Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Pineapple Salad

I love sweet and savory! And there are times of the year I crave pineapple. Spinach and pineapple smoothies, grilled pineapple, cold pineapple chunks to snack on, pineapple chicken salad (or chickpea salad for me), etc. This recipe brings pineapple into my lunch or dinner and I love it! I’m sure using grilled pineapple and grilled sweet potatoes would add another layer of flavor that would be amazing! But here are some reasons why I love this salad from a nutrition stand point.

Black Beans
  • Excellent Source of Fiber
  • High in Antioxidants – neutralizing cell damage
  • High in Iron – helps to bring oxygen to the cells
  • High in Calcium – bone health
  • High In Potassium – maintains healthy blood pressure and heart rate
Sweet Potatoes
  • Excellent Source of Fiber and Starch – which breaks down easily and is soothing to the stomach, even helping stomach ulcers.
  • High in Vitamin C and Zinc for Immune Health
  • High in Beta-Carotene – lowers inflammation inside and out
  • Helps to Regulate Blood Sugar
Pineapple
  • High in Vitamin C for Immune Health
  • High in Manganese for Bone Health and Connective Tissue
  • Contains the Digestive Enzyme Bromelain which Aids the Liver, and Breaks down Mucus in Sinuses and Lungs
  • Anti-Inflammatory

And then you add in the vitamins and minerals in the lime juice, the healthy fats in the avocado, and the metal detoxing benefits of cilantro – holy cow! I love this salad! Feel free to indulge! We also have roasted corn on the side to add for those who don’t have an adverse effect like me.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Pineapple Salad

  • Servings: 4 servings as a meal | about 2 cups each | 16 ounces
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh diced pineapple
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, about 2 limes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh chopped avocado as topping, optional
  • roasted corn as topping, optional

Adding chicken breast or shrimp to this would be a great way to make it a meal for those that are not plant-based.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the olive oil, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Toss the sweet potato chunks with the olive oil mixture in a gallon size bag to distribute spices. Spread on baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes, toss about 1/2 way through. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make the rest of the salad. In a large bowl, mix together the black beans, diced pineapple, diced red onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and garlic.
  3. Once the sweet potatoes are cooled, add to the black bean mixture and toss. If desired, add salt and pepper, and top with avocado and/or roasted corn.

Nutritional Information

*This is not including any added salt, the avocado, or roasted corn as a topping if you choose to add it.

273 calories | 8 g total fat | 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 5 g monounsaturated fat | 1.2 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 455 mg sodium | 44 g carbohydrates | 18 g fiber | 6 g sugar | 12 g protein | 285% vitamin A | 49% vitamin C | 583% vitamin K | 55% magnesium | 25% iron

Vegetarian Borracho Beans

These beans are one of the things I don’t mind doing ahead of time and letting cook for hours. It’s well worth the wait for fresh beans, especially this one, because of the broth that comes with it.

There is an advantage to cooking your own beans. When they are soaking you can do things to help breakdown the sugar that is usually the culprit for creating gas. One thing is to let the beans soak overnight and make sure to drain and rinse off the beans before cooking them. I’ve heard you should drain and rinse every 3 hours, but if you are sleeping I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I’ve also heard you can add a piece of carrot in when you are soaking them.

This recipe calls for a light beer, preferably a Mexican beer, but it doesn’t necessarily need it. Borracho does mean “drunk” which is why these are called borracho beans, or drunken beans. The beer does add a really good flavor and the alcohol cooks out. However, if you don’t have beer or find that you can’t have beer at all because of an allergy, it does add flavor, but it isn’t going to make or break this recipe. Just replace the amount of beer with extra vegetable broth or another savory liquid to add flavor.

Vegetarian Borracho Beans

  • Servings: Makes 6-8 cups
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 chicken or “chicken” bouillon or add a few cups of vegetable broth instead of water
  • 1 12oz can Mexican beer
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, if desired after cooking


Bean Soaking/Preparation
– You can soak the beans overnight. Cover with water and let sit covered on the counter overnight. Before cooking, rinse and add new water.
– You can also soak them for 3 hours, rinse, repeat for another 3 hours, rinse and then cook.
– Another method is to cover with water, let it boil. Turn off heat and let it sit for 2 hours. Rinse, add fresh water and start cooking.

Directions

  1. Drain the beans and rinse them. Add to a large pot. Add all chopped vegetables, bouillon, and cilantro. Add fresh water until the water is a few inches higher than the beans.
  2. Let beans come to a boil uncovered. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Add beer or any additional water/broth, and cover and cook for another hour.
  4. Add salt to taste if needed. Turn off heat and serve.

Nutrition Information

1/2 Cup Serving

108 calories | 0.48 g total fat | 0.17 polyunsaturated fat | 0.1 g monounsaturated fat | 0.1 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 g cholesterol | 3 mg sodium (unless adding salt) | 19.12 g carbohydrates | 6.1 g fiber | 0.9 g sugar | 6.15 g protein

Yogurt Ranch

You’re trying to watch your fat, but you just really want to dip those carrot sticks you have as a snack into a huge creamy bowl of ranch. Does this sound like you? Sounds like me! Here is an alternative to when you just can’t take it anymore and need to have that creamy tangy dipping sauce or salad dressing. I had originally made a plant-based version using a plant-based mayo, but it was still using a whole lot of oils and was fattening. This can still be made plant-based and is low in fat, or if you don’t have a problem with dairy, using low-fat yogurt and skim milk will do the trick just the same.  Feel free to use this to indulge in something that isn’t really that bad.

The Comparison:

Regular Ranch Dressing:

1 tbsp serving | 73 calories | 7.7 g fat | 1.0 g carbs | 0.4 g sugar | 0.2 g protein

Yogurt Ranch Dressing:

1 tbsp serving | 10 calories | 0.1 g fat | 1.5 g carbs | 1.1 g sugar | 0.9 g protein

Yogurt Ranch

  • Servings: 1 tbsp serving, about 20 servings, makes 1 1/3 cup
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened low fat plain Greek Style yogurt (I used Kite Hill’s unsweetened plain almond milk yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup low fat milk or unsweetened plant based milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

Directions

  1. Mix together the yogurt and milk until creamy.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk together.
  3. Ready to serve. Store in an air tight container for 1 week.

Nutritional Information:

10 calories | 0.1 g fat unsaturated | 1 mg cholesterol (0 mg if using plant-based ingredients) | 73 mg sodium | 1.5 g carbohydrates | 1.1 g sugar | 0.9 g protein

*Note that Greek Style dairy based yogurt will have less fat than the almond milk version. However, most of the fat from the almond milk version is from almonds, which is your healthy omega fatty acids, so it’s the healthy unsaturated fat instead of saturated.

Mexican Purple Coleslaw

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of soggy creamy coleslaw. I’m picky about my cabbage since I’m not personally a huge fan. A light crisp coleslaw, especially with cilantro, yum! And of course, I have to make it pretty. If I can buy the purple cabbage and use that instead of the everyday green cabbage, it just makes it that much more appealing and fun! To me it seems to be a little more richer and earthier in flavor than your regular green head of cabbage.

Some of the numbers between the two are pretty interesting

  • Red cabbage has 85% of the daily vitamin C, while green cabbage only has 47%.
  • Red cabbage contains 10% more vitamin A than green.
  • Red cabbage has double the amount of iron than green cabbage.
  • And with any fruit or vegetable – the deeper the color, the more antioxidants. Red cabbage is higher in antioxidants than green!

Green cabbage is still a healthy choice, but red definitely has it’s benefits too! I say go for the deeper flavor and color anytime you can.

Red Cabbage
  • High in Vitamin C
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • High in Vitamin K for Bone Health
  • High in Antioxidants

I’ve used this recipe as a side dish or as a topping on shrimp tacos. For my tacos I marinated chopped hearts of palm in spices and toasted them on the skillet instead of the shrimp. Whatever you want to use this with, it’s light and adds a crunch! No sogginess here.

Mexican Purple Coleslaw

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of purple cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tbsp agave or honey
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp or more chipotle chili powder, optional for spice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Mix together the shredded cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the orange juice, lime juice, agave or honey, cumin, and olive oil to make the dressing.
  3. Combine the vegetables and the dressing. Add salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately. Or put in fridge for a few hours to get cold before serving.

