salad

Pizza! Numerous Healthy Twists

Pizza! Just the name may make your mouth water. Pizza, by definition, is a dish consisting of a flat, round base of dough baked and topped with tomato sauce and cheese, typically with added meat or vegetables. BUT…the idea of pizza has transformed a lot over the years and lucky for our waistlines has taken on some healthier forms. We’ll share some of those options this week!

Portabello Pizza

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place portabello mushroom caps, with gills and stems removed, upside down on a baking sheet. Top with salsa, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes. That’s it!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Buy it or make it yourself! Cauliflower crusts can be relatively easy to find for purchase now. Make sure to check your labels though! In some cases, a cauliflower crust can have more carbs, fat, and calories than a regular crust…even if it’s gluten-free and low-carb!

However, if you’re ready to give it a shot, check out our blog for a link to the basics: “Rice” a head of cauliflower, squeeze out the water, mix with egg, herbs, and cheese (yes, cheese is needed to help stick the cauliflower together and this is sometimes where recipes can go crazy) and then bake. *If you go this route, you may want to consider going lighter on the cheese knowing it’s incorporated in the crust.

Check out this recipe from ifoodreal!

Tortilla Pizza

Pizza crusts can come in sooo many forms today! There are spaghetti squash crusts, sweet potato crusts, and even chickpea crusts that you can make! Even Oprah is making her own pizzas now!

Want your pizza but making your own crust is just too much? Try using a tortilla for a crust. Many of us have tortilla’s laying around the kitchen. The trick is to get it fairly crisp in the oven before applying your toppings. Our favorite “flaky” crust tortilla is Tortilla Fresca uncooked flour tortillas, found in the refrigerated section at Costco. Once crisp, get creative with your toppings…try pesto topped with spinach, artichokes and chicken and then bake until the toppings are cooked through!

Pizza in a Pan

Yes, you can even put pizza in a pan! We’re talking skillet dishes. Want to go out on a limb? Try a pizza stir-fry that has kale, cabbage, and peppers at the heart of the recipe and then all your pizza flavors, including pepperoni, added in to satisfy that pizza desire. Get the full recipe here!

Not quite ready for the jump? Try another pizza stir-fry option that still hangs onto your mozzarella, but throws in some spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, and even banana peppers! Recipe here!

If you love the flavors of pizza, run with it, as it can lead to some healthy recipes that you may have never considered.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

Love the flavor of pizza, but you know you can’t hold back to just a slice or so? Try some veggie loaded quinoa bites! These poppable bites contain quinoa, zuccchini, and summer squash to add in an additional splash of nutrients. Toss in some italian seasoning, basil, garlic, tomato sauce and a little parmesean cheese, you’ve got yourself some healthy pizza snacks!

Pizza in a Salad

Start with a bed of greens, top with bell peppers, halved grape tomatoes, artichokes, red onions, black olives, and all your favorite vegetable favorites! Toss on some cooked/warmed turkey pepperoni or italian ground turkey and toss with a pesto vinigarette like this one!

Simple Tips That Will Change Dieting Forever

Not Sure Where To Begin?

We have all been there. It is time to make a change. You feel like you need to make a major shift in the way you eat. A friend had great success with this or that extreme diet, while someone else you know had terrible results.

There is so much information, and honestly so much BAD information out there with regards to dieting and proper nutrition that sometimes it can be overwhelming. Making drastic changes, cutting, slashing, restricting, etc can lead to a very short-lived diet change for most of us. Try taking it one step at a time and incorporating these basic ideas!

1. Eat Intuitively!

Intuitive Eating is associated with lower body fat and better relationships with food. Eat intuitively by rating your hunger on a scale from 1 (weakness/dizziness has set in) to 10 (you may have to roll me out the door/filled to the point of feeling sick).

Really listening to your body before eating, to determine if you are truly hungry, and while eating slowing down to let your body detect fullness levels, will keep you on the right track with intuitive eating. Try it at your next meal!

2. Think Abundance Instead of Restriction!

Start by adding an additional serving of vegetables to your day. Once that becomes habit, add two servings. When eating intuitively, the vegetables will start to take the place of more calorie dense food choices like starches or junk food!

3. Check Your Portions!

Our friends at Precision Nutrition suggests a palm of protein, a cupped hand of carbohydrates, a fist of vegetables, and a thumb of fat for most. If you are still hungry, add another fist of vegetables. Click the image for a great article on portion control!

Still hungry after intuitively eating? Add a small amount of protein. It will take a number of weeks (maybe even months) to work through and find the amounts and timing that works best for you body, lifestyle, and schedule. There is no one-size fits all in nutrition, but start from a baseline and build from there.

