Salad doesn’t have to be boring or routine - there are no rules. Keep plenty of healthy foods on-hand and you can combine them in a wide variety of ways on a bed of greens. Here are some ideas to help switch up your typical salads:
• Beans - Canned black beans and chickpeas add protein and fiber and require no prep
• Dried Fruit - Go for varieties with no added sugars to add some healthy sweetness to your salad
• Salsa - Use salsa instead of salad dressing to add a low-calorie kick
• Cottage cheese - Add some creaminess as well as protein
• Seeds - Give sunflower seeds or hemp hearts a try and add protein as well as Omegas
• Eggs - Slice up a hard-boiled egg or two for some extra protein
• Leftovers - Use the taco meat from the other night and crush up some tortilla chips instead of croutons
It’s strawberry season! Eaten on their own, on toast, or mixed in with your yogurt, strawberries are a good way to get some variety in your diet. They also have a wide variety of health benefits. Here are just a few:
- Flavonoids help reduce the risk of heart attack and reduce inflammation
- 150% Vitamin C in a 1 cup serving to boost your immune system
- Potassium helps regulate blood pressure
- High fiber and water content promotes regular bowel movements
- Strawberry seeds contain an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid that boosts your mood
- Low glycemic index so they don’t cause blood sugar to spike
Depending on where you look, daily calcium requirements range from 700-1,200mg. A one cup serving of cow milk yields 300mg, but if milk isn’t your thing, here are six other ideas that offer even more calcium:
1. Salmon - 340mg in 5oz
2. Firm tofu - 861mg in 1 cup
3. Almond milk - 482mg in 1 cup
4. Sardines - 370mg in 3oz
5. Chickpeas - 315mg in 1.5 cups
6. Collard greens - 357mg in 1 cooked cup
We’re always on the go but we always have to eat. With just a tiny bit of planning and prep work, you can stay on track and avoid the drive-throughs while you’re out on your daily adventures. Here are some ideas:
• Seeds and nuts
• Trail Mix (be mindful of sugar content)
• Hard-boiled eggs
• Tuna and crackers
• Fruit (apple, banana, blueberries)
• Peanut butter and celery
• Homemade jerky (store-bought is usually high in sugar and artificial ingredients)
Shrimp pack a wide variety of nutrients that are different than most other seafood. They’re almost pure protein and can be very filling despite being low in calories. Let’s take a quick look at what else they have to offer:
• low in calories at 84 calories for a 3oz serving
• 18g protein in a 3oz serving
• zero carbs
• 90% of calories in shrimp come from protein, 10% from fat
• one of the best sources of iodine, that helps promote thyroid and brain health
• provides over 20 other vitamins and minerals
• good source of Omega 3’s and 6’s
When you’re getting young kids involved in the kitchen, the key is to give them tasks that match their skill level and that they also enjoy. Preschoolers are constantly in the process of learning what they can do on their own and here are some kitchen tasks that will help foster that sense of accomplishment:
• squeezing juice out of lemons
• tearing up greens for salad
• stirring batter
• punching down bread dough
• adding ingredients to a mixing bowl
• turning pages in your cookbook or scrolling the recipe down on your phone/tablet
• mashing potatoes
• beating eggs
• Before drinking soda, drink a glass of water - Try and disassociate thirstiness with a desire for the sweetness of soda.
• Total it up - Add up how many cans/bottles you drink each day. Do this for a week, multiply by 52, then divide by 12. This is your monthly total of sodas.
• Reduce - Decrease your normal consumption by one can/bottle each week. If you can’t make that jump yet, go with a smaller can/bottle size. Every little bit helps.
• Switch to sparkling - If you still want the tingle of carbonation but with none of the calories or harmful ingredients go for LaCroix, Perrier, Bubly or get a Soda Stream.
• Mix it up - Use flavored beverage enhancers (liquid or powder) to make water more interesting and to switch up the flavors. There are even varieties that contain caffeine if you need a kick.
Building confidence in the kitchen can start at any age. If a child knows how to do some prep work to get to a healthy snack, they’ll not only get the satisfaction of accomplishing a task, they’ll also gain some independence and learn to not always go for the quicker and maybe less healthy snack. Here are some quick snacks kids can make and enjoy:
• Trail Mix - Using ingredients such as granola, cereal, raisins, pretzels, and peanuts you can create your own trail mix and then portion it into small sandwich bags that are ready to go.
• Bananas and Peanut Butter - Cutting bananas and spreading peanut butter are great for kids because it doesn’t require a sharp knife. This winning combo is simple yet delicious.
• Veggies and dip - Whether it’s broccoli and ranch or carrots and hummus, kids can easily get this combo going.
• Meat and cheese rollups - Take a tortilla, add lunch meat slices, cheese, and even some greens, roll up, and eat!
• Protein bites - Team up with them and make these on the weekend to enjoy throughout the week when kids need a quick, powerful snack.
1. Use a microplane grater for quick, finely minced garlic.
2. When cutting juicy foods like tomatoes, place your cutting board onto a rimmed sheet pan. This will keep all the juice in one place and make cleanup a breeze.
3. To quickly cool a pan between baking batches of cookies and avoid uneven baking, rinse the underside of the pan in the sink with cool water. It will cool the pan but keep the top side dry and ready for the next batch.
4. To save your fingers and time when eating pistachios, use half of a shell you’ve already removed to pry apart the remaining pistachios.
5. If you need an egg cooked quick, place it in a small microwave-safe glass and microwave for 35 seconds.
6. Rather than waiting for your butter to get room temp, cold butter can be easily sliced off in thin pieces with a cheese slicer.
Coconut oil has become quite popular and for good reason. It’s a healthy source of fats and its high smoke point makes it great for high heat cooking. There are lots of other uses for coconut oil too. Here are just a few: