Are you familiar with food guides such as the USDA’s Choose My Plate and The Plate Method from the Canadian Diabetes Association? In theory, I’m totally onboard with these concepts. The main idea is to fill half your plate with veggies, a quarter with a meat or alternative, and the other quarter with a grain or starch alternative.
This is fine if you are a traditional meat and potatoes type of person and eat segmented meals.
I am not.
As you can see from browsing the recipes on Smart Nutrition, I’m more of a casserole, stew, soup, one pot type of girl.
For the most part, I wouldn’t worry too much about whether half your stew is made up of veggies or not. Try to choose recipes that are primarily plant-based and you’ll be fine. But if you want to check out how some of your go-to favourite recipes compare for food groups, check out EaTracker. On this website, you can enter in the ingredients for your recipes and the software will analyze how many servings of each food group are in each portion.
As an example, here’s the data for this Creamy Enchilada Casserole with Spaghetti Squash:
- Fruits and Veggies: 1.5
- Grains and Alternatives: 0
- Dairy and Alternatives: 0.4
- Meat and Alternatives: 0.6
Neat, eh? Or is that just nerdy fun for a Dietitian?
Why It’s A Smart Choice
Surveys consistently show that most people do not consume enough fruits and vegetables. This survey from Stats Canada conducted in 2014 reveals that less than 40% of the population across all ages and genders eat a minimum of 5 servings a day! In my province only 31% of people make the minimum.
This recipe swaps out tortillas (a grain choice) for spaghetti squash (a veggie choice). This instantly boosts your total veggie intake for the day!
If you give this recipe a go, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or snap a photo and tag it with #smartnutritionrecipes on Instagram! I’d love to see your creations! Knowing someone has enjoyed one of my recipes always makes my day brighter.Print
A complete meal in one dish! Each portion has 1.5 servings of veggies.
- 1 medium-large spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup salsa
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cumin
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 ½ cups of cooked black beans OR 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 cups of cooked and diced chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
- 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and stringy bits. Place cut side down in a 9×13 pan. Fill to about ½ inch with water. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a knife can easily slide all the way through. Using a fork, scrape out the strands from the peel.
- Heat the oil over medium low in a frying pan. Add the onion. Saute until soft. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
- These two steps can be done a day ahead so that the recipe comes together faster.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the softened cream cheese, salsa, eggs, chili powder, salt, and cumin. Add in the red pepper, black beans, diced chicken, corn, onion mixture, and spaghetti squash strands.
- Spread even in the 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Turn oven to broil and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese bubbles and starts to turn brown.
- Serving Size: 12
Calories: 289, Fat: 18.5g, Carbs: 16g, Fibre: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 16.5
Love spaghetti squash? Here’s another recipe!
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