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A Week’s Worth Of Healthy Dinner Ideas

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One of the biggest complaints from people who have decided to make a change in regards to their nutrition, seeking to eat healthier, is that they get bored eating the same things all the time. 

The thing is, healthy or not, isn’t that the case with all of us? 

None of us are immune. Sometimes we just lack inspiration for dinner ideas. 

Actually, an anonymous, yet popular, funny saying floating around on social media right now hits on this very subject: “who knew that the hardest part of being an adult is figuring out what to cook for dinner every single night for the rest of your life.” 

But, the last thing you need to battle when you’re focusing on your health is boredom in the kitchen. 

No worries though, we’ve got you covered!

We’ll supply the dinner ideas and recipes, all you have to do is peruse, grab some groceries, get cooking and enjoy! 

1- Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Peppers

Okay, so who doesn’t love chicken parm? 

This recipe takes the classic stuffed pepper idea and gives it an Italian makeover. 

The dish serves 4, and it should only take about 10 minutes to prep. Then you can have some time to unwind after work while it bakes (or do one of the other 25 things on your to-do list, right?).

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen breaded chicken, cooked according to package directions, then diced (Note: If you’re looking to go a bit leaner here, personally I like to brown some ground chicken breast to use in place of the breaded and packaged chicken.)
  • 4 bell peppers, halved and seeds removed
  • ½ cup chicken broth

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit, then in a large bowl combine 2 cups mozzarella, parmesan, garlic, marinara, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. 
  2. Place halved peppers into a baking dish and spoon the mixture into the bell peppers. Sprinkle with the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese. 
  3. Pour chicken broth into the baking dish (this helps the peppers to steam) and cover with foil. 
  4. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until peppers are tender. Broil for 2 minutes. 
  5. Optional: garnish with parsley and parmesan prior to serving, and enjoy! 

2- Lemon Garlic Butter Chicken And Green Beans Skillet

Don’t you just love when you can throw everything into one pan or skillet? Just me? Am I the only one who despises doing dishes? 

Anyways, whether you’re a fan of doing dishes or not, this meal is not only delicious, it’s super simple! 

Minimal effort. Minimal clean up. Maximum flavor. Maximum health benefits! (paleo, low carb, and keto friendly)

Ingredients

  • 3-6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided (can substitute ghee here as well)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • Juice of ½ a lemon, plus extra lemon slices for garnish
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • ½ cup fresh, chopped parsley

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Season chicken thighs generously with the spice mixture. Set aside while you prepare the green beans.
  2. Place the green beans in a microwave-safe dish with ½ cup water. Cook in the microwave for 8-10 minutes (until almost done but still crisp). 
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Place the seasoned chicken thighs in one layer in the skillet. Cook for 5-6 minutes then flip and cook another 5-6 minutes until a meat thermometer displays 165 degrees fahrenheit. When the chicken is cooked through, transfer to a plate and set aside. 
  4. In the same skillet, lower the heat and melt the remaining butter. Add chopped parsley, garlic, hot sauce, crushed chili pepper flakes, and green beans. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly until cooked to your liking. 
  5. Add lemon juice and chicken stock to the pan and reduce the sauce for a few minutes, until slightly thickened. 
  6. Add chicken thighs back to the pan and reheat quickly. Add pepper, if desired, and serve immediately. 
  7. Optional: Garnish with more crushed chili pepper, fresh parsley, and a slice of lemon, and enjoy! 

3- Squash, Shrimp And Pasta Scampi

This meal truly proves that healthy meals can be simple, delicious, and they don’t have to take much time to prepare. 

And, the ribboned squash and zucchini add both a pretty and unique element to the dish.

Bonus tip: raw ribboned zucchini is an excellent salad component as well! 

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp, tails removed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh chives

Directions

  1. Add salt to a large pot of water and boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions until al dente. 
  2. As the pasta cooks, trim the ends off of the zucchini and squash. Using a vegetable peeler, turning the squash as you peel, peel the squash into ribbons into a colander. (Stop peeling squash when you come to the center core of seeds and discard this portion.)
  3. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water, then drain al dente spaghetti over the squash ribbons in the colander to slightly cook them. Put in a medium bowl and toss to evenly distribute the ribbons throughout the pasta. 
  4. Toss the shrimp with kosher salt and cracked pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to the skillet, cook in a single layer without stirring until it’s just turning pink around the edges (roughly 2 minutes). 
  5. Stir the shrimp and add tomatoes, garlic, and pepper flakes. Continue to cook for roughly 1 minute or until the tomatoes are soft and the garlic has toasted. 
  6. Add pasta, squash ribbons, remaining olive oil, and broth. Cook together until warmed through and liquid has been absorbed, tossing as you cook. 
  7. If noodles seem dry, add reserved pasta water a bit at a time if needed. 
  8. Season with additional salt and pepper, divide into 4 servings, and serve topped with chives. Enjoy! 

