Vegetarian Loaded Sweet Potato

It’s no secret that we grew up in a healthy, veggie-centric household.  Sweet potatoes were a veggie that our mom served us on the reg, typically as a carb to many of our meals on a winter evening.  We always loved the creaminess of the potato, it felt like a real comfort food– and the sweetness helped us to curb our wicked sweet tooth.  Now, as registered dietitians, we’re always creating new, healthy recipes that feature our orange fleshed lover, the sweet potato.  This baby packs in 21.5 grams of satisfying protein and 15 grams of fiber for the ultimate satisfaction!

A few more of our faves:

Sweet Potato Nachos

Roasted Tarragon Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Chips with Sea Salt & Chocolate Drizzle

Sweet Potato and Carrot Mash

and…

Mexican Sweet Potato Salad, Cherry & Pistachio Sweet Potato Medley  and our Sweeeeeeeet! Potato Pie

 

Vegetarian Loaded Sweet Potato -so satisfying with 21.5 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber!

Other than the fact that there is something so satisfying about a creamy, fiber filled sweet potato, there are so many benefits! Check them out below!

Sweeeeet potato!  This sweet potato may be loaded with delish goodies, but the sweet potato itself is packed with mega benefits including:

  • Two very potent antioxidants– carotenoids (including beta carotene) and sporamins, which fight everything from the negative health consequences that come with aging to almost all types of disease.
  • Fighting inflammation: Eat a sweet potato and research shows that inflammation in the body immediately decreases, especially in the brain and nerve tissues throughout the body.

Vegetarian Loaded Sweet Potato

 

Vegetarian Loaded Sweet Potato

Serves 1

Ingredients
1 small sweet potato (about 4.5 oz)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped kale
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons low fat or fat free mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Directions:
1.Microwave or bake the sweet potato until tender. While it is cooking, prepare the filling.
2.Heat a sauté pan over medium high heat with a spritz of olive oil in a spray bottle. Add the onion, bell peppers, kale, and broccoli and sauté until tender, about 6-7 minutes.
3.Add the black beans, turmeric, and cumin, and cook until heated through.
4.Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise and split open. Mound the filling onto the sweet potato (there is a lot of filling – it will not all fit tucked into the sweet potato, but that’s okay!)
5.Sprinkle the cheese on top of the filling, then microwave or bake the whole thing until the cheese is melted.
6.Dollop the Greek yogurt on top and serve.

Nutrition facts:  344 calories, 1 gram fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 187 mg sodium, 65 grams carbs, 15 grams fiber, 21.5 grams protein

 

The Nutrition Twins’ Ten Easy Ways to Get Beach Body Ready

As registered dietitians and personal trainers, our clients are always asking us for the easiest ways to shape up fast, even when they’re super busy!  We get it, after all, who doesn’t want to rock their bathing suit look in no time? Here are a few of our favorite tips we share with them!

Our veggi-licious Crudite!

  1. Eat veggies before your meal. You’ll take the edge off hunger with very few calories and then you’ll be able to make a rational decision about what to eat.  You’ll eat less of the heavy stuff at the meal and you’ll get fiber, phytonutrients and vitamins.  The key is not adding calorie-laden butter, oil or dressings.
  2. Don’t just stop with the eating veggies before the meal—eat them with your meal too! Mix steamed veggies right into your meal! You’ll significantly slash calories.  The vegetables will make the meal much less calorie dense and you’ll fill up faster.  You’ll be able to save some for the next day.  For example:  Don’t just order pasta with shrimp, order a side of steamed broccoli and mix it right into the sauce.  Do the same with all of your dishes!3.Start exercising first thing in the morning. While there is mixed research on whether or not this truly helps you to burn more calories, the truth is that if you exercise first thing in the morning, there are fewer things (and fewer excuses!) to get in the way of your workout.  Even the best intentions to exercise later in the day get derailed by having to stay late at work, going out with friends, or a hectic day.4. Go for the lighter calorie cocktails and stick to the serving size. 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of hard liquor or 12 ounces of light beer all have significantly fewer calories (typically 90-120) than mixed drinks, fruity cocktails and regular beer (which range from 140 calories to upwards of 700 calories, especially when you don’t stick to a serving size!).  If you have a couple of cocktails each week and switch to the lighter choices it’s an easy way to shed lbs! Keep in mind, many establishments serve in large glasses that double a serving size.
    5. Put your oil in a spritzer instead of pouring it.
    Whether you pour oil on your omelet at breakfast, in your salad at lunch, or in your pan to cook your dinner, each tablespoon adds 120 calories.  And chances are each time you pour the oil you are using more than a couple tablespoons.  Put your oil in a spray bottle, spritz it on your pot or your meal instead of pouring it and you’ll save hundreds of calories each day and the weight will seem to fall of you.  Use a spray bottle for all dressings, condiments and even for butter!).  Psst… people are always shocked to learn that this is also the case for heart healthy olive, oil; the calories still add up quickly.

