Cherry Vanilla Green Smoothie
(makes 1 large or 2 smaller servings)
Research has shown that eating a few meatless meals per week can lower risk of heart disease and may even prolong life. Why? Well, vegetarian meals are usually rich in complex carbohydrates, vegetables, and fiber, while low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
The majority of people aren’t vegetarian. But you probably eat like a vegetarian now and again without even thinking about it—your morning toast or oatmeal, a garden salad, pasta, or vegetable stir-frys—even cheese pizza.
Whether you’d like to increase the number of vegetarian meals you eat, or you need to adapt a meat recipe for a vegetarian guest, you can turn your favorite recipes into a vegetarian meal with a few simple changes. Here are a few recipe tips to get you started:
In casseroles, stews, soups, and chili, substitute cooked legumes (like beans and lentils) for the meat. Try kidney beans in chili or stew, red lentils in spaghetti sauce or stuffed cabbage rolls, or refried beans in burritos, tacos, and enchiladas.
In stir-fry dishes, use firm tofu, tempeh, cooked beans, nuts, and sesame seeds in place of meat, poultry, or seafood. Firm tofu and tempeh can even be cubed and skewered as kebobs for grilling. Try scrambled tofu for breakfast. Marinated tofu, sliced thin, makes a delicious sandwich.
Prepare pasta sauces, pizza toppings, soups, stews, and other mixed dishes as you always do. However skip the meat and add more chopped vegetables. If you eat dairy products, sprinkle cheese on top for more protein and calcium.
Meat "analogs" are soy protein products that mimic different types of meat. Try vegetarian patties, bacon, and sausages at breakfast, pepperoni on pizza, burgers, "chicken" nuggets and patties—even barbecue ribs! Textured soy protein is often sold in a granular form. This works perfect in casseroles, soups, stews, lasagna, chili, enchiladas, and other mixed dishes.
They go down easily and can be found anywhere and everywhere. Water, tea, milk, juice, soda, flavored waters, coffee, energy drinks, smoothies. This list touches just a few of the many categories of beverages but doesn’t even delve into the different brands, sizes, flavors and varieties. Plus, with the billions of pounds spent to make drinks look cool, it’s hard to resist them! You probably couldn't avoid them even if you tried; they are everywhere you turn, tempting you at gas stations, schools, supermarkets, movie theaters, airports, bus stops, street corners, your workplace—even at the gym! For time’s sake, let’s skip counting the pounds spent on marketing these drinks and go straight to the number that matters most if you're watching your weight: 400.
That's the average number of calories we drink on a daily basis, around 37 percent of our total daily liquid calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. So where are all of these calories coming from? Here is a sampling of the calories hiding in your cup.
Soda is the most-discussed beverage that sneaks calories into your day. Soda and fruit-flavored drinks can rack up to 250 calories per 12 ounces. Ginger ale and dark cola are the lowest in calorie at about 120 calories per 12 ounces, and cream soda is the highest with about 200 calories per 12 ounces. Portion size does really say it all! When these sugary liquids are sold in 20 ounce, 48 ounce, 1 liter and 2 liter bottles, it would be easy to work up to 800 calories in drinks a day if you're not being conscious of your choices. (Big) gulp!
"Juice" drinks (flavored, sugar-sweetened juice) can rack up more calories per ounce than soda! Orange, grape and cranberry juice drinks have about 216 calories per 12 ounces. But they seem so healthy! Don't let the fact that a portion of the ingredients in those bottles come from fruit fool you. The calories in these beverages should not be overlooked. Thankfully, food labels make it easy to check out the calorie content prior to purchasing a drink. Flip over labels before buying anything, and, of course, check the portion size!
