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Save Cash and Calories with a Bowl of Goodness

Written on January 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm , by

Losing weight and saving money are two New Year’s resolutions Americans return to again and again. These are abstract goals, so planning small action steps, say, signing up for a bootcamp class or having $50 from each paycheck directly transfer to savings, can help make these resolutions a reality. Another option to help you reach both of these goals? Visiting Whole Foods…Really!

The natural and organic grocery is launching Bowls of Goodness, a program that teaches you how to make a easy and healthy breakfast for about $2 or a savory and satisfying lunch or dinner for about $4. Simply stock up on a few pantry items, spices and a bit of fresh produce and you’ll have all you need for meals that will keep both your waistline and wallet happy.

A few basics Whole Foods Market recommends keeping on-hand for quick fix recipes:

  • Whole grains: brown rice, millet, quinoa, steel-cut oats, whole-wheat pasta
  • Beans: black beans, chickpeas, lentils, white beans
  • Colorful vegetables: avocado, bell pepper, corn, kale, spinach, sweet potato, zucchini
  • Protein: bison, chicken, grass-fed beef, salmon, tofu
  • Milk or non-dairy beverage: almond, hemp, rice, soy
  • Fruit: fresh, frozen or dried
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds
  • Herbs, spices and condiments: basil, cilantro, cinnamon, honey, hot sauce, nutmeg, parsley, oregano, salsa, vanilla

Here are a couple recipes to get you started. And click here for our top 10 budget-friendly grocery items!

Pomegranates are in season now—a smart money-saving move! (Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

Spiced Apple Oats 

Serves 3

  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 to 2 apples (depending on size), diced
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Cinnamon to taste
  1. Bring the almond milk to a boil. Stir in the oats.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer about 20 minutes or until creamy and tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the diced apple and nutmeg.
  4. Serve topped with pomegranate seeds and a dash of cinnamon.

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Fit Blogger We Love: Happy Herbivore

Written on December 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm , by

Come January, nutritious, wholesome and low-fat recipes will be all the rage. But why wait? Lindsay Nixon is sharing guilt-free recipes today on her blog Happy Herbivore and in her just-released cookbook Everyday Happy Herbivore. No wacky, expensive ingredients, Nixon promises, and she says that we can create all of the dishes in less time than it takes to watch an episode of 30-Minute Meals. Sold!

We asked Nixon to share more about her favorite hobbies and snacks, then were lucky enough to snag a recipe from her new cookbook. It’s perfect as part of a delicious breakfast or dessert!

Lindsay's vegan cookbook is available now.

My favorite way to work out: Snowboarding. I actually moved to Colorado for the winter so I could ride every day!

I’m happiest when I’m: In motion. I get ants in my pants if I sit too long.

My fave fit snack: Jicama slices with lime juice.

My fitness mantra: “Be better today than you were yesterday.”

My “I Did It” moment: I climbed Mount Washington a few years ago, and because I’m crazy, I did the most aggressive trail. It was wonderful to get to the top and say “I did this! Yeah, I rock!”

Muffin cups make perfect portions. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Nixon)

Apple Fritter Cups

Serves 12

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apple (skin optional)
  • 1 cup nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup light brown or raw sugar
  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • nutmeg or ground ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
    Toss 1 cup apples with a few dashes of cinnamon and a little brown sugar until well coated and set aside. (This is your topping.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk nondairy milk with vinegar and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (your choice) plus a dash of nutmeg or ginger, and stir to combine.
  4. Whisk in sugar, then pour in milk mixture. Add vanilla to remaining 1/2 cup apples and stir to combine.
  5. Spoon into muffin cups just a tad more than halfway full. Add topping on each.
  6. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tip: Once the fritters completely cool, the liners will peel off. If you plan to eat them warm, lightly spray the inside of the liner with oil-spray to prevent stick or forgo the liners and grease your muffin tin or use a nonstick pan.

Nutrition information per serving: 102 calories, <1 g fat

Kick Off Fall with Apple Empanadas

Written on September 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm , by

Written by Theresa K. Brady, editorial intern

Oils aren't off limits in a healthy diet! (Photo by Peter Ardito)

Oils aren't off limits in a healthy diet! (Photo by Peter Ardito)

Mazola Corn Oil and WomenHeart, The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, have teamed up to promote healthier lifestyles by replacing commonly used cooking oils with corn oil. And who better to be the face of this new campaign than charismatic personal trainer and chef Herb Mesa, a former finalist on The Next Food Network Star? His enthusiasm and excitement about good food paired with his motivation to live a healthier lifestyle allows him to develop simple and healthy recipes that anyone can enjoy.

At a preview event hosted by Mazola and WomenHeart, Mesa demonstrated how he cooks delicious and healthy cuisine while sticking to his Caribbean roots.

Here are his top three tips:

  • Sear and bake instead of frying. When making food that is typically fried in oil, opt to sear both sides and bake it in the oven to finish cooking, Mesa explained. You’ll use a lot less oil and avoid unnecessary fat grams.
  • Use a brush to coat the pan with oil. Certain recipes tell you to coat the bottom of a pan with two tablespoons of oil when you really could have just used half of one. Mesa suggests spreading oil on a pan with a basting brush to control how much you’re using.
  • Choose corn oil. Corn oil is a great oil option for cooking. According to Mazola, it contains plant sterols that can help lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease. And Mesa believes that corn oil gives dishes a more buttery texture and better flavor than olive or canola oil.

After our educational session, Mesa hit the kitchen to show off his skills! Our favorite dish? The apple empanadas, which are a perfect treat as cooler weather and apple-picking season approaches. You can even freeze and reheat them in a 400 degree oven for a 90-calorie snack anytime.

Apple Empanadas

  • 1 ounce spiced rum
  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons Smart Balance butter
  • 2 packages of empanada discs
  • ¼ cup Mazola Corn Oil
  1. In a large skillet, cook apples, cinnamon and rum. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  2. Place disc on oiled cookie sheet. Place half of apple mixture on half of the pastry round, leaving a one-inch border. Fold the other half of this pastry over filling, pressing edges to seal. Brush empanada with corn oil. Repeat with remaining crust at other end of cookie sheet.
  3. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, until pastry is golden and filling is hot.

More from FITNESS: Make your own 100-calorie (or fewer) snack packs at home with these nutritious and simple recipes.