 

 

6. Write down everything that you eat. Keeping record holds you accountable for what you put in your mouth. You won’t forget you ate a few pieces of candy from your coworkers candy jar if it’s recorded in your food diary.  Research shows when you write down what you eat you lose twice as much weight.
7. Swap dessert for a piece of fruit
. Most people eat several hundred calories of dessert but if you satisfy your sweet tooth with a piece of fruit (typically 60-80 calories/ piece), you’ll get the sweet. Or try this Strawberry Mint “Ice Cream” -cream/ or this Frozen Yogurt Bark (2o calories!)
8. Sneak in more movement/ exercise
: Sneak in exercise wherever you can. Take stairs instead of the elevator at work or push your kids on the swings for an arm workout. Even if you walk around the neighborhood for 15 minutes, it counts. Just get moving! No matter what your current level of activity is, add more activity to your day, you’ll force your body to burn more to slim down for the beach!

 

9. Swap heavier, higher calorie animal-based fare for protein and fiber-filled pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils, dry peas). Research shows that pulses aid in weight loss even when calories aren’t restricted.  Aim to get ¾ cup daily of any combination of pulses—that’s all it takes!  (This is really encouraging for our clients and helps them meet their “eat less meat” goals!)

  • A few easy swaps/ ideas to try: bean tacos, lentil or split pea soup, bean chili.

 

10.  Leave the last 4 bites behind at each meal. This will save you about 100 calories at each meal and about 400 calories a day.  You’ll feel those last few pounds dropping off as this little change will help you lose almost a pound a week–and won’t miss a thing!

 

BONUS! #11. Start the day with a large glass (12- 16 ounces) of one of our water infused “detox” drinks  (check out a few of ours—under the photo below).  It’s one of the easiest things you can do to start your day off on the right foot.  Every process and chemical reaction in your body relies on water. If you want to look and feel your best and positively impact every aspect of your health, do this. It will take up space in your stomach ( so you’ll eat less and slash calories), increase your energy, boost organ function and efficiency, (your metabolism too!) help flush toxins and wastes out of your body (torid uncomfortable gut bulges from constipation).

Lemon Ginger Turmeric “Detox” Tea

Don’t give up. Take it a step further by drinking that same large glass (12-16 ounces!) before each meal (or carry a water or seltzer bottle with you). Once you make it a habit, you’ll realize how much better you feel, how it sets the tone for the entire day, and you’ll never want to miss it. You’ll overeat less frequently, and you’ll have more energy. Try these:

Vitamin C Infused Detox Water

 Slimming Raspberry Mint Detox Spritzer

Apple Cider Vinegar & Lime “Detox” Drink

Ginger Mint Turmeric Green Tea “Flat Belly” Drink

Raspberry Ginger Lime “Detox” Drink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moroccan Spiced Shrimp Skewers with Toasted Chickpeas, and California Prunes & Quinoa Salad

You’ve probably figured out by reading our blog that we love our home cooked meals. After all, our website wouldn’t be packed with thousands of recipes if we didn’t!  As registered dietitian nutritionists and personal trainers, we love the flavor we create and how good we feel while we eat them—and how great we feel after—completely satisfied, yet light and energized.  And there’s an added sense of happiness and satisfaction knowing that our recipes meet our nutritious, waistline friendly standards and we know exactly what is going in them. What’s probably not so obvious is that as much as we love cooking, there are many times when we’d rather not bother with the meal prep that is required.  Yup, sometimes, we’d like our yummy, wholesome meals without having to do a thing except assemble the ingredients.  In fact, many of our clients have asked for just that, our meals in delivery kits dropped off right at their doorstep. And that’s why we’re so excited to share with you the launch of 3 of our meals that you can fully enjoy in the comfort of your own home, knowing that they meet all of our nutrition criteria to keep you fueled, beach-ready and completely satisfied.

