I know I put a lot of really decadent desserts and rich entrees and appetizers in my recipes.  Hey, what’s life without a little yumminess and reward?  But we all know that we cannot live on fat and sugar without some balance.  Some of my recipes have a much healthier content than others.  In our modern world, most everyone is looking for some healthy shortcuts.  This page of my website will offer some of my healthy tidbits.  And remember, I’m not a trained health professional, I’m only offering suggestions.  If you have real dietary needs and concerns, please see your doctor!

10/26/17 I should have shared this Power Salad yesterday for a Wellness Wednesday, but it’s never too late for some delicious and nutritious healthy eats!  We call this Power Salad at our house because of all the vitamins and antioxidants this baby’s packin’.  The brighter your diet, typically, the healthier you’re eating, and no, I’m not talking about Cheeto-orange or the radioactive hue of Velveeta!  Here, we’ve got our dark greens with spinach, broccoli, and romaine.  We have the blues and purples from blueberries and dried cranberries.  The sunflower seeds are a good source of Vitamin E, B-6, and Magnesium.  While cucumbers aren’t praised for any of the “big” nutrients, they do contain phytonutrients including cucurbitacins, lignans, and flavonoids and help us achieve our daily water intake.  We top it off with some low-fat feta, which has such a strong flavor you only need a little to bring big impact.  This recipe also includes a homemade vinaigrette, because I just can’t bring myself to finish this salad with a plastic bottle of store-bought dressing.  The one thing this salad is lacking is a serving of protein, so we serve it with a side of grilled chicken, marinated with a little lemon juice and garlic.  Power up, salad’s ready!  Click here for the recipe.

10/20/17 The Health Benefits: Broccoli is nutrient dense and an “ultimate” super-food, right next to spinach and blueberries, and only beets and red onions contain more polyphenols.  Broccoli also contains plant-based iron and CoQ10.  Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene and antioxidants.  Lean pork can be as lean as light meat poultry and is a great source of protein and iron.  Bonus–by using a small amount of meat in a stir-fry cut into small pieces, you keep your portions under control.  There is also a small amount of fiber available in brown rice, if you choose to use it to accompany your stir-fry.  See My Struggle with “Made to Crave” for recipe for Pork, Broccoli, and Carrot Stir-Fry.

10/19/17

Green Beans are low in calories and high in fiber and include a long list of vitamins, flavonoids, and antioxidants.  Walnuts also contain phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.  Onions possess phytonutrients that are good for the circulatory system and arteries.  Combining all three will give a power-house side dish for your Thanksgiving table.  This recipe does feed a large group.

  • 2 pounds of fresh green beans, washed, stems removed
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • Place green beans in large pot.  Add onion, garlic, pepper, and salt.  Fill pot with water until beans are just submerged.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low simmer.  Continue cooking 8-10 more minutes.  Drain water from beans.  Add olive oil and walnuts and toss to coat.  Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.  Our families haven’t eaten the traditional green bean casserole in years-we all prefer this healthier green bean dish!

Nutrition facts found in Super Foods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life by Steven G. Pratt, M.D., and Kathy Matthews, and the website, organicfacts.net.

10/18/17 Wellness Wednesday: This meal is a Smokey Peppercorn Salmon with a saute’ of spinach, onions, and white beans, served with a side of fresh berries.  So here’s the facts:  Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.  The benefits start with raising HDL levels (good cholesterol) and continue helping by lowering blood pressure and stabilizing heartbeat.  Spinach has a long list of beneficial nutrients, including a rich supply of carotenoids that can help protect damage to artery walls.  Beans are another heart-healthy food and high in fiber which assists in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and boosting HDL levels.  Onions contain flavonoids that help to reduce inflammation which works in disease prevention.  Strawberries also contain some of these anti-inflammatory properties with more flavonoids.  The darker the berry, the more nutrient-dense it is, so you could boost this meal even more by switching to blueberries.  It is have even been noted in research that by combining these foods together, they work together to aid the body in absorbing more of the nutrients.  So you could say that this is a real power meal!  But it gets even better!  This meal is ready in 30 minutes or less!  (Nutrition information found in Super Foods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life by Steven G. Pratt, M.D. and Katy Matthews, copyright 2004; and www.care2.com/greenliving)

