spotlight

Fall foods and veggies dominate this week’s recipes. The pumpkin recipes are unavoidable at this point too. I did a lot of cooking last week (peanut butter cream pie, homemade cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookie cake…..). It was so refreshing to be back in the kitchen & I hope to keep it going! Hope you’re able to do the same with some of these recipes. Enjoy!

trick those taste buds during the upcoming eating holiday season with this cobbler turned juice or maybe these pumpkin cheesecake bites

how to make oatmeal ahead of time. there are really no excuses for skipping the most important meal of the day!

everyone will find something to love in this white bean tortellini soup

this tuscan vegetable stew looks a.m.a.z.i.n.g

don’t let the title of this creamy vegan herb salad dressing scare you. homemade dressing is way healthier than store-bought. and I think I could totally get on the tofu train if it were blended up into a salad dressing.

I have a feeling even veggie haters will be able to get on board with these roasted vegetable stuffed shells

make your halloween dinner fun with these halloween stuffed peppers

italian provolone pull-apart bread would make a perfect snack for watching football (or baseball! GO ROYALS!)

make your lunch time carrot sticks festive with spicy pumpkin chipotle hummus

pecan spiced buttermilk pancakes make for a perfect fall morning

instead of butter, you can spray this pumpkin spice popcorn with a little cooking spray to help the spices stick and you’ve got a healthy, whole grain fall snack!

 

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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

 

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

Before we get to the recipes, I have only one article this week, but it’s a good one on why the best diet is real food. No gimmicks or miracle weight loss foods/products/pills. Just real food like the recipes you see below. It may not have the shock and awe factor of a commercial promising a 15 pound weight loss in 5 days but it IS delicious, enjoyable, and, therefore, sustainable to eat a diet centered around real food…which also makes it the most effective. Overall health is the most important thing and it involves much more than a number on the scale – and it certainly can’t be achieved in a matter of a few days or with one miracle food or “fat blasting” workout. It’s a lifestyle!

Now, on to the recipes!

eating real food doesn’t mean neglecting your sweet tooth, so why not start off with these blueberry oatmeal cookies

I need to make this coconut cashew granola for snacking ASAP

baked banana breakfast cookies can make for a quick breakfast with some yogurt and fruit

these mayo-free greek stuffed deviled eggs make me excited for summer!

hemp seeds are a delicious source of protein and this salad dressing looks fantastic

moroccan chicken skewers with spring veggies….need I say more?

this pineapple guacamole looks like a fun twist on the traditional guac

change up your usual side dish routine with roasted broccoli with lemon tahini

good crackers with normal ingredients can often be pretty pricey – these homemade almond cashew crackers are a great solution and homeade crackers are much easier than they sound

I love hoisin sauce so I can’t wait to try this vietnamese beef bowl

if you haven’t tried sweet potato fries yet, these crispy baked sweet potato fries would be a good start

I plan to try my hand at canning again soon and this blueberry meyer lemon marmalade will be first on the list

get in loads of veggies with this easy broccoli stir fry

That’s it for this week! What recipes are you looking forward to trying? Have you made anything new lately?

spotlight

This week’s spotlight includes both recipes and some great articles I’ve come across this week. Enjoy!

I made this sun-dried tomato hummus last week and it was spectacular. Now that I’ve invested in tahini, you can bet this cilantro hummus will be happening very soon.

the cilantro hummus would also be great on this copycat version of my favorite Panera cilantro lime hummus chicken power salad

can’t say no to peanut butter & jelly snack cookies

you get two meals in one with this roasted eggplant and farro salad, which uses the extra farro for another favorite meal – falafel!

Now, for some articles!

did you know that some honey is not actually 100% honey?

another registered dietitian busts 6 very common nutrition-related myths

a good summary on the new “clean eating” craze, which is really just a new way to emphasize eating minimally processed foods like fruits and vegetables

everyone is on a diet (simply defined as the foods you eat) but several special diets are advertised in the media – here are 9 ways to tell if the diet you’re eating is right for you (hint: you should NOT feel deprived or miserable!)

speaking of diets, here is an article on some interesting research regarding making foods “off limits”

spotlight

I had tons of bananas left from the marathon we hosted about a week ago, so I did some serious banana bread baking over the weekend. This blueberry walnut banana bread makes a great snack and I was surprised that it wasn’t incredibly dense with the use of only whole wheat flour. Other notes:

  • To make a non-vegan version, you can use 2 eggs in place of the flax eggs (ground flaxseed + water) and regular milk.
  • I thought 1/2 cup of sugar was a lot since the bananas also provide sweetness, so I cut it in half.

Here are some other good recipes I found this week:

maple nut granola

trail mix muffins

strawberry banana muffins – you could sub whole wheat pastry flour or do 1/2 all-purpose + 1/2 whole wheat flour to make these a healthier snack or breakfast option

brown sugar salmon with pinapple quinoa

slow cooker vegetable curry

stacked roasted vegetable enchiladas

flourless browned butter brownies

And I definitely need this chocolate peanut butter pretzel granola for my sweet tooth ASAP