We’ve teamed up with Chef’d, the awesome home meal delivery service known for delivering fresh, pre-portioned ingredients to make amazing recipes right to your door (you never even need to sign up for a subscription!) and with California Prunes, the sweet, antioxidant-packed fruit we grew up loving, to create these scrumptious meals that will make your taste buds sing and your waistline look like you’ve danced the night away.

An added bonus-

Prunes (We used California prunes because we find them to be the sweetest and juiciest):

Our mom always kept a jar of stewed prunes in the fridge when we we’re growing up and anytime we were craving something sweet, we’d reach for them.  They’re the best way to bust a sugar craving!  Who knew we were also getting these benefits:

  • Research shows that eating 5-6 prunes a day may help support healthy bones and help maintain good digestive health.
  • Prunes are packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, which help keep many parts of your body healthy– ranging from your heart to your eyes to your memory and your immune system.
  •  California Prune growers provide the highest quality prunes in the world.
  • A serving has 3 grams of fiber and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol at just 100 calories.

Without further ado, here’s one of our three recipes…you could make it at home from scratch, but better yet, you can have all these ingredients, prepped and pre-portioned and delivered from Chef’d straight to your door!  Order yours here!

Moroccan Spiced Shrimp Skewers with Toasted Chickpeas, and California Prunes & Quinoa Salad
 
This simple dish is packed with flavor thanks to all the Moroccan-inspired spices! Smoked paprika, cumin, and a hint of cinnamon spice up the shrimp skewers, which are so quick to cook. The quinoa salad still takes on traditional flavors thanks to the combination of spices, dried fruit, parsley, and lemon, but we added a few fun twists! Traditional Moroccan cuisine uses a lot of couscous and dates, but we swapped those ingredients out for gluten-free, high-protein quinoa and fiber rich California prunes. This dish is filling, flavorful, and unbelievably easy - perfect for any weeknight! EQUIPMENT: -- Rimmed sheet pan -- Small sauce pot with lid -- Medium bowl -- Strainer -- 2 Small bowls -- aluminum foil --4 bamboo skewers
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • INGREDIENTS:
  • Olive oil (in a spray container)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 shallot
  • 1½ oz Matchstick carrots
  • 1 oz Red quinoa
  • 2 oz White quinoa
  • 2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp Ground cumin
  • ½t sp Ground cinnamon
  • 12 Jumbo shrimp
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 oz California prunes
  • ¼ can Chickpeas
  • ½ oz Fresh parsley
  • ¼ oz Fresh basil
  • ¼ oz Fresh cilantro
  • 1 Garlic clove
Instructions
  1. STEP ONE
  2. Preheat the broiler to high.
  3. Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil.
  4. Finely chop the shallot and chop the carrots into ⅛-inch pieces.
  5. In a small sauce pot with lid, heat 1 teaspoons of olive oil for 1 minute. Add the shallot and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and stir for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of water and ONLY 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of cumin, and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Pat dry shrimp with paper towels.
  7. Cut the lemon in half. Add the juice of HALF a lemon to a medium bowl, discarding any seeds.
  8. Rinse and pat dry produce prior to use.
  9. STEP TWO
  10. Recommendations for salt and pepper are optional. Please season to taste.
  11. Add remaining paprika, cumin, and cinnamon, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to the medium bowl. Stir to make a loose paste. Add the shrimp; toss well.
  12. Cut the prunes into¼-inch pieces; set aside.
  13. Drain ONLY half the can of chickpeas and pat dry with paper towels. Store remaining chickpeas in a separate container for personal use.
  14. Remove and discard stems from parsley. Finely chop the leaves and place HALF of the leaves in a small bowl. Set aside remaining leaves for step 3.
  15. Remove and discard the stems from the basil and cilantro. Finely chop the herbs and add to the bowl. Add garlic, juice of remaining lemon, discarding any seeds, and 1 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  16. STEP THREE
  17. In a small bowl, combine the drained chickpeas, 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Place chickpeas onto the prepared baking sheet and broil for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside for plating.
  18. Thread 3 shrimp each per skewer and wrap the ends of each skewer with a small piece of foil. Place on the same sheet pan and broil for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir prunes and remaining parsley into the quinoa.
  19. (FDA recommends cooking shrimp to a minimum 145°F)
  20. STEP FOUR
  21. Divide the quinoa between two plates.
  22. Top with the toasted chickpeas and lay the shrimp skewers on top.
  23. Serve with the herb sauce on the side.
  24. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 servings Calories: 460 Fat: 9 g Sodium: 290 mg Protein: 32 g

