SINGAPORE (SHAPE SINGAPORE) - Peels, stems, and leaves may not be right for a dish, but you can save them to make a separate fibre-rich appetiser that is not only good for your digestive tract, but also reduces food waste.
Boil and blitz the leftover bits to make a soup; blend them with nuts, garlic and cheese to make pesto; toss them with dressing to make a salad; or puree them to make a tasty dip.
1. Prep snacks for the week
Take some time during the weekend to prepare snacks for the week ahead. Steam some edamame, broccoli or corn; toast nuts; boil some chickpeas; or cut up veggies or fruit. Divvy up the stash and store them in the fridge.
2. Boost your breakfast
To further improve heart health and bowel movement, upgrade your overnight oats or yogurt with more soluble fibre. Good sources of soluble fibre include fruit, wheat bran, flaxseed, psyllium husk, chia seeds and soya milk, all of which are easy additions to your breakfast bowl.
3. Mix up your carbs
Refined carbs like white bread, pasta and plain rice have been getting flak for increasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but you do not have to give them up completely. Try replacing a third to half of your regular pasta with whole wheat options. Make your sandwich with multigrain bread or change out some of your white rice with the red, brown or black varieties which also happen to have healthy antioxidants.
4. Top your meals with nuts
Add crunch, fibre and extra flavour to salads, soups and pasta by topping them with nuts and seeds. You can mix up varieties like pecans, almonds, sesame and sunflower, chopping up the bigger ones while leaving the smaller ones whole.
5. Blend flours for baking
If you are comfortable tweaking recipes, consider swopping some of the all-purpose flour in a cake, waffle or cookie with alternatives such as oat, nut or wholegrain flours. If you have a food processor, high-powered blender or coffee grinder at home, you can easily make your own special flour by grinding down anything from your favourite nuts to brown rice. Your baked goods will not come out the same, but they may be better, and the extra fibre will keep you satisfied long after enjoying your sweet treat.
6. Add fruit and veggies to your batter
While you are tweaking the flours in your baking recipe, why not add shredded, dried or pureed fruit and vegetables to your batter? You could start with more common ones like raisins, bananas and carrots before experimenting with pumpkin, beetroot, zucchini and dates.
7. Bulk up meat sauces and dishes with legumes and grains
Replace a third or up to half the meat in a recipe with cooked lentils, oats, root vegetables or wholegrain bread crumbs. These fibre-rich ingredients absorb flavours well without overpowering the dish and they will help you save money, as well as cut your risk of heart disease and cancer.
8. Have fruit instead of juice
No cooking involved, so this is a bit of a bonus tip. Instead of having fruit juice, where most of the fibre is removed, causing spikes in blood sugar, freeze the fruit and turn them into smoothies, sorbets or popsicles. Alternatively, eat the whole fruit - you will feel fuller and get more nutritional benefits.