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healthy recipes

Flat-Belly Salads

Written on May 1, 2013 at 11:30 am , by

watermelon salad to lose weight

Reach your weight loss goals with a tasty watermelon salad. Photo by Laura Georgy, RD.

By Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD

Happy May! Beach season is right around the corner, so now’s the time to get bikini ready with some delicious and nutritious salad recipes. That’s right—you can eat your way to flatter abs!

With the help of Dole salads and in honor of National Salad Month, I am going to give you yummy, healthy and simple salad recipes every week this month for a total of 31 recipes—enough for a different salad every day. You’ll give your taste buds a treat (no boring salads here!), get more veggies and reach your better-body goals.

Each of the salads below has ingredients proven to help you slim down and fight belly fat. Dig in and you’ll be rocking a two-piece on the beach in no time!

Blue Watermelon Feta Salad
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Watermelon
Watermelon has high water content and research shows foods with high water content may help you naturally eat hundreds less calories per meal.


  • 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 bag (5oz) Dole arugula
  • 1 cup cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup blueberries


  1. Mix lime juice, onion and feta until combined.
  2. Toss with arugula.
  3. Top with watermelon and blueberries.
  4. Culinary Notes: Mixing the lime juice with the onions mellows the onions’ flavor. For a quick dressing anytime, mix your favorite citrus juice with your favorite shredded/crumbled cheese.

Serves 2. Serving size: 3 cups. 130 calories and 5g fat per serving.

Here are  four more Flat-Belly Salad recipes. Check back next week for a new round of salads!

Mango Salad with Ginger Raisin Vinaigrette
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Red Wine Vinegar
Vinegar at meals may help increase feelings of fullness, decrease calorie intake by about 70 calories per meal, improve blood sugars after meals and lead to less body fat over time.

Fresh Fruit Salad with Baby Spinach and Yogurt Poppy Seed Dressing
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Pineapple
Pineapple contains bromelain, which improves digestion and decreases post-meal bloating.

Granada Seafood Salad
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Sardines
Sardines contain omega-3 fat which may control appetite, increase calorie burning and decrease the amount of fat your body stores.

Spinach Salad w/ Thousand Island Yogurt Dressing
Flat-Belly Ingredient Spotlight: Mushrooms
Mushrooms are the only plant-based source of vitamin D, which research suggests may aid in the loss of belly fat.

About the Author: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified specialist in sports nutrition based in Chicago. She is the author of The Flexitarian Diet. Dawn is working with Dole throughout the month of May to inspire more salad eating.

Yes, You Can Enjoy Pizza on a Healthy Diet

Written on February 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm , by

The Sbarro Skinny Slice

When it comes to food cravings, an ooey gooey slice of pizza is at the top of almost 50% of Americans’ list, according to a study done by Sbarro and Kelton Research. But you don’t have to forgo your favorite food just because you’re trying to slim down. Sbarro recently launched a new menu option, the Skinny Slice, for a diet-friendly way to get your fix. We talked to celebrity nutritionists, Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos, aka the Nutrition Twins, about the new item and how to indulge your cravings and enjoy your favorite foods while still sticking to your weight loss goals.

What makes the Skinny Slice a better option?

It’s loaded with vegetables, like roasted peppers, mushrooms and onions, to fill you up with fewer calories. There’s 270 calories per slice. The pizza is also made with whole milk and real cheese. We use a little less, but the fresh ingredients pack on flavor so you don’t miss anything.

What’s a recipe for healthy pizza you can make at home?

Use a whole wheat pita or tortilla to make it lower in calories. Spread a layer of tomato sauce and use a little cheese and fill up on vegetables. You’ll be satiated that way. A lot of store-bought crusts are thick, so using an open-faced pita or muffin keeps the portion smaller.

When ordering food, what are easy rules to follow?

Rule #1: Stay away from anything fried. It almost doubles the calories. Look for vegetables. High fiber foods will fill you up for fewer calories. Look for what’s grilled, baked or broiled.

How can someone still enjoy their favorite foods while staying healthy? What substitutions can they make?