We are honored to have partnered with Chef’d and California prunes to create these meals!

4 Easy Ways to Get Healthy No Matter How Busy You Are

As girls who are registered dietitian nutritionists and personal trainers who always seem to wish there were more hours in a day to both enjoy it and get everything done that we need to, we’re all about finding easy ways to stay healthy despite being time crunched (we’ve been experimenting our entire lives– and teaching what we’ve learned for our entire careers! We enjoy sharing these secrets with our clients and we’re excited to share them with you too!).  These are our top 4 ways to become the healthiest person you know, despite you’re busy schedule.

  1. Start the day with a large glass of water (aka, liquid gold).

It’s one of the easiest things you can do to stay healthy and start your day off on the right foot.  Every process and chemical reaction in your body relies on water. If you want to look and feel your best and positively impact every aspect of your health, do this.

The benefits: This small step will:

  • increase your energy
  • take up space in your stomach, helping you eat less and slash calories
  • boost organ function and efficiency (your metabolism too!)
  • help flush toxins and wastes out of your body, ridding discomfort and gut bulges from constipation and helping your skin to glow

How to do it:

  • Wake up and immediately drink 12-16 ounces. Make it a habit.
  • Don’t give up. Carry a water or seltzer bottle with you and drink 12-16 ounces before each meal.
  • If you need a little extra flavor for motivation, squeeze lemon, lime and/ or orange in. Or try other water infusions like our Watermelon Basil ACV Detox Water Infusion.

So refreshing! Once you make it a habit, you’ll realize how much better you feel and how it sets the tone for the entire day– you’ll never want to miss it!

3. Keep our favorite staples in your kitchen to easily whip up ten, healthy, simple meal options and avoid fast food/ take out.
See Ten Quick, Easy Healthy Meals You Can Make from the Items in Your Fridge.

The benefits:

  • Several studies, including one from John Hopkins suggests that home cooking is a main ingredient in a healthier diet and trying to lose weight diet since people who frequently cook meals at home consume fewer calories, carbohydrates, less sugar sodium and less fat than when they eat out.
  • Aside from delicious meals from home keep you a lot leaner than meals purchased out: they save money and are higher in disease-preventing nutrients! S-C-O-R-E!

    How to do it
    :

    • Simply keep the staples on the list at home so you can rock out healthy meals in 5-10 minute meals when you’re busy!

     3. Eat More to Get Lean: Yes! Mo’ Veggies

Fill half your plate with veggies at lunch and dinner.  This really is possible even when you’re busy! 

The benefits:

  • Veggies are your golden ticket for all things health (disease and obesity prevention, boosting energy & metabolism). They flood your body with antioxidants and phytonutrients that fight disease and mop up free radicals, helping to undo some of the damage created by overindulgences, alcohol, stress and breathing polluted air, while veggies also help to keep meals low in calories.

Additional benefits:

  • Veggie Bonus #1: Fill up on veggies and you’ll have less room in your stomach for the heavy stuff and you’ll get leaner.
  • Veggie Bonus #2 (a.k.a. our constipation & flat-belly cure): The high water and fiber content of the veggies flushes bloat and waste and brings on a flat belly—oh yeah!
  • Veggie Bonus #3 (a.k.a. our bloat-be-gone cure): The high water and potassium combination in veggies helps to flush out salt and the extra water and bloat that it holds with it for a flatter belly.

 

Wonder what Chinese meal makes us smile ear to ear? Shrimp and a double “case of the broccolis” 🥦 🥦 . Yup, we’ve got it bad! 😁What you don’t see is the sauce we get on the side- we request it with no oil or light oil. So delish and totally healthy way to enjoy Chinese and feel satisfied and not over-stuffed or salt- loaded!

