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Detox Nutrition Myths, Busted

What’s the deal with detoxing? Does it really work? Read on to separate detox nutrition myths from the facts!

Detox nutrition myths busted - Daisybeet

We’ve all seen and heard about detox diets, teas, and nutrition trends. Celebrities endorse detox products all the time, and it can be tempting to buy into the miracle results they seem to produce. But, just like all things nutrition, the facts are a bit more complicated than what meets the eye.

Today, I’m breaking down three detox nutrition myths that are popular today. Read on to get the facts about juice cleanses, detox teas, and water fasting for detox!

Myth #1: I can do a juice cleanse to detox my body after eating like crap.

Detox nutrition myth - juice cleanse

Juice cleanses are one of the most popular experiences related to detox culture. A juice cleanse is a type of detox diet where someone consumes only fruit and vegetable juices without eating solid foods, for a temporary period of days to weeks. Some of the main reasons people go on a juice cleanse are to lose weight, eliminate toxins, reduce inflammation, and detoxify the body.

But how does detoxifying the body actually work? Do we need to eliminate solid foods to do so? The resounding answer is no. Our bodies are extremely efficient at detoxifying themselves. The liver and kidneys are extraordinary organs that remove toxins from our bodies.

How the liver and kidneys detoxify the body

  • First, the liver prevents toxins from entering the bloodstream. Detoxifying alcohol, waste products, drugs, and other toxins is actually one of the major functions of the liver (1).
  • The kidneys are constantly filtering our blood. They eliminate toxins when we urinate. The kidneys eliminate drugs and waste products formed in the body (2).

Juice cleanse drinks may contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals, but they unfortunately do not boost they body’s ability to naturally detoxify itself. Furthermore, juice cleanses often lack other important nutrients including fiber, protein, calcium, and healthy fats. In order to keep our bodies functioning optimally, we need to have a balanced diet from all food groups!

Supporting liver and kidney health

The good news is, we can do a lot to protect our liver and kidneys, so they can continue to do their job detoxifying our bodies. We want to keep our blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels in check, because these health issues may contribute to poor liver or kidney function (3). Here are some foods to include in your diet to support your liver and kidneys:

  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Fatty fish like salmon
  • Nuts
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Myth #2: Detox teas can help me lose weight and get rid of toxins and bloat.

Detox nutrition myths - Detox teas

Detox teas are a little newer to the scene than juice cleanses, and have several celebrity endorsers. Detox teas are herbal teas that claim to detoxify the body. Many are used in the hopes of producing weight loss, laxative effects, or liver cleansing. They commonly contain ingredients like ginger, dandelion root, milk thistle, and turmeric.

Detox teas differ from juice cleanses because they are used in addition to solid food. You don’t abstain from eating, you just drink several servings of detox tea throughout the day for the effects.

Detox teas may lead to weight loss, but it’s not because your body is detoxifying itself and eliminating toxins causing you to retain weight. Many of these teas contain laxative ingredients like senna and cascara. So, you’re probably not properly absorbing the food you are eating and going to the bathroom a lot more than usual.

Health benefits of tea

Detox teas are not a miracle product that will produce weight loss, better health, and whole body detox. But, I encourage you to include tea in your diet for several health benefits!

  • Tea (and coffee) support liver and kidney health, because they are both high in antioxidants. Keep your liver and kidneys in tip top shape to ensure your body is detoxifying efficiently.
  • The antioxidants in tea are also linked reduced incidence of heart attack, as well as lowering bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and raising good HDL cholesterol (4).
  • Several herbal teas contain anti-inflammatory properties, especially if they contain ingredients like ginger, turmeric, hibiscus, and rooibos.

Myth #3: Water fasting can completely clean out and detox my system.

Water fasting has been around for centuries, but is a relatively new trend in the wellness world. During water fasting, you abstain from eating or drinking anything but water for a period of time. Water fasts usually last five to 40 days. There are water fasting centers you can go to complete a water fast under medical supervision.

Some limited research has shown water fasting can promote weight loss and reduced blood pressure (5). It also may reduce oxidative stress. It may stimulate autophagy, a process by which the body breaks down and recycles old cells. But, prolonged water fasting is an extreme and unnecessary measure that can be dangerous.

Negative effects of water fasting

Water fasting may negatively impact the kidneys (6). Water fasting can cause fainting from a sudden drop in blood pressure. You are also at risk of lean muscle loss, which is the metabolically active tissue in our bodies. It also may cause heartburn, because your stomach continues to produce acid even in the absence of food (7). Prolonged fasting also negatively impacts our metabolism, because our body becomes extremely efficient at holding on to calories.

In lieu of water fasting, make healthy changes to your diet! Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to fuel your cells. Avoid excess processed foods, added sugars, and alcohol, which all provide few nutrients for our bodies to use.

If you liked this detox nutrition myths posts, you might also like the others in this series:

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Featured

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal (Vegan, Gluten Free)

This heavenly carrot cake baked oatmeal is such a treat for a crisp fall morning! It’s full of warming spices, walnuts, and golden raisins.

Carrot cake baked oatmeal - Daisybeet

Carrot cake is definitely my all time favorite cake. I love the chewy texture and warming flavors – especially when it’s slathered in cream cheese frosting! In fact, my very first birthday cake was a carrot cake. I think that’s where my love blossomed.

This carrot cake baked oatmeal recipe is an instant hit in my house. It’s been a bit cooler in Boston this week, so this has been the coziest breakfast. It tastes great warm or cold, but I love heating it up in the morning before eating.

Carrot cake baked oatmeal - Daisybeet

How to make carrot cake baked oatmeal

You just need one bowl to mix all the ingredients before pouring it into a baking dish! This recipe could’t be easier.

  • Make a flax egg in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add almond milk, maple syrup, lemon zest, coconut oil, and apple sauce to the bowl.
  • Mix in grated carrot, oats, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Pour baked oatmeal batter into a baking dish.
  • Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • Slice and serve!
Carrot cake baked oatmeal ingredients - Daisybeet

Tips for making carrot cake baked oatmeal

  • Grate carrots very finely. Use the smallest hole on your grater for this recipe. I actually used a microplane to grate my carrots.
  • Use old fashioned rolled oats. Old fashioned oats provide better structure than quick oats in baked oatmeal, without being too chewy or dense.
  • Don’t over bake. The carrots make this baked oatmeal super moist, so you don’t want to remove moisture by over baking. The edges will be only slightly brown, and the center will be slightly squishy when it is done.
Carrot cake baked oatmeal - Daisybeet

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Carrot cake baked oatmeal - Daisybeet
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Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal (Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6 1x
  • Category: breakfast

Description

This heavenly carrot cake baked oatmeal is such a treat for a crisp fall morning! It’s full of warming spices, walnuts, and golden raisins.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup finely grated carrot
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10×10 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flaxmeal and warm water together to make a flax egg.
  3. Add almond milk, maple syrup, lemon zest, applesauce, and coconut oil. Stir to combine.
  4. Add grated carrots, oats, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Stir until evenly combined.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until center is slightly squishy and edges are just starting to brown.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes, then slice into 6 rectangles.


Notes

  • Enjoy warm or cold.
  • Store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Keywords: carrot cake baked oatmeal, vegan, gluten free, healthy breakfast, baked oatmeal

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Recipe Pinterest graphic - Daisybeet

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which help keep Daisybeet running. I truly love all the brands I link to, and use them frequently in my daily life!

Featured

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos (Vegan, Gluten Free)

These butternut squash and black bean tacos are the most delicious seasonal meal that will surely please everyone at your next taco night!

Butternut squash and black bean tacos - Daisybeet

Pretty much any way you serve them, tacos are delicious. Tortillas (delicious) wrapped around Mexican spiced ingredients (delicious) with toppings like guacamole, salsa, and cheese (extra delicious). My advice: don’t trust anyone who says they don’t like tacos. Especially these butternut squash and black bean tacos!

While I’m still not quite ready to give up summer, I am starting to embrace the fall produce I see at the market. I love squash of all kinds, so I was super excited to find butternut squash on my latest shopping trip! The sweetness of roasted butternut squash in these tacos is the perfect contrast to the smoky black beans and cooling cabbage slaw.

