Basil Guacamole Dip and Sweet Potato Chips

Since it’s been a hot minute (ok, a loooong while…blame it on my need to soak up every single waking second with baby girl…and the fact that she lets me get very little else done!) since I’ve posted a recipe, the big come back better be double good…and it is!

A creamy, zesty, bbq-friendly but good enough for a dinner party too chips and dip. If you can’t decide between pesto and guacamole, this recipe is going to be your best friend. Not that we’re into labels or anything, but it also happens to be diary and gluten free and vegan too.

The icing on the cake? The perfectly roasted crunchy sweet potato chips so good that they put sweet potato fries to shame. Not that you’re not already salivating, but allow me to also mention the fact that this is super simple and easy to whip up. In fact, I did it before baby girl’s attention span ran out…which is pretty damn quick! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 1 small or 1/2 large avocado
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Blend everything together in a high powered blender or food processor (I use a Vitamix) until it’s thick and creamy. That’s it!

For the chips, take 1-2 sweet potatoes (I used one large) and cut into thin round discs. Roast in olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper at 400 degrees until crispy (about 45 minutes at 400 degrees.) Let cool and arrange around your dip.

One Healthy Breakdown: good luck making this one last more than a few minutes!

 

Zucchini + Oats = ZOATS

What’s a zoat?! Much like zoodles are noodles, zoats are oats made out of zucchini (plus, they’re fun to say.) While they’re not the prettiest of breakfast bowls, they sure are delicious and super, duper healthy, without any gluten, dairy, or sugar! What’s better than polishing off a cozy breakfast knowing that you’ve already gotten in a good serving of veggies? Nada.

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Breakfast Zoats (makes 1 large or 2 smaller portions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons oats
  • 1 heaping spoonful of flaxmeal
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts or nuts of choice
  • optional: 1 egg or 1 scoop collagen peptides or protein powder of choice

Grate zucchini into a saucepan on heated stove top. Add remaining ingredients, mix together, and simmer until liquid is absorbed. Transfer to bowl and enjoy warm.

One Healthy Breakdown: totes for zoats that taste like oats!

5 Healthy Summer BBQ Tips

‘Tis the season of endless barbecues, pool parties, ice cream cones, and of course, #roséallday. So, how do we stay healthy, feel balanced, enjoy ourselves, and fit into those white skinny jeans through it all?! Here’s how to stay healthy and feel good throughout BBQ season:

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1. Focus on what’s off the grille, not what’s on it. While the main attraction of a summer BBQ may be the food, focus on the company instead. Soak up the friends, family, sunshine, outdoor activities and you’re sure to make lasting memories that go far beyond the bites.

2. Have a snack before. Showing up to a BBQ, party, or restaurant starving is not the way to go; you’ll actually be far more likely to overeat. Leaving the house hungry is not going to save you calories, it’s actually going to cause your blood sugar to crash and then spike, inhibiting your judgement and control. Instead, calm your hunger by having a small snack before you leave the house: a piece of fruit, a small salad, or some nuts will do. the trick.

3. Load up on the good stuff. Whether you’re grilling at home or heading out, there’s never an excuse to skip the fruit and veggies. Fill your plate with at least half veggies and lean protein, like chicken or fish (or an occasional burger or hot dog.) If you’re grilling or planning the menu, add tons of fresh seasonal veggies; click here for some ideas and recipes. Even broccoli, romaine lettuce, and green beans taste better on the grille, so get creative and veg out!

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4. BYOF. Bring your own food. If you bring at least one healthy dish, there will be at least one healthy dish for you to eat. Simple as that.

5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Although it can be tough to remember to drink water if it’s not right in front of you, as the rosé, beer, and soda may be, remember that staying hydrated will not only make you feel better, but will also help you to make better choices. So, scout out the water and sip throughout the day, between cocktails, and before bed to ensure you stay hydrated.

One Healthy Breakdown: healthy BBQ =  healthy summer

 

 

April’s Tiny Change: Eat More Color

This month, our #tinychange is to add more color to our plates. There are lots of reasons to load up on deeply pigmented fruits and vegetables, but for me, one the best reason is that it makes me happy! We feel invigorated and energized just looking at brightly colored meals (not to mention all the health benefits our bodies get from eating them!)

