Tuesday Tip: Spring Clean Your Diet
Windsor, ON - Spring has arrived, so of course many are cleaning up the house and yard, but why stop there? In addition to revamping your abode, why not spring clean your diet, too?

"There are many healthy dietary options out there that will provide you with the essential vitamins and minerals you need to maintain a balanced diet," says Melenie de Liberato, Chef at St. Clair's Eatery 101.

She suggests eating wholesome snacks and meals to provide long-lasting energy. And bonus: these healthy eats generate happy endorphins – to keep you in a good mood as you prepare for exams!

Below are two nutritious recipes that will have your taste buds screaming yummy and your conscious saying thou shall not feel guilty, says de Liberato.

Couscous salad with salmon and lemon yogurt vinaigrette.
Couscous salad with salmon and lemon yogurt vinaigrette.

Couscous salad with salmon and lemon yogurt vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 2 salmon filets
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, cut medium dice
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup snow peas thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut medium dice
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup whole cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 tsp. dried ginger
  • 1 tsp. dried coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for cooking
  • For the vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest plus the juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. fresh chopped mint
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Season the salmon with the salt, pepper, ginger, mustard and coriander.

In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the yogurt vinaigrette. Set aside.

In a small bowl, pour just enough boiling water to cover the couscous. Cover and let the couscous absorb the liquid, approximately 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

TIP: couscous is a semolina product, meaning it contains gluten. If the couscous appears too dry or uncooked, slowly add a little more water and cover again.

In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables and the kale and spinach.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, warm one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Place the salmon in the skillet skin side up and sear for approximately five minutes.

TIP: placing the salmon skin side up when initially searing will prevent the salmon or any fish from shrinking or curling inward during the cooking process.

Flip the salmon and cook for an additional five minutes or until a preferred internal temperature has been reached.

Once the couscous has been cooled and fluffed, add it to the bowl of vegetables. Drizzle the dressing over the greens and the couscous, toss the salad to ensure even coating throughout. Lay the salmon skin side down over the salad.

TIP: This recipe contains a substantial portion of the daily required four food groups; therefore providing the body with essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals.

And de Liberato says spring cleaning your diet does not have to end with lunch or dinner. Delectable yet low calorie desserts may still be enjoyed if you make the right choices, she says.

Here is a recipe that is de Liberato's Asian twist on a traditional British dessert.

Sautéed banana Cranachan:

  • 2 bananas sliced lengthwise and cut in half
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 mango peeled, cut small dice
  • 1/2 pineapple cleaned, cored, cut small dice
  • Zest and juice of one lime
  • Zest of half an orange plus the juice
  • 1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. Chinese five spice
  • Salted cashews roughly chopped
  • 1 can coconut cream

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the cashews on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the five spice. Roast for approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

In a small bowl combine the mango, pineapple, rice wine vinegar, lime zest, lime juice, orange zest, orange juice and honey.

In a small frying pan over medium heat, heat the butter and sautée the bananas for 2 minutes on each side. Allow to cool.

In small glasses or bowls, place a layer of bananas, followed by the coconut cream, the fruit salsa and then the cashews. Repeat with the layering process. Garnish with the remaining cashews.

TIP: do not substitute coconut milk for coconut cream because coconut milk is too runny. If coconut cream is unavailable, use coconut frozen yogurt.

While spring cleaning your diet, remember to stay hydrated by drinking water rather than beverages that contain sugar, says de Liberato.

"If possible avoid processed foods that contain preservatives," says de Liberato. "And attempt to eat fresh local produce, whole grains and grilled proteins."

That is not to say that treating oneself to an ice cream or a burger is not permitted, says de Liberato.

"But by drinking water, eating fresh foods and exercising, your mind and body will feel revitalized," she says.

*Both recipes yield two portions.

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