What to do:

  • Include extra non-starchy* veggies (nearly all veggies with the exception of peas, potatoes and corn) at every meal.
    *Starchy veggies are healthy; they’re higher in calories so eating lot of them could cause weight gain.

How to do it:

  • Follow our Red, Green and Orange RuleTM. Include either a red, orange or green veggie at every meal.
    • You’ll focus on what you should eat, rather than obsessing about foods you should eat less often.
  • Steam veggies and eat as a side to a meal, mixed in it, or enjoy them raw.
  • Try cutting meal serving back by one-quarter to one-half and then add steamed veggies right into the sauce. The meal size will be the same but you’ll eat less of the heavy, waist-puffing stuff and automatically boost nutrients, fiber and slash calories.

 The time crunched solution:
How to do it:

  • Keep frozen veggies on hand! They’re just as nutritious as fresh—and they won’t go bad—you don’t have to wash, cut or peel them! If they’re not defrosted, simply steam or pop them in the microwave and voila!

 

  • Defrost frozen veggies in the fridge during the day. When you get home, make a quick cold salad by mixing the veggies with vinegar and a teaspoon of olive oil or toss them right into a hot meal, as they’ll already be “cooked” and you’ll simply warm them up.
  • Purchase pre-washed and sliced fresh veggies. Enjoy fresh carrots sticks and sliced bell pepper with hummus.
  • Dining on take-out? Chinese chicken and rice? Pasta and chicken? Mac ‘n cheese?  Order (or microwave from frozen at home) a side of steamed veggies without added butter or oil.
  • Mix the veggies right into whatever dish you’re eating—the veggies will pick up the flavor from the sauce in the meal and add great texture, flavor and color. The meal will be much bigger, so save half for another day. You’ll eat less of the heavy stuff and fill your stomach with the lower calorie, fiber-and nutrient packed veggies.
  • Make/ order omelets, sandwiches, pizzas, wraps and burritos with veggies (pre-cut/ washed veggies makes it fast).
  • Preparing or ordering a sandwich or wrap? Use or request nori or lettuce to replace carb-rich bread—it’s easier to eat on-the-go than a traditional sandwich and just as quick to prepare.

Tip for Success:

  • One day a week take five minutes to write down how you’ll get produce at each meal in the coming week. This way, when you’re busy you’ll have your plan in place and be good to go!

    Tammy’s daughters Summer and Riley with their veggies

 4. Stay active and keep it fun.

The benefits:

Burn calories, fight obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer and boost mood and libido.   

What to do:

Aim for at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity three days a week (or more) plus 30 minutes of “movement” (see below for specifics) on each day of the week that you’re not doing traditional cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is also known as aerobic exercise or “cardio,” for short; this is the exercise that burns the most calories while you do it and is going to help you to slim your body and sweat out the bloat, while increasing the strength of your heart and lungs. (Think speed walking, swimming, jogging, biking, the elliptical machine, Zumba, etc.)

The Time-Crunched Solution:

  • Break it up!
  • If you only have 15 minutes in the morning—walk 7 minutes outside your door and walk back. If you have 20 minutes in the evening, do it again.Have less than 10 minutes? Try this quickie, effective, anytime, anywhere 6-minute strength training/ cardio workout (go straight from one exercise to another):
  • 30-Second Plank
  • 40 Wall Squats
  • 20 Knee Push-ups
  • 40 Jumping Jacks
  • 15 Tricep Dips
  • 30 Lunges
  • On the remaining days of the week that you don’t get cardiovascular exercise, aim to get at least 30 minutes of “movement” to move your body EVERY day.

    What counts as being active?

    • Walking through the city
    • Site-seeing
    • Dancing around the house
    • Walking to a friend’s house
    • Walking as you talk on the phone, rather than lounging

IMPORTANT: What burns more calories—lounging on the couch vs. walking down the street or dancing around the house? What is better for your heart, getting it pumping or letting it sit idle? You bet, buttercup—it’s walking or dancing! That’s the reason you’re adding movement.

BONUS POINTS! These are really helpful when you have a time-crunched schedule:

  • Take the stairs at work, do jumping jacks during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV show, and—yes, you’ve heard this one before—take the furthest spot in the parking lot.
  • The goal is to get as many “bonuses” as possible in your day.