Butternut squash and black bean tacos - Daisybeet

Why you’ll love these butternut squash and black bean tacos

  • Easy to make. There are no complicated steps or hard to find ingredients in this recipe.
  • They’re a filling, balanced meal. These tacos contain plant-based protein from black beans plus fiber in the cabbage, butternut squash, and black beans. I also added avocado to boost the healthy fat content in these tacos!
  • Everyone can enjoy them. These tacos are vegan and gluten free, so your friends with dietary restrictions can eat them, too!
  • Colorful AF. Because food is always more fun to eat when it looks like a rainbow! I mean, come on, look at those vibrant colors 🙂
Butternut squash and black bean tacos - Daisybeet

Main Ingredients + Some Nutrition Notes

  • Butternut squash: This winter squash is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. It is high in vitamins A and C and potassium. Butternut squash’s antioxidants include carotenoids (beta-carotene), vitamin C, and vitamin E. Carotenoids give butternut squash its orange hue and are important for eye health and may help prevent certain cancers.
  • Purple cabbage: This ingredient is also loaded with antioxidants. Purple cabbage contains a variety of antioxidants, including vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids. Also, since it is a cruciferous veggie like broccoli and kale, purple cabbage contains sulfur compounds. These compounds are great protectors against inflammation!
  • Black beans: Beans are a great source of both protein and fiber. One cup of black beans contains around 15 grams of each! Furthermore, black beans contain important vitamins and minerals, including iron and magnesium.
  • Corn tortillas
  • Lime
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado

If you love this recipe, you may also like

Butternut squash and black bean tacos - Daisybeet

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos (Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos 1x
  • Category: main dish

Description

These butternut squash and black bean tacos are the most delicious seasonal meal that will surely please everyone at your next taco night!


Scale

Ingredients

Butternut Squash

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Slaw

  • 3 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • Handful of cilantro, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Black Beans

  • 1 can low sodium black beans
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Finishing Touches

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss butternut squash with spices, avocado oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Spread out on baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. While the squash roasts, prepare the slaw by combining all slaw ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix, so the cabbage softens a bit and every ingredient is evenly distributed.
  4. Make the beans. Pour the can of beans into a saucepan without draining, and add spices. Heat on low-medium heat until heated through. Add salt to taste, if needed.
  5. Heat the tortillas over a gas stove burner or in a skillet. 
  6. Top each tortilla with a scoop of beans, cabbage, butternut squash, and a few slices of avocado. Sprinkle with cilantro and lime juice.


Notes

  • Can sub sweet potatoes for butternut squash for similar results.

Keywords: butternut squash and black bean tacos, vegan tacos, vegan, gluten free, healthy tacos

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Butternut squash and black bean tacos Pinterest graphic - Daisybeet
Butternut squash black bean tacos Pinterest graphic - Daisybeet
Featured

A Registered Dietitian’s Healthy Pantry Staples

Want to stock your kitchen like a dietitian? Here are my pantry staples I always have to make healthy eating easier and more convenient.

Pantry staples pinterest graphic

Cooking more meals at home is a great way to eat healthier and save money. However, if you’re new to cooking, this can be overwhelming! In order to cook healthy food, you need to have healthy ingredients in your kitchen. This is why it is so important to keep your pantry stocked with some nutritious essentials.

I love to cook at home, and I make sure to always have these essential ingredients in my kitchen. I make a note on my grocery list whenever I am running low to restock. It is so much easier to create simple, healthy meals in a pinch when you have nutritious ingredients on hand!

A Dietitian’s Healthy Pantry Staples

Healthy cooking oils

Pantry staples - oils

I use a few different oils in my cooking, depending on certain factors. Avocado oil is wonderful for high heat cooking, and extra virgin olive oil tastes amazing in salad dressings! These cooking oils offer heart healthy unsaturated fats, and are less processed than other vegetable oils. Store them in a cool, dark place to prevent oxidation.

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Oil sprays: avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil (I love Chosen Foods)
  • Toasted sesame oil

Whole grains

Whole grain products are always in my pantry. I keep a variety on hand, including brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, and oats. I love making vegetarian stuffed eggplant or peppers, grain salads, or just simple veggie and brown rice stir fries for dinner. Here are the whole grains I currently have in my pantry:

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bulgur
  • Oatmeal
  • Farro

Frozen fruit and vegetables

Pantry staples - frozen produce

These are technically stored in the freezer, but I consider them pantry staples because they last a long time. Frozen produce is just as nutritious, or more so, than fresh produce, because it is frozen at peak ripeness. Using frozen fruit or vegetables in your recipes is a great way to save money, because it is quite inexpensive. I love to heat up frozen fruit to make chia jam and add frozen peas to pasta dishes. I usually have all of the following frozen items in my freezer:

  • Berries
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Mixed vegetables

Nuts, seeds, and nut butters

Pantry staples - nuts and seeds

I always have multiple types of nuts, seeds, and nut butters in my pantry. I add nuts and seeds to oatmeal and homemade granola, and grab a handful for a snack all the time. Also, I consider peanut butter it’s own food group, so a jar (or two) is an essential in my kitchen! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Almond butter

Canned goods

Canned goods - pantry staples

My pantry always has a handful of canned goods stocked away. Canned ingredients, like beans and tuna, easily add an inexpensive boost of protein to any meal. I also like to have canned tomatoes or sauce on hand to make an easy pasta sauce or add to soups. Consider purchasing a few cans of these items next time you hit the grocery store:

  • Beans
  • Tuna or salmon
  • Tomato sauce or paste
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Artichoke hearts

Spices and dried herbs

Pantry stapes - spices

Start collecting your favorite spices and dried herbs to add flavor to your meals. You don’t need a million different spices, but I love to have a variety on hand. If you love Mexican food, grab some cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and paprika. For Italian flavors, try oregano, parsley, thyme, and crushed red pepper. I also love Primal Palate‘s organic spice blends. Their adobo is my absolute favorite!

Vinegars

Pantry staples - vinegars

I love making homemade salad dressings and sauces to add flavor and variety to my meals. I keep several types of vinegar on hand to add to these! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar

What are your favorite healthy pantry staples? I would love to know! Let me know by leaving a comment below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Pantry staples shopping list - Daisybeet

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which help keep Daisybeet running. I truly love all the brands I link to, and use them frequently in my daily life!

Featured

Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars (Vegan, Gluten Free)

These dark chocolate coconut bars taste like an even better version of Mounds candies. Only six ingredients and sweetened with maple syrup!

Chocolate coconut bars - Daisybeet

What was your favorite candy growing up? I always hoarded away Milky Ways, Snickers, and Mounds bars after trick or treating. I love coconut in desserts, so I wanted to make a less processed version of one of my favorite candies. Enter these dark chocolate coconut bars with sea salt!

This dark chocolate coconut bar recipe is super easy to make. You’ll need just six simple, whole food ingredients and a food processor to get these on the table. If you love coconut as much as I do, put these on your to-do list!

Chocolate coconut bars - Daisybeet

How to make homemade dark chocolate coconut bars

  • Combine unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and maple syrup in a food processor and blend until combined.
  • Press into a loaf pan into a single even layer.
  • Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Melt dark chocolate chips.
  • Pour melted chocolate over bars and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Refrigerate again until solid, and cut into squares.
Chocolate coconut bars - Daisybeet

Why you’ll love these dark chocolate coconut bars

  • Simple to make. Just throw a few ingredients in a food processor, refrigerate, and top with melted chocolate and sea salt.
  • Coconut flavor x2. These bars incorporate unsweetened shredded coconut and coconut oil to maximize that coconut flavor.
  • Less processed than store bought candy. These bars are made with whole food ingredients, and just lightly sweetened with maple syrup. No processed sugar + lower in sugar than candy you’d buy at the store!
  • Easy to store. You can store these bars in the fridge for about a month, and in the freezer for even longer! I love having a stash of treats when I’m craving something sweet.
Chocolate coconut bars - Daisybeet

If you love this recipe, you may also like

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars (Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 squares 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: no bake

Description

These dark chocolate coconut bars taste like an even better version of Mounds candies. Only six ingredients and sweetened with maple syrup!


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Combine coconut, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract in food processor. Blend until well combined into a thick, grainy paste.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and press down coconut mixture into the pan in an even layer.
  3. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Melt chocolate chips. 
  5. Remove coconut layer from fridge, and pour melted chocolate over it. Spread into an even layer, and sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Place back in the fridge for another 30 minutes, or until chocolate has completely hardened.
  7. Cut into into 16 squares.


Notes

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Keywords: chocolate coconut bars, vegan, gluten free, healthy dessert

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Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which help keep Daisybeet running. I truly love all the brands I link to, and use them frequently in my daily life!

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Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower (Vegan, Gluten Free)

This Moroccan spiced cauliflower dish is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, thanks to dates and ras-el-hanout spice. Everyone will love this side!

Moroccan spiced cauliflower - Daisybeet

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables to experiment with. It’s become one of the best loved vegetables, because it can easily be transformed to pizza, rice, and even mac and cheese! While I love a good cauliflower crust pizza, roasting it up whole is still so delicious.

This Moroccan spiced cauliflower recipe takes advantage of cauliflower’s neutral palette by packing the flavor! I used ras-el-hanout, which is a traditional Moroccan spice blend. It’s full of warming flavors like ginger and coriander. I also added fresh chopped dates and cilantro. The savory sweet profile of this dish is amazing!

Moroccan spiced cauliflower - Daisybeet

Health Benefits of Cauliflower

Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. This group of veggies is particularly healthy, because they contain plant-based compounds called phytonutrients. Cruciferous vegetable consumption and these phytonutrients have been linked to reduced inflammation and may protect against certain cancers.

Main ingredients in Moroccan spiced cauliflower

Moroccan spiced cauliflower ingredients

You’ll need just a handful of simple, whole food ingredients for this dish. I’ve also included easy ingredient swaps that would be just as delicious!

  • Cauliflower
  • Ras-el-hanout: swap for 1 tsp each paprika, cumin, and ginger
  • Medjool dates: swap for golden raisins or dried cherries
  • Cilantro: swap for parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

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Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower (Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: bake

Description

This Moroccan spiced cauliflower dish is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, thanks to dates and ras-el-hanout spice. Everyone will love this side!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp ras-el-hanout
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 handfuls of cilantro, chopped finely

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss cauliflower florets in olive oil, ras-el-hanout, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
  3. Roast for 25-35 minutes, mixing halfway through. Cauliflower will be done when fork tender and starting to caramelize on the outside.
  4. Toss cauliflower with dates and cilantro. 


Notes

  • If you don’t have ras-el-hanout, sub 1 tsp each ginger, coriander, and paprika. 

Keywords: moroccan spiced cauliflower, vegan, cauliflower recipe, gluten free

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Featured

Top 10 Healthy Travel Snacks

We all want to stay healthy when on the road. Here are 10 RD-approved healthy travel snacks to pack with you on your next trip!

standing by lavender field with white gate

Traveling to new places is one of the greatest things in life, don’t you agree? I love going somewhere I’ve never been, and I am so grateful that I am able travel.

While most of my travel is for fun, lots of people travel for work on a regular basis. My dad has always traveled a ton for business, and now a bunch of my friends are frequently on the go.

As an RD, one of the most common questions my friends ask me is how to be healthier when traveling for work. They love living a healthy, active lifestyle at home, but find this lifestyle doesn’t transition well to life on the road.

Eating Healthy on the Road

My tips for eating healthy while traveling don’t differ much from healthy living at home. Choose meals that are mostly vegetables and lean protein. Go for whole grain carbohydrates rather than processed ones. Avoid excess added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. But one of my favorite ways to ensure you stick to your wellness goals on the road begins before you leave your home. Be prepared with healthy travel snacks!

Packing healthy travel snacks is a key piece of the healthy traveling puzzle. For one, having a healthy snack in your bag eliminates the need to buy snacks on the road. These options are often limited in selection and low in nutrients. Well-planned travel snacks actually fill you up, because they are full of all the good stuff that makes us feel satiated. Plus, you’ll save money by avoiding those $7 bags of trail mix at the airport snack stand.

10 Healthy Travel Snacks

Healthy travel snacks should have some combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fats to keep us full. We want to avoid excess added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat, as well as highly processed foods. Stock up on some of these delicious snacks to prepare for you next trip! I love these options because they easy to transport, don’t require refrigeration, and are full of good-for-you ingredients.

1. Fresh whole fruit

Whole fruit - healthy travel snacks - Daisybeet

Choose firm, whole fruit that does not bruise easily. I love bananas, apples, oranges, and clementines. Fruit is great on its own or paired with nut butter for a more filling snack.

2. PB+J sandwich on whole grain bread

Toast with peanut butter and homemade chia seed jam - healthy travel snacks - Daisybeet

Mom knew best – a PB+J sandwich is an awesome healthy travel option! You’ll get some filling fiber from whole grain bread plus healthy fats and protein from the peanut butter. Choose lower sugar jam, or make your own chia jam!

3. Nuts

Handful of Cashews - Daisybeet

Nuts are easy to carry, and a handful helps tide you over until you can eat your next meal. Look for unsalted or lightly salted nuts or trail mix to avoid excess sodium intake. We all know the swelling is real when we are in the air!

4. Popcorn or popcorn trail mix

Popcorn trail mix healthy travel snacks - Daisybeet

This is one of my favorite snacks for home or travel! Popcorn is a whole grain, crunchy, satisfying, voluminous snack. Popcorn has fiber and air, both of which keep us full. Air-popped popcorn or a lightly seasoned version is best. I also love to add nuts and seeds for healthy fats and protein when preparing my popcorn.

5. Nut butter packets

Nut butter packs - healthy travel snacks - Daisybeet

Nut butter packets are one of my favorite food innovations. I always bring a few with me on a trip to eat with fresh fruit, spread on some whole grain crackers, or added to hotel oatmeal for breakfast.

6. Whole grain or high fiber crackers

GG High fiber crackers - healthy travel snacks - Daisybeet

Whole grain crackers are another crunchy snack to keep on hand when you are traveling. Make it a filling snack by pairing a few with a nut butter packet or hummus. If you have trouble staying regular while traveling, I love these high fiber crackers! Each cracker has 4 grams of fiber.

7. High fiber cereal

High fiber cereal - healthy travel snacks - Daisybeet

While we’re on the topic of staying regular, high fiber cereal is another healthy travel snack idea if this is of concern for you. Munch on it dry, or add it to yogurt you purchase on the road or in the airport.

8. Oatmeal packets or cups

Oatmeal packets - Daisybeet

Another portable snack, plain oatmeal has both soluble and insoluble fiber, thiamin, iron, and zinc. Just add hot water to a packet or cup prepare! To make it a meal, add a handful of nuts and sliced banana.

9. Chickpea snacks

Chickpea snacks - Daisybeet

If you love potato chips, chickpea snacks are a satisfying, healthier alternative. Each serving of chickpea snacks has about 6 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. They are salty, crunchy, and super delicious!

10. Bars

Bars - Daisybeet

Bars are always an easy travel snack option! Just make sure to choose bars with minimal added sugar and a decent amount of protein. When reading the ingredient list, look for whole ingredients you recognize, like nuts, seeds, or dried fruit. I look for bars with no limited to zero added sugar, 2-3 grams of fiber, and 4-5 grams of protein per serving. Some of my favorites are RX Bar, Larabar, and KIND bars.

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Healthy travel snacks infographic - Daisybeet

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Peaches and Cream Overnight Oatmeal (Vegan, Gluten Free)

This overnight oatmeal recipe is super thick, creamy, and full of fresh peach flavor. You just need 10 minutes to make this delicious breakfast!

Peaches and cream overnight oatmeal - Daisybeet

I’m soaking up every last bit of summer while I can, including my favorite summer produce. Fresh peaches are so amazing this time of year! These overnight oats are basically peach pie in a jar.

The best part of this overnight oatmeal recipe is you can have it all year round! The peach puree is made from frozen peaches, and you could easily sub the fresh peach for defrosted frozen ones. Frozen produce is actually super nutrient-rich! Fruits and vegetables are frozen at peak ripeness, and the freezing process preserves those vitamins and minerals.

Peaches and cream overnight oatmeal - Daisybeet

Steps to make peaches and cream overnight oatmeal

First, you’ll combine the dry ingredients + fresh peach in a glass container or Tupperware.

Dry ingredients for peaches and cream overnight oatmeal - Daisybeet

Next, add wet ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover, and place this in the fridge overnight.

Wet ingredients peaches and cream overnight oatmeal - Daisybeet

While the overnight oatmeal sets in the fridge, make some peach puree in your blender. You can store this in a separate container in the fridge.

In the morning, portion out the overnight oats into 3 bowls or containers. Top with peach puree + chopped fresh peach and shredded coconut, if desired.

Why you should start making overnight oatmeal

Overnight oats have become one of my absolute favorite breakfasts! As a Registered Dietitian, they check off all the boxes when it comes to healthy eating.

  • Nutritious and filling. Overnight oats are packed with nutrients, including fiber. The fiber from the oatmeal + chia seeds is incredibly filling, because fiber swells in our stomach and slows down digestion. Each serving of this recipe has over 6 grams of fiber, which is 25% of the daily recommendation for women!
  • Easy and foolproof to make. Overnight oats hardly need a recipe, because they are so easy to prepare. Just mix oats, chia seeds, your favorite milk, and other sweeteners/fruits/flavorings, and pop it in the fridge! Once you have the proper dry to wet ingredient ratio down, the possibilities are endless.
  • Totally customizable. Overnight oatmeal is incredibly easy to customize based on what flavors you love. My personal favorite flavors include cinnamon, peanut butter, chocolate, or fresh berries. Make a simple base, and add different flavorings for each day of the week to keep it interesting!
  • Perfect for busy schedules. I am a big supporter of eating a healthy breakfast to start your day. If you’re super busy, you might not have time to sit down for a meal before work. Overnight oats are perfect to grab and go in the morning, so you can eat it on the train or at your desk!
Peaches and cream overnight oatmeal - Daisybeet

If you love this recipe, you may also like

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Peaches and Cream Overnight Oatmeal (Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 3 1x
  • Category: breakfast

Description

This overnight oatmeal recipe is super thick, creamy, and full of fresh peach flavor. You just need 10 minutes to make this delicious breakfast!


