spotlight

Sometimes after the abundance of summer produce disappears, I feel like there are no vegetables left to be had over the colder months. But that’s not true! There are lots of ways we can eat veggies in the fall/winter! [am I the only one that sometimes needs reminders that there are foods besides cookies and bread from October – February??] This week’s collection of recipes have certainly helped inspire me to seek out more cold weather veggies [even if in the form of dessert]. I hope they do the same for you!

this harvest veggie bowl is a good start

you could also eat raw veggies with roasted pumpkin seed hummus. or add it to a wrap with leftover roasted veggies.

snack on homemade bbq sweet potato chips

you can never have too many recipes for southwest quinoa salad

I LOVE barbeque chicken pizza. barbeque chicken french breads are even faster! and you could totally sneak in extra veggies. pretty much everything is better with a little barbeque sauce and cheese.

maybe the easiest way to fit more veggies into your diet is to toss them in a grilled cheese

creamy roasted red pepper soup!

shredded kale salad with fried chicken. talk about balance! also, I just bought her cookbook, seriously delish, and I can’t wait to make pretty much every single recipe

butternut squash + apple + pear crisp. I mean, we put pumpkin in just about everything this time of year, so why not butternut squash?

speaking of pumpkin and dessert – the texture of these soft pumpkin chocolate chip bars looks like perfection

mix some zuchinni noodles into your pad thai

these sesame peanut noodles are loaded with veggies and only take one pot…and less than 30 minutes!

granola bars are a great snack in theory, but most of the ones on the shelves today are just glorified candy bars. making your own is easy and a much healthier and better tasting option – like these chewy peanut butter apple granola bars. there may not be any veggies in there but real fruit is a major step up from the stuff in packaged granola bars

 

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snacks

We talk a lot about meal planning here on the blog, but snacks are also an important part of a healthy diet. Snacks are a huge part of keeping you from getting too hungry between meals, which we all know can lead to some not-so-healthy food choices. Adding snacks to your diet can also help you avoid the afternoon slump at work, fuel/recover properly around a workout, and better control your blood sugar.

veggies + hummus[source]

What makes a good snack? Most of what are advertised as snack foods are more of what I would consider occasional treats: chips, “snack” cakes, frozen appetizers, cookies…you get the idea. These foods provide lots of calories and few nutrients. Not to mention they leave you feeling hungry and craving more sugar, fat, and/or salt.

The size of your snack will depend on you individual goals and calorie needs, as well as the amount of time until your next meal. For the average person, 200-300 calories is just about the perfect size for your snack, assuming you consume reasonably sized meals. A highly competitive athlete or someone with a very active job will obviously require larger snacks and will need to snack more often than a less active individual.

If not “traditional” snack foods, then what kinds of foods make a good snack? Try to aim for a combination of carbohydrates/fiber with protein/healthy fats. Carbohydrates provide energy and fiber/protein/healthy fats help keep you full longer.

Below is a handy chart I made that might help you put together some healthy snacks. You’ll find things that you can pack at home to bring wherever you go, as well as things that can easily be found in vending machines or convenience stores if you need to make a healthy choice on-the-go. For those who have been following some of the posts on protein, I’ve included the grams of protein for each item in the protein column to help you keep tabs on your protein intake.

ScreenHunter_73 Sep. 09 10.04Here are some sample combinations to get you started!

  • 6 Triscuits + 2 oz tuna
  • 1 Flatout wrap + 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Cheerios + 6 oz Greek yogurt
  • 10 pretzels + 1 oz beef jerky + 1 string cheese
  • 1 apple + 1 oz cheese
  • wheat English muffin + 2 Tbsp hummus
  • 1/2 pita pocket + 1/4 cup beans + 1/4 avocado + salsa
  • smoothie: 1 frozen banana + 1 cup berries + 1/2 cup milk or yogurt

