Blenders aren’t just for making smoothies. This kitchen workhorse can help you prepare healthy meals from breakfast through dinner.

The trusty countertop appliance known as the blender might be a champ at whizzing together your postworkout recovery shakes, but if you use it for little more than blitzing protein powder with frozen berries, you’re seriously selling this gizmo short.

A blender can be a multitasking kitchen workhorse if there ever was one. From pancakes to burgers to waistline-friendly desserts, those blades are ready to help you whip up ultra-fast healthy and delicious around-the-clock meals that go way beyond frosty drinks. To bring you up to speed on the versatility of your blender, start by mixing up these recipes, which prove that it’s a fit girl’s BFF.

Salmon burgers

Salmon Burgers With Mango Salsa

Makes: 4 servings

Serving size: 1 burger

Total time: 25 minutes

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Using a blender to whip up these burgers and salsa saves you a bunch of chopping time. And swapping out the beef for salmon helps you net a boatload of mega-healthy omega-3 fats — the superhero fats shown to help those who train hard reduce the severity of post-exercise muscle pain.

Mango breathes new life into salsa and infuses this dish with plenty of vitamin C. Needed for the production of carnitine, a compound involved in fat burning during exercise, vitamin C plays an important role in melting the chub.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1¼ lb skinless center-cut wild salmon, chopped into 1-inch chunks 
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 6 large basil leaves
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ black pepper
  • 1 mango, peeled and quartered
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 2 green onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil or canola oil
  • 4 cups arugula

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place salmon, egg, breadcrumbs, basil, mustard, lime zest, salt and black pepper in blender container and pulse several times until you have a chunky mixture. Form into four patties.
  2. Wash blender container and place mango, red peppers, green onions, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice and couple pinches of salt in container. Pulse several times until you have a chunky mixture. Do not puree. Stir in coconut flakes.
  3. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Place salmon burgers in heated skillet and cook about three minutes on each side, or until crispy on the outside but just barely cooked through in the middle.
  4. Divide arugula among serving plates and top with salmon burgers and salsa.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 493, total fat 30 g, carbs 23 g, fiber 4 g, sugar 11 g, protein 33 g, sodium 355 mg

Chicken Spinach Egg Pie

Chicken Spinach Egg Pie

Makes: 4 servings

Serving size: ¼ of pie

Total time: 40 minutes

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Eggs and chicken team up to give each slice of this dinnerworthy savory pie enough protein to aid in building a lean, mean physique. And since an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that eating eggs may boost brainpower, blending the orbs together for a quick meal seems like an even smarter idea.

Sending spinach for a ride in your blender can help you enjoy more birthdays. That’s because it contains a wallop of vitamin K, a nutrient shown to help lessen the chances of falling prey to deadly diseases like cancer and heart disease. You also can use frozen spinach for this recipe — just make sure to thaw and squeeze out excess moisture.

This same recipe can be made using a muffin pan for individual (and portable) pies. Simply divide the mixture among greased or paper-lined standard-size muffin cups and bake in a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until eggs are set.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream 
  • 3 cups spinach, ends trimmed
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • ¼ cup chopped chives 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line bottom of 8-inch-round cake pan with parchment paper and grease sides.
  2. Place eggs, sour cream, spinach, mustard, salt, cayenne and pepper in blender container and blend until spinach is pulverized. Pulse in chicken and chives.
  3. Place egg mixture in prepared pan, scatter on cherry tomatoes and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until center of pie is set. Let cool a few minutes before slicing.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 266, total fat 12 g, carbs 6 g, fiber 1 g, sugar 5 g, protein 33 g, sodium 507 mg

Beet Soup With Avocado Crema

Beet Soup With Avocado Crema

Makes: 4 servings

Serving size: 5

Total time: 25 minutes

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

The naturally occurring nitrates in beets appear to improve blood flow, which can boost exercise performance and lower blood-pressure numbers. To cook beets, trim ends, place them in a shallow baking dish and add water until it reaches about ½-inch up the sides of the vegetables. Cover with foil, crimping edges to make a tight seal, and bake in a 400-degree oven until a skewer poked through the foil easily pierces flesh, 50 to 60 minutes. When cool enough to handle, rub off skins with a paper towel. Or you can now find precooked beets in most supermarket produce aisles.

For great health, it’s a good idea to include more plant proteins like tofu in your daily menu. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that higher intakes of plant protein can be protective against developing diabetes, whereas higher intakes of animal protein — processed red meats like bacon in particular — can raise the risk for this disease. Tofu, beans and other plant proteins bring with them a powerful bundle of disease-thwarting nutrients and antioxidants.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 block soft tofu 
  • 3 medium-size cooked beets 
  • 1 cup jarred roasted red peppers
  • ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme 
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 small avocado
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place broth, ½ block tofu, beets, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, lemon zest, garlic, salt, chili powder and black pepper in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to saucepan and heat on medium until warmed through. If you have a powerful blender, you can let it run until the mixture is steaming hot.
  2. Wash out blender container. Place ½ block tofu, avocado, olive oil, lemon juice and couple pinches of salt in container and blend until smooth. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed, to help mixture blend into a smooth consistency.
  3. Serve bowls of warmed soup topped with avocado cream and pumpkin seeds.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 254, total fat 19 g, carbs 16 g, fiber 5 g, sugar 7 g, protein 10 g, sodium 273 mg

