In my gradual movement toward eating more healthy, whole foods, I’ve tried to understand the balance between eating for enjoyment and eating for sustenance. What I’ve come to learn is that when carefully choosing fresh, high quality ingredients and pairing the right flavors together, you rarely have to choose between nutrition and pleasure. It’s easy to get both. As I’ve come to better understand what the earth has to offer each season and how different cultures have developed their flavors, I have found that eating well really isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be.
I may or may not be obsessed with the author and food activist, Michael Pollan. His take on the question of what to eat is simple.”Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” In his book, Food Rules, he breaks healthy, mindful eating down into a good handful of simple rules to follow this idea. This is one of those rules that I have worked to apply in my meal planning:
“The idea that a healthy plate of food will feature several different colors is a good example of an old wives’ tale about food that turns out to be good science too. The colors of many vegetables reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain – anthocyanins, polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic diseases, but each in a slightly different way, so the best protection comes from a diet containing as many different phytochemicals as possible.” – Michael Pollan (Food Rules)
Recently, I was asked, “What can I eat to keep myself from getting sick this winter?” In my response, I directed my colleague towards this idea; “eat a colorful plate.” The color of a vegetable is an indicator as to what antioxidants and vitamins it contains. Simply put, if you are eating a lot of colors, you are eating a wide variety of really good things. This is absolutely not a guarantee that you won’t get sick, but it certainly puts your body in a great position to fight off sickness. It is also one of the ways to prevent the chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity) prevalent in those eating the western diet.
All that said… this is one great, super yummy meal with which to try out your new colorful plate eating skills! Just check these sweet things out! They are absolutely packed with all sorts of nutritious goodness! “And how do you know that?” you may ask. Well, dear friend, scroll back up and pay closer attention to sections 3 and 4 of this post.
“Eat Your Colors” Roasted Veggie Tacos
2 carrots, diced
1 zucchini, chopped
1-2 plantains, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
can of black beans, drained and rinsed
adobo seasoning or just some cumin
1 avocado, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a pan with foil.
2. Toss the veggies with a good glug of olive oil and the garlic. Give it a good sprinkle of S & P.
3. Spread the veggies in one layer on your prepared pan. Roast for about 20 minutes until the veggies are cooked through and browning a bit on the edges.
4. Heat up the rinsed black beans with a bit of water (to prevent drying out) and some adobo seasoning. If you don’t have this, you can just use a bit of cumin and that tastes good too.
5. Heat a pan on high and flip a tortilla on it until both sides are heated through.
6. Immediately bend it and add your roasted veggies, black beans, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes and feta. Make sure you do this right away before the tortilla cools. If you let it cool, the tortilla will crack when you try to fold it!
7. Repeat steps 4 & 5 until you have as many colorful tortillas that your heart desires…or until you run out of veggies and tortillas!