4- White Chicken Chili

Any slow cooker fans here? 

I know the instant pot has taken the world by storm, but being able to fill my slow cooker with healthy ingredients and let it cook dinner for me all day long is one of life’s simple pleasures, if you ask me. 

This recipe calls for greek yogurt to give the chili a creamy texture, but you can easily omit this if you’re foregoing dairy. The chili won’t be as creamy, but it’s still packed with healthy and delicious flavor. 

Ingredients

  • 1.5-2 pounds frozen chicken breast (must be frozen to allow time for the beans to cook)
  • 1 cup white beans, dried (washed but not soaked)
  • 3 fresh poblano chilies, diced 
  • 2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¾ cup plain greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients into a slow cooker except greek yogurt and frozen chicken.
  2. Stir the chili to mix seasonings. Then add the frozen chicken breasts to the top of the mixture. 
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 
  4. Remove chicken, shred, then add back to the chili. 
  5. If desired, mix in greek yogurt. 
  6. Optional: top with shredded cheese, avocado, chopped, fresh cilantro, and serve. Enjoy!

5- Blackened Salmon With Pineapple Avocado Salsa

Honestly, I think folks sometimes get bored with healthy foods simply because it’s easy to fall into the trap of singling out macronutrients and forgetting to add flavor. 

So, if you’re struggling with healthy food boredom, this meal, which is exploding with flavor, will flip that boredom problem on its head! 

(Bonus: I like to use this same salsa recipe with chicken breast that’s been seasoned with dry carribean jerk seasoning. Super fresh, and equally as delicious as this salmon!)

Pineapple Salsa Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, diced
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to mix thoroughly. 

Blackened Salmon Ingredients

Two 4 ounce wild caught salmon filets (scales and pin bones removed)

½ of a lime

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons salted butter or ghee

Directions

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. 
  2. Squeeze the lime juice over the filets.
  3. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, sea salt, and cayenne pepper. Rub the seasoning into the pink part of the filets.
  4. Melt the butter or ghee in the hot skillet, then place the salmon (skin side down) in the skillet and cook until blackened on one side (approximately 3-5 minutes). Turn the filets over and cook for an additional 2 minutes. You’ll know the salmon is done when it is just a little pink and flakes easily with a fork. 
  5. Serve with the salsa on the side (or topping the salmon). 

6- Caprese Noodles

If you’re going meatless or if you’re cutting down on your carb intake, you’ve got to try a plate of this healthy dish for dinner!  Fresh, refreshing, and so good!  

Ingredients

  • 4 large zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup mozzarella balls, quartered (if large)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Using a spiralizer, create zoodles out of zucchini.
  2. Add zoodles to a large bowl, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes. 
  3. Add tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves to zoodles and toss together until combined. 
  4. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve. (yields 4 servings)

7- Healthy Beef And Broccoli

Asian cuisine is delicious, but ordering out can often mean that your dish is served with a side of MSG. 

But, you can skip the additives and make this healthy asian classic at home!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb flank, tri-tip, or sirloin steak (sliced thin against the grain)
  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into florets
  • ½ large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil 
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (in place of soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (you can omit this if you are avoiding this starch)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • Finely chopped green onion for garnish 
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds for garnish

Directions

  1. In a small bowl add liquid aminos (or soy sauce), honey, garlic, and ginger. Wish together and set aside. 
  2. Add beef to a bowl, sprinkle with cornstarch, and stir well to coat. (you can omit this step if you are foregoing the cornstarch)
  3. Preheat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add oil to coat the pan. Cook beef for approximately 3 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Remove meat from the pan and set aside.
  4. Return pan to high heat, and add broth. Deglaze pan for roughly 2 minutes, then add broccoli and onion. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes. 
  5. Add sauce and cooked meat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often until everything is combined and sauce has thickened. 
  6. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. (yields 4 servings)
  7. Optional: serve with ½ cup of brown rice. 

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HEALTH

Low Carb Diet May Induce Remission Of Type 2 Diabetes

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Low-carb diets have been popular for some time now due to their proven substantial benefit to weight and/or fat loss. 

But, recent findings have shown that the benefits may be even greater than once believed…even inducing remission in people with type 2 diabetes. 

That’s right, aside from weight loss, improved cholesterol levels, potential boosts in brain health, and benefits to the health of your heart, low carb diets are now proving effective for diabetes patients as well. 

So, what is it about restricting carbs that brings such great benefits to those with type 2 diabetes? And, can these results be sustained long term? 

As low carb diets are often said to be difficult to maintain over long lengths of time, what can you do to ensure you don’t get burnt out?

Let’s take a look…

The Effects Of Carb Restriction On Type 2 Diabetes

The findings of a recent study have the diabetic world buzzing, and rightfully so!