Sweet Potato Pancakes With Blueberry Yogurt

Sweet Potato Pancakes With Blueberry Yogurt

Makes: 4 servings

Serving size: 3 pancakes

Total time: 25 minutes

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Pureed sweet potato lends a stack of pancakes natural sweetness, vibrant color and a wallop of beta carotene. In the body, beta carotene is converted to vitamin A, which works to improve immune health and fortify bone strength. Forgoing the butter and maple syrup treatment for a berry-yogurt sauce adds muscle-building protein and health-hiking antioxidants.

This batter can be made up to two days in advance. Whip everything together and then chill covered in the refrigerator until needed. It’s best to let batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before using. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium-size sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place sweet potato cubes and 1 tablespoon water in microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in plastic to allow for venting. Microwave on high six minutes, or until potato is easily pierced with a knife. Let potatoes cool a few minutes.
  2. Place milk, eggs, sweet potato cubes, oats, almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt in blender container and blend until smooth. Blend in additional milk if mixture is too thick. Pulse in walnuts, if using.
  3. Pour ¼ cup batter for each pancake into greased skillet and cook over medium heat for two minutes. Flip and cook an additional one minute. Keep prepared pancakes warm in a 200-degree oven while preparing remaining batter.
  4. Wash out blender container. Place yogurt and blueberries in container and blend together. Serve pancakes topped with blueberry-yogurt sauce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 291, total fat 11 g, carbs 34 g, fiber 5 g, sugar 10 g, protein 16 g, sodium 75 mg

Mocha Black Bean Cakes With Cashew Cream

Mocha Black Bean Cakes With Cashew Cream

Makes: 12 servings

Serving size: 1 cake

Total time: 80 minutes

Hands-on time: 30 minutes

The stealth addition of beans to this guilt-free dessert gives the cakes a fudgy texture and hunger-quelling fiber. We promise there’s enough rich chocolaty flavor and natural sweetness from the dates that you’ll forget you blended beans into the batter in the first place.

When soaked and then blended with coffee, buttery cashews turn into a decadent cream that replaces the lofty saturated fat numbers with those from heart-boosting monounsaturated fat. A 2017 study found in the pages of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that adding about a daily handful of cashews to a typical American diet can trim cholesterol numbers.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 11/3 cups hot coffee
  • ¾ cup pitted dates
  • ¾ cup unsweetened (natural)
  • cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup canola oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup oat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon 
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1½ cups raspberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place cashews in bowl, cover with water and soak for at least two hours.
  2. Place 1 cup coffee, dates and cocoa powder in blender container and let rest 30 minutes. Add eggs, oil, beans, flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda and salt to container and blend until smooth, about one minute.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide mixture among 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Bake 18 minutes, or until centers of cakes are just barely cooked through. Let cool a few minutes before unmolding and cooling further on metal rack.
  4. Drain cashews and place in clean blender container along with 1/3 cup coffee, maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Blend until smooth.
  5. To serve, spread some cashew sauce on serving plate, top with warmed bean cake and scatter on raspberries.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 197, total fat 11 g, carbs 23 g, fiber 5 g, sugar 9 g, protein 6 g, sodium 66 mg 

Spik-and-Span

For speedy cleanup, let your blender wash itself. Add a squirt of dish soap to a dirty container, fill halfway with hot water, and then simply blend until sudsy and the food grime has been dislodged from container sides. Just make sure to rinse out any lingering soap so your next blended meal doesn’t taste like Palmolive.

Rise of the Machine/Mix Master

If you plan on giving your blender daily workouts, forget the dated Oster. You want a machine with a bigger engine. From soups to pancake batters to DIY nut butters, the mega-powerful Vitamix Professional Series 750 is up to the challenge. Yes, its $600 price tag is hard to swallow at first, but once you tap into its horsepower several times a day for years to come to whip up nearly anything you can throw at it, the Mercedes-Benz of blenders seems like a bargain. It even comes with several nifty preprogrammed settings to handle frozen desserts and hot soups.

Follow the Leader

Dump stuff in the container, blend it and eat it. Right? Not so fast. To help make blending a breeze, place liquids like milk, broth and eggs in the blender container first followed by harder items such as vegetables, flour and nuts. This way, the liquid in the bottom will absorb the solids for, well, smoother blending and also keep the machine from overheating during tougher blending jobs (hello, smoothie bowls!).

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Love baked goods in the morning? This pumpkin muffin is packed with healthy ingredients to start your day off right.

Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins

Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled and grated
  • 1½ cups carrot, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup pitted dates, chopped
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • Dash unrefined sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper cups or lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Mix the first 4 ingredients and the sea salt, in a large bowl. Stir in apples, carrots, walnuts, dates and sunflower seeds until well combined.
  3. Beat wet ingredients together in a separate large bowl. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Fill muffin cups and bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Nutrients per serving: 230 calories, 17 g total fat, 10 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 17 g total carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar, 5 g protein

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Whether you want to lean out, build muscle or break a personal record, tweaking your macronutrient ratios can give you the edge you want.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet, and what you should be eating depends largely on your goals. In order to succeed, you have to be specific about your macronutrient ratios so you can best fuel your body for the task at hand.

Get lean, build muscle and boost performance with this mix-and-match meal plan.

This plan addresses three goals common to Oxygen readers — getting lean, building muscle and boosting performance — and provides a mix-and-match matrix of macro-specific recipes you can leverage to craft the perfect program for you. In combination with the Add-Ins, these recipes have been plugged into three one-week meal plans that support each of these goals. Use these templates as a launch pad for designing your own goal-specific diet. 

But remember: Meal plans like this are just a starting point, and you can and should tweak the ratios and meal choices based on your lifestyle, likes, dislikes, allergies, training intensity and experience. Use the Add-Ins and/or adjust the number of servings you eat of an individual recipe to best suit your needs.

The Any-Goal Meal Plan Macro Breakdown

Protein Recipes

Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma

Makes: 8 servings 

INGREDIENTS

Marinade

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Chicken

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together marinade ingredients in a large bowl, or place in a zip-close bag and shake well. Add chicken and onions and stir/shake to coat. Marinate 30 minutes in the fridge. Preheat oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove chicken and onions from marinade and arrange on prepared sheet. Discard marinade. Bake until chicken is golden and cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 5 oz): calories 197, protein 23 g, carbs 3 g, fat 11 g

Meatloaf Muffins

Makes: 12 muffins/servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small onion, grated 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk of choice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ lb 90-95% lean ground beef (You can sub turkey or chicken.)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 F and coat a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together onions, garlic powder, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, 2 tablespoons ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Add beef, salt and pepper and mix again. Divide mixture between 12 muffin cups. Brush tops with remaining ketchup. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 1 muffin): calories 107, protein 13 g, carbs 5 g, fat 3 g

Turkey Burgers

Makes: 4 burgers/servings

INGREDIENTS

1 lb 99% lean ground turkey

1 large egg

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp salt coarse sea salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat grill to medium-high. Add all ingredients except coarse sea salt to a large bowl and mix well with hands. Form into 4 patties. Sprinkle both sides with coarse sea salt (to taste). Grill 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 1 burger): calories 148, protein 28 g, carbs 1 g, fat 3 g

Barbacoa Beef

Makes: 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

Chipotle Sauce

  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (from can)
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup low-sodium beef broth or water
  • 2½ tsp garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp allspice

Beef

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3½ lb beef (top round roast or chuck roast), fat trimmed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 F. Add all sauce ingredients to a blender cup and pulse until smooth. Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Season beef on both sides with salt and pepper and add to Dutch oven. Sear 1 to 2 minutes per side, then remove and set aside. Add onions, broth, tomato paste and bay leaves to Dutch oven and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add beef and chipotle sauce and mix well. Cover and place in oven. Bake 3 to 3½ hours, or until beef is very tender. Discard bay leaves and place beef in a shallow dish. Shred with 2 forks. Toss with leftover juices, if desired. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 6 oz): calories 178, protein 27 g, carbs 3 g, fat 6 g

The number of servings you eat of a particular recipe changes according to your goals. For example, if you’re looking to gain muscle, you might be allotted more servings of a protein recipe in a given meal. Pay attention to these measurements in the meal plan charts.

Egg Frittata

Egg Frittata

Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 9 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup onions, diced
  • ½ cup mushrooms, diced
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced

DIRECTIONS

Arrange oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, milk and ½ teaspoon salt. Add oil to a cast-iron or oven-safe skillet and heat over medium. Add onions, mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add spinach, garlic and thyme and cook until spinach is wilted. Spread veggies out in bottom of pan. Pour in egg mixture and spread evenly. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until edges begin to set. Place pan in oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until eggs are set. Set broiler to high and broil 1 to 2 minutes, or until a browned, crispy top is achieved. Cool 5 minutes and then slice into 4 pieces.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 143, protein 14 g, carbs 5 g, fat 7 g

Protein Recipes

Nutrition breakdown per serving

Carb Recipes

Maple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Maple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Makes: 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups nonfat milk or unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Divide between 6 containers. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight. Serve cold or warm.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 5.3 oz): calories 282, protein 12 g, carbs 48 g, fat 5 g

Spinach and Mushroom Quinoa

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Add oil to a skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, or until softened. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Set aside. Add quinoa and broth to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add quinoa and veggies to a bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and
pepper (to taste).

