None of us is perfect, so we can't expect ourselves to make only good decisions from dawn until dusk every day. That can make it hard to stay motivated to meet our health goals day in and day out. Here are a few recipes to help make it easy to choose healthy options all day long (or as often as you can—we're not here to judge).
What we eat in the morning can set the tone for the entire day. What can you make that will help you start the day feeling fueled and happy with your choices? Here are a couple quick options—because let's be honest, we're not waking up extra early to make breakfast—that accomplish both.
Dried Fruit and Nut Bars: Make these bars on the weekend and during the week they'll be ready to grab when you're running out the door. Unlike store-bought bars, these homemade bars have no fluff or preservatives and can be made with local ingredients so they support both you and your community.
Strawberry Soy Smoothie: Smoothies are a wonderful choice for a quick, healthy breakfast. Just be sure you're not overdoing it with added sugars and fatty dairy. This strawberry soy smoothie uses just a little honey and some soy milk, letting the natural fruit flavors dominate. Keep in mind that this makes 2 servings—leftovers make a good afternoon pick-me-up, or can be frozen and thawed for breakfast tomorrow.
One of the most difficult habits to break when trying to eat healthy is grazing on unhealthy, overly-processed snack foods when we're bored or have the munchies. If you're a grazer, make sure to have healthy snack options that will keep your metabolism going without setting you back for the day.
Crunchy Kale Chips: Kale isn't going anywhere, it seems, and these crunchy kale chips are a salty, satisfying way to make the most of that big bunch sitting in your fridge. Try adding red pepper flakes or cracked black pepper for an added kick.
Spicy Almonds: Nut mixes are perfect when you need something to quickly satiate your hunger. Almonds have a low fat, high protein content for a nut, so they're the perfect choice for low-impact snacking. These spicy almonds with paprika, cayenne, cumin, and a smattering of other spices will keep your tastebuds interested without causing you to overeat.
Typically dinner is our single largest source of calories for the day, so it's important to be intentional about portion size and nutritional value for this meal. Here are a few meals that pack better flavor into fewer calories, while still making you feel full and energized.
Healthified Smothered Pork Chops: Lean pork chops, fresh mushrooms, and a creamy, well-spiced sauce combine to create a classic and satisfying dinner. Perfect with a side of green beans, asparagus, collar greens, or smashed potatoes. For a truly great sauce, substitute dried spices for fresh sage and thyme.
Black Rice, Beet, and Kale Salad with Cider Flax Dressing: Salads are a staple of healthy eating, but sometimes they can be boring and unsatisfying. This earthy, flavorful salad with black rice is as beautiful as it is filling. When in doubt, added grains and proteins are a great way to turn a light salad into a full, satisfying meal.
Healthified Cashew Chicken and Broccoli: We all overeat when we order takeout; this time, make your own version of your favorite takeout classics. When you make food yourself, you can regulate how much extra fat, sugar, and sodium ends up in your food and you can more easily limit your portion sizes. This cashew chicken with broccoli and brown rice satisfies without making you feel stuffed.
Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula: Pasta salad is a great way to keep dinner light and fresh, and with all the beans and pasta, it won't leave you feeling hungry. It makes a perfect, hassle-free lunch too.
Nobody wants to give up dessert to get healthy—and you shouldn't have to! In addition to fresh fruits—which make a great dessert on their own—there are plenty of desserts that can satisfy your sweet tooth without adding tons of calories to your day.
Lush Lemon Frozen Yogurt: Frozen yogurt is the obvious alternative for those who are addicted to ice-cream. Fruity flavors like lemon complement frozen yogurt's natural tanginess particularly well. For a smoothe, fluffy texture, always make frozen yogurt in an ice-cream maker.
Bobby's Lighter Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pie: If chocolate is a requirement for you, this mousse pie might be more your speed. With dark and semisweet chocolate chips, chocolate liquer, and low-fat milk and whipped cream, this pie is as flavorful as it is light.
What are some of your favorite healthy recipes? Have you tried any of the recipes above? Let us know in the comments, and happy eating!