Spiced Chickpeas

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Makes 4 Servings of 1/2 cup each

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving Calories: 103
Total Fat 5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 303mg
Total Carbohydrates 14g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Protein 4g







Spiced Chickpeas

This is a super crunchy, low-fat snack of spiced chickpeas, for those ‘in-between’ food cravings. If you like crunch this is perfect snack. Make this on the weekend to have enough for the week. Toss 1/2 cup into a  ZipLoc bag and you are good to go. Eating well on the run!


Place rack in the upper third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Dry the chickpeas and toss in a bowl with oil, marjoram, cumin, allspice and salt. Spread chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the chickpeas, stirring a couple of times until browned and crunchy. This may take up to 40 minutes. Let the chickpeas cool on baking sheet for 15 minutes. Spiced chickpeas can be stored in a container at room temperature for two days. Makes 4 servings of half cup each.


Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)

2 cups boiled chickpeas

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons powdered cumin

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich

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Makes 4 Servings

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving Calories: 291
Total Fat 8g
Cholesterol 12 mg
Sodium 756 mg
Total Carbohydrates 48g
Dietary Fiber 9g
Protein 12g







Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich

Using grilled eggplant reduces the fat and calories present in this dish, making it a tasty and healthy option to top up your energy levels. It also helps you get a variety of veggies into each serving of this sandwich. We all need these clever ways to introduce more vegetables into each our daily meals. But this one has more! Can you just taste the crunch, the cheeses, the basil? We can go on and on about this one. Enjoy!


Preheat the grill to medium-high.

Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Coat lightly with cooking spray on both sides. Combine Parmesan and mozzarella cheese in a small bowl. Brush both sides of the bread with oil.

Place spinach in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and punch several holes in the wrap. Microwave spinach on High until wilted. Combine tomatoes and 2 tablespoons basil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave until bubbling, say about 2 minutes.

Place all the ingredients on the baking sheet with the eggplant and take it to the grill. Grill the eggplant slices until brown and soft on both sides. It takes 2 to 3 minutes per side. Grill the bread until toasted, about a minute for each side. Return the eggplant and bread to the baking sheet. Reduce the grill heat to medium.

Place an eggplant slice on top of each slice of bread. Put a layer of 1 tablespoon tomatoes, 1 tablespoon wilted spinach and 1 tablespoon cheese on each eggplant slice. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices, tomato, spinach and cheese. Sprinkle each stack with some of the remaining basil. Place the baking sheet on the grill, close the lid and grill until the eggplant stack is hot and the cheese has melted, for about 5 to 7 minutes.


Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)

1 large eggplant, about one and half pounds, cut into 12 quarter-inch-thick slices

Canola or olive oil cooking spray

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

4 small pieces rustic Italian bread

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 ounces baby spinach

1 cup crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided

Curried Chicken Pita Bread

balanced nutrition for kids

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving Calories: 323
Total Fat 7g
Cholesterol 58 mg
Sodium 352 mg
Total Carbohydrates 41g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Protein 27g








Curried Chicken Pita Bread

This quick lunch of curried chicken salad in pita bread is an option that makes it easy to avoid a trip to the nearby deli, reducing your intake of junk food or empty calories. Pack up the salad separately if you intend carrying it for lunch.

Yummy! Remember those days when you could not wait to for lunch-time so that you could crack open that Super-hero lunch box? Those were the days! They can come back with this delish option.

Making It Easy to Eat Well on the Run!


Mix the yogurt, mayonnaise and the curry powder in a large bowl.

Add in chicken, pear, cranberries, celery and toasted almonds; toss well to combine.

Fill each of the pita halves with 1/2 cup chicken salad and 1/4 cup sprouts.

You can prepare the salad for up to two days in advance and store it in the refrigerator.


Ingredients (Makes 4 servings)

6 tablespoons non-fat plain yogurt

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon curry powder

2 cups cubed chicken breast, cooked

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 ripe, firm pear, diced

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

4 whole-wheat pita breads (4-5inch), cut into half

2 cups sprouts

1/4 cup sliced and toasted almonds

Yummy Stir-Fried Broccoli Flowerets

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Stir-Fried Broccoli Flowerets is one of those recipes that I have been cooking for a very long time. If you are eating healthy for your heart, or your diabetes, or weight loss or just want good tasting food, try this dish! We never get tired of eating broccoli this way. Recently we were at a pot luck dinner party and I prepared this. The guest list included kids. To our surprise they gobbled this up! So it is at their parents’ urging that I am posting this super-delicious, super-easy to prepare broccoli, that you and your kids are guaranteed to love! Perfect side for any great meal!