 

spotlight

LOTS of recipes this week! There are summer recipes, fall recipes, snack recipes, weeknight meal recipes….all of the recipes! Enjoy 🙂

it’s soup season for sure. this week, I made this summer minestrone I shared awhile back. it’s like the perfect combo of fall + summer for those of us who aren’t quite ready to let go of warm weather. this weeknight indian chicken soup might be next.

maybe there are people in your house that have an aversion to “healthy” foods. you could probably deceive them with some baked chicken wings. it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

popcorn is a whole great and a great snack, especially when air popped at home…and of the sour cream and onion variety

homemade ramen is much healthier than 20 cent packages of ramen

although fall means winter is next, it is the season for brussels sprouts which I LOVE. don’t be afraid of them. they really are amazing if you cook them right..like these tart cherry-glazed brussels

grilled eggplant + pesto sandwich!

apples are starting to get really good. if any survive being eaten raw, you should probably make some hazelnut streusel apple muffins

why eat a plain side of corn when you could eat thai glazed skillet corn?

strawberry + almond oat crumble would be a more filling/healthy way to take care of that after dinner sweet tooth (I have a major after dinner sweet tooth….anyone else??)

sometimes you just need a little inspiration to get you out of a lunch rut (I also have and LOVE this book for good lunch ideas)

if you are a fan of arugula, you might be a fan of this salad

homemade snack mix is so easy

lentil chickpea salad + roasted garlic dressing!

risotto is comfort food. especially with sausage, brussels sprouts, and sun-dried tomatoes!!

stir-fried beef + sesame noodles. it only takes 30 minutes!

if peach butter is as amazing as apple butter, then I am all. over. it.

spotlight

Well, I’m not really sure where last week went! It flew by and I somehow never got around to hitting publish on the posts I had ready. Anyway, I’m back and I’ve found some great recipes lately. There are lots (to make up for last week!), so I hope you find a great one to get into the kitchen and try out this week!

I wish I had a grill so I could make these grilled steak + avocado flatbreads

have  fun, delicious breakfast this weekend: raspberry crumble pancakes

toasted oat + coconut muesli is a quick breakfast that’s packed with good stuff

making indian food at home can seem kind of intimidating. this chicken chickpea curry looks pretty doable!

burrito bowls are a great way to get a healthy, delicious, homemade meal on the table fast.

serve your burrito bowl over slaw or salad for a lower calorie version packed with good-for-you veggies!

need an after school snack? homemade pudding >>>> pudding from a box.

who says you can’t have pizza for breakfast?

use your abundance of late summer tomatoes for this pesto pasta!

saute summer veggies + sausage for a quick dinner that has a little something for everyone

I don’t know if I’m ready to accept that it’s pumpkin season again quite yet, but these single serving pumpkin muffins look amazing

banana yogurt muffins with streusel topping are also good if you need muffins but also can’t accept pumpkin season just yet

20 minute thai basil beef rice bowls? what’s not to love?

make a salad into a meal with the addition of protein (like chicken, beans, hummus, steak, or tofu) and healthy fats (like avocado or olive oil). this fajita veggie burger salad would make a great meal that actually fills you up!

these no-bake dark chocolate almond butter cheerio bars would make a great snack or dessert!

sometimes I want to make pesto, but I almost never have all the ingredients. this oil-free//dairy-free version might be the answer! and the caprese rice salad doesn’t look like a bad way to enjoy that pesto.

here’s the thing. sometimes you just don’t have a dinner plan and you need something fast. I sometimes like to keep some Annie’s brand mac + cheese (because it’s delicious and has recognizable ingredients) in my kitchen for just that very situation. I love these 10 ways to enhance Annie’s mac + cheese that help make it into a more legitimate meal. shells with white cheddar is my favorite!!

