Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with disease fighting phytonutrients. This recipe dresses them up with the flavors of sesame and ginger. It is an easy side dish to pair with grilled fish or serve it with quinoa and lentils.
Yield: 3 to 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
½ tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp minced fresh ginger
4 cups chopped cauliflower florets
2 cups chopped kale leaves
½ cup no-salt-added chicken or vegetable stock
½ tsp low sodium soy sauce
½ tsp dark sesame oil
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
Add the cauliflower and kale, cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and continue to cook for 5 to 7 more minutes until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has evaporated.
Stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Remove from the heat and serve warm.
Nutrition information for ¼ recipe: Calories 80; Total Fat 3.8 g; Saturated Fat 0.5 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 117 mg; Carbohydrate 9.7 g; Fiber 3.3 g; Sugar 2.5 g; Protein 3.9 g
Adding spices to your food allows you to enhance flavor without using excess salt and fats, but the benefits don’t stop there. Research shows that spices contain substances that fight disease and improve your health.
Research shows that cinnamon can improve blood sugar by stimulating insulin receptors and improving glucose absorption by cells. Some studies suggest that it may help lower blood sugar in those with diabetes. The oils in cinnamon have also been found to help fight bacteria. Add cinnamon to your morning coffee, stir it into yogurt or oatmeal, and sprinkle it over fruit salad.
The oil in coriander seeds has antibacterial properties that may be effective at destroying dangerous bacteria that cause foodborne illness. It is also full of multiple phytonutrients. Animal studies have linked coriander with reduced blood sugar and cholesterol. Sprinkle coriander in scrambled egg whites, add it to salad dressings, or mix it into soups and stews.
Crushed Red Pepper
Peppers contain capsaicin, which contributes to the spicy heat. Capsaicin is also responsible for many of the health benefits of hot peppers. Hot peppers have been found to produce a slight increase in metabolism and a brief reduction in appetite that may help with weight loss over time. Studies also show that hot peppers may reduce blood cholesterol, and they are linked to lower risks for heart attack and stroke. Stir crushed red pepper into soups or pasta sauces, and sprinkle it over roasted vegetables.
Gingerol is responsible for the many health benefits of ginger. Ginger has been found to fight inflammation, which may help reduce arthritis pain. Research shows that it may also help protect against some cancers by blocking the growth of cancer cells. While fresh ginger contains more gingerol, dried ginger is still a healthy spice. Blend it into smoothies, stir it into oatmeal, and add it to sauteed vegetables.
Turmeric is a spice often found in curry powder as well as yellow mustard. It contains the antioxidant curcumin, which is responsible for its multiple health benefits. Turmeric has been found to reduce joint inflammation. Research shows that it may also help block the growth of cancer cells. The antioxidant power of turmeric has been found to reduce total cholesterol, which may lead to a reduced risk for heart disease. Blend turmeric into smoothies, add it to stir-fries,and mix it into dry rubs for poultry or fish.
Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean that you have to cut out all special occasions. It’s okay to responsibly enjoy happy hour with friends and coworkers from time to time. When you do, aim to make it a healthier event so that it doesn't throw you off track. Here are a few ways you can join the fun without disrupting your progress.
Know the facts.
Before you decide to gather for a drink, it’s important to understand how alcohol impacts weight loss. Not only do alcoholic drinks add calories, they can affect how efficiently you burn body fat and they can also stimulate appetite. Understanding how alcohol can interfere with reaching your goals will help you make healthier choices and prevent the risk that you will overdo it on drinks.
Order a classic.
Fruity and frozen drinks or those mixed with regular soda cause calories and simple sugars to add up. If you want a cocktail, stick with the classics. Traditional daiquiris, martinis, and spirits mixed with club soda allow for a cocktail without the cost of blowing your daily calorie budget. Order a classic martini instead of a cosmopolitan and you will save 70 calories or more.
Stick with smaller portions.
Many craft breweries and tasting rooms provide options for smaller portions that can help you stick to your plan. Order a half pint or tasters of beers for less volume and fewer calories.
Seek out session beers.
It is difficult to estimate the calories in a beer without knowing the exact recipe, but generally when the alcohol content goes up so do the number of calories. Fortunately, session beers provide a lighter option. Session beers are less than 5 percent ABV (alcohol by volume). As a comparison, a 12 ounce Budweiser is 5 percent ABV and contains about 145 calories.