Serves 2 to 4

Broccoli prepared this way is delectable hot, at room temperature, or cold. Make enough to snag leftovers for lunch the next day!


  • 1 bunch broccoli, about 2 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons canola/olive oil
  • 2 quarter-sized slices peeled ginger (one of the magic ingredients)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (the 2nd magic ingredient – buy a good quality brand from your local Asian market)

Cooking Directions:

  • Break off the flowerets and peel the skin from under their small stems as much as possible. Rinse and drain well.
  • Heat a wok or large, heavy skillet over high heat until hot; add the oil, swirl, and heat for 30 seconds.
  • Toss in the ginger slices and press them into the oil.
  • Add the broccoli and stir and toss for 5 seconds.
  • Turn heat to medium high and toss flowerets very quickly until they turn a brilliant green.
  • Add the salt and sugar and stir briefly.
  • Add the stock or water, cover and steam-cook vigorously over medium-high heat for 2 1/2 minutes. (carefully watch this step, too long and the broccoli overcooks…not so scrumptious; need that little crunch for excellent texture!)
  • Uncover – you’ll be amazed by the clean fragrance.
  • Stir the broccoli rapidly until all of the liquid is gone.
  • Dribble in the sesame oil, give a few rapid folds and pour into a hot serving dish.

Play with this recipe a few times to get it just right for your taste. To me, getting the texture right is the most critical step. So depending on how hot your burner gets, you might have to use more or less water or broth.

Nutritional Information: it’s all good – no nutritionals available

Source: “The Key to Chinese Cooking” by Irene Kuo

Tomatillo Sauce

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Tomatillo (also called husk tomato, Jamberry, Husk cherry, Mexican tomato, or Ground cherry)

Originating in Mexico, the Tomatillo looks like a small green tomato in size, shape and appearance and has a thin parchment-like covering (the jacket) which should be removed before eating or cooking. When buying Tomatillos make sure the jacket is not dry or shriveled. Canned Tomatillos are also available but fresh is best.

Tip: Ripe Tomatillos are pale greenish-yellow to light yellow in color, and can be eaten raw (after peeling away the outer jacket). They have a nice tangy-fruity flavor and taste.

Tip2: If you grow Tomatillos in your garden, then two or more plants are needed for proper pollination otherwise it will not bear fruit.

Tip3: To store tomatillos, remove outer jacket and place the fruit in sealed plastic bags and store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition: A Tomatillo is a dieter’s delight. A Tomatillo contains only 11 calories, yet it packs 91 mg of potassium, 4 mg of vitamin C, 2.4 mg of calcium, 2.38 mg of folic acid, and 39 IU of vitamin A.

Turkey on Pita Bread with Tomatillo Sauce
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients Sauce

  • 1/2 pound (with husks) tomatillos
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients Pitas

  • 1 large pita or 2 smaller ones
  • 8 ounces sliced cooked turkey breast
  • 2 roasted red peppers from a jar, patted dry and slit open into single layer
  • 4 ounces sliced cheese
  • Fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Sauce: Remove the husks (jackets) from the tomatillos, wash, cut into quarters and transfer to blender or the “chopping cup” of an immersion blender.
Add the garlic and jalapeno.
Process until the tomatillos is evenly chopped but not liquid, add salt and pepper.
Cook the puree until thick (about 4 minutes).

Pitas: Open the pita and place on a baking sheet, smooth side down. Spread the sauce over top, and arrange the turkey, peppers and cheese on top. Bake in the oven for approx. 10 to 15 minutes or the cheese is melted and the Turkey is cooked. Top with fresh cilantro, slice and serve.

Per Serving 4 ounces 227
Protein 24 g 99.8
Total Fat 9 g 86.2
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 60 mg
Carbohydrates 10 g 40.8
Fiber 1 g
Calcium 241 mg
Iron 1 mg
Sodium 465 mg
Weight Watchers Points 5

Palm Hearts & Avocado

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Palm Hearts (also called palmito, burglar’s thigh, chonta, palm cabbage, swamp cabbage or Hearts of Palm)

The palm heart is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing bud of certain palm trees. While Costa Rica is the primary source of fresh palm hearts in the US, of late we also import it from Hawaii.

