The holiday season is all about giving, and you never want to show up to a party empty handed. The benefits are two fold: your host will love you, and you know you’ll have some lower calorie options you can stick to no matter what’s on the menu. Bring one of the following quick and easy, low calorie holiday recipes to your next get together and enjoy yourself, guilt-free.
Noshes and Nibbles
Appe-teasers are simple to prepare and simple to eat, making them great for informal cocktail parties. Look for recipes high in protein to keep you full for hours, like our gal Oprah’s favorite meatballs and stick to lower calorie variations of your favorite traditionally high fat, high calorie dips.
A Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip
Oprah’s Turkey Meatballs
Cottage Cheese Dip with Veggies
Steamed Artichokes with Red Pepper Dip
Black Eyed Pea Hummus
Perfect Party Salmon Bites
It’s the end of the week, I have a strange collection of misfit leftovers, and all I want is a comforting (and cohesive!) dish. Enter: Kitchen Sink Fried Rice.
Stir-fry can be so forgiving and allow you to throw in almost anything you have on hand. I’ve found my favorite hodgepodge ingredients to combine, but feel free to let your imagination run wild! Have some greens wilting in the back of the fridge? Throw them in! Questionable lentils from last week? Throw them in! Old bag of frozen peas? …Well, you get the idea.
First of all, I have my brown rice cooked ahead of time—that’s the first leftover I’m looking to repurpose! You can also use an instant brown rice to cook the day-of and save on some wait time. Rice n Simple is a brand we’ve tried and enjoy; makes things super easy!
While many prefer the taste of white rice to brown, the nutritional benefits of brown rice (extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals) make it clearly superior and the other yummy flavors of this dish help hide the taste of the brown rice.
This is one of my go-to recipes because of it’s flexibility and freedom for it to be different each time. Here are the key steps I’ve stuck with so far: (more…)
You may think all that sweat your body is producing in this hot summer sun is dirty, sticky, and stinky, but it’s actually one of the best things your body can do for itself. Sweat pushes toxins out of your body, it cleanses and opens up your pores, and it can even help maintain or give a boost to your metabolism. Damp skin is a sign your body is working hard in all the right ways!
Give your body a reward for its efforts by nourishing it with in-season summer produce. Not only will foods like asparagus, spinach, and berries fuel your body with vital nutrients and properly and naturally cleanse your body, but some of these summer foods will keep your metabolism revved up, too.
Peppers. These spicy bites can put a few drops of sweat on your forehead, but the capsaicin chemical inside is also known for heating up your metabolism (even hours after you’ve eaten!). The capsaicin in jalapeños, habaneros, and serranos reduces inflammation, relieves sinus pain, and can take down a headache. Add some heat to your next dish or drink, like our Fizzy Jalapeno Cherry Limeades or Watermelon Jalapeño Mojitos. (more…)
Have you ever considered getting into the whole herb gardening thing? I certainly have, but as always, I need a strong resource to wrap my mind around what is the easiest and most beneficial thing to grow at home. I didn’t find this quickie guide, so I did the research and created one for us all. It turns out herb gardening is easy and a super healthy and cost-effective way to add heapings of extra flavor to your food. Here are the best greens to grow in an indoor or outdoor herb garden. All you need to get started are a few pots, a little bit of soil and some seeds!
Basil is super easy to grow at home. All you need is some seeds and the sunlight. Basil is so versatile—use it in soups and salads or make pesto with it. It works great in Italian dishes (obviously) and it can add a fun flavor blast to stirfrys too! Basil is also awesome for clearing your skin and mellowing your stress. Who knew?
Try it in a summery peach caprese salad! (more…)
Sometimes the best things come in the smallest packages! What am I referring to? The tiny goji berry, which is one of nature’s most nutritionally complete foods.
Never heard of it? Goji berries are referred to as “red diamonds” in their native Himalayan China and Tibet. The bite-size super foods contain 18 different amino acids, aka the building blocks for protein, including 8 of the 9 essential food-based amines that our body cannot produce on their own. This makes them especially crucial for vegetarians and vegans who are not eating complete animal proteins like eggs, fish, and meat products.
Goji berries are sold around the world and are usually packaged as dried berries. (They kind of look like pink raisins.) You can find them in most health food stores and increasingly in regular grocery stores too. The berries are pretty sweet in taste, but they’re also pretty complex tasting overall because of all the nutrients and minerals they deliver.
