Swap wholesome meals

We’ve all heard it so often that you’d have to be pretty clueless not to know at least a few tricks for eating healthier.

Cut down on all of those saturated fats and don’t overdo the sugar. Make sure there are a variety of colors on your plate. Choose fresh ingredients over packaged and processed foods. Go for lean meats and more fish. And of course eat more fruits and vegetables. Blah.

It sounds so simple, but it can seem so difficult when you arrive home at the end of a long day feeling hungry and worried about preparing what’s on the table fastest. For me, the siren call is often a bag of potato chips from the kettle and a carton of French onion dip that I just buy for the kids, even though the kids are all in college. And heaven forbids it if a jar of Nutella is on the table.

That does not have to be that way. Most people can improve their New Year’s resolution of getting well at least a little by being aware of their diet, customizing their game schedules, and making a few simple food changes. You won’t suffer, and you may even find that your food tastes better. It will definitely be better for you.

So where do we start, especially when we are past the season of over-indulgence?

The first is that you need to be careful about what you eat so that you know where your starting point is, says Leslie Bonci, former UPMC nutritionist and owner of Active Eating Advice at Point Breeze. Take an hour or a day to write down: How many times a day do you eat? When do you feel most hungry? What’s so tempting that you can’t coexist with it in harmony in your kitchen? Get rid of it, or at least have less of it in the house.

“This can really help,” says Bonci, along with the foods (i.e., fruits and vegetables) that you might want to eat more of, even if it means just a few oranges in the refrigerator or some broccoli in the freezer. And yes, even if you buy it in a can, it still counts as a vegetable, and in fact, it might be even easier to use than the fresh stuff.

Next, consider the portion sizes. If they’re too big, go to the dollar store and buy smaller plates and containers. If you make soup and put the leftovers in a large saucepan, you’ll likely eat a lot of it the next day, says Bonci. “But you can only pour that much into small containers,” she adds. The same applies to measuring spoons and cups. Don’t rely on your eye to get it right.

As for the food itself, a mistake people often make when trying to eat healthier is to give themselves the death sentence just to eat boring foods. Crunchy and aromatic means “fat”.

“A sauteed potato tastes just as good as a fried one, only with less oil,” says Bonci.

If you love the taste of creamy things made with a roux, add some pureed cannellini beans to it. You will get the same mouthfeel, but it will have more protein and fiber and fewer calories and fat. Plus, sneak in an extra serving of vegetables.

Other simple food changes that Bonci suggests include: use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in recipes; Replace grated cheese in place of chunks (this will save calories and fat). and sauté foods in olive oil instead of cooking them in the deep fryer. Also, consider replacing couscous or white rice with barley.

“It makes a really nice risotto,” she says.

Heather Mangieri, a registered nutritionist who works frequently with athletes in her Nutrition CheckUp practice, confirms that sentiment by telling her clients to opt for brown rice instead of white rice. Whole grain brown rice also contains bran and germ, and contains more fiber and essential nutrients than white rice. It can also help lower cholesterol and lower your risk of diabetes, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, she says.

When shopping for bread, make sure that the first ingredient on the list is whole grain or whole wheat. This also applies to crackers, flour, tortillas, or other grains.

Zoodles, or zucchini strips, are a great alternative to pasta, not only because of their nutritional value, but also because of their color, texture, and stomach-filling fiber. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about your portion size as zoodles are much lower in calories and carbohydrates than traditional pasta.

Anne-Marie Alderson, certified nutritionist in functional diagnostics and owner of Alderson Endurance and Wellness, suggests starting the day with some protein. The American diet, she says, is usually high in refined carbohydrates like cereal, bagels, and muffins for breakfast, “which can raise blood sugar levels and make you tired in the mornings,” she says. Instead, make loads of hard-boiled eggs over the weekend for a quick breakfast or an encore, swap out your granola for cottage cheese with fresh fruit, or make a hash with fresh vegetables.

She also suggests replacing bread with an extra serving of vegetables. For example, fill half a pepper instead of two slices of bread with tuna or egg salad or wrap salad around sandwich fixings. Also swap canola and vegetable oils for coconut oil and animal fats or ghee (clarified butter), which are higher in natural saturated fats.