4. Don’t Give Up All Your Favorites!

The IDEA Fitness Journal suggests “Flipping” your ingredients. Instead of that traditional burrito, ask for a burrito bowl which puts all the ingredients of a burrito into a bowl instead of a wrap.

Instead of eating ice cream with fruit on top, try a spoonful of ice cream on top of a bowl of fruit!

Instead of a steak dinner with a side of potato and vegetable, try a salad with sliced steak and cubed potatoes on the side.

(Source: Padgett, Cassandra MS . “Nutrition Hacks Based on Hard Science” IDEA Fitness Journal, January 2019: 46-49. Print)

5. Beware of False “Health Food”!

Be cautious of “Food Halos” – foods high in sugar or artificial ingredients that are packaged to appear healthy and may even be lurking in the “health food” section of the grocery store!

Tuna and chicken salads for instance are often laden with heavy amounts of mayo. Making your own? Try swapping out the mayo for plain Greek yogurt.

Think instant oatmeal is a healthy go-to breakfast? Be watchful of high sugar levels! Consider using one pack and adding plain rolled oats, walnuts, and berries to balance out the load…even better, start with plain oats and build your own oatmeal so you are aware of what is going into it!

6. Build Healthy Habits!

The most important thing to remember is that building healthy habits and determining the right path for YOUR body will take time. Determine your priority in nutrition. Where can you make an easy change that will have significant results for your health and wellness?

Is it more water every day? Maybe you drink several sodas per day and just swapping them out with water will yield you incredible benefits!

Need to eat more vegetables? To trim out the excess snacking or late-night eating? Work on ONE habit first and do not move on until it’s mastered. For many, this will take at least a week or two. In some cases, much longer.

It may take more time than you’d like – scratch that, it WILL take longer than you’d like – but in the long run when it’s just part of what you do and you are well on your way to your goal, it will seem like a blink in time.

Take it one step at a time…

Chickpeas – WAY More Than Hummus!

Two-weeks ago we talked about plant-based eating. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans have a moderate calorie load and are a great source for fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Despite their starchy appearance, chickpeas fall into the low-glycemic load category (with a glycemic index of 28).

Make chickpeas, from dry, easily at home with an Instant Pot! Dried beans are incredibly cheap even compared with their canned counterparts and aren’t loaded with sodium! Check out a super easy NO-SOAK chickpea recipe from a previous blog post using an Instant Pot!

First: Some Background

Chickpeas were first harvested in 3000 B.C in southeast Turkey and later spread to India and Africa. Today they are a part of many nutritious dishes by swapping out less nutrient dense items like pasta.

Chickpeas are classified pulses. Pulses are part of the legume family, any plant that grows in a pod, but a pulse is the dry edible seed within the pod. Pulses are complex carbs, which means they stick with you longer releasing energy over time vs simple sugars which release all their energy at once – increasing blood sugar and fat storage.

Pulses contain PREbiotic fiber (undigetstible plant fibers that feed the probiotics/good bacteria) which contributes to gut health! These powerhouses of nutrition contain more folate than kale! Eat more vegetables by dipping them in your own fresh hummus, or incorporate chickpeas into your diet many different ways via the recipes below!

Recipes

Make Your Own Hummus!

In a food processor, combine 1 can of chickpeas, 2-4 Tbsp. water, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1-2 cloves of garlic, 1/4-1/2 Tsp smoked paprika, 3/4 Tsp cumin, and 1/2 Tsp salt. Blend until smooth! Get creative with add in’s like spinach, olives, feta cheese, and more! If you like thinner hummus, simply add more water. Super FAST and TASTY!

Charred Chickpea Corn Salad

Combining chickpeas, quinoa, sweet peppers, and avocado – this healthy recipe is amazingly delicious!

Check it out here!

Super-Fast Chicken and Chickpeas

Directions: In a large skillet, sauté the garlic in 1 tsp olive oil for a couple of minutes, then add the chicken and onions. Stir fry for a few minutes, until onions begin to brown, then add the remaining ingredients. Continue cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes, until the meal has a good consistency.

– 8 oz roasted chicken breast, chopped
– 1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, drained
– 1/2 onion, chopped
– 1 large tomato, chopped
– 2 tsp olive oil

– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1/4 tsp cumin
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 2 cardamom pods (Or equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg)

Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa

Here we’ve found a really interesting recipe for sweet & savory, 30-minute Moroccan chickpea quinoa salad made in one pot!

Easy, nutritious, beautiful AND delicious!

Get the recipe here!