Hearts of palm are slender, ivory-colored, delicately flavored and expensive. They resemble white asparagus, sans tips. Their texture is firm and smooth and the flavor is reminiscent of an artichoke.

For obvious reasons I rarely use this vegetable but when possible I do buy it to celebrate a festive occasion or a birthday. When I do buy it, I use it to make Avocado and Hearts of Palm salad.

Avocado Salad with Hearts of Palm
Preparation: 25 minutes
Serves 4

Dressing (you’ll use about 1/2 to serve 4 people):

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
  • 1 teaspoon freshly made garlic paste
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 1/2 lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Lettuce leaves – leafy green, red leafy, spring mix, etc.
  • 1 – 2 avocadoes, diced
  • 7 ounces canned hearts of palm, drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped

Dressing: Mix all the ingredients in a blender.

Salad: Arrange the lettuce on four small plates. Stir together the avocado, hearts of palm and onion in a small bowl. Stir in enough dressing to just wet the ingredients. Arrange in mounds atop the lettuce. Serve.

Made with 1
137 Made with 2
Weight Calories Weight Calories
Protein 3 g 12.33 14.63
Total Fat 11 g 87.68 17 g 93.16
Saturated Fat 1 g 2 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 mg
Carbohydrate 14 g 32.88 14 g 50.16
Fiber 5 g 8 g
Calcium 67 mg 73 mg
Iron 3 mg 3 mg
Sodium 311 mg 315 mg
Weight Watcher Points 3 5

Sweet Potato puff

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Sweet Potato

Distantly related to the humble potato, there are two main varieties of Sweet potatoes; pale sweet potato and a darker-skinned variety and both have been traditionally grown in the tropical areas of the Americas. The pale sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin and a pale yellow flesh. Its flavor is not sweet and after being cooked, the flesh is dry and crumbly like a white baking potato. The darker variety has a thicker, dark orange skin and a vivid orange, sweet flesh that cooks to a much moister texture.

Sweet potatoes are available with most grocers because they are a favorite amongst most people every where. Sweet potatoes are nutritious, fibrous and very filling. It is loaded with Starch, Sugars, Dietary fiber, trace quantities of Fat, Protein, Vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, Pantothenic acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc.

Tip: Sweet potatoes can be cooked in a microwave. Simply wash, prick in 4 or 5 places with a knife, place a paper towel under the Sweet potato and one over it. Microwave it for 5 minutes. Turn over and microwave another 5 minutes.

Today I present you my baby brother’s favorite dish: The Sweet Potato Puff

The Recipe:

Sweet Potato Puff
Preparation time: 1 hour
Serves 6


  • 3 cups mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup light rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer.
Transfer into a buttered quiche dish.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Per Serving : (1/2 cup) 252
Protein 6 g 27.72
Tot Fat 10 g 95.76
Sat Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 179 mg
Carb 30 g 128.52
Fiber 2 g
Calcium 62 mg
Iron 1 mg
Sodium 66 mg
Weight Watcher Points 5

Rhubarb Sorbet

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Although the leaves are toxic, various parts of the plants have medicinal uses. Fresh raw stalks are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong tart taste; most commonly the plant’s stalks are cooked and used in pies and other foods for their tart flavor.

Nutritional value: Rhubarb contains Sugars, Dietary fiber, trace amounts of Fat, Protein, Water, Vitamin B9, V, E, K, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc.

Tip: Rhubarb can successfully be planted in containers, so long as the container is large enough to accommodate a season’s growth.

Apart from using Rhubarb as a strong laxative, the roots and stems are rich in anthraquinones, such as emodin and rhein. These substances are cathartic and laxative, which explains the sporadic use of rhubarb as a dieting aid.

I have over 20 recipes that use Rhubarb. Today however, I shall share with you the Rhubarb sorbet recipe.

The recipe:

Rhubarb Sorbet
Preparation time: 3 hours
Makes 3 cups


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1-1/2 lemons)
  • 2 pounds fresh (with leaves) or 1 pound frozen rhubarb
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Stir water, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to boil.

While water boils, clean rhubarb, discarding leaves and root tips. Cut in one-inch pieces. Add to boiling water and let simmer until rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in food processor or blender or with immersion blender. Stir in corn syrup. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.

Process as directed in ice cream maker until thick and creamy.

