There’s no doubt that meat is packed with nutritional perks but, in spite of what Paleo followers say, keeping portions in check is key for good health. To do so without making your helpings look skimpy, changing how you prepare and serve meat can make a difference.
Stirfries, kabobs with fruits and veggies and stews are all easy ways to manage your portions and feel satisfied at the same time. Here’s another one, though, you may not have thought of: blendability.
This concept is from Mushrooms Canada. Finely chopped mushrooms are substituted for some of the ground beef in a recipe. By combining the two, you not only practice portion control with the meat, you also boost your vegetable intake at the same time. Mushrooms have a pretty low calorie count, so it’s a tasty way to decrease your calorie totals as well. Finely chopped mushrooms look similar and easily blend with ground beef in dishes such as burgers, meat loaf, spaghetti and burritos.
Also consider that while we often recommend choosing colourful produce, mushrooms are no slouch in the nutritional perks they offer. For example, if you’re looking to up your potassium intake, consider that for a paltry 21 calories in a cup, you’ll consume 305 milligrams compared to the 362 milligrams in a small banana with its 90 calories. Besides supplying nutrients such as B vitamins like pantothenic acid, niacin and folate along with minerals like iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and selenium, mushrooms are linked to better immune system functioning. They also supply heart health benefits along with anti-cancer action.
Here’s a recipe from Mushrooms Canada which highlights the blendability concept. I’ve adapted it slightly by using sodium-reduced soy sauce.
Asian Lettuce Wraps
Makes 4 servings
8 oz fresh mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp dried minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried minced onion
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp sodium-reduced soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 head Boston lettuce
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup chopped cashews (optional)
Place the mushrooms, onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground beef; pulse until well combined.
Heat the oil in a large, nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom mixture and seasoning blend. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes until browned.
Stir in red pepper, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and vinegar. Simmer for 5 minutes; remove from heat. Serve in Boston lettuce leaves garnished with shredded carrot and chopped cashews.
Tip: Pack leftover mushroom mixture and lettuce separately to take for lunch the next day.
Nutrition information per serving
• Protein: 18 grams
• Fat: 13 grams
• Saturated fat: 2 grams
• Carbohydrate: 15 grams
• Dietary fibre: 4 grams
• Sodium: 331 milligrams