We are thrilled to be joined by best-selling author and health expert, Frances Largeman-Roth. Frances has written a multiple healthy eating guides and cookbooks and was also the Food and Nutrition Director at Health magazine for nearly eight years and prior to this she was part of the editorial team at the Discovery Health Channel. i.e. Frances knows a thing or two about healthy eating and food!
Today Frances shares her healthy eating and lifestyle food tips with mio and two of her favourite fast and simple summer recipes from her latest cookbook, Eating in Colour!
What inspired you to get into the healthy lifestyle/ healthy food industry?
My father died of a heart attack when he was 62. I was 12 at the time. He had Type2 diabetes, high blood pressure and carried too much weight around his middle—all risk factors for heart disease. I decided that I wanted to help people make healthy choices and learn to love nutritious foods so that they could avoid these risk factors and live long, active lives.
What made you decide to leave working in corporate life and go out on your own as an author? Was it a difficult decision?
It was both easy and hard! It was easy because I knew it was the right thing for me to do and that it would provide more flexibility, which is so important when you’re a parent.
On the other hand, being a full time employee at a large company has a lot of perks and comforts and I knew I’d be giving those up. Ultimately, having my own business is the most frightening and liberating thing in the world!
The most common complaint of people is that they have no time to cook! What are your top tips for ensuring that you are eating right throughout the week?
Plan ahead! I take a look at my schedule over the weekend and figure out which nights I can actually cook dinner and which nights I’m at events. I then shop (online) and plan for the week.
I cut up fruit and vegetables on Sunday for the kids’ lunches and snacks, and try to make something like two frittatas—one for now and one to freeze for later.
Occasionally I’ll also use a meal kit delivery service, such as Hello Fresh or BlueApron. They really do help you get delicious, healthy meals on the table without too much effort.
What are 10 things you always have in your fridge/ pantry?
- Organic whole milk: All of my kids drink it and put it on their cereal and my husband and I use it in our coffee.
- Organic eggs: It’s so easy to whip up “breakfast for dinner” on those crazy nights when nothing else is a reasonable option!
- Kind bars—my fave is the Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt
- Tropicana Grovestand
- Salmon fillets
- Whole milk yogurt
- Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies—couldn’t go on a family trip without these!
- Mini cucumbers—they are my go-to pre-dinner munchie for the kids
- White or Rose wine—this one is self explanatory. I have 3 kids:)
- Fresh seasonal fruit—right now we have lots of stone fruit (nectarines, peaches, plums, cherries), but apples, mangos and kiwi are usually on the premises.
Nectarine Salad with Fresh Ricotta and Pistachios
Kids aren’t the only ones who have trouble eating their greens. Husbands can be lukewarm on lettuce, too. Jon is willing to dive into a bowl of salad only if I’ve included some goodies, like nuts, fruit, or other tasty bits. And of course, whether you’re trying to appeal to little ones or grown-ups, it’s essential to dress your greens with a delicious dressing. Don’t be afraid of the oil—a little fat is key to absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins in your veggies.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon CIDER VINEGAR
2 tablespoons PEACH or APRICOT NECTAR
1⁄4 teaspoon SALT
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground BLACK PEPPER
6 cups (400g) MESCLUN GREENS
1⁄4 cup (12g) fresh BASIL leaves
1 large ripe NECTARINE, pitted and cut into 12 slices
1⁄2 cup (about 41⁄2 ounces/120g) RICOTTA CHEESE (see Note)
1⁄4 cup (28g) shelled UNSALTED PISTACHIOS
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, peach or apricot nectar, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Onto each of 4 salad plates, place 11⁄2 cups (100g) of the greens, 3 nectarine slices, 2 tablespoons of the ricotta, and 1 tablespoon of the basil leaves. Drizzle each salad with 11⁄4 tablespoons of the vinaigrette, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of pistachios, and serve.
NOTE: The type of ricotta cheese that is sold in the dairy section of your grocery store will work for this recipe, but I recommend you look for fresh ricotta at the cheese counter or at your farmer’s market. Fresh ricotta is creamier and has a richer flavor than commercially produced cheese.
Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Makes 8 tacos; serves 4
I first discovered seafood tacos on a trip to San Diego. I was amazed that you could get fish tacos at a fast food restaurant chain called Rubio’s and that you could enjoy them on the beach, just steps away. Part of the West Coast approach to cuisine is a casual entertain- ing style, and these shrimp tacos are ideal for feeding a crowd. Simply set out the prepped ingredients in small bowls and let your family and friends build their own colorful plates.
1⁄3 cup (50g) peeled and grated fresh BEET (from 1 medium beet)
1 tablespoon SHERRY VINEGAR
1 AVOCADO, pitted, peeled, and cubed
1⁄2 cup (80g) diced RED BELL PEPPER
1⁄2 cup (60g) thinly sliced RADISH (from 4 radishes)
1⁄2 cup (55g) crumbled QUESO FRESCO
1⁄2 cup (20g) fresh CILANTRO leaves
2 LIMES, cut into 8 wedges each, for serving
1 pound (450g) medium SHRIMP, peeled and deveined
1⁄8 teaspoon SALT
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground BLACK PEPPER
1⁄4 teaspoon ground CUMIN
1⁄4 teaspoon CHILI POWDER
1 tablespoon OLIVE OIL, plus more for the pan
8 (6-inch/15cm) CORN TORTILLAS
- In a small bowl, combine the grated beet with the vinegar. Stir to evenly coat the beet with the vinegar.
- Arrange the beet, avocado, bell pepper, radish, cheese, cilantro, and lime wedges in small individual bowls.
- In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp with the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and oil. Toss the shrimp in the seasoning to evenly coat.
- Heat a grill pan over high heat. When it’s hot, oil the pan. Add the shrimp and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until opaque. Transfer them to a serving bowl.
- While the shrimp are cooking, heat the tortillas individually in a dry pan for 30 to 60 seconds each, or in a stack in the oven at 200°F (93°C) until they are warmed through, about 15 minutes. Stack the warmed tortillas and wrap them in a clean kitchen towel; serve in a basket.
- Grab a plate and build your tacos!
Recipes from Eating in Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family
By Frances Largeman-Roth