Here is a great infographic for about cholesterol and foods that help lower bad cholesterol.

top 8 foods for lowering cholesterol
found on the “visually” community infographics boards

10/17/17 From “Are There Any Original Ideas?” “I” came up with this when I found out how much I love rice bowl meals.  Using brown rice is a healthier alternative to flour tortillas.  Serving our meal in bowls also keeps our portions down.  So it’s a two-for-Tuesday win for healthy eating!  But I have a good idea that lots of people have served fajita-style meat and vegetables in a bowl of rice before.  I just didn’t use a recipe or see a picture of this anywhere before I started making it, so I consider it original in my house.  Maybe I can get originality points for adding strips of zucchini with my peppers and onions for my Steak and Chicken Fajita Rice Bowls.

10/13/17 From “I Did Yoga This Morning”: I really have to work on taking care of my body, inside and out.  I strive to be healthy, but I probably fall closer to the “80-20” rule.  I make healthy choices about 80 percent of the time.  The other 20 percent is more about enjoyment.  After all, life is short and food is yummy!  But, like I conversed with my family this week, we have to balance the bacon and cheese-filled pasta dishes and layered desserts with some more nutritious, less-fattening options.  When I make those better-for-me options you can bet I’m going to make sure it doesn’t feel like sacrifice!  My healthy food has to taste good too!  That’s where my spice cabinet and oven come in.  Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and completely elevates the flavors.  Getting flavors from different, high quality spices will keep the fat content down since you won’t need to flavor with as much butter or oil.  And don’t forget the beans!  Beans are a good protein alternative to meat, and not just in nutrition, but also budget-friendly!  I use these strategies to bring you this recipe for Roast Vegetable and Chickpea Rice Bowl.  You can mix up the vegetables to your liking and what’s in season.  Just be sure to use a variety to get the nutritional benefits from different vegetable groups.

Here are some yoga products that I use and recommend (links verified 10/13/17, 1:55 pm, CDT):

I also have some recommended stretching exercises saved to my Pinterest board titled Yoga and Stretching. Check it out!

10/11/17  From Wellness Wednesday and It Is Well With My Soul:  There is something deeply comforting about chicken soup, especially homemade soup that has been simmering on the stove with fragrant herbs and vegetables.  Research has also shown that chicken soup does in fact have healing properties for the physical body.  This dish has the health benefits of spices, onions, red pepper flakes, and a warm, soothing broth.  Classic chicken noodle soup is the perfect recipe to prepare and share this week.  Our household is fighting off sinus and chest congestion, and the temperature dropped close to 40 degrees yesterday!  Fall has definitely arrived, so let’s eat some soup!

9/27/17 I know I talked mostly about mental health today on Wellness Wednesday, but I have a good-for-your body recipe, too.  We are familiar with chicken being considered a healthy protein source because of its lower fat and calorie count.  We also know that frying that chicken or adding a lot of butter or salt takes away some of those healthy benefits.  The answer, my friend, is in the marinade!  So let’s make Orange Dijon Garlic Chicken.  It’s delicious, healthy, economical, and versatile.  I made a large batch of the chicken which can be turned around into leftover dishes as well.

9/13/17  I want to talk about Foods For Moods today.  My blog post for today will talk a little bit about this, including a recipe for banana bread with walnuts and chocolate chips.  I have moderate high-functioning depression and anxiety.  With the terrifying statistics and side effects of medications, I asked for alternative treatments.  Among them included nutritional therapy.  Food and its nutrients have a lot to do with how our body performs, and eating the right foods at the right time can have a major impact on our health, both physical and mental.  Check out these food lists for ideas to help boost your mood, whether it be to lower stress levels or get rid of the crankies.

Infographic found on Pinterest, but link to Fitness Republic website was broken.
Infographic found on Pinterest, but link to The Organic Beauty website was broken
Infographic found on Google+ Board “Your Health”

 

 

Infographic found on Google+ Board “Your Health”

If you would like to read more about nutrition and mental health, I recommend the following books (links verified on 9/13/17 at 9:20 am, CDT):

8/31/17 These are my go-to tortillas at our house:  They have only 50 calories per tortilla, 1.5 grams total fat, no cholesterol, and only 7 net carbs because they are so high in fiber!  They are a product of Ole’ Mexican Foods, of which I have no affiliation, but I love that I have a “guilt free vessel for my tacos, enchiladas, and wraps.  They come 8 per package and I’ve only seen these in one size, and they are slightly higher than some lower quality tortillas.  They are also easy to work with in a variety of recipes.