Pick wine over sangria.
Stick with plain wine instead of sangria. A five-ounce glass of Merlot contains about 115 calories. Sangria is made with wine, but many varieties have added fruit juice, syrups, liqueurs, and some even contain flavored sodas like ginger ale. All these additions cause the calories to soar to over 200 for one glass.
Work in water.
Alcohol is dehydrating so keep your water intake up even if you only have one drink. Drink a glass of water before and after your cocktail. Dehydration can zap your energy levels making you feel sluggish and unmotivated for tomorrow morning’s workout.
Select the snacks.
Consuming alcohol lowers inhibitions making it much easier to engage in mindless snacking. If your table decides to order a few bar bites, take charge of the situation and order some healthier items. Check for options like grilled chicken satay, sautéed shrimp, or lettuce wraps. If none of the offerings meet your healthy eating plan, order a side salad or a cup of broth-based soup. Ignoring your hunger will only make you cave in when the high-calorie appetizers get passed around the table.
Fish is a high quality source for lean protein and heart-healthy fat. Baking fish in foil packets with flavorful fresh vegetables allows you to make a quick meal with easy clean-up. Pair it with a salad and a side of quinoa or brown rice for a balanced, healthy meal.
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
4 white fish fillets (such as tilapia)
1 cup halved small cherry or grape tomatoes
1/3 cup finely diced green bell pepper
¼ cup minced sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lay four 12x16-inch pieces of aluminum foil on a flat work surface. Place a piece of fish in the center of each piece of foil.
In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Top each piece of fish with an equal amount of the vegetables.
To seal each packet, turn the piece of foil so that the 16-inch side is horizontal. Fold the right and left ends toward the center to meet each other. Roll the foil down two to three turns to seal the two sides. Grab each of the open ends and roll towards the center to create and seal the packet.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish begins to flake and the vegetables are softened.
Nutrition information for 1 serving: Calories 194; Total Fat 9.3 g; Saturated Fat 1.4 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 50 mg; Sodium 208 mg; Carbohydrate 6.7 g; Fiber 1 g; Sugar 2.7 g; Protein 21.8 g
Walking is an effective exercise, but it’s easy to get into a rut with your routine. When you continue to walk for the same time and distance at the same intensity, your fitness is no longer challenged and you may no longer see results. This doesn’t mean you have to stop walking. Add some of these creative variations to your workout to get the heart pumping and to continue improving your fitness.
By varying your speed throughout your walk, you can boost calorie burn without overexerting yourself. Start at a leisurely pace, walk a little faster for 60 seconds, and then walk as fast as you can for 30 seconds to 60 seconds. Return to your leisurely place for 60 seconds and continue to repeat the intervals throughout your entire walk. If you’d rather not keep time, use landmarks for your intervals. For example, walk quickly to the stop sign and then recover until you get to the fire hydrant.
Alter your environment
A boring walk feels like it lasts forever and your lack of interest could slow you down to a shuffle. Choose walking environments that energize you or those that relieve your stress, and alternate where you walk to avoid boredom. Take time to investigate what types of walking environments you have access to. You might be surprised to find nature trails, beaches, paved trails around lakes, high school cross-country courses, and quaint downtown streets, which all provide enjoyable places to walk.
Find an incline
Whether you are on a treadmill or outside, increasing the grade on your course is a quick and easy way to increase the intensity. On the treadmill, instead of changing the speed during intervals, try increasing the incline. If you are outdoors, find a hilly route or stairs to instantly challenge your fitness.
Your workout doesn’t have to be limited to walking. A 30-to-45-minute walk provides a great opportunity to work in some strength training. Walk for 5 minutes, stop and do a set of lunges. Walk for 5 more minutes and do a set of bicep curls with an exercise band. Adding some different activities will make your workout go faster and you’ll have both your cardio and strength training completed in one session.
Beat your time
Turn your walks into a competition with yourself. Stick with the same course and distance for two weeks. Record your total time on your first workout. On each walk that follows, try to beat the time before it. Not only will you increase your pace and challenge your fitness, you will gain a sense of accomplishment from achieving your goal.