Category Archives: healthy tips

Mango Peach Cinnamon Green Smoothie

I love fruit and I love veggies. Blended together in an ice cold smoothie is about my perfect healthy breakfast choice. So here we have a tasty green smoothie with a bit of a cinnamon kick. Don’t like cinnamon? Thats okay! It’s still a perfectly edible green drink without the spicy after shot.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of mango/peaches (loosely measured into a cup, not packed)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (this smoothie is great with water as well, which is how I drink it, the almond milk gives you an extra flavor boost for about 30 cals…)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)
  • two big handfuls of spinach (can also substitute kale, but its a MUCH stronger flavor)
  • 4-8 baby carrots

Directions:

The easiest directions ever… toss all the ingredients into your blender. Blend until… blended. Pour into drinking vessel (shaker bottle, old shoe, mason jar, etc, etc, etc)… drink and be healthy!!!

*note – if this is your first green smoothie, start with more fruit and less veggies. At first ANY veggies are better than none, so start small and work your way up!

Chicken Nugget w/ Spicy Dipping Sauce

Chicken and veggies. The bastion of everyone when they start eating healthy, and for many of us, a regular menu item as our healthy eating journey continues.

Variety is the spice of life, and this chicken nugget recipe is a great compromise between healthy and naughty food and one that your entire family will love.

If you are counting calories, keep an eye on how much sauce you are using as it can get you into trouble!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pounds of chicken
  • whole wheat italian bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425. Cut up chicken into bite sized pieces, and season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken with olive oil and dredge in the bread crumbs to thinly coat. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Put some foil down on your cookie sheets (you’ll need 2) and spray them with cooking spray to save you some clean up time.

Bake nuggets for 10 minutes, flip and bake for another 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Spicy dipping sauce:

  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp scallions, chopped fine plus more for topping
  • 3 tbsp Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and use for dipping your nugge…ys.

Top salad greens with your chicken nuggets and a little bit of the sauce. Serve with cut up veggies for your kiddos!

sloppy joes with carrot noodles

I loooove sloppy joes. Definitely one of my big comfort foods and something I’ve loved ever since I was a shorty.

These days I eat very little grain, so no buns (but you could definitely toss this on a bun for disagreeable spouses or children), but with all the added veggies this really makes a great meal.

Plus a ton less sodium, sugar, and preservatives compared to the canned stuff!

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pepper (red/green/yellow)
  • 2 large onion
  • 2 pound ground turkey
  • 1.5 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos or soy sauce (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bag carrot noodles (you can also use zucchini noodles)

Directions:

Bring a large skillet up to medium heat. Add in your coconut/olive oil along with diced pepper and onions. You’ll want to saute them for about five minutes or until they become translucent.

Add in your ground turkey and break up with spatula. Cook until brown. Add coconut aminos/soy sauce, ketchup, and tomato paste. Add in your salt and garlic powder. Stir to mix it all up.

Let cook on low heat for 20 minutes. This is one of those recipes where you can let it simmer for an hour and it will really help to bring the flavors out!

For the carrot noodles, follow the directions on the box (basically just saute them with a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder).

Serve your sloppy joes over your bed of carrot noodles and enjoy!

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

David’s note – don’t let the length of this recipe intimidate you! It is AMAZING and easy for ANYONE to prepare.

This recipe is essentially a healthier version of a Chipotle burrito bowl that uses cauliflower rice instead of rice or a wrapper.

Nearly everyone who has tried this recipe loves it and rotates it into their normal eating schedule, so put on your adult pants and give it a try!

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 16 oz of salsa, plus extra for topping
  • Cauliflower rice (available at Trader Joe’s-either fresh or frozen, but we prefer fresh)
  • 3 Bell Peppers, sliced
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Optional Guacamole:
  • Avocados
  • Garlic Salt
  • Salsa

Mash avocado and add garlic salt/salsa to taste! Mash less if you like chunky guac or just cut into chunks and mix. Add lime juice or fruit fresh to keep from browning if you want to make a big batch. We make this fresh each time we eat but you can definitely do it ahead of time!

  • Optional Corn Salsa
  • 1 small can of corn
  • 1 jalepeno, chopped finely (leave this out if you don’t like spicy food)
  • 1 small can green chilies
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
  • Cilantro if desired.

Drain corn, and mix other ingredients in a small bowl. For spicier salsa, leave the seeds in your jalepeno!

Directions:

Put chicken and salsa in the crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours OR low for 7-8 hours. Shred chicken and drain liquid.

In a skillet over medium high heat, sauté your peppers and onions in a tiny bit of olive oil – let them sit for 3/5 minutes at a time without stirring to caramelize.

Sautee Cauliflower rice in a bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir for 3/4 minutes or until softened-I like mine to have a tiny bit of crunch still for texture.

