Posts

Solutions to Two Common Roadblocks to Getting Lean and Fit, Part 2

Himalayan_Chicken

 

As registered dietitians, when people come to us and want to get leaner and healthier, we typically notice two road blocks that most people are faced with when it comes to achieving their goals. The first difficulty usually surrounds snacks (click here to see how to prevent this from being your pitfall).  When it comes to the second road block, it usually occurs after work, post- workout or at dinner-time. This is when people are tired and hungry (especially if they didn’t have a good snack) and grab take-out or a quick dinner at home that is high in calories and leaves out the good stuff, like nutrients to refuel workouts. Many people don’t know where to even begin trying to create a meal that’s healthy and tastes good, and when they’re dealing with a growling stomach after a long day it isn’t the best time to think about it. The truth is that healthy, nutrient packed meals can be prepared in moments and don’t need a lot of slaving over the stove to make them tasty. Simply knowing a few easy secrets can make all the difference.

Colorful_salad

 

There are a handful of simple tricks that add tons of flavor to healthy foods—and you don’t have to be a star in the kitchen even though you’ll feel like you are! Simply start with the lean protein (like chicken or turkey breast, fish or eggs); veggies (all vegetables work great and are nutrient and antioxidant-packed to aid in muscle recovery) or wholesome carbohydrate (like quinoa or whole grain pasta or brown rice) and merely, bake, sauté, roast, etc.. From there, just add delicious flavorings/seasonings. They are an easy way to make healthy foods taste great—and they bring out the flavors without packing in the calories or preservatives. Here are some spiced-up ideas to flavor the foods you may find bland without using unhealthy additives and artificial preservatives.

 

Salad_Pink_Salt
Try adding this:
Black pepper – great on scrambled eggs and pasta.

 

Vinegars: From balsamic and fruity raspberry, to coconut vinegar, flavored vinegars add a great twist. Add a splash of these ultra-low-calorie flavors to your salads, veggies, lean proteins like fish and poultry, and healthy, high-fiber grains. You can also kiss creamy jarred dressings like ranch and heavy sauces like alfredo goodbye—along with their fat and calories—as you enjoy these vinegars on their own or add a teaspoon of olive oil, lemon and spices for a tasty twist.

Smoked_sea_salt_salad
Flavored Sea Salt: Sea salts are very flavorful, so just a tad is needed. Plus Sea salt has bigger crystals so there is less salt in a serving than other salt because it has less volume. Gourmet Nut Himalayan Pink Salt, Sonoma Gourmet Sea Salt and Northwest Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt are an easy and inexpensive way to add a lot of flavor with a simple sprinkle and they just hit shelves at GNC!  Each salt has a different flavor too – try the Himalayan Pink Salt with lean grilled or roasted meats.

Ripe tomatoes – use to flavor sauces, add garlic and fresh herbs for extra taste..

Citrus fruit juices such as lemon and limes – add a great zesty flavor to fish, chicken and pork (use the grated rind for even more flavor and texture).

Oregano: Perfect in pizza, tomato sauces, Greek salads, fish or lamb dishes, omelets and vegetables

Basil: Ideal on tomatoes or tomato sauce and pasta dishes

Bay Leaves: Yummy in casseroles, soups and pates
• Try this easy dish of fresh vegetables and grilled chicken by simply lightly steaming your favorite veggies and grilling, sautéing or baking chicken breast and then adding a dash of Sonoma Gourmet Sea Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt or Smoked Sea Salt, which breathe so much life and delicious flavor in it!

 

Smoked_Sea_Salt_chicken

The Nutrition Twins work with Gourmet Nut to help people enjoy healthy foods.

Colorful Detox Salad

OK, you already know about our unusual love affair with veggies.  But really one of the major reasons why we are obsessed is because we are in awe of all they do for us–a big reason we wrote The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure.  And, this salad is the perfect example.

Let’s face it, we’ve all had those days (or entire weekends) where we’ve had a few too many indulgences that we wish we could erase.  (Yes, we did have 4 friends celebrating their birthdays this weekend and we feel a bit off kilter and not so healthy [ah!] after having eaten every meal away from our veggie-filled kitchens ;)).  Like you’ve told us you had, we too have had those feelings of regret and aren’t thrilled when our pants feel a little extra snug. That’s why we love this little cruncher!  We created it to help “rinse” out some of the puffiness and bloat (see how it works its’ magic below!).  Plus, it fills you up with fiber so that you’re not starving and don’t end up with low blood sugar and craving more of the bad stuff.  And if you want more recipes like this to help you, try our Roasted Detoxifying Veggies,  our Veggie Detox Salad and our Kale Recharge Smoothie.