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. In a medium glass container or Tupperware, combine oats, chia seeds, chopped peach, cinnamon, and coconut. 
  2. Add almond milk, coconut milk, and maple syrup. Mix everything together very well.
  3. Cover and set in fridge overnight.
  4. While the overnight oatmeal sets, add defrosted frozen peaches to a blender or food processor. Blend on high until you have a smooth puree. Store in the fridge in a separate container.
  5. In the morning, portion overnight oatmeal into 3 bowls or containers, and top with peach puree. You may need to stir the peach puree quickly if there is any separation. 


Notes

  • You can sub an additional 1/2 cup of defrosted frozen peaches for fresh peach if it is out of season.
  • Sub 2 cups of almond milk if you don’t want to use the 1/2 cup of coconut milk.

Keywords: overnight oatmeal, overnight oats, peaches and cream overnight oats, vegan, gluten free

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Peaches and Cream Overnight Oats - Daisybeet

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Pesto Zucchini Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Put this delicious pesto zucchini quinoa salad recipe on your meal-prep menu for the week! It’s vegan, gluten free, and so easy to make.

Pesto Zucchini Quinoa Salad - Daisybeet

Pesto is one of those foods that I could eat every day. It’s such a versatile sauce. I love it on pizza, pasta, toast, and even with eggs! This homemade vegan pesto pairs perfectly with the zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, and quinoa in this recipe.

How to make vegan pesto

This pesto is totally plant-based, but still packs that classic cheesy flavor thanks to nutritional yeast! Nutritional yeast is a food product sold in flakes or powder. It is a great source of plant-based protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin B12. It has a cheesy, umami flavor that is great to flavor vegan recipes.

  • Add lemon juice, garlic, basil, arugula, salt, pine nuts, olive oil, cold water, and nutritional yeast to a food processor or high speed blender.
  • Blend until well combined, but still a little chunky for texture.
  • Stop to scrape down the sides during blending. The whole process will take just a few minutes!
Vegan Pesto in Food Processor - Daisybeet

What’s in this pesto zucchini quinoa salad?

This quinoa salad is so easy to make! All you need are 10 ingredients (not including salt, pepper, and water) and about 30 minutes to get this on the table.

  • Quinoa
  • Zucchini
  • Summer squash
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Arugula
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil
Pesto zucchini quinoa salad - Daisybeet

I enjoyed this quinoa salad over greens for lunch and topped with a piece of fish for dinner. It is a versatile recipe that tastes amazing both warm and cold. Grain salads are one of my favorite recipes to meal prep, and this one is definitely a winner!

If you love this recipe, you may also like

Pesto zucchini quinoa salad - Daisybeet

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Pesto Zucchini Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 as a side 1x
  • Category: side dish

Description

Put this delicious pesto zucchini quinoa salad recipe on your meal-prep menu for the week! It’s vegan, gluten free, and so easy to make.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into half-moon slices
  • 1 large summer squash, cut into half-moon slices
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced

Vegan Pesto

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh basil
  • 1 large handful baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place zucchini and summer squash slices on baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until fork tender and starting to brown.
  3. Cook quinoa according to package instructions while zucchini and squash roast.
  4. Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender. Blend for a few minutes until smooth but a little chunky. Pause to scrape down the edges with a spatula if necessary.
  5. Combine quinoa, zucchini/squash, sun dried tomatoes, and about 1/2 cup of the pesto in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine until everything is well coated. 
  6. Serve warm or place in a container and refrigerate for later.


Notes

  • You can just add 2 cups of basil, instead of 1 cup basil/1 cup arugula in the pesto for similar results.
  • Stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • You will probably have leftover pesto – it freezes well, if you don’t plan to use it within a few days!

Keywords: quinoa salad, pesto, vegan, vegan pesto, zucchini

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Weight Loss Nutrition Myths, Busted

In this edition of ‘Nutrition Myths Busted’, we are talking weight loss. From carbs to calories to skipping meals, get the most up to date research here!

weight loss nutrition myths

Since starting my nutrition private practice this year, almost every single one of my clients has wanted to lose weight. With that goal comes a flood of questions. Should they try Whole30? What about keto? How about meal replacement shakes?

After I say my part about weight loss, balanced meal planning, and macronutrient needs, my clients are sometimes a little underwhelmed. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, magic pill, or specific diet that guarantees weight loss fast.

The good news is, weight loss is possible and attainable. Just like most changes in life, weight loss is built on the culmination of healthy habits. Make small, sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle, and you will see results! It takes a little patience because healthy weight loss is slow and steady, but you absolutely can be successful at weight loss.

Today, I’m breaking down three weight loss nutrition myths I hear and read over and over. I’m covering carbohydrates, calories, and skipping meals and how they all relate to weight loss. Read on for the science-backed details!

Weight Loss Myth 1: Carbs make you fat.

Spring pasta dish - weight loss nutrition myths

Back in the 1990s, the low-fat craze took over in America. But now, things have shifted, and low-carb diets are all the rage. From paleo to keto, many of today’s hottest diets promote low carbohydrate intake.

For reference, the Dietary Guidelines recommend 45-65% of our diets come from carbohydrates, or about 225-325 grams of carbs per day. The ketogenic diet (which was developed for people with epilepsy) recommends just 50 grams per day.

The research shows that in the short term, low carb diets might be slightly more effective for weight loss than other diets (1). When I say slightly, I mean the difference of 2-3 pounds over 12 months. A difference this small is negligible for those with a significant amount of weight to lose. Furthermore, research shows that adherence to very low carb ketogenic diets is nearly nonexistent after 6 months.

What all this tell us is that low carb diets may jumpstart weight loss in the short term, but after a year of dieting, the difference is inconsequential. Also, low carb diets, especially the ketogenic diet, are not sustainable long term. When considering a diet, ask yourself if you think you’ll be eating this way when you’re 85. If the answer is no, it’s probably not a sustainable pattern of eating that will produce long term results.

Furthermore, when you eliminate carbs, you are eliminating super important vitamins, minerals, and fiber! A high fiber diet is actually extremely conducive to weight loss, because it fills you up on fewer calories. The takeaway here is to choose whole grain, complex, fiber-rich carbs to promote weight loss while still meeting your micronutrient needs. Check out this post for to learn more about fiber-rich foods!

Weight Loss Myth 2: I can eat whatever I want and lose weight, as long as I stay under my calorie goal.

Cookie dough fudge - weight loss nutrition myths

I think a lot of us have experience with counting calories. When we have a specific number in mind about how much we should eat every day, this can quickly become the most important driving factor of our food choices. We choose 100-calorie packs over satiating nuts for a snack because they are lower in calories. But, there is so much more to a calorie than the number, and the quality of your calories matters.

Not all calories are created equal

The calories in our food have different effects on metabolism when the food is actually digested and absorbed (2). For instance, an apple and a slice of white bread have roughly the same number of calories. But, the apple has 4 grams of fiber, whereas the white bread has none. The fiber in the apple will slow the digestive process, keeping us full for longer, and avoiding a quick spike in blood sugar. The white bread breaks down quickly, so the sugars rapidly absorb into our blood.

When we choose meals and snacks that have a balance fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats, our bodies digest them more slowly, we have a more stable blood sugar curve, and we feel fuller for longer. The benefits of fiber in particular are extra notable, because we don’t even digest it! It passes through our digestive tract, feeds the good bacteria in our guts, or gets exits our bodies. When we feel full, we eat less overall, which ultimately leads to weight loss.

Of course, consuming an excess of ANY macronutrient will be stored as fat. But, we can prevent eating in excess in the first place by choosing balanced meals, never restricting ourselves too much, and practicing mindfulness while eating.

The best foods for sustainable weight loss are not low calorie foods, but whole, unprocessed foods from all food groups because they metabolize more efficiently, keep us full, and help prevent overeating in the first place.

Weight Loss Myth 3: Skipping meals will help me lose weight.

Skipping meals may work for short term weight loss, but it is absolutely not sustainable or healthy for the long term. In fact, it might actually disrupt your metabolism. Metabolism is all the chemical processes that happen inside our bodies that keep us alive. It encompasses burning calories and fat for energy, and using energy to rebuild tissues.

One study found that there was no difference in body weight after 1 year between breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers (3). Also, the breakfast eaters had higher intakes of important nutrients, like thiamin, niacin, and folate.

