Who Needs Take-Out?
(Note: We are nutritionists, so that’s a rhetorical question!)
The weekend brings with it temptation for a treat. But if you look at it another way, it also brings that little bit of extra time to prepare something delicious when you’re not tired after a long day at work or minding the family. Take-away food delivered straight to your door can indeed be tempting, but it’s often extremely high in sugar, salt and fat. A 2005 study of almost 1,000 adults in Ireland showed that during the week, we mostly stick to dietary guidelines but can over-indulge and completely tip the balance on a weekend1, 2. And the most damage comes from the take-away…
A 2012 Safefood study reported that 40% of Irish people have pizza once a week3. Analysis of the average take-away pizza showed that a portion can contain 130% of your recommended daily amount of saturated fat and 110% of your daily amount of salt, not to mention up to 3,000 calories.. in one sitting!
Now we believe in the 80/20 rule. It’s not easy to be healthy all the time but 80% of the time is very do-able. However, the weekend can span three days out of seven if you include Friday, Saturday and Sunday and can completely undo all your good work. So here’s a recipe for amazing (and amazingly healthy) Asian food that will make you think twice about picking up the phone this weekend.
Teriyaki lettuce cups with tofu
Preparation time: 20 minutes
- 2 cups green cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- 1 pack firm tofu, crumbled
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ½ cup cooked quinoa (optional)
- 3-4 tbsp. healthy teriyaki sauce (see below)
- Small, crisp lettuce leaves e.g. Little Gem to serve
- Place the cabbage, onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Heat a large pan, add the coconut oil and allow to melt, then add in the cabbage mixture, season and cook for 5 – 6 minutes. Then add in the tofu, peas and quinoa and cook for a further 2 minutes
- Remove from heat, stir in the teriyaki sauce and mash together
- Use to fill the lettuce leaves and serve while warm
If you don’t fancy tofu (although from personal experience, this recipe may convert you!), try it with some sliced salmon or prawns instead.
Healthy Teriyaki sauce
Preparation time: 5 – 10 minutes
- 1/3 cup tamari
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- ½ – 1 tbsp. honey, melted
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed or grated
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- Place all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well to combine
- Or place all ingredients except spring onions in a jug, blend with a hand blender, then stir in the spring onions
- Use as a dipping sauce, marinade or stirfry sauce
- O’Dwyer et al (2005) The temporal pattern of the contribution of fat to energy and of food groups to fat at various eating locations: implications for developing food-based dietary guidelines. Public Health Nutr 8(3):249-57.
- O’Dwyer (2005) The influence of eating location on nutrient intakes in Irish adults: implications for developing food-based dietary guidelines. Public Health Nutr 8(3):258-65.
- Safefood report – ‘Pizza – What’s in that box?’ Nutrition takeout series. 2012 http://www.safefood.eu/SafeFood/media/SafeFoodLibrary/Documents/Publications/Research%20Reports