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Consider this the food version of tucking away your black winter sweaters and dull wool coats and pulling out your bright, colorful sundresses and fun tops: we all look better and shine brighter with a pop of color, even our meals. Here are my five favorite reasons to add more color to your plate:

1. Count colors!
Counting carbs, weighing food, and tracking calories can be effective for some, but they’re surefire ways to suck the joy and fun out of eating. The act of measuring and counting also reinforces the beliefs that healthy living is hard, time consuming, and unenjoyable. Not true!

Healthy foods are colorful foods. Think about it: Black wild rice and brown rice are healthier than white rice; orange sweet potatoes are filled with more phytonutrients than white potatoes; dark green spinach is better for us than light iceberg lettuce; freshly spiralized green zucchini noodles are more nutritious than white noodles. When you choose your foods based on color, making healthy choices is as easy (and fun!) as stocking your fridge with the vibrant colors of the rainbow.

2. Color Crowds Out Clutter
Balance over (hence the name Kale & Chocolate!) but the reality is: we have limited space on our plates and in our stomachs. When we add more color to our meals, there is less room for the not-so-healthy colorless clutter.

Rather than telling yourself that you can never eat pasta again, what if you made yourself a big green salad and tossed your pasta with colorful grilled vegetables? You’d need a lot less pasta to feel satisfied, your plate would be filled with nutritious, colorful foods…and you’d still get to eat the pasta that you love! It’s not about taking away food, it’s about adding color!

Swap your plain store-bought hummus (most likely chemical ridden) for this pretty Beet & Basil Hummus with a rainbow of chopped veggies!

3. More Color = More Nutrients
I’m fascinated by the science of healthy eating; it’s one of the reasons that I studied plant-based nutrition. When we eat colorful foods, we consume more micronutrients (the vitamins and minerals that are vital to development, disease prevention, and well-being).

If you want to make sure you’re getting sufficient nutrients, but you’re not particularly interested in reading labels or researching which foods are high in which vitamins and minerals, simply add a variety of colorful produce to your plate. When you eat all the hues of the rainbow, you’re naturally eating a micronutrient-rich diet. It’s that easy!

Swap bland protein shakes for a beautiful vibrant smoothie bowl with fun toppings.

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4. Food Love is Self-Love
Think about plain old beige oatmeal versus gorgeous, colorful, creative, and nutrient-dense carrot cake oatmeal. Which meal has more love? Like the vibrant hues of spring, color brings warmth and comfort to your plate. Show yourself love by preparing beautiful, colorful meals.

Swap a simple salad for a Super Summer Salad for more colors, flavors, and nutrients!

5. No Season is More Colorful than Spring
As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, more and more amazing foods appear at the farmers’ market: spears of tender asparagus, creamy avocados, red beets, green broccoli, and gorgeous strawberries are coming into season right now. There is no better, easier, more delicious, and more affordable time to add color to your meals!

*This post is part of Kale and Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge, implementing one monthly small, super doable change-over a year it really adds up! Read about all changes here and share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges tagging @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley! Yes, there are prizes involved!

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One Healthy Breakdown: Here’s to eating the colors of the rainbow and a bright, vibrant spring!

All About Meal Prep

Meal prep is a great way to set yourself up for success. With no time to make a healthy meal when we’re hungry, we’re likely to resort to processed food, take-out, fast food, mindless eating, and overeating. With a kitchen full of healthy snacks and balanced meals on hand, it’s a lot easier to eat healthier. With one simple change, healthy eating becomes a whole lot happier.

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  • Schedule one or two days a week to prep. While it doesn’t have to be the same day each week, plan to take some time to prepare some meals and snacks to last you throughout the week. Think about the times when you cave and come up with some good preventative strategies. For example, if you’re always starving mid-afternoon, pack an extra snack to tide you over until dinner. This will keep your energy, blood sugar, and mood in check and help you to slow down and enjoy dinner because you won’t be famished when you finally sit down. If you struggle with breakfast, prep something simple that will fuel your day, like yummy muffins, berry bars, a frittata, or healthy bread.
  • Have a plan, make a list, and stick to it. Whether you’re using a meal template (google what you’re looking for, like “family meal plan” or “paleo meal plan.”) or creating your own, be sure to map it out. You’re less likely to throw those impulse cookies in the cart when you shop with a clear grocery list. Start collecting recipes that you’d like to make; use Pinterest or collect magazine pages so that you remember them. Another fun tip is to use themes, like taco Tuesday or breakfast for dinner. Lastly, remember to check the weather because it often impacts our cravings (think soup on a chilly day and BBQ when it’s warm.)

