As the holiday season continues, its all too common for people to throw their health goals out the window. The holiday season has always been associated with a little over indulgence as cakes, cookies, and pie become the new normal. At Weight Loss Direct we understand that “healthy eating” can be difficult to maintain, especially with all of the shopping, decorating, and travel that begin to fill peoples otherwise simple schedules. However, just because you are short on time doesn’t mean that eating healthy is impossible!
We’ve put together 5 of our favorite quick, easy, and healthy recipes to keep your diet on track while keeping you from that feeling of missing out on all this season has to offer!
1. Cheesy Spinach Bake
Phase 2, Phase 4, Phase 6 Servings: 2 Calories: 159kcal
- 1.5 cup cottage cheese
- 16 oz spinach
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- pink salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Cook spinach down in size in a pot with a small amount of water on the stove
- Drain spinach
- Mix in cottage cheese and seasonings
- Transfer to a glass pan
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown on top
Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 574mg | Potassium: 182mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 0.1mg
SPINACH HEALTH BENEFITS
This Cheesy Spinach Bake is rich and filling, but that doesn’t mean it cant be healthy too. Spinach is one of our favorite ingredients because it is both healthy as delicious! Here are a few quick health facts on spinach in case the cheesy dip wasn’t convincing enough:
- Spinach contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative, stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.
- Spinach contains chlorophyll. Several studies, including this 2013 study carried out on 12,000 animals, have shown chlorophyll to be effective at blocking the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines
- Risks for developing asthma are lower in people who have a high intake of beta-carotene. Spinach is an excellent source of beta-carotene
- Contains high potassium content, spinach is recommended for people with high blood pressure. Potassium can help reduce the effects of sodium in the body
- Spinach is high in Vitamin C, which is crucial for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.
Baked Salmon Cakes
Phase 4, Phase 5, Phase 6 Servings: 2 Calories: 236kcal
- 6 oz Alaska pink salmon canned salmon
- 1/2 small onion diced
- 1 egg beaten
- 1.5 tbsp butter melted
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Combine salmon, egg, onion, butter, and pepper in bowl with hands
- Form into 4 patties and place on parchment-lined baking sheet
- Bake for 10 minutes, turning once, or until golden brown on both sides
2 patties per serving
Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 473mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
SALMON HEALTH BENEFITS
Not everyone enjoys fish, but salmon should be the one exception. Despite spending part of its life in the ocean, salmon has successfully avoided that fishy taste you will find with most other sea food. This means salmon has a milder and more subtle taste than other fish. In addition to its great taste salmon is a health powerhouse. Here are just a few of the benefits of eating salmon regularly:
- Salmon is rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and decrease risk factors for disease.
- Your body requires protein to heal, protect bone health and prevent muscle loss, among other things. Salmon provides 22–25 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce serving.
- Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D, which is needed for immune health, controlling inflammation and maintaining healthy bones and muscles. Check out our article on Vitamin D to learn more!
- 100 grams of salmon provide 11–18% of the RDI of potassium, which helps control blood pressure and prevent excess fluid retention.
- A 100-gram serving of salmon provides 59–67% of the RDI of selenium, a mineral involved in protecting bone health, improving thyroid function and reducing the risk of cancer.
- Astaxanthin is a compound found in salmon. As a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants, astaxanthin gives salmon its red pigment. In addition, astaxanthin is believed to work with salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids to protect the brain and nervous system from inflammation What’s more, astaxanthin may even help prevent skin damage and help you look younger.
Apple Pecan Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Phase 4, Phase 5, Phase 6 Servings: 2 Calories: 215kcal
- 3 cups brussels sprouts
- 1/4 cup pecans chopped
- 1/2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
- 1 apple chopped
- pink salt to taste
- Steam brussel sprouts until softened
- Drain and return to heated saucepan
- Stir in butter / oil, pecans, and apples
- Cover and cook until apples are softened
- Sprinkle with pink salt
Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 662mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1132IU | Vitamin C: 116mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2mg
BRUSSEL SPROUT HEALTH BENEFITS
Despite their negative portrayal in almost every kids movie Brussel sprouts are actually a very good when prepared properly. Brussel sprouts are quite similar to broccoli in flavor and they are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Your kids may be afraid of them, but here are some great reasons to incorporate Brussel sprouts into your family’s diet:
- Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in many nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin K and vitamin C.
- Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin K, a nutrient important for blood clotting and bone metabolism.
- The fiber and antioxidants in Brussels sprouts may help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Brussels sprouts are a good source of ALA omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation, insulin resistance, cognitive decline and blood triglycerides
- Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that’s important for immune health, iron absorption, collagen production and the growth and repair of tissues.
Thin Mint Mug Cake
Phase 4, Phase 5, Phase 6 Servings: 1 Calories: 225kcal
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp flax meal
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 2 tbsp Bluebonnet French Vanilla protein powder
- 1 tbsp Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp Frontier Natural Products Mint Flavor
- 1/2 tsp SweetLeaf liquid Stevia
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp almond milk Unsweetened
- Melt coconut oil in mug
- Add egg, almond milk, stevia, and mint flavor
- Stir in flax meal, protein powder, coconut flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder
- Microwave for 90 seconds or bake at 350 for 15 minutes
Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 453mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 238IU | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 2mg
COCOA HEALTH BENEFITS
Not only is cocoa the main ingredient in chocolate but it can also be incredibly beneficial for your health. From weight management to insulin sensitivity here are a few of the benefits you can receive by adding cocoa to your diet:
- Polyphenols are naturally occurring antioxidants found in foods like fruits, vegetables, tea, chocolate and wine. Cocoa is rich in polyphenols, which have significant health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved cholesterol levels. However, processing cocoa into chocolate or other products can substantially decrease the polyphenol content.
- Flavanol-rich cocoa improves the level of nitric oxide in your blood, which relaxes and dilates your arteries and blood vessels and improves blood flow
- Several studies have found that polyphenols, such as those in cocoa, may reduce your risk of neurodegenerative diseases by improving brain function and blood flow. Flavanols can cross the blood-brain barrier and are involved in the biochemical pathways that produce neurons and important molecules for the function of your brain.
- A review of human studies showed that eating flavanol-rich dark chocolate or cocoa can reduce insulin sensitivity, improve blood sugar control and reduce inflammation in diabetic and nondiabetic people
Hot Holiday Wassail
Phase 2, Phase 4, Phase 5, Phase 6 Servings: 4 Calories: 21kcal
- 4 cups water
- 6-8 tbsp Braggs apple cider vinegar
- 16 – 20 drops of SweetLeaf Stevia Valencia Orange (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks (and if preferred – extra for garnish)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 orange slices for garnish
- Combine all ingredients in a large pan.
- Bring to simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce heat and continue simmering for 45 minutes.
- Ladle into cups or mugs and then garnish with slice of orange and cinnamon stick
Calories: 21kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 29IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HEALTH BENEFITS-
Wassail is a form of cider that has been mixed with various fruits and spices and left to simmer for a long time. Nothing is quite as good as wassail after a cold day and it can also be a good alternative to other less healthy drinks. A big reason wassail is such a healthy recipe is because of the apple cider vinegar used to make it. Apple cider vinegar has a lot of positive affects on health ranging from improved digestion to killing off harmful bacteria. Here are a few of the other things apple cider vinegar can do for your health:
- Apple cider vinegar has shown great promise in improving insulin sensitivity and helping lower blood sugar responses after meals.
- Studies suggest that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness and help you eat fewer calories, which may lead to weight loss.
- Antibacterial: ACV has multiple antimicrobial properties on different microbial species, affecting its growth.
- Boost skin health: ACV kills the bacteria and prevents the infection on the skin, thus helping in enhancing skin health.
Its ok to enjoy yourself this holiday season, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of your health. We understand that the holiday season is full of temptation and these healthy recipes can make a positive difference with your end of year goals. However, its also important to maintain a routine. Routine is good for the mind and body so trying to keep things normal in the hustle and bustle of the holidays is always important.
If you liked these recipes Weight Loss Direct has hundreds of healthy recipes to help keep our clients on track even if they aren’t part of the program.
You can get full access to recipes and so much more with a monthly membership to the WLD Members Community Portal – get registered at https://community.weightlossdirect.com/member-portal-advantage/ or speak with a coach (833) 953-4732!