Healthy Pastas

A healthy pasta option.

If you want to eat more whole grains in the New Year, whole-grain healthy pastas are a good place to start. In the past, shape was the main deciding factor in the pastas we bought – ziti or curly cavatappi?

Now there are delicious whole-wheat pastas or noodles with spinach or tomato added, plus rice, corn and quinoa pastas. So, how do all of these different noodles stack up?

Most people buy regular pasta made from a type of high-protein wheat, such as durum or semolina, which gives pasta its characteristic yellow hue. A serving is defined on the package as two ounces of dry pasta (about a cup cooked, depending on the shape), which has about 200 calories, a trace of fat, about two grams of fiber and around 40 grams of carbohydrate. Not a bad deal. But if you switch to whole-wheat healthy pastas, you’ll save about 20 calories and more than triple your fiber per serving. That’s a great deal, nutritionally speaking. And those numbers look more impressive when you consider what people typically eat – not one cup of cooked pasta, but more like three.

There are gluten-free pastas on the shelf, too. They’re made with grains other than wheat, like corn, rice or quinoa. Calorie-wise, they all come in at around 200 per cup, but they may have less fiber, and some have less protein than wheat pasta. But for those who are going gluten-free, they’re great alternatives.
I’ve also been seeing more ‘super pastas’ in stores, too. These are products with more protein and fiber, and even some touting omega-3 fatty acids. The three extra grams of protein or so usually come from a blend of higher protein grains and ground flaxseeds, which provide the omega-3 fatty acids. These pastas will probably cost you a bit more. Also, keep in mind that the omega-3s found in flax don’t provide quite the same health benefits as those you get from eating fish. You’d be better off cooking up some whole-wheat pasta with some shrimp tossed in.

Those pretty red and green pastas have tomato and spinach powder added to them, but the amounts are so small that they don’t increase the nutritional value all that much. They’re fine if you like how they look on your plate, but they won’t take the place of a fresh or cooked veggie.
On a dry weight basis, all pastas have about the same calories, around 100 per ounce of dry pasta. But most of us think of our portions in cups, not ounces. So consider this: the calories in cooked pasta can range from 175 to 240 per cup, depending on the shape. If you’re a calorie watcher, go for the big wagon wheels or the bow ties instead of the fine angel hair. The big shapes pack less tightly, so you’ll get fewer calories per cup.

I’ll admit that when I tried the first whole grain pastas to hit the market, most were not for me. I found them tough and grainy. But the products have gotten so much better. Their texture is a true match for regular pasta, and the nuttiness of the whole grain adds a depth of flavor to finished dishes that I’ve really come to love.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: South of the Border Sizzling Beef Fajitas

A taste of the south.

Fajitas are an easy-to-make Mexican dish. This colorful recipe is full of protein, vegetables and a delicious Latin flavor. So no need to head down to Mexico, this recipe brings the country’s delicious flavors to you.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 lb. lean beef steak, flank steak or top sirloin

Rub spice mix over steak.

Marinade

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced

Pour half of this marinade over the meat and set the other half aside. Cover with plastic wrap. Let marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 large onion. Cook for several minutes, stirring, until soft.

Add

1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper

Cook for several more minutes until peppers are soft.

Add

1 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, minced

Stir until vegetables are softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Pour in remaining marinade and stir for a minute or two. Cover and remove from heat. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry.

Add

1 TBSP olive oil

Cook steak 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board. Cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice meat across the grain into strips. Toss meat and juices from cutting board into the pan with vegetables. Spoon meat-vegetable mixture into tortillas.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Soup’s On: Tips for Making Quick, Delicious and Healthy Soups

Beans are a healthy soup ingredient.

With a few basics in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer, you can make a healthy, delicious soup in no time.

When the cooler weather rolls around, my thoughts automatically turn to soup. These one-dish wonders are warm and filling, and it doesn’t take much to round out the meal – a simple green salad will usually do it.And, soups store really well – to me, most soups taste even better the day after they’re made.

There’s no question that the best soups are made from scratch – I’m the first to admit that great chicken soup starts with a whole chicken, not a can or box of broth – but when you’re pressed for time, you can put together a quick, great tasting soup as long as the kitchen is well-stocked.

