healthy eating

3 Healthy Recipes That Take Only 5 Minutes

You don’t have to spend hours preparing food to make healthy recipes. To prove it, we’ve made this list of five-minute healthy and easy recipes to help you fit nutrition-packed meals into your busy schedule.

5-Minute Breakfast Smoothies

Healthy Smoothie Recipes

Healthy Smoothie Recipes

The key to how to lose weight fast is finding a balance between protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Finding that balance won’t be a problem with these smoothie recipes. With a Coffee Banana Smoothie, you’ll get your morning coffee fix while powering up with protein-packed Greek yogurt and a banana as a carbohydrate. Or try this Skinny Green Monster Smoothie packed with vitamin-dense spinach and protein-filled peanut butter.

5-Minute Healthy Italian Dressing

Healthy Dressing Recipe

Healthy Dressing Recipe

Reading labels is an important part of eating healthy, but salad dressing labels can be confusing. One dressing will be loaded with fat but low in sugar, while another will be low in sugar but high in sodium. The best way to avoid accidently sidelining your diet by choosing an unhealthy dressing, is to make your own.

Ingredients

  • ½ Tbsp. olive or avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt

Prep

The best part of this dressing is that you don’t even have to mix it in a separate bowl. Just top your salad with all the dressing ingredients and mix.

5-Minute Dessert

Healthy dessert recipe

Healthy dessert recipe

Satisfying your sweet tooth doesn’t have to mean getting off track your healthy diet. With this Five Minute Strawberry Frozen Yogurt, or any of these 14 Guilt Free Mug Cakes, your cravings will be satisfied without the extra side of guilt. You can also try these vegan, gluten free Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies. Although they only require five minutes of prep time, they do need 25 minutes to bake. But if you can spare the time, they are healthy and well worth the wait!

Acorn Squash Recipe

Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

By Vanessa Matthews, Guest Blogger

Nothing makes me feel warm and cozy like a good, home-cooked meal. And when I think winter, I think winter squash.  Acorn squash is one of my favorites, because of its sweet, smooth flavor and the versatility of flavors you can pair with it.

It also happens to be one of the most nutrient dense squash varieties, with a wide range of vitamins and minerals. It contains high levels of vitamins C, A, and B6.  In the mineral department, it packs in potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, and calcium.

As a health & wellness advocate, I say if you are going to eat a high-carb meal, make it count. Why waste carbs on empty calories from bread and pasta? The nutrients in acorn squash have the ability to improve vision, boost immune system, reduce blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, strengthen bones, and prevent cancer.

I also have a sweet tooth, so the combination of sweet cinnamon, apples, and cranberries, with turkey and spinach make this recipe like a cross between thanksgiving and grandma’s apple pie. The best part is it’s much lower in calories and empty carbohydrates than both.

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 1 crisp apple, diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans, lightly toasted
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 8 oz ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, or apple pie spices
  • Poultry seasoning and salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp stevia
  • 1 tbsp baking Splenda

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut a piece off of the ends of each half so it can sit upright like a bowl.
  3. Place the squash on a baking pan with the center face down, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender.
  4. Mix the cinnamon spices, Splenda and stevia in a bowl. Toss apples in half the mixture.
  5. Heat up a skillet and spray with Pam. Cook apples for about 5 minutes until tender.
  6. Brown turkey in a pan and add your chopped spinach, then cover with a lid.
  7. Once spinach is wilted, add your poultry seasoning, a dash of salt, and any other seasoning you wish. I used a blend called Sunny Paris that includes shallots, chives, green peppercorn, basil and tarragon.
  8. Mix the apples, almonds, and cranberries into the pan.
  9. Place the squash right side up and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon mixture into the open face of the bowl.
  10. Scoop the mixture into each half of the acorn squash, and bake an additional 15-20 minutes. To keep in moisture, fill the bottom of the baking dish with some water and cover with foil.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Acorn Squash Recipe Acorn Squash Recipe Acorn Squash Recipe Acorn Squash Recipe Acorn Squash Recipe Acorn Squash Recipe Acorn Squash Recipe Acorn Squash Recipe Acorn Squash Recipe

Nutritional information (per serving):
Calories: 320
Fat: 5g
Carbs: 40g
Protein: 30g

7 Best Natural Appetite Suppressants

While appetite suppressant pills are a great solution for those who’ve chosen to get serious about committing to a healthy lifestyle, they’re only intended to help you stick to your weight loss goals for a few months. After the first pounds have been shed and you no longer need the pills, your diet should be supplying all of satiety for you, naturally. We recommend incorporating these seven super foods into your daily eats if you want to feel full, satisfied, and energetic, and continue your commitment to losing the weight for good.

1. Almonds

Just a handful of almonds have been shown to increase feelings of fullness in people and help with weight management. NPR says “the protein, the unsaturated fat composition, [and] the fiber” all very likely play a role. Also, almonds are low in carbs, which are notorious for appetite stimulation. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating almonds in between meals was more suffecient when attempting to subdue cravings, compared with when people ate them as part of a bigger meal.