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 7 oz): calories 172, protein 5 g, carbs 27 g, fat 5 g

Rice and Beans

Makes: 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15.5-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup medium-grain white rice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth, beans and cumin and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 7 oz): calories 228, protein 7 g, carbs 39 g, fat 5 g

Cajun Orzo With Peas

Makes: 8 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz dry orzo pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning blend
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups peas
  • salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat a skillet over medium. Add orzo and olive oil and cook until toasted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add garlic, oregano and Cajun seasoning and stir to combine. Add broth and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, or until orzo is tender. Add peas and cook until bright green and softened. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 6 oz): calories 205, protein 7 g, carbs 39 g, fat 3 g

Lentil Salad

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked brown or red lentils
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 English cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and diced

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Add lentils and broth to a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Use a strainer to rinse lentils until cooled, then drain. Place in a large bowl with veggies. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle over salad and toss to combine.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 12 oz or 1½ cups): calories 294, protein 13 g, carbs 37 g, fat 11 g

Carb Recipes

Nutrition breakdown per serving

Vegetable Recipes

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 (10-oz) packages riced
  • cauliflower, thawed
  • juice of ½ lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Place oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cauliflower rice and saute until heated through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with lime juice and salt and pepper (to taste). Toss with cilantro.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 5 oz): calories 44, protein 7 g, carbs 5 g, fat 2 g

Chopped Vegetable Salad

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed
  • ¼ cup chickpeas
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 11.8 oz): calories 191, protein 5 g, carbs 29 g, fat 8 g

Garlic Green Beans

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Place a large skillet over high heat. Add oil and green beans and cook until soft and starting to blister. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 4 oz): calories 68, protein 2 g, carbs 8 g, fat 4 g

Vegetable Recipes

Nutrition breakdown per serving

Fat Recipes

Chocolate Tahini Balls

Makes: 15 Balls/Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix in tahini and syrup. Form into 15 balls. Spread sesame seeds on a plate and roll each ball in seeds. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 1 ball): calories 133, protein 4 g, carbs 12 g, fat 8 g

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Makes: 8 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups low-sodium broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • ½ cup nonfat milk
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 2 cups reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Add broth, onions, carrots, celery and garlic to a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add broccoli, milk and pepper. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Add sour cream and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 8 oz): calories 149, protein 12 g, carbs 7 g, fat 9 g

If you prefer a thicker soup, add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour to the recipe and puree with an immersion blender before adding in cheese.

Creamy Guacamole

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed
  • ¼ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 2 oz): calories 91, protein 1 g, carbs 4 g, fat 8 g

Fat Recipes

Nutrition breakdown per serving

Mix and match to find the best fits for your needs and goals.

Add-Ins

Use this mix-and-match table to add in or trade out particular foods and macros to best suit your needs and goals.

The Any-Goal Meal Plan, below.

Build Muscle

Protein forms the foundation of a muscle-building plan, and this schedule allots you plenty of construction material. Not only does protein work to build and repair muscle, but it also keeps you full for longer while promoting fat loss: Protein has a thermic effect on your body, meaning you have to burn more calories to digest it than you do
other macros.  

Boost Performance

Carbohydrates are king when it comes to energy, and this performance-based plan highlights carbs as your primary macronutrient. You’ll be able to run faster, jump higher or stay the distance with this high-octane program. 

Get Lean

Getting lean is a sticky wicket, but this plan leverages the power of dietary fat to get you results. Fat takes longer to break down and digest, so it sticks with you longer to promote satiety. This is extremely helpful when leaning out because your carb intake is reduced and your stress level — and tendency to get hangry — is amplified. 

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A little sweet and a little savory, this easy and flavorful chicken dish is perfect for dinner.

Blueberries are loaded with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants that help fend off muscular pain and disease. Paired with the muscle-building properties of chicken and you’ve got the perfect dish for dinner.

Blueberry Rosemary Chicken

Ready in: 50 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries, divided
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice or blueberry
  • ¼ cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • ¼ cup dried rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 20 oz. chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

Directions

  1. In a blender combine 1 cup blueberries with the next 7 ingredients. Set mixture aside.
  2. Pound chicken breasts to about ½-inch thickness. Marinate chicken in mixture and add water, if needed, to cover.
  3. Heat a large skillet. Add marinated chicken breasts and brown on each side. Add marinade, bring everything to a boil then reduce to low heat. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the marinade starts to reduce and thicken. Add the remaining blueberries and heat through.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 334, Total Fats: 12 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 87 mg, Sodium: 453 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 23 g, Dietary Fiber: 4 g, Sugars: 17 g, Protein: 34 g, Iron: 2 mg

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Satisfy your cravings with these modern comfort food recipes.

Sometimes when life beats you down, it’s all you can do to resist diving headfirst into a vat of mac and cheese, but eating your feelings need not widen your waistline.

With some stealth ingredient swaps and a few delicious cooking twists, you can have the best of both worlds when it comes to your favorite feel-good foods. Use these recipes in place of your habitual vices, and take comfort in the fact that you’re doing your body good.

French Toast Muffins — just add a dollop of the yogurt-syrup mixture!

French Toast Muffins

Hands-On Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

French toast — meet muffins. Muffins — meet French toast. Blending these iconic breakfast staples and trading out some of the less-healthy ingredients makes these portion-perfect muffins a new favorite. 

