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Eat More to Weigh Less, Really!

If you’re like most of our clients, you’re looking for something you can eat when you’re hungry that won’t cause you to gain weight.  The answer, surprisingly, is something that you can and should eat all of the time.  It’s true; there actually is something that if you eat more of it, it can assist in your weight loss efforts!

 

Veggies!  You may realize that you need more veggies but tend to leave them out of your meals; you’re not alone!  This is one of the most common struggles of health-minded people!  You simply need a little help or encouragement to actually get them!  Once we show our clients how easily vegetables can be deliciously incorporated into their lives, they start to bump up their intake!

 

Check out our 3 Top Reasons you’ll wanna get your veggies:

 

Veggie Bonus #1: Fill up on veggies and you’ll have less room in your stomach for the heavy stuff and you’ll lose weight!

 

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!

 

The key is to keep the non-starchy veggies (nearly all veggies with the exception of peas, potatoes and corn) low in calories (by avoiding adding sauces or oil) and then you can simply mix steamed veggies into your meal and eat less of the waist-puffing stuff!  This means your plate will be just as full, but there will be less room for the higher-calorie fare and you’ll fill up on lower calorie, veggies! And when you’re hungry, fill up on veggies.  You’ll get more nutrients that keep you healthy and prevent disease and constipation while helping you to eat less of the heavy stuff and lose weight!

 

Check out our top ways to do it below:

Easy Peasy Brussel Sprouts

seasoned brussels sprouts with logo

  • Before any meal or cocktail party, have a Veggie Pre-Meal™ with a cup of tea. The Veggie Pre-Meal™ is one-and-a-half to two cups of steamed veggies. (See below for ideas and keep foods such as these Easy Peasy Brussel Sprouts on hand). You’ll be in better control around high calorie foods and won’t be overly hungry. It will be easier to resist eating too many of the foods that pack on the pounds because you’ll already be satisfied.
  • At lunch and dinner order (or microwave from frozen at home, if short on time) a side of steamed veggies without added butter or oil. Simply mix them right into whatever dish you’re eating and you’ll add great texture, flavor and color to your meal and the veggies will pick up the flavor from the sauce in the meal.
  • Use our Red, Green and Orange rule to include one red, green or orange vegetable or fruit in every meal. When you concentrate on getting one of these colors at each meal, you won’t forget. Vegetables are an excellent source of disease-fighting nutrients and are high in fiber and low in calories, and great for helping maintain a healthy weight and fighting aging.

 

Colorful_detox_saladColorful Veggie Detox Salad

  • Make/ order omelets, sandwiches, pizzas, wraps and burritos with veggies added
  • Chinese chicken and rice? Pasta and chicken? Mac ‘n cheese? You end up eating less of the heavy stuff and fill your stomach with the lower calorie, fiber-and nutrient packed veggies. Added bonus: If you’re a fan of large helpings you can bag a third of the meal for later and mix the veggies right in the portion you have; you’ll fill your stomach with nutrients and fiber but with fewer calories. This way you won’t feel cheated or deprived because your meal won’t appear smaller, only your waistline will!
  • Use nori or lettuce for traditional sandwiches or wraps rather than carb-rich bread.
  • Eat your rice and other grain-based meals/ snacks by putting them in cups made with veggies-like scooped out tomatoes and bell peppers, zucchini and cucumber boats—these are delicious shells for the dish and help to keep the carb portion in check.
  • Make dips, spreads and salsas with veggies—veggie based dips like these below can double as sauces for grains and meats and are perfect for dipping veggies in.

 

  • If you still feel hungry after eating –or like munching–eat non-starchy vegetables (all vegetables with the exception of peas, potatoes and corn).
    • Go for them raw or steamed with spices, lemon, or flavored vinegars. You can even try our ultra low-calorie recipes like our Easy Crunchy Braised Cabbage, Colorful Detox Salad, Caramelized Cauliflower with Olive Oil & Lemon Juice, Spicy “Fried” Broccoli, and more! As an alternative, try the Kale Recharge Smoothie.
    • Be sure to avoid options that are cooked in butter or any other calorie-loaded item (like many sauces are)—and even in oil (100 calories per little tablespoon!), as they may thwart your weight-loss efforts and defeat the purpose of low-calorie veggies.
    • For dressing options, consider trying this Raspberry Vinaigrette or this Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dressing (stick to the suggested serving sizes) or consider putting your salad dressing in a spray bottle to spritz your dressing on your veggies and disperse the flavor with minimal calories.
    • Try to eat some raw veggies, as current research has shown that a special protein, glutathione, is found in raw veggies and clings to toxins, helping drag them out of the body. For example, enjoy some fresh carrots and sliced bell pepper with hummus!
    • Try these Roasted Detoxifying Veggies!
    • Defrost frozen veggies in the fridge during the day. When you get home, make a quick cold salad by mixing the veggies with one of the dressing options mentioned above or toss them right into a hot meal, as they’ll already be “cooked” and you’ll simply warm them up!

