The Trinidad and Tobago Association of Nutritionists and Dieticians (TTANDi) have launched their first-ever cookbook called Delicious and Healthy, Cooking with Caribbean Foods. Aimed to educate and empower the public on the importance of healthy eating, the cookbook carries readers on a journey that requires the use of all five senses while providing a wide range of helpful food tips.
The book, which will be available in stores soon, was written by Doreen West, Loretta Lopez (deceased), Cynthia Phillip-Conyette and Bernadette Lutcheesingh. Taking many of our local foods and finding interesting ways to have healthy dishes power-packed with nutrients and flavour, TTANDi's cookbook is more than just a collection of recipes but encourages the reader to make healthier food choices, says Giovanna Reyes, a registered dietician and vice-president of TTANDi.
She said, "Right now, we are faced with a very big problem, and that is chronic non-communicable diseases, particularly, diabetes and high blood pressure, which has been highlighted frequently in the media. As dieticians and nutritionists, we have an integral role to try and help people take control of their situation. These diseases are what we call lifestyle diseases. Oftentimes, we find that too many patients or people find it too difficult to implement a healthy lifestyle and usually have no idea where to start. At TTANDi, we felt the cookbook would be a useful tool to get people to be creative in the kitchen and see healthy eating as portion control, balanced meals and exercise, instead of giving up all the foods they love."
According to co-author Doreen West, who is also one of the founding members of TTANDi, Delicious and Healthy, Cooking with Caribbean Foods has been designed to partner with readers to give them the tools to increase their self-confidence to do their own modification of recipes for healthy eating while showing them that healthy eating is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and can prevent or at least delay the onset of chronic diseases.
West said, "The recipes in the cookbook have been adjusted so that they contain less salt, fat and sugar. It is well known that Caribbean food uses excess salt, fat and sugar, which are some of the factors that contribute to too many of the chronic diseases."
Reyes said, "In the cookbook, we incorporate foods from all the six food groups. Most people when they first hear the words healthy eating, they probably think it is just lots of soups and salads. In our cookbook, you get staples, legumes, food from animals, fats and oils, fruits and vegetables. We also included desserts; what to do when you are dinning out or by relatives. Our cookbook also includes information on risk factors, management and prevention of chronic diseases."
"Taking something as simple as lentil peas, readers can try their hand at making lentil loaf. If they want to do something a little more gourmet for entertaining purposes, there are recipes for that, too. We tried to incorporate a little something for everyone in our cookbook. We also have wonderful vegetarian dishes and simple, healthy snacks to get the children involve in the kitchen," she said.
"We know people these days are not eating home as much, and this could be due to hectic schedules, limited amount of time and the convenience of fast food outlets and restaurants. Coupled with tiredness and stress, exercise is usually something placed on the 'back burner'," Reyes said.
Despite these challenges, Reyes encourages the public to set aside a few minutes every day to stop and think about what they are putting into their mouths and the mouths of their children.
"While it may be easier to simply give your child money to buy something to eat, preparing a nutritious meal for them would benefit you and your child later on in life," she said.
"Our cookbook is not a typical cookbook. Its aims and objectives are more than just for enjoyment. It is a teaching guide which, in the hands of one who wants to improve one's health, can make the difference in his/her quality of life," West said.
Try some of the great recipes below, which are taken from the cookbook.
• 2 tbs chadon beni
• 1 tbs mint
• 1 tbs basil
• 1¼ cups flour
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 cup cornmeal
• 2 tbs baking powder
• 4 tbs granulated
• 1 medium egg
• 1½ cups skimmed milk
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
Substitution: You may use
other herbs if desired.
1. Heat oven to 375°F/190°C. Lightly grease pan.
2. Wash, blot dry and chop fresh herbs (chadon béni, mint and basil).
3. Sift into a bowl: flour, salt, cornmeal and baking powder. Add sugar to flour mixture. Stir in finely chopped herbs.
4. Beat egg well. Stir in milk and
5. Pour all at once into flour mixture, stirring till just moistened. Mixture will look lumpy.
6. Pour into greased pan and bake
for 25-30 minutes.
7. Cool, then cut into 15 pieces.
Serve with garlic butter or cheese paste if desired. Garnish with pieces of parsley.
Yield: 15 pieces, each 2"x2¼"
Nutrients per piece:
Calories: 123, Total fat: 4g,
Protein: 3g, Saturated fat: 1g,
Carbohydrates: 18g, Cholesterol: 13mg,
Dietary fibre: 0.9g,
in White Wine Sauce
• 4 fish fillets,
3 ounces each
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 tsp pepper sauce
• 1 tbs lemon juice
• 3 tbs chopped onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tbs soft margarine
• 1 cup mushroom slices
White wine sauce:
• ¾ cup dry white wine
• ¼ cup skimmed milk
• 1 tbs flour
• 2 tbs chopped chives
1. Wash, blot dry and season fillets with salt, pepper sauce and lemon juice.
2. Sauté onion and garlic with half the margarine. Add mushrooms.
3. Grease baking dish with
4. Place fish in dish and
mixture over fish.
5. Pour ¼ cup wine over fish. Bake for 20 minutes at 325°F/ 160°C or until fish flakes with a fork.
6. Transfer fish to warm serving platter.
7. Prepare white wine sauce.
8. Pour sauce over fish.
9. Serve hot.
To prepare White Wine Sauce:
1. In a small saucepan, mix together milk
and flour until smooth. Add liquid from
baked fish. Heat while stirring
3-5 minutes until thickened.
Add remainder of wine.
2. Add chopped chives.
Heat 1 minute.
4 servings, approximately
3 ounces each
Nutrients per serving:
Calories: 195, Total fat: 8g,
Protein: 18g, Saturated fat: 1g,
Carbohydrates: 5g, Cholesterol: 53mg,
Dietary fibre: 0.48g, Sodium: 270mg.
• 1 cup sifted flour
• 2 tbs sugar
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• ¹/8 tsp nutmeg
• ¹/8 tsp baking soda
• 2 egg whites
• ¼ cup vegetable oil
• 1 cup grated carrots
• ½ cup chopped raisins
• ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Substitution: You may use any other nuts instead
Health Tip: For diabetes
and calorie restriction, use artificial sweetener instead of sugar.
1. Combine all dry ingredients.
2. Add carrots and raisins.
Mix together with fork.
3. Beat egg whites slightly. Add vegetable oil slowly while continuing to beat.
4. Add to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
5. Turn onto a slightly greased pan. Sprinkle with walnuts (optional).
6. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F/180°C.
Yield: 12 squares, 1 ounce each
Nutrients per serving:
Calories: 106, Total fat: 5g,
Protein: 2g, Saturated fat: 1g, Carbohydrates: 15g, Cholesterol: 0mg,
Dietary fibre: 0.86g, Sodium 59mg