What is a staple meal? A food or meal that is eaten routinely and so often that it dominates over other options in a given population. Usually energy packed with high nutrient content, a community can live on only 2 or 3 staples. Usually inexpensive, accessible, and suitable for long periods of storage, staple foods provide one or more powerful macronutrients needed for survival and ultimate health: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Usually plant based, staple foods consist of- grains like wheat, barley, rye, millet, quinoa or rice; root vegetables like potatoes, yams, taro, and cassava. In some cases, fishing serves the community as the primary source of nutrition, therefore; fish may be considered a staple.
We just got back from New York City. Spending a good amount of our vacation budget, we needed to carry out the week with a strict budget in mind. We decided to use up the items in our freezer, fridge and pantry with one stop to a new market before it closes for summer (Phillip Estate Wednesday Market). About once a week, brown rice & veggies with some form of protein is on our menu. This is our staple. It is flexible, healthy, and budget-friendly. What is yours?
Brown rice – My history with brown rice began a few years ago when I heard it was a better choice over white rice. So I began choosing it when available at local sushi and asian style restaurants. Never really researching for myself, I thought “according to Oprah, just say no to all starches that are white – flour, bread, rice, etc.” Now in present tense, when my severe abdominal discomfort & bloating came into play, my elimination diet relied on the great grain. Great because brown rice has all bran layers intact, holding on to its naturally present nutrients. Brown rice contains the highest amount of B vitamins out of all grains. This great grain is high in fiber; contains iron, vitamin E, amino acids, and linoleic acid. In many cultures around the world, brown rice is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
BUYING & STORING
- Good quality may contain a small amount of green grains and that is a good sign!
- When buying in bulk, store in an airtight glass jar in a dark cupboard. When not buying bulk, make sure to read the package as it may advise refrigeration.
SOAKING & COOKING
- Recently, I started soaking grains before cooking. For years I thought it was silly and not possible for busy people. Yet now with a little more time to slow my flow, I see the benefits through the texture after cooking and digesting after eating. DEFINITELY WORTH A TRY TO SEE IF SOAKING MAKES A DIFFERENCE FOR YOU! I soak 1 cup of brown rice in enough water that the rice is covered with a splash or two of apple cider vinegar.
- Over the last 2 years I am taking the easy route of cooking rice….a rice cooker. 🙂
- Promotes good digestion and is gluten free
- Quenches thirst
- Balances blood sugar and controls mood swings
Vegetables – We use whatever vegetables we have at the time and throw in to our meal. Last night we had squash, sweet peppers, leeks, and lacinto kale. Another night we might have mushrooms, broccoli, peas, and carrots. Use what is local and seasonal, have fun! A great way to get kids to enjoy vegetables. Take it from me, my son is an extremely picky eater which emphasizes his strong personality yet he knows if its rice & veggie night its time to get down on whatever veggies are around. And recently, he’s pretty ok with it.
Protein – We mainly use plant based protein sources in our meals. However, if my man is feeling like he needs a change he will add chicken or fish to his dish. Last night we used tempeh which is personally my fav. My son does ok with tofu. So choose what works for you.
Cooking oils – For this meal, we mainly stick with sesame oil (sometimes toasted), maybe a little ghee if we have. Always adding flavor with spices and garlic or ginger.
Viola! Unfortunately, we were very hungry and pressed for time so I did not take pics of the finished product! HA!