Per Half Cup: 184 Cal;
1g Protein; 0g Tot Fat; 47g Carb; 1g Fiber; 66mg Calcium; 0mg Iron; 11mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points


healthy eating habits for children


Deviating from our theme of vegetables, I am profiling a fruit for the letter “Q”. The Quandong is a fruit from the sandalwood family of trees that is similar to peaches. It is also called native peach and the fruit tastes something like a blend between a tart apricot and peach. Quandong is native to the Australian continent, where it grows as a small tree or bush. Theme Submit The fruit, having a stone seed is packed with the goodness of Vitamin C, much more than in orange and is used to make jams and sweet pie fillings especially in rural Australia. The jam goes very will with fish and meat dishes.

Quandong is a wild bush fruit that can stand arid soil and weather conditions. It is a hardy plant which can sustain drought conditions, is frost resistant and can thrive in poor quality soil and water. Quandong fruit is good for health as it is rich in Vitamin C; the kernel is rich in protein. It is also known for its medicinal properties. Australian natives drank Quandong tea as a purgative agent. An infusion of the roots of the tree was used as a treatment for rheumatism.

Here is a simple Sweet Pie Recipe using Quandong fruit as the filling.

The Recipe:

Quandong Sweet Pie

Ingredients for the Pastry:

  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • ½ cup corn flour
  • ¼ cup castor sugar or icing sugar
  • 150 gm butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Ingredients for the pie filling:

  • 2.2 lbs Quandong flesh
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of water

Directions for Filling
To make the filling, prepare the Quandong fruit by cutting out the thin outer flesh and discarding the seeds. (You could bury the seeds in your garden so you have a Quandong tree of your own.) Cook the ingredients for the filling in a saucepan or the microwave so as to reduce the fruit to a pulp. Set aside.

Directions for Pastry Dough
Make the pastry dough in the traditional way or use a food processor. Roll out the dough to fit a medium-sized pie dish. Line the dish with the pastry, fill with Quandong pulp, seal the top with the pastry dough and make a few holes on the top to let out the steam. Bake the pie at 200 deg C for 20 to 30 minutes till it turns golden brown.

Unfortunately, I could not locate the nutrition content for this recipe, but here is the Nutrition content for 100 gm of Quandong flesh:

Energy: 49.2cal
Protein: 2.5 gm
Carbs: 8.1gm
Fiber: 4.2gm
Sodium: 116gm
Potassium: 747gm
Calcium: 7gm
Phosphorous 11mg
Magnesium 28mg
Vitamin C

Napa Cabbage

balanced diet for kids

Napa Cabbage (also known as Celery cabbage)

Napa cabbage or celery cabbage, is a type of Chinese cabbage originating from China, and is widely used in Asian cuisine. It is a light, fluffy and crunchy kind of vegetable and favorite in my kitchen. I have plenty of recipes for Napa cabbage. In the future I shall share with you my recipe for Stir Fried Napa Cabbage, Soups with Napa Cabbage and several variations of salads using Napa cabbage.

Napa cabbage is easy on the palate, easy to eat and digest. Kids love it too.

Nutritional information: Napa Cabbage contains Carbohydrates, Dietary fiber, trace quantities of Fat, Protein, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Sodium.

The Recipe

Napa Cabbage and Carrot Slaw
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Makes 7 cups


  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 1/2 pounds Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 pound carrots
  • 4 or so green onions, chopped (recommended)

Ingredients for Dressing

  • Juice from a lemon or 2 limes, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (or oyster sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Rinse the basil, mint and cilantro if using, shake and let drain in a colander in the sink.

Chop the Napa cabbage into ribbons. (To do this, slice off the core end, then cut in half lengthwise. Flat side down; make three or four lengthwise cuts. Then, holding the cabbage together with your fingers, cut crosswise every 1/2 inch or so.) Transfer to a large bowl. Grate the carrots, chop the green onion and add to the bowl.

Directions for Dressing
Mix the dressing in a small bowl. Cut the basil, mint and cilantro into ribbons. Add to the bowl. With your hands, mix the cabbage, carrots and green ribbons. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and mix in with your hands. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Per Serving (1 cup) 59
Protein 2 g 8.3
Total Fat 1 g 7.7
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 g
Carbohydrates 12 g 42.3
Fiber 5 g
Calcium 126 mg
Iron 3 mg
Sodium 150 mg
Weight Watchers Points 0