Avoid those starchy carbs with these 6 great alternatives!

23 Sep

By now most people understand how eating starchy carbs like corn, potatoes,pasta and white rice spike your insulin levels leading to those carbs turning straight into fat. Eating these types of carbs is actually equivalent to eating sugar! You’re body responds to both in the same way. However that doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves and go on the Atkins diet. What it does mean is that we need to rethink the way we plan our meals and choose alternatives that are just as delicious, but much healthier. Luckily you have me to help!

1. Yams, Sweet Potatoes, Fingerling Potatoes, & multi colored small potatoes

These are all great alternatives to baked and mashed potatoes. Yams and sweet potatoes are actually lower on the glycemic index and will not spike your insulin levels. Also if you love potatoes try sticking to small potatoes that retain their skin which means extra fiber. The trick is really in the preparation. All that’s needed is a very small amount of olive oil, salt, pepper  & fresh parsley or rosemary.

2. Smart Taste Pasta, Berillo, Whole Wheat Pasta’s

Ronzoni Smart Taste - White pasta enriched with Calcium and Fiber

Now a days it is very common to find great pasta’s that have exactly the same taste, yet are full of fiber and protein. I;ve even found whole wheat pasta full of fiber at The Dollar Store, so eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive

3. Quinoa

File:Red quinoa.png

This amazing grain alternative is actually a seed that almost pops in your mouth like caviar yumm! It can really be specialized with seasoning, fresh herbs and you can dice up and add just about any vegetable. It’s especially great with carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, & mushrooms. Quinoa is lower in carbs and high in protein and dietary fiber. I especially love this alternative for women since we are more susceptible to anemia.

4. Red Lentels

I recently discovered this great side dish alternative at Trader Joes. The best part? It takes 12 minutes to cook. Like quinoa you can add  a variety vegetables. These sides are awesome if you have children and need to sneak in those veggies. Red Lentels are also a popular and trending ingredient in salads. One serving provides a whopping 5g of fiber and 10g of protein.

5. Wild Rice

6. Squash

This is one of my faves. You can use spaghetti squash as an alternative for Pasta or just as a side dish. I also love butternut, acorn, and even pumpkin. You can cook all of these the same way so its much less intimidating than they look. Simply cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and add a small amount of olive oil or smart balance, salt, pepper, fresh parsley, and bake for 30 minutes or until tender at 350 degrees.

Rice can still be a healthy alternative, but you have to read the ingredients and look for that high fiber content. I’ve been using a variety from trader Joes for years and love it. I wish Trader Joes was available in more states! Now with that being said, don’t be fooled by brown rice. Most are also refined, enriched, and contain as little as 2g of fiber per serving. We want at least 5g of fiber per serving when you are choosing a healthy grain. The best thing to look for is a rice blend. This one uses Diakon Radish Seeds which are so delish, who knew!

So this week your challenge is to experiment with different healthy alternative side dishes and enjoy watching the pounds melt off. The saying “you are what you eat” is so very true.  Avoid side dishes like mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, french fries, and potato chips. Eat these in moderation as a treat. Also remember that corn is a starch so when trying to improve your diet, treat corn as a carb and opt for veggies like kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, and carrots. Believe it or not onions and garlic have amazing health benefits so I always add diced onions and garlic with all my vegetables to add more flavor and ad as much nutrients to my meals as possible.

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Ham Wrapped Breakfast Quiche

22 Jul

This morning I made some really great breakfast quiches and thought I would share the recipe which I had to change-up quite a bit to get them perfect. These are delicious,  low-calorie, and full of veggies.  I like to add a lot of vegetables, but with this recipe just add whatever you prefer.

 

Ingredients:

Eggs Whole   6

Egg Whites    4

1/2 cup shredded sharp or medium cheddar cheese

1/2 Cup Spinach

5 diced Mushrooms

a few pieces of Broccoli Chopped

1/4 green pepper chopped

1/4 onion chopped

1 garlic clove chopped

salt & pepper

Ham

1/3 cup buttermilk

Use Muffin Pan with 12 or 6 cups

 

Directions:

Preheat Oven to 375. Spray Muffin Pan with nonstick spray and line the sides and bottom of each cup with thinly sliced ham. In a skillet add all diced veggies and a dash of salt & pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes and add spinach ripping into large pieces. Saute another 2 minutes until spinach is wilted. When veggies are done take the pan off heat and let cool.While the veggies are sauteing, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk, add another dash of salt and pepper. Whisk well so eggs become light and fluffy. If you have a magic bullet, whip eggs for a few seconds to add more air. Once eggs are whisked, add cooled veggie mixture and 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Mix and using a ladle scoop eggs mixture into muffin pan.

Bake Quiche at 375 for 20 minutes.

to remove, scrape sides and gently remove.

serve with salsa, sour cream, avacado, or Ketchup

 

 

Healthy Chicken Tacos with Mexican Slaw

19 Jun

I had a routisseri a few nights ago and was trying to decide what to do with all the left over chicken. Then while grocery shopping I saw some shredded cabbage and a few nights before I had these super yummy pork tacos during happy hour. What a perfect use for my chicken and boy where they delish!