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Spicy “Fried” Broccoli

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Crunchy Zesty Cucumber Cantaloupe Salad

0006_NutritionTwins-cucumber-melon-cantaloupe-lime-mint-serrano-pepper-salad-summer_logoAs you may know by now, although we grew up in a healthy household surrounded by fresh produce, the truth is we didn’t always have all kinds of produce throughout the year at our fingertips, as you’d likely expect.  In fact, there were only a few weeks during the year when we’d have some of our favorite fruits and veggies.  Yup, our mom was ahead of her time—buying local and “in season” before it was cool and trendy.  You could tell what season it was by opening our fridge. This meant that most of the year, we didn’t have some of our favorite fruits—like melons!  We’d wait all year for our favorite season—summer, which just happens to be when some of our favorite fruits are in season. As hard as it is to believe, some of our favorite recipes that we make today, we would have only had a few months of the year.  Recipes like our:

Watermelon Frosty,

Watermelon Snow Cone

Watermelon & Mint Detox Salad

Strawberry Milkshake

cucumber-cantaloupe-salad-summer7cropped

 

And we can’t help but smile with our latest creation.  It’s the summer dish that we would have waited all year for—and we’re feeling a bit spoiled thinking that we may just keep eating it this one, even when it’s a bit out of season. 😉  When it’s too hot to turn on the stove and you’re looking for a thirst quenching, refreshing side dish (with an optional kick!), this salad with hydrating fruits and veggies and cooling culinary herbs is about to be your new bestie!

Added bonus: Phytonutrients found in cucumbers (cucurbitacins, lignans and flavonoids) may provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. Cucumbers have a high water content and are a great source of fiber to help prevent constipation and the unsightly gut bulges that come with it.

Fun fact: Cucumbers are technically fruits!

Cantaloupes are a great skin beautifier thanks to being high in vitamin C (necessary for the formation of collagen, which keeps the skin pliable and elastic) and vitamin A helps to promote healthy cells and skin. Also since it’s gota high water content, 90 percent, it helps to hydrate the skin, making it appear moist and supple!

Fun tip: To find a great tasting cantaloupe, do a sniff test, if the melon smells delicious it’s sure to be tasty.

We visited the farmers market over the weekend and came across a variety of cucumbers (common salad/garden cucumber, white cucumber, lemon cucumber and Armenian cucumber) and decided why not try them all! You can certainly use just one type of cucumber and it can be any type.

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Just a word of warning, once you start you may not be able to eat just one serving!

You can also make a larger portion, by doubling the recipe, to eat the next day. The lime juice helps preserve the freshness overnight.

0004_NutritionTwins-cucumber-melon-cantaloupe-lime-mint-serrano-pepper-salad-summer_logoCrunchy Zesty Cucumber Cantaloupe Salad

Makes 4, 1 Cup Servings

Serve this easy to make, juicy summer salad with a Mediterranean dish, falafel, grilled fish, fish tacos, grilled chicken or another lean protein.

 

Ingredients

2 cups cantaloupe, diced* (about ¼ medium cantaloupe seeded)

2 cups cucumber, diced* (roughly 2 medium cucumbers), peeled (optional).

1 tsp serrano pepper, (about ¼ small sized pepper) seeded and minced (optional)

1 – 1 ½ Tbsp lime juice,

4-5 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade

Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Combine cantaloupe and cucumber in large bowl.
  1. Pour 1 Tbsp of lime juice over the melon/cucumber mix. Stir to coat the produce in the juice.
  1. Add a pinch of salt to taste to contrast to the sweetness.
  1. Add ½ tsp of the minced serrano pepper, andmix throughout. It can have quite a kick so add more to your liking. This can be omitted if you’re simply looking for a cool and thirst quenching salad without a kick.
  1. Top with slivers of fresh mint leaves.