Flip Out: White bread, butter, heavy cream, a gallon of syrup

Flip In: Whole-grain sourdough bread, fresh berries, walnuts, yogurt

Nutrition Upgrade

Sourdough is higher in iron and selenium as well as B vitamins, which help regulate metabolism, while Greek yogurt gives the muffins a much-needed protein kick. Walnuts up the ante with heart-healthy omega-3 fats, and blueberries deliver a payload of antioxidants, helping neutralize the DNA-damaging free radicals while lowering blood pressure.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup 2% milk or unsweetened nondairy alternative
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 cups sourdough bread, cubed
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup blueberries
  • 1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs and stir in milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Add bread cubes to a large bowl and pour egg mixture over top, using your hands to gently massage liquid into bread. Let sit 5 minutes and then fold in walnuts and blueberries. Divide mixture among 8 greased or paper-lined muffin cups and press down gently to compress. Bake 20 minutes and then let cool several minutes before removing from pan. In a small bowl, combine yogurt and maple syrup. Serve muffins topped with a dollop of yogurt-syrup mixture.

Nutrition Facts (per serving = 2 muffins): calories 338, fat 13 g, carbs 35 g, fiber 5 g, sugar 13 g, protein 22 g, sodium 283 mg

Zucchini Noodles

Chicken Zoodle Soup

Hands-On Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

There’s no better way to take the chill out of winter than to cozy up to a steamy bowl of chicken noodle soup. This adaptation, featuring roasted chicken, fresh zucchini noodles and flavorful wine, guarantees you’ll never go back to the gloppy canned version.

Flip Out: Starchy noodles, excess salt, bland chicken

Flip In: Zucchini noodles, beans, roasted chicken

Nutrition Upgrade

Trading refined pasta noodles for zucchini slashes the carb content, making each spoonful more midriff-friendly. The addition of beans pumps the soup full of quality plant protein and appetite-taming fiber, and the chicken thighs add a boost of flavor that white meat fails to provide.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 (14 oz) canned white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • ⅓ cup parsley

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add chicken and cook until browned on bottom, then flip and brown other side. Place skillet in oven and roast 20 minutes, or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Remove and let rest 5 minutes before shredding. Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and salt and cook until veggies are tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add Italian seasoning, black pepper and chili flakes and cook another 30 seconds. Add white wine and cook 3 minutes. Add beans and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes, then turn off heat and stir in chicken and lemon juice. Use a spiralizer or serrated vegetable peeler to cut zucchini into “noodles.” Divide zucchini noodles among serving bowls and ladle in soup. Serve garnished with parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 395, fat 13 g, carbs 31 g, fiber 8 g, sugar 5 g, protein 13 g, sodium 640 mg

You also can try spiraling other veggies such as sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips. 

Tuna Caprese Grilled Cheese

Tuna Caprese Grilled Cheese

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

This mash-up of two classic lunch favorites is a great grown-up way to craft a sammie — without worrying about fat and calorie overload.

Flip Out: White bread, processed cheese slices, ketchup

Flip In: Sprouted bread, tuna, freshly made cheese, greens, pesto

Sprouting partially breaks down the starch in the bread grains, giving it a lower carb content than other varieties.

Nutrition Upgrade

Sprouted bread trumps doughy white bread because it is higher in protein and fiber, and soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella contain more moisture, making them less calorie-dense than hard varieties. The tuna adds a protein punch, making this a more complete meal while also providing plenty of potassium, magnesium and iron.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp prepared pesto
  • 4 slices whole-grain sprouted bread
  • 1 (5 oz) can albacore tuna
  • 2 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 2 large slices tomato

DIRECTIONS

Melt butter and salt in a skillet over medium-low. Spread half the pesto on 2 slices of bread and top each with an equal amount of tuna and cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with arugula and a slice of tomato. Spread remaining pesto on remaining bread and place them on top, pesto side down. Place sandwiches in skillet and heat until bread is golden and crispy on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Press downward firmly on sandwiches with a spatula and then flip and cook another 3 minutes, or until cheese has melted and bread is crispy on the bottom. Press with spatula once more, then remove from skillet. Let cool 1 minute, then slice in half and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 441, fat 22 g, carbs 29 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 1 g, protein 30 g, sodium 668 mg

Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf

Hands-On Time: 20 Minutes

Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Makes: 4 Servings

If you are going to reinvent the meatloaf, it’d better taste like home — deliciously moist and not at all “healthified.” This version hits mom’s meatloaf mark without weighing you down digestionwise.