Our 4 Secrets To Squashing Sweet Cravings

You may think that because we’re veggie, ginger and turmeric-loving registered dietitian nutritionists that we’d have no room for a sweet tooth. Ha! If only! We have a killer sweet tooth that we work hard to keep in check. We’ve always said we inherited our strong affinity for sweets (to put it mildly) from our Grandma Bubbles who was known in our family for her love of sugar. As kids we wondered how it was possible that any kid wouldn’t sneak sweets every time they were left home alone with a sitter (here’s looking at you, chocolate chips)! Now, we understand what draws someone to the foods they adore, and we’ve spent years seeking out the best strategies to help keep those foods from getting the best of them. We’re all for enjoying your favorite sweets in moderation (gosh knows we do!) but, it’s priceless to know how to tame your inner sugar beast without any added sweetener. 🙂

Here’s how to do it:

1) Prevent your energy from ever getting so low that you need a quick pick-me up (sugar).

This is critical for us (and our clients). Personally, if we don’t eat right or sleep well, our energy dips and it’s easy to succumb to chocolate.

• Fiber and protein at all meals and snacks are a must! This is the magic combo that provides longer-lasting fuel, stabilizes blood sugar, preventing highs and crashes—and the energy dips that come with them.

• Avoid very sugary foods, like sodas, candies, jello and jellies. These give you a high, followed by a crash, signaling your brain that you need an energy boost.

• Do your best to get seven hours of sleep.

 

2) Reset your sweet tooth palate.

This may be the golden ticket: once you start eating sugary foods, you quickly adjust and less sweet foods no longer satisfy your taste buds. In our current American food culture, most store-bought foods have high levels of added sugar to accommodate taste buds that have adapted to and expect highly sweetened food.

• Be proactive. Train your taste buds to become accustomed to a “less” sweet load. (Think of working out; you train your body to become accustomed to a different work load). It’s easier than you think!

o Great news: everyone’s taste buds regenerate in about 10 days1.

This means if you have a sweet tooth (or a salt tooth for that matter!) and you consistently enjoy foods that aren’t as sweet (or aren’t as salty) compared to what you’re accustomed to, after about 10 days you’ll find that foods that are very high in sugar (or salt) will taste too sweet (or too salty).

We constantly reset our sweet palate. It works like a charm! 🙂

 

3) Use naturally sweet foods (without added sugars) to help recalibrate your palate.

While your taste buds are “re-calibrating”, healthier stand-ins for traditional sweets are an amazing way to indulge your sweet tooth while staying on track! Fruits are naturally sweet and as an added bonus, they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber; they’re a great snack for replacing traditional sweets when your cravings hit. As you limit very sweet flavors, your taste buds will “reset” themselves; sugary sweets will start tasting less sweet so you won’t crave the super sweet foods you once did, you’ll actually start enjoying your new, healthier, less sugary sweets. Check out three desserts that squash a sweet tooth without added sugar.

If you notice that your palate is accustomed to very sweet foods and substituting fruit is a struggle for you, start with baked fruit. When you bake fruits, their natural sweetness comes to the surface and taste super delish.

• Similarly, take advantage of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, fenugreek and ginger-that bring a natural sweetness.

Try our naturally sweet (no sugar-added) recipes:

Baked Apple (89 calories, no sugar-added)

Skinny Speedy Walnut Oatmeal Cookies (55 calories)

Easy Healthy Strawberry Mint “Ice Cream” (40 calories)

Lyssie’s daily obsession: Apple “pie” (just the inside of the pie-no crust)

 

4) Enjoy a “Clean-Your-Palate” drink before you indulge in a sweet food to “reset” your palate.

While we haven’t seen research testing this, we find it to be very helpful for us and for our clients. We’ve created these drinks for several years, knowing that they help to both curb sweet cravings and help reset a sweet tooth. These drinks can be slightly sweet, satisfying a craving with very few, if any calories, and they fill the stomach with water to bring on satiety and fullness so you can be better equipped to make wise snack choices and avoid overindulging on sweets. Sipping a slightly bitter and spicy beverage, like this Spicy Metabolism Booster  before a sweet treat can help you appreciate the sweetness of your indulgent food, and can aid your taste buds so that less sweet foods are more satisfying.