* Diced pieces can be any size, we liked a small dice in order to get a variety of flavors in one bite!

**A note about the serrano pepper. The oils will linger on your hands, even after washing them. Be aware to not touch near your eyes especially after cutting. You may have to wash your hands a few times before it begins to fade. (I only noticed because I stuck my finger near my mouth while taking a bite of left over cantaloupe and my mouth started tingling! Long after I had finished cutting and washed my hands!)

 

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 47 Calories, 0 g Fat, 0 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 87 mg Sodium, 12 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Fiber, 9 g Sugar, 1 g Protein  

Cucumber_Cantaloupe_Salad_Collage

 

Crunchy Zesty Cucumber Cantaloupe Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cantaloupe, diced* (about ¼ medium cantaloupe seeded)
  • 2 cups cucumber, diced* (roughly 2 medium cucumbers), peeled (optional).
  • 1 tsp serrano pepper, (about ¼ small sized pepper) seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1 – 1 ½ Tbsp lime juice,
  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine cantaloupe and cucumber in large bowl.
  2. Pour 1 Tbsp of lime juice over the melon/cucumber mix. Stir to coat the produce in the juice.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to taste to contrast to the sweetness.
  4. Add ½ tsp of the minced serrano pepper, andmix throughout. It can have quite a kick so add more to your liking. This can be omitted if you’re simply looking for a cool and thirst quenching salad without a kick.
  5. Top with slivers of fresh mint leaves.
Notes
*Diced pieces can be any size, we liked a small dice in order to get a variety of flavors in one bite! **A note about the serrano pepper. The oils will linger on your hands, even after washing them. Be aware to not touch near your eyes especially after cutting. You may have to wash your hands a few times before it begins to fade. (I only noticed because I stuck my finger near my mouth while taking a bite of left over cantaloupe and my mouth started tingling! Long after I had finished cutting and washed my hands!)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 47 Fat: 0 g Saturated fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 12 g Sugar: 9 g Sodium: 87 mg Fiber: 1 g Protein: 1 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

Top Late Night Snacks (our picks for weight loss)

Although we’re twin sister registered dietitians and personal trainers who nowadays absolutely love veggies, we admittedly didn’t always adore them.  In fact, we were very picky kids and the moment our mom would turn her back from the dinner table, we’d sneak our salads off to our best friend, Mary and her black lab, Buddy, who liked veggies! 🙂 Luckily, our veggie-snubbing ways have changed, thanks to many reasons —(you can read more about that here)– and you may know that we also reset our taste buds, which definitely was partially responsible for the love affair we now have with veggies.  But one thing that hasn’t changed is that we each have a killer sweet tooth that we work hard to keep in check.  Although, resetting our taste buds has been very helpful in taming the beast 😉 (aka our killer sweet tooth), it doesn’t mean that we don’t adore sweets, because believe us, we do—especially when the evening comes around!

And when our clients tell us that on nights when they stay up late and they get a little bit hungry or want to nibble, we can relate, as this is when our sweet tooth calls our name, ah!

Thankfully, we’ve learned to make some pretty delicious, waistline-friendly frozen desserts that we can eat and prepare in the very comfort of our own home—and that we love but don’t overeat! Plus, they are a lot less processed and have much less sugar—in fact, ours are actually pretty good for you! Remember our Skinny Strawberry Mint Ice Cream, Skinny Banana Ice Cream SandwichesDark Chocolate Banana Ice Creamand this Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream?

As you settle in to watch your favorite television show after dinner, you may find yourself craving a late-night nosh. Do you cave in to chips or cookies and regret it later? Or maybe in your attempt to avoid junk food, you end up nibbling your way through the other food in your cupboard instead. If the late night munchies have gotten the best of you and your waistline, here are our top snacks to try.

 

They’ve all got less than 150 calories and really hit the spot.

 

Vanilla “Milkshake”

Two options:

  • Mix one scoop of vanilla or chocolate flavored protein with ¾ cup cold water, ice and 1/4 frozen banana and blend. (We’ve been using Vega Protein & Greens Vanilla or Chocolate Protein Powder lately)

OR

  • Mix a cup of almond milk (or skim milk) with one scoop of vanilla-flavored protein powder.