However, the biggest tip for a healthier New Year diet is to plan ahead. That way, you won’t reach for ready-made meals or fast food to take away when Monday rolls around and you are on your way. Plan a large salad with lots of vegetables and pre-cooked egg whites for at least one meal and make the humble frittata your best friend. “And rub some yellow pumpkin in it,” she says. “Nobody will know it’s there.”

Also note that the taste will change over time. So, if you think you don’t like a particular vegetable (Brussels sprouts come to mind) try again or cook differently – maybe roasted instead of boiled.

Cheddar and yogurt give the soup a silky texture. When mixing the soup, be sure to cover the top of the mixer with a clean kitchen towel to avoid explosion. You may want to do this in batches.


1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 pound broccoli, cut into small pieces

½ pound carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces

4 cups of chicken broth

15 ounces can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

¾ Cup plan Greek yogurt (2 percent)

½ cup crushed extra hot cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

A dash of cayenne pepper

a pinch of nutmeg

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium to high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until golden brown. Add the broccoli, carrots, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and simmer until the broccoli and carrots are tender.

Puree the cannellini beans in the blender. Add the broccoli broth mixture, yogurt, cheese, and spices and puree until smooth.

Served 4.

– Leslie Bonci, active eating advice

“One of the things I emphasize about my clients is that I get protein at breakfast and eat enough vegetables every day,” said Ann-Marie Alderson, a certified functional diagnostic nutritionist. “This recipe takes care of both and makes a great breakfast, lunch or dinner.” I boiled the eggs in the middle of the hashish.


2 tablespoons of ghee, butter or coconut oil

½ cup chopped sweet potato

½ cup chopped peppers

½ cup sliced ​​mushrooms

¼ cup chopped red onion

2 cups of fresh spinach or chopped vegetables (optional)

½ pound of ground turkey, pork, or chicken

1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

2 eggs (optional)

Sea salt to taste

In a large frying pan, heat the fat of your choice over medium heat. Add sweet potato, pepper, mushroom, onion and vegetables; Fry for 10 minutes.

Add meat and seasonings and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until cooked through.

Eggs can be stirred in during the last 3 minutes of cooking, or fried or poached separately to serve alongside the hash.

Served 2.

– Anne-Marie Alderson, Alderson Endurance and Wellness

This simple recipe is the perfect breakfast or snack to prepare, especially if you have a hectic schedule. Unlike traditional oatmeal, it is served cold.


½ cup (dry) old fashioned oats

6 ounces unsweetened almond milk

6 ounces of regular Greek yogurt and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla or 1 scoop of chocolate or vanilla protein powder

½ cup berries (frozen is OK)

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

⅛ cup of almonds, pecans, or walnuts

Mix all ingredients in a container.

Close the lid and refrigerate for 8 hours. Then it is ready to serve.

Makes 1 generous serving.

– Andrew Wade, case specifications

Buffalo Chicken Dip is a Pittsburgh classic, especially during the football season. This version has fewer calories but just as much flavor as a traditional preparation.


32 ounces chicken breast, raw, skinless, boneless

⅓ Cup of hot sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot)

1 package (8 ounces) 1/3 less fat cream cheese

½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt ranch dressing (see recipe)

½ cup of grated cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons spring onions, fresh greens and onion, sliced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Remove any visible skin from the boneless and skinless chicken (you don’t want any fat from the chicken in this dish). Cut each breast into 4 pieces and place them in a baking dish.

Bake on low heat for 40 to 50 minutes (the chicken will be tender and easily shredded if cooked on this low heat).

Take the chicken out of the oven and place it in a large bowl. Set aside the liquid that was created while cooking the chicken. Use your hands or a fork to pull the chicken apart until it is shredded in the bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of the liquid to shredded meat. Pour the remaining liquid into a separate bowl. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Mix hot sauce, cream cheese and ranch dressing in a bowl. After mixing, stir in the chicken. If you think the mixture is too dry, add more liquid.

Transfer the chicken mixture back to the baking dish and distribute it evenly. Sprinkle the chopped cheddar on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Garnish with spring onions

Served 18.


1 cup of skimmed milk

½ cup of Greek yogurt

½ cup of light mayonnaise

1 pack of ranch salad dressing and spice mix

Mix all the ingredients together and pour them into a mason jar or other salad dressing container. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Stir before serving.

Makes 18 servings.

– Heather Mangieri, RDN, Nutrition CheckUp

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