There’s more to eating healthy than just the nutrients in our foods, it’s equally important to get a variety of food groups in your diet to provide the complete spectrum of nutrients we need. So what’s better than a healthy meal? It’s one that incorporates multiple food groups! And this recipe does both, giving protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy all in one delicious meal. There is a bit of prep work included, but the end result is absolutely worth it. Food can be both healthy and flavorful!
Breading the fish from scratch keeps out any unhealthy breading ingredients or preservatives, allowing every part of the meal to stay natural and full of nutrients. Baking the fish requires little fat, and any present will drain out during cooking. The dipping sauce provides vegetables and dairy as well as being a great addition to the fish, and the apple slices are sweet but not too sugary for a healthy dessert portion of the meal.
Nutrients included: Good source of protein, dietary fiber, omega-3’s, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, selenium, vitamin K, and B vitamins. Provides 1 1/2 cups of fruits, 1/4 cup of vegetables, 1 1/2 oz of grains, 3 1/2 ounces of protein, and 1/4 cup of dairy per serving for a healthy and balanced meal.
Prep Time: 20 min. / Cook Time: 10-12 min. for fish and 3-5 min. for apples / Total Time: 35 mins. / Servings: 4
For the Spinach Basil Dipping Sauce:
- 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic
- 3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
For the Fish Sticks:
- 1 pound frozen pollock, or other white fish, such as haddock or cod (partially thawed)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 egg whites, beaten
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- cooking spray
For the Spiced Apples:
- 3 apples
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons butter
- Place rack in center and heat oven to 450°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
- To make dipping sauce, place all ingredients in a blender or food processor; blend or process until smooth.
- Cut fish into strips 1-inch wide (easiest when fish is partially, rather than fully, thawed) and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Mix breading ingredients (bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper) in a shallow dish or pie pan; place flour and egg whites in separate dishes.
- Dip fish sticks in flour, then in egg whites, then breading mix, coating evenly.
- Return coated fish sticks to baking sheet, spacing evenly. Cook fish until it is 145 °F, confirmed with a food thermometer, about 10-12 minutes, golden brown, turning as needed.
- While fish sticks are baking, cut apples in quarters and core them; slice into smaller wedges (about 12 per apple).
- Toss with raisins, pecans, and cinnamon.
- Heat butter in medium sauce pan. Add fruit mix.
- Sauté lightly about 3-5 minutes. Apples should still be slightly crisp.
Serve and enjoy! This recipe provides a variety of food groups and different flavors for a healthy meal you won’t soon forget! Let us know if you try it out and what your ideas are for variations of this meal in the comments below!
Recipe provided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s “What’s Cooking” Mixing Bowl. Visit their site at http://www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/ to explore more healthy recipes and learn more about nutrition.
By Samantha Dillon, DR Vitamin Solutions