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Healthy Recipes

Making Fast, Healthy, and Delicious Meals

Guide to Healthy Recipes

For many of us with hectic lives, it’s often quicker and easier to heat a frozen dinner or grab a takeout than cook a meal from scratch. But there is a healthy alternative. Preparing food the old fashioned way—at home in your own kitchen—doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. With some simple guidelines, you can create quick, delicious meals the whole family will enjoy.

Healthy Recipes: Making fast, healthy, and delicious meals

Taking a few minutes to prepare quick and healthy meals gives you more control over what you and your family are eating. Seeking out a variety of healthy recipes and preparing nutritious meals can help prevent many common medical conditions, and engages your senses in a sumptuous world of flavors, textures, aromas, sights, and sounds. It can also be a wonderful way to bring your family together, while helping you save money.

Healthy breakfast recipes

Healthy Breakfast Recipes Many people feel too busy to take 15 minutes for breakfast every day. But this vital first meal of the day gets your metabolism going and gives you energy. People who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight. Breakfast can be quick, easy, and nutritious. Try starting your day with one of these tasty recipes:


Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Apples are naturally sweet, helping to curb your cravings for sweets in a natural way. They have fiber and vitamin C.

Cinnamon has many beneficial properties, including a mild anti-inflammatory effect, anti-microbial properties (helps stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi), and better blood sugar control. It’s also an excellent source of manganese and the smell can boost brain activity.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (or steel cut oats*)
  • 2/3 cup liquid (1 cup liquid for steel cut oats*)
  • 1/2 an apple cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a small pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes (about 20 minutes for steel cut oats*).

* Steel Cut Oats are a much heartier cereal. They have more fiber and nutrients. They have a wonderful, chewy texture and you will stay full longer when you eat steel cut oats.

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Veggie Scramble or Omelet*

Eggs have riboflavin, vitamin B12, and phosphorus, and are a very good source of protein and
selenium.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs (or 1 egg & 1 egg white)
  • 2 Tbsp. liquid (i.e. milk, rice beverage, or water)
  • 1/4 cup veggies of your choice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (1 tsp. more for an omelet*)
  • 2 Tbsp. onion, diced (optional)
  • Dash of salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Break eggs into a bowl, add liquid and whisk eggs. Set aside.
  2. In a small frying pan add 1 tsp. oil and when it’s at a medium heat add the onions.
  3. Sauté onions for a couple minutes, until they are translucent and soft.
  4. Add other veggies and sauté for another 5 minutes or until the veggies are cooked how you like them.
  5. If making a scramble, pour the egg mix into the pan with the veggies and gently stir until the eggs are done.
  6. Add salt & pepper at the end.
  7. If making an omelet*, transfer the veggies into a bowl.
  8. Add 1 tsp. oil and let heat briefly.
  9. Pour the eggs into the pan and swirl to the edges.
  10. After about a minute, when the egg is about halfway set, add the veggies on half of the egg.
  11. Add salt & pepper.
  12. Gently fold the egg side without veggies over onto the veggies.
  13. Cook until the egg is done.

*Steps 1 – 4 are for either item, steps 7 – 13 continue the process for making an omelet.

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Oat Pancakes

Adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Oats are a good source of vitamin A, riboflavin, folate, calcium, phosphorus and selenium, as well as thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, and manganese.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • 1½ cups plain low-fat yogurt plus 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. sweetener (i.e. maple syrup, brown sugar, or agave nectar)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat or spelt flour (or any other flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Stir together oats and yogurt mixture. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla, sweetener, and oil. Mix well.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Heat a skillet or griddle to medium heat.
  5. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto heated skillet for each pancake and spread out the batter a little (so it’s even and flat).
  6. Let cook until bubbles form on the top.
  7. Flip* and cook the other side until golden brown.

*Only flip once. These pancakes stay very moist inside.

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Polenta Fritters

Try this tasty recipe for Polenta Fritters.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil then turn down to medium low heat for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Pour into a dish and cool overnight.
  4. Slice and bake in the oven or lightly fry.
  5. Serve with applesauce or other fruit.
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Spaghetti Squash Potato Pancakes

Spaghetti squash is a great source of various vitamins, minerals such as niacin, vitamins B6 and C, potassium, and manganese, as well as fiber. Potatoes are also a wonderful source of potassium and vitamins B6 and C.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash*
  • 4 medium potatoes, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. of flour (any type)
  • 1 – 2 tsp. salt
  • Breadcrumbs or oatmeal if the batter is too runny
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon & dash of nutmeg (sweet)**
  • 1 – 2 tsp. herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme (savory)**

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat.
  3. Add olive oil to the pan, swirl around then drop in the batter in 1/4 cup amounts. In a large pan you can fit 3 or 4 at a time.
  4. When golden brown on the bottom flip them and cook the second side. These are best when cooked slowly so that the potato is nice and soft and the outside is a golden brown.

Serve with applesauce or other fruit. These also make a great side or main dish for lunch or dinner

*Spaghetti squash is easy to cook – simply bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size. Be sure to poke holes in the squash before baking so that it does not explode in the oven.

**Add either the sweet spices or the savory herbs, not both.

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Nut Butter Banana Toast

This simple breakfast gives you a nutritious mixture of whole grains, protein, and fruit, plus it tastes great. Simply spread whole grain toast with your favorite nut butter and cut slices of banana on top.

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Healthy lunch recipes

Healthy Lunch Recipes If you have a busy schedule, lunch can often be a rushed meal—a takeout eaten at your desk or a quick bite in a diner or restaurant. But with a little planning, it’s easy to prepare a nutritious and tasty lunch yourself. Things like sandwiches or leftovers from a previous dinner can make quick, easy, and healthy lunchtime meals.


Veggie Deluxe Sandwich

Avocados are high in the good monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to actually help lower cholesterol levels.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 2 Tbsp. hummus
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • 2 oz. low-fat cheese
  • 1 large leaf of lettuce, torn into large pieces
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
  • Other veggies of your choice (shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, onion slices, etc.)
  • Dash of vinegar & olive oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Spread the hummus on one side of each slice of bread.
  2. Add all other ingredients in layers.
  3. Add the vinegar & oil over the veggies.
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Build Your Own Sandwich

Most work places have refrigerators, so bring some lean lunchmeat, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, or other veggie toppings you enjoy and a loaf of hearty whole wheat bread to make your own sandwiches for lunch. Save time, money, and your health. Spice it up with different condiments like mustard, hummus, or pickles.

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Grilled Chicken & Artichoke Salad

Artichokes are an antioxidant powerhouse because of their phytonutrients. They are filled with vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and much more.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 3 artichoke hearts, cut into quarters
  • 2 oz. chicken breast, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/4 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into small wedges
  • Vinaigrette dressing*

Directions:

  1. Toss mixed greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots (and any other veggies you wish to add).
  2. Top with the artichokes and the chicken.
  3. Add vinaigrette dressing.

*Vinaigrette dressing is easy to make. Mix 2 tsp. vinegar (or lemon) with 1/2 tsp. mustard, then add 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt & pepper (and any other herbs you like such as dill or basil).

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Whole Grain Salad

Any cooked grain will work for this twist on a salad. Yes, whole grains taste great cold!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked whole grain (such as brown rice, wild rice, millet or barley), 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1 small celery stalk, sliced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup mandarin oranges
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted nuts
  • 2 cups lettuce greens (mixed or romaine)

Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. orange or mandarin juice
  • 1/2 garlic clove pressed
  • 1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • dash of salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl add the grain and all other ingredients, except the lettuce.
  2. Toss with the dressing and let sit for at least few minutes for flavors to meld.
  3. Sprinkle dressed ingredients onto the lettuce.
  4. If needed, drizzle a little more olive oil and vinegar over the salad.
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Potato Lentil Soup with Greens

Green veggies are the foods most missing from our modern diet. Greens are packed with iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E, and K. They also have tons of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and more.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 – 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 – 3 red potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 2 – 3 cups of a hearty green (one type or a mixture of kale, mustard, collards, etc.), washed, stripped form stalks, and coarsely torn into small pieces
  • 1½ cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 6 cups water or veggie stock
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • Lemon juice to taste (about ½ a lemon)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and sauté for 10 – 15 minutes, until caramelized (golden & sweet).
  3. Add cumin to onions and sauté for a minute more.
  4. Add turmeric, thyme, oregano, basil, carrots, celery, potatoes, lentils, water, and bay leaves.
  5. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to simmer and cook partially covered for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Lentils will look creamy when done, at that point, add salt and chopped kale.
  7. Simmer, covered, for 5 – 10 minutes until greens are tender.
  8. Add lemon juice and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  9. Serve on its own for a lighter meal, or over a whole grain (i.e. brown rice) for a heartier meal.
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Hummus

