIN SAGE SAUCE, KALE, AND MUSHROOMS

Ingredients:
- 1 large handful of kale
- 1/2 C sliced mushrooms
- 12 sweet potato gnocchi (I got mine from whole foods)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 C pumpkin puree
- 1/2 C coconut milk (from the can, not the box)
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tsp dried sage leaves

Instructions:
- Bring pot of water to boil for gnocchi
- In a small sauce pan, set olive oil and garlic over medium high heat (cook for about 1 min)
- Add pumpkin, mix
- Add coconut milk and bring to a boil
- Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally
- Drop gnocchi in pre-boiled water to cook
- In a medium pan, add kale and mushrooms with a dash of cooking oil over medium high heat
- Add 1 Tbsp water to the pan and cover to let the vegetables steam
- Everything should come together right around the same time here. Plate the Gnocchi, add the veggies, and top with the sauce!

Benefits:
Sauces take an otherwise standard (or even bland) dish up a level. Learning how to make healthy, quick sauces can really step up your cooking game and add versatility to a mundane menu.

Notes:
You won't need all your sauce here. Save some for lunches and dinners throughout the week!


TUESDAY: CHIA SEED FETTUCCINI WITH SPINACH, MUSHROOMS, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, AND OLIVE PESTO

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Ingredients:
- 1 small handful of BonaChia spinach fehttuchini
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, grated or smashed
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 3 oz of mushrooms, washed and sliced
- 1 very large handful of spinach, washed
- 2 Tbsp olive pesto

Instructions:
- Bring pot of water to boil for pasta
- Heat a pan to medium heat and add olive oil and garlic
- Cook for about 1 minute, add the sun-dried tomatoes
- Cook for another minute and the mushrooms
- At this point throw your chia seed fehttuchini in the water to cook
- Finally, add the spinach to the vegetable pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until pasta is done
- Drain the pasta, and add it to your vegetable pan, reduce to simmer
- Mix pasta and vegetables, adding and incorporating the olive pesto
- Transfer to a bowl and enjoy

Benefits:
Another simple way to enjoy a pasta dinner without making the main event the carbohydrates. The bulk of your meal here is in the vegetables. The veggies will fill you up and give you nutrients, and the small handful of pasta will provide you with the texture and starch factor that leaves your brain satisfied.

Notes:
Need to go gluten free? Sub the BonaChia for a gluten free pasta and voila!


WEDNESDAY: CLASSIC GREEK SALAD

Ingredients:
For Salad: 
- 1 head of lettuce, chopped
- 1/2 cucumber, diced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced very thinly
- 1/2 bell pepper, gutted and chopped
- 6 artichoke hearts, halved
- 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 small handful of black olives, halved
- 1 avocado, gutted and diced
- 1 small handful of crumbled feta cheese

For Dressing:
- 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 C olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions:
- Combine veggies into a bowl as pretty (or not) as you like
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a small dish and whisk
- Dress the salad and serve!

Benefits:
Essentially an entire meal of raw vegetables. The little bit of oil and fats from the avocado and dressing will help your body absorb those fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) from the veggies. Want to up the nutrient content even more? Use kale or spinach instead of or combined with the lettuce.

Notes:
This recipe serves 2-3 people


THURSDAY: GOAT CHEESE FISH TACOS

Ingredients:
- 1/2 salmon filet
- 2 tsp olive oil
- dash of salt and pepper
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 2 taco shells (I used blue corn for the color)
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/4 sweet onion
- 1/2 bell pepper (I used yellow for color)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or grate
- 1 tsp cilantro
- 1 small handful of kale
- 3 small tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp goat cheese
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

Instructions:
- Preheat your oven to broil
- Place salmon on greased, oven safe pan
- In a small dish, combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper
- Coat fish in lemon oil mixture
- Put fish in preheated oven to broil for about 13 min, or until flakey
- In the mean time, combine avocado, onion, bell pepper, garlic and cilantro to make a guacamole
- Shred the kale
- Half and slice your tomatoes
- When the fish is done, remove it and place it to cool
- In your taco shells, stack your ingredients (I did guacamole at the bottom/kale/tomatoes/salmon/goat cheese on top)
- Serve with greek yogurt on the side!

Benefits:
This meal has tons of power foods (salmon, avocado, kale) leaving it high in lean protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids and low in carbohydrates. 

Notes:
The greek yogurt in this dish serves as a surprisingly accurate substitute for sour cream. Trust us. It works.


FRIDAY: 3-CHEESE PROTEIN PACKED BASIL MAC AND CHEESE

Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup Trader Joe's Brown Rice and Quinoa Fusilli Pasta (makes 1 cup cooked)
- 1 oz gouda cheese (shredded)
- 1/4 C crumbled goat cheese
- 1/4 C shredded mozzarella
- 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 C fresh basil
- 2 tsp olive oil

Instructions:
- Cook pasta per package instructions
- While pasta is cooking, combine basil and olive oil in food processor and blend till a pesto is formed
- Combine pesto, cheeses, and yogurt in a bowl
- When pasta is done, drain, and place back in the pot
- Add cheese mixture over low heat until it is melted over the pasta
- Transfer to a bowl and enjoy!

Benefits:
Sometimes, you need comfort food. But comfort food can also be helathy food. Shocking, we know. By adding yogurt to the cheese mixture in this mac and cheese, you cut out a ton of fat and calories and add in protein. Also, using this gluten free pasta with quinoa adds additional protein. This mac and cheese comes out to 30g's of protein at only 550 calories. Don't be confused, it's still got a hearty amount of fat and carbs to go along with it, but for comfort food, this is pretty much as good as it gets. 

Notes:
Don't have a food processor? Have no fear! Finely chop the basil and add right into the cheese mixture.

Anna Greenwald