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  • Get your nutrients. Be sure that your plan includes carbs, protein, and healthy fats. For example, your energizing carbs could be oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Protein may be a chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and/or tempeh. Maybe you make individual portions of trail mix and some guacamole for healthy fats. Cater to your personal preferences, but be sure to prep produce, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats in bulk.
  • Leftovers are your friend. There’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ L/O. Leftovers come in super handy, so double your recipe or make a little extra knowing that you can have it the following day or freeze it for another time. You can even make leftovers ‘like new’ by adding them to a fresh bed of greens for a big salad or reinventing the meal.
  • Have fun. Prepping is not miserable! Turn on music, get your fam involved, and have fun!

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One Healthy Breakdown: if you care, P R E P A R E !

*For more meal prep tips, check out the queen of food prep, theleangreenbean.com

February’s Tiny Change: Eat More Plants

*This post is part of Kale and Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one small, super doable change-over a year it really adds up! Read about all changes here and share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges!

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You’ve probably heard about the health benefits associated with eating a plant-based diet, like reducing your risk of heart disease, lowering your blood pressure, and adding years to your life. Food experts, nutritionists, and dietitians may disagree about the right diet, but amidst these debates, they have always been able to agree on at least one thing: MORE PLANTS = GOOD.

This month’s tiny change is just that – tiny. No need to cut foods out, restrict, or diet. Simply add more plant-based foods and recipes to your cooking repertoire. If you’re already eating a largely plant-based diet, wonderful! Try something new and interesting like DIY nut milk. If you’ve yet to dip your toe into plant-based cooking, start easy with something like chia seed pudding.

You don’t have to eat less or cut out anything. Just add more vibrant colors, nutrients, and variety to your meals. If a few of those delectable plant-based dishes happen to replace the less-than-healthy ones in your repertoire, that’s just a bonus! So what constitutes “plant-based,” exactly? Great question! Fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, and oils are all fair game – all things that originally stem from plants (pun intended!)

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Here are five ways you can make this tiny change easy and awesome!

1. Incorporate these plant-based foods into the way you already eat

The best thing about plant-based foods? You can fold them into absolutely any eating style – they’re totally inclusive! Eating Paleo? Vegetarian? Gluten-free? Locavore or seasonal eater? Great, simply add more plants to your daily routine!

2. View this as an opportunity to experiment with new recipes + types of food
Consider this a little nudge to explore new recipes or make reservations at a new restaurant. Asian, Indian, and Ethiopian cuisines include lots of plant-based dishes, many featuring interesting spices and flavor combinations. Give them all a try!

Instead of trying to plant-i-fy existing dishes, why not try something totally different? We’re much more likely to enjoy a recipe (and make it again) if we eat it with an open mind…rather than thinking “this was much better when I made it with a whole stick of butter…” This tiny change gives you the perfect excuse to push yourself toward easy experimentation and more adventurous eating.

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3. Know that this isn’t just about smoothies and salads
Gotta love a good green smoothie, but there are tons of luscious, decadent plant-based foods out there. In fact, if you want to try just one new plant-based recipe a week this month, how about some delicious oatmeal, hummuscookies, PB & J, sweet chocolate avocado mousse, and even ice cream?! Plant dishes can be sweet, savory, warm, chilled, and satisfy just about any craving!

4. Swap in one plant-based dish for one meat or dairy dish

Rather than overhauling your entire meal, try just swapping one dish. Munch on a batch of homemade veggie burgers and sweet potato fries for your Friday night Netflix marathon or warm up with butternut squash soup for meatless Monday. Whip up a balanced meal, use DIY nut milk in your smoothie or make guacamole instead of french onion dip. Just one tiny swap at a time; you’ll be amazed how easy it is to eat more plants!

5. Choose plant-based dishes when you’re eating out or grocery shopping

Now, you know I’m a huge advocate of DIY-ing, but most of us are short on time and long on obligations. Who among us hasn’t picked up dinner on the way home from a hectic day?