 

Drum roll please… meet your hero! Hello Colorful Detox Salad! It fills you up, not out, gets your mind and body immediately on the healthy track and helps the liver in its’ detox process! Woohoo! Hello Slim! 😉

Colorful_detox_salad

Here’s why this works:
o You’ll save a lot of muffin-top promoting calories when you fill up on this (34 calories) versus the hundreds of calories for each doozy that you crave and now that you skip.
o This Slimming Salad acts like a “flusher” — We made sure this was rich in water and helps you to “rinse” out bloating sodium from your body, “de-puffing” you and make you feel lighter. The potassium from the veggies will also fight bloat as it helps to restore normal hydration status.

 

 

o The veggie’s vitamin C in the Slimming Salad will make your skin glow by promoting collagen formation.  We wanted to make sure it would do all this plus it will hydrate your skin (ie, you’ll glow) and you can kiss good bye to a puffy face and eyes.

 

 

Indulged in alcohol, been around cigarette smoke, or eaten a bit too much processed food? More reasons why this Detox Salad works!
o The cruciferous veggies like cabbage (if you add broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts to the salad, they all do this too, and happen to be some of our faves in the animal kingdom!) help the liver to flush out harmful toxins

  • Sulforaphane, a phytochemical (and others) in cruciferous veggies activates the enzymes that detoxify before damage to cells is done

 

o Bah bye damage and toxins!
Hello Veggies, Adios toxins!  Veggies all contain phytonutrients to stave off damage from invading particles
o *Glutathione, a protein in veggies clings to toxins and drags them out of our body! Top choices- asparagus, potatoes, peppers, carrots, onion, broccoli, avocados, squash, spinach, garlic, tomatoes

*Notice we created this salad that is fresh, not cooked.  That’s because cooking or processing decreases the glutathione bioavailability.

 

The Lemon: (we spritz lemon on everything, it’s an awesome substitute for salty flavors)

• The ideal flushing food–packed with potassium and water to restore normal fluid balance and flush out any bloating salt that may be causing you to store water and puffiness.

• Let’s face it, when you don’t eat right and you overindulge in junk, you put your body to the test. Lemon gives you a shot of vitamin C and acts as an immune-booster to help strengthen your body after all the havoc it’s just been through.

• Helps to neutralize free radicals before they can do any further damage and prevents inflammation so that the body can stay calm.

Colorful Detox Salad

Makes 4 Servings —but feel free to eat it all yourself in one sitting for less than 150 calories!

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
½ cup chopped red pepper
½ cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped cucumber
¼ cup chopped scallion (optional)
5 chopped olives (optional)
Any veggies of your choice!
Juice from ½ lemon
Spritz of olive oil (optional)

Directions:
Simply mix everything together and spritz with juice from ½ a lemon and several spritzes of olive oil from a spray jar- it you are using.
Nutrition Facts Per serving: Makes 4 cups, Each serving is 1 cup and 34 calories, 1 g fat, 2 g protein, 3 g fiber AND FLUSHES YOUR BLOAT AND PUFFINESS OUT LIKE NO TOMORROW 🙂

 

Colorful Detox Salad
 
Makes 4 Servings —but feel free to eat it all yourself in one sitting for less than 150 calories! Nutrition Facts Per serving: Makes 4 cups, Each serving is 1 cup and 34 calories, 1 g fat, 2 g protein, 3 g fiber AND FLUSHES YOUR BLOAT AND PUFFINESS OUT LIKE NO TOMORROW 🙂
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • :
  • 1 cup chopped red cabbage
  • ½ cup chopped zucchini
  • ½ cup chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • ¼ cup chopped scallion (optional)
  • 5 chopped olives (optional)
  • Any veggies of your choice!
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Spritz of olive oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. :
  2. Simply mix everything together and spritz with juice from ½ a lemon and several spritzes of olive oil from a spray jar- it you are using.