2. Avocados

According to Healwithfood.org, the oleic acid found in avocados can help naturally curb appetite. In the body, it is converted into OEA, a lipid hormone, which activates an area in the brain that increases the feeling of satiety and fullness. And they provide healthy monounsaturated fats!

3. Apples

An apple a day keeps the cravings away! For quite a few reasons. First, apples are chock full of fiber and pectin, both of which help you to feel full. Also, apples help to regulate your glucose and boost your energy level. Finally, apples require a lot of time to chew them, which actually helps you to slow down and give your body the time it needs to realize it’s no longer hungry.

4. Flaxseeds

A 2012 study at Harvard University showed that participants who ate flaxseed lost 37 percent more weight than participants who did not. Why? Most likely due to it’s high fiber and healthy fat content. Flaxseed also contains a mucilaginous fiber that slows your digestive process and promotes nutrient absorption. And they make a perfect, crunchy addition to yogurt, smoothies, and salads.

5. Tofu

Tofu isn’t just for vegetarians! The rich, plant-based protein source also contains an isoflavone called genistein, which has been shown to suppress appetite and lower food intake. If you’re unsure of how to incorporate tofu into your diet, try adding it in to your next healthy stir-fry.

6. Vegetable Juice

Vegetable juice offers a lot more to your diet than just a way to sneak in a serving of veggies. If you drink it before a meal, it’s likely you’ll end up eating 135 fewer calories! But make sure to look for the low sodium versions to avoid bloating.

7. Salmon

This one may come as a surprise, but when you eat fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, tuna and herring, your body increases production of leptin, a hormone known for suppressing hunger in your body! Here are some other facts about how omega-3s can help your health.

What foods help you feel full and fueled? Share with us in a comment!

weight loss recipes

Weight Loss Recipes From A GPM Counselor

Cassandra Thumbnail

One of our Weight Loss Counselors, Cassandra, just finished up with our Rapid Weight Loss program! A huge congratulations to her. She looks (and feels) awesome! To hear more about her story check out her weight loss counselor guest blog on our site.

She used medical weight loss to change her life, and now she wants to help you do the same. She gave us some of her favorite recipes from the 23 days she spent on the Greater Pittsburgh Medical Weight Loss Rapid Weight Loss program.


IMG_7303

Weight Loss Chili

What you’ll need:

  • 3.5 oz 93-97 % lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh, not from a can)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Chopped Garlic Cloves
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder
  • onion powder
  • Italian seasonings

How to cook it:

  1. Cook ground beef and drain out fat.
  2. Add back to pan and combine with rest of ingredients.
  3. Add seasonings to taste.

Baked Tilapia

What you’ll need:

  • 3.5 oz of fresh fish
  • 1 lemon — cut in half, one side sliced thin, one side left to squeeze
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of onion
  • 1/2 cup of artichoke hearts
  • 1 TBSP of capers

How to cook it:

  1. Place fish over foil.
  2. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over fish.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add remaining ingredients on top of fish & place thin slices of lemon on top.
  5. Cover/wrap in foil and place in the oven on 400 degrees for 20-25 min.

*The juices from the lemon, tomato, and onion make a nice broth— has so much natural favor! This is one of my favorite dishes! Great for maintenance of our Rapid Weight Loss plan. – C.D.


IMG_6246

Buffalo Chicken Bites

What you’ll need:

  • 3.5 oz of chicken
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • salt
  • pepper

How to cook it:

  1. Cut all excess fat off of chicken.
  2. Marinate in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and bake as you usually do.

*I usually serve this over greens – C.D.


IMG_8829

Cottage Cheese Veggie Dip

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • chopped garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cucumbers

How to make it:

  1. Blend all ingredients except cucumber together in a food processer.
  2. Slice cucumbers and serve.

Why You Can Have A “Cheat Meal”

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 10.54.42 AM

Yes, really. Pre-planned indulgences can lead to weight loss success.

Science shows the cheat meal method may be able to allow you to indulge without derailing your diet and in fact, may even boost your metabolism! Our June Motivator Of The Month, fitness model Olivia Rop, had amazing results when training for her competition by allowing for one cheat meal a week.

The main gist of a cheat is to eat clean for the better part of your week, stay active and release yourself from menu restrictions every so often. People of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels can successfully implement cheat strategies, but self-evaluation is imperative. Consider your weight loss goals, your daily eating habits, and your previous dieting successes or failures. These factors impact how often – and, more importantly, IF – you can cheat without falling off track completely.

The cheat meal has two main purposes: one psychological, the other physical.

The psychological purpose is the obvious one: it keeps you from wanting to die of diet boredom and deprivation. The cheat gives you something to look forward to. Thursday night’s promise of creamy crab rangoons and a heaping plate of pad thai glistening in the distance somehow makes it easier for you confidently stride past the Chinese place next door for lunch at work on Tuesday.