It’s all about balance and moderation. It’s fine to have a treat. We wouldn’t want to deprive ourselves.  If you have a sweet tooth, satisfy chocolate cravings by rolling a date in cocoa powder. You can also take an overripe banana, slice and freeze. It’ll be like chips but super sweet because it’s ripe. Or blend it and make it into a smoothie instead of having ice cream. For something crunchy and salty, celery sticks with all-natural peanut butter is always a hit.

It’s all about portion control. If you have trouble moderating how much you eat, eat something hot or cold so you’re forced to slow down.

Sneaky Cooking Tips to Stop Winter Weight Gain

Written on February 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm , by

A quick marinade makes any lean meat instantly more flavorful. (Photo courtesy Peter Ardito)

We get it–it’s cold, dark and you want to curl up in sweat pants and stick your face into something ooey, gooey, slightly cheesy and warm. Just because you’re jonesing for some comfort food doesn’t mean you have to write off your diet for the day. Chef Jessica James and Amy Goche, registered dietician and member of the National Restaurant Association’s Nutrition Executive Study Group shared with us their top culinary secrets to amp up flavor and cut calories when it comes to those winter favorites. The pair helped create Applebee’s Weight Watchers dishes for the chain’s menus, with each dish clocking in less than 550 calories. Below, tips, cooking tricks and a super easy recipe to jazz up almost any dish.

If you want something creamy…
Make a citrus gremolata instead. “I’m always trying to break the conception that eating healthy means you can’t indulge,” says James. Try this recipe below to as a no-calorie alternative to add some flavor to soups or as a sauce or dressing.

Lemon Greomlata


  • Zest of one large lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a small bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate for one hour.

When you’re ordering from a menu…
Check out the description, says Goche. “Some healthy keywords to look out for are grilled, broiled or sautéed. Stay away from any items in cream-based sauces.”

A must-make marinade…
“If you’re cooking at home, marinade! It boosts flavor to lean meats that the fat would usually do,” says Goche. Her quick marinade is a splash or orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and some chopped herbs of your choosing. Combine, and let sit on the meat anywhere between a half hour up to 12 hours.

More Recipes: Low-Cal Recipes for Your Favorite Comfort Foods


Yael Cohen’s Holiday Ingredient Swaps and Clean Brownies

Written on December 12, 2012 at 12:27 pm , by


Yael travels a lot but plane/car time is no excuse. Tabata interval training and running are her on the road workout musts. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Lauren)

Yael Cohen, CEO of FCancer and proclaimed “Chief Cancer Effer,” is on a mission to educate about early detection—90 percent of cancers are curable in stage one. Part of her initiative, besides using humor to promote self exams (check out their hilarious video contest!), is to promote awareness that “everything you put into, onto and do with your body affects your health.” According to Yael, having a happy, healthy holiday season does exist by reverting back to the basics. “Eat clean, whole foods. Eat stuff that you know what it used to be. If you can’t tell what plant or animal it came from, try to avoid it. If it’s wrapped in tin foil or plastic, try to avoid it. If it doesn’t spoil, be scared,” she joked. Interested in baking lighter versions of your festive favorites? Try swapping out butter for coconut oil and use crushed dates or agave nectar over processed sugar. Chocolate lovers, embrace baking with carob for a low-fat, naturally sweet and caffeine-free alternative. Speaking of chocolate, we scored Yael’s famous brownie recipe sealed with a sweet tooth’s approval. Santa has nothing on this! Read more

Top Chef All-Star Winner Richard Blais Trims Down Thanksgiving Dinner

Written on November 12, 2012 at 9:40 am , by

If only we could get Blais to cook dinner for us every night. Sigh. (Photo courtesy of Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt)

While Thanksgiving is one of the most delicious meals of the year, it’s also usually the heaviest. Instead of chowing down on foods filled with oil, butter and mayonnaise, we searched for lighter fare that was still super tasty. What (or who) did we find? Bravo’s Top Chef All-Star winner, Richard Blais. We met the cooking extraordinaire at a recent Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt event, where he wined and dined us with dishes that left us feeling full and satisfied, without the “oh my gosh I need to go run 10 miles” feeling.