Hummus is made from chickpeas which provide not just protein, but also fiber, copper, folate, and manganese.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of chick peas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • 3 Tbsp. Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Juice of two lemons (about ¼ - 1/3 cup) plus 2 Tbsp. water
  • ½ tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place chick peas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and water into a food processor
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Add salt and cumin, blend thoroughly
  4. Add olive oil while blending
  5. This recipe is very easy to alter. Be creative. Try adding other herbs or spices that you like, such as dill or pesto.
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Healthy dinner recipes

Healthy Dinner RecipesFor many of us dinner is typically the major meal of the day. It can feel overwhelming to come home from work and still need to prepare a meal for yourself and your family. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to make cooking dinner at home quick, easy, tasty, and fun.

First, you can think of the time as an activity that brings the family together. Get the kids involved in helping prepare the meal. They can do things like washing and tearing up vegetables and measuring out ingredients.

Chop vegetables ahead of time over the weekend or on a night when you have more time and energy. Store them in containers in the fridge and use them as needed.

Use a crockpot so that meals are ready when you get home. You can eat right away and use the time after dinner to do other things or plan for tomorrow’s meals.

Sweet Potato Burritos or Tacos

Sweet potatoes are filled with carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, manganese, and fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, grated or diced into small cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. curry
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups black beans, heated
  • Grated low-fat cheese
  • Salsa
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • Tortilla shells – for either burritos (large) or tacos (small)

Directions:

  1. Add olive oil to a large skillet and add the onions, sauté until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, curry and cumin. Sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add sweet potatoes and chili powder. Mix thoroughly. Sauté for a minute or two, stirring
    continuously.
  4. Add 1 – 2 Tbsp. of water, cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender (about 5 to 7 minutes).
  5. Heat beans, grate cheese, slice avocado.
  6. Warm tortillas for 5 minutes in the oven or toaster oven.
  7. Add sweet potato mixture and beans on to the tortilla shells.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese. Add salsa and avocado. Enjoy!
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Quiche with Ham & Broccoli

This healthier quiche gets its rich taste from eggs and low-fat cheese instead of heavy cream. Serve it for dinner or anytime.

Ingredients:

  • 1 piecrust for a 9” pie plate
  • 1¼ cups low-fat shredded cheese (i.e. Colby or Monterey Jack)
  • 2 large broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 eggs (or 4 eggs & 2 egg whites)
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk (or rice milk, soymilk or water)
  • 3 thin slices fresh deli ham, cut into pieces

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Prepare the piecrust in a 9” pie plate.
  • Spread some of the cheese over bottom of plate.
  • Coat a skillet with cooking spray or a little oil and heat on medium.
  • Add broccoli and cook until tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with pepper, to taste.
  • Stir in remaining cheese, broccoli and ham.
  • Pour into pie plate and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until center is set.
  • Cool quiche for 10 minutes on a rack, slice into 6 equal wedges and serve.
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Chicken Marbella (Simplified)

Prunes are a good source of vitamin A, potassium, and copper, as well as fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ - 2 lbs. chicken legs, thighs, or breasts without the skin
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 cups of prunes (~ 8 oz)
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Herbs (i.e. oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into a large baking dish (9x12 pan works well) so that the chicken is almost completely covered by the liquid.
  2. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn oven down to 325 degrees for another 15 or 20 minutes.
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Bean Burgers

Black beans are extremely high in cholesterol lowering fiber. They also are comparable to grapes and cranberries for their anti-oxidant properties. When eaten with whole grains, such as brown rice, they make a virtually fat-free complete protein.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz. can of black beans, mostly drained & mashed until smooth (other beans work, too)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cheese
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Form into patties and place on a slightly greased cookie sheet (or onto a frying pan or skillet).
  3. Broil (or fry) until one side is brown & slightly crisp.
  4. Carefully flip and broil (or fry) the other side until also brown & slightly crisp.
  5. Enjoy with all the usual hamburger fixings.
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Spinach Veggie Lasagna