You’ll want to start with a liquid, and your best bets are boxed or canned broths which come in a variety of flavors (beef, chicken, vegetable, mushroom, seafood). In general, these will provide your soup with a fresher flavor than if you use bouillon cubes (which also tend to be very salty). There are also some good paste-style concentrated soup bases in a variety of flavors. I’ve found pureed vegetable bases made from butternut squash or broccoli. Canned tomatoes in their liquid also make a good starter, too, after you treat them to a spin in the blender.

Canned beans make a great soup base, too. Start with the beans and the tasty liquid they’re packed in, and then add more liquid to get a soupy consistency. Black beans pair well with tomato puree, while white beans are great with chicken or vegetable broth.

Once you’ve chosen your liquid, you’ll want to boost the protein. You can turn your butternut squash or broccoli base into a creamy soup by stirring in milk or soy milk, or whirling in the blender with some soft tofu. Creamy soups pair well with seafood – so try adding frozen or canned shrimp, canned salmon, or minced clams with their liquid to make a quick chowder. Canned chicken and turkey breast are super-convenient for your broth-based soups; if your supermarket sells whole roasted chickens, even better – pick one up and add some diced oven-roasted chicken to give your soup a homemade flavor.

Next, think about seasonings. Want an Asian flavor? Add a dash of soy sauce, a bit of white pepper, a dash of ground ginger and a few drops of sesame oil. To add a southwestern flavor to your bean soup, try adding some chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic powder. Give your tomato-based soup a Mediterranean vibe with basil or rosemary and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. For the chowder, you can’t go wrong with a little garlic, celery seed, paprika and thyme.

Once you’ve seasoned your soup, it’s time to add the veggies – and you can never have too many. Keep some loose-pack vegetables (like spinach, carrots, lima beans, green beans, broccoli or mixed veggies) in your freezer to add to your soup during the last few minutes of cooking. Or, drain a can or corn kernels and add to your seafood chowder. For the finishing touch, add a bit of fresh vegetable if you have it. A sprinkling of minced parsley, or some freshly grated carrot or zucchini added at the last minute adds a fresh, bright color to your soup, and it’ll look like you spent hours – rather than minutes – on your creation.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Quick Fried Rice With Beef

A complete one-dish meal.

This quick beef fried rice is a complete one-dish meal that can also be served as a side dish.

It’s a delicious way to use leftover rice, and a healthy way to satisfy your Chinese food craving. It’s an Asian-inspired recipe that that will bring Zen to your hectic life.

 


Ingredients:

2 TBSP chicken broth
2 TBSP rice wine or other sherry (or 2 TBSP more broth)
2 TBSP soy sauce
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 TBSP canola oil, divided
1 cup finely chopped broccoli
½ cup finely chopped carrots
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cooked brown rice, cold
12 oz. cooked lean steak, diced
3 green onions, finely chopped
(4 scoops Simply Probiotic)

For sauce, combine broth, wine, soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over high heat. Add asparagus, carrots and bell pepper, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until tender-crisp. Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside.
Pour remaining 2 teaspoons of oil into skillet and pour in beaten eggs. When the eggs are set on the bottom, add the rice and steak to the skillet. Cook and stir, breaking up egg, until egg is cooked and mixture is hot.
Add vegetables to the skillet and then add sauce mixture (and Probiotic). Stir until well combined. Top with chopped green onions.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Making Diet Resolutions? Try Diet Changes Instead

Skip the cookies and try fruit for dessert.

Planning your diet resolutions for the New Year? Try making a few small changes every month – all year long.

When January 1st comes around, it’s time to dust off that list of diet resolutions you made last year (and perhaps the year before that?) and vow to tackle them again.

It’s in our nature to look upon the New Year as a time to start fresh. It’s a time of promise and hope. We promise ourselves we’re going to eat right and get into shape, and we hope we can stick with our resolutions. But we often don’t. A lot of times it’s because our diet and lifestyle “to-do” list is a mile long, and it’s just too hard to make many changes all at once. We’re creatures of habit, and it just takes time for new habits to take hold.

Diet Resolutions for the New Year – A Step-Wise Approach

Make a Few Small Changes Every Month

Here’s a suggestion for you. Go ahead and make that to-do list, but just don’t try to make all your changes at once. In fact, I’m going to suggest that you tackle just three small changes in January – another three in February, three more in March, and so on until the end of the year. And here’s why. If you work on establishing just three new habits for a month, you won’t be overwhelmed with trying to focus on too many things at once. By the end of the month, the three new habits will be part of your routine, and you’ll be ready to take on three more changes in the following month.