Spinach & Sweet Potato Crustless Quiche

Try chickpeas for BREAKFAST with this veggie quiche! (note: nutritional yeast is part of the recipe which gives it the cheesy flavor without cheese!)

Roast sweet potato cubes in the oven, then combine chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, salt and water. Mix with roasted sweet potato cubes, spinach, garlic, and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. Voila!

Full recipe here!

Hot Summer, Cold Salads!

Now don’t get us wrong, the grill has a special place in the Summertime rotation, but sometimes you are just too hot to stand over an open flame and what you really need is to cool down!

This week we have a bunch of excellent, COLD salad recipes for you so you can give a major boost to your nutrition this summer, cool down your body, and delight your taste buds!

Vegetable Bean Salad

Try this large batch veggie-loaded cold salad with a sweet, and optionally spicy kick!

Check it out: Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, corn, avocado, cilantro and beans get topped with a dressing of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, raw honey, hot sauce/chilies (to taste), garlic, and salt/pepper. This was a huge family hit! (The proof is in the picture…) It goes great with almost any main protein meal since you now have your vegetable, carb, and fat taken care of!

TIP: Try using unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It is known to have many medicinal properties, including easing GI distress.

Get the full recipe here!

Zoodle Salad

Zucchini + tomatoes + basil + mozzarella balls topped with balsamic vinegar. So simple! Sooo good…Get the recipe here!

TIP: Balsamic vinegar is traditionally made in Italy from unfiltered, unfermented pressed grapes (not fermented alcohol like other vinegars) and aged like wine. The older the vinegar, the sweeter and more syrupy – not to mention more expensive. Beware: a lot of cheap balsamic vinegar is just an imitation, made by adding color to white wine. Look at the label for words like “grape must”, “aged grape must”, “Mosto d’Uva” or “DOC.”

Cold Shrimp Salad

Shrimp is a good source of protein and a nice change of pace. This recipe can be made even quicker with precooked shrimp, then simply toss with a healthy dressing and served over lettuce leaves or as a salad topper/dressing.

Shrimp with celery, red onion, and dill + dressing. We love simple – had you noticed?

The dressing is made with mayo (could also part plain Greek yogurt part Mayo), lemon, and dijon.

TIP: This recipe was tested using 1/4 c Greek yogurt + 1/4 c Mayo, however 1/8 c mayo would likely have been enough.

Click here for the recipe!

Greek Salad

Who doesn’t love the classic taste of cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta? Today’s Greek Salad has a dressing that can be used for any lettuce salad: red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon, oregano, and salt/pepper.

TIP: Red wine vinegar, as the name suggests, is made from red wine that is allowed to ferment. It’s one of the more popular vinegars with its sharp taste, making it great for vinaigrettes, salad dressings, and marinades.

Unfamiliar with this classic recipe? Check it out here!

Quinoa Salad

A terrific way to use your garden surplus, create a satisfyingly filling dish, plus get a protein boost from the quinoa!

Quinoa + cucumbers + tomatoes + onion, avocado, feta, and parsley. This cold salad offers a light creamy feel yet light for summer. Serves well with chicken on the side or incorporated right in! Rave reviews from the kids and adults alike!

Get the recipe!

Bonus Tuna Salad

This is one refreshing take on the timeless classic. Red onions, dill pickles and hot sauce pack a serious punch of flavor that make this recipe particularly enjoyable. Try wrapping it up in some romaine lettuce!

Full recipe here!

Snack-Time Chicken Salad by Ellipse

Hi Everyone,

Tired of the same old snacks?  Change it up a bit!   Here’s an easy recipe to make early in the week so that you have several servings for yourself throughout the week.  It tastes great and it is great for you!  You can swap out the chicken for tuna or turkey if you’d prefer.  Serve this chicken salad with whole wheat crackers or wrap it in a whole wheat tortilla!

Snack-Time Chicken Salad

1  13 Oz. Can of Chunk Chicken Breast

4  Baby Carrots, shredded

2  Tbsp. Onion, chopped

3  Tbsp. Non-fat Ranch Salad Dressing

Pepper To Taste

Directions:  Drain chicken and place in a mixing bowl.  With two forks, gently shred the chicken.  Add shredded carrot, chopped onion, salad dressing, and pepper to mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.  Chill for about an hour.

Serves:  3

Total Calories: 109   Carb=5.1g Prot=19g Fat=2.3g

Ellipse Tip:  A couple great brands of salad dressing to try are Walden Farm’s Ranch Dressing or Kraft Non-Fat Ranch Dressing.  This dab of salad dressing adds tons of flavor and the creamy texture that you desire!