Mighty Mason Jar Salads

Lunch on-the-go doesn’t get much easier (or healthier).

These small but mighty mason jar salads are an easy lunch or snack idea you can prepare at home before your busy week begins. Each jar packs in 13 grams of protein, 13 grams of fibre and 450 calories (of high nutritional quality, most importantly). With endless opportunity for ingredient substitutions, I am interested in hearing what you all come up with! Be sure to check out the PCOS Powers listed at the end of this post (there are a lot!).

Mason Jar Salads
Mason Jar Salads

Ingredients (makes 5 mason jars):

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups corn, frozen or canned
  • 1 can kidney beans (I plan to add more next time)
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 tbsp seeds (pumpkin, hemp, flax, sesame, etc)
  • greens (spinach, kale, etc), organic if possible
  • veggies (beets, carrots, etc)
Mason Jar Salads
Mason Jar Salads

How to:

  1. Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa.
  2. Rinse and measure out your corn and beans.
  3. Once quinoa has cooled, begin layering your salad by adding 1 tbsp of olive oil into each jar, then evenly distribute the beans, corn, quinoa, & seeds (really pack it down to fit everything in).
  4. Finally, distribute greens and veggies (I had spiralized beets sitting in the fridge so I threw those in but you can get creative!).
  5. Store in fridge up to 5 days. When ready to eat, remove from fridge 30 min before eating (this will allow olive oil to liquefy again), shake jar, pour salad into a bowl and dig in!
Mason Jar Salads
Mason Jar Salads

PCOS Powers:

  • spinach = high in calcium which helps alkalize acidity caused by inflammation and impaired glucose tolerance, high in magnesium which some women with PCOS are deficient in
  • kale = anti-inflammatory, high in fiber, & high in calcium which is important for egg maturation and follicle development
  • kidney beans = high in fiber which helps prevent heart disease, good source of iron and magnesium
  • quinoa = high in fiber, gluten-free, helps manage insulin resistance and high blood pressure
  • flax seeds = contain lignans which may increase sex hormone-binding globulin and therefore lower blood testosterone levels, may reduce blood pressure
  • beets = anti-inflammatory, helps lower blood pressure, shown to reduce cancerous tumors in various animal models
  • extra virgin olive oil = anti-inflammatory, studies show 1-2 tbsp a day can lower risk of certain types of cancers
  • low glycemic = helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and energy
Mason Jar Salads
Mason Jar Salads

What plant-based lunches do you make? Share your ideas with me in the comments below and have a great week! 🙂

Spaghetti Squash Boats (Low-Glycemic)

Low-glycemic ‘pasta’ dish in a fun boat.

Spaghetti squash is the perfect winter vegetable for PCOS fighters. Unlike many other squash varieties, spaghetti squash is low on the glycemic index and high in fiber. Both of these properties allow spaghetti squash to help stabilize blood sugar levels. It is also high in beta-carotene which may increase chances of conceiving by protecting the ovaries from free radicals (damage from free radicals interferes with progesterone production)¹. Additionally, one study found that people with the highest levels of carotenoids were least likely to develop diabetes or insulin resistance². This recipe will fill two squash boats, and may provide leftovers for the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup of corn, frozen or canned
  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • basil to garnish

veggielayoutHow to:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F.
  2. Cut squash in half length-wise with a large, sharp knife (carefully, please!) This was tricky (I have seen a few recipes cook the entire squash first before cutting which I may try next time).
  3. Scoop out the seeds and pulp.
  4. Brush inner flesh with olive oil.
  5. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with the cut side down .
  6. Cook in oven for 35 minutes (any longer will make the squash soggy).
  7. Meanwhile, chop onion and garlic. Set aside.
  8. Prepare and rinse other ingredients (beans, corn, spinach, basil).
  9. Once 35 minutes is up, carefully pull baking sheet out of the oven (I found that the pan was surprisingly heavy and tippy).
  10. Flip over squash and let cool for 20 minutes.Spaghetti Squash Boats
  11. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat in a large skillet.
  12. Stir in beans, corn, and spices.
  13. Once squash is cool enough to touch, scrape out the inside flesh with a fork (should look like stringy spaghetti!).
  14. Finally add the squash and spinach to the skillet.Spaghetti Squash Boats
  15. Scoop veggie mixture into the squash bowls and serve.

PCOS Powers:

  • garlic = helps lower cholesterol, an antibiotic, & blood cleanser which relaxes blood vessels for easier blood flow
  • ginger = anti-inflammatory, may help decrease fasting blood glucose and HbA1c
  • onion = promotes liver detoxification, improves digestion & is high in chromium which helps maintain healthy blood glucose levels
  • spinach = high in calcium which helps alkalize acidity caused by inflammation and impaired glucose tolerance, high in magnesium which some women with PCOS are deficient in
  • turmeric = anti-inflammatory, helps lower blood glucose levelsSpaghetti Squash BoatsReferences:
  1. Schweigert, FJ et al., Concentrations of carotenoids, retinol and a-tocopherol in plasma and follicular fluid of women undergoing IVF. Human Reproduction. 2003, 18(6):1259-1264.
  2. Ford ES et al., Diabetes mellitus and serum carotenoids: findings from the third national health and nutrition examination survey. Am J Epidemiol. 1999, 149:168-176.

Sweet Potato Chips with Avocado Dip

Looking for some nutritious game day snacks?

Movie night munchies, anyone? Stumped for nutritious game day snacks? I’ve got you covered. These ‘chips’ are infinitely healthier than any store-bought chips and are still delicious. Ps. please don’t skip the oil! It helps us absorb the nutrients in the sweet potato. Plus, not all dietary fat is bad (who started that myth anyways?!)

Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato (sometimes called a yam)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme

Avocado dip:Avocado Dip

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 garlic clove
  • splash of almond milk

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Wash and scrub sweet potato.
  3. Slice sweet potato as thinly as possible with a sharp knife (a mandoline would work better if you have one).
  4. Toss sweet potato slices in oil, rosemary, and thyme.
  5. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet with parchment paper on it.
  6. Cook in oven for 10 minutes and then flip and cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. As chips are cooking, mix avocado, garlic, and almond milk in a food processor until smooth and creamy.
  8. Keep an eye on the chips near the end as the edges can burn quickly.

PCOS Powers:

  • sweet potato = anti-inflammatory, medium glycemic index food but high in fiber & studies have shown they may assist blood sugar regulation (even better if boiled not roasted), high in beta-carotene which may improve fertility, may increase adiponectin levels in those with type 2 diabetes, shown to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer
  • coconut oil = anti-inflammatory, helps balance hormones, may prevent diabetes, helps absorb beta-carotene in the sweet potato
  • rosemary = anti-inflammatory, has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of ovarian cancer cells
  • thyme = anti-septic, anti-fungal, may help lower cholesterol

 

Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips