Whether I am attempting to create an original dish or fixing an old time favorite, I  always look to maximize the nutritional value. Throughout the day, every dish is an oportunity to feed your health and vitality. Even desserts can be a nutrition bomb.

Quick and simple lunch disguised as and exotic wrap

Who says you need to chop and prepare for an hour to have and flavorful and nutritious lunch. With just a few fruits and vegetable you can throw together a wrap that feels like you are indulging in a higher calorie version.

The wrap- Why spend your calories in a wrapper that has very little flavor anyway? By wrapping your lunch in crispy lettuce leaves, you add minerals and vitamins for next to no calories.

The meat/filling - Choose the best possible product that you can. I chose organic, free range ground chicken that was devoid of fillers. Any ground meat will work or try a meatless option such as meat free crumbles. Start your pan off with your aromatics such as onion, garlic and fresh peppers,  then cook off your meat. This is where you can set the tone or theme of your dish by the spices you choose.I decided to go a little toward the tropical feel so I chose garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, lemon grass, a dash of fish sauce and lime juice. Don't forget to season with salt.

Toppings -  To top my wrap, I went for the fresh fruit and veg I had on hand. I love fresh made salsa but save that for when I have more time. A few simple slices of fresh fruit, crunchy vegetable, fresh herb like cilantro or basil, and something pickled does the the trick. I just happened to have quick pickled red onion and pickled ginger in the fridge. Now a big squeeze of fresh lime and wrap. Yum yum yum!

You could easily take it more of a Latin direction by making the spices cumin, garlic, coriander, paprika. Maybe your toppings could include avocado, pickled jalapenos,avocado,tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro and suddenly you have a taco wrap.

Now think about this quick little wrap. You have protein, fresh fruit and veg, low refined carb, rich in vitamins. Wrap on!

Burger change up

Nothing replaces a classic burger but as far as I am concerned, that is an occasional treat. So on days you feel like having a burger but want to "health it up", what in the world can you do. Well, the very first thing I do is get rid of the bread (carbs on carbs). Since I was on a lettuce wrap roll, I decided to make a burger lettuce wrap. Next culprit is the fat that comes with the ooey gooey cheese. That's easy, don't put any on. Next culprit is sneakier; the condiments. Store bought condiments can be full of salt and sugar. So, I'm leaving those off. Okay, so far we have a burger and some lettuce - yawn. It's easy to add crunch, flavor and nutrients can be added with the fresh vegetable toppings for sure. But I want even more flavor, fiber and nutrients. So here is the direction I went last night. I started with cooked chick peas with the intention of making my own hummus. But then I got a brain storm. One of my new favorite things is ground peanut powder. I added about a half cup of peanut powder to the drained can of organic chick peas.Instead of olive oil in my chick peas, I used some extra virgin coconut oil. For spices I went right to the Thai peanut direction but a lower sodium version. To achieve this I went for the heat with some cayenne and green curry paste. To enhance the flavor I added lime juice, cumin and garlic. I added a little more protein and beneficial fats with some soaked cashews. The whole thing was creamed in the blender and the end result was a spicy peanut like sauce with far less fat and salt than traditional peanut sauce. The burger was from a local farmer who sells their grass fed beef, right in my neighborhood. Top the grilled burger with the "peanut sauce", cilantro, a few roasted peanuts, scallions, and some home pickled ginger and red onion. The smokiness of the grilled burger still came through and played very nicely with that nutrition packed peanut and chick pea topping.Bam!

How will you play with your burger?

This is an example of how I "health up" a typical dish. This is a chicken curry, similar to a Butter Chicken. Instead of the focus being chicken, there is a little skinless, lean chicken and a lot of veggies like cauliflower, sweet potato, and peas. Soaked, raw cashews give another nutritional boost. The butter and cream were swapped out for vegan butter and coconut. Even the curry spices have health benefits as does the generous helping of fresh garlic and ginger. The splurge was white rice which totally could have been brown rice or cauliflower "rice" but I took pity on the white rice lovers in the family. To make it just a little more aerobatic, I added lime zest and coconut.