 

Why our clients love it: This light version of a milkshake feels like a real treat, satisfies sweet cravings, but won’t weigh you down.  The protein keeps your blood sugar stable. Bonus: The calcium in the protein powder (make sure yours is calcium-fortified, many are) may help your muscles and body to relax before bedtime. To learn more about our tips for choosing a good protein powder, check out our 3-Ingredient Weight Loss Pancakes (scroll down to find out about protein powder).

 CocoaVia_Banana_Cinnamon_smoothie1_CLOSE - Copy

 

Frozen Cherry Poppers

OK, we admit it, we have many favorite summertime (well, anytime) treats, but this one really is one of our new all-time faves! Plus, it’s so healthy, easy and just two steps! And there is something about the chewy texture of frozen cherries that really hits the spot—super-satisfying! And all for a measly 6 calories per popper! Woohoo! 5 Cherry Poppers are just 30 calories! Find out how they’re easy to make here.

Why our clients love it: A guilt-free, refreshing way to satisfy a sweet tooth? Sign them (and us! 🙂 ) up!

Frozen Yogurt Covered cherry poppers

 

 

Berry and Greek Yogurt Parfait

Use six ounces of a plain or vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt and one-half cup of halved strawberries or any of your fave berries. Layer yogurt in the bottom of the parfait cup, and then add a layer of berries. Alternate layers until you’ve finished ingredients.

Why our clients love it: It’s rich, creamy, and feels decadent. Plus it contains plenty of protein and fiber, so even if you didn’t eat enough dinner, you’ll go to bed feeling satisfied.

parfait_cropped

Popcorn

Four cups of seasoned air-popped popcorn

Why our clients love it: You get a huge portion (4 cups = 130 calories!) that will last until at least the first commercial of your favorite show. Eat it one piece at a time, and it may even last you through the entire program. The fiber will fill you up, and you can use it to quench a sweet or savory craving by flavoring it with cinnamon, chili powder, smoked paprika, or grated parmesan.

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Baked Apple Crunch

Made with one small apple, 1- 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon and one graham cracker. Cut the apple into half-inch slices and coat them with cinnamon on all sides. Microwave the slices on high for three to four minutes or until the apple is soft and juicy. Serve it on a graham cracker. Check it out here.

Why our clients love it: You can sink your teeth into this snack, and it’s sweet like the inside of an apple pie. Not to mention, the graham cracker adds a satisfying crunch (and it will make the house smell delicious!).

Apple-y-yogurt-Middle-prep

 

Figs and Cheese

Three small figs (or dates!) and one small, light 30- to 35-calorie cheese round (which will bring your total to 125 calories).

Why our clients love it: The figs are sweet, and since they’re fibrous, you’ve gotta chew ‘em and can’t devour them in a split second. Paired with protein-rich, savory cheese, it makes for a filling but indulgent treat.  If you use dates, they may be slightly higher in calories.

Date surprise pic

 

 

Whole Grain Crackers with Hummus

Serve five whole-grain crackers with 2 tbsp hummus.

Why our clients love it: The crackers satisfy your need to crunch and the hummus adds the perfect creamy balance.

 

What are some of your favorite healthy late-night snacks?  Please share them!

 

Vegan Quinoa & Kale Power Protein Bowl

Vegan-chickpea-quinoa-kale-zucchini-UPCLOSE…and the quinoa-palooza has officially begun!  🙂 These twin sister, registered dietitians and personal trainers are fans of this healthy comfort food and we’ve gotta give a girl (and a guy!) some carbs!  Yup, we’re all for healthy carbs (phew! ) like quinoa –a wholesome, high protein, high fiber, healthy carb that prevents your energy from dipping, preventing sugar cravings!  The truth is, if you have a moderate portion (about 1/2 -3/4 cup cooked of a wholesome carb (hello quinoa!)  you’ll avoid the nasty cravings for the unhealthy carbs because you’ll give your brain and muscles carbohydrates, the fuel they need, so you won’t crave energy!  That means you won’t be looking for an energy boost or a quick pick-me-up—buh bye sugar cravings!

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Not only have you been requesting lots of recipes with quinoa, (that’s why we’ve given you lil’ numbers like our:

One-Pot Quinoa Chickpea & Avocado Bowl

Coconut Quinoa Chicken Nuggets

One-Pot Black Bean Quinoa Chili with Avocado

Quinoa Breakfast Nibbles

Choco-nilla Oats & Quinoa Swirl

Vegan_Quinoa_Kale_Collage

…but we knew it was time to make some more since the clamoring has continued! Quinoa is warm comfort food in the winter—and makes cool, comfort food in the summer.

