3 Ways to Upgrade your Staple Dinner Recipes

When I develop recipes for Voeden, I often think back to what I ate and loved as a kid - the warm, comfort food that I crave - and then I make it healthier! It's really easy to do. Here are my top 3 upgrades: 

1 - Upgrade the grains

  • Instead of white rice: wild rice, brown rice, quinoa or millet

Growing up, we'd eat a plate of white rice, butter, and brown sugar with a side of veggies - no joke! We would pat the rice flat with our fork to cover the entire plate, then spread butter on top, then sprinkle with brown sugar. I'd use my fork to make roads through the rice on my plate. It was my favorite dish ever (I mean obviously, all that sugar!). 

Childhood version: white rice, butter, brown sugar - side of veggies (probably mixed frozen) 

Health Benefits: nourished the soul, but also sent the blood sugar souring and offered very little nutrients. Oops!

Voeden Version: Brown rice, olive oil or ghee, nutmeg and cardamom, grade b maple syrup, broccoli, and chickpeas or chicken 

Health Benefits: brown rice contains vitamins and minerals, and it enters the blood stream more slowly, providing longer lasting energy and no sugar crash. Maple syrup is a natural sugar that contains minerals, it still elevated the blood sugar but is slowed down by the fiber, fat and protein in this dish. Broccoli - obviously. :) And chickpeas or chicken offer protein and grounding energy. 

  • Instead of regular pastas: soba noodles or quinoa pasta - these pasta contain more protein and nutrients than regular or even wheat pasta, giving our bodies more stable long lasting energy and no pasta fog. 
  • Instead of white flour: spelt flour or chickpea flour (GF). Spelt flour does contain gluten, but less of it, plus it has more protein, vitamins and minerals. Chickpea flour is gluten free and makes a sweet pizza crust. We also use chickpea to thicken creamy sauces in some of our recipes - like our pot pie.
Not Yo Mama's Pasta - soba noodles instead of white pasta, and veggies added to the pasta water at the end of cooking.

Not Yo Mama's Pasta - soba noodles instead of white pasta, and veggies added to the pasta water at the end of cooking.

Chickpea Flour Flatbread

Chickpea Flour Flatbread

2 - Upgrade that fats

  • Instead of margerine (PLEASE DUMP IT!!): REAL, grassfed butter or ghee (clarified butter)
  • Instead of vegetable oil: Extra virgin, cold pressed coconut oil for high heat cooking and Extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil for low heat cooking and dressings. 
  • Instead of cow milk or buttercream: full fat coconut milk.
     

My mom used to make a creamy veggie and chicken noodle bowl that I just loooooved. I'm sure there was heavy cream and white noodles in there. So here, I use coconut milk to get that creaminess going, which also adds healthy fats for brain health. And quinoa noodles for extra protein and nutrients instead of white or wheat noodles. This one is a subscriber favorite!


3 - Add Veggies

You can add veggies to anything and everything. Take your favorite go-to meals, and simply add in veggies - quesadillas, pasta, soup, pizza, casseroles, curry bowls, tacos - all the things. 

Here we add spinach and leeks to a simple frittata. 

Here we add spinach and leeks to a simple frittata. 

Quesadillas with lentils and other veggies tucked in. 

Quesadillas with lentils and other veggies tucked in. 

Spring Pot Pies with chicken or chickpeas, and loads of in-season veggies of any kind!

Spring Pot Pies with chicken or chickpeas, and loads of in-season veggies of any kind!

A simple Chickpea (or chicken) Noodle soup with the traditional carrots and celery - plus chopped spinach!

A simple Chickpea (or chicken) Noodle soup with the traditional carrots and celery - plus chopped spinach!

To get access to all our recipes that use these simple upgrades, try a free meal plan!

CLICK HERE TO TRY OUT A SPRING MEAL PLAN FOR FREE!