I love food, so when I set out to begin a healthy lifestyle, the thought of giving up all of my favorite foods was downright depressing. In fact, it kept me from actually getting started or succeeding with my plan many times.
The truth is, we were given taste buds for a reason! Food should be fun, pleasurable, and taste exciting. We can still enjoy food and have a healthy diet, it just takes some creativity and research.
So that’s what I did. I researched and sampled and asked and experimented, and now that I am fit and healthy, I have acquired quite the collection of healthy recipes that not only are healthy, low calorie, and support my fitness demands, but taste pretty awesome too.
My favorite healthy recipes are those that mimic a food that I love, but aren’t so healthy in their original form. In most cases, I ended up liking the healthier version better! Once you get used to a nutritious diet full of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats, you might be surprised to find that the old junk food isn’t as appealing.
The following are my 5 best healthy recipes to lose fat from my bag of tricks, ideas I got from restaurants or around the web that I made my own.
Shrimp Pad Thai, No Sen (no noodles)
I order this classic Asian dish at my favorite restaurant, and decided it would be easy to make a healthy version at home.
- 2 tsp peanut oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 16 oz small shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 1 cup sliced scallion greens
- 2 bunches baby broccoli
- 6T rice vinegar
- 5T fish sauce
- 2T raw honey
- 2T of your favorite asian sauce (I used the ginger people ginger lime cooking sauce, but you could use peanut sauce or teriyaki, just watch the calories)
- 2T chopped peanuts
Heat oil over med-high heat in a wok.
Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden.
Add the eggs and cook, stirring, until scrambled.
Add shrimp and stir-fry until they curl and turn pink, about 2 minutes.
Next add bean sprouts, scallion greens, baby broccoli, rice vinegar, fish sauce, agave nectar, and cooking sauce; increase heat if needed to bring liquid to boiling while continuing to stir.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until greens, broccoli, sprouts, are tender and shrimp is fully cooked.
Sprinkle with peanuts and serve immediately.
Makes about 4-5 servings. 1 serving = 207 calories, 2.2 g fat, 16.2g carbs, 29.8g protein. You could add rice noodles to yours and still keep it relatively healthy and low cal.
Berry Protein Smoothie
This is my post-workout staple that gets protein immediately shuttled to my muscles after I’ve torn them down, as well as plenty of vital micronutrients to keep me strong and healthy. Don’t worry about the spinach, the berries cover it’s flavor and you’ll never know it’s in there.
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 cup of organic frozen berries (I use strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
- 1 cup organic baby spinach leaves
- 1/2T flaxseed, ground
- 1/2-1cup milk, or greek yogurt
- 1tsp cinnamon
Put all ingredients in a blender, and enjoy within 45 minutes of your workout for maximum benefits!
1 serving = 272 calories, .5g fat, 25.1g carbs, 35g protein
Mashed Cauliflower & Mashed Butternut Squash
For when you’re craving mashed potatoes. From a former cauliflower hater, these reformed me.
- Half a medium red onion, peeled and quartered
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled (more or less according to your taste)
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped
- 2 oz, nonfat plain organic Greek yogurt
- 1 pat organic grass-fed butter
- sea salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place cauliflower in a steam basket and steam for about eight minutes or until fork tender.
In a food processor, blend onions and garlic (be sure to get them really fine). Add cauliflower, butter, yogurt, salt and pepper and blend some more. You want the finished product to be like a thick puree, will look like mashed potatoes.
Makes 5 servings. 1 serving = 68 calories, 1.4g fat, 11.6g carb (4.5g fiber), 4.8g protein
MASHED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided 1T/1T
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place squash cubes in a large bowl, add olive oil and 1T balsamic vinegar and toss until well coated. Place squash on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray and cook for 20-30 minutes, until fork tender. Remove from oven and put back into the bowl, add rosemary, sea salt, and 1T balsamic vinegar, toss again. Use potato masher to mash and serve with a sprinkle of rosemary on top.
Makes 3-4 servings. 1 serving = 55 calories, 1.6g fat, 11g carbs (2g fiber), 1 g protein
I still make spaghetti and meatballs for my kids, but my husband and I avoid refined grains and pastas. We needed a sub for the pasta that would support our diet, so with a little research I saw that many cooks use finely julienned squash or zucchini instead of noodles. We loved this dish so much, more than pasta itself! You can also use Spaghetti Squash which already comes in strands and ready to cook! Here is how I make it:
- 2-3 summer squash or zucchini, finely julienned or use a cheese grater to make strands
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of minced or crushed garlic
Heat olive oil in a large pan, add garlic and sauté until browned and fragrant. Add squash or zucchini, cook until al dente. Serve under your favorite marinara or tomato sauce and lean ground beef or meatballs.
Banana Protein Waffle or Pancake Batter
I make these on Sunday mornings. Everyone loves these and they smell amazing.
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 4 ounces of plain nonfat greek yogurt or cottage cheese
- 2T extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/2t baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until well blended. Let batter sit for 10 minutes before use. Cook in waffle iron or on griddle for pancakes, serve with fresh sliced bananas, strawberries, and a drizzle of agave nectar.
Makes 2 waffles or 4 small pancakes. 1 serving = 362 calories, 9.3g fat, 39.8g carbs (4g fiber), 30.8g protein.