And since summer days beg for a cool dish,, this spiced summer bowl filled with summery greens like zucchini and kale and protein packed heroes like quinoa and chickpeas can be made ahead of time and only gets better as it waits. What more could you ask for!? Oh except that you can prepare this without the added olive oil for an even lighter meal with even fewer calories for the same great taste!

0002_NutritionTwins-chickpea-quinoa-kale-zucchini-garlic-paprika-tumeric-cumin_logo

 

Vegan Quinoa & Kale Power Protein Bowl

Have one delicious serving as a side to grilled fish or chicken and veggies, or make a whole meal of it by having three servings.  

Makes 5 servings (approximately 1/2 cup each)

Ingredients

Dressing: (2 tbsp added 48 calories/ serving)

1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp paprika

small pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tsp minced garlic, plus ½ tsp for oil dressing (you may want to add more garlic if you’re a garlic lover!)

sea salt to taste

Salad:

½ cup quinoa, cooked (we used a mix of red and white just for fun!)

1 cup canned chickpeas, drained

1 medium zucchini, cut into evenly sized, small chunks

1 cup curly kale, leaves chopped into small pieces, stems removed (measure 1 cup of chopped kale leaves)

 

This dish can be made without any oil for a lower fat meal. (See below)

 

0006_NutritionTwins-chickpea-quinoa-kale-zucchini-garlic-paprika-tumeric-cumin_logoDirections with oil.

  1. Place olive oil in a small bowl and mix the cumin, turmeric, paprika, red pepper flakes (optional), ½ tsp minced garlic and a pinch of salt into the olive oil, set aside to marinate.
  1. Before cooking the quinoa according to the package, we toasted ours slightly for 1 minute by lightly spritzing olive oil in a spray jar in a pan to bring out more flavor. You can omit the olive oil and toast briefly, too, just stirring over the heat for 1 minute.. After toasting, cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  1. Next spritz the same pan you toasted the quinoa in with a little olive oil and sauté over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, the 2 tsp minced garlic, chickpeas, zucchini and kale. Just until the garlic releases it aroma and the zucchini begins to sweat. Remove from heat. Season with salt to taste.
  1. Toss sautéed vegetables and chickpeas with quinoa. Let sit for a few minutes, the heat will further soften the kale.
  1. Give the oil and spice mix a stir, drizzle over the entire bowl and stir. . . Salt to taste.

This can be eaten immediately and also tastes great chilled– and if you put it covered, in the fridge for a little while to chill, the flavor’s will also mingle and increase!

 

Directions without oil.

Mix cumin, turmeric, paprika, optional red pepper flakes, ½ tsp garlic and salt together, dry.

Skip step 1 and begin with Step 2.

After Step 4, sprinkle sparingly, mixing and tasting, the dry spice mix over combined quinoa, chickpea and vegetable bowl until the flavor suits you.

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (With Olive Oil):

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 106 Calories, 3 g Fat, 0 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 21 mg Sodium, 16 g Carbohydrate, 4 g Fiber, 2 g Sugar, 5 g Protein

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (Without Olive Oil)

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 94 Calories, 1 g Fat, 0 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 21 mg Sodium, 16 g Carbohydrate, 4 g Fiber, 2 g Sugar, 5 g Protein

0003_NutritionTwins-chickpea-quinoa-kale-zucchini-garlic-paprika-tumeric-cumin_logo