Keep Your Diet Resolutions Going All Year Long

Suppose that those three changes you make in January cut out a total of 100 calories a day from your diet. That might not sound like a lot, but let’s say the same thing happens in February and March and April and May. Five months into the New Year, you’ve made a total of 15 small, sustainable changes to your eating habits, and you’re now saving 500 calories a day – enough to lose up to a pound a week.

Think about what you’d like to work on first. Maybe you’d like to cut your fat or sugar intake. Maybe your portions are just too large, or your problem is that you don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables. Maybe you’re an emotional eater and you want to work on that. Then determine the three things you plan to do in January and get to work.

Three Small Diet Changes a Month

Let’s say you want to cut back on your sugar intake. Your diet resolutions for January might be:

  • I will have fruit for dessert instead of cookies
  • I will cut my soda intake in half
  • I will switch from pre-sweetened yogurt to plain yogurt

Maybe eating too much fat is your problem. In that case, your January diet resolutions might be:

  • Instead of chips or fries with my lunch, I will have a side salad instead
  • I will switch from regular salad dressing to low-fat
  • I will have my coffee drinks made with nonfat milk instead of whole milk

If it’s portion control you need to work on, your January resolutions might look like this:

  • I will use smaller plates when I eat at home to control my portions
  • When I go out to eat, I will ask the server to put half my meal in a take-home container and serve me the rest
  • I will weigh and measure my food portions a few times a week to make sure I’m staying on track

Maybe this is the year to take a different approach to your diet resolutions. Make a few changes, give them a month to settle in, and then build on those changes month after month. True, this step-wise approach isn’t the complete diet overhaul that you may attempt every January (and abandon by February) – but what have you got to lose?

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Lettuce Cradles

A good source of protein.

The new year is the perfect time to start a healthy routine, but between work, kids and errands, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time.

These sweet and sour lettuce cradles are the answer to your busy schedule.
They’re quick to make yet healthy, and they’re a good source of protein to satisfy your hunger.

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Sauce

2 TBSP oyster-flavored sauce
2 TBSP light soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
1 TBSP brown sugar
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground white pepper

Stir in a small bowl to mix well. Set aside.

Meat

1 tsp canola oil
1 lb. ground chicken breast or turkey breast

Place skillet over high heat. Add canola oil, then ground chicken. Stir and cook between 4 and 5 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink. Remove meat from skillet and set aside. Wipe pan with paper towel, return pan to heat.

Vegetables

1 tsp canola oil
1 medium carrot, grated
⅓ cup canned water chestnuts, minced
2 green onions, chopped

Add canola oil. Add vegetables and stir until they soften. Add cooked meat, then the sauce. Stir until evenly coated. Spoon mixture onto lettuce leaf.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is a good source of vitamin A.

During the cold months, few things are better than a good cup of soup. This creamy and healthy butternut squash-based soup is filling, delicious and easy to make.

Butternut squash is a versatile vegetable and a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A. When bought in season, it’s budget friendly. Plus, butternut squash soup is easy to store. So what are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 lb. peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 package soft tofu, drained and diced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

PREPARATION

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and sauté for a few minutes until tender. Add the butternut squash and sauté a few more minutes, and then add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Add the tofu and ginger, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper to the pot, and simmer a few more minutes until the tofu is heated through.

Purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to the pan and reheat until the soup is very hot, but not boiling. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh thyme or thin strips of lemon peel, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Eat Root to Leaf: Consume Every Part of Your Fruits and Veggies

Broccoli stalks have nutrient benefits.

Those fruit and veggie stalks, stems and peels you’re throwing away can add flavor and nutrition to your meals.

Have you heard the term “nose to tail eating”? It’s a concept that aims to reduce food waste by encouraging the use of all parts of an animal during food preparation.

Another similar trend – called “root to leaf eating” – is really the same concept applied to plants. Rather than throwing away skins, stems, stalks and peels, the aim of root-to-leaf is to make use of as many parts of the plant as possible when preparing meals.