Egg Salad Stuffed Tomato Cradles

Lately, we’ve been more aware than ever that eggs are such a great food –no matter what your mood, you can likely whip up something using an egg to satisfy you. After all, they are an easy way to add protein to any meal or snack- and you really can’t mess them up! You can grab a hardboiled one on- the- go, quickly whip up a veggie omelet, scramble or toss them into an easy peasy dish like any of these:
Mediterranean Style Eggs with Kalamata Olives
Sunny Side Up Stuffed Eggplant
Skinny Eggs and a Portobello Bagel
Balsamic Egg White Capped Portobello Burger

You can even make some adorable appetizers. Check out these Egg Salad Stuffed Tomato Cradles. For 94 calories and 9 grams of protein, you can’t go wrong. And we have to admit, although these are satiating, you likely won’t stop at one! But that’s A-OK since two of ‘em are only 190 calories and nearly 20 grams of protein—and make an awesome snack or light meal!

Egg_Salad_Stuffed_tomato_cradles38

Egg Salad Stuffed Tomato Cradles
Ingredients:

1-1/2 tbsp (3/4 ounce) avocado
2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt, ideally organic
2 teaspoons Dijonnaise
1/4 tsp lemon juice
4 hard-boiled eggs (we use Eggland’s Best because they have 25% less saturated fat and four times the vitamin D compared to other eggs)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Salt to taste, optional
4 tomatoes on the vine

Directions:
1. Place avocado in a medium bowl with yogurt, dijonnaise and lemon juice and mash together with a fork. Mash until creamy throughout.
2. Chop eggs and stir them gently in the yogurt mixture.
3. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
4. Set aside in refrigerator.
5. Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Leaving a 1/2-inch shell, scoop out the pulp. (We reserve the pulp for adding to salads or topping sandwiches or adding to omelets.)

Nutrition Facts Per serving (1 Stuffed Tomato Cradle): 94 calories, 6 g carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 9 g protein, 110 mg sodium, 2 g fiber

Egg_Salad_Stuffed_tomato_cradles22

Egg Salad Stuffed Tomato Cradles
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 tbsp (3/4 ounce) avocado
  • 2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt, ideally organic
  • 2 teaspoons Dijonnaise
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs (we use Eggland’s Best because they have 25% less saturated fat and four times the vitamin D compared to other eggs)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Salt to taste, optional
  • 4 tomatoes on the vine
Instructions
  1. Place avocado in a medium bowl with yogurt, dijonnaise and lemon juice and mash together with a fork. Mash until creamy throughout.
  2. Chop eggs and stir them gently in the yogurt mixture.
  3. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
  4. Set aside in refrigerator.
  5. Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Leaving a ½-inch shell, scoop out the pulp. (We reserve the pulp for adding to salads or topping sandwiches or adding to omelets.)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 tomato cradle Calories: 94 Fat: 5 g Carbohydrates: 6 g Sodium: 110 mg Fiber: 2 g Protein: 9 g

The Nutrition Twins work with Eggland’s Best to help people to make nutritious choices.

Southwestern Mini Turkey Meatballs

When we were growing up, our mom had three “go-to” recipes that she’d serve when she entertained guests that she knew were crowd-pleasers. One of these dishes was a meatball dish and her guests always would ask her for the recipe. When we saw this turkey meatball recipe it immediately made us think of her dish and we knew we had to give it a whirl. These are made using Dannon® OIKOS® Greek nonfat yogurt and though they are made using lean turkey, you’d never know it because the yogurt keeps these pups super moist!

 

 

Psst… looking for super easy, super speedy, lightened up comfort foods that make great desserts?  Try these…

Microwave Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Microwave Pineapple White Chocolate Chip Cookie!

Southwestern_Mini_Turkey_Meatballs

Southwestern Mini Turkey Meatballs
Bite–sized meatballs served with a spicy, creamy salsa dip. Makes enough for a party!
Prep time 20 Minutes
Cook Time 10 Minutes
Yields 72 servings

Ingredients
2 lbs ground turkey (we used ground turkey breast to help reduce some of the fat and calories)
1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
1 egg
2 cups Dannon® Oikos® Plain Greek Nonfat Yogurt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup prepared (jar) picante sauce or salsa, divided
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup black beans
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground chipotle chili powder, divided

 

Directions

1.In a bowl Mix together yogurt, salsa, cumin and chipotle chili powder. Set 1 1/2 cups aside in the refrigerator.
2.In another bowl mix together turkey, crushed chips, egg, remaining seasoned yogurt, cilantro, corn, black beans. Using a small scoop spoon, make tablespoon sized balls, and place on a lightly greased shallow baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
3.Serve meat balls on shredded lettuce with reserved sauce for dipping.

