Boring Menu: Ways to “Healthify” Your Favorite Recipes

healthify

Do you feel like a healthy diet consists of a daily grilled chicken salad?  Rabbit food anyone? Carrots?   

I remember my son asking me one evening “What’s for dinner?”  And my husband sarcastically replied, “Chicken, chicken, or chicken?”   

Ok, so I could get by with eating the same thing everyday.  I don’t mind that my daily meals are pretty much the same, but my family wants a little variety.  So how do you keep some variety and stick with healthy choices?  

 

Protein and Dairy Options

Besides chicken, you have turkey, pork, and lean cuts of beef.  Starkist tuna has so many different flavors of tuna in their ready-to-go packets.  I love the new buffalo flavor, and the sweet and spicy has been a longtime favorite of mine as well.  My husband and son deer hunt, and we enjoy venison.  Bacon, anyone?  You haven’t had bacon until you’ve had deer bacon…just sayin!  We get most of it ground, so I use that in meatloaf, chili (well, my husband makes chili, not me!), tacos, spaghetti, hamburgers.  

Low fat cottage cheese is a good source of protein as well as nonfat plain greek yogurt.  In a recipe calling for cream cheese, you can use lowfat or nonfat cream cheese or greek yogurt.  In a recipe calling for sour cream, you can use plain greek yogurt.  

When it comes to milk, you can gradually switch from whole to 2% to 1% to maybe even skim eventually.  And now there are several alternatives.  I use unsweetened almond milk in cooking a lot.  Again, big reduction in calories and the lactose in regular milk can have negative effects on some tummies.

 

Salads

You can do so much with a salad.  After your lettuce, you can toss in all kinds of cut up veggies, maybe even some fruit (grapes, strawberries, or oranges), low fat cheese, lean protein, a few nuts (slivered almonds or walnuts).  

 

Baking Options

I love baking with oat flour these days.  There’s also almond flour and coconut flour as well as whole wheat flour.  (Be sure to read about measuring adjustments if you use a different type of flour.)  For sweeteners there’s stevia.  Honey and pure maple syrup can be used in some recipes.  Coconut oil is very popular these days in both solid or liquid form to replace oils or butter in a recipe.  Protein powder is also an option to add a little flavor (vanilla or chocolate) in the place of the sugar and/or flour.  

These are just a few quick ideas to get you thinking about how to make small changes to recipes to either add nutrition or lessen the fat, calories, and processed stuff.  

 

Here’s one I make often….it’s a healthy alternative to rice krispy treats.  My son often eats them for breakfast.ricekrispy

1 cup nut butter (I use natural PB (Kroger brand is great!), but you can use nut butter of choice)
1 cup honey
Melt on stove over low heat
Add crisp rice cereal (or cheerios or maybe even a Kashi cereal) 4-6 cups depending on the cereal you choose.  Stir together to coat.  
Press into 9×13 pan.  Let set.  

This week in my closed Facebook group, I’ve been sharing some recipe ideas like this one with the girls.  If you’d like one of those recipes, sign up here to be added to my weekly email list, and I’ll send you one (or two!) of the recipe ideas.  

 

What is one of your favorite recipes that you’d like to healthify?
What is one of your favorite healthy recipes?
Let’s share some ideas and help each other with some new ideas!  

Visions of Sugarplums: How to Enjoy Without Overindulging

visions of sugarplums

I know Easter and Halloween are candy-filled holidays, but I’d have to think that Christmas tops them both with candy and cookies and all kinds of yummy treats everywhere you turn.  If it’s not the goodies, it’s the hot chocolate and cider and “mommy and daddy” drinks!  lol!  We’re bombarded with all kinds of yumminess.   They LOOK yummy!  They SMELL yummy!  And we know they TASTE yummy!  

 

How can we navigate the sweets and treats and all the Christmas goodies without feeling deprived and yet stuffed and blah?  I have some ideas!  

