Sticking to a healthier diet is an excellent New Year's resolution, but sometimes people can struggle to maintain this pledge. Having a few healthy but tasty recipes on hand can make sticking to your resolution easier.
A healthy diet consists of two factors. First, it's essential to limit fatty red meats, cut out processed sugars or additives and to eat in moderation. But beyond eliminating what is considered bad for you, you also want to give your body foods that are full of essential minerals and vitamins that bolster the immune system and keep the body and mind feeling their best. Your next step should be to choose meals full of leafy green vegetables, fruits, whole grains and white meat or fish.
Check out five of our favorite recipes that make healthy eating easier:
1. Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
To start your diet off on a celebratory note, try this exciting dish from the Food Network. Not only is this recipe full of flavor, but the turkey, quinoa and fresh vegetables make for a healthy and filling meal devoid of too much salt, fat or carbs.
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup red quinoa
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 clove minced garlic
- Kosher salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 2 large green bell peppers
- 2 cups kale leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Sauce:
- 6 medium tomatillos (about 8 ounces), husked
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 jalapeño, coarsely chopped and seeds removed
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 lime
- 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Meanwhile bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. As it reaches a rolling boil, add the quinoa, stir and cover. Lower the heat to a simmer and steam the quinoa for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for another 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
In a large saucepan, combine olive oil and ground turkey with crushed red pepper flakes and garlic. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Break up the turkey into pieces and add the wine to de-glaze.
As the turkey browns, rinse the bell peppers and dry. Cut off the tops and remove seeds and membranes. Once the turkey finishes, remove from heat and add quinoa. Also add kale and pepitas. Mix thoroughly. Set aside covered to stay warm.
In a small bowl, add the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle in olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared peppers, adding about 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumb-cheese mixture to each. Cover the peppers loosely with foil and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Next, carefully remove the foil, and set the oven to broil. Cook the peppers for 1 to 2 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are browned. Remove the peppers and set aside to rest.
Set the oven to 350 F and place the tomatillos on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and roast for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Add to blender along with 1/4 cup water, cumin, a dash of salt, avocado, garlic, jalapeños, onions and cilantro. Juice the lime and blend until smooth. Let the sauce settle before serving.
Finally, carefully stuff the peppers with the turkey and sauce.
2. Seared Salmon with Sweet Potatoes
Fish is full of helpful omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that promote good health. This recipe from Good Housekeeping is easy to follow and creates a delicious, memorable meal.
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup water
- black pepper
- 1 bag baby spinach
- 4 piece skinless center-cut salmon filet
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 tsp. capers
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- A dash of cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 145 F. Next, peel and chop sweet potatoes into small bite-sized pieces. In a microwave-safe bowl, add potatoes, water, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 9 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add the spinach, recover and microwave for 2 more minutes.
On a nonstick pan, season salmon with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, turning over midway through. Transfer to a plate and garnish with grated lemon peel and juice.
In a small skillet, combine wine and capers and boil on high for 2 minutes. Add remaining lemon juice and parsley before spooning over fish.
3. Black Bean and Corn Salad
For a simple, vegetarian meal, it's hard to beat a favorite salad. This dish from All Recipes is especially tasty, and full of iron, protein and other healthy nutrients.
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 2 cans black beans (15 oz each), rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
- 1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced
Combine lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper and stir well. Add beans, corn, avocado, peppers, tomatoes, green onions and cilantro in a large bowl. Drizzle lime dressing and stir until evenly coated.
4. Apple Banana Smoothie
Your morning cup of coffee or tea might not be too unhealthy, but the cream and sugar you add can quickly derail a diet. This smoothie from All Recipes is an excellent way to start your day off on the right foot and is simple to make. It's also easy enough to add another favorite fruit if you choose.
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup of orange juice
- 1 Gala apple
- 1/4 cup low-fat milk
First, peel and chop the banana and apple. Next, combine all ingredients in the blender, and process until smooth.
5. Chocolate-Dipped Banana Bites
Dessert is the bane of all healthy diets, but there are ways to indulge without upending your New Year's resolution. This recipe from Health Magazine is great because dark chocolate is good for the heart and much more beneficial than other varieties.
- 2 Tbsp. dark chocolate chips
- 1 small banana, peeled and cut into small pieces
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and zap for 1 minute, or until chocolate is fully melted. Next use a toothpick to dip the banana slices into the chocolate. Enjoy immediately or freeze for later.