Tag Archives: healthy diet tips

When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie…or a Nice Light Salad

One of the most romantic things you can do for your significant other is plan a special, candle lit meal for two. Usually these types of dinners are rich, heavy and generous with the alcohol. While this type of decadence may seem like a great way to celebrate, reward, or just connect, it may lead you to fall asleep before the real romancing starts, or if you manage to stay up, you won’t be feeling your best which definitely defeats the purpose. Here are some meal ideas to make you feel cool and heat things up:

  • Crab cakes and a light salad: especially good for summer, try adding apple to the salad for extra brightness. You can prepare most of it in advance, which will keep clean up to a minimum. Try serving it with a white wine spritzer made with a citrusy sauvignon blanc.
  • Flank steak flat breads topped with sautéed bell peppers: this cut of beef is super lean, but it still feels like a treat because it’s steak. You can add little chipotle to the peppers for a nice spiciness without making you sweat. Try it with sangria made with red wine a no-sugar added cranberry or cherry juice.
  • Pasta with pesto, cherry tomatoes and bocconcini: have your own Lady and the Tramp moment with something a little healthier (even better if you make your own pasta and pesto from scratch). This is also a great way to showcase heirloom tomatoes when they’re in season and make the meal look extra special. Go full Italian and try it with a Campari and Soda: the bitterness will offset the sweetness of the tomatoes.

With all of these, the best plan of action is to prep as much before hand as you can, so that you can spend more time romancing and less time in the kitchen. Showering your loved one with indulgences may seem like a good idea (and I’m not saying never do it), but taking care of their body while treating them to something lovely lets them know that you’re thinking of their overall well being too, showing commitment and caring.

I Like to Move it Move it (Not Really Though)

They say that after dealing with death and divorce, moving is one of the most traumatizing events a person goes through, and after my last move, I’m inclined to agree. I don’t have a lot of advice to offer about boxes, bubble wrap or any of that jazz, but I can tell you how what we ate made a difference in how well the move went. Moving days are hectic, which in and of itself makes eating healthy more difficult, but add to the fact that all your dishes are impossible to get to and you’ve probably spent the last week making sure to have as little food in your place as possible (less to move) and you’ve got a recipe for a day spent eating infrequently and unhealthily, which, aside from being bad for you, will also deprive your body of much needed nutrients while you’re making it work even harder than usual:

  • The day before, pack up plastic bags full of veggie sticks, almonds and pretzels for easy to reach snacks that you can munch as you load and unload your belongings
  • Start they day with a protein and carb filled breakfast to make sure you have enough energy to last in case you miss out on lunch hour (though the snacks should help here). If you can, try to have just enough yogurt (single serving cups, drinkable ones, or single serving tubes are great here) and granola bars for you and anyone else in the household that is moving (look for lower sugar varieties, to avoid crashing). If you’re helping someone move, try a veggie filled omelet with brown toast, or make your own breakfast burritos filled with lots of black beans.
  • While moving, it’s important to stay hydrated, be sure to have lots of water bottles on hand, especially in the summer
  • For dinner? I say go ahead and order that pizza! You’ll want to reward anyone who’s helped you move, and frankly, you’ll have done so much lifting, walking and stressing that the extra calories won’t be felt. You should still make an effort to add as many veggies as you can and avoid super fatty meats (most places will offer chicken-a much leaner choice than pepperoni). You’ll be so tired from moving that the any sluggishness you feel from a big pizza dinner won’t really be felt.