8/24/17:  I just found the coolest thing today!  I can’t believe I didn’t know about it sooner.  It will be a great tool for me as a recipe writer, but I want to share this COMPLETELY FREE tool with you for your healthy lifestyle.  It’s usually pretty easy to find packaged foods and restaurant foods in calorie and nutrition tracking apps.  However, it can be a nightmare to figure out the nutrition stats for homemade recipes.  There is a site called recipenutrition.com that calculates all of the standard nutrition facts for homemade recipes if you can enter all of the ingredients and amounts used in the recipe and how many servings it makes.  I did this today for my Individual Berry Cheesecake Parfaits and it worked beautifully!  To be honest, it’s a little time consuming at first to get used to using the site, but once I got going it was great and easy to use.  I also had an advantage because I already had written notes on exact measurements of ingredients for my blog, but still, I didn’t have to do any calculations.  This tool could really be beneficial to my household as we work on my husband’s sugars and count his carbs.  You can even publish your recipes for other users on the site.  I hope you get a chance to check it out, and maybe even use it to help with your own area of tracking.

From “Baby Showers are the Worst” on 8/23/17:  When I was experiencing my health issues, I asked the doctor about causes and remedies.  My doctor’s answer focused on genetics, and there was nothing I could have done to prevent what happened with my cysts.  I do know, however, that women who are trying to conceive can use nutrition to their advantage.  Basically a healthy diet for anyone is a great diet for a women trying to become pregnant.  Focusing on whole grains, eggs, salmon, beans, olive oil, broccoli, almonds, and avocado, to name a few of the big ones.  In an effort to be healthy in general, I prepared the following meal this week for dinner.  You may find yourself in a situation where the nutritional benefits of this meal are very “productive.”  This is a pretty quick meal to prepare, so I’ll go through the steps start to finish.  Pan-seared Garlic and Herb Salmon, Brown Rice with Herbs, and Spinach Saute’ with Onions and Mushrooms.

From “Summer Sacrifices” on 8/22/17:  My husband is diabetic, so I am always looking for ways to make delicious food for him and our family, without him feeling like he’s making sacrifices in taste and fulfillment.  Honestly, some days and weeks we do better at following his plan than others, but we are always striving for progress.  The goal at meal times is for good, nutritious protein, small amounts of high-quality carbs, and plenty of fruits and non-starchy vegetables.  This summer meal is perfect for enjoying out on our deck, guilt-free. Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken and Tabbouleh Salad

From “More Bad-Good Advice: Conflict with My Current Book Choice” on 8/9/17 Mediterranean Burgers with Roasted Vegetables, Couscous, and Spinach (serves 6)  Just because I don’t love getting dressed up and wearing a lot of make-up for my outer appearance, doesn’t mean I don’t try to take care of the inside of my body.  Fresh air, sunshine, exercise, plenty of water, and nutrient-dense meals are all beneficial to my physical well-being, keeping all of my internal functions working properly.  These healthy habits can also benefit my appearance, leading to clear, healthy skin, hair, teeth, and nails.  That sounds like a win-win!  Today I have a nutrient-dense dinner recipe with Mediterranean flavors.  There are nutrition benefits in lean poultry, onion, olive oil, spinach, whole grains and fiber-rich garbanzo beans.  If you want to go meatless, serve the roast vegetables, couscous, and spinach without the burgers, and get your protein by doubling up on the beans.  Click above link for full recipe.

From “Yeah, I Used to Run” blog post on 7/17/17:  My Favorite Post-Run Snack: Greek Yogurt Sundae-All you have to do is stir in a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter into vanilla Greek yogurt and top with a tablespoon of mini-chocolate chips.  You can eat like this, but I stirred mine until blended and it was like eating healthy cookie dough!  It sounds crazy, but it is SOOO good.  It also makes a great dessert when you want a little something sweet in the evening.  You really need to try this!