Another study looked at breakfast skipping, dinner skipping, and eating a conventional 3 meals per day (4). After the breakfast skipping trial, post-meal insulin levels and fat oxidation increased. This may signify changes in metabolism that could lead to increases in inflammation and difficulty managing glucose levels in the long term. This increases risk of Type 2 Diabetes and weight gain.

Skipping meals and it’s effect on metabolism

We can rev up our metabolism to a degree every time we eat. Protein and fiber-rich foods have high thermic effects, because they take longer to digest and absorb than refined carbs and fat (5). This means it takes more calories to digest protein and fiber than other foods. Skipping meals has the opposite effect on metabolism. Our bodies are very smart, and will go into “starvation mode” when they are severely calorie restricted. We become accustomed to burning less calories to perform necessary functions and hold on tight the the calories we DO get (6).

While skipping meals may induce weight loss via a calorie deficit early on, it is not sustainable and may damage our metabolism, which makes it even harder to lose weight in the long term.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this weight loss nutrition myths post! To summarize, there is no quick fix for weight loss if you want it to last long term. Small changes that work within your lifestyle will lead to weight loss success, along with a well-balanced diet that includes fiber-rich carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fat. Check out my last ‘Nutrition Myths, Busted’ post here!

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Barbecue Jackfruit Sliders with Pineapple Salsa

Thank you, Unilever® and Hellmann’s® for sponsoring this blog post! I’m grateful to partner with brands I love to cook with, and all opinions are my own.

Jackfruit is the perfect plant-based substitute for animal protein in these barbecue jackfruit sliders! Easy, homemade barbecue sauce and fresh pineapple salsa give these sliders the best sweet and spicy flavor. 

jackfruit sliders

Jackfruit sliders. There’s a first time for everything, right? Before this recipe, I was totally new to the jackfruit game. Let me tell you, I am hooked! Ben gave this recipe the boyfriend-approval stamp. It is his new favorite meal!

What is jackfruit?

The jackfruit tree is related to the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit species (1). Jackfruit grows in India and other southeast Asian countries, Africa, Brazil, and Suriname. The jackfruit plant produces massive fruit, weighing up to 100 pounds!

Ripe jackfruit tastes similar to pineapple or mango. But when it is unripe, jackfruit has a neutral flavor, like potato. It’s texture is stringy, similar to pulled pork or chicken. Therefore, unripe jackfruit is an excellent meat substitute in savory dishes.

Jackfruit sliders stack

What’s in these barbecue jackfruit sliders?

Thanks to easy, homemade barbecue sauce and pineapple salsa, these jackfruit sliders are crazy flavorful. Plus, the homemade barbecue sauce has no refined sugar. I used Hellmann’s® Real Ketchup in this recipe. This gluten-free ketchup contains just six real, simple and delicious ingredients and is only sweetened with honey! How awesome is that? I love this ketchup because it’s made with non-GMO sourced ingredients and contains no high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Main ingredients in these barbecue jackfruit sliders

  • Jackfruit
  • Pineapple
  • Bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Jalapeno
  • Lime
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Barbecue sauce ingredients: tomato paste, Hellmann’s® Real Ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce or tamari, unsweetened applesauce, molasses, honey and spices.
Hellman's Jackfruit Sliders

Making homemade barbecue sauce might sound daunting, but it couldn’t be easier! Just mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan, heat, and it’s ready to use.

You’ll have some leftover barbecue sauce from this recipe. Try tossing my favorite crispy tofu in it, or bake up some barbecue salmon!

Barbecue jackfruit sliders

If you love this recipe, you may also like

pineapple salsa

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Barbecue Jackfruit Sliders with Pineapple Salsa (Vegan)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 sliders 1x
  • Category: main dish

Description

Jackfruit is the perfect plant-based substitute for animal protein in these barbecue jackfruit sliders! Easy homemade barbecue sauce and fresh pineapple salsa give these sliders the best sweet and spicy flavor.


Scale

Ingredients

Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Hellmann’s® Real Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Pineapple Salsa

  • 2 cups pineapple, diced small
  • 1 bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt

Finishing Touches

  • 1 10 oz package pulled jackfruit (find it in the refrigerated section at the grocery store or canned jackfruit is available online)
  • Whole wheat slider buns
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 6 small lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Combine all barbecue sauce ingredients in a saucepan and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes until smooth. Remove from heat.
  2. While the sauce heats, combine all pineapple salsa ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss to combine.
  3. Heat the pulled jackfruit in a frying pan, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Add about 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce and stir to coat the jackfruit.
  4. Toast the slider buns (optional), then top each bun with about 1/3 cup jackfruit, a few slices of avocado, lettuce, and a scoop of pineapple salsa.


Notes

  • These sliders would also make delicious tacos!

Keywords: jackfruit, jackfruit sliders, vegan, plant-based, homemade barbecue sauce

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Featured

The Best Summer Peach Salad (Gluten Free)

This delicious, easy peach salad combines all the best flavors of summer! Make it tonight for a dinner side everybody will love.

Peach salad bowl surrounded by ingredients - Daisybeet

I’ve made this peach salad like five times this summer, so it’s about time I shared the recipe with you all! I love this salad for so many reasons. It’s easy to make, filled with the best summer produce, and just tastes so fresh!

I love adding in-season fruit to salads. The sweet flavor is a great contrast to the savory, tangy, and acidic flavor profiles you usually get in a salad. I love to use apples in the fall, pears in the winter, and strawberries and peaches in the summertime.

Summer peach salad - Daisybeet

Tips for making this summer peach salad

  • Choose the best quality produce you can find. The amazing flavor in this salad comes from the freshest, in season produce. If you can get to a farmer’s market, pick up your produce there! Otherwise, look for locally sources tomatoes, peaches, and corn in your grocery store.
  • Don’t use overripe peaches. You want to use peaches that are ripe enough for flavor, but not SO ripe that they don’t hold their shape when sliced.
  • Thoroughly toss the salad in dressing. This salad tastes best when you toss it well with the dressing. That way, the goat cheese disperses and coats the peaches and vegetables in it’s creaminess.
  • Experiment with different greens. I think peppery arugula is the perfect base for this peach salad, but feel free to try other greens! I recommend a softer green, like baby spinach or spring mix.
  • Serve immediately. This recipe is best served right when you prepare it. The greens will become wilted if you save it overnight, after the salad has been dressed.
Summer peach salad - Daisybeet

Ingredients in this summer peach salad

  • Arugula
  • Peaches
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Basil
  • Goat cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Honey mustard
  • Honey
Summer peach salad - Daisybeet

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The Best Summer Peach Salad (Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6 1x
  • Category: side

Description

This delicious, easy peach salad combines all the best flavors of summer! Make it tonight for a dinner side everybody will love.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 bag of arugula
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add corn and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle. 
  2. Slice kernels off of corn cob using a sharp knife.
  3. Add arugula to a large salad bowl. Top with peaches, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, basil, corn, and goat cheese.
  4. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey mustard, and honey until smooth. Slowly drizzle in olive oil as you continue to whisk, until dressing is cohesive.
  5. Pour dressing over salad and toss well to coat everything evenly.
  6. Serve immediately.


Notes

  • Best served immediately.

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10 Grain Salads to Meal Prep for a Week of Healthy Meals

Grain salads are so easy and healthy to meal prep for the week! Here are 10 of my favorite recipes that the whole family will love.

Greek quinoa grain salads

One thing that I work on with most of my clients is meal prepping. Whether your nutrition goal is weight loss, eating healthier, or following a specific diet plan, meal prepping works for everyone!

Benefits of Meal Prepping

Meal prepping is the process of planning and preparing your meals ahead of time. It involves choosing recipes to make, shopping for the ingredients, and cooking the meals, usually over the weekend. While meal prepping takes good organization and a little bit of time, there are many benefits.

  • You save time. Meal prepping requires a few hours to shop and actually make the food, but it will save you hours of time during the upcoming week.
  • You save money. Bringing homemade lunches to work is much less expensive than that $15 dollar salad bowl you’re going out for every day. Taking the time to make a grocery list and shop once also eliminates the need to go to the store multiple times per week to buy more food.
  • It’s healthy. Meal prepped food is generally healthier than restaurant meals. Of course, it depends on the recipe you choose, but home cooked meals have less added sodium, sugar, and saturated fat than take out.
  • You know exactly what you are eating. It’s empowering to know exactly what you are putting in your body, especially if you have a nutrition goal you’re striving to meet. There’s no question about how many cups of rice are in this bowl, how much oil they used, or how much salt they added. You get to dictate what you eat!
  • Reduce food waste. You go to the store to buy ingredients for three recipes. Think about it…once the food is already cooked into a delicious recipe, you’re way more likely to eat it! We’re all guilty of those nights we had every intention of cooking, but were too tired and ordered takeout. So that bag of spinach, peppers, and broccoli go bad before we get another chance to use them. Meal prepping ensures you use your food before it spoils!