Vegan Quinoa & Kale Power Protein Bowl
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Ingredients
  • ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • small pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic, plus ½ tsp for oil dressing (you may want to add more garlic if you’re a garlic lover!)
  • sea salt to taste
  • ½ cup quinoa, cooked (we used a mix of red and white just for fun!)
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into evenly sized, small chunks
  • 1 cup curly kale, leaves chopped into small pieces, stems removed (measure 1 cup of chopped kale leaves)
Instructions
  1. Directions with oil.
  2. Place olive oil in a small bowl and mix the cumin, turmeric, paprika, red pepper flakes (optional), ½ tsp minced garlic and a pinch of salt into the olive oil, set aside to marinate.
  3. Before cooking the quinoa according to the package, we toasted ours slightly for 1 minute by lightly spritzing olive oil in a spray jar in a pan to bring out more flavor. You can omit the olive oil and toast briefly, too, just stirring over the heat for 1 minute.. After toasting, cook the quinoa according to package directions.
  4. Next spritz the same pan you toasted the quinoa in with a little olive oil and sauté over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, the 2 tsp minced garlic, chickpeas, zucchini and kale, Just until the garlic releases it aroma and the zucchini begins to sweat. Remove from heat. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Toss sautéed vegetables and chickpeas with quinoa. Let sit for a few minutes, the heat will further soften the kale.
  6. Give the oil and spice mix a stir, drizzle over the entire bowl and stir. . . Salt to taste.
  7. This can be eaten immediately and also tastes great chilled-- and if you put it covered, in the fridge for a little while to chill, the flavor’s will also mingle and increase!
  8. Directions without oil.
  9. Mix cumin, turmeric, paprika, optional red pepper flakes, ½ tsp garlic and salt together, dry.
  10. Skip step 1 and begin with Step 2.
  11. After Step 4, sprinkle sparingly, mixing and tasting, the dry spice mix over combined quinoa, chickpea and vegetable bowl until the flavor suits you.
Notes
*Nutrition shown for recipe using oil, see blog for nutrition facts without oil.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 106 Fat: 3 g Saturated fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 16 g Sugar: 2 g Sodium: 21 mg Fiber: 4 g Protein: 5 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

Gluten-Free Tilapia Tacos with Zucchini Tortillas

In college we went on a zucchini kick.  It wasn’t necessarily intentional—we just liked zucchini and it turned up in nearly every dinner dish we made, adding a deliciously slightly sweet flavor and a bit of a meaty texture.  Burritos, pasta, wraps, sandwiches, it was there.  Now, as registered dietitians, we appreciate zucchini even more, knowing it is a nutrient-powerhouse, thanks to its’ fiber, phytonutrients, vitamin C and eye protective nutrients (lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin).   So the other night when we made a new gluten free taco dish, old reliable happened to be in the house and we just had to add it- -putting a new twist on tacos.

And although we’re registered dietitian nutritionist who appreciate wholesome carbs (you better believe you read that right 😉 !), we don’t mind that this scrumptious taco swaps them for a just as satisfying, lower calorie surprise!  Instead of the traditional white or wheat tortilla say hello to this gluten-free zucchini taco shell that is stuffed with yummy, kickin’ flavors like cayenne-seasoned tilapia, red cabbage, tomatoes, and cilantro! Packed with protein, this dish is super satisfying!

 

Tacos 1 original (1)

 

Psst… looking for more healthy recipes? Please feel free to search this site! And here are a few to try…

 Turkey Stir-fry Fiesta

Lentil Vegetable Soup

One-Pot Black Bean Quinoa Chili with Avocados 

Tacos 4 logo

 

Gluten-Free Tilapia Tacos with Zucchini Tortillas

Makes two tacos

Ingredients

For the zucchini tortillas:

1 cup zucchini, shredded

1 egg (we use Eggland’s Best because they use an all vegetarian hen feed and their eggs have 25% less saturated fat and 5X the vitamin D of other eggs)

1 tsp. oregano, fresh, chopped

1 tsp. fresh, chopped basil

6 Tbsp. gluten free flour

 

For the filling:

3 ounces tilapia (approx. 1 medium filet)

Dash red cayenne pepper (adjust for personal preference of spiciness)

1/4 cup cabbage, shredded

1/4cup tomato, diced

4 heaping spoonfuls plain Greek yogurt (about ½ cup)

Sprinkle cilantro

1 lime, squeezed for juice

 

Directions

For tortillas

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set aside a baking sheet covered in wax paper.
  2. Squeeze out excess juice from the shredded zucchini with your hands and discard juice.
  3. Mix zucchini, egg, oregano and basil in a bowl.
  4. Using a spoon, mix in flour, adding a few tablespoons at a time until all mixed in.
  5. On a cutting board, sprinkle flour and divide the zucchini mixture in half.
  6. Flatten each part of zucchini mixture to a thin, round tortilla shape that is no thicker than 0.2mm thick.
  7. Place the two tortillas on covered baking sheet and place in oven.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  9. Set aside on a baking rack after they are done.