Packed with flavor and veggies, this dish is a nice alternative to the more typical tomato based lasagna.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz. package whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (or 1 package frozen, chopped spinach)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk (or any other liquid)
  • 3/4 cup low fat cheese, grated
  • 3 plum tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • Herbs such as oregano and thyme
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare lasagna noodles (instant or no bake also work great).
  3. Sauté onion and garlic over medium heat in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.
  4. Add zucchini and sauté until slightly cooked (about 5 minutes).
  5. Add the spinach, if using fresh and sauté with the onions until slightly wilted – about 2 minutes (Prepare frozen spinach as directed, drain and very briefly sauté with the onions).
  6. Set aside 1/4 cup of the veggie mix.
  7. In a bowl mix the ricotta, 1/4 cup water, and the egg. Then add the remaining veggie mix and stir together.
  8. Oil a 9x12-inch baking dish with 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
  9. Spread the ¼ cup of the veggie mix over the bottom of the pan and cover with a layer of the pasta.
  10. Scatter a layer of the grated cheese over the noodles, then add 1/4 of the veggie mix and top with a layer of noodles.
  11. Repeat for 3 more layers, ending with a layer of the veggies and a little grated cheese.
  12. Cover with foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through, then remove foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown the top.
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Lean & Juicy Hamburgers

Grass-fed beef contains higher concentrations of beta-carotene, increased levels of omega-3 fatty acids, a more desirable omega-3:omega-6 ratio, and higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA or polyunsaturated fatty acids), all substances that are reported to have favorable effects on our health.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground meat (i.e. grass-fed beef or buffalo)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal with hot water added to the cup (just enough to fill up the cracks)
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. walnuts, broken into pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Form into patties.
  3. Heat a frying pan to medium to medium high and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil.
  4. Add patties and cook at medium heat until side is golden brown.
  5. Flip and cover to keep moist and to “bake” the inside of the burger.
  6. Enjoy with the usual hamburger fixings or as you would meatloaf.
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Dessert recipes: Scrumptious, healthy and affordable

Healthier Dessert RecipesCutting out junk food does not mean that you have to cut out all desserts. You can “have your cake and eat it too” by learning how to include scrumptious, healthy and affordable desserts in your menu. Try picking one of these recipes or other ideas for a special sweet treat. Find ways to shift your thinking about what a healthy dessert can be.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oats are filled with fiber and good source of vitamin A, riboflavin, folate, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium, as well as thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, and manganese. These cookies are very moist and chewy.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour (any flour will work)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (or raisins)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Blend together sugar and butter until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Stir in apple sauce.
  5. Mix together dry ingredients (except oats) and stir in to wet ingredients.
  6. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
  7. Place tablespoonfuls onto a non-stick baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  9. Cool briefly (1 minute or so) and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

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Simple Sorbets

Simple Sorbets are very easy and fast to make. All you need is frozen fruit and a food processor. These taste wonderful on warm days. Be creative with different fruit combinations (i.e. strawberry and banana, blueberry and peach, mango and raspberry, etc).

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fruit pieces (frozen ahead – see below)
  • Sugar to taste (1 to 3 Tbsp.)
  • Lemon or lime juice to taste (1 to 3 Tbsp.)

Fruit Freezing Directions:

  1. Peel and cut fruit into chunks and spread out on a cookie sheet.
  2. Freeze for 2 hours (or overnight) and then scrape fruit chunks into a freezer bag or airtight container for future use.