If you know you have an upcoming graduation party or a wedding to attend (we see you, Pittsburgh cookie table!), then it’s easier to stay committed all week so you can avoid having to ask your plus one if he wants to split an already teeny slice of cake with you. Eat a whole piece of cake. Eat it with reckless abandon. Not because you’ve earned it, but because it tastes delicious and you want it. The mentality that comes along with “I can never eat another slice of cake for the rest of my life!” is one of the most detrimental outlooks when trying to lose weight.

Don’t be the dieter who beats him/herself up for giving in to one slice of pizza—and then eats the whole thing because today is already a “failure.” Planning to cheat gets rid of the “all or nothing” mindset. Seeing that indulgence as an intention, not a mistake or a slip-up, allows you to skip on the self-sabotage and get right back to your healthy habits. (Tweet this)

A cheat meal is not weak. Actually, you can think of it as a recovery day for your willpower, giving it the chance to rest and restore just like your muscles need to after strength training.

Now for the interesting part… The cheat meal actually serves a physical purpose, too. It’s been proven that you can build lean muscle and cut fat more easily with the cheat meal than you can with the cleanest, blandest diet imaginable.

The science behind “shocking the system”

When you start keeping count of your caloric intake, you’ll need to stick to (sufficient) daily restrictions on carbs and fats. If you’re not used to eating nutrient-dense foods, this is an excellent way to shift your body into weight loss mode, but it’s highly likely that after a month or so, your metabolism will adjust and you’ll land smack-dab on top of that dreaded plateau. That’s where the cheat meal comes in.

It keeps your body guessing for what’s next. It doesn’t get comfortable with how to burn calories – it has to continuously work hard to figure out new ways to function so that you don’t plateau. Much like with working out and how you should change your routine every four weeks to keep your body shocked, you need to do the same with your diet every so often. Many see success with one “cheat meal” each week. At the beginning of the week, plan for a meal you love and crave. Eat reasonably — until you’re not hungry anymore, not until you’re stuffed. The single cheat meal strategy should be easy for anyone with self control and focus.

Now, let’s get into the biology behind it. Jim White, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. After a few days of consuming fewer calories than you burn, a splurge can rev up your metabolism while stocking up glycogen for tomorrow’s workout. If you eat clean 6 days of the week and suddenly saturate your system with carbs and fats, your body will react by kicking your metabolism up into high gear again. The best part is, the jump in metabolism takes a few days to revert back to its comfort zone. So for the next few days when you’re back to eating clean, you’re still in a higher burning zone than normal. A great time for high-energy workouts!

Cheat Meal Effect-01

This is a very real depiction of the cheat meal’s effect on your body. If you let all food restrictions fall to the wayside for one meal a week, you will have more energy and burn more fat than if you stick to a strict “perfect” diet every day.

Finally, the “cheat meal” helps you to have a more positive relationship with food. Think of anything you’ve ever forbidden yourself from having. You want it even more, right? With food, this behavior can lead not only to weight gain, but even to an eating disorder. By allowing yourself exposure and indulgence in such foods, you teach yourself how to react and handle being around tempting delicacies.

The only thing better than a no-guilt cheat meal is just calling it a meal. Just like the rest. You’re enjoying an indulgent meal as part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s not cheating; It’s eating.

Have cheat meals worked for you? Give us some advice in the comments! 

The Almond Eater’s Chicken Salad Sandwich

One of our past featured bloggers, Erin of The Almond Eater, shared an awesome chicken salad recipe that’s great for a light and cool summer lunch—the perfect remedy if you might have overdone it just a bit on Memorial Day. (Side note: we’ve posted a cardio challenge for the same reason.) But without further ado, here’s her recipe!

Cottage Cheese Chicken Salad Sandwich

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts
2 cups grapes, sliced in half
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup Craisins
2 cups cottage cheese
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Cook chicken as you normally would. I baked mine in the oven and then placed them in a frying pan with a dash of olive oil.
2. After the chicken is cooked, shred/cut into smaller pieces and place in a medium-large bowl.
3. Add grapes, almonds and Craisins to the bowl.
4. Add mayo, cottage cheese and pepper; stir until everything is mixed together.
5. Store in the refrigerator and serve on whole grain bread.

Enjoy!

Want more recipes from The Almond Eater? Check our her savory & sweet meals and snacks

The Diva Chef’s Crustless Quiche & Salad

25768ccb-95f7-449d-9c99-56dad6d415cf_QlzHuxkhXsKVXYGr1WV-olG87pKJXazXoQTZnvoAB2AB_vLeK_9LO7hNT_DcjeVm8lZhwjSy0wE-_1_0

Elise the Diva Chef shared her Grilled Peach Salsa with us on Tumblr, but where she truly excels is in the actual preparation of her recipes, like you’ll see in this video. She often has a segment on CBS Pittsburgh and is soon launching her new cooking show Fitness Foodies on YouTube.

This lighter quiche recipe makes for a healthy & delicious meal for the whole family. Check out the video to go with the recipe.

The Diva Chef’s Crustless Spinach Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • (10 ounce) chopped spinach
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.

Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Yields six servings.