Even 100% fruit juice, be it orange, apple, grape, pomegranate, cranberry or another flavor, can contribute calories to your diet. It’s great that all the sugar in fruit juice is natural and direct from the fruit, but unlike a whole piece of fruit, fruit juice is very concentrated in sugar, which makes it high in calories. Juice can also count as a serving of fruit if you’re getting about 6 ounces, but if you’re filling a big 24 ounce cup, you could be pouring about 320 calories of OJ with your breakfast. Go for grape juice or pineapple juice and the numbers are even higher. The key here is to stick to a 4 to 6 ounce serving of juice with your breakfast, and enjoy a large glass of water to hydrate yourself! If you’re worried about getting in your vitamins, grab a whole piece of fruit for a snack or add some berries or sliced fruit to your yogurt or cereal in the morning. Anytime you can eat fruit or vegetables rather than drinking them, you'll be better off.
Milk, including non-dairy milk alternatives, is often overlooked when it comes to calories. Although the beverage tastes great and is great for you, it does still contribute calories. A single serving of milk is 8 ounces, which is probably less than what many people pour at meals or on a big bowl of cereal in the morning. A tall dinner glass is about 12 to 16 ounces, which provides 132-168 calories if you choose skim. Fill your glass with 2% milk and that number jumps to 240 calories. These facts don’t discount the key nutrients found in milk that are healthful, but they hopefully encourage a proper serving size.
Many of us can’t function before 11 a.m. without our coffee. The brewed beverage is, by itself, calorie free, which makes it seem innocent. But with all the enticing additives offered by java joints, the numbers rise sharply. An 8 ounce latte made with whole milk is about 130 calories, but add flavored syrup, sugar and whipped cream on top and your drink now tops 200 calories. But when was the last time you ordered a latte that small? Once we bring up the tall, grande and venti sizes it’s a whole new ball game. A venti gingerbread latte with whole milk and whipped cream packs 440 calories into the cup. Granted, this is a large size, fully loaded, but it does a fine job of painting the picture of how many calories you could be drinking if you don't look up the facts beforehand.
Those who don’t drink coffee may turn to energy drinks to put pep in their step. Exercisers may also tend to favor energy drinks and sports drinks pre- or post-workout. These drinks may look tiny and taste light, but they can have up to 112 calories per cup. Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade come in at about half that, around 60 calories per cup. But watch out: the bottles they come in can contain up to 32 ounces—not 8 ounces—which adds up to 240 calories per bottle.
Considering how cheap, accessible and delicious sweetened and caloric beverages are, it's easy to see how the average person consumes hundreds of calories per day from drinks alone. Those liquid calories add up fast for another reason, too: It's so easy to mindlessly drink beverages. If you’re sitting at your desk, driving your car, or watching a movie, it’s not hard to suck down a supersize beverage in 5 minutes without even feeling full or satisfied. Couple this with free refills, and you’ve completed an equation for calorie over-consumption!
So often, we focus on what we're eating when we want to lose weight or get healthier, but don't forget about liquid calories. You don't have to swear off soda or your morning latte to reach your goals. Just be aware of how much you're drinking.
Put your best face forward with these powerhouse ingredients and smoothie recipes.
Chia Seeds for Younger Looking Skin
This smoothie delivers a bonanza of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients,It contains chia seeds, as well as yogurt and tofu, which provide calcium, iron and protein to protect and maintain cell membranes, reduce inflammation and possibly protect against sun damage.Chia seeds also contain a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids (just 1 1/2 tablespoons has the same amount found in five ounces of salmon), which boosts hydration by absorbing up to 10 times their weight in liquid. What’s more, the fruits in the smoothie help build skin-firming collagen, rebuild skin cells and fight oxidative damage. So drink up to help plump up your skin and smooth out fine line
1/4 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 orange, peeled and pits removed
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1/2 cup extra firm Silken tofu
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp agave nectar
Put all ingredients into blender and whip until smooth. Sip and think youthful thoughts.
Kale For a Healthy Skintone
A recent study in the journal PLos ONE found that ingesting carotenoids (like the ones found in kale) was associated with healthy looking skin color that study participants deemed attractive in the opposite sex.In addition to improving skin tone, kale also helps protect our tissues from oxidative stress and wrinkles.You can’t ask for a better beautifying ingredient than that.