Drinks like these have become so important in the success of our clients that we’ve even included them as an important part in our 21-Day Body RebootTM, our life-altering program that helps you to lose your last 10 pounds and more (& keep it off!)—while going wild on the weekend! We call them Clean-ToxTM drinks because they work especially well in helping the body in its’ natural detox process as you eat, wholesome, “clean” (aka, unprocessed) food.

Another Clean-ToxTM drink to try Apple Cider Vinegar & Lime “Detox” Drink

 

Does your DNA play a part in your sweet tooth?

If since your early days, you’ve found yourself drawn to sweets, your DNA may be behind it. (We personally, didn’t need a DNA test for this one, simply knowing that we’d end up meeting our Grandma Bubbles in front of whatever dessert was around was proof enough! 😉 )

• You may have a FGF21 gene variant. A study published in Cell Metabolism shows that if you have a variant of this gene, you are 20% more likely to enjoy and seek out sugary substances.

• You may not be a “super-taster.” Other research has shown that some people (25% of the population) are what are called “super-tasters,” and these people are extremely sensitive to bitter foods. Super-tasters are more sensitive to bitter tastes simply because they have more taste papillae and taste receptors on their tongues that make them more sensitive to bitter tastes. They’re also more sensitive to sweet, salty and umami tastes, but to a lesser extent. They tend to have a reduced preference for sweet and high fat foods. (Super-tasters also tend to consume more salt then non-tasters because salt masks bitter flavors.)

Remember: It’s possible to learn to like healthier, less sugary sweets, even if you have a deep-rooted sweet tooth and no matter what kind of taster you are!

Super-tasters, non-tasters and everyone in between have one thing in common; their taste buds regenerate in about 10 days.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16843606

• The great news is that none of us are doomed by our sweet- tooth genetics. We’re proof in the chocolate pudding! 😉 And with the tricks we mentioned above, even if you find sweets to be the ultimate enticement, you can squash your sweet tooth without adding sugar.

 

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16843606

7 Hacks to Make Healthy Eating a Cinch

We’re suckers for a quick-fix.  Not the kind you may be thinking (no fad diets here!), rather if something saves us time, we can’t wait to give it a whirl.  And if it’s healthy and makes us more efficient, we’re all over it! J   As registered dietitians and girls who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, we’ve done our share of experimenting so you don’t have to—and today we’re sharing our 7 healthy eating hacks –a.k.a., tricks to make healthy eating easier & faster!

1. Frozen Vegetables: Yup! You knew as authors of The Veggie Cure, a veggie hack had to take the #1 spot for us! 🙂

 

Frozen vegetables are just as healthy as fresh ones. In fact, in some instances, frozen are even healthier. Frozen vegetables are picked and frozen immediately, nutrients intact. Fresh vegetables may lose nutrients during shipping and storage or when on store shelves as nutrients are lost when vegetables are exposed to light, heat and air. You’ll notice that several of our recipes call for frozen vegetables. This not only ensures nutrient retention, but it also helps to make meals quick and easy to prepare. You can keep frozen vegetables in your freezer for months (nearly up to a year!) so you never have to worry about not having vegetables if your fresh ones go bad. They’re already cleaned and cut, so you can even defrost them in the fridge during the day before using them at night, toss them in a tomato sauce, soup, casserole or whatever you’re cooking and it’s ready to go in minutes!

This hack is for you if you:
• Often find veggies spoiled in your fridge
• Don’t find the time to wash, chop or prepare veggies
• Find a lot of excuses for not eating veggies 😉
Spicy Fried Broccoli
Orange Banan-apple Smoothie

INSIDER SCOOP: If you’ve tried a frozen veggie in the past and didn’t like it, try a different brand. We’ve noticed a huge difference between brands when it comes to flavor and quality!

 

2. Spray bottle: We use these for everything!

 

 

As registered dietitians we’ve witnessed that one of the healthiest foods has also resulted in the accumulation of unwanted pounds. Olive oil. Just a tablespoon (of any oil) has 120 calories. That’s a little less than 1/10 of the total calories many women should get in an entire day if they’d like to drop a few pounds—and that’s before even eating! It’s easy to pour several tablespoons of oil onto your salad. That’s why we suggest putting your oil in a spray bottle. This will disperse the oil, so you can use a lot less. You still get the flavor and texture while sparing your waist, hips and thighs. Also use a spray bottle for any of your favorite dressings—save time by spritzing oils and dressings rather than trying to mix to disperse the flavor.