Flip Out: Fatty ground beef, breadcrumbs

Flip In: Lean ground turkey, oats, sweet potato

Nutrition Upgrade

Using lean ground turkey reduces the fat calories found in regular ground beef by about 50 percent — without any protein compromise. Swapping out nutrient-poor breadcrumbs for whole oats boosts the fiber content to help reduce cholesterol, and sneaking in some sweet potatoes keeps the meatloaf tender while infusing the meal with some immune-boosting vitamin A.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, grated
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup quick oats
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ⅓ cup sugar-free barbecue sauce

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan. Heat oil in large skillet over medium. Add onions and salt and cook 5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mixture to a large bowl with turkey, eggs, oats, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, garlic powder and pepper. Mix well and then spread mixture evenly in a loaf pan. Bake 30 minutes, then brush on barbecue sauce. Bake another 10 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 F. Let cool 5 minutes in pan before slicing.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 333, fat 8 g, carbs 30 g, fiber 4 g, sugar 8 g, protein 33 g, sodium 439 mg

Chili Mac and Cheese

Hands-On Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Makes: 6 Servings

This hybrid of two traditional comfort meals plays by the nutritional rules without sacrificing any savory flavor.

BONUS: It’s all made in a single pan to streamline prep and cleanup.

Flip Out: White pasta, milk, butter, regular ground beef

Flip In: Whole-grain pasta, lean ground beef, spinach, mushrooms

According to research, mushrooms improve immunity and help prevent respiratory infections — the perfect antidote for flu season!

Nutrition Upgrade

Mushrooms and bell peppers up the veggie ante, delivering a healthy dose of selenium and vitamin D, and using lean ground beef eliminates gobs of saturated fat. Diced tomatoes infuse the dish with cancer-preventing lycopene, while kidney beans add a hit of tummy-trimming fiber as well as vitamin B1 for healthy cognition.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • ¾ lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped cremini or button mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 (540 mL) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef or vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups whole-grain macaroni
  • 1 (14 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium. Add beef and brown, breaking meat into 1-inch chunks as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions and salt to pan and cook until onions are soft and beginning to darken, about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic and cook 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano and black pepper and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, broth and macaroni and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes. Add beef and kidney beans and cook 3 minutes. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Divide among serving bowls and top each with ¼ cup cheese.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 413, fat 16 g, carbs 41 g fiber 8 g, sugar 7 g, protein 29 g, sodium 747 g

Happy Endings

When nothing less than decadence will do, turn your frown upside down with one of these heathy(ish) store-bought treats.

FlapJacked Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

Made with whole-grain oats, date paste, probiotics and whey protein, these soft-baked cookies are a guilt-free way to embrace your cravings while supporting gut health and muscle growth.

flapjacked.com or amazon.com, $25 (12-pack)

Alter Eco Superdark Chocolate Truffles

Rich and luscious, these one-bite gems feature less sugar and more organic dark chocolate per serving for a delicious antioxidant punch.

alterecofoods.com or amazon.com, $8

Base Culture Almond Butter Paleo Brownie

These grain- and gluten-free brownies have a deep cocoa flavor and a creamy finish courtesy of healthy nut butter.

baseculture.com or amazon.com, $35 (30-pack)

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Fit this shake into your day to ward off the flu and boost your immune system.

Boost your immune system to help ward off the flu with this antioxidant- and vitamin-rich shake. Honey has anti-viral compounds, and mangoes are a real boon to your immunity as they’re one of the few fruits that boast the healthy vitamin cocktail of A, C and E. Blueberries are loaded with disease-destroying antioxidants plus anti-inflammatory agents.

Training and a busy lifestyle can compromise immune function. Whey protein helps prevent disease by increasing production of glutathione, which is the essential fuel of your immune system.

Healthy Flu-Fighter Shake

Healthy Flu-Fighter Shake Recipe

Ready in: 10 minutes

Makes: 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • ¼ cup frozen mango pieces
  • ¼ cup frozen cherries
  • ½ cup sugar-free and fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 tsp. flaxseed oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place first 5 ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Add protein powder and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if needed to thin out the consistency.

3. Add flaxseed oil and blend on low to gently combine.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 317, Total Fats: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium: 122 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 33 g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 29 g, Protein: 32 g, Iron: <0.5 mg

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To enhance your health, start each day with a green smoothie and end it with a kale salad.

I believe that your body carries your soul and essence while you are on earth — so it’s important to treat it right, and that means healthy food, regular exercise and a good amount of sleep.

Fifteen years ago, I realized that I felt so much better and more vibrant when I skipped processed foods and instead ate food from the earth. So even though I was raised in the South and taught to eat everything that was put in front of me, I transitioned to a vegan, plant-based diet to support my optimal health and the health of the planet — and I’ve never looked back.

For anyone who’s looking to incorporate healthier eating habits into their lifestyle, I encourage you to bring more plant-based foods into your diet while also reducing the amount of processed foods you consume.

I love to cook for variety, special occasions or just because for friends — but there are two items I eat every single day: a smoothie and a salad. I find that a smoothie is the best way to mix vitamins, nutrients and deliciousness all in one glass. I’ll have one for breakfast or as a snack or meal replacement, and I love to experiment with a mix of fruits, superfoods and protein powder. Oftentimes, I drink a green smoothie in the morning for an extra kick of energy to jump-start my day — I’ve included my go-to recipe below.