History of Goji Berries
Goji berries have always played an integral part in Chinese medicinal practices since ancient times, dating back as far as 5,000 years! They are still prescribed for their eye, liver, and kidney-supporting properties and they are also believed to boost “chi”, or invigorating life energy, in those who eat them. There are many well-documented claims that daily consumption of goji berries played a key role in unbelievable longevity: one man even claimed to have lived 252 years! (I’m not convinced of his math, but still!)
Super Food Superpowers
Here’s a cheat sheet on the benefits you can expect from go-go-goji berries:
- Contains 21 trace minerals like zinc, iron, copper, calcium, and phosphorus
- Richest source of carotenoids of all known foods on earth. Way more than even carrots!
- 500x more Vitamin C than oranges by weight
- 8 of 9 essential amino acids, almost a complete protein (more…)
A delicious new trend has been popping up everywhere lately, and I am all for it: Cauliflower is having a moment, sprouting up in all sorts of recipes and proving that it is one of the most versatile vegetables out there. (It’s a side! It’s a main dish! It’s probably even a dessert somewhere!)
Have you noticed this trend? We’ve been spotting cauliflower recipes all over the web and cauliflower dishes on restaurant menus, sort of like Brussels sprouts circa 2007.
So what are the best things to do with this hearty veggie, which is low in fat, but high in fiber, water, and vitamin C? I’m so glad you asked! With no further ado, the best cauliflower recipes to try out ASAP:
Mock Potato Salad
Like the mashed potato idea you may have heard of but with a summery twist! This recipe for “mock potato salad” is brilliant. There are no potatoes in this salad, but cauliflower instead. Everything else you will recognize from your favorite potato salad recipes: eggs, mayonnaise, celery, mustard, dill. Warm weather friendly!
Cauliflower Tater Tots
There is not a potato in sight in this phenomenally addictive recipe. Only (spoiler alert!) cauliflower! Served as a side dish or even the main course, the recipe calls for not much more than cauliflower, coconut oil, and seasoning. Yum. (more…)
Improvising can be a lot harder than it looks. (Just ask the cast of “Saturday Night Live”.) Going off-script in the kitchen can be especially challenging, at least at first—after all, what if you screw up and make something that doesn’t taste good?!
But once you get over those initial fears of failure—which is a lot easier once you remind yourself that you can always get takeout!—adding a spirit of adventure to your cooking will likely make the entire experience more enjoyable. Before you know it you’ll be adding a dash of this and a pinch of that to your home creations.
But before you start yelling “Bam” like Emeril and dreaming up crazy-but-tasty flavor explosions, start small.
By Team Best Life
Need a quick and healthy meal? Crack open some eggs. Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein, with about 6.5 grams of protein per large egg. And the yolk contains the antioxidants that protect the eyes as well as choline, a nutrient crucial for healthy brain function. (One egg a day is safe for most people; the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t seem to affect blood cholesterol as much as saturated fat.)
By Layne Lieberman, RD
We all know it’s better to cook at home than rely on restaurants to satisfy your stomach and take care of your health. Restaurant chefs and cooks are trained to use salt, sugar, and fat to add flavor to most dishes.
Unfortunately, a lot of recipes—particularly ones that have been passed down from generation to generation—rely on these same unhealthy tricks. The good news is that even your most gluttonous go-to comfort food recipes can be altered to be healthier. It simply takes a few substitutions and healthy cooking techniques to do the job.
Here are my 15 favorite recipe rules which I use to make any homemade dish healthier. (Need some initial inspiration? Browse my favorite recipes!) (more…)
By Team Best Life
Sure, you could throw a bunch of spinach in a bowl, toss in some standard salad toppings, cover it all in dressing and call it a day. But why not find other more creative ways to use the green, which offers a number of health perks? It’s rich in vitamins A, C, and K, plus beta carotene, calcium, fiber, and folate. And it contains antioxidants that protect your eyes and may also fight diseases, such as arthritis and some forms of cancer.
Below, we’ve offered five recipes that don’t require a bowl or dressing! But before you dig in, use these strategies to get the tastiest greens:
• Look for crisp green leaves when shopping.
• Be sure to get rid of any yellow or wilted leaves before using. (more…)