Depending on whom you talk to, potatoes are either a bad-for-you “white food” or a healthy starch to include in your diet. Which is it?
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Have to feed a crowd? Craving something comforting? Need a quick and easy weeknight meal? Looking for a recipe that freezes beautifully? This Spaghetti Squash Chicken Lasagna checks all the boxes. While the traditional version is composed of layers of noodles, meat and cheese, I want to show you a different way of enjoying the classic dish. By swapping out the pasta layers for spaghetti squash, not only will you amp up the vegetable intake, but the lasagna-making process will become much more effortless. Adding kale to the ricotta mixture gives the dish an even greater nutritional boost. With a little prep work beforehand, you can whip up this hearty comfort meal in under 30 minutes.
Let’s talk toast. Not toast toppers, like the runaway Pinterest hit avocado toast, or the popular homemade nut butter toast. Let’s talk instead about the actual toast: whole-grain bread, toasted.
Sweet potato lovers, you know who you are. Sweet potato fries are your default restaurant side-dish order. And it “wouldn’t be Thanksgiving” without candied sweet potatoes. Behold a new flavor bomb that can be ready in 30 minutes. I love this dish as an entree, where you may want to stir in extra cheese for added protein, or serve a bit of roasted chicken alongside it. It also works double duty as a side dish or appetizer. In the case of the latter, use small sweet potatoes for a cute presentation.
It’s not that we don’t love you, bread, but sometimes we just need some space, OK? Cutting down on this carb (especially the white stuff) is often a quick way to lower a dish’s calorie count and likely reduce the sugar, too. But the best part is really that (hello!) veggies taste great. The flavors could totally transform your meal for the better, as we think they did in these recipes.
Breadless Italian Sub Sandwich (above)
This sandwich mimics the classic shape of its namesake by swapping a doughy hoagie roll for a couple of meaty, chubby portobello mushroom caps.
There is perhaps no other food that inspires the same degree of fanaticism and controversy as bacon. From a near-cultlike following that’s led to the creation of bacon-themed apparel to the less-than-glowing WHO report from late last year warning that those who eat diets high in bacon and other processed meats might be elevating their cancer risk, it’s safe to say the crowd is split 50-50 between blind devotion and fearful skepticism. Where does that leave us when we’re trying to clean up our eating, but we also really want a comforting slice of bacon crumbled into our salad or sandwich?
Let’s work with the facts: Bacon is delicious, and while research has made a pretty strong connection between daily processed meat consumption and the possibility for illness down the road, dietitians have said that occasional bacon consumption is perfectly fine, especially when you buy “uncured” bacon.
Rather than using bacon as the centerpiece at mealtimes, we should be thinking of it as a garnish or topping — a small flavoring component, like an herb or spice. Careful with “topping,” though. We’re all intrigued by the notion of a bacon-lattice apple pie, but unless it’s Thanksgiving, it’s better to stick to the “in moderation” mantra.
Need a few examples? Try using bacon as …
If you’re on the fad-diet bandwagon, you may have heard about the low-FODMAP diet. Some folks mistakenly think it’s a new way to lose weight. The low-FODMAP diet is actually used for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Research has shown that the diet can help alleviate symptoms associated with IBS such as gas, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Here’s a more in-depth look to see if you could benefit from a low-FODMAP diet.
When it comes to healthy eating, accessibility is key. Dinner choices are often rooted in convenience, so we need to make the healthy option an easy option. If the thought of putting dinner on the table seems too daunting on my car ride home, you’ll likely find me snagging pad Thai and drunken noodles from my favorite neighborhood Thai joint. Conversely, if I have dinner prepped and ready to go at home, I’m less likely to swing by a drive-thru. As a dietitian, I know that many of my clients have this same mindset. Therefore, my goal is always to simplify the healthy-cooking process.
A creamy swirl of peanut butter can improve almost any dessert: cake, cookies, brownies … you name it. But, as with all good things in life, adding peanut butter means adding calories — 94 per tablespoon, to be exact. Still, peanut butter offers more nutritionally than, say, a sugar cookie, so there’s no reason to shun it altogether. You can give your dessert a nutty protein boost by adding peanut butter and rein in the calories elsewhere with reduced-fat dairy, natural sweeteners and so on.
Here are five examples to show you how it’s done:
Healthy No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Bars
These creamy bars contain natural peanut butter, tangy Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cream cheese, plus a chocolate-cookie crust. No baking is necessary; the dessert sets in the refrigerator.
You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy cabbage with potatoes, and while this is a great dish for St. Patrick’s Day, you can also enjoy it year-round.