For lunch or dinner, I enjoy a salad because it’s a great way to add more veggies to my day. I start with a base of leafy greens; my favorite is kale. Then I pick five or so vegetables (or mix it up with a combination of veggies and fruits), add some protein (such as lentils or nuts) and sprinkle on some seeds for a little crunch.

Green Machine Smoothie

Green Machine Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup fresh red grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup destemmed dinosaur kale
  • 1 large sweet apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 scoop natural or vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ cup frozen mango
  • ⅛ cup fresh mint leaves
  • 3-4 ice cubes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Juice half a large red grapefruit and add ½ cup grapefruit juice to a blender.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. (Add additional water if you want a thinner consistency.)
Quick Kale Salad

Quick Kale Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 cups curly kale
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 avocado, chopped and diced
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup chopped and diced cucumbers
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup shredded purple cabbage

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp coconut nectar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a bowl, mix salad dressing ingredients with a fork.
  2. In a large bowl, prepare vegetables. Start by destemming and washing kale. Let dry.
  3. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Top with dressing and mix together.

Could your strength and stamina use a boost? Are you looking for ways to better connect your mind and body? Let Koya Webb — an internationally recognized yoga teacher, holistic health coach, author, speaker and vegan activist — be your guide. She’s partnered with Oxygen to create Wellness Warrior Workout, an exclusive six-week program that includes progressive workouts, weekly guided yoga flows, guided meditations, breathwork and mindfulness prompts. Plus, she’s sharing more than a dozen of her favorite plant-based recipes. Sign up today!

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No matter how you cook it, protein-packed fish is one of the cleanest, nutrient-rich choices for active women. Here are four simple but tasty recipes.

High-protein, low-fat, quick-cooking and versatile, fish may be the perfect food for active women. White fish including cod, halibut and tilapia are rich in protein and very low in calories, while fattier varieties such as salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel contain particularly high amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3s are most important for women who train regularly,” says Amy Goodson, MS, CSCS, Dallas Cowboys sports dietitian. They not only ease muscle damage and inflammation during exercise, but omega-3s also possess anti-aging properties that may counteract age-related muscle loss, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study shows omega-3s stimulated muscle synthesis (repairing and building) in older adults, while corn oil supplements had no effect.

The specific omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are considered essential dietary nutrients since our bodies cannot make these types of fats, says Lori Zanini, RD, dietitian with HealthCare Partners and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Aside from muscle growth, eating 8 ounces of fish weekly may help reduce the risk for heart disease.” Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish help reduce inflammation and slow the formation of fatty plaque in arteries, according to an international study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Plus, eating a high-protein meal after a workout in general ensures your body has enough protein to keep on building muscle throughout the day.

Low-Fat Fish Chowder in a Flash

Body Benefit: Cod is high in niacin, also known as vitamin B-3, which helps the body convert carbs into energy and keeps the nervous system functioning properly.

No cod on hand? Flounder, sole or haddock work equally well.

Makes: 2 servings

Serving size: 1½ cups

Total time: 30 minutes

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Nonstick pan spray
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ pound boneless skinless cod fillet (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 1 large potato, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 cup non-fat skim milk

Instructions

  1. Coat a medium saucepan with nonstick spray and place over low-moderate heat.
  2. Add onions and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until onions soften, approximately three minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup water and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, add cod fillet (cut in half if large) and simmer until fish becomes opaque and is cooked through, approximately five minutes. Transfer cod to a bowl.
  4. Bring heat back up to medium, add potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Stir milk into the pot and return to a simmer. Return fish to the pot and heat through, approximately two minutes, breaking up larger pieces. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 292, total fat 1 g, saturated fat 0 g, 0 trans fat 0 g, sodium 137 mg, carbohydrates 43 g, fiber 5 g, sugars 9 g, protein 28 g

Slimming Sea Scallops & Veggies

Body Benefit: Magnesium, found in scallops, plays a role in more than 300 enzyme systems in the body, including nerve impulse and muscle contraction.

For best results, be sure the pan is very hot before adding scallops

Makes: 2 servings

Serving size: 5 scallops + 2 green onions, 1 carrot

Total time: 20 minutes

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 10 large sea scallops
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over moderate heat.
  2. Add onions and carrots and sauté three minutes, until onions wilt and carrots become crisp-tender. Remove vegetables from pan.
  3. Add scallops to the pan and cook until slightly browned, approximately two minutes per side (do not stir or flip back and forth).
  4. Return vegetables to the skillet and squeeze the lemon juice over all; continue to cook until scallops are cooked through, approximately two more minutes. Serve with brown rice.

Nutrition facts (per serving): calories 277, total fat 10 g, saturated fat 1 g, trans fat 0 g, sodium 328 mg, carbohydrates 19 g, fiber 5 g, sugars 7g, protein 27g

Power-Packed Tilapia Tacos

Body Benefit: Vitamin B-12 found in seafood helps the body make red blood cells and keeps your energy up.

A 4-ounce serving of tilapia provides 11 percent of the RDA of calcium.