Why Grain Salads are Perfect for Meal Prepping

Grain salads are amazing for meal prep because they check all the boxes of meal prep benefits. My basic formula for grain salads is as follows: 1 cup of grains, 2-3 types of vegetables, and protein of choice. I also like to add something creamy, like crumbled cheese or avocado. I then mix it in a simple dressing, and it’s good to go for the week!

  • Grain salads are easy to make, and not too time consuming.
  • Whole grains like brown rice, bulgur, or quinoa are inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk. You can also keep costs down by choosing vegetarian protein sources like beans for your protein!
  • Grain salads are a balanced meal all in one. They include vegetables and whole grains for fiber/complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats, which might come from avocado, tahini, or olive oil in your dressing. Because of this, grain salads will keep you full and satisfied through the afternoon.
  • When you make your own grain salads, you control exactly what goes into them! You can recreate your favorite takeout grain bowl, but in a healthier way.
  • Since grain salads require no assembly once they are made, you are way more likely to eat them!

10 Healthy Grain Salad Recipes

Here are some of my favorite grain salad recipes. Don’t they look so colorful, healthy, and delicious?

Greek Quinoa Salad with Lentils

Greek quinoa salad grain salads

Farro Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Feta

farro salad with roasted veg and feta grain salads

Asian Quinoa Bowls with Peanut Baked Tofu from Simply Quinoa

Asian peanut tofu quinoa bowl grain salads - simply quinoa

Green Goddess Quinoa Summer Salad from Pinch of Yum

Green goddess quinoa salad - pinch of yum

Kale Butternut Squash Farro Salad by Freshly Zested

kale butternut squash farro salad - freshly zested

Summer Grain Salad by Spices in my DNA

summer grain salad - spices in my DNA

Roasted Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Salad by Crunchy Creamy Sweet

sweet potato black bean quinoa salad - crunchy creamy sweet

Slow Roasted Tomato Farro Salad by How Sweet Eats

farro roasted tomato salad - how sweet eats

Strawberry Quinoa Tabbouleh with Feta by Walder Wellness

Strawberry quinoa tabbouleh - walder wellness

Chipotle Black Bean Burrito Bowls with Seared Corn by From My Bowl

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Healthy Peach Blueberry Crisp (Vegan, Gluten Free)

This peach blueberry crisp is vegan, gluten-free, and sweetened only with maple syrup, but it is the most delicious summertime dessert everyone will love!

healthy peach blueberry crisp with vanilla ice cream

Cobblers, crisps, and crumbles are some of my absolute favorite desserts, especially in the summertime! The combination of sweet warm fruit, crunchy cinnamon-y topping, and cold vanilla ice cream is just irresistible.

My family makes this cobbler multiple times a summer, and I wanted to create a similar recipe that my people with dietary restrictions could enjoy! This final recipe is a peach blueberry crisp instead of a cobbler, but I promise it is just as satisfying.

serving of healthy peach blueberry crisp

What’s the difference between peach blueberry crisp, crumble, and cobbler?

I had to look this one up myself as I was naming this recipe, and thought it interesting to share! These three desserts all have a similar base of warm baked fruit, but the difference is in the topping.

  • A crisp topping contains oats, in addition to other ingredients like cinnamon, flour, butter, and sugar.
  • A crumble topping is very similar to a crisp topping, except it doesn’t have usually oats. Crumbles have a streusel-like topping made of mostly flour, sugar, and butter.
  • A cobbler is the least similar of the three. To make cobbler, you drop biscuits onto the fruit before baking it.

Which one is your favorite? Crisp, crumble, or cobbler?

Ingredients in this Peach Blueberry Crisp

This recipe is so easy to make, and only uses ten plant-based, gluten free ingredients! You probably already have a lot of these ingredients in your pantry.

peach blueberry crisp fruit ingredients

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healthy peach blueberry crisp

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Healthy Peach Blueberry Crisp (Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: dessert

Description

  • This peach blueberry crisp is vegan, gluten-free, and sweetened only with maple syrup, but it is the most delicious summertime dessert everyone will love!

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe peaches, sliced and then slices cut in half
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch (to thicken the fruit, optional)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup raw nuts (I used pecans and slivered almonds)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 T melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup, divided
  • Your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8″x8″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine chopped peaches, blueberries, corn starch, and 1 tbsp maple syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir together until corn starch evenly coats the fruit.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine oats, coconut, almond flour, nuts, cinnamon, salt, coconut oil, and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Stir together until well combined.
  4. Pour fruit mixture into the baking dish in an even layer. Then pour crisp topping onto the fruit, spreading into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling up around the edges.
  6. Let cool completely before slicing, if you want the fruit to be set from the cornstarch. You can reheat individual portions. If you don’t mind a messier dessert, dig in!
  7. Top with a scoop favorite vegan vanilla ice cream when serving.


Notes

  • Swap out the fruit based on your preferences…other berries would be delicious.
  • Keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Keywords: peach blueberry crisp, healthy peach blueberry crisp, vegan, gluten free

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Featured

Creamy Rosé Tomato Basil Sauce (Vegan)

This incredibly creamy tomato basil sauce is made with two summer staples: fresh tomatoes and rosé! Everyone will swoon over this hearty vegan meal.

Creamy rosé tomato basil sauce in a pan

As summer winds down, I’m soaking it in as much as I can. Beach days, after dinner walks, berries, tomatoes, and rosĂ©! Call me basic, but rosĂ© is my favorite wine to drink, especially since visiting Provence in July.

This creamy vegan tomato basil sauce features a touch of rosĂ©. It’s like the most delicious hybrid of tomato sauce, wine sauce, and creamy vodka sauce. You need are nine whole food ingredients to make this sauce happen tonight!

Bowl of rigatoni with creamy rose tomato basil sauce

How to Make Cashew Cream

Cashews are the dairy-free ingredient that makes this pasta so rich and creamy! Because they have such a mild flavor, they are an excellent healthy substitute for cream in recipes when blended with water.

  • First, soak cashews in warm water. The longer you soak the cashews, the creamier they will get when you blend. Raw cashews are best, as they are softer than roasted!
  • Drain the cashews and add them to a blender with fresh water.
  • Add a dash of salt, and blend on high for 2-3 minutes until super creamy. Take breaks to scrape down the edges for even blending.
  • Feel free to add other flavorings: nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, garlic for a savory sauce, fresh herbs, or maple syrup or dates for a sweet cream!
Cashew cream sauce

Why you’ll love this creamy rosĂ© tomato basil sauce

  • Nine simple ingredients. All the ingredients in this recipe are plant-based whole foods.
  • Easy to make. Just cook your sauce ingredients, blend up your cashew cream, and stir the two together.
  • No food coma. While the sauce is creamy and rich, it won’t leave you feeling weighed down afterwards, because there is no heavy cream!
  • Tastes good hot or cold. Once you toss this sauce with pasta, it tastes amazing both hot and cold. It makes a great leftover meal and travels well to work for lunch.
  • Perfect paired with a glass of rosĂ©. Well, you don’t want to waste the bottle of rosĂ© you opened to add to the sauce! This recipe is the best with a crisp glass.

If you love this creamy rosé tomato basil sauce recipe, you may also like

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Creamy Rosé Tomato Basil Sauce (Vegan)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 34 1x
  • Category: main dish

Description

This incredibly creamy tomato basil sauce is made with two summer staples: fresh tomatoes and rosé! Everyone will swoon over this hearty vegan meal.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water, divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 a white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry rosĂ© wine
  • 3 good large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsbp lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 oz whole wheat rigatoni

Instructions

  1. Soak cashews in 2 cups of warm water, ideally overnight, but for at least 30 minutes. To make cashew cream, drain soaked cashews and add them to a high powdered blender or food processor. Add remaining 1/2 cup water and a dash of salt. Blend for 2-3 minutes until super creamy, taking time to stop and scrape down the edges. Pour into a bowl and set aside, and rinse out blender.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large shallow pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and a generous grind of salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add rosé to the pan and turn up the heat a bit. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add tomatoes and basil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are broken apart and super soft, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove sauce from heat and add to your blender (you can also use an immersion blender). Blend on high until sauce is creamy. 
  6. Pour sauce back into your pan, and stir in the cashew cream.
  7. Add lemon juice and more salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and pour directly into sauce pan, and stir gently to coat evenly.
  9. Portion into bowls and enjoy with a glass of rosé!