 

 

Salads That You’ll Want to Eat

One of the sad facts of healthy eating is that yes, those of us who follow this lifestyle tend to eat a lot of salad. All too often people try to shame us with taunts of “you don’t win friends with salad!” or “yuck, rabbit food!” but no longer! Here are some great suggestions to up your salad game and make it feel like a luxury decadence instead of a healthy chore:

  • Have you ever tried Haloumi? It’s a firm, salty cheese and makes a great protein addition to a salad. Cube it and sear it in some olive oil (it won’t melt) them toss with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs like dill or cilantro and a hummus lemon dressing
  • Speaking of herbs, are you including them in your salads? Fresh, delicate ones like basil, dill, and cilantro work best, and bring a lot of flavour with no guilt
  • How about upping the nutrients with some unexpected fruit in a savoury salad? Cherries, peaches, strawberries, pears, and apples are all great choices to start with. Be sure to follow the seasons where you are to get the freshest (and most nutritious) ones.
  • Olive oil is a perfect, heart healthy way to start off a homemade dressing, but consider adding other oils too for flavour. Walnut, almond, and sesame oil are all readily available at most large grocery stores and can really add a new dimension to your dressing
  • Do you have a favourite comfort food? Why not try re-imaging it as a salad? Fajitas are an easy choice, but why not a chicken cordon bleu? You can grill the chicken, dice some lean ham, sprinkle a little grated swiss and make a punchy Dijon dressing to get all the flavour of the classic dish, but with the addition of as many greens as you can handle

What to Do for Dinner When the Weather Won’t Make up its Mind.

 

Summer’s finally here! ish. Ok, so there’s been more rain and less sunshine than we were all hoping for this year, making it harder to get our grill on and forcing us back to craving those carb and fat heavy winter comfort foods. Here are some ways you can combine the best of both world’s and combat this unco-operative season:

Soups:

These are a great choice because you get the comforting and restorative warmth of a soup and the option of adding some of the first fresh produce of summer. Use asparagus and peas as creamed soups without the cream, or as additions to a classic minestrone.  Bonus: if it does warm up, you can always make a classic Gazpacho (consider a white Gazpacho for an even more refreshing meal).

Sandwiches:

You can pair them with one of the soups from above, or on their own for a tasty and portable meal. Consider radish and avocado for something both rich and crisp, or add a big handful of fresh herbs or greens to mix it up with your favourite classic: a BLT with arugula or a bunch of basil with a tuna melt can revamp the old standby for the new season. Bonus: there’s no need to turn on the stove!

Pastas:

For comfort food, almost nothing beats a big bowl of noodles, but how to convert the winter fav into something that’s not too heavy for a mild, sunny day? Instead of a rich, slow cooked sauce like Bolognese, toss the cooked pasta with a bit of fresh tomatoes, pesto, and parmesan. Or add basil, bocconcini, and balsamic to the tomatoes and pasta for a caprese style meal. You’ll still get the carbs and cheese that make a cold day bearable, but the pops of freshness will remind you that spring (and summer) is on the way! Bonus: pasta salads make great additions to picnics and bbqs, just be sure to stay away from mayo based dressings, not only do they add unnecessary calories: they can also go bad if left out in the sun too long

 

Will. It. Pickle?

In this age of both convenience and artisan revival, it’s easy to pick up any number of crunchy, acidic additions, but how much more impressive (and healthy!) to make your own? The best part is, it’s super easy and infinitely customizable, just follow these simple guidelines and get pickling!

  • While you can pickle just about any fruit or vegetable, keep in mind how the texture will be affected by pickling; the heat and acid of pickling will soften the pickle subject up, so if it’s soft already, it could become mushy (in which case, you may be better off making a relish or chutney, which will have a lot of the same flavour profiles, but will better suit the texture)
  • Think carefully about the natural acidity or sourness of the pickle subject: if something is already tart (like rhubarb) you’ll want to add extra sugar (or sugar substitute like maple syrup or honey) to balance it out
  • Don’t forget to season! A little salt will go a long way, and helps keep things preserved without chemicals. And there’s no reason to stop at salt, why not add other spices too? A cinnamon stick or star anise, as well as classic pickling spices like coriander, juniper, and dill seed are all great choices
  • Decide how long you want the pickles to last, if this is a quick pickle to be used soon, you can utilize the fridge method (explained below) if you’d like to keep them longer and store them in some kind of root cellar situation, then you’ll have to take more care by sterilizing the jars and lids in boiling water, and sealing them by placing the filled and lidded jars in a pot of boiling water (or a pressure cooker) for about 15 minutes until you can be sure that any bacteria is eliminated. This method is called processing and means you can keep the sealed jars at room temperature for several months
  • Once you’re ready to pickle, start by adding a teaspoon or so of salt to the jar, as well as any spices you’d like, then cram the jar as full as you can with your pickle pick, cut into whatever size you’d like to enjoy them at (eg: you can slice, cube or julienne, the smaller or thinner the size, the softer the pickle)
  • When your jars are full, bring equal parts water and vinegar to a boil. White vinegar is the most popular choice, but apple cider and champagne vinegars are good choices too. Remember, the vinegar choice will influence the pickle flavour. Balsamic vinegars are not recommended because of their strong colour and flavour, expense, and slightly thicker texture
  • CAREFULLY fill the jars with the hot water/vinegar, stopping about a centimeter below the rim. Seal the jars right away, once cooled, they can be refrigerated, or you can proceed with the processing method. Pickles with be ready to eat in a few days, but try to wait a week to really let the flavours develop