Layer cauliflower rice, peppers and onions, chicken (and corn salsa/guac if desired) in a bowl and top with salsa!

NOTES: If you want this to last longer or have a big family, make 5 pounds of chicken and use 24 oz of salsa (1.5 jars).

TIPS FOR KIDS/FAMILIES: This recipe is REALLY kid friendly, but if your kids/spouses balk at cauliflower rice, make them a batch of brown rice OR buy a bag of whole wheat tortillas – they can put the filling in there and have fajita “tacos.”

Buy an extra can of corn (or set some aside) for kids or spouses that don’t like spicy food.

Thanks to Melissa Keith for the recipe testing and assistance!

Frozen Banana Dark Chocolate Drizzle

If you’re like me, sometimes you really, REALLY,  miss having ice cream every night as a snack. I mean, ice cream in all it’s forms is amazing.

But you’re eating healthy now, so that stuff is a no go!

These dark chocolate banana slices will go a long way to satisfy your sweet tooth, are super easy, AND are lower calorie than the store bought ones (because you are drizzling, and not dipping).

Ingredients:

  • fresh bananas
  • bakers heat and dip dipping chocolate

Directions:

Peel banana. Slice banana into roughly 8-10 round slices.

Place slice bananas on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.

Dip a spoon into your dark chocolate tub and swiftly move back and forth to cover bananas.

Put your bananas into the freezer and wait approximately and hour. If you like them a bit softer you can eat them after they’ve been in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Try to stick to 4 slices per serving as a guideline – if not it’s WAY too easy to eat a whole bunch of these at one time!

 

Turkey Meatloaf Cups

These are a staple in my diet. They are super easy. Freeze amazingly. Reheat more amazingly. And are tasty enough that even your kids or spouse… who may not be on the same healthy eating train as you are will still enjoy em!

Ingredients: (makes 24 meatloaf muffins)

  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, cut into small chunks
  • 3 ribs celery from the heart of the stalk, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg plus a splash of low fat milk (or plain almond milk), beaten
  • 1.5 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick
  • 1 cup smoky barbecue sauce (the lower the sugar on your bbq, the healthier it will be!)
  • 1/2 cup tomato salsa
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Put ground turkey into a big bowl. Chop onion, celery and green pepper and add to the bowl. Add egg, beaten with milk, bread crumbs and grill seasoning to the bowl.

Next, mix together the smoky barbecue sauce, the salsa and the Worcestershire sauce. Pour half the sauce mixture into the bowl with the meatloaf mix. Mix the meatloaf together with your hands. Wash up.

Spray your muffin pans with cooking spray. Use an ice cream scoop to help you fill meat into a each tin. Top each meat loaf with a spoonful of extra sauce. Bake about 20 minutes. Cut open 1 muffin to test that the middle is cooked through.

Mini Burrito Cups

These mini burrito cups are another staple in my monthly eating regimen. They hit on all the main points that I need in food for it to become a “regular” menu option (can be eaten cold, is quick to make, is packed with protein, easily consumed with hands only…) AND they are super delicious. I’m confident you are gonna love this recipe, so lets get it cracken!

mini-burrito-cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 15 oz black beans, drained
  • 2 cans 14.5 oz fire-roasted tomatoes (drain liquid from one can)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 24 3-inch wonton skin
  • package of ultra thin colby jack cheese (OPTIONAL)

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 350. When the oven is preheating, brown your turkey in a skillet on medium heat, making sure to either cook off all your fat or drain it.
After turkey has been cooked sufficiently, add in corn, beans, roasted tomatoes, spices, vinegar, and the agave nectar. Cook for 15 minutes.
Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or wipe down with non-stick oil. Lay 2 wonton skins in each cup. If you are trying to keep it even more low cal, only use one skin, but keep in mind cups swill be a lot more fragile… still delicious though!
Spoon turkey filling into cups and top with cheese (optional). Bake for 12 minutes.
Remove cups from oven and garnish with your favorite burrito toppings. We love lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado and salsa.

Turkey Burgers

In a perfect world you’d have all of your meals prepared for you and you only. You wouldn’t need to worry about what your kids or spouse was eating because everything would fit perfect with your dietary needs and tastes.

I’m not able to set you up with beach front property in the afore mentioned perfect world, but I AM able to give you an amazingly easy and delicious turkey burger recipe that scales easily to your own healthy diet and will be something your kids will enjoy too.

turkey-lettuce-wrap

Note – the recipe below is ONLY for the turkey patties, find some starting ideas on how to prepare your turkey burgers below in the TIPS section

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (unseasoned)
  • 1/4 cup onion (diced, the smaller the dice the better)
  • 2 eggs (you can do only whites if you want to lean the recipe out even more)
  • 1 glove garlic (minced or finely diced – stick with actual garlic, no powder)
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste (I normally do about 30ish cracks from the pepper mill)
  • ***optional (lettuce for wraps/low calorie buns, see TIPS below)

Directions:

Grab a large bowl and toss in your ground turkey, eggs, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. On the subject of mixing, get in there and use your hands, that’s what they are made for! They’ll mix WAY better than a spoon or spatula.