Notes

  • Tastes good hot or cold!
  • Will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Keywords: tomato basil sauce, tomato cream sauce, rose pasta sauce, vegan

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Featured

Nutrition Myths, Busted: The Protein Edition

Today, I’m breaking down four nutrition myths in regards to all things protein! Read on to learn what the science has to say on plant-based protein, soy, and protein supplements.

Nutrition is a relatively new and emerging science. There is a ton of fresh information out there regarding nutrition, food, and wellness. There are also many people who deem themselves “experts” in this space who love to give advice on what you should be eating. Because of this, it can be overwhelming and confusing to dig through information to find answers to your nutrition questions. Lucky for you, that’s my job as a registered dietitian!

In the very first post of my Nutrition Myths series, I’m delving into myths surrounding all things protein. Raise your hand if you’ve heard any of these statements: Plant-based diets don’t provide enough protein. You need protein supplements after a workout. Soy protein may cause breast cancer. Collagen supplementation will improve your hair, skin, and nails. As an RD, I know I’ve heard my fair share, plus many more like them. Let’s get into the nitty gritty of these four myths, and break down the facts.

#1 – Plant-based diets don’t provide enough protein.

Greek Quinoa Salad/Plant Based Protein - nutrition myths

A balanced, well-planned vegan or vegetarian diet absolutely can provide enough protein. The key here is balanced. If you follow a plant-based diet, make sure to include plenty of plant-based protein sources in your meals and snacks daily! Some of my favorites include quinoa, legumes, and tofu.

Protein needs do vary individually, based on many factors including age, activity level, and preexisting health conditions. That said, many of us get more than enough protein each day without even trying! In general, an adequate amount of protein is 0.8-1.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. For a 130 pound woman, that equates to 47-71 grams of protein per day. A vegan could easily hit this range by eating 1 cup of beans, 1 cup of lentils, 1 cup of quinoa, and 1 cup of tofu in a day!

Verdict: A well-planned, balanced plant-based diet provides enough protein from food sources, including legumes, beans, nuts, and soy products.

#2 – You need protein supplements after you work out.

protein powders - nutrition myths

I’m not the only one who has seen people waltzing around the gym with their shaker bottle filled with a protein drink. Protein supplements come in all different varieties these days. There’s whey protein and casein protein from milk, as well as many vegan varieties from peas, hemp, rice, and soy.

But, are these protein supplements necessary after a workout, or any time, for that matter? For a majority of people who work out regularly, the answer is no. While you should be eating a meal or snack that contains protein within an hour of exercising, choose food first before supplements to refuel. One cup of Greek yogurt, a two-egg omelet, or a 3 oz of salmon are all perfect options, as they provide 15 grams or more or protein!

Verdict: There is no need to take protein supplements for the average person who works out up to an hour a day. Protein rich foods provide enough high quality protein to support muscle repair and growth.

#3 – Soy protein heightens breast cancer risk.

Edamame - Nutrition Myths

Soy is one of the most controversial foods of our time. Soy foods include tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soy protein isolate. It is low in saturated fat, contains fiber, protein, and important nutrients like calcium, iron, and potassium. Soy also contains phytochemical compounds, called isoflavones.

Soy isoflavones are phytoestrogens, which means they have a very similar structure to the hormone estrogen that our bodies produce. The skepticism revolving soy protein is largely due to these compounds and their potential effect on the body as promoting hormonal cancers, especially breast cancer. In the past, we thought that soy isoflavones bind to estrogen receptors in the same way as the estrogen hormone. We now know that they bind differently, and have different functions than estrogen (1).

The research has shown that soy consumption does not increase risk of breast cancer. Lifelong soy consumption may in fact lower the risk of breast cancer! Studies that looked at Asian women who eat soy throughout their lives have found this connection (2).

While moderate amounts of soy foods in the diet have no effect of breast cancer risk (and may decrease risk), the same cannot be said for soy protein supplements. These supplements are much higher in isoflavones than tofu, tempeh, or edamame. Right now, there is not enough research to show whether these supplements have any effect on breast cancer risk. For now, I recommend taking them in moderation, like all things in our diets.

Verdict: Moderate consumption of soy foods are safe and may actually help reduce breast cancer risk in certain populations.

#4 – Collagen supplementation will improve your hair, skin, and nails.

Collagen protein powder - nutrition myths

Collagen is one of the trendiest food products on the market these days. It’s touted for improving nail strength, hair length, reducing wrinkles, and eliminating joint pain. But what is it? Collagen is connective body tissue protein – think bones, skin. tendons and ligaments. It’s the most abundant protein in the body, making up about 30%. The collagen supplements we ingest are made from cooking the tendons, ligaments, skin, and bones of animals, then drying them into a powder form (3).

Why Collagen?

Collagen contains 19 amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. In particular, collagen includes glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. It is difficult to obtain the amino acid hydroxyproline from other protein sources. The thought is that collagen supplements, which contain hard-to-get hydroxyproline, will lead to higher endogenous collagen production. Increased collagen production is thought to improve hair, skin, and nails, as well as joint pain.

How it all Breaks Down

Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose what the amino acids do in our bodies. When we take a collagen supplement, the protein is broken down into single amino acids (or very small chains) when it is digested and absorbed. The individual amino acids may not be used for collagen production at all! Just like “spot training” doesn’t work to tone specific areas of your body, the body will prioritize where the amino acids are needed. We cannot alter this process by taking collagen supplements.

While some studies have shown beneficial results of collagen supplements on skin health and joint pain (4, 5, 6), there are no long term studies to support these results. It’s also important to note that many of the current studies have limitations, such as small sample size. Also, be sure to look at who is funding the studies you read – they are often funded by the collagen industry, which poses a conflict of interest.

Verdict: There is not enough research to show collagen supplements support endogenous collagen production, and the amino acids from collagen supplements will be used as the body needs.

I hope you guys loved reading this post about protein nutrition myths! I would love to hear what myths are on your mind, so I can break them down in another Nutrition Myths post in the future.

Let me know if you love this Nutrition Myths post by leaving a comment below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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Image credits:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323093.php

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/whey-protein-101

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which help keep Daisybeet running. I truly love all the brands I link to, and use them frequently in my daily life!

Featured

Healthy Five-Minute Bircher Muesli Recipe (Gluten Free)

This Bircher muesli is a delicious make-ahead breakfast that takes just five minutes to prepare. It has fiber and protein to keep you full all morning!

Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli: The Original Overnight Oatmeal

Is it just me, or is overnight oatmeal the best thing since sliced bread? It tastes amazing, is filled with nourishing ingredients, and literally takes five minutes to prepare. If you’re a busy person (aka everyone these days) overnight oatmeal is the perfect grab-and-go healthy breakfast option.

Bircher Muesli is the OG Overnight Oatmeal recipe. It was developed by a Swiss physician, Maxamilian Bircher-Brenner, for his patients. The original recipe calls for grated apple, lemon juice, and raw hazelnuts, and oats soaked overnight in water.

How to Make Bircher Muesli

I put a bit of a modern twist on my version of this recipe. It includes chia seeds, yogurt, and cinnamon, while still highlighting the refreshing green apple and lemon flavors.

  • In a glass jar or Tupperware, combine oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, and shredded green apple.
Bircher Muesli Ingredients
  • Add yogurt, almond milk, maple syrup, and lemon juice, and stir everything together until combined.
Bircher Muesli Mixed
  • Cover the container, set it in the fridge overnight, and you’ve got the creamiest, dreamiest breakfast waiting for you in the morning!

Why You’ll Love this Bircher Muesli Recipe

  • It’s so easy. No cooking required! Just mix together all your ingredients and let the fridge work its magic.
  • Simple, whole food ingredients.  All you need are eight ingredients for this recipe, and you probably have most of them in your kitchen right now. This bircher muesli is sweetened with just 2 tbsp of maple syrup, so there is no refined sugar! Eating whole food ingredients make us feel good and give us lasting energy for the day.
  • Easily customizable. While the original Bircher muesli recipe calls for shredded green apples, feel free to mix up the fruit you use in your version. Fresh berries or peaches would taste amazing in the summertime!
  • Grab-and-go meal. If you have a busy morning schedule, you can still have time for a healthy breakfast by preparing this recipe the night before!
Bircher Muesli

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Healthy Five-Minute Bircher Muesli Recipe (Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x
  • Category: breakfast

Description

This Bircher muesli is a delicious make-ahead breakfast that takes just five minutes to prepare. It has fiber and protein to keep you full all morning!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 of a Granny Smith apple, grated or chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large glass jar or container and stir very well to combine.
  2. Cover container and place in fridge overnight.
  3. In the morning, portion into 3 bowls and enjoy! Top with fresh or dried fruit, nuts, or seeds if desired.