Ingredients:

Pulled Chicken

Shredded Cabbage

Can mexican corn

feta cheese and/or mexican cheese

small corn or flour tortillas

salsa (canned or homemade)

Guacamole (optional)

sauce:

squeezed lime

tomatillo sauce 2-3tbls

cilantro

1 garlic clove

olive oil 1tbls

salt/pepper

sour cream or mayo 2tbls

Directions:

  1. so lets start with the slaw. If you have a magic bullet like I do Yay! Lifes as easy as pie. If not you can whisk and chop ingredients or use a food processor. Take all the dressing ingredients and add to your magic bullet, add salt/pepper to taste and feel free to add more mayo if it needs it. The idea is that the dressing is flavorful so you don’t need to over do it.
  2. Mix dressing with slaw and set to the side.
  3. In a pan heat up your chicken, add some mexican corn, a little more tomatillo salsa, set to the side
  4. lightly warming up your tortillas is completely optional they should stay nice and soft
  5. add the mexican slaw, chicken, salsa, guacamole and some feta cheese. You can also add some shredded cheese as well or only use shredded, however Feta is the best option and adds a great flavor.

tips:

to get the most juice from your lime heat it in the microwave for 20 seconds

if you want to make this a big meal or impress guests, use a slow cooker and make the chicken fresh with a mixture of chicken breasts, legs, thighs…add canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper, paprika and let cook for 4hrs. Separate meat from the bones and you’re all set!

Aside

Portobello Mushrooms Bruschetta

14 Jun

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Photo of Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Bruschetta and Mozzarella

I recently found a great deal on Portobello Mushrooms and was stuck thinking what I could make with them, that would also be healthy. I decided to make a healthy Bruschetta like, stuffed Portobello Mushroom side dish that actually taste even better than it looks. It is so easy and simple to make you just can’t go wrong.

Ingredients:

Portobello Mushroom

Smoked mozzarella

Tomatoes

Olive Oil

Lemon

Fresh Basil

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

 In a small bowl add diced tomatoes, small cubes of smoked mozzarella, and sliced fresh basil. squeeze half a lemon and sprinkle lightly with some salt and pepper. Drizzle with some olive oil, stir and, let sit for a few minutes. While your mixture is sitting, simple lightly saute or you can grill your Portobello mushroom. When its ready fill the middle with you Tomato Mozzarella mixture and your done.

It’s especially delish because all the juices from the tomato mixture soak into the mushroom giving it tons of flavor. Enjoy!

 

Bruschetta Skewers

22 Apr

This is another great appetizer that has become very popular at upscale events because of its simplicity, great flavor, and ease to eat with no mess. Think of it as a deconstructed bruschetta with all the flavor.

Ingredients:

Mozzarella Balls
(I like the marinated mozzarella balls or you can marinate your own over night in some olive oil and italian seasoning)

Cherry Tomatoes
( to add color and impress I like getting baby heirloom tomatoes. You can also get a mixture of red & yellow)
Fresh Basil Leaves
Balsamic Reduction
(make sure you use the thick reduction and not regular balsamic vinegar)

 

This recipe is so simple with so much flavor. Just slice the tomato and mozzarella balls in half, if the tomato is very small you can use it whole. Put on toothpicks starting with tomato, small basil leaf, and mozzarella. Then just add to plate and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Couldnt be any easier!

Strawberry Sour Cream Dip

22 Apr

       Trust me, this is the best fruit dip you’ve ever had and the best part is  how simple it is to make. It’s always such a hit with guests, there’s no way you can avoid the double dipping. Another idea I just had is to make little fruit kabobs. A blueberry, piece of strawberry,and  blueberry would make a great kabob and is perfect for your July 4th celebration!

Ingredients are simple:

Sour Cream                         1 Container (regular, don’t use light or fat-free)

Vanilla Extract                   1tsp  (you can add more to taste)

Brown or Raw Sugar         2 tbls (or 7 packets, more to taste)

Combine all ingredients and wisk together. For a smoother dip you can add to a food processor (I like to use my Magic Bullet). I usually add a small amount of sugar and vanilla, blend, and then give it a taste and add more if needed. Just serve with fresh strawberries or treat it like a fondu, cut up different types of fruit and guests can use toothpicks to prevent all that double dipping!

Fat Free Carrot Icecream

7 Apr

This Carrot Icecream is so Delicous and healthy. It’s low in Sugar because the carrot juice is actually very sweet and we use fat free condensed milk.  I made this icecream after buying a juicer and realizing the amazing sweetness to carrot juice.

Ingredients:

2 Cups Carrot Juice

3 Egg Yolks

1 Cup Skim Milk

1 Can Fat Free Condensed Milk

1 packet Gelatin

Directions:

Heat Milk & Condensed Milk on low for 5 minutes, and then let cool down slightly. In a large bowl mix 3 eggs yolks with carrot juice. Once Milk has cooled down add to eggs and juice whisking everything together. Continue whisking and add 1 packet of Gelatin. Add to icecream machine for 25 minutes. Pour into container and freeze for 2 hours and then serve.

This icecream is great because the natural sugars in the carrot juice ae your sweetner so there is no need for corn syrups or melting additional sugar. Also by not heating the carrot juice your icecream will remain full of vitamins!