Sorbet Directions:

  1. Put the fruit through a food processor until very finely chopped.
  2. Add sugar and lemon juice, for taste depending on the sweetness levels of the fruit you are using.
  3. Blend until very smooth (about 5 minutes). Be sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor regularly.
  4. Put into serving dishes or a covered storage container.
  5. If not serving immediately, put the mixture into the freezer and 15 minutes before you serve it put it into the refrigerator to temper it.
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Rich Chocolate Pudding

This chocolate pudding is rich tasting while being low-fat and relatively low in sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. sweetener (honey, agave nectar, sugar, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups liquid* (divided)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate bits (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract

* Liquid can be almond milk or low-fat milk (non-fat milk and rice milk don’t work well)

Directions:

  1. Whisk together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and 1/2 cup liquid in medium saucepan.
  2. Pour remaining liquid into sugar mixture while whisking.
  3. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat and simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Beat egg lightly in small bowl.
  5. Pour in 1 cup of the hot liquid mixture while whisking.
  6. Pour egg mixture back into pan and cook over medium low heat, stirring, 2 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from heat, add chocolate and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  8. Stir in vanilla extract.
  9. Pour mixture into 4 serving dishes and chill for 2 hours or overnight, covered.
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Fruit Crisp

This recipe can be made using many different types of fruits or combinations of fruits. Not only does fruit taste great because of its natural sweetness, but depending on the type can also offer vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and fiber. Favorites for crisps are apples in the fall, strawberries in the spring, and peaches in the summer.

Fruit ingredients:

  • 5 - 6 cups of fruit, cut into chunks
  • Sweetener – honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or sugar (adjust the amount depending on the sweetness of the fruit. For example, when using sweet apples you can omit altogether, but with something like rhubarb you will want about ½ cup.)
  • 2 - 3 tbsp. corn starch or arrowroot

Place fruit into a 9x9 baking dish (or 9x12 depending on amount of fruit) and mix in remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Topping ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1½ cups rolled oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a pot, melt the butter over low heat.
  3. Add the sugar and stir together.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Crumble evenly over the fruit.
  6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden on top.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
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Zucchini Bread

The zucchinis make this sweet dessert bread nice and moist. Zucchinis are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are a good source of dietary fiber, as well as various vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, & B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (any mixture of flour works well: whole wheat, spelt, rice, oat, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 – 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil*
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

*If you don’t have apple sauce you can use 1 cup vegetable oil.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix together oil and sugar.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Mix dry ingredients and then add to the wet mixture.
  5. Last add the zucchini and nuts, mix well.
  6. Place into two bread pans or one 9 x 13 dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
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Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is a good source of vitamin E, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamins A & C, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin, squash or sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger (powdered)
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup liquid
  • 1 unbaked 9” pie crust

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Place pumpkin puree in a medium-sized bowl and add all other filling ingredients. Mix until smooth.
  3. Spread into pie crust and bake for 45 – 55 minutes until the pie is firm in the center.
  4. Serve at room temperature or refrigerated.
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Healthy snacks

Snacks

A healthy diet can include snacks. Some people actually do better when they eat three small meals plus a couple of healthy snacks throughout the day. Healthy snacks can help keep your blood sugar level even, giving you steady energy throughout the day instead of peaks and crashes.

Healthy snack ideas

Fruits & Nuts – This wonderful combination provides fiber and protein for a satisfying snack. Have a piece of fresh fruit and a small handful of nuts. A great twist on this one is fruit with nut butter spread on top.

Yogurt parfait – Plain, low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit mixed in. Using plain yogurt you control how much sweetener you add. Also try adding a dash of vanilla or some cinnamon for different flavors. For a heartier snack add a handful of cereal or granola.

Popcorn – Pop your own light popcorn for a great, tasty snack. You can even be adventurous with spices. Try adding curry, onion powder, or anything else you like after it’s popped.

Hummus & veggies – The chickpeas in hummus offer lots of good fiber and protein. It has no cholesterol and is a very fulfilling, tasty snack.

Ants on a Log – Be a kid again and enjoy celery with nut butter and a few raisins or cranberries on top.

Altering recipes to make your favorite meals healthier

There are many easy ways to alter recipes so that they are healthier while maintaining their wonderful tastes, flavors, and textures.

