Accidental Lentil Stew

Lentils in a flash!

Step aside, split peas! This experimental, transcontinental lentil stew is now on the go-to dinner list. It’s quick (2 main ingredients, no chopping needed), cheap ($2.50 for the whole pot), and such a totally delicious way to warm your heart and soul. And, it’ll please your bean-pushing, fiber-focused dietitian. With 9 grams of fiber and 17 grams of protein per serving, you won’t be hungry for days!

Accidental Lentil Stew
Makes 8 hearty servings (about 1 cup each)

4 cups filtered water
1 16-ounce (1 lb.) bag dried red split lentils
(newly available at Trader Joe’s for $1.69)
1/2 of a 16-oz bag organic frozen chopped spinach (or other dark leafy green)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 2 Dorot frozen garlic cubes)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)

Place all ingredients in a medium-size soup pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with bread, multigrain crackers, or nothing at all.

Nutrition Info Per Serving: 222 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 340 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 17 g protein, 19% vitamin A, 3% calcium, 18% iron.

Top with hot sauce for a more fiery experience. Happy stew season!

Fiber Sans Veggies

Is it possible? The following combo comes up all too often: The desire to get healthy challenged by an extreme dislike for veggies. It’s possible that the right veggie experience just hasn’t happened yet. But until then–and also handy to know when your favorite veggies are out of season–here are a handful of ways to get closer to your 40-gram daily fiber goal without veggies in the picture:

Breaking Down the 40-Gram Goal:
10 grams of fiber per meal (3 of those) + 5 grams of fiber per snack (2 of those)

  • 1 slice high-fiber bread: 6 grams fiber
    So? A whole PB sandwich meets your meal-time fiber goal
  • ½ cup cooked beans or lentils (legumes): 7 grams fiber
    How to Eat? Add to pasta sauce, soups, and stir-fries, and blend into dips
  • ½ cup bran cereal such as All-Bran: 10 grams fiber
    How to Eat? Add to non-dairy yogurt & trail mix
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal (like Bob’s): 4 grams fiber
    How to Eat? Add to anything, such as soy yogurt, fruit salad, dips, cereal, smoothies…
  • high-fiber snack bars: 9-12 grams fiber each; Gnu Foods are the best and have 12 grams fiber each
  • 1 cup berries: 8 grams fiber (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, chopped strawberries)
  • ½ cup oat bran (similar to Cream of Wheat, my fave TJ’s seen here): 7 grams fiber
    How to eat? Microwave it with cinnamon, Truvia, dried fruit, nuts, and a dash of unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • And if you can resort to veggies (encouraged), try the highest fiber ones such as sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, broccoli, eggplant, and parsnips which have 7-8 grams fiber per serving

Happy fibering!

Lower Your Bad “LDL” Cholesterol in 5 Easy Steps

SKINNY DISH's "Stick With You Oatmeal"

1. Replace your eggs, bacon, or cold cereal with Stick With You Oatmeal, Baked Oatmeal, or warm oat bran (like cream of wheat, only better at lowering your cholesterol). Add fruit for extra fun. Make this a permanent change.

2. Mound half your plate at lunch and dinner with veggies. Cooked, raw, both, low-fat, and the same one every meal if that’s how you like it. Just get half your plate to be naturally colorful twice a day. The bigger plate, the better.

3. Start taking 1000 milligrams of essential Omega-3 fatty acids daily. I prefer the algae-derived kind (like this one) since that’s where the fish get it, but any will work. The Omega-3’s are extra good at improving your blood lipid levels and lowering your heart disease risk, and they make your skin as soft and smooth as a baby’s bottom!

4. Replace eggs in baking with ground flaxseed meal (like the one made by Bob’s Red Mill, found at most grocery stores). Flaxseeds are not only rich in Omega-3’s, but–like oats–they’re high in soluble fiber which does quite a doozy at lowering bad cholesterol. For each egg in a recipe, use 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal soaked in 3 tablespoons warm water for 5-10 minutes until a gel forms. Toss that gooey goodness into your recipe as you would an egg. You can also just ADD flaxseed meal to just about anything… smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, oat bran, and soy yogurt.

5. Enjoy beans or lentils as your “meaty” entrée as often as possible. They’re exploding with soluble fiber, but they also have zero cholesterol and saturated fat–you won’t be adding any bad guys to your system, and you’re stocking up on good guys. A double win! Make it a goal of getting 1 CUP of cooked beans or lentils daily. Tips here, including ways to make them less farty.

Give these changes a solid try for 3 months, and then get your cholesterol levels tested again. I expect to hear glowing reports!