Remember, there are a surprising number of plant-based options at your local grocery store, and maybe even your favorite restaurant. Grab a tub of guac, baba ganoush, hummus or even black bean dip. Check out the salad bar for freshly prepared veggies, grains, and plant-based proteins to add to a bed of greens.

When you’re eating out, soups, salads, and vegetarian entrees are often plant-based, (and delicious) so give it a try. To help kickoff this tiny change, you could win amazing prizes and tools to fill up your plate with as many colors and nutrients as possible. You’ll be amazed by how simple it is to eat more plants. And the best part? This easy, delicious tiny change can set you on the road to a healthier heart, longer life, and happier body!

One Healthy Breakdown: Crack open you cookbooks and get ready to veg out!

Pumpkin Carrot Zucchini Bread

IMG_2724What is paleo, pumpkin-spicey, loaded with veggies, and tastes amazing? Pumpkin carrot zucchini bread, of course! So loaded with flavor that no one will know that it’s made of nothing but veggies, protein, and healthy carbs for energy…that can be our little secret. One loaf of this bread doubles as a kid-friendly breakfast and pre or post-workout fuel. All bases covered here.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of pumpkin (or sweet potato) puree (I use Farmer’s Market organic)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (or sub another healthy flour)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxmeal
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (pepitas) to top
  • optional: 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey for a sweeter treat

Preheat oven to 370. Grate the carrots and zucchini. If you have a Vitamix or high-powered food processor, feel free to use that instead (I did!) Add pumpkin, eggs, and flour and mix well. Add remaining ingredients (except pumpkin seeds) and blend until consistent. Pour batter into a greased (I used coconut oil spray) loaf pan, baking pan, or muffin pan. Top with pumpkin seeds. Bake at 370 for 45-50 minutes (for muffins, check after 30 minutes.) Ensure that bread is cooked through with a fork – bake for another 5-10 minutes if not. Remove and let cool before eating every last crumb. Feel free to also add nuts or chocolate chips for a sweet, crunchy treat!

One Healthy Breakdown: pumpkin spice and everything nice

One Pan Wonder

Last night, dinner came together quickly, received a big stamp of approval, and involved an easy clean-up thanks to one pan and a few local ingredients. This one pan wonder will quickly become a staple, packed with flavor and ready to eat in a flash. I used fluke, but feel free to experiment with other fish, chicken, beef, or even tempeh. The possibilities are endless!

IMG_2492Here’s how it’s done: (serves 2)

In a large pan, sauté diced garlic (3-6 cloves) in olive oil. Add scallions (use the whole leaf, both green and white parts, discarding the very tops and bottoms) and continue to sauté for another minute before adding chopped zucchini. When garlic and scallions start to brown, add fish, another drizzle of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper. Once cooked thru, remove, plate, and enjoy. Note that chicken, beef, and thicker cut fish will take longer to cook, so add them to pan at the beginning instead of waiting for the garlic to brown. For a heartier meal, mix with brown rice for a stir fry or whole grain pasta. Voilà, it doesn’t get much easier (or healthier) than that!

One Healthy Breakdown: now that’s what I call fast food!

Super Summer Salad

If you ask me, summer supper is not complete without a super summer salad. I make a big salad like this at least once a week with dinner and use the leftovers for lunch salads. This makes the perfect crisp, colorful side dish or light dinner or lunch if you add some protein, like grilled chicken, shrimp, or beans. The best part is that the possibilities are endless with a summer salad!FullSizeRender(34)Start with a bed of leafy greens and add as many veggies/mix-ins as you’d like – best to use as much local, in-season, organic produce as possible! Here’s what I used:

  • mixed greens
  • chopped basil
  • chopped scallion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 green pepper
  • chopped radish
  • organic corn
  • chopped carrots

Additional options:

  • berries
  • cucumber
  • nuts
  • beans
  • onions
  • chicken
  • fish
  • lean beef
  • tempeh
  • eggs
  • edamame
  • cheese

Use a simple, homemade dressing to keep the focus on the fresh produce. Oil and vinegar, lemon juice, or a light vinaigrette works great (mix 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, pepper, and a little salt.)

One Healthy Breakdown: eat the rainbow with a super summer salad!