Some basic tips for making your favorite meals healthier include:

  • Decrease the meat and increase the vegetables called for in stews and casseroles.
  • Choose whole-grain versions of pasta and bread; substitute whole-wheat flour for bleached white flour when you bake.
  • Serve imaginative whole-grain side dishes like bulgur or kasha instead of white rice or pasta. Cook with less fat by using non-stick skillets.
  • Blot all fried meats on paper towels. Or better yet, try baking instead of frying.
  • Avoid cooking with soy or Worcestershire sauce and products that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Use garlic or onion powder instead of garlic or onion salt, and use unsalted or low-salt vegetable broths and products.
  • Buy reduced-fat cheese or use mozzarella, which is naturally lower in fat.
  • In recipes calling for milk or cream, substitute reduced fat versions or try using other “milks” such as rice milk, nut milk, or soy milk. Also use low-fat cream cheese, yogurt, and mayo.
  • Unhealthy fats like certain oils, butter, or margarines can usually be cut by 1/3 to 1/2 in recipes. At first try a small reduction and then use less and less over time; you'll hardly notice the difference.
  • You can also use fat substitutes like prune purees and applesauce in baked goods.
  • Use fresh-frozen fruit without added sugar if fresh is unavailable.
  • Cut the sugar called for in most recipes by 1/3 to 1/2.
  • Sweeten waffles and quick breads with cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla or almond extracts in order to cut the sugar content.
  • Try salsa on a baked potato or salad rather than high-fat dressing or butter.

Time saving tips for making healthy recipes

What if I just don't have time to cook? Or prepare my lunch? Or eat breakfast? These are common refrains from people who don't realize how easy and fast it can be to prepare your own meals. Start by adding one more meal at home each week. Cooking is like any new skill: it takes a little practice to become competent. So give yourself some leeway. It’s okay to burn the rice or over-cook the veggies. After a few tries it will get easier and quicker. Start out with simple dishes. Cooking doesn't have to be complicated.

Some time-saving tips for cooking quick, healthy meals

  • Cook simple. Steam or sauté some veggies. Bake a sweet potato. Grill some fish or chicken. Simple cooking is a great way to keep things easy and quick. To make the food more interesting, you can add condiments, spices, and/or dressings to your food when you eat it. Individuals with different preferences can spice up their food in their own unique way. This is great for families.
  • Prepare food ahead of time. This will allow you to have easy access to items that you can add to your meals. Chop veggies ahead and store them in containers in the fridge. Hard-boil some eggs for breakfast. Package meal-sized portions to grab and take with you for lunch.
  • Cook more than you need for one meal. It’s great to have leftovers that can be used for a quick and easy lunch or dinner the next day. Also, when making things like whole grains, cook at least double the amount you need and store it in the fridge to use with other meals.
  • Use a timer. Many things don’t take a lot of preparation time, but need longer to cook. Using a timer allows you to prepare food in a short period of time and then do other things as they cook. For example, it doesn’t take long to wash some root veggies and put them in the oven, or measure, rinse, and throw rice into a pot to cook.
  • Invest in kitchen tools. There are many tools that make cooking easier and save time, such as a rice cooker, crock-pot (slow cooker), immersion blender, and food processor. Some of these devices save you time by cooking while you do other things (rice cooker and crock-pot). Others make it easier and quicker to make things like soups, smoothies, and hummus. If you’re on a budget, you can often find these items at garage sales or second hand stores.

Related Articles

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Resources & References

Healthy recipe sites

The Nutrition Source – Selected recipes from several sources organized by nine categories. (Harvard School of Public Health)

Healthy recipes for heart disease prevention

Nutrition Center – "Making heart-healthy dishes--from appetizers to desserts--that you and your whole family will love is much easier than you might think." (American Heart Association.)

Cooking the Heart Healthy Way – Collection of recipes that are low-fat and promote heart health. (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute)

Healthy recipes for cancer prevention

Recipes from the AICR Test Kitchen – Contains numerous healthy recipes for a variety of meal types including appetizers, breads, beverages, soups, entrees, and desserts and provides diet and health guidelines for cancer prevention. (American Institute for Cancer Research)

Recipes – Browse healthy recipes by type of meal including breakfast, appetizers, soups & salads, entrees, side dishes, beverages & shakes, and desserts. Recipes include nutritional analysis. (Stanford Cancer Center)

Healthy recipes for a diabetic diet

My Food Advisor – This site has extensive information about foods and recipes that help you manage diabetes. (American Diabetes Association)

Authors: Maya W. Paul, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: February 2014.

©Helpguide.org. All rights reserved. This reprint is for information only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Helpguide.org is an ad-free non-profit resource for supporting better mental health and lifestyle choices for adults and children.

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