So what’s Blais’ big secret? Aside from the fact that he’s a top-notch chef who blows our aprons out of the water, he subbed the aforementioned ingredients with Dannon’s Oikos Greek nonfat yogurt. We didn’t miss any of the heavy-calorie items, and got to keep all the flavor. Win-win for us!

It wouldn’t be right to brag about the decadent meal this marathoner whipped up without nabbing some recipes, though. Check out the appetizer and dessert dishes below, then use them to start and end a perfect Thanksgiving meal in your own home.

Malted Panna Cotta

Serves: 4


  • 5 fl. oz. heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup Dannon Oikos vanilla Greek nonfat yogurt (or use a 5.3 oz. single-serve container)
  • 1 oz. sugar
  • 1 oz. malted barley
  • 1 gelatin sheet
  • Clementine slices for garnish
  • Candied ginger for garnish
  • Chocolate dusted almonds for garnish


  • Heat the heavy cream and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Remove liquid from the heat and add malted barley. Let steep for 1 hour.
  • Strain mixture into a clean pot and stir in Greek yogurt.
  • Bloom gelatin in an ice bath. Meanwhile, bring strained mixture to a simmer.
  • Remove strained mixture from heat and add gelatin.
  • Pour liquid into four small containers. Let chill for 2 hour or until panna cottas have set.
  • Garnish each with a few slices of clementine, a scattering of candied ginger and chocolate dusted almonds.

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Fit Blogger We Love: Food and Fun on the Run

Written on September 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm , by

Mary dominates during running season. Are you gearing up for any races this fall?

When we think of Florida, we imagine palm trees, sandy beaches and an escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City. If the weather is cool-ish, we’ll toss a jog in for good measure. Mary, a Tampa Bay resident, sees things a bit differently. She details her running adventures on her blog, Food and Fun on the Run, filling us in on the nitty gritty of what it’s like to train in such humid weather, along with the fun food she gets to devour after accomplishing a beastly workout. Nothing screams “balance” to us more!

My favorite way to work out: Definitely running! I started in high school to stay in shape for other sports, and haven’t stopped since! I love the feeling of getting outside and hitting the pavement, with only my current run on my mind. It’s therapeutic for me!

On my fit life list: I want to run all five of the major marathons! I have already completed NYC and Boston, I have Chicago in a few weeks, and then I need to complete London and Berlin! I cannot wait for the day that I have the chance to say I completed all five races!

My biggest indulgence: Chicken fingers and french fries with a side of honey mustard. Yep, it’s that specific! I love this guilty-pleasure meal. A little secret: my husband and I had it the night of our wedding after we left the reception, and it tasted so good! [Editor's note: Be sure to check out our more waistline-friendly chicken fingers. Just as tasty and only 212 calories per serving!]

My fitness mantra: “Attitude is everything.” I truly believe that we all create our lives, good or bad. If you start your fitness journey thinking that you are going to fail, then you have created that for your future. Rather, know that you are going to work incredibly hard to achieve everything you set out to do, and you will accomplish it, little by little. Your attitude is everything – make it amazing!

My motivation comes from: A burning desire deep inside me wanting to beat my times and accomplishments from before. I am very competitive with myself, and constantly strive to make myself a better athlete and overall person. As soon as I reach a goal, I set another one to continuously push myself harder.

After we saw the delicious spread of food she whipped up at a recent bridal shower for another Fit Blogger We Love, we couldn’t help but beg Mary for a tasty dish sending us into the fall season. Check it out below!

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Fit Blogger We Love: Dashing Dish

Written on August 23, 2012 at 9:50 am , by

Katie loves experimenting in the kitchen to create nutritious and flavorful dishes.

Do you ever crave waffles drizzled with syrup, cheeseburgers with all the fixings or red velvet cake? Maybe a better question is “who doesn’t?” Katie at Dashing Dish has a knack for taking calorie-packed recipes and making guilt-free versions that taste just as decadent, which is why she’s landed on our bookmarked reading list! Here’s what keeps her moving and motivated.

My favorite way to work out: A combination of weight training and interval/HIIT (high intensity interval training).