1 cup cleaned spinach leaves, firm packed
1 cup cleaned kale, rough chop, firm packed
1 cup green seedless grapes
1 Bartlett pear, core, stem and seeds removed
1 orange, peeled and quartered
1 banana, peeled
1 tsp chia seeds
1⁄2 cup water
2 cups ice
Place all ingredients in blender and process on a low speed for 15 seconds, increase to medium, then high until well blended. Going green never tasted so good.
Coconut for Repairing Damaged Skin
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties. Coconut also contains vitamin E, which is essential for healthy skin growth and repair. This coconut oil smoothie will help nourish your skin from the inside out—and may make you feel like you’re vacationing in the tropics.
1 Sustain packet
4 oz water
4 oz unsweetened almond milk
1⁄2 frozen banana cut into chunks
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
4 ice cubes
Add all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Ahh!
Avocado for Reducing Inflammation
An avocado is capable of a lot more than delicious guacamole. This creamy green fruit is loaded with vitamins C, E and K, which are essential for healthy skin. In addition to all of those beautifying benefits, avocados also contain glutathione, a substance that specifically blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative stress—the damage to our skin due to environment, diet, alcohol, UV rays or smoking.
1 medium ripe peach, sliced
2 tbsp chopped Hass avocado
1/3 cup unsweetened frozen strawberries
3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
3 tbsp 100% pomegranate juice
1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in a blender. Puree about 15 seconds or until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve with a tall straw.
Berries for Smoother Skin
They may be little, but berries bring on big beautifying benefits for your skin. Berries are full of antioxidant compounds that neutralize damaging free radicals that lead to skin cell damage and premature skin ageing. they’re loaded with hydrating water and are chock-full of vitamin C, which is crucial for a healthy complexion. As if that’s not enough, these colorful superfoods help the body manufacture collagen, which makes skin soft, smooth and youthful. Pass the berries, please!
1/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1/4 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
1/4 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
1/4 cup kale
1 cup water
Place all ingredients in a high power blender. Whirl until completely smooth. Serve immediately and sip your way to berry-induced bliss.
Have you ever noticed that people are often trying out different foods for the benefit of enhancing certain body parts (think hair, nails), but we often don’t pay attention to diet as it relates to one of our most important features – our eyes. If you thought that eating carrots all day long would help, then you’re not aware of all the other foods that can help us to maintain the healthiest eyes possible. Here are just a few.
Wild trout. This fatty fish is king when it comes to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s were found to be essential to retina health according to a recent study. Participants consuming food sources high in omega-3 fatty acids experienced a 37% reduction in age-related macular degeneration, an eye condition that can deteriorate the part of the eye called the macula over time and cause blindness. In fact, macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in individuals over the age of 60.
Low-fat milk. High in vitamin D, this popular American drink may also help to prevent the onset of macular degeneration. In a 2011 study, the Archives of Ophthalmology found that individuals with the highest amount of vitamin D (determined by a blood test) had a 40% lower risk of developing macular degeneration.
Broccoli. While you may think that oranges are the only way to get lots of C, there are some other options that are just as, if not more, healthy! Broccoli is one of them. Researchers in a recent study found that vitamin C was essential for nerve cells to function in the eye. Vitamin C was also found to be protective of the retina of the eye as well. In addition to its high content of vitamin C, broccoli (as well as many other fruits and vegetables) has been associated with decreased inflammation in the body through its abundance of antioxidant compounds. This, in turn, can affect overall eye health.
Collard greens. What’s so great about these greens? They contain carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin – two compounds with big eye benefits when it comes to protection. A 2009 study found that lutein and zeaxanthin helped to protect against UVA light hitting the eye. Think of lutein and zeaxanthin as an army standing between you and harmful rays next time you’re out in the sun. But don’t forget to wear sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays.
Oysters. This slippery creature from the sea is a great source of zinc, a mineral found in studies to help individuals with late-stage macular degeneration.
When considering getting all of these fabulous nutrients into your diet, remember that getting them through food is almost always preferable to getting them in supplement form. The only exception to this may be with vitamin D, where the supplement is best absorbed by the body.
Did you know that certain foods can actually work to naturally fight body fat? Learn how to really make your diet work for you.
