Prepare an Eye-Healthy Meal
Omega-3s. Beta-carotene. Vitamin C. What do all these nutrients have in common? They’re all great for your vision health.
That’s right. Although most Canadians don’t realize it, eating the right foods – along with other simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and exercising regularly – can go a long way to helping you prevent avoidable but serious eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Try cooking up the following delicious recipes, which are chock full of vitamins and nutrients that are great for your eyes. These recipes come care of Doctors of Optometry Dr. Laurie Capogna and Dr. Barbara Pelletier, authors of “Eyefoods, A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes”Opens in a new window and “Eyefoods for Kids, A Tasty Guide to Nutrition and Health”Opens in a new window.
Delicious recipes that are great for your eyes:
- Kale Crunch Chips >
- Turkey and Orange Pepper Chili with Lime >
- Dill and Spinach Frittata >
- July Green Salad >
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Cauliflower >
- Chicken Almond Wraps >
- Dr. Barb’s green smoothie for healthy eyes >
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Learn more about nutrients that are great for vision health on the CNIB websiteOpens in a new window
Kale Crunch Chips
- Half a bunch of kale
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Ask an adult to preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash, then dry the kale in either a salad spinner or on a clean tea towel.
- Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces, discarding the tough central part.
- Drizzle with a little olive oil and, working with your hands, rub the leaves gently so all of the kale has a light coating of oil.
- Place on a baking sheet in one layer. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the kale.
- Ask an adult to put the baking sheet in the oven. Allow to bake for 20 minutes. Watch the kale to make sure it does not burn.
- Have an adult remove the baking sheet from the oven when the leaves are crispy. Enjoy!
Turkey and Orange Pepper Chili with Lime
This twist on classic chili is a hit all year round. Make it a day ahead as the flavors enhance the next day.
- 4 tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 4 pounds ground turkey
- 3 medium yellow onions, finely diced
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 6 tbsp chili powder
- salt and pepper
- 4 orange peppers, diced
- 2 cans diced tomatoes (28 ounce can)
- 2 cans red kidney beans (19 ounce can)
- 3 limes (zest and juice)
- 1-2 avocados, cubed
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- On med-high heat brown the ground turkey in a large sauce-pot in 2 tbsp olive oil. Be sure to work in small batches so the meat isn’t crowded in the pot. This will ensure that the meat browns nicely. Set cooked turkey aside.
- Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in the sauce-pot on med-high heat. Cook onions until they are softened, approximately 7 minutes.
- Add browned meat back to the pot, stirring together with the onions. Add cocoa powder, chili powder and salt and pepper. Stirring, cook for 2-3 minutes to enhance the flavor of the spices.
- Add orange peppers and tomatoes. Stir well and simmer on med-low heat, covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Add kidney beans and simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes or until chili is a nice thick consistency.
- Remove from heat. Add lime zest and stir well.
- Add a squirt of lime juice to each bowl before serving.
- Garnish with avocado cubes and cilantro.
Dill and Spinach Frittata
This popular frittata is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin C and vitamin E.
- 3 eggs (omega 3)
- 1 tbsp 1% or skim milk
- 1 green onion, chopped
- ¼ cup frozen chopped spinach
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh dill
- Salt and pepper
- Whisk together eggs, milk, dill, salt and pepper and set aside.
- Saute pepper and onion in 1 tbsp olive oil for 1-2 minutes over med-high heat in a non-stick pan. Add frozen spinach and continue cooking until spinach has thawed and cooked. Reduce heat to low and add egg mixture, ensuring that vegetables and eggs are evenly distributed in the pan.
- Cook on low heat until top of frittata begins to cook, approximately 5 minutes. Ensure that the bottom does not burn. Flip frittata by placing a plate over top of pan, flip the pan and slide frittata back into pan and cook on low for another 1-2 minutes. Alternatively, place an oven-proof pan in oven and broil on low for 3 minutes or until top of frittata is cooked.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
The frittata can also be enjoyed at room temperature or even cold the next day.
July Green Salad
This salad features the best green vegetables for eye nutrition. The herbs give it a vibrant and intense flavor. Use local fresh herbs and vegetables for the greatest nutritional benefit.
- 2 cups romaine lettuce
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup raw broccoli florets
- 1 cup green peppers, sliced
- 1 cup green beans, steamed and sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- ½ cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash all ingredients thoroughly. Mix together in a large salad bowl.
- In a small bowl or jar, mix well all ingredients of dressing.
- Add dressing to salad. Toss and enjoy immediately.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Cauliflower
This vegetable side dish is a treat in the autumn and winter when good fresh produce is hard to come by. Serve it with a beef tenderloin roast for an elegant dinner party. It is full of beta-carotene and also contains vitamin C and fiber. Sweet potatoes or carrots can replace the butternut squash.
- 1 butternut squash, diced
- 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets (4 cups)
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp spice blend (recipe beside) or paprika
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground cinamon
- 1 tsp black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.
- Toss vegetables with oil and spices in a large mixing bowl.
- Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Chicken almond wraps
These tasty wraps can be enjoyed as a nutritious lunch or a light snack, and are filled with nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and zinc, which can help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Chicken mixture ingredients:
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and pulled into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp. canola or olive oil
- 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 1 orange pepper, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 large orange, peeled with a knife, quartered and sliced
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- Leaf lettuce leaves, Romaine lettuce leaves or kale leaves, washed and dried completely
- Optional: goji berries for zeaxanthin boost
Dipping sauce ingredients:
- 4 tbsps. natural almond butter (or natural peanut butter)
- 2 tsps. rice vinegar
- 4 tsps. soy sauce
- 3 tsps. honey
- Dash of hot sauce
- Hot water
- Mix poultry, peas, pepper, green onion, orange, almonds and cilantro in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine almond butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and hot sauce.
- Add 2 tablespoons hot water and stir well. If sauce is too thick, add another tablespoon hot water. Continue until the sauce has the consistency of a thick salad dressing.
- Use 2 tablespoons of the sauce as dressing for the poultry mix. Toss gently to combine.
- Separate remaining dipping sauce into an individual bowl or ramekin for each person.
- Spoon chicken mixture into a lettuce or kale leaf and fold. Enjoy with the dipping sauce.
- Garnish with goji berries for zeaxanthin boost
The chicken mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days. Serve cold or warm. Serves four.
Dr. Barb’s green smoothie for healthy eyes
This delicious smoothie is loaded with vitamin C and lutein, nutrients that help in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
- 2 cups packed kale leaves, washed and coarsely chopped
- 2 ripe kiwis, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup sweet green grapes (or 1 banana)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 cup filtered water
- Put grapes in blender. Twirl until blended.
- Add kiwis, kale and water. Blend until smooth.
- Check consistency and add water as needed.
- Taste. Flavor will vary depending on how sweet the kiwis and grapes are. Adjust accordingly.
- If too tart, omit the lime juice and add grapes.
- If too sweet, add lime juice.
- If kiwis are quite sweet, you will get more eye nutrients by using more kiwis and less grapes or bananas.
- If using bananas, adding lime juice is essential to reduce oxidation (browning) of the smoothie.
Enjoy immediately and keep leftovers in individual reusable bottles in the fridge for up to four days. Before drinking leftovers, shake well. Makes one glass. Double as needed.