Nutrition Facts per Serving (1 meatball made with turkey breast): 25 Calories, 2 g Carbohydrate, 0 g fat, 3 g protein, 0 g fiber, 49 mg sodium
For more delicious recipe ideas, please visit www.oikosrecipes.com

OIKOS® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF STONYFIELD FARM, INC. AND USED UNDER LICENSE BY THE DANNON COMPANY, INC.

The Nutrition Twins work with Dannon OIKOS to help people make healthier choices.

Southwestern Mini Turkey Meatballs
 
Bite–sized meatballs served with a spicy, creamy salsa dip. Makes enough for a party!
Author:
Serves: 72
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs ground turkey (we used ground turkey breast to help reduce some of the fat and calories)
  • 1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Dannon® Oikos® Plain Greek Nonfat Yogurt
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup prepared (jar) picante sauce or salsa, divided
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle chili powder, divided
Instructions
  1. Directions
  2. In a bowl Mix together yogurt, salsa, cumin and chipotle chili powder. Set 1½ cups aside in the refrigerator.
  3. In another bowl mix together turkey, crushed chips, egg, remaining seasoned yogurt, cilantro, corn, black beans. Using a small scoop spoon, make tablespoon sized balls, and place on a lightly greased shallow baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Serve meat balls on shredded lettuce with reserved sauce for dipping.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 meatball Calories: 25 Fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 2 g Sodium: 49 mg Protein: 3 g

 

Easy Peasy Seasoned Brussels Sprouts

We recently ate at a nearby restaurant in New York City and the fish dish was accompanied by roasted Brussels sprouts that were so delicious that we had to come home and make our own the next day!

 

seasoned brussels sprouts with logo

We were especially motivated to re-create the Brussels sprouts because of their delicious taste, but let’s face it, there are plenty of reasons to dig in! (Pssst… if you want some other veggie recipes, try our Spicy “Fried” Broccoli, our Easy Crunchy Braised Cabbage, Colorful Detox Salad, Caramelized Cauliflower with Olive Oil and Lemon Juice, Easy Peasy Seasoned Brussel Sprouts  and our Roasted detoxifying Veggies.)

 

Brussels sprouts are nutrient power houses and are part of the cruciferous family—which means they help to stop cancer in its’ tracks! Plus, they’re low-calorie and packed with Vitamin C, folate and FIBER! Yep, thanks to their high fiber content, these babies help flush wastes and toxins (eh hem, yes, they help you go to the bathroom) out of your body so you can feel light and free and get a flatter stomach!

 

Another great benefit? Brussel sprouts help to lower cholesterol! So why not go ahead and try out delicious recipe?! It’s only 54 calories for an entire cup!

 

Easy Peasy Seasoned Brussels Sprouts

 

Serves 2, 1 cup servings

 

Ingredients

 

2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in half

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar (if you don’t have raspberry vinegar, another fruity vinegar is fine and balsamic vinegar works too)

EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) in a spray bottle

 

 

Directions

In a sealed container (we use a glass storage container—but if you only have plastic Tupperware that works too), add: the Brussels sprouts, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and black pepper. Shake! Feel free to play some music, do a little dance and burn some extra calories when shaking your ingredients together! J Your ingredients should be fully mixed! Then, preheat a skillet on medium heat for 30-60 seconds (depending on heating capabilities of your stove top). Quickly spray your EVOO and toss in your Brussels sprouts (flat side down). Allow this side to cook for 1-2 minutes then flip and allow the other side to also slightly brown. Remove from heat and put in a serving dish. Drizzle your delicious Brussels Sprouts with the Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar. Enjoy!

