By Ashley Wilhoite, BSN, RN, Wellness Director
Lettuce wraps are a quick and healthy treat that are great to have handy whether you’re enjoying the day poolside, floating around in the boat, simply hanging out at home, or even plugging away at the office.
My favorite summer foods are typically those that are highest in water content. These hot and humid days in Kentucky can leave you feeling dehydrated, so it’s always nice to have a refreshing treat to help you cool down. These easy treats also leave your body feeling replenished. Lettuce wraps completely fit the bill and have become my go-to treats this time of year.
My favorite wrap – veggie wraps.
Butter lettuce or any other type of leafy lettuce that is big enough to wrap all your goodies in is key for these wraps. As for the staples to include inside, the following are some top picks.
Tomatoes: I like Better Boy tomatoes handpicked from my flower pot…which I guess is now a tomato pot!
Avocado: I like to slice them from end to end in multiple slices, which work well when wrapping my masterpiece.
Red onion: Add as much as you’d like. In my opinion, you can never have too much.
Cucumber: I love adding cucumber because it gives the wrap a crisp bite. Also, cucumbers are very high in water content.
Black Pepper: I tend to drown mine, but you can just as easily use only a dash if that’s more to your tastebuds’ liking.
If you’re a fruit fan, add some fresh watermelon or cantaloupe on the side. That way, you can enjoy the best of both worlds in one meal!
I prefer my wraps without condiments, but if you’re looking for a spicy spread, Tessamae makes a delicious Habanero Ranch which is full of zest and pretty clean ingredients. Local grocers usually carry this brand in their produce section or in the dressings isle.
Why just vegetables you ask?
Vegetables in their rawest form are naturally lower in calories, which can help promote healthy weight loss. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
Consistently eating meals rich in fresh vegetables and fruits may even protect against certain types of cancers.
Adding vegetables to your meals can also help increase the consumption of fiber and potassium, which are important nutrients that many of us do not get enough of.
If you are highly active and vegetables alone don’t offer enough fuel to light your fire, then feel free to add some baked or rotisserie chicken or turkey. Both are considered leaner meats and provide you the protein you need to hold over until your next meal.
On that thought, here’s a tasty wrap recipe from one of our client’s here at Vibrant Med:
Jodi’s chicken lettuce wrap:
- 4 medium carrots diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 large red pepper diced
- 1 8oz. can water chestnuts drained & diced
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. finely minced ginger
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1/3 cup Chinese plum sauce
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. hot chili paste (sriracha)
- ¼ cup unsalted roasted cashews chopped
- ¼ cup minced cilantro
- 1 head Boston Bibb lettuce
Add the carrots, celery, pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, ginger, and garlic to a skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally until the vegetables soften slightly (about 5 minutes). Add a tbsp of water as necessary during the process to prevent scorching. Then add the ground chicken to the skillet and break into fine crumbles. Season with salt & pepper.
Add plum sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili paste, and stir to coat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until heated through.
Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the cashews and cilantro. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Then, fill lettuce leaves with ½ cup of chicken mixture and enjoy!