Earlier this year, researchers at Texas A&M studied results from randomized trials assessing the effectiveness of low carb diets amongst those individuals with type 2 diabetes.

These studies found that participants who followed a low carb diet raised the likelihood of their diabetes going into remission by 32%.

Concerning 1,357 participants (spanning several studies), most of whom were between the ages of 47-67 and overweight or obese, those who saw such results followed a strict low carb eating regimen for 12 weeks. 

Researchers checked in on participants at both 6 and 12 months, and the greatest benefits were seen at 6 months. 

At 12 months, while some participants were still in remission, those rates were lower than the 6 month mark. 

The hypothesis is that those individuals who remained diligent in their adherence to a low carb diet saw continued benefit, while those who were less consistent lost the benefits related to their type 2 diabetes over time. 

So then, how exactly does restricting carbs benefit patients with type 2 diabetes?

Essentially, you can think of carbs to type 2 diabetes in a similar way that we think of milk to those with lactose intolerance. 

With lactose intolerance, a person’s body can not accurately process lactose. 

In the case of type 2 diabetes, a person’s body can not accurately process carbohydrates. 

So, someone who can not process carbohydrates accurately or efficiently, when consuming foods rich in carbs will experience high levels of blood sugar (consistently) and even weight gain. 

Normally, when we consume carbohydrates they get broken down into sugar. This sugar then enters our bloodstream causing blood sugar levels to rise. 

This spike then tells your pancreas to produce insulin to help your cells to absorb that blood sugar for energy (both for storage and immediate usage). 

In cases of type 2 diabetes, over time the body stops responding to that insulin which causes blood sugar levels to remain too high for too long. And, eventually that insulin production can stop altogether. 

So, for type 2 diabetes patients, eating a low carb diet decreases the strain on the body and lessens the body’s propensity to produce too much insulin. 

As eating fewer carbs helps the body to maintain healthy blood sugar (or blood glucose) levels, carb intolerance and insulin resistance improves as well.

Obviously then, maintaining a low carb lifestyle would be a crucial component in continuing to reap those rewards in one’s fight against diabetes, but many would argue this to be a difficult task. 

So, how can you successfully restrict carbs long term? 

Tips For Success While Cutting Down On Carbs

One of the biggest hurdles to successfully reaping the rewards of a low carb diet long term is the (often deemed) lack of sustainability of such diets. 

Even registered dieticians and nutrition experts agree that cutting carbs long term can be difficult…but certainly not impossible! 

So, what tips do the experts give regarding low carb success? 

1- Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Low carb diets can be highly restrictive. And, one mistake that many make is to dive headfirst into the deep end…no looking back. 

While such ambition is admirable, dietary restrictions of any kind that are fast and furious often fizzle out before they finish. 

Therefore, the experts recommend an approach with a slow beginning. 

Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City advises her patients to “start with one meal at a time.” 

Dr. Sood recommends beginning with dinner as the meal to tackle first: “Aim to lower carb intake (at this meal) by about 50% by swapping out unhealthy, starch-packed carbohydrates for healthier sources such as healthy grains or lentils.”

From there, you can then begin to make similar healthy swaps at lunch, then breakfast, and snacks. 

2- Stay On Track Through Tracking

Keeping a food diary or journal to keep track of not only what you eat, but how those foods affect your body is a proven method to help you stay on track. 

I know that many people don’t like the idea of tracking food long term, but consider doing so as you begin your low carb eating regimen to see how your body reacts to various foods, track your gains in energy, and keep you motivated. 

In time, you may find that you don’t need to track as often. And, you can always drop or pick up this healthy habit as needed. But, in the beginning, keeping track is a great way to foster success. 

3- Talk To Your Doc

Keeping your physician in the loop when dealing with type 2 diabetes is very important. 

Your doctor or specialist knows your situation and can recommend a plan best suited to your needs. 

As different carbs affect different people in different ways, your doctor or a nutritionist can guide you to the best choices for your specific needs. 

4- The Buddy System

As with any diet or healthy eating plan, there’s often help in numbers. 

In fact, studies have shown people are more successful at adhering to dietary changes (and losing weight) when they have the support of a friend or buddy. 

Sticking to any diet long term is difficult, but having a support system along the way can increase your chances of long term success. 

5- Variety Is The Spice Of Low Carb Life

While there are plenty of delicious low carb food options available for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, not experiencing a variety of those options can hinder your ability to stay low carb long term, thereby missing the benefits to be had (especially regarding type 2 diabetes). 

Many cultures have eaten low carb diets for centuries, so…we can do it…we’ve just got to stay out of boring ruts when it comes to our food choices. 

Conclusion

Studies have proven that low carb diets can cause type 2 diabetes to go into remission. 

