One of my patients is currently trying to eat meat-free once a week.
While he isn’t able to verbalize his reasons for doing so, his nephrologist questions his motive every month during rounds. The patient gives the same, very vague answer every month. Together, the patient and I review the best vegetarian options given his lab work and we move on. Clearly, the physician challenges the patient’s decision…for whatever reason. I would hope a physician would support a diet with more antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients!
Per the usual, my co-workers gawked over my leftovers when I pulled out these skewers one day for lunch.
I was asked, “If you’re not vegetarian, why do you eat tofu?”
The simple and quick answer is that I actually like tofu. A lot. Plus, a pound of tofu runs me about $2, whereas chicken costs closer to $4/lb. Cost aside, vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels, healthier weight statuses, lower rates of cancer, lower blood pressure, and they live longer than their omnivore counterparts.
But I figured that was a bit too preachy and intense for the casual lunch time chat.
In retrospect, I regret not sharing those facts in some capacity. While I fully realize that a “teaching moment” has to be done in the right way and at the right time, I do think I could’ve worked in some basic facts on the benefit of eating meat-free. Though, I’m not likely to part ways with meat entirely.
While the blogosphere is saturated with nutrition and healthy eating bloggers, we have to remember it is still a small group of the population that goes to such lengths to educate themselves about health and wellness in terms of food…or even care, for that matter. Helping others learn from our choices is one great way to educate on the powers of food and nutrition.
The next time my coworkers interrogate my lunch…I have answers!
1 (14-oz) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1 large pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes (1 tbsp set aside for sauce)
1 large red or orange bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 large onion , sliced into wedges
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp honey
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange tofu cubes on the baking sheet and mist with olive oil. Bake for about 12 minutes, while you chop the veggies for the kebabs.
Thread each of 7 bamboo skewers with tofu, cubed pineapple, bell pepper, and onion and place in baking dish.
Simmer soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes 3 minutes in skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced tablespoon of pineapple and garlic to skillet, and simmer 2 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.
Pour sauce over kebabs, and bake 20-30 minutes, turning once to keep kebabs coated in sauce.
Yield: 7 large skewers.
Nutrition Information (per skewer): 127 calories; 5 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 372 mg. sodium; 13.7 g. carbohydrate; 2.4 g. fiber; 7.4 g. protein
Result: Honestly? I knew they would be good, but they were really good. This is a quick weeknight meal with TONS of flavor. I was a bit weary about all the soy sauce, but I measured and more than half was left in the pan after the kebabs cooked. Using more just helps ensure that flavor gets around to every bite! I pre-cooked the tofu to help give it the texture I enjoy best (a bit of a crisp outside with a soft inside) and if you cook the tofu before beginning any other prep, you really don’t add on any time to the recipe preparation. A summer keeper recipe, for sure!
Weekly Menu: May 6th – 10th
- Sunday: BBQ Chicken Burgers with grilled potatoes
- Monday: Spicy Basil Chicken with brown basmati
- Tuesday: Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade
- Wednesday: Crunchy Wheat Berry Salad with Cranberries and Goat Cheese with Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches
- Thursday: Spinach and Cheddar Rolled Omelet
Another week…here we go!