We often think of summer as a time to relax, maybe slow down a little. Vacation, beach getaways, camping, all those fun things tend to happen in the warmer weather months. I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been feeling like summers are getting away from me. We tend to pack so many plans into those few short months that the concept of slowing down and relaxing gets thrown completely out the door!

Especially in Canada where we have to squeeze out every last ounce of the glorious summer weather before winter hits us again, we definitely don’t want to be spending our precious hours in the kitchen. Meal prepping is key to avoiding this! Instead of cooking dinner every night, cook once, and eat for 3-4 days! As a dietitian I am always recommending meal prep as an effective strategy to get my clients eating more homemade, healthy foods as part of a busy lifestyle. And the summer time is no exception!

Not only will meal prep save you time, it will also help you keep your symptoms under control. Having pre-portioned meals ready and waiting for you in the fridge makes it infinitely easier to grab a smart, healthy, gut-friendly option during a season of endless picnics, potlucks, BBQs, pool parties and invites to grab a bite on the patio. Remember, moderation is your friend 😉

Is meal prep going to be a part of your summer plans? If so, this recipe is the perfect one for a weekend meal prep session when you might have a little extra time. A big batch stores well in the fridge or freezer, and re-heats perfectly for quick lunches and dinners!

You could also make them meatless with some canned lentils or chickpeas, just be sure to check the Monash app for what portion sizes of these legumes are low FODMAP if you’re still in the elimination phase. If you stay true to the recipe and make 6 servings, that would mean you could add up to 3 cups of lentils (which might even be too much for this recipe, depends on how much protein and fibre you want) or a cup and a half of chickpeas in place of the ground meat.

P.S. Be sure to check out the FODMAP notes below if you are into challenge and re-introduction! Add those FODMAPs back when you’re ready, it’s so important for your long-term health.

Low FODMAP Recipe: Stuffed Bell Peppers

Makes: 6 servings

 Time: 15 minutes prep, 40 minutes cook

 

INGREDIENTS

6 bell peppers

450 g ground meat (chicken, beef, or pork)

1 cup rice

500 mL can of marinara sauce (low FODMAP)

½ cup canned mushrooms

1 cup marble cheese, shredded

1 tsp each cumin, salt, black pepper, basil, parsley, and paprika

½ tsp chili flakes

1 tbsp olive oil

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to  350° F (177° C).

Remove seeds and cut bell peppers in half (lengthwise).

Drain and dice mushrooms into small cubes.

In a medium size pot, cook 1 cup of rice according to package instructions.

In a large sauce pan, sauté mushrooms and brown the ground meat. Add spices and chili flakes. Once meat is cooked removed from heat.

Once rice is finished cooking, drain and add rice to meat mixture.

In a large baking dish, add about ¾ cup of marinara sauce. Place halved bell peppers in the dish, skin down, and then stuff as follows: sauce, cheese, meat mixture, sauce, then top with cheese.

Cover with a sheet of foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.

KITCHEN NOTES:

You may use low FODMAP tomato paste instead of marinara sauce if you are in elimination and can’t find an onion and garlic free tomato sauce. You can thin out the tomato paste with about 1 cup of water per can used.

 

FODMAP NOTES:

This recipe is low in FODMAPs and good for digestion. In order to expand your diet after the elimination phase, here are some changes you can make:

  1. Add 1 or more cloves minced garlic to challenge or increase fructans.
  2. Add sliced almonds to challenge or increase GOS.
  3. Add shiitake or button mushrooms to challenge or increase mannitol.

 

Recipe developed by Adi Hazlewood, Food Editor