Makes: 1 serving

Serving size: 2 tacos

Total time: 15 minutes

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces boneless and skinless tilapia, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh salsa
  • 2 whole-grain tortillas
  • Optional toppings: shredded lettuce or cabbage, cilantro, avocado

Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler and position the top rack on the highest level.
  2. Place tilapia on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and brush with olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Place fish under broiler and cook until lightly browned and fish is opaque throughout, approximately five minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix yogurt and salsa in a small mixing bowl.
  5. Divide the fish between the tortillas, top with the Greek yogurt and salsa mixture and your choice of optional additions. Serve immediately.

Nutrition facts (per serving):calories 467, total fat 12 g, saturated fat 3 g, trans fat 0 g, sodium 619 mg, carbohydrates 38 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 7 g, protein 51 g

Curried Shrimp & Tomato Kebabs

Body Benefit: Shrimp is high in selenium, a mineral involved in protection from oxidative damage and infection.

If you substitute longer-cooking vegetables, cook them separately to avoid overcooking the shrimp.

Makes: 4 servings

Serving size: 4 ounces shrimp (approximately 4 to 6 shrimp), plus 4 tomatoes

Total time: 20 minutes

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound frozen, uncooked large shrimp, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • Pint of cherry tomatoes
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Preheat broiler to high and arrange an oven rack on the highest level; line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a small bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil and curry powder.
  3. Thread shrimp and tomatoes alternately on kebab sticks until all fish and vegetables are used up, and arrange kebabs on the foil-lined pan; place any odd pieces directly on the foil.
  4. When broiler is ready, place kebabs under the broiler and cook one to two minutes (depending on the size of the shrimp); turn kebabs and finish cooking on the opposite side. Serve immediately with cooked quinoa or other whole grain.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 168; total fat 5 g; saturated fat 1 g; trans fat 0 g; sodium 180 mg; carbohydrates 8 g; fiber 1 g; sugars 3 g; protein 24 g

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Sip this protein shake to keep your muscles growing while you sleep.

Postworkout nutrition is critical to supporting muscle growth and repair around the clock. Being mindful of when to eat, rather than just what to eat, is the premise behind a science-proven concept called “nutrient timing.”

This shake is perfect for right after a late-evening workout. Peanut butter adds slow-digesting healthy fats, which promote a sustained release of fuel while you sleep. Plus, PB delivers arginine, an amino acid that increases blood flow to your muscles.

Cottage cheese is great before bed because it is made up of casein, a slow-digesting protein that minimizes muscle catabolism that occurs while you slumber. And whey protein delivers a quick blast of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), a trio of essential amino acids that help prevent post-training muscle breakdown.

Banana Peanut Butter Protein Shake Recipe

Ready in: 5 minutes

Makes: 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 ounces skim milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat natural peanut butter
  • 1 scoop whey protein isolate powder
  • honey, to taste (optional)
  • ice cubes

DIRECTIONS

Blend all ingredients in a blender.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 360, Total Fats: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 46 mg, Sodium: 415 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 36 g, Dietary Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 24 g, Protein: 42 g, Iron: 1 mg

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Nourish your body, aid your digestion and increase your energy with these comforting and nutrient-dense soup recipes.

Chicken soup can be a panacea for both colds and fevers. It’s warm and hydrating and appears to prompt anti-inflammatory activity to help you rebound more quickly. Warm up to these delicious chicken soup recipes this fall.

Veggie-licious Chicken Soup

Makes: 10 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ cup shelled edamame
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans
  • ½ cup corn (frozen, fresh or canned)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 (15-oz) cans low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp seafood seasoning
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

DIRECTIONS

Slow Cooker

  1. Place all ingredients except chicken in a slow cooker, stirring to blend. Lay chicken on top and push down slightly to cover with soup. Cook 5 hours on low heat.
  2. Remove chicken from soup. Let chicken cool slightly, then shred. Stir back into soup and continue to cook 1 hour.

Stove-Top

  1. Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except chicken and simmer until veggies are tender.
  2. Add cooked, diced chicken to soup and simmer until chicken is heated through.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 160, protein 17 g, carbs 19 g, fat 2 g, fiber 5 g, sodium 200 mg

Quinoa Chicken Soup

Quinoa Chicken Soup

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Creole or Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 carton (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup roughly chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and ½ teaspoon salt; heat 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, Creole or Cajun seasoning, and thyme; heat 30 seconds. Place broth and quinoa in a pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer partially covered until quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in chicken and warm through.
  2. Place soup in serving bowls and garnish with parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 315, protein 29 g, carbs 29 g, fat 9 g, fiber 5 g, sodium 283

Chicken and Parsnip Soup

Makes: 4 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • ¾ cup parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
  • ¾ shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 (4-oz) package gourmet mushroom blend, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2½ cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup rotisserie chicken breast, shredded
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp hot sauce
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add olive oil to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high.
  2. Add parsnips, shallots, mushrooms and garlic and saute 3 minutes.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except parsley and bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, or until parsnips are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 204, protein 17 g, carbs 25 g, fat 4 g, fiber 5 g, sodium 607 mg

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