Spicy Tofu Bowl

Our first NutritionConfidence recipe for 2019 is a delicious  bowl of food that is high in fibre, low in saturated fats but full of heart healthy fats. The ‘Spicy Tofu Bowl’ created by registered dietitian Julie Perks is dairy, wheat and gluten free and is also vegan with a lovely source of protein. People often  don’t include tofu in their diet as they don’t know how to cook it or flavour it. We love how the spicy chilli sauce in this recipe lends a wonderful taste to the tofu that makes the bowl really delicious as a lunch or light dinner.

INGREDIENTS (Serves 1)

Marinade:

1 tablespoon chilli sauce (I used sriracha)

½ teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon soya sauce (or Tamari for Gluten Free)

Salad Ingredients:

100g Tofu

1 cup spinach

½ medium avocado

½ cup black beans

1 small carrot, spiralized

5 baby tomatoes

1 tsp sesame seeds

Picked Radish & Onion:

¼ red onion

2 radishes

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon water

½ tsp sugar

Pinch of salt 

METHOD

Slice radish and onion finely and place in a small container with the other pickling ingredients and leave to stand until serving. The longer the onion and radishes pickle for, the softer they will become.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Make the marinade with the chilli sauce, olive oil and soya sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Add the tofu to the marinade and once covered well, place onto a baking sheet.
  4. Place the tofu in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  5. While the tofu is cooking, start preparing the salad bowl by placing the spinach at the bottom of the bowl, followed by the spiralized carrots, tomatoes, black beans, pickled radish and onions and avocado.
  6. After the tofu has been in the oven for 10 minutes, turn and cook for a further 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and add to the tofu bowl.
  7. Garnish with lemon juice.

Nutrition Information: Per serving

Energy: 1225 kJ Protein: 14g Carbohydrate: 25g Of which, total sugars: 2,2 g Fat: 17g Fibre: 11g Sodium: 200,4 mg


Healthy Eating for a Healthy Pregnancy

There’s nothing else quite like pregnancy to sharpen your focus on your health and well-being. The journey of carrying and nurturing new life within your body is an exceptionally special time, and moms-to-be are deeply invested in doing it as well as they can. Advice will inevitably come from all quarters, and it is important to tap into expert sources that will give you peace of mind that you are on the right track.

The aim of Pregnancy Awareness Week this month is to help moms access the information they need to support a healthy pregnancy and safe motherhood. The Department of Health urges pregnant South African women to access antenatal care as early as possible in their pregnancies. This provides the opportunity to understand and manage any health issues, as well as get information on important factors such as self-care and nutrition. Once the pregnancy is confirmed by a nurse at a health facility, the mother can register for MomConnect, a free cell phone-based resource for accessing pregnancy-related health information.

Nazeeia Sayed, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa), points out that good nutrition is vital as it supports a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby. “Pregnancy is a great opportunity to get yourself and the family into the habit of healthy eating before the new baby arrives,” she says. “You don’t need special or expensive foods. A healthy diet during pregnancy is made up of foods that we commonly encounter when grocery shopping. A variety of fruit and veg, whole grains, legumes and lentils, dairy, plant fats and lean meats, fish and eggs can all be enjoyed while you are pregnant and will provide the nutrients you need.”

What nutrients should moms-to-be focus on?

Following a balanced diet according to the accepted healthy eating guidelines is the optimum nutritional route to support a healthy pregnancy. Pregnancy is definitely not the time for weight loss or fad diets that focus on particular nutrients at the expense of others. Registered dietitian and ADSA spokesperson, Cath Day says, “Energy (kilojoule) restriction during pregnancy is not recommended! High protein diets which increase ketone production are also not recommended as the foetus has a limited ability to metabolize ketones. It is much healthier for you to adopt a balanced diet with a good variety.”

Nutrients such as folic acid, calcium, iron and protein are all important to the developing baby; however a balanced diet will, in most cases, meet these needs. Women enrolled in the government’s antenatal care programme will receive supplements of the essential micro-nutrients; and many women choose to supplement with folic acid to prevent the risks of Spina Bifida and cleft palate.

Day points out that meeting protein requirements during pregnancy is as simple as ensuring that you eat roughly six servings or between 180 g- 210 g of protein each day (size of two palms or two decks of cards). One serving equates to 30 g lean meat or fish, 1/2 cup of legumes, 15 g nuts or one egg. “These are also the best sources of iron which is needed to prevent anaemia,” she says. “By eating fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C at the same time as eggs, nuts and pulses, you can enhance iron absorption from these foods.”

Focusing on a variety of healthy foods for each meal or snack, rather than the particular nutrients, is what helps to ensure you and baby get what you need. Sayed says, “Some examples of this are choosing nutrient-dense meals or snacks like an omelette with veg, a fruit and yoghurt smoothie, a salad with raw veg, nuts or lean meat; or a cooked lentil dish with green leafy veg and rice.”

What should moms-to-be avoid?

