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Whole food recipe inspiration for summer

Sunday links, whole foods edition! | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Eating more whole foods and fewer processed products is a great step to take if you’re looking to eat more healthfully. Now that summer is here, it’s easier than ever to do!

Whole foods are foods that haven’t been refined or excessively manufactured or processed. Think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, real cheeses. These foods are typically found in the outer perimeter of your grocery store rather than the central aisles where the hyper-processed products live. (Though you can find nutritious whole foods like legumes and grains in the aisles, too. It’s more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule!)

If you’re not sure whether something is a whole food or not, think simple. What does the food look like when it’s growing? Before it makes it to the grocery store shelves? Is it pretty close to its natural form, or has it been transformed into something entirely different?

Here are a few examples from the grocery store:

  • Whole food: strawberries
  • Not whole food: strawberry granola bar
  • Whole food: wild rice
  • Not whole food: white rice
  • Whole food: boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Not whole food: breaded, frozen, ready-to-bake chicken fingers
  • Whole food: a russet potato
  • Not whole food: frozen French fries

Healthy strawberry avocado salsa | www.ricottaandradishes.com

Many processed products can be re-created at home with better results. A potato becomes oven fries (skin on, of course!). Nuts, seeds, grains and dates meld together to form homemade granola or breakfast bars. Even chicken breasts coated with quinoa or pecans make a convenient main.

I read a really great quote from Jamie Oliver once, which was: “Real food doesn’t “have” ingredients. Real food is ingredients.” Love it!

It doesn’t have to be a restrictive thing. Aiming to add a few more whole foods to your diet this summer in place of some processed stuff can go a long way.

Here are a few ideas from some of my favourite food blogs (plus a couple of my own recipes) to get you started…

Whole food recipe ideas for summer

Mexican pinto beans {Minimalist Baker} – consider this your gateway recipe to one outstanding and highly addictive blog. You’re welcome! Beans are as “whole” as whole foods get, and this dish beautifully highlights their mild flavour and creamy texture.

Spring asparagus soup {Killing Thyme} – you’ll love the simple meal ideas and clean photography style of this pescetarian blog. Asparagus soup is an excellent and surprisingly easy way to get a nice big dose of vegetables in one meal.

Whole roasted spice-rubbed cauliflower – this recipe is a fun experiment with delicious results! Enjoy a slice of cauliflower as a side with grilled chicken or fish for a complete meal.

Stir-fried Chinese greens {Diversivore} – if you want to be inspired by global ingredients and flavours and learn something along the way, this blog is a can’t-miss. Dark leafy greens are a great way to get acquainted with stir-frying – you can’t mess them up!

Avocado, tomato, kale and onion salad {A Pretty Life} – there’s no shortage of recipes (and home decor, travel and lifestyle topics) to pore over on this gorgeous blog. The simple mix of ingredients makes this salad an obvious choice for a healthy weeknight side or refreshing lunch.

Mexican sweet potato skillet hash {Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen} – this nutrition-centric blog features not only good-for-you recipe ideas but also useful tips for healthy grocery shopping and navigating restaurant menus. Try this flavour-packed hash for brunch!

Mango cucumber salsa – you can’t go wrong with this summery salsa! Spoon over grilled chicken or fish for a tropical-inspired meal.

Crudité-style niçoise salad {Justine Celina} – I can guarantee you’ll instantly be smitten with this Pinterest-worthy lifestyle blog. This salad is exactly the kind of dish that comes to mind when I think of whole foods…simple, fresh, flavourful. Yum.

What’s your favourite whole foods meal, snack or recipe?

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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Dylan Cutler June 26, 2016, 1:19 pm

    Great post on the power of whole foods! Those are some easy switches to make too. I love eating whole foods and all my recipes focus on that as well :) Have a great weekend!

  • Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen June 27, 2016, 8:26 am

    Thanks for the share Jennifer!

    Love this post & your message. Working as an RD in a grocery store, it’s scary when I look in people’s carts and see that everything is so processed! I think a lot of people are scared of the time factor that goes into making food from scratch – I wish they realized it doesn’t have to be time consuming (plus the rewarding feeling from making a good meal is SO worth it).

  • Justine @ JustineCelina.com July 7, 2016, 10:49 am

    Thank you so much for the kind words and for sharing my Crudité-style niçoise salad, Jennifer! It’s a classic for summer dinners with my lady friends. Cheers!

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