 

For the filling:

  1. Thaw out fish if frozen.
  2. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and turn on stove to medium heat.
  3. Cook the fish in the skillet. Add a dash of cayenne pepper while the fish is cooking (careful, it may make you sneeze/cough if you get too close!)
  4. After the fish is done cooking, cut the lime in half and squeeze juice over the meat.
  5. Add approximate measurements of toppings such as the fish, cabbage, tomatoes, Greek yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro. (the nutrition facts are for those measurements but you can add more or less to account for your own personal tastes/cravings!!).
  6. Dig in and enjoy!

Nutrition facts (for one taco)

Calories: 198, carbs: 23g, fat: 6g, saturated fat: 1g, protein: 21g, sodium: 100mg, fiber: 2g

Nutrition facts (for two tacos)

396 Calories, 45 g carbs, 12g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 42 g protein, 200 mg sodium, 4 g fiber

 

Tacos 3 original (1)

The Nutrition Twins work with Eggland’s Best to help people get more nutrients from their food.

Gluten-Free Tilapia Tacos with Zucchini Tortillas
 
Author:
Serves: 2 tacos
Ingredients
  • For the zucchini tortillas:
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1 egg (we use Eggland's Best because they use an all vegetarian hen feed and their eggs have 25% less saturated fat and 5X the vitamin D of other eggs)
  • 1 tsp. oregano, fresh, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh, chopped basil
  • 6 Tbsp. gluten free flour
  • For the filling:
  • 3 ounces tilapia (approx. 1 medium filet)
  • Dash red cayenne pepper (adjust for personal preference of spiciness)
  • ¼ cup cabbage, shredded
  • ¼cup tomato, diced
  • 4 heaping spoonfuls plain Greek yogurt (about ½ cup)
  • Sprinkle cilantro
  • 1 lime, squeezed for juice
Instructions
  1. Thaw out fish if frozen.
  2. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and turn on stove to medium heat.
  3. Cook the fish in the skillet. Add a dash of cayenne pepper while the fish is cooking (careful, it may make you sneeze/cough if you get too close!)
  4. After the fish is done cooking, cut the lime in half and squeeze juice over the meat.
  5. Add approximate measurements of toppings such as the fish, cabbage, tomatoes, Greek yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro. (the nutrition facts are for those measurements but you can add more or less to account for your own personal tastes/cravings!!).
  6. Dig in and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 tacos Calories: 396 Fat: 12 g Saturated fat: 2 g Carbohydrates: 45 g Sodium: 200 mg Fiber: 4 g Protein: 42 g

Gluten_Free_Tilapia_Tacos_Collage

Chickpea Blondies (Gluten-free, grain-free)

We often describe our parents, who raised us in a loving, healthy, cook-it-from-scratch, granola-making, wholesome home, as being basically hippies, minus the drugs. 😉 Long before it was considered cool to eat and buy locally grown food or to belong to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), our mom was all over it.  Before people were avoiding pesticides, our mom was on the case.  And when the current plant-based movement didn’t even exist and before it was considered cool to worry about sustainability, and saving the planet, our mom was serving us yummy spaghetti and lentil-“meatballs”– and bean “burgers” and vegetarian split pea soup had a regular spot on the weekly dinner menu too.  Our mom was simply out to keep us—and the planet healthy.  And you could see it all over her granola and chickpea covered apron.  🙂

chickpea-blondies-peanutbutter-honey-darkchocolate-coconut-logo

Our mom was eating conscientiously before it was chic.  She didn’t realize that she was savvy and ahead of her time, creating most of our family meals out pulses–the delicious, protein-packed, sustainable foods you know as dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas—unaware that years later, 2016 would be named International Year of Pulses (IYP) by the United Nations.

Now, as registered dietitian nutritionists, the coolest thing for us is that everything is coming full circle since we grew up with pulses and already love them and toot their horn (couldn’t resist! 😉) and our mom had taught us what the UN is currently acknowledging about pulses.  We get to deliver the amazing message about pulses and encourage you to enjoy them more often and take the pulse pledge.

To take the pledge you’ll simply commit to eating pulses once a week for 10 weeks and join a global food movement!

Here’s why you’ll love it! Eating dry peas, lentils, beans and chickpeas helps reduce your carbon footprint – and it’s great for your health. Every 1/2 cup of cooked pulses delivers 9 grams of protein.