Notes

  • Swap out apple for another seasonal fruit for a tasty twist on this recipe

Keywords: bircher muesli, overnight oatmeal, healthy breakfast, overnight oats

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Stuffed Eggplant Featured

Stuffed Eggplant with Bulgur, Tomato, and Dried Figs (Vegan)

This stuffed eggplant recipe is filled with bulgur, tomato, chickpeas, dried figs, basil, and spices for a delicious vegan meal everyone will enjoy!

Stuffed Eggplant

Mention any vegetable that’s been “stuffed”, and you’ve got my attention. What an ingenious way to eat more vegetables! Cook them with loads of delicious ingredients inside.

These stuffed eggplants are full of amazing Middle Eastern flavor, thanks to bulgur, chickpeas, dried figs, tahini, olive oil, and ras-el-hanout (a Moroccan spice blend). I used Turkish bulgur, dried figs, and olive oil for this dish, and they are such delicious products!

How to Make Stuffed Eggplant

These beautiful eggplants may look complicated, but this recipe is quite simple.

  • First, cook the eggplants whole. Don’t do anything to them! Just place them on a foil lined baking sheet, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. They will look super wrinkly and feel very soft when done.
Whole roasted eggplants - stuffed eggplant
  • While the eggplants bake, prepare the filling. Cook bulgur on the stovetop, and mix it in a bowl with chickpeas, tomato, onion, basil, ras-el-hanout, salt, pepper, lemon juice, dried figs, and olive oil.
stuffed eggplant stuffing
  • Prepare a simple tahini sauce by mixing tahini, garlic powder, salt, lemon juice, and cold water.
  • Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch border, and add it to the bulgur filling. Stir to mix everything together.
  • Scoop about 1 cup of bulgur filling into each eggplant half.
  • Drizzle generously with tahini sauce and sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy!

Main Ingredients in Stuffed Eggplant + Some Nutrition Notes

  • Eggplant: Eggplant is a versatile, nutrient-dense veggie that’s full of the good stuff. One cup has three grams of filling fiber! Eggplant is also full of antioxidants, including anthocyanin, the pigment that gives the skin its beautiful purple shade. Since eggplant is part of the nightshade family, it has gotten a lot of negative media attention because some believe that alkaloid compounds in nightshades cause inflammation. But, there has been no research in humans to support this belief. So go and load up your plate with eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes!
  • Bulgur: Bulgur is a popular whole grain ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s delicious and fluffy, with a texture similar to rice or quinoa. One cup of cooked bulgur contains eight grams of fiber, which is good for heart health, blood sugar control, and weight management. It is also super easy to prepare, and cooks quickly!
  • Dried Figs: The dried figs in this stuffed eggplant recipe add even more fiber! One serving of figs (fresh or dried) contains 4 grams of insoluble fiber and 2 grams of soluble fiber. These fruits are also one of the best plant-based sources of calcium! If you’re vegan or dairy free, figs are a great food to include in your diet regularly.
  • Tomato
  • Olive Oil
  • Chickpeas
  • Ras-El-Hanout
  • Tahini
  • Lemon Juice
Stuffed Eggplant

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Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant with Bulgur, Tomato, and Dried Figs (Vegan)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 eggplant halves 1x
  • Category: main dish

Description

This stuffed eggplant recipe is filled with bulgur, tomato, chickpeas, dried figs, basil, and spices for a delicious vegan meal everyone will enjoy!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 medium to large eggplants
  • 1 cup Turkish bulgur
  • 1/2 of a white onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 cup low sodium chickpeas (from a drained and rinsed can)
  • 5 dried Turkish figs, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp Turkish olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp ras-el-hanout
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Tahini Sauce

  • 1/2 cup smooth tahini
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. 
  2. Place eggplants on lined baking sheet whole, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Eggplants will be very soft and the skin wrinkly when done. Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board to cool until you’re able to slice them.
  3. While the eggplants cook, make the bulgur filling.
  4. Cook bulgur on the stovetop by combining 1 cup of bulgur with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until water is gone and bulgur is light and fluffy.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine bulgur with onion, tomato, basil, chickpeas, figs, lemon juice, olive oil, ras-el-hanout, and salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Make tahini sauce by whisking together tahini, lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt with a fork. Add cold water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the sauce becomes creamy and runny. I added about half a cup of cold water total before the sauce reached this creamy consistency. 
  7. Once eggplants are cool enough to handle, slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch border, and add the flesh to the bulgur filling. Stir to combine.
  8. Scoop about 1 cup of filling into each eggplant half.
  9. Serve, drizzled with tahini sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. 


Notes

  • You may have some leftover filling, depending on the size of your eggplants. Add it to a salad for lunch the next day!
  • If you can’t find ras-el-hanout, you can add 1/4 tsp each ginger, corriander, and paprika. It would also be delicious with curry powder instead. 

Keywords: stuffed eggplant, vegetarian, vegan, bulgur

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Featured

10 Easy Product Swaps and Tips for a More Sustainable Kitchen

Looking to make your home more eco-friendly? I’m sharing 10 easy tips to make your kitchen more sustainable that have worked for me!

Sustainable Kitchen

Creating a more sustainable home is one way you can reduce your carbon footprint. Since moving to Boston, I’ve made a conscious effort to live my life in a more eco-friendly way. Since I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this was the obvious place to start for me!

Read on to learn about some easy product swaps and tips to get you started building a more sustainable kitchen!

1. Buy in Bulk

Sustainable Kitchen - Buy in Bulk

Whenever I need grains, nuts, dried fruit, or seeds for a recipe, I head to the bulk bins first. Many large grocery stores like Whole Foods and Wegman’s have extensive bulk sections for you to take advantage of. Bring a reusable container or bags to fill up. You’ll also save money by shopping the bulk section, because you can get only the amount of food you need!

2. Reusable Shoppers

Reusable Shopper - Sustainable Kitchen

One of the easiest ways to make your grocery shopping trips and kitchen more sustainable is to use reusable shopping bags. While paper bags may seem greener than plastic bags, they still have a big impact on the environment. Paper bag manufacturing takes up four times more water than that of plastic bags, and the paper used to make them is often not recycled. And because they’re heavier, paper bags use more resources to transport them (1).

You don’t even necessarily need to purchase reusable shoppers. Stores like Lululemon and Athleta give them out to hold your purchases. I use these all the time when I grocery shop, and they hold up well for months and months. Keep your reusable shoppers by the door or in your car, so you never forget them.

3. Reusable Mesh Produce Bags

Reusable Mesh Bags - Sustainable Kitchen

There is really no need to stick your produce in those thin plastic produce bags you find in rolls all over the produce section. But, I totally understand the desire to keep apples with apples and oranges with oranges. Enter reusable mesh produce bags! There are tons of brands available on Amazon, but these are the ones I use and love because they are a bit thicker. If they get a little dirty, I just throw them in the wash!

I also use these bags for things besides produce. They’re good for travel to hold toiletries, as a mini dirty laundry bag, or to hold sweaty clothing after the gym.

4. Stasher Bags

Stasher bags

I love my little collection of Stasher bags! These silicone pouches completely erased the need for plastic baggies in my kitchen. Stasher bags are durable, leak-proof, and see through, so you know exactly what you are storing. And can we talk about all the gorgeous color options they have? They’re perfect for half-used produce, snacks, and just about anything you’d use a Ziploc baggie for.

We have four or five original sized bags and 3 snack sized bags, and that is the perfect amount for our family of two. They’re also great to hold non-food items, like makeup!

5. Beeswax Wraps

Beeswax Wraps

Beeswax wraps are my second-favorite sustainable swap for food storage. They are cotton sheets coated with beeswax, which makes them pliable and easy to wrap around bowls, fruit, cheese, etc. I love to use these for more awkward-shaped items, like half of a cut melon, or something that wouldn’t fit in my Stasher bags. They’re a great alternative to plastic wrap!

6. Various Sizes Glass Jars/Storage Containers

Glass Jars

Glass containers are my favorite for storing extra dry goods. Off the top of my head, I know I have glass jars filled with leftover nuts, chia seeds, cacao powder, oats, and lentils in my kitchen right now! I prefer glass containers because they don’t hold on to odors as much as plastic Tupperware.

If you don’t have glass containers, Ball Mason jars and Weck jars are both wonderful! I also have lots of repurposed glass containers from things like peanut butter or tomato sauce that I just clean and hold onto.

7. Cloth Napkins

Cloth Napkins

This is one of my newer practices, but it’s been a super simple swap. Instead of using paper napkins with meals, I’ve been grabbing a cloth napkin or clean tea towel. Unless I spill something major, I’ll even just use the same napkin for 3-4 meals before tossing it in the laundry hamper. Stock up on a few pretty sets, so you’ll always have a clean one on hand! I love these simple linen blend ones.

8. Metal/Bamboo Straws