 

 

Nutritional Information, per 1 cup serving (2 servings per recipe)

54 calories, 0.4g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 24 mg sodium, 393 mg potassium, 12g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 4g protein

Added Bonus: 126% Vitamin C, 14% folate, 20% Manganese

 

Easy Peasy Seasoned Brussels Sprouts
 
Serves: 2, 1-cup serving
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in half
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar (if you don’t have raspberry vinegar, another fruity vinegar is fine and balsamic vinegar works too)
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) in a spray bottle
Instructions
  1. In a sealed container (we use a glass storage container—but if you only have plastic Tupperware that works too), add: the Brussels sprouts, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and black pepper. Shake! Feel free to play some music, do a little dance and burn some extra calories when shaking your ingredients together! ☺ Your ingredients should be fully mixed! Then, preheat a skillet on medium heat for 30-60 seconds (depending on heating capabilities of your stove top). Quickly spray your EVOO and toss in your Brussels sprouts (flat side down). Allow this side to cook for 1-2 minutes then flip and allow the other side to also slightly brown. Remove from heat and put in a serving dish. Drizzle your delicious Brussels Sprouts with the Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 54 Fat: 0.4g Carbohydrates: 12g Sodium: 24mg Fiber: 4g Protein: 4g Cholesterol: 0mg

 

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus, Tomatoes and Herbs

Shrimp_pasta_asparagus_tomatoes

 

We happen to be seafood lovers—shrimp, scallops, calamari, you name it– we like it! 🙂 And we find seafood to be the perfect addition to round out most carb-heavy meals with some lean protein! Many pasta lovers forget to have a protein with their pasta—leaving them feeling heavy and hungry in a few hours. Not with this little number! You eat a little less heavy pasta and more protein and veggies. You’ll feel light as a feather and satisfied for hours! Enjoy!

And if you’re looking for more ways to get some fish, you’ll love these lil’ numbers– our Surf & Turf Tostadas,  Mediterranean Fish Tacos  and our  Shrimp Cocktail Shooters

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus, Tomatoes and Herbs

 

Serves 1

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked “al dente”

1 tsp olive oil

4 ounces shrimp, cooked

1 medium roma tomato, diced

4 spears asparagus, cut into 3 inch pieces

1/2 clove garlic, chopped

1 tbsp basil, dried

1/2 tsp ground oregano

 

Directions

Toss warm pasta in olive oil. Mix in shrimp, garlic followed by basil and oregano. Finish by tossing with tomato and asparagus. Enjoy J

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving, per 1 serving

340, calories, 7g fat, 261mg sodium, 628mg potassium, 38g carbohydrates, 7g fiber, 32g protein

 

Added bonus: 32% Vitamin A, 57% Vitamin C, 21% folate, 20% Iron

 

 

 

Pasta_Asparagus_Tomatoes_Herbs_Feta

 

Here’s another variation on this dish that we love! Instead of seafood, it contains feta cheese!

 

Pasta with Asparagus, Tomatoes, Herbs and Feta

 

Serves 1

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked “al dente”

1 tsp olive oil

1 medium roma tomato, diced

4 spears asparagus, cut into 3 inch pieces

1/2 clove garlic, chopped

1 tbsp basil, dried

1/2 tsp ground oregano

1/4 cup fat free feta cheese

 

 

Directions

Toss warm pasta in olive oil. Mix in garlic followed by basil and oregano. Finish by tossing with tomato, asparagus and feta. Enjoy J

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving, per 1 serving

295 calories, 7g fat, 7mg sodium, 205mg potassium, 50g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 11g protein

 

Added bonus: 16% Vitamin A, 20% Vitamin C, 23% folate, 34% Iron

 

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus, Tomatoes and Herbs
 
We happen to be seafood lovers—shrimp, scallops, calamari, you name it-- we like it! 🙂 And we find seafood to be the perfect addition to round out most carb-heavy meals with some lean protein! Many pasta lovers forget to have a protein with their pasta—leaving them feeling heavy and hungry in a few hours. Not with this little number! You eat a little less heavy pasta and more protein and veggies. You’ll feel light as a feather and satisfied for hours! Enjoy!
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • ½cup whole wheat pasta, cooked “al dente”
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 ounces shrimp, cooked
  • 1 medium roma tomato, diced
  • 4 spears asparagus, cut into 3 inch pieces
  • ½ clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp basil, dried
  • ½ tsp ground oregano
Instructions
  1. Toss warm pasta in olive oil. Mix in shrimp, garlic followed by basil and oregano. Finish by tossing with tomato and asparagus. Enjoy ☺
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 serving Calories: 295 Fat: 7g Carbohydrates: 50g Sodium: 7mg Fiber: 8g Protein: 32g