Pulses are:

  • nutritious (packed with protein, fiber, iron, potassium, antioxidants, and more!)
  • versatile and tasty (ummm… our yummy spaghetti and “meat”balls were made of lentils! our succulent “burgers” we made from beans—and just wait ‘till you check out the delectable sweet recipe below)
  • affordable (ah, yes….our mom didn’t let us forget that dad was a phD student with 3 kids to feed, so we were taught at an early age that pulses are one of the most cost effective proteins in the world)
  • sustainable (growing up, as proud owners of a “compost heap” in the wooded section of our suburban back yard, we were taught a thing or two about how pulses enrich the soil where they grow, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Plus, they can grow in harsh environments and have a low carbon footprint and hardly require any irrigation (they’re water-efficient).

 

And just in case you we’re wondering what pulses do for our crazy sweet tooth that we work hard to keep in check—we’ve got this scrumptious golden nugget below.  It’s a throwback to the Blondies our mom used to bake. Only these are even healthier and tastier, if you can believe it! We can’t!  And the protein and the fiber in the pulses help to keep you satiated.  Regardless, it’s hard not to eat the whole batch…they’re that good!

 

chickpea_blondies_horizontal_logoChickpea Blondies

Makes 16 servings

Chickpea_blondies_ingredients_logoIngredients

1, 15-oz can chickpeas, also may be found as garbanzo beans

1/2 cup all natural peanut butter

1/3 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, plus 1 Tbsp, reserve for top

1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes, reserve for sprinkling

Chickpea_blondies_tray_vertical_logo

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  1. Spritz an 8×8 pan with oil in a spray container.
  1. Rinse chickpeas and place in food processor. If using a blender, after rinsing chickpeas, remove their skin before placing in the blender by pinching the chick pea between your fingers. The skin will easily fall off and will take about five extra minutes and will ensure a very smooth blended product.
  1. Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips and unsweetened coconut flakes in a food processor and blend until completely mixed.
  1. Fold in 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips.
  1. Spread batter evenly in pan, top with reserved 1 Tbsp of chocolate chips
  1. Bake for approximately 18 – 20 minutes. This will vary depending on your oven. You do not want to overcook these so check on them to see if they are ready sooner in your oven. They should be moist and a little brown around the edges. Insert a toothpick, if it comes out clean they are done. Cool pan on a wire rack until pan is cool to touch, sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes.
  1. Cut into squares. Makes 16 blondies
  1. Delicious immediately or cool in refrigerator for a delicious cold treat. If you prefer them to be more firm, simply allowing them to cool in the fridge.

 

Nutrition Facts Per 1 Serving: 123 Calories, 6 g Fat, 2 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 35 mg Sodium, 15 g Carbohydrate, 2 g Fiber, 8 g Sugar, 3 g Protein

 

The Nutrition Twins work with the Pulse Councils to help people to eat more healthfully and encourage them to take the Pulse Pledge.

Chickpea_Blondies_Collage

Chickpea Blondies (Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free)
 
Nutrition Facts Per 1 Serving: 123 Calories, 6 g Fat, 2 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 35 mg Sodium, 15 g Carbohydrate, 2 g Fiber, 8 g Sugar, 3 g Protein
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1, 15-oz can chickpeas, also may be found as garbanzo beans
  • ½ cup all natural peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips, plus 1 Tbsp, reserve for top
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes, reserve for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spritz an 8x8 pan with oil in a spray container.
  3. Rinse chickpeas and place in food processor. If using a blender, after rinsing chickpeas, remove their skin before placing in the blender by pinching the chick pea between your fingers. The skin will easily fall off and will take about five extra minutes and will ensure a very smooth blended product.
  4. Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips and unsweetened coconut flakes in a food processor and blend until completely mixed.
  5. Fold in ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips.
  6. Spread batter evenly in pan, top with reserved 1 Tbsp of chocolate chips
  7. Bake for approximately 18 – 20 minutes. This will vary depending on your oven. You do not want to overcook these so check on them to see if they are ready sooner in your oven. They should be moist and a little brown around the edges. Insert a toothpick, if it comes out clean they are done. Cool pan on a wire rack until pan is cool to touch, sprinkle with unsweetened coconut flakes.
  8. Cut into squares. Makes 16 blondies
  9. Delicious immediately or cool in refrigerator for a delicious cold treat. If you prefer them to be more firm, simply allowing them to cool in the fridge.