You don’t always have to subtract foods from your diet to achieve results. In fact, by adding these foods to your meals, you’ll help your body blast fat so you can shed stubborn pounds.
Chia seeds are super high in soluble fiber which, in addition to filling you up, has cholesterol-lowering properties and prevents the absorption of fat. For a hydrating metabolism-boosting beverage, try a chia seed cocktail. Add chia seeds, a slice of lemon and a dash of agave to distilled water.
Pepitas is the Spanish word for pumpkin or squash seeds. These seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to decrease the body’s ability to store fat. They’re also high in protein and magnesium which helps curb cravings and strengthen muscles. Try eating 1 cup of seeds a few times a week either by roasting them or sprinkling them on meals.
Promote a health heart, mind, and immune and skeletal systems by incorporating these 5 nutrients into your daily diet. While maintaining a healthy diet can sometimes be difficult, there are 5 nutritional needs found in a multitude of sources that should be incorporated into your daily intake.
Integral to digestion, fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Fiber can also lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Add foods like raspberries, steel-cut oatmeal, lentils and cooked artichokes to get your daily dose of fiber.
The easiest way for your body to produce Vitamin D is through 15 minutes of direct sun exposure (no SPF!). This immune-boosting vitamin is essential for healthy bones and neuro-muscular function.
This one's a no-brainer. However, there isn't a universal formula for how much water you should drink. Daily needs depend on many factors including your overall health, activity level and where you live. A good guideline to determine whether you're drinking enough water is that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day.
Ingredients Makes 8 cups
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp fresh orange zest
Pour one and a half cups of the chocolate chips into a glass bowl and melt in the microwave for 2 minutes, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted. Stir in the last hafl-cup of the chocolate chips and mix together until all the chocolate is smooth and glossy.
Drop a spoonful of the melted chocolate into 8 cupcake liners. Use a spoon to spread the chocolate into an even layer and bring the chocolate up the sides of the liners to help keep the filling in the cup.
Put the chocolate cups in the fridge while you mix the filling. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with a 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar. Taste. If you want it a little sweeter, add some more powdered sugar and mix until there are no more lumps.
Mix the greek yogurt and orange zest into the cream cheese mixture.
Once the chocolate cups have set, take them out of the fridge and drop a spoonful of the cream cheese filling into each one. Spread the filling into an even layer. Place the cups back in the fridge for about 5 minutes to let the cheesecake filling firm up a little bit.
Take the cups back out, stir the rest of your melted chocolate (reheat for a few seconds if you need to), and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the cheesecake filling. Gently spread the chocolate over the filling, then put the cups back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until the chocolate has hardened. Remove from liners and serve.
spinach artichoke chicken dinner is only 265 calories! Get the flavor you love without the guilt.
2 cups chopped spinach leaves
2 wedges light creamy swiss cheese
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping
1 tsp garlic powder
2 artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and chopped
2 (5-oz) raw boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
1/8 tsp each salt and black pepper
1/2 cup sliced onion
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay a large piece of heavy-duty foil on a baking sheet.
Bring a skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Cook and stir spinach until wilted, about 3 minutes.
Remove spinach from heat, and thoroughly blot to remove excess moisture.
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, microwave cheese wedges for 20 seconds, or until warm. Add mayo, and thoroughly mix. Stir in Parm-style topping, garlic powder and, if you like, a dash or two of cayenne pepper.
Stir in cooked spinach and artichoke hearts.
Season chicken cutlets with salt and black pepper, and place side by side on the center of the foil. Evenly top with onion and spinach-artichoke mixture.
Cover with another large piece of foil. Fold together and seal all four edges of the foil pieces, forming a well-sealed packet. Bake for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Foil packing tips: When you fold up your foil, form a tightly sealed package – you don't want any heat escaping – with a little extra room at the top for the steaming action to take place. Hot steam will be released when you open your foil pack; let it cool for a few minutes, and then slice the foil to let some steam escape.
Cut packet to release steam before opening entirely. Enjoy!
Nutrition information for 1 cutlet: 265 calories, 6g fat, 840mg sodium, 11.5g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g sugars, 38g protein