The average American throws away about $1,600 worth of fruits and vegetables every year, and much of what we toss consists of plant parts that are perfectly usable, delicious and nutritious. Rather than tossing them in the trash or the compost heap, you can make use of some of your plant discards to increase your nutrient intake.

Beet and turnip greens take a little longer to cook than more tender greens like spinach or chard, but they’re equally delicious. If your supermarket sells your beets or turnips with the tops still on, you’re in luck – you get two veggies for the price of one. Like other leafy greens, they’re loaded with nutrients – especially vitamins C and K, beta-carotene, folic acid, copper and potassium.

Broccoli stalks are often tossed out, but they’re rich in nutrients – especially vitamin C, folate, fiber and a phytonutrient compound called sulforaphane, which acts as an antioxidant. They can be finely shredded into a salad or slaw, or added to soup during the last few minutes of cooking. You can also try slicing them into ¼-inch thick slices, adding a little olive oil and salt, and roasting them in a hot oven until tender.

Carrot and fennel tops make a nice garnish, but they’re also completely edible and can be snipped into salads, sautéed with a little olive oil and salt to make a fresh sauce for grilled chicken or fish, or made into a pesto with olive oil, nuts and garlic. Carrot tops have more vitamin C than carrots themselves, and fennel tops are a good source of B vitamins.

Celery leaves are delicious, and I’m always surprised when people throw them away. I actually look for the leafiest bunch when I buy celery because I love to add the leaves to green salads, sandwiches and soups. Like the stalks, the leaves are a good source of vitamin C.

Citrus Peel contains compounds called bioflavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Finely grate the peel (avoid the white part, which tends to be bitter), and add to salad dressings, cooked vegetables or smoothies. You can also add strips of fresh peel to enhance the flavor of water, mineral water or tea, or add some citrus zest into the water when you cook rice.

Stems from leafy greens like chard, kale and collard greens can be tough, so many people cut them out before cooking the greens. But you can chop them coarsely and add them to dishes like soups and stews – they’ll soften with the long cooking times. Or cut them finely and sauté with a little oil and garlic or onion until they begin to soften, then add the leafy tops and finish cooking. You can treat green cauliflower leaves the same way. Adding the greens and stems of these nutrition powerhouses boosts your intake of vitamins A, K, iron, potassium and fiber.

Strawberry tops are great to add to a pitcher of drinking water or to hot or cold tea. They’ll add a bit of flavor and a dash of vitamin C to your drink.

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Poached Eggs and Spicy Tomato Sauce

Have breakfast food anytime.

This is a healthy and simple recipe that you can prepare as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Poached eggs topped with a Middle Eastern-spiced veggie sauce makes the perfect pot dish for any day of the week.

It’s healthy, vegetarian and easy to make. Add some feta cheese at the end and serve with pita bread for a dish that’ll leave you wanting more.

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne or to taste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ tsp salt, more as needed
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, more as needed
  • 5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 6 large eggs
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving
  • Hot sauce, for serving

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender for 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin, paprika and cayenne, and cook 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes and season with ¾ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in crumbled feta.
  3. Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven, and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce.

Add ½ whole grain pita bread per serving. Makes 4 servings

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com

Recipe: Lean Meatballs (GF/High-Protein)

Easy to make meatballs.

These easy to make, oven-baked meatballs are high-protein, juicy and gluten-free. Made with very lean ground pork and turkey, you’ll be able to taste the difference.

Don’t settle for those frozen meatballs when you can make your own in less than 30 minutes. They’re so easy to prepare that even the kids can get involved, turning cooking time into family time.

You can add some extra spice and serve with marinara sauce for a delicious appetizer, lunch or dinner. Make a big batch and enjoy them hot or cold.

So, next time you have last minute company, don’t worry, because these meatballs will make your guests think a professional chef lives in the house.

Ingredients:

1 lb. extra lean ground pork (95% fat free)

1 lb. ground turkey

1 egg, beaten

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley

1 TBSP dried oregano

1 TBSP salt

1 tsp pepper

½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

1 ½ cups prepared marinara sauce

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with nonstick pan spray.
  2. Put meats, egg, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Combine with hands to mix well.
  3. Form mixture into about 24 meatballs (about the size of a ping-pong ball) and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20-22 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Serve with ¼ cup marinara sauce.

Makes about 24 meatballs/6 servings (1 serving = 4 meatballs)

Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com