One hot trend predicted in 2016 is spiralized vegetables. Spiralizing your vegetables can help you eat more vegetables without even realizing. By eating more vegetables and replacing noodles, rice, or other grain products with spiralized vegetables, you can cut down on calories and carbohydrates in your diet. This small shift in your diet can help you increase your vegetables, decrease your carbohydrate consumption, and help reduce your weight without feeling like you’re trying. This substitution is ideal for gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and lap band patients to lower the caloric content of their diets while getting the nutrition their bodies need.
Depending on the vegetables you choose to spiralize, you can add healthy vitamins, minerals, and especially fiber. Vegetables are generally higher in fiber than noodles, so by substituting spiralized vegetables for noodles, you will be adding extra fiber into your diet. Fiber helps us feel fuller for longer, promotes healthy bowel habits, and helps detoxify our body of cholesterol, and promotes weight loss.
A special kitchen gadget called a spiralizer makes this process pretty painless, but the effect can also be achieved with a vegetable peeler and patience. Each manufacturer has different guidelines for their spiralizer, so read the directions for the best results depending on the brand you use. But, generally you can take a raw vegetable (peeled or unpeeled) and turn it into a long, thin noodle or ribbon. The result is a beautiful vegetable noodle or ribbon, which can take center stage in many meals. The spiralized vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked depending on the recipe you choose. Many recipes can incorporate spiralized vegetables, including traditional pasta dishes such as spaghetti, lasagna, or salads, or you can top the ribbons with your favorite protein, such as shrimp, chicken, or ground beef or turkey for a quick, low carbohydrate meal.
Many vegetables can be spiralized. But a few key guidelines are that the vegetable should be: firm (not squishy or juicy); at least 2 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter; and it can not be hollow, seeded, or have a tough core. Many people have seen zucchini spiralized into noodles and eaten with a tomato sauce. But, many different vegetables can be spiralized. So, if you don’t like zucchini, don’t fret. Choose another vegetable that spiralizes nicely and enjoy.
Vegetables (and some fruits) to Try:
- Broccoli stems
- Butternut Squash
- Daikon Radish
- Sweet Potato
- White Potato
- Zucchini and Summer Squash
Chicken, Chickpea, and Broccoli “Pasta”
Adapted from recipe by www.inspiralized.com
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 boneless chicken breast (about .75 pounds)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 broccoli stems, made into noodles
- ½cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup cooked green peas
- ½ cup thinly sliced leeks
- ¼ tsp dried oregano flakes
For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp chopped basil
- ⅓ cup feta cheese
- ½ shallot, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and oregano on both sides. Add chicken and cook through, until no longer pink. Set aside to cool. When cool, dice into bite sized pieces.
- Place a medium pot filled halfway with water and boil. Add broccoli noodles, leeks, and peas, cook for 2-3 minutes until broccoli feels al dente. Drain and set aside.
- While the chicken and broccoli noodles are cooling, make the dressing. Place all dressing ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy.
- Place the broccoli noodles, chickpeas, peas, leeks, chicken, and dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. Serve and enjoy!
Dr. Shillingford, M.D., P.A., encourages his surgical weight loss patients to get inspired and create their own recipes with their favorite vegetables and proteins. Or, try a new vegetable for whole new experience. Dr. Shillingford is a board certified general surgeon specializing in laparoscopic and obesity surgery. His gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and adjustable lap band patients come from all over south Florida, including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Wellington, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale.