10 Healthy Breakfasts in Under 10 Minutes

People often ask me for healthy breakfast ideas. Even though I eat the same thing nearly every day (see Kelly’s daily oatmeal), the good news is that there are plenty of nutritious options for the morning meal.

1.     Classic oatmeal

Daily Oatmeal

Nine times out of ten, I start my day with old fashioned oatmeal topped with raisins and almonds (see this post for details). Porridge is an ideal breakfast because it’s filling, quick to prepare, and helps keep your cholesterol levels in check and your microbiome happy. (And whether you go for steel-cut or instant, all oats are whole grains.) Plus, oatmeal can be customized to fit just about any flavor profile. If you’re ready to branch out the classic combo pictured above, try adding bananas, blueberries, honey, peanut butter, pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, or chia seeds. The sky is the limit! See one of my favorite blogs, The Oatmeal Artist, for more ideas.

2.     Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

One of the easiest breakfasts just got easier. Instead of preparing your oatmeal morning of, you just throw the ingredients in a jar and let the oats soften overnight. See my Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal blog post for a step-by-step tutorial. Once you get the ratio down, feel free to experiment. Some of my favorite overnight oatmeal recipes are Skinny Pumpkin Overnight Oats,  Tiramisu Overnight Oatmeal, Applesauce Overnight Oatmeal, and Overnight Grapefruit Coconut Oatmeal.

3.     Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Shake

Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes -  No sugar

Because some mornings call for chocolate. Right? Right. Just blend 1 frozen banana with 1 Tbsp PB, 3/4 cup of milk, and 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder. With protein, healthy carbs, and healthy fats, this shake has all major nutrients needed to start your day off right. For more details, and to see an equally healthy Dark Chocolate Mocha Milkshake recipe, check out this post.

4.     Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

While the obnoxious whir of a blender is not what I want to hear first thing every morning, green smoothies are a great choice for many reasons. They’re portable, nutritious, quick, and easily customizable. Note that I said smoothies, NOT juices. My favorite green smoothie recipe is a fresh banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, a large handful of fresh spinach leaves, and 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt. (I don’t use ice because of the frozen berries). I also highly recommend this “Stripped Green Smoothie,” which I make when I have the ingredients on hand.

5.     Whole Wheat Bagel Half with Avocado & Tomatoes, plus Fruit

Half Whole Wheat Bagel with Avocado and Tomatoes, Pear on the Side

Toast half of a whole wheat bagel, then spread with avocado, and top with tomato slices and cracked black pepper. Serve with a pear (or any fruit) on the side. The healthy way to enjoy a bagel is to pick a whole wheat bagel, only eat half, and top it with something nutritious. Yes, avocado has fat, but not the artery-clogging saturated fat that cream cheese is made of. And by only having half of the bagel, the portion size is much more appropriate.

6.     Leftover Veggies & an Egg with Toast

Leftover Veggies + Egg + Toast

Got leftover roasted vegetables? Nuke ‘em in the microwave, then top with 1 egg, any way (or scramble them with the egg). Serve with a slice of 100% whole grain toast.

7.     Granola with fruit and yogurt

Healthy Granola

Granola parfaits can be a total calorie bomb, but not if you do it right. The key to keeping this healthy is to use an unsweetened yogurt (I used Stonyfield Farms Organic Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt) and using a lightly sweetened granola (the wheat-free classic granola from Whole Foods Market is totally #dietitianapproved!). Bananas and figs go great with yogurt and granola, but any fruit will do!

8.     English Muffin with Peanut Butter and Bananas

Whole Wheat English Muffin with PB and Bananas

English Muffins are perfectly portioned, which is why I prefer them to regular bread slices or bagels. Just make sure to get a whole grain variety. And when shopping for peanut butter (or almond butter), make sure that the only ingredients are nuts and salt, with no added sugars or oils.

9.     Fruit with Ricotta

Baked Fruit with Ricotta

Top chopped fruit with a generous dollop of part-skim ricotta and cinnamon. This tastes best with leftover baked fruit (I used a mixture of apples, pears, peaches, and pineapples), but fresh fruit will work as well. I have also microwaved a soft pear and achieved similar results. Don’t have ricotta? Cottage cheese is another great substitution. This dish (which was inspired by a Giada recipe) also makes a delicious dessert!

10. Make-ahead Breakfast Bake

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

Want a sure-fire way to guarantee a nutritious breakfast? Make it the night before! This Baked Blueberry Oatmeal is my very favorite breakfast bake (and bedtime snack!), but healthy muffins or quick breads are also great make-ahead meals to tackle on weeknights, rather than weekday mornings.

What is your go-to healthy breakfast?

- Kelly

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Two Healthy, No-Sugar Chocolate Milkshakes (PB & Mocha)

Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes (with NO added sugar)

The weather outside might be frightful (40 degrees and rainy – lovely), but inside I am peeling off layers and blending up cold beverages to stay cool in my cozy Boston apartment. Final exams are right around the corner for all of my loved ones in college and grad school, and that means snacks need to be quick, easy, and somewhat sinful tasting.

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake is energizing and filling, so you don’t have to worry about your stomach rumbling embarrassingly on the quiet floor of the library. For something rich and caffeinated to power you through a late-night study session, try the Dark Chocolate Mocha Milkshake recipe. It has the deep chocolaty taste of your favorite flavored coffee drink, without the stomach ache or sugar crash from those liquid calorie bombs.

Either way, both luscious milkshakes are made from nourishing whole foods and contain no added sugars, which means you won’t have to worry about the dreaded finals week bulge. So to my friends, sweating alongside me in their overheated apartments while churning out research papers, and to my brothers, making their way through the balmy 70 degree Texas weather to and from the campus library, this post is for you.

No Sugar Added Chocolate Milkshake Recipes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake (Serves 1)

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter (no added sugars or oils!)

Method: Add all ingredients to blender, and blend to combine.

Nutrition: 270 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 43g carbohydrates (25g sugar*, 6g fiber), 12g protein, 9% Vitamin A, 17% Vitamin C, 24% Calcium, 8% Iron

*All sugars are naturally occurring – none are the dangerous added sugars

Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes -  No sugar

Dark Chocolate Mocha Milkshake (Serves 1)

  • 1 ripe banana, frozen
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used organic nonfat milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder

Method: Add all ingredients to blender, and blend to combine.

Nutrition: 200 calories, 2g fat (1g saturated fat), 43g carbohydrates (24g sugar*, 7g fiber), 10g protein, 9% Vitamin A, 17% Vitamin C, 25% Calcium, 11% Iron

*All sugars are naturally occurring – none are the dangerous added sugars

-  Kelly

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The Best Cookbook Organization Trick

Cookbooks are an underutilized treasure trove of culinary expertise, recipe ideas, and winning flavor combinations. But as the printed word gives way to Pinterest and recipe blogs, cookbooks have been pushed to “coffee table book status,” collected as much for the pictures as the recipes within.

Cookbook Organization Tips

Not one to let a book go to waste, I devised a simple tactic to make sure that I get the most out of my ever-growing cookbook collection. In fact, until I make at least 5 recipes from every cookbook I own, I don’t plan on buying another. Here’s how it works…

Cookbook Organization Tips

When I first get a new cookbook, I curl up in a cozy chair and flip through it like a magazine, marking the recipes that I want to make with a flag on the side of the page. Once I actually make one of these recipes, I move the flag up to the top of the page.

Cookbook Organization Tips

With just a quick glance at the top of my shelf (see above), I can tell which cookbooks I’ve used the most, and which need a little more love. When I want to try a new recipe (which I aim to do once or twice a week), I look for a sparsely flagged book top, then start flipping to some of the recipes that I marked. With this system, it’s easy to track my progress towards my 5-recipes-per-cookbook goal.

So far, my favorite, most used cookbooks are:

We’ll see how this list changes as I get closer to reaching my goal…

Cookbook Organization

What is your favorite cookbook?

- Kelly

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Detox Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Vegetables and Marinara

Detox Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with Veggies and Marinara

For many, the ultimate detox meal is a huge raw salad or a bottomless green smoothie. But it’s too cold for that business. I’ll take my veggies cooked, thank you very much!

With the winter holidays upon us, where rich, heavy foods lurk around every corner, it’s great to have a comforting, healthy recipe at the ready to offset any indulgences. Looking for a way to feel clean and nourished after one too many helpings of mashed potatoes and holiday pie? Let this delicious detox dinner be your reset button for a healthy holiday season.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Veggies

This meal couldn’t be simpler. Just cut a spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds, then place flesh side down onto a lightly oiled baking tray. On a separate baking tray, pile on all of the chopped veggies that you please (I use mushrooms, broccoli, onions, bell pepper, and zucchini), with a little bit of olive oil and Italian seasoning. Put both trays in the oven, and cook at 400 degrees F. Pull the veggies out after 30 minutes, but continue cooking the squash until it is tender when pierced with a knife. (The squash will take about 30-50 minutes total, depending on size.)

Spaghetti Squash

Once the squash is cool enough to handle, run a fork back and forth across the flesh of the squash. This will separate the flesh into spaghetti-like strings. Transfer the strands of squash to a plate, and top with roasted veggies and marinara sauce. If you’re looking for a protein boost, feel free to add lentils or chickpeas.

Spaghetti Squash with Veggies and Marinara

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Vegetables and Marinara

Serves 2-4 (depending on size of squash)

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • 1-2 pounds of raw vegetables, chopped (I had zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, onion, and bell peppers)
  • Marinara Sauce (look for one that has no added sugars and a minimal amount of oil – it should be about 50 calories per 1/2 cup serving)
  • Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, sage)
  • Olive Oil
  • Optional: lentils or chickpeas

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lenghthwise, remove the seeds, then place flesh side down onto a lightly oiled baking tray.
  2. Place the chopped vegetables on a separate baking tray, and toss with a little bit of olive oil and Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, sage).
  3. Put both trays in the oven to cook, and pull the veggies out after 30 minutes.
  4. Continue cooking the squash until it is tender when pierced with a knife. This could take anywhere from 30-50 minutes of total cooking time.
  5. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, run a fork back and forth across the flesh of the squash. This will separate the flesh into spaghetti-like strings.
  6. Transfer the strands of squash to a plate, and top with roasted veggies and marinara sauce. If you’re looking for a protein boost, feel free to add lentils or chickpeas.

Spaghetti Squash with Marinara and Veggies

There is no nutrition data for this recipe, as it really depends on how much of each ingredient you use and which vegetables you choose. However, with a dinner this healthy (it’s only veggies, after all!) there is no need to count calories or grams of this and that. So grab a fork and dig in to this nutritious and delicious detox dinner!

- Kelly

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Current Obsessions

Ever wonder what makes a registered dietitian’s world go round? Here are five things I can’t get enough of lately.

Date Paste

Date Paste

Yes, I am fresh off watching Fed Up and reading Year of No Sugar. But the fact remains- Americans are eating much more than the 6-9 teaspoons/day (women vs. men) recommended by the American Heart Association. I have blogged about date paste before, but basically you just soak dates overnight, then blend them with a bit of the soaking water to create a honey-like liquid sweetener that is full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. I like to stir it into my morning oatmeal instead of brown sugar, but you can also substitute it for some of the refined sugar in baked goods.

This Sandwich

Sandwich

Image via America’s Better Sandwich

I recently had the opportunity to sample the winning recipe of America’s Better Sandwich Contest. The prizewinning dish, “Fast ‘N’ Fresh Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich,” is a light, yet flavorful take on traditional chicken salad, subbing Greek yogurt for mayo, and adding curry and golden raisins. This sweet, punchy mixture is then layered between two slices of Oroweat 100% whole grain bread, along with fresh spinach and thinly sliced apples. SO. GOOD. In fact, I may or may not have tracked down an empty tupperware so that I could stuff it with an obnoxious amount of curried chicken salad to take back to my office. I might have also swiped a leftover loaf of 100% whole grain bread. Let’s just say that my lunches were good this week.

Sparkling Water

Sparkling Water

Image via Drinking Water Fountains

I first tried sparkling water in college. My initial reaction was something along the lines of “Ewww, something is really wrong with this Sprite!” Flash forward a few years. At my new job, the water dispenser has sparkling water, so I’ve given this calorie-free bubbly beverage another try. And I’m hooked. Looking for a way to add some pep to your hydration routine, and help aid digestion? Look no further!

Larabars

Larabars

When someone asks for my recommendation on the healthiest snack bars, it takes an awful lot of willpower not to roll my eyes and say “Why are you eating bars? Why aren’t you snacking on real food, like fruit or nuts?” But I’ve got to give it to Larabar- they kind of are real food. In fact, they’re made with mostly (you guessed it!) fruit and nuts, and have no added oil or sugar (except in the flavors with chocolate chips). For example, the ingredients list for the peanut butter cookie bar, pictured above, reads “peanuts, dates, sea salt.” Talk about #dietitianapproved! For now, the flavors pictured above are my favorite. But I’m dying to try the new holiday flavors, such as snickerdoodle, pumpkin pie, and gingerbread.

Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers

Burts Bees Lip Shimmer

After a long discussion about how to pull off red lipstick, a friend introduced me to Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers ($5). While the name suggests otherwise, not all shades are shimmery. In fact, some are downright classy. They feel just like chapstick, but offer the pop of color that you expect from a lipstick. I love that the peppermint oil leaves your lips feeling cool and minty, but I especially love that the ingredients are simple and natural. My favorite shades are raisin, cherry, and apricot. Burt’s Bees also makes a Tinted Lip Balm ($7) that I’m dying to try.

What are some of your current obsessions?

- Kelly

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Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal (Step-by-Step)

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

While many folks claim to be unwaveringly loyal to a warm breakfast, I have converted quite a number of oatmeal enthusiasts to cold porridge (at least during the warmer months) by offering them some of my famous overnight oats.

The allure of overnight oatmeal is that it is prepared ahead of time, so in the morning, you can just grab a spoon and dig in. Overnight oats have taken Pinterest by storm for well over a year now, but for those that are hesitant, I have created a step-by-step guide. Once you have the basics down, you can concoct any number of flavor combinations, from Pumpkin Spice to Tiramisu.

Ready to shake up your breakfast routine? Here it goes!

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

In a small bowl, mash half of a ripe banana with a fork.

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

Add 1/4 cup of raspberries to the bowl and mash them into the banana.

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

Add 1/2 cup (or 1 individual carton) nonfat plain Greek yogurt to the fruit mixture,

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

and mix well. Now you have naturally sweetened yogurt! (Note: If you find that the fruit and yogurt mixture is too tart at this stage, feel free to add the other banana half.)

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

Pour the fruit and yogurt mixture into a mason jar (or container that can hold at least 12 oz). Then add 2 teaspoons chia seeds, 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, 1/4 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup water, and 1/4 cup blueberries.

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

Shake up the jar (or stir well) so that the contents are evenly mixed. Then place in the refrigerator overnight. As you sleep, the mixture will thicken up and the oats will soften.

Banana Berry Overnight Oats

In the morning, enjoy your refreshing oats straight out the jar, or spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with berries.

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • ½ ripe banana
  • ½ cup raspberries, divided
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (or 1 individual sized carton)
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • ½ cup water

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, mash the banana half with a fork.
  2. Add half of the raspberries (1/4 cup) to the bowl and mash them into the banana.
  3. Add 1/2 cup (or 1 individual carton) nonfat plain Greek yogurt to the fruit mixture and mix well. This is how you make naturally sweetened yogurt! (Note: If you find that the fruit and yogurt mixture is too tart at this stage, feel free to add the other banana half.)
  4. Pour the fruit and yogurt mixture into a mason jar (or container that’s at least 12oz). Then add the chia seeds, oats, blueberries, remaining raspberries, and water.
  5. Shake up the jar (or stir well) so that the contents are evenly mixed. Then place in the refrigerator overnight. As you sleep, the mixture will thicken up and the oats will soften.
  6. In the morning, enjoy your oats cold straight out of the jar, or spooned into a serving bowl. Feel free to garnish with berries.

Nutrition: 350 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated fat), 55g carbohydrates (12g fiber, 20g sugar*), 24g protein, 1% Vitamin A, 42% Vitamin C, 15% iron, 28% calcium

*All sugars are naturally occurring- none are the dangerous added sugars.

Banana Berry Overnight Oatmeal

Looking for other overnight oats recipes? These are the four that I make most frequently:

- Kelly

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Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto with Mushrooms, Zucchini and Spinach

Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto with Mushrooms, Zucchini and Spinach

Creamy brown rice risotto is possible, but you have to know the secret…  Parboiling.

Parboiled brown rice for Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto with Mushrooms, Zucchini and Spinach

^^ parboiled rice

Basically, the trick is to boil the brown rice for 15 minutes before you begin the recipe. This gives the rice a nice head start. After all, it has a long way to go to get from nutty and chewy to tender and creamy. Don’t be fooled, risotto is still a sweat-inducing labor of love! But if you have ever wanted a healthy whole grain version (and I hope you have!), it is actually quite easier than you think.

Staying true to the season, pumpkin is the star here. Not only does it give this recipe a punch of autumn goodness, it also lends a velvety, milky texture to the risotto. I used a can, but feel free to use a fresh pumpkin and puree it yourself! As for the veggies, the mushrooms and spinach were a no-brainer, but the zucchini was a fun little addition that I threw in after coming across this recipe. After all, when it comes to vegetables, the more the merrier.

This recipe is hearty, healthy, and completely filling! For a little protein boost, I recommend topping with a poached egg (6g protein), or serving alongside a simply prepared fillet of fish, such as sole (11g protein for a 3 oz fillet), or a rotisserie chicken (23g protein for 3 oz of chicken breast).

Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Zucchini

Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto with Mushrooms, Zucchini and Spinach

(Inspired by this pumpkin risotto & this zucchini risotto)

Serves 4 (makes 6 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 4 cups (32 oz) low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 10 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (or 1 1/2 cup pureed, cooked pumpkin)
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups tightly packed baby spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, for topping

Method:

  1. In a small pot, bring the rice and 3-4 cups of water to a boil. Let boil for 15 minutes, then drain off any excess water and set aside.
  2. In a small pot, heat the broth until it is hot, but not boiling, then reduce to a simmer.
  3. In a medium or large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms, and cook until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the parboiled rice and stir for about 1 minute to coat with oil.
  5. Add the wine, and stir continuously until the liquid has absorbed and the wine has evaporated, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add 1/3 cup of the warm broth the rice mixture, and stir continuously until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process several times, until the mixture becomes creamy, and nearly all of the broth has been used. Periodically taste the rice to check the texture. If hard and undercooked, continue adding broth. (Note- this entire step took me 35 minutes, and I used all 4 cups of broth. If 4 cups is not enough, add water.)
  7. Once the broth has been absorbed, add the pumpkin, zucchini, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine, then continue stirring until the mixture has thickened up a bit and reached a desired texture, about 5-10 minutes depending on preference.
  8. Add the chopped spinach, and stir until spinach has wilted, 1-2 minutes.
  9. Remove risotto from heat, divide into 4 bowls, then top each bowl with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto with Mushrooms, Zucchini and Spinach

Serves 4 (makes 6 cups)

Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Nutrition: 290 calories, 6g fat (1.5g saturated fat), 48g carbohydrates (5g sugar, 5g fiber), 11g protein, 120mg sodium, 0g cholesterol, 10% calcium, 16% iron, 23% vitamin C, 211% vitamin A

- Kelly

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Eat Healthy Designs

If I didn’t have a career in nutrition (which I love, by the way), I would definitely want to be working in the design world. That’s why I was so excited to discover the new stationary company, Eat Healthy Designs.

This charming Southern California based company was started by nutrition and dietetics student (and aspiring dietitian) Elise Lindsey, and her business partner, Travis Lowe. Lindsey’s passion for nutrition shines through, not only in the delightfully nerdy food puns splashed across her products, but also in the beautiful, original watercolors of fruits and vegetables. However, I’m equally excited by the back of the cards and prints, which feature nutrition information about the artwork.

The product line-up is still pretty small right now, but you can bet that I’ll be frequently stalking the website for new designs. Check out some of my favorite products below:

EAT Healthy Designs Food Pun Pencils

Food Pun Pencils, $5 for set of 5

EAT Healthy Designs Birthday Card

EAT Healthy Designs Birthday Card

Birthday Card, $4

EAT Healthy Designs Thank You Note Set

EAT Healthy Designs Thank You Note Set

Thank You Note Set, $14 for 6 cards + envelopes

I’m filing this under “Businesses that I didn’t start, but wish I had.” Do you have a favorite stationary company?

- Kelly

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Whole Grain Pasta Salad: An Easy, Healthy Make Ahead Lunch

As a kid, I always avoided pasta salad at potlucks and parties. Too vinegary for my taste, and undoubtedly loaded with child-repelling olives. But then in college I got hooked on pasta primavera, the gateway pasta, and before you know it, I was whipping up portable penne salads in my own home.

When packing my lunch for work, I like to choose meals that don’t require too much assembly in the crowded office kitchen. But they still have to be tasty enough for me to look forward to eating, filling enough to last me till dinner, and healthy enough for me to feel nourished and happy with my choice. Pasta salad fits the bill. It also makes great picnic food, which I verified this weekend at the Arnold Arboretum while soaking up the unseasonably warm weather.

This makes a great pantry clean out recipe (read: inexpensive), because like most salads, it’s super adaptable. I start with whole grain pasta (any shape will do, but the whole grains are mandatory), and then add whatever vegetables I have on hand (cherry tomatoes are a favorite when they’re in season). For protein, I like to toss in canned chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans. (Chickpeas and pasta are a highly underrated combination, as I learned from a college classmate who would sprinkle them onto spaghetti like little meatballs.) Lastly, I finish with olive oil or pesto, and sprinkle with cheese or fresh herbs if I have them on hand. Easy peasy.

The more vegetables you can add in, the healthier it will be. Looking for ideas? See below for two pasta salads that I’ve made recently.

 Healthy Whole Grain Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Broccoli, Chickpeas, Feta, and Olive Oil

Whole grain farfalle (bow-ties) with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, steamed broccoli, a sprinkle of feta cheese, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Healthy Whole Grain Pasta Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Artichoke Pesto

Whole grain shells with cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, chickpeas, and artichoke parsley pesto (inspired by this recipe)

Next up, I’d love to try a pasta salad with butternut squash, cannellini beans, and kale pesto. What are your favorite add-ins? Share in the comments!

- Kelly

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Healthy Eating on a Budget

The fact that I live exactly 0.3 miles away from a Whole Foods Market is both a blessing and a curse. With a paradise of healthy ingredients right around the corner from my apartment, I’m often tempted to stop by the store multiple times a week so that I can try a new recipe. But it’s adding up.

Pantry Cleanout: Chili roasted sweet potatoes and onions with corn, black beans, and spinach

Rather than face the prospect of a rapidly dwindling bank account, I have been trying to cook more from what’s in my pantry, rather than constantly getting lured into the grocery store. Above is one such dish I made this week. I had a small Tupperware of chopped bell peppers and onions in the fridge (the remaining bits that didn’t make it into my weekend omelet), so I roasted them up with a forgotten sweet potato, along with ample chili powder, paprika, and cumin. For protein, I tossed in a can of black beans (a pantry staple!), and I finished the dish off with corn from the farmers market (thank you, prepaid gift card) and baby spinach (another omelet remnant).

Getting creative in the kitchen is probably the best way to stretch your grocery dollar. But if you’re not quite comfortable enough to start experimenting, sometimes it helps to have a guide. Enter the Good and Cheap cookbook. This cookbook is a FREE downloadable PDF with recipes for people on a food-stamp budget (roughly $4/day).

Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a day

Unlike most resources for people on nutrition assistance programs, this cookbook is filled with beautiful, color photographs, and is actually a treat to flip through. The book itself isn’t a “healthy” cookbook—in fact, butter makes appearances much more frequently than this dietitian is comfortable with. However, the recipes are largely plant based, often giving fruits, vegetables, and whole grains the starring roles. Additionally, the cost per serving is given for each recipe.

Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown

Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown

Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown

The cookbook was created by Leanne Brown, in fulfillment of a Masters project for the NYU food studies program. As someone that graduated with a similarly obscure foodie graduate degree (whoop, BU Gastronomy!), I have so much respect for Leanne and the amazing project that she undertook. Like Leanne, I believe that cooking is one of the most effective (and more importantly, fun!) ways to take control of your health. And if you can do it on $4 a day? Even better!

What’s your favorite budget-friendly recipe?

- Kelly

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