 

 

spotlight

There are some good recipes this week for things you might normally not think to make at home, like crackers and fruit roll-ups. Most of the time, like with these recipes, it really doesn’t take all that much to make something at home instead of buying a pre-packaged version. Not to mention that you then have much more control over what goes into your food. Is there anything you’ve tried making at home that you used to only buy pre-made at the store? I make all my bread at home and cook beans from scratch instead of buying canned. Sometimes, I’ll make granola and granola bars too!

a nice change from traditional chicken salad

make good use of that summer squash that is overflowing from your garden by throwing it on a pizza

you could also toss that summer squash in a salsa to eat on chicken or fish, mixed with brown rice or wheat pasta, or with tortilla chips!

fresh spring rolls look much more intimidating than they are. they’re easy to pack for lunch too!

make a blended chai latte at home to beat the heat and save some money (..and calories!) at the drive-through

there’s no reason to avoid eating veggies when you can eat them with pizza flavored hummus

no need to buy fruit roll-ups or fruit snacks packed with all kinds of shady chemicals when you can easily make homemade fruit roll-ups with fresh fruit. the only thing your kids (and you!) will notice is how much better the homemade version tastes 🙂

it may be hard to find good fresh mussels in kansas, but these coconut curry mussels look fantastic

making your own crackers is much easier than you might expect. these life changing crackers are packed with nutrients because they’re made with real food…something most crackers on store shelves can’t claim.

I can’t even describe how amazing these greek chicken plates look. lean protein, grains, and loads of veggies make it a perfectly balanced meal.

it may have been 100 degrees outside today, but this tuscan summer minestrone soup looks insanely delicous. this might be my lunches next week….

…I know, another soup…but this thai corn curry soup would be perfect with all the super sweet corn in season right now

if you want a fast, easy weeknight dinner that your whole family will love, look no further than sweet balsamic glazed chicken

spotlight

I hope you’re inspired by some of the recipes below to get in the kitchen (or out to the grill) this week. Enjoy!

roasted red pepper almond dip is the perfect way to add flavor to sandwiches, veggies, and meats

avoid artificial sweetners and colors in your summer drinks by making your own blackberry cherry lemonade

tabbouleh is a light, healthy grain salad that makes a great side dish. add chickpeas or grilled chicken to make it a filling meal all on its own

with whole wheat crust, veggies, and mozzarella (which is relatively low in fat), this stromboli is a delicious, healthy dinner you can have on the table in no time. who says healthy food can’t taste good??

if you’re tired of the same old granola bar snack every day, these caprese bites might be the perfect way to change it up this summer

zucchini pasta with homemade sauce is fast, easy, healthy, and makes use of the amazing summer produce available right now. real food at its finest.

this taco salad looks great but I think I’m most excited about that avocado lime dressing!

I’ve shared a lot of easy homemade popsicle recipes in these posts lately but if you just don’t want to make your own, these are some great guidelines for the best ones to purchase

spotlight

LOTS of recipes this week! Anyone making anything new for 4th of July next week? If you still need ideas, I think you’ll find a few below – enjoy!

stir fry is a great summer meal – quick, easy, loads of veggies….this honey ginger pineapple stir fry even has caramelized cashews!

if you love polenta as much as I do, then these easy polenta chips need to happen ASAP.

how cute are these little chickpea sliders??

this grilled vietnamese steak and vermicelli bowl is a nice change from the typical steak dinner

millet is one of my very favorite grains, but I haven’t tried it for breakfast yet!

raspberry lemon yogurt popsicles would also make a completely suitable summer breakfast addition

I’m not a huge fan of kale salads so far, but I have a feeling that a grilled kale ceasar might change that

grilled fruit is amazing and this grilled pineapple relish would be killer on some grilled chicken or pork!

mini blueberry pancakes!!

samosas are flaky little dough pockets packed with flavorful ingredients…like veggies and goat cheese! they’re often fried, but these are baked. healthy bonus!

I fully intend on making this simple summer chickpea salad for a cookout next week…and trying not to eat it all before I get there. no promises on that last part though.

can’t forget dessert…and another reason to buy the strawberries and raspberries that are insanely delicious right now

to finish up this week, these are my exact thoughts on why “cheat days” aren’t such a great idea. moderation is always the best way to go for weight loss or health in general.