 

Make/Take an alternative

  • Katie at Dashing Dish has some great recipes, many even gluten free, that are super healthy and taste just as yummy as the real thing.  
  • Hungry Girl (Lisa Lillien) can give you an alternative to any dessert that is simple and less sugary but still tastes just as indulgent.  
  • Sign up for my newsletter and get my recipe for these healthy cookie dough balls.cookie_dough

Drink sparkling water or hot tea

totaltea

 

There are so many flavored no calorie waters and teas.  

(I’ve written about how much I love Total Tea and Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane.)  This keeps you hydrated and gives you some flavor.

 

 

Brush your teeth

After a meal and small treat, brush your teeth with some minty toothpaste.  This will leave   your mouth with a fresh and clean taste.  

Close the kitchen and savor lasting conversation

Once you’ve had your meal, clean up and close the kitchen.  Sit by the fire and be present with the ones you love.  

Eat mindfully  

If you’re going to have a treat, allow yourself to enjoy it.  Experience the taste and the smells of the dish.  If you’re standing and conversing and trying to eat all at the same time, you won’t enjoy your treat and will also tend to eat more than you may even realize.  

Taste Then Toss

It’s my number one go to tip on all things food.  Nothing is off limits….ever.  But you don’t have to indulge in an entire piece of cake, slice of pie, cookie, etc.  And at Christmas especially, there seems to be more than one option or thing you REALLY want.  So have a bite or two, then toss the rest.  (Or share it with someone.)  The point is, you don’t have to eat all of it.  And chances are, a bite or two gives you the satisfaction without feeling stuffed.  

What is your favorite Christmas treat?

Tips for a Guilt-Free Thanksgiving Dinner

THANKSGIVING (2)
 One week from today most of us will be sitting down at the Thanksgiving Dinner table.  For some, that brings feelings of happiness, positive anticipation, and thoughts of all the yummy foods that will be at our fingertips.  For others, it brings concerns and feelings that we’ll eat too much and feel icky at the end of the day.

I know for me a buffet of any kind totally turns me off.  I don’t like access to tons of food.  By implementing these 10 tips (or even just a few!), you can end your Thanksgiving Day feeling satisfied not stuffed and grateful for more than the fact that this spread is only available one time a year!  

  1.  Begin your day with breakfast.  Don’t skip!!!  You may want to try these Pumpkin Pie Muffins I made over the weekend.  muffins
  2.  Move.  Take a walk before and/or after dinner.  Find a local turkey trot.  If you’re in the Shelbyville area our Shelby Roadrunners meet on Thanksgiving morning for a run.  (Email me and I’ll give you the details!  We’d love for you to join us.)
  3.  Take something healthy to the dinner.  At least you know you will have one option that you feel good about.
  4.  Drink water.  Don’t drink extra calories.  Plus, the water will keep you feeling full.
  5.  When it comes to filling your plate, be mindful of your choices.  
  6.  Is this a food you can have any time?  Then why do I need it today?  Save space for things like Aunt Carol’s dressing that you only get once a year.
  7.  Take a small serving.  You can always go back for more if you feel you just didn’t get enough.
  8.  Focus on protein and fiber.  The turkey and fresh veggies will fill you up and satisfy.
  9.  Taste Then Toss.  My number one go-to rule in all things.  You can have a bite or two of anything, but you don’t have to eat it all.  Enjoy the indulgence guilt free then get rid of it before you feel so stuffed that you wish you’d never eaten it.  
  10.  Sit down to eat.  Resist the urge to graze and pick on all the goodies.  
  11.  Once dinner is over, volunteer to help clean up.  As long as food is out, people will want to eat it.  Plus, it’s not safe to allow food to set at room temperature.
  12.  Freeze leftovers.  You don’t need to have Thanksgiving Dinner all weekend.  Get back on track the next day.  
  13.  Enjoy your day.  In the big scheme, it’s ONE day.  One day doesn’t ruin an entire month of hard work IF you keep it in perspective.  Your very next choice can get you right back on track.  

Do you have a tip to share with us?  Which is these tips will you put into practice this Thanksgiving?