If your healthy lifestyle doesn’t quite welcome American classics like hot dogs and burgers with open arms, rest assured that it’s possible to eat patriotically on Saturday without completely sidestepping your efforts. When we asked you to share your finest healthy treats on Instagram in honor of July 4th, just like that, our #HealthyEatsFN hashtag was flooded with gorgeous, good-for-you red, white and blue treats. Here are some of our favorites.
Right up there with the burgers and hot dogs, pasta salad is one of those can’t-pass-up dishes that we can’t wait to serve up every summer, when we finally dust off the grill and throw a backyard cookout. Though the pasta and macaroni salads you’re used to may have been drenched in mayo, these better-for-you recipes prove that, with a few easy modifications, you can still take a scoop of this classic side without derailing your healthy lifestyle.
Just because you’re lightening up your pasta salad, it doesn’t mean you have to go without the creamy texture you grew up on. Instead of leaving the mayo out altogether, simply ease up on it for a lighter American Macaroni Salad. Food Network Kitchen’s quintessential recipe also loads up on veggies, so you get their crunch and nutrients.
You’ve heard it all before: Eating a rainbow of recipes is a sure way to keep healthy. Each colorful fruit or veggie on your plate brings its own share of valuable vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that work together to keep you fit as a fiddle. Get inspired by the Instagram photos of healthy-eating trendsetters who put colorful ingredients at the forefront of their dishes.
Cinco de Mayo is upon us. For a lot of us, it’s a day of bottomless guacamole scooped up in crispy fried tortilla chips, blissful rounds of salt-rimmed margaritas, and the endless guzzling of tacos and burritos. That being said, it goes without saying that it’s a day when our diets go by the wayside. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With these healthy Mexican recipes on your side, Cinco de Mayo can jibe with your healthy lifestyle without a problem.
You better bet tacos will be involved on the 5th of May. Ellie Krieger’s Chili-Rubbed Steak Tacos (pictured above) are loaded up with lean spicy steak, homemade salsa, shredded cabbage and cilantro — and they’re just as vibrant and delicious as they are healthy.
If you’re asking me, broccoli and cheese go together just like peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies. When creamy melted cheese, particularly cheddar, crosses with the green vegetable, a little magic happens. Of course, adding a little dusting of cheese can punch up nearly anything, but these recipes prove that broccoli and cheese share a beautiful union that can’t be denied (and still manages to be healthy). Though the mention of cheese might raise a few red flags for the health buff, broccoli and cheddar share a friendship of good influences, as a little dose of the good stuff sure goes a long way. Especially if getting your little ones to eat this cruciferous vegetable is a nightly challenge, uniting it with a much-loved indulgence is a sure-fire way to please. Read more
How did This Mama Cooks! On a Diet get started?
I started posting Thanksgiving recipes on my mom blog. Since I love cooking at Thanksgiving, it made sense to start a new blog just to document what I planned to cook that year. From there This Mama Cooks! morphed into a diet blog and then a healthy food and lifestyle blog.
What’s the best tip you can give to busy people looking to get healthy?
Small changes! If you do it all at once, you’ll be overwhelmed and won’t be successful in changing your life for the better.
Which This Mama Cooks! On a Diet recipe do you recommend for someone looking to please everyone in the family?
Chili made in a slow cooker. My favorite is Healthy Slow Cooker Pumpkin and Bean Chili (pictured above). You can quickly put it together before leaving for work. It’s delicious. And the kids won’t notice that you snuck in healthy vegetables and high fiber beans.
Tell us your story. Why did you embrace a no-salt diet?
Shortly after my twenty-first birthday, I went from wrestling for the perfect dorm room to fighting for my life. The autoimmune disease, Lupus, was aggressively attacking my kidneys and brain. After three months of chemotherapy, dialysis, and amazing medical care, I survived; my kidneys, however did not.
From the beginning, though, I was determined to do whatever I could, on top of medicine, to give myself the best chance of staying strong. That meant taking on a strict, no-salt, low-sodium diet. But as a very stubborn twenty-something, I was equally resolute to taste and experience everything life had to offer me. That meant rewriting the low-sodium rules.
Today, I live on medication and diet alone, having been off of dialysis and the kidney transplant for over seven years. I cook with love and respect and joy. I eat more adventurously than I did before restrictions.
How do you go about altering your favorite recipes?
I love the task of “salt-freeing” super salty recipes. Like an Iron Chef challenge, I feel like I get total creative license in order to successfully use the secret ingredient (or, in this case, not use it). Which means that I start with a traditional dish, and using imaginative and playful swaps, then I end up with something familiar but new and fun.
Oftentimes, we go to great caloric lengths to cool down, whether it’s slurping down a fluorescent margarita by the pool or downing a teetering ice cream cone. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If there’s anything that melon’s good for, it’s cooling you down. And the refreshing capabilities of cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon go far beyond the category’s prominent presence in fruit salad. On the contrary, melon does wonders in a salad, adds creaminess to a cool soup or can be transformed into something entirely unexpected. Melon fettuccini, anyone? Unlike other ultra-tangy, sugary fruits, melon serves as a foundation for bigger things. Seriously, the options are endless.
After gaining inspiration from healthy blogs, Gina Matsoukas embarked on a major lifestyle change two years ago. Ever since, Gina has been an avid runner and a healthy eater—with a healthy blog to match. Gina’s goals don’t stop at her own body. She created Running to the Kitchen to share her healthy lifestyle and to demonstrate the possibilities within reach for everyone. With each post, she inspires others with her wholesome recipes, exercise musings and excitement for healthy living.
What are some of the healthy blogs that inspired you to adopt a healthier lifestyle?
Some of the first healthy living blogs I read were Kath Eats Real Food, fANNEtastic Food and Daily Garnish. Those were just the tip of the iceberg though, there were hundreds that I found through those girls that I could literally get lost in for days at a time. I’d look up after starting to read one and realize it had been an hour. Total time suck. But those initial three really opened my eyes to healthy food and making exercise fun again.
How has writing a blog helped you keep up with your own health and wellness?
I first started Running to the Kitchen because I wanted to help inspire others by telling my story through healthy food and workouts. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much I’d be inspired myself to constantly keep up with it. I have a Google Reader filled blogs with that range from healthy eating to fitness to baking. All of them inspire me in one way or another on a daily basis. I just joined a CrossFit gym that opened nearby, something I would never even have heard of if it wasn’t for blogs. I’m also part of a group called FitFluential that has over 800 ambassadors, all of us “fitness minded” in some way, shape or form. It’s a group that connects on different social media platforms and events and has been such a huge source of inspiration for me, whether it’s in the form of an impromptu workout, a creative recipe or help with blogging related things. At the risk of sounding completely lame for talking about people (most of whom I’ve never met) this way, blogging has helped me feel like part of community that continually supports my health and wellness efforts.
Sliding a knife through its glossy skin, the pepper’s crunchy disposition is immediately audible. We hear it when we’re chomping away on a raw slice and we relish it still when it’s cooked off into a sweeter, softer version of itself. Unlike a scorching hot chili pepper, the bell pepper is known for its unique, refreshing sweetness. Whether red, green, orange, purple or yellow, bell peppers can take us from breakfast to dinnertime, breathing color and texture into our meals.
Looking for ways to incorporate abundant, in-season bell peppers into three main meals? Take a peek out our list of breakfast-to-dinner recipes.