***Fridge pickles are just that, pickles you keep in the fridge! The only real difference is that since you haven’t processed

How to Bring Some Healthy Choices to Your Next Picnic or BBQ

Summer’s finally in full swing, and with it comes backyard bbqs and picnic potlucks galore.  As much as well all love great food, it can get pretty tricky to keep things healthy when those tables are loaded down with heavy sides and sugary sauces. Here are a few recipes ideas to make sure that there are some healthy and tasty options, so you don’t feel too guily about those ribs and icecream sandwiches!

Beans and Rice:

Rice and legumes together make a complete protein, so any vegetarians will be very happy to see this option. Bonus points for this dish: you can up the fibre with brown rice, the flavour by using a wide variety of spices (which also make s the dish infinitly costumizable), and the nutrients by adding as many diced fruits veggies as you can handle.

Watermelon and Cucumer Salad:

Easy and breezy, this is a great cool down option, and more grown up than sitting on a stoop and seeing how far you can spit the seeds. Start with chunks of watermelon  and cucumber, and than add salt and pepper (trust me on this!) as well as your favourit herbs (basil, cilantro and mint all work well. Don’t forget a hit of acid (metaphorically of course) lime juice and balsamic vinegar are great choices, just make sure the acid you choose pairs well with the herb you picked (lime goes with cilantro and mint, but keep the balsamic with the basil). Finish with a qulaity olive oil and you’re all set!

Sweet Potato Salad

A long time favourit at bbqs and picnics, traditional potato salad tends to be loaded down with heavy mayo dressing, with aside from being less than ideal health-wise, also contains eggs, which when left at the wrong tempurature for too long, could cause serious illness! Avoid these pitfalls by replacing the starchy white pototoes with roasted sweet potatoes or yams and dressing them with a punchy mustard based vinegrette and some thinly sliced red onions.

 

Peas Please

Peas are a great source of fibre and vegetable based protein, and since they’re one of the first fresh local produce of the season here, I always feel as though I should like them more than I do. Sadly, since childhood I have shied away from these bright green spheres of goodness, well, no more! If you or somebody you love has an aversion to peas, here’s a way to work them into meals that will get them (or you) converted in no time: purees! Now, it may seem like I’m trying to get you to eat baby food, and nobody wants that, no the kind of puree I’m talking about is much fancier and grown up than anything that came out of a tiny jar (though seriously, how cute are those jars?). Try boiling freshly shelled peas for a few minutes then blanching (ie dunking) them in a bowl full of ice water. Add them to a blender or food processor with one or more of the following, chaning the amount of liquid to dertermine how thick you’d like the puree to be!

