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!
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!