Smoking tops the list of what shouldn’t be going into a pregnant body. While there’s debate about whether drinking one glass of wine is safe for a growing baby, many experts and governments around the world advise a complete avoidance of alcohol during pregnancy. Pregnant women should avoid foods with a greater risk for contamination with Listeria or other bacteria or parasites, including under-cooked meat and eggs, raw fish, processed meats and unpasteurised dairy and soft cheeses. Dietitians also advise avoiding fish that may contain high levels of mercury such as swordfish, shark, tuna steaks and canned fish brands that are not tested. Caffeine intake should be limited, and rather swopped out for decaf options, with water as your best beverage of choice. Foods that are high in salt, sugar and other refined carbohydrates should be limited as they crowd out the opportunity for you to eat healthy foods which provide for your vitamin, mineral and fibre needs. They can also lead to excessive weight gain which increases your risks of developing high blood pressure issues and gestational diabetes.

Reach out and get help when you need it

Healthy eating during pregnancy does not have to be complicated or a minefield. It might be more challenging for moms-to-be who need to make big changes; or who are overweight or managing other health conditions. A registered dietitian can be an important ally to come up with a healthy eating plan that suits your food preferences, your budget and your lifestyle. “The big advantage of using your pregnancy as the inspiration to eat well is that you can go on to become a healthy eating role model for your precious child, instilling healthy eating habits that can last them a lifetime,” Sayed concludes.

To find a registered dietitian in your area visit www.adsa.org.za.


Success Story: Zandra Sissing

ADSA_Success Story_Zandra DixonHaving been a runner from a young age, Zandra always thought “I can eat what I like” and just run it off …. until she couldn’t.  She met up with registered dietitian Maryke Gallagher to help her develop better eating habits that would complement her training and recently completed her first ever Half Ironman triathlon. Here is her story:

Why did you decide to see a dietitian? (The Before Story)

At the age of 38 I hurt my knee while running, and three months later had surgery.  I was off exercise for over six months, and during that time I ate: depression from a difficult relationship, depression from not being able to get out there and run, poor eating habits within the household.  My blood sugar and cortisol levels had gotten so disrupted I used to keep a glucose monitor with me.

Fast forward some time and I started training again, but was struggling to shake the weight.  Nothing I did helped, and if I wanted to keep the knee and joints healthy, I needed to do something.  I was referred to Maryke by my coach and that’s when my life changed.

Tell us about your journey with the dietitian

Firstly, I have an unpredictable schedule and she was so accommodating. Most of our communication was Skype, telephonic or whatsapp. Maryke took all this in her stride.

I have always thought I ate correctly, and had tried banting with no great success. Maryke taught me balance, how to realise when I was emotionally eating (and how to fix that).  She taught me how to include that one (or two) glasses of wine a week. Best of all, she taught me how to adapt my meals to meet my ever-changing schedule.  She did not give me an eating plan, she taught me which choices to make to suit MY body.  This sounds strange but even for my pre-run snack we went back and forth on options until I knew BOTH what worked for me and what I liked.

Tell us about your results / successes

My results were the things a runner dreams of: steady and consistent.  From a start of 74 kg I lost 6 kg to reach my goal of 68kgs.  I remember sending her the picture of the scale at 67.9kgs with great excitement.

I stopped looking at the scale but in my head I wondered if I could reach 66kgs, which my run coach had advised would be a good weight for me. It was a month later when I got on the scale and there it was: 66kgs!

I had lost almost 10% of my original weight, and a total of 9% body fat.  All the while enjoying life.

Since then, I have got married, moved home and changed jobs, changed countries and damaged a ligament in my foot. All these things combined have meant I could once again not run for a while.  The best part about having all the skills taught to me by Maryke is that I didn’t pick up the weight again.  I was able to deal with anything and still be healthy and happy.

What was the hardest part of the journey?

Starting out is the hardest part. The first weeks as you are learning and adapting. If you are consistent in the first few weeks, you see results and that really motivated me to keep going.  Think long term and not short term, because you want these results to last.  Changing my mindset to one that includes better carbs and fats.  Learning to remember that I need to eat for my body, and not for what works for someone else.

What are the top three tips you can share?

  • Don’t design your eating from what you read on Google/social media/books. A dietitian takes years of study and trains to put this learning into something unique for you.  Different bodies, different solutions.  Do not be caught up thinking you need to do your eating in a “specific way”.
  • Make sure you like what you are eating. You should not resent the food but enjoy a meal. Slow down your eating, enjoy the flavours and you will find yourself eating less.
  • If you  need that 5pm snack, plan it in.  Many a time the snack suggested by Maryke has prevented a ‘carb’ craving dinner (you know that one where you walk in the door and open the cupboard, ready to consume anything ).  I now carry snacks with me every day to work.

What the dietitian says

I met Zandra for the first time through a Triathlon club meeting and noticed her bubbly and determined personality. A few months later she contacted me to assist her with her diet and weight loss goals – for health reasons and to achieve her training goals. She was motivated and questioning, willing to work through the main areas in her diet and lifestyle that were hindering her to achieve her goals. She was willing to let go of the ‘all or nothing’ approach of certain food groups and foods being ‘bad’ or ‘good’, to eating habits that are best for her personal needs. Seeing her achieve her weight loss goals slowly but surely, and most of all being able to make the necessary changes and develop a healthy relationship with food and her body was very rewarding! Thank you Zandra for choosing me to help you in this journey.

To find a dietitian in your area visit http://www.adsa.org.za