In the early 1960’s, residents of Greece and Italy exuded longevity and high quality of life, causing intrigued scientists to begin to observe their lifestyles. Their researched showed that these countries shared similar exercise and food routines – focused on fresh and healthy foods. Many people may recognize this phenomenon as “The Mediterranean diet” but it is not a diet or just a way of eating, it is a lifestyle! This lifestyle has been linked to longevity, improving brain function and boosting all-around health! The Mediterranean lifestyle is made up of many delicious foods that are enjoyable for all ages and diets!
Traditional Mediterranean foods consist of beans, lentils, grains, vegetables and healthy fats, like olive oil and avocados! These products are affordable and can be cooked in many different ways, making a variety of meals out of the same ingredients and also avoiding food waste (bonus!). The Mediterranean lifestyle is not only healthy for our bodies but also healthy for our environment! The Mediterranean diet focuses on buying local food, avoiding processed foods and limiting food waste. Below is the Mediterranean food guide! It is very interesting to explore different food guides and combine them to follow a healthy and worldly regimen.
This food guide mentions something very interesting and important – eating with others! Our modern world has swapped enjoyment with convenience. Many of our modern day meals are often devoured quickly and on the go which can upset our digestive tracts and cause us to over eat. Eating slowly and with others is the secret weapon. It takes your brain 20 minutes to register that you are full, therefore eating slowly and enjoying your meals will allow your tummy to tell your brain there is no more room down there! First an easy fix, as you eat dinner with your family go around the table and share the best part of your day! This creates a positive meal environment and a slow-paced eating speed. At our locations we make sure all kiddies eat together and have fun while eating!
A great tip to convert into a Mediterranean lifestyle is swapping butter with olive oil! You can try the “liquid gold” trick which is dipping fresh bread into olive oil. The conversion of butter to olive oil is about 1 teaspoon of butter to ¾ teaspoons of olive oil. Olive oil is a great healthy fat to incorporate into your meals. It will keep your energy up and works great as a base to homemade salad dressing!
Today we want to share a modern day Mediterranean staple – quinoa stuffed peppers! This recipe ensures you and your littles will get plenty of vegetables, whole grains, fibre and protein – all in one meal! The peppers and tomatoes provide vitamins A and C which will help improve immunity. The quinoa and chickpeas give us lots of protein and fibre to keep us full and therefore keep our bellies happy!
Kidco Kitchen Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
What you will need:
- 2 large red peppers
- 1 cup of cooked quinoa
- 1 cup of canned chickpeas
- 1 cup of tomatoes (diced)
- 2 tablespoons of black olives (sliced)
- Chopped feta
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Chopped parsley, for serving (optional)
- Heat oven to 350F
- Cut the peppers vertically and remove any stems or seeds. Place on baking sheet
- In a mixing bowl combine ingredients and scoop into pepper halves
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until peppers are soft but hold their shape
- Remove and eat!
Substitutions: If you’re looking to include meat you can add shredded chicken or ground chicken to the mix instead of chickpeas (or both)!
Quick tip: To save time, the peppers can be filled the day before so all that needs to be done is popping them into the oven!
The Mediterranean lifestyle is a great way to introduce healthy eating into your family’s routine!
Chef Lisa Ruscica
Chief Food Ambassador