Happy New Year! One of my resolutions this year is to bring healthy and satisfying recipes to The Fresh Fridge. So, I am so excited to share this guest post with all of you from an expert on the subject! Gina from Soul.Body.Food. is a health coach who was awesome enough to go through some of the recipes right here on The Fresh Fridge and make her best recommendations for cooking healthy and ways to boost any recipe to make it even more nutritious. So, check out these great recipes and add them to your 2012 healthy recipe list…and for more healthy tips, head to Gina’s awesome health and wellness site Soul.Body.Food.!
As a health coach, I’m often asked what the secret is to healthy eating. Is it low-carb? Low-fat? Low sugar? Vegan? High-protein? After all, there has to be one correct answer, right?
Surprisingly, no. Some people feel their best on a plant-based, all vegan diet, while others feel better with some animal protein in the mix. Some people can eat low-fat all day every day, while others feel like they are always hungry without more fats in their diet. The key to healthy eating is knowing what works for you. So, when Megan asked me to write a post about the healthiest recipes on The Fresh Fridge, I knew I could do it, but each recipe is either “healthy” or “unhealthy” depending on your perspective. Other than the bacon cinnamon rolls. Delicious? Sure! Healthy? Not so much.
There are few overlapping rules in opposing dietary theories, but one rule most people can agree on is this: eat your vegetables.
With that in mind, I give you the healthiest recipes on The Fresh Fridge. These ten recipes – in no particular order — are all vegan friendly (using vegetable shortening, almond milk, or veggie broth as necessary and omitting the cheese), gluten-free, and nutrient dense.
- Roasted Asparagus
- Baked Kale Chips
- Mediterranean Kale Soup
- White Peach, Tomato and Arugula Salsa
- Grilled Chili Sweet Potatoes
- Fresh Black Bean and Corn Salad
- Spinach & Asparagus Lentil Soup
- Slow Cooker Spicy Black Bean Soup
- Couscous with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and spinach (use quinoa instead of Couscous)
- Greek Style Zucchini and Squash
If you’re looking for some healthy recipes that aren’t necessarily vegetarian or vegan, here are the top-ten for meat eaters.
- Spinach and Baby Bella Scrambled Eggs
- Spicy Almond Chicken
- Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
- Spicy Chili Shooters
- Cranberry Feta Salad (use unsweetened dried cranberries)
- Slow Cooker Adobo Chicken
- Peanut Butter & Banana Porridge (try with almond or sunflower seed butter instead of PB)
- Sans Tortilla Soup
- Salmon Pesto over Lemon and Parmesan Pasta
- Italian Herb and Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes
So, what if you want to try another recipe on the Fresh Fridge not listed above, but you want to make it a little bit healthier?
It depends on what you mean by healthier.
For all the recipes, if you can sneak in a few more vegetables, you’re improving the nutrient profile of the food. For example, the Ground Turkey and Brown Rice Bowls would probably be just as delicious, but even more nutritious if you added whatever vegetables you have on hand. Shredded carrots, steamed broccoli, sauteed spinach or mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes would add both color and nutrition to the dish.
If you are making a dessert or a recipe that calls for sugar, try cutting down the sugar, or get rid of it all together. Replace it with a natural sweetener like maple syrup, molasses or honey if the recipe needs the sweetness, but otherwise, try to get rid of it all together.
Gluten intolerant? Any recipe that calls for flour, a pizza crust, pasta, tortillas can be made GF friendly by using Gluten Free substitutes. Bob’s Red Mill and Pamela’s both make GF baking mixes, and GF tortillas, breads, and pastas are becoming easier to find in everyday grocery stores.
Are you avoiding dairy? Simply substitute almond milk for milk, margerine or coconut oil for butter, and omit the cheese. Nutritional yeast is a good way to get the cheesy flavor in savory dishes without the cheese. You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk section at your health food store.
With a few substitutions and a little creativity, you can change any rec ipe to fit your dietary guidelines. For example, here is my “healthified” version of Pumpkin Gingerbread. This recipe is gluten and dairy free, vegan, and Paleo-friendly. Be warned, they come out very soft!
Super Moist Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins
- 1 3/4 cups gluten and grain free flour. I used:
- 1.5 cups almond meal
- 1/4 cup flax meal
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 tbsp baking powder + 2 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease pans for mini loaves
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together all wet ingredients (mix together the baking powder and water before adding to wet mix).
- In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients. Then add slowly to wet ingredients mixture until all well mixed. If the mixture seems too wet, add some more almond flour.
- Divide batter in standard sized muffin tin and then bake for 45 minutes. Done when inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool and then serve or wrap them up and save them for friends!