New Year’s Resolution to Eat Better

Happy New Year! Does this ^^ sound familiar? At the beginning of every new year we all make promises to ourselves to eat better, exercise more, etc. The real problem with these resolutions (and the reason why they ultimately fail) is that they are extremely vague. “Eating better” and “exercising more” leave lots of room for creativity and excuses.

As a dietitian, I am always working with my clients to help them define what it means to “eat better.” One of my biggest suggestions is to eat more fruits and vegetables and to determine how much is “more.” The USDA recommends around 5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day (for most adults). A better way to think about it, though, is to fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables. This will ensure that a) you are eating enough produce and b) you are replacing the higher calorie, higher fat, higher carb, etc. foods with lower calorie fruits and veggies.

Don’t let the five cup recommendation scare you. There are LOTS of delicious and different ways to prepare vegetables! Enter Tandoori Cauliflower from Sarah B of My New Roots. Wow! Looks amazing plus made with Tandoori which has a slew of good-for-you spices: tumuric (anti-inflammatory and promotes cognition and improved blood flow), chili powder (boosts metabolism, promotes heart health), paprika (anti-inflammatory, promotes heart health) and cumin (boosts immune functioning) among many others.

I made this twice: once with Greek yogurt and once with almond milk yogurt (needed it to be dairy-free). Both were delicious and the latter, which I made for a party, was a hit. The first time I made it (with Greek yogurt), I single-handedly devoured the whole thing in two sittings – and I don’t even like cauliflower!

Don’t let the color (white) of cauliflower fool you – it’s FULL of great nutrition. Only 25 calories for 1/6 of the cauliflower with 2 grams of fiber and 100% your daily needs for vitamin C plus close to 20% your daily need for folate.

Tandoori Cauliflower with Mint and Cilantro Yogurt Sauce (see link above for recipe).

Tandoori Cauliflower

The yogurt marinade forms a delicious golden crust. Looks dramatic but it’s super-easy!

 

Tandoori Cauliflower with Mint Chutney

Spicy, herbacious mint and cilantro chutney on top.

 

Extra mint chutney? Stay tuned for my next post – I found a delicious new recipe in which to use it.

Butternut Squash Tastes Like Butta

Butternut squash, with its creamy texture, is the perfect comfort food. Like butta, some might say. Plus, because it has both sweet and savory notes and is extremely versatile; not to mention it is loaded with nutrients. Nutrition breakdown: half a cup of butternut squash is only 50 calories and provides a whopping 260% your daily need for vitamin A, plus 40% your daily need for vitamin C (vitamins A and C boost immunity, can decrease inflammation and contribute to healthier skin, eyes and an overall healthier body). You’ll even get a little iron and calcium in that 1/2 cup serving, though you’ll probably want to eat more than half a cup!

My one issue with butternut squash, however, is that can take 45-60 minutes to cook. Thus, I had a butternut squash sitting on my counter for several weeks before I got around to making it. Did I mention I made it in 30 minutes? The key is to cut it up small. With a VERY sharp knife. Butternut squash doesn’t play around…you have to put major – at least for me – muscle into cutting that baby up. That expression, “no pain, no gain,” can absolutely be used here. Completely worth the minor hassle to get a deliciously cooked butternut squash, though. Check out how I used it several ways!

Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad

Arugula, White Bean and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash*
  • 1/2 cup white beans
  • 2 Tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp cracked pepper

Directions: Toss all ingredients together. Yep- it’s that simple!

*To roast butternut squash, peel it and cut it into 1.5″ cubes. Drizzle with olive oil or use cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Note: the smaller the pieces you cut, the faster it will cook.

Butternut Squash-Stuffed Portabellas

Butternut Squash and Tempeh-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash, mashed
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 oz tempeh (uncooked), finely chopped
  • 4 portabella mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt (smoked salt, if you have it, works really well)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1 oz cheese (parmesan would be ideal, but I didn’t have any, so I used light cheddar instead)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove stems from washed/dried portabellas. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Mix all remaining ingredients (excluding cheese) together and stuff into the prepared mushrooms. Top with shredded or thinly sliced cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until mushrooms are thoroughly cooked and cheese is browned and bubbly (and thus, delicious).