Form your turkey mix into patties. I normally do 15 or 16 patties, but you can make your burgers as big or small as you like.

In a medium or large sized skillet over medium heat, arrange your patties. You’ll want to flip them half way through cooking. If you are using a meat thermometer, you’re shooting for an internal temperature of 180F or hotter.

Tips:

I normally eat my turkey burgers on a lettuce wrap. You’ll want to get a large head of lettuce, tear a leaf off and then wrap your turkey patty inside with whatever toppings you like. It’s delicious, low in calories and carbs, and will make eating your turkey burger about a million times easier.

For your spouses or kids who may not be eating QUITE as healthy as you, toss them onto a bun and put their favorite condiments on and I bet they’ll love em.

Give it a try and enjoy!

 

Healthy Vegetable Beef Soup

Soups. Man, I love them soups. Super easy to make. Super easy to portion out for the week on your meal prep day. Toasty and warm during all of the (many) cold winter months in the midwest. Overall, soups man, they are pretty great. And this vegetable beef soup is one of my favorites.

vegetable-beef-soup

Ingredients: 

  • 1.25 pound ground beef (you can use ground turkey, but this is one of the recipes where I prefer a nice lean ground beef)
  • 1 medium-large sized yellow onion
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 15oz can whole kernel corn drained
  • 1 can beef broth (low sodium stuff is what I use)
  • 2 cups frozen green beans
  • 1 46 oz bottle of v8 (use the low sodium, low calorie stuff)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Grab a large soup pot. On medium heat toss in the ground beef and break it apart. While the ground beef is cooking, chop up your onion and celery. Toss those into the pot to start them sauteing.

While all of that is cooking, cut up your carrots and sweet potatoes. By now your meat should be cooked and your onions translucent. Add in your carrots, sweet potatoes, drained corn, and frozen green beans. Next add all of the liquids and your garlic powder. It’s going to smell A LOT like the V8, but don’t worry, that is going to cook off nicely.

Cover your soup and bring up to a boil for 30 mins. When you hit the 30 minute mark, bring the soup down to a simmer and leave covered to cook for around 4 hours. Remember, the longer you cook the soup, the better it’s gonna taste.

After cooking salt and pepper to taste. I normally do about 20 “cracks” on my pepper mill and around a tablespoon of salt.

Also soup is always better the second day, that’s just the way stuff is. Science and all that.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Beef Stew

Eating healthy shouldn’t be a terrible, robotic, soulless ritual done only to nourish and replenish your body. The idea of getting thru a long day knowing that you have something already made that is warm and tasty, AND reminds you of home ready to be nom’d up is a great feeling.

Enter my healthy sweet potato beef stew.

stew-pic-blog2

This recipe is super simple to make. You basically brown up some meat in a big pot, dice some veggies, throw it all into the same pot you did the meat in, add a few spices, and in a few hours you have a delicious, comforting stew.

It’s super healthy to eat as is and if you need to add even more carbs (say for a picky spouse or particular tween), throwing it over a bed of rice or noodles is a perfect mix.

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 lb. boneless stew meat
  •  ¼ cup all purpose whole wheat flour
  •  2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic (use real garlic, not powder!)
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 3 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  •  ½ lb. carrots
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut your meat into small bite size pieces. In a medium bowl combine your beef bites and your flour, throughly covering all of the meat.

In a large pot, add your olive oil and bring up to medium heat. Add your flour covered beef pieces in small batches, leaving space between pieces. I normally do two or three small batches, as one big batch just makes a soppy wet mess. You want to brown the outside of the meat, but not fully cook it. I generally try not to mess with the meat too much as it will knock the coating off.

After you have browned all your meat and removed it from the pot, add your chopped onion and chopped garlic (don’t worry about cleaning the pot, we want the brown bits!). Saute the veg for a couple of minutes or until translucent.

Add the beef broth, tomato paste, as well as the frozen peas and corn to the pot. Using your your spoon scrape the delicious browned bits off bottom of the pot while stirring. When the bottom of the pot is nice and smooth, add the chopped carrots and chopped sweet potatoes.

Next re-add your meat, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and your splash of Worcestershire sauce. Add a few cranks with your pepper mill, don’t go too crazy, remember you can always add more later.

Cover the pot and bring it up to a boil. After you see it boiling, lower the heat down to a simmer and keep covered for approximately 1:30. Make sure that it simmers the entire time.

I normally check around the 1:15ish mark to see how tender the veggies are. If they are still hard it will need to cook longer.

Serve over a bed of brown rice if desired, though I normally eat my straight out of the pot. Enjoy!