The only problem is, these results aren’t sustained long-term (post 12 months) if patients do not remain on a low-carb diet. In other words, at this point, research suggests that low-carb eating needs to become a lifestyle to reap long-term healthy rewards. 

So, if you have type 2 diabetes, consider talking to your doctor (first and foremost) about how a low-carb diet may benefit your condition. 

Then, once you get the green light and some direction from your physician or specialist, don’t forget to ease into this style of eating, keep track of your food intake and progress, incorporate a variety of foods, and enlist the support of a friend for long-term success. 

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NUTRITION

Top Nutritionists Share Their Secrets to a Healthy Diet

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Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for overall well-being and longevity. But with so much conflicting information out there, it can be challenging to know where to start. To help cut through the noise, we spoke with some of the top nutritionists in the industry to get their expert advice on how to eat for optimal health. Here are their top tips and secrets to a healthy diet:

1. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods
One of the most common pieces of advice among nutritionists is to prioritize whole, unprocessed foods in your diet. This means choosing foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins. Processed foods, on the other hand, are often loaded with added sugars, unhealthy fats, and preservatives that can contribute to weight gain and chronic diseases.

2. Fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that are crucial for overall health. Nutritionists recommend filling at least half of your plate with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal to ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients to support your body’s functions.

3. Don’t fear carbohydrates
Carbohydrates often get a bad rap, but they’re an essential source of energy for our bodies. Nutritionists recommend choosing complex carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables over refined carbohydrates like white bread and sugary snacks. These complex carbs provide sustained energy and are rich in fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer.

4. Be mindful of portion sizes
Even healthy foods can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. Portion control is key to maintaining a healthy weight and preventing overeating. Nutritionists recommend using measuring cups, food scales, or simply listening to your body’s hunger cues to help gauge appropriate portion sizes.

5. Stay hydrated
Water is essential for keeping our bodies hydrated, aiding in digestion, and regulating body temperature. Nutritionists recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, and more if you’re physically active or live in a hot climate. Avoid sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices, as they can add unnecessary calories and contribute to weight gain.

6. Practice mindful eating
In today’s fast-paced world, it can be easy to mindlessly eat while distracted by screens, work, or other activities. Nutritionists recommend practicing mindful eating, which involves slowing down, savoring each bite, and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues. This can help prevent overeating, improve digestion, and promote a healthier relationship with food.

7. Listen to your body
Ultimately, the best diet is one that works for you and makes you feel your best. Nutritionists emphasize the importance of listening to your body and paying attention to how different foods make you feel. If you notice certain foods cause digestive issues, fatigue, or other discomfort, it may be worth eliminating or reducing them from your diet. Experiment with different foods and eating patterns to find what works best for you.

In conclusion, a healthy diet is crucial for overall health and well-being. By following these expert tips from top nutritionists, you can create a balanced and sustainable approach to eating that nourishes your body and promotes longevity. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all diet, so listen to your body and make choices that support your unique needs and goals.

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NUTRITION

Inside the World of Nutritionists: An Expert’s Guide to Health and Wellness

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Nutritionists play a crucial role in helping individuals achieve optimal health and wellness through proper diet and nutrition. These experts are trained to assess a person’s dietary needs and create personalized meal plans to address specific health goals, such as weight loss, improved digestion, or disease prevention.

Inside the world of nutritionists, there is a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can help individuals make informed decisions about their diet and lifestyle. Nutritionists are well-versed in the science of nutrition and can provide evidence-based recommendations on how to fuel your body for optimal performance.

One of the key roles of a nutritionist is to educate clients on the importance of balanced nutrition. This means understanding the role of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in the body, and how to incorporate them into a healthy diet. Nutritionists also emphasize the importance of hydration, fiber intake, and portion control in maintaining a healthy weight and preventing chronic diseases.

In addition to providing dietary recommendations, nutritionists also offer support and motivation to help clients stay on track with their health goals. They can help individuals overcome common challenges, such as emotional eating, food cravings, and navigating social situations that may tempt them to stray from their diet.

Furthermore, nutritionists can also provide guidance on interpreting food labels, navigating grocery stores, and making healthy choices when dining out. They can teach clients how to meal prep and plan ahead to ensure they have nutritious options available at all times.

In today’s fast-paced world, where unhealthy food options are readily available and fad diets abound, working with a nutritionist can provide individuals with a roadmap to sustainable health and wellness. By understanding their unique nutritional needs and making informed choices, people can improve their energy levels, mood, and overall quality of life.

In conclusion, nutritionists are valuable allies in the quest for health and wellness. By seeking their expertise and guidance, individuals can learn how to nourish their bodies in a way that promotes long-term health and vitality. Whether you are looking to lose weight, manage a chronic condition, or simply improve your overall well-being, a nutritionist can help you achieve your goals and live your healthiest life.

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