  • arugla-makes it slightly spicy and extra bright green
  • spinich-the more super food the better
  • garlic scapes-a great way to make a healthy and creamy sauce for pasta
  • mint-a classic herb pairing
  • tarragon-an update on the classic
  • basil-for when you want italian without the garlic breathe

To all of these, you can thin the puree with leftover water from boiling the peas, or from heavey cream-depending on how decandent you feel like being. Try throwing in a bit of parmesean or lemon zest to add some zip, and always remember to season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Tips for Happy, Healthy Sandwiches

Oh sandwiches! They get a bit of a bad rap, what with soggy bread or uninspiring fillings, the same old same old club sandwich or caser wrap offered at every restaurant ever (probably). Not to mention they can be unhealthy bundles of fat and processed carbs. But done right, there is nothing more glorious than eating a meal that you can hold in your hands, with every bit nicely balanced. To up your sandwich game, here are some easy tips to follow:

  • Balance is everything. The best sandwiches combine several taste and texture sensations to create a party in your mouth that everyone is invited to. Your sandwich should have something savory, sweet, sour or tangy, fresh, spicy, creamy, and crunchy. If you have something from every category, you’ll be amazed at the difference. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, fig jam makes a great sweet element when paired with cheese or meats like salami. Apples can provide several elements with their crunch texture and sweet to sour taste. Avocado is a good (and healthy) choice for creamy. Basically, go nuts (nuts are good too, especially nut butters)
  • Bread! If you have a gluten free one that works then yes, go ahead and use it, but also consider a  breadless sandwiches with ingredients layered between sweet potato slices, or lettuce wraps-sandwiches, these are great ways to add more nutrition and remove empty carbs. If you don’t think it’s a realy sandwich without “real” bread, get a nice, scratch made baguette, sourdough, or seedy multigrain. Make sure your bread or bread subsitute makes sense with your filling: don’t make a Bahn mi on cinnamon raison bread (but do try that with asiago, arugula, and prosciutto). The bread is a hug for your fillings, it can either be a blanket of warmth that makes everything better or an awkward encounter that you are desperate to end. Choose wisely.
  • Don’t be a Dagwood: sure, we’ve all been so hungry that we would spread our own leg with mayo, put it between two slices of rye and go to town, but there’s no real excuse to load up your sandwich with everything in the fridge and making some kind of monsterwich. Your filling should be about equal to the amount of bread, otherwise you’ll not only be a sloppy falling apart mess, but all the effort you put into picking the right bread will have been for naught.

Bonus tip: if you’re packing one of these bad boys up for lunch and worried about soggy sadness come noon, make sure there is an oil based spread (such as avocado or peanut butter) on both sides cheese is also a good barrier to limp bread syndrome (use in moderation though). No go forth, and happy sandwiching!

Lunch For a Week: My Easy Guide and Tips to Tasty and Time Saving Meal Prep

Stuck in a rut with your work lunches? Maybe the same old ham and cheese everyday is getting stale, or your pocket book is getting stretched by eating out too much (not to mention your waistline). Not to worry, with just a little bit of planning (and I mean little!) and what’s probably already in your pantry, you can make a week’s worth of healthy, cheap, and easy lunches.

First let’s start with what you (should) already have: mustard, honey or maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper, pasta, peanut butter, hot sauce such as sriracha, balsamic vinegar

Know what you’ll need: 4-5 chicken breasts, a cucumber, pint of cherry tomatoes, two bell peppers, your favourite herbs (I used basil, but cilantro and parsley would work just as well), a nice loaf of bread, or a baguette, hummus

On Sunday night, simple poach the chicken, leave it to cool and shred either by hand or with two forks. Now you have the base for all your meals this week. the night before, or the morning of if that’s your thing, you can choose what kind of sandwich or salad to make, from this list and voila! Rut over!

  • Bahn mi: spread bread with peanut butter and hot sauce, layer on chicken, cucumber, basil and strips of bell pepper
  • almost a shawarma sandwich: spread hummus on bread, layer with chicken (toss it with balsamic first for a nice hit of acid), cucumber, tomatoes, and basil
  • Honey mustard salad: mix chicken with salt, pepper, mustard, and honey (about a tablespoon or each). Layer in your favourite Tupperware with diced veggies from the list.
  • Sweet and spicy sandwich: mix honey and hot sauce (about a table of honey, hot sauce to taste) and toss with chicken, layer on bread with cucumber and sliced bell peppers
  • Italian salad: toss chicken with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic, add diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil.