5 things I can’t live without:

  1. My husband
  2. My family and friends
  3. My Pomeranian Zoey
  4. My Bible
  5. My Nike tennis shoes

I’m happiest when I’m: In my pajamas at night cuddled up with my husband watching movies!

My fave fit snack: One of my protein shake or protein muffin recipes!

My gym bag must-have: My iPhone (which has a fully loaded iTunes workout playlist) with my armband and headphones.

Of course we had to ask Katie to share one of her favorite recipes! Click below for her 187-calorie cake batter shake—a much lighter take on the treat that can sometimes offer a full day’s worth of calories.

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#140Wednesdays: What’s Your Favorite Healthy BBQ Pick?

Written on July 4, 2012 at 11:55 am , by

Grilled corn and veggies? Yes, please! (Photo by Peter Ardito)

Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern

Ahh, Independence Day. Sunshine, fireworks and enough delicious food and beer to put a roadblock on all that progress you’ve made on your summer routine. Hey, you haven’t been working at the gym for a rockin’ bikini bod just to throw it away on hot dogs and apple pie!

We asked our Twitter followers what kind of healthful indulgences they’ll be digging into to celebrate the Fourth of July. If these aren’t mouth-watering enough, check out these healthy summer grilling recipes to find your next barbecue favorite.

@thebendigirl: @FitnessMagazine my fav healthy pick for BBQ is grilled corn on the cob with chili powder sprinkled on it, turkey burger & watermelon

@redcurlgirl: @FitnessMagazine lots of fresh fruit #140Wednesdays

@Michaela_J_: @FitnessMagazine watermelon and grilled veggies!!

@FITNESSjenna: Planning on making one of these recipes this week! Thinking the grilled avocado with salsa :) http://fitm.ag/j9Xvnp

Now tell us: What’s your favorite healthy barbecue food?

#140Wednesdays: What’s Your Favorite Healthy Smoothie Recipe?

Written on June 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm , by

Don't forget about portion control! (Photo courtesy Peter Ardito)

Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern

When the weather heats up, there’s nothing more refreshing than a smoothie on the go. Plus they’re so easy–just toss in your favorite healthy ingredients in a blender and go! We’re always looking for new recipes to mix up our breakfast and snack routine up, so we polled our Twitter followers to see which smoothies they love the most.
Check out some of the creative ideas we got and try them out next time you’re craving a cool snack.

@GETFITVISALUS: Fresh strawberries, a tablespoon of orange juice, cranberry juice and two scoops protein mix on ice. Refreshing and tasty! 

@DeBelle77: Strawberries, a little orange juice and some honey.

@_ChristineD_: Right now it’s almond milk, half a frozen banana, unflavored protein powder, ground oatmeal, and chocolate PB2. Try it!

@MyLastBite: Apple, banana, blueberries and cucumber kale!

Now tell us: What’s in your favorite smoothie recipe?

Two Easy Summer Cocktails to Make This Weekend

Written on June 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm , by

Serve up a bowl of this punch for your next BBQ. (Photo courtesy of Polar Seltzer)

There’s nothing better than a fruity, tropical drink in your hand to celebrate the beginning of another weekend. Except for the fact that those refreshing recipes often call for some superstar mixologist skills with ingredients you can barely pronounce, let alone find. But thanks to Polar Beverage‘s limited edition collection of summer seltzers, the mixing is already done for you. In fun flavors like piña colada, mint mojito, mango and more you can make a health-smart sip without the mortar and pestle. Not to mention shave off a ton of unwanted calories–the average mojito is approximately 200 calories while a piña colada can clock in at 644!). Try these cocktail recipes for an instant escape.

Sparkling Summer Punch


  • 2 ounces of grenadine
  • 2 ounces of Cointreau
  • 2 ounces of quality brandy
  • 3 ounces of lemonade or passion fruit juice
  • 1 cup of frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 bottle of Polar Pineapple Passionfruit Seltzer (about 4 cups)
  • Lots of ice


Combine grenadine, Cointreau, brandy, lemonade (or passion fruit) and frozen pineapple with ice in large pitcher. Stir vigorously. Add Polar Seltzer, stir gently and ladle into glasses.

Calories per serving: 33

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