This hack is especially for you if you’d like to lose some body fat and:
• Enjoy dressings and condiments
• Cook with oil or butter
Try it with this recipe: Parmesan Eggs in a Bell Pepper Ring
And these Hummus Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers 

 

3. Lemons: Make your kitchen a lemon-palooza!  

A squirt of lemon replaces bloat-causing salt in recipes (we learned this from some well-known chefs), adds immune boosting vitamin C and helps cut down on clean-up. Spritz lemon over a meal rather than using salt for seasoning and place lemon slices under fish for cooking—it prevents fish from sticking to the pan (i.e. bye-bye long clean up time!) and it adds delicious flavor without calories- so you don’t need calorie loaded-sauces or salad dressings. Place wedges in water and you’ll drink more and stay hydrated—and eat less. Many people think they’re hungry and they’re actually thirsty!

This hack is your jam if:
• You add salt, dressings and sauces to your food and want to be less puffy or want to lower your blood pressure.
• Need a little encouragement to drink more water.
• Don’t cook fish enough because of the clean-up.
• Lemon-ginger detox drink
Colorful Detox Salad

 

4. Frozen fruit: As girls with a mega-sweet tooth and who are also no stranger to moldy berries in the fridge the same day we’ve brought them home, these have saved us from falling under sugar’s spoon (sword! ;)). Similarly to frozen veggies, frozen fruits are a delicious, easy way to get antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals without worrying about produce spoiling—plus, they’re an amazing alternative to added sugar.
Simply blend in smoothies, toss on yogurt, oatmeal, cereal or hot chocolate—and allow frozen sweet to add natural sweetness to foods rather than buying sweetened items.

This hack is for you if:
• You like fruit but tend not to eat it.
• Add sugar to (or buy pre-sweetened) cereal, yogurt, oatmeal and smoothies.
• Make smoothies (frozen fruit makes them like a milkshake and no washing or chopping is required).
Skinny DIY Strawberry Mint Ice Cream
Blueberry Banana Smoothie

 

5. Sheet pans: These rimmed baking sheets make healthy ‘meals in a jiffy’ a reality. A sheet pan is so simple, yet brilliant since it allows you the convenience having a meal in 30 minutes by just tossing healthy items on it and popping it in the oven. Clean-up? Just one sheet– that you can always line with foil or parchment paper—that makes cleaning the pan nearly non-existent. Try this on your sheet pan: Toss vVeggies or a veggie blend, fish and a spritz of olive oil, garlic and lemon. Keep your “meal-in-minutes” creative by simply mixing and matching different veggies, spices and proteins to keep your taste buds tantalized. You don’t need rich sauces or loads of oil and the short cooking time minimizes nutrient losses.

This hack is your hot pan if you:
• Want to make healthy meals but don’t want to slave over the stove
• Prefer meals with simple preparation
• Would eat more veggies if they were roasted
• Want a hands-off dinner (and fast!) and to create a meal all on one pan!
• Try this recipe: Sheet Pan Roasted Salmon with Kale & Golden Beets

 

6. Lyssie’s pick: A swivel grater. Lyssie: In under a minute, I can completely boost the flavor and health of what I’m eating. I grate a bit of ginger or turmeric over the top of a meal for awesome flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits without fat, salt or calories. And I’ll also grate beets, turnips or carrots over a salad for extra crunch and flavor. This takes moments with a good quality grater. I love the OXO one—and you can get it for under $10!

Try this: Ginger Mint Turmeric Green Tea Flat-Belly “Detox”

 

7. Tammy’s pick Tammy: An orange peeler. Tammy: This is my new fave find! One of my daughter’s, Summer, requests an orange in her lunch every day. I was peeling it by making incisions with a knife, until I found this inexpensive little life-changing number on amazon—the orange peeler! I can literally peel an orange in 15 seconds and there’s NO mess. And for just over $4 for 6 of them, you really can’t go wrong!