And there you go, a world of flavours for about 10 minutes of work a day. Keep in mind that you can make the salads sandwiches and vice versa if you have dietary needs or preferences. Include easy healthy snacks like nuts, apples or other fruits, and yogurt to keep you full all day. Happy lunching!

Hazards of Midnight Snacking

images (3) May it be due to nervousness, tension, stress, or merely a part of slumber party, mid night snacking must be avoided at all costs. To overcome the hunger pangs which arise in the middle of night, try drinking a glass of water or munch upon some fruit or any veggie. But many of us follow this habit mostly because we find fun in it. Especially late night party lovers, they have big meals comprising of carbs and fats, which they order from any fast food franchise, just for the sake of enjoyment. But they don’t realize what they actually do to their body in the pursuit of partying in the middle of night. Following are mentioned two most commonly observed bad effects of late night snacking upon health.

Weight Gain: No body would like adding extra unnecessary pounds to their body. But weight gain comes in as a deleterious effect of mid night snacking. According to experts, snacking after dinner can ignite weight gain mechanism in the body since it increases your total calorie intake per day. Moreover, during night time, your body is not active so much so that it can digest the food the way it does during rest of the day.

Routine Disturbances: Ever heard of the term “biological clock”? It is actually the intrinsic clock that every organism possesses. Your body well knows when to eat, when to work and when to rest. If, at the time of rest, that is late at night, you go on nibbling upon snacks, this habit can disturb the intrinsic routine of your body in many ways. Like, you won’t be able to attain a proper sleep after gobbling down food, which can likely affect your morning routine.

A Hundred Percent Beneficial Recipe

Here is a health recipe that I would like to share with you all. But hold on! Don’t assume it to be like other health recipes, those which are either tasteless or too much bitter, so much so that you have to shut your eyes tight and clip your nose when gulping it down your food pipe.
Instead, this recipe is the one you’d love to eat.
Well, I don’t go for complex and twisted names for food. Hence, I will name it rather simple.
I would like to call it ‘Ginger garlic soup’, too simple, isn’t it?
All you have to do is, take a cup of chicken stock, drop in a teaspoon of garlic paste, and that of some ginger paste, boil it for three to four minutes. And Valla, your soup is ready.
Was that too difficult? Of course not
And it does not taste awful either. You may think that garlic and ginger would yield some dreadful aroma, but that is all handled well by the chicken stock which you took as the base.
For more taste enhancing effects, you can add some oats and black pepper to your soup while it is being boiled. But then you will have to cook it until the oat softens.
So as you see, the ingredients that make up this food are all health enhancers.
Need not to mention the blessings of garlic and ginger.
Moreover, black pepper imparts your food some antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It promotes the health of your gut and also improves digestion.

Foods for Type 2 Diabetes

Consuming foods with low carbs is perfect for any type of diabetes, because it will also be beneficial to your health. Water and carbohydrates are panacea most used worldwide, and although the second is a source of energy for the body, you need to get without overdoing it.

When planning your meal, make sure you do not include all carbohydrates in one meal. You need to make it balanced as possible, not only if you have diabetes, but also if you want to maintain good health and ideal weight. Here, we will give you a list of foods advisable for those suffering from type 2 diabetics.

Fruits: apples, blueberries, guava, melons, peaches, strawberries, blackberries and rhubarb.

Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, fennel, cucumber, eggplant, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, thorny, tomato and pickles.

Dairy: blue cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, fetta cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, cream, Swiss cheese, milk.

Proteins: meat, chicken, duck, eggs, fish, lamb, lobster, pork, salmon, sardines, squid, tuna, veal.

Nuts and seeds: almonds, coconut, linseed, macadamia nuts, mixed nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame, sunflower seeds.

Condiments: fish sauce, fish oil, linseed oil, lemon juice, low fat mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, soy sauce, tabasco, vinegar without sugar, Worcestershire sauce.

There you have it. Keep your diet with these foods and you’re perfect.