Nutritional Information

59 calories | 2.5 g fat | < 0.5 g polyunsaturated | 1.7 g monounsaturated | < 0.5 g saturated | 0 g trans | 0 mg cholesterol | 27 mg sodium | 9.4 g carbohydrates | 1.7 g fiber | 5.3 g sugar | 1 g protein | 159% Vitamin A | 47% Vitamin C | 30% Vitamin K

Honey Dijon Chicken with Red Potatoes & Carrots (with Chickpea Version)

I love dinner recipes when everything goes in one dish! Easy to make, easy to clean, and delicious to eat! This is one of the recipes I make on a regular basis. Partly because my husband loves mustard. A little too much. And partly, because it’s a balanced meal and easy to make vegetarian/vegan. I usually make a pan for my parents and him, and then half the recipe to make a small version of it with chickpeas or garbanzo beans for me. I will be hopefully making more dishes like this for easy dinners with not a lot of clean up for weekday meals. You could also get this prepared the night before so that when you get home all you need to do is throw it in the oven.

Let’s talk nutrition for a moment. Not only is this recipe low in fat and high in fiber, there are specific things that potatoes and carrots are good for.

Red Potatoes
  • Good Source of Iron – Oxygenation of Cells
  • Good Source of Vitamin C & Zinc – For Immune Health
  • Good Source of Potassium – Heart and Muscle Health
Carrots
  • Good Source of Beta-Carotene – helps slow down the aging of cells, including cells in the eye
    • Beta-Carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the liver
    • Vitamin A is converted in the retina to rhodopsin – used for night vision
  • Good Source of Vitamin A – protects the skin from sun damage

Honey Dijon Chicken with Red Potatoes & Carrots (with Chickpea Version)

  • Servings: 4 Servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on size)
  • OR 2 cans of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup honey or agave (plus more for extra sauce to dip)
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup Dijon mustard (plus more for extra sauce to dip)
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 lb. bag of red potatoes, chopped
  • 12-16 oz. bag of baby carrots
  • Salt and pepper, if desired

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Make your sauce. Combine 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup mustard, rosemary, and olive oil. Whisk together.
  3. In a gallon size bag, add potatoes and carrots enough to almost fill the bag. If you are using the chickpeas, you can pour those in too. Pour sauce over top. Close the bag and toss for about 3 minutes to make sure the sauce is covering the vegetables.
  4. Pour vegetables in a prepared 9×11 baking dish. Add your chicken breasts on top. Make a smaller batch of the sauce – 1/8 cup honey + 1/8 cup Dijon mustard, and cover the top of the chicken breasts. If using the chickpeas, if you need to add a little extra sauce, drizzle some on top.
  5. Put the dish, uncovered, in the oven for about 35 minutes or until the vegetables start to brown on sides and chicken juice is running clear.
  6. Let cool for about 5 minutes and serve! While it’s resting, if you need to whisk together extra sauce to dip or drizzle on top, do it now before serving.

Nutritional Information

With Chicken

555 calories | 8.5 g fat | 1.9 g polyunsaturated fat | 3.7 g monounsaturated fat | 2.2 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 204 mg cholesterol | 459 mg sodium | 59 g carbohydrates | 6.9 g fiber | 32 g total sugar | 64 g protein | 673% Vitamin A | 22% Vitamin C | 8% Calcium | 40% Magnesium | 38% Potassium | 33% Zinc

With Chickpeas

435 calories | 5.7 g fat | 1.7 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.9 g monounsaturated fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 87.5 g carbohydrates | 15 g fiber | 37 g total sugar | 13.4 g protein | 673% Vitamin A | 22% Vitamin C | 13% Calcium | 29% Magnesium | 25% Potassium | 21% Zinc

Black Bean Salad (Corn Free)

I love black beans. And being able to have them simply with other vegetables and flavors is always a good thing. Here is a simple recipe that is easy, low calorie, low fat, high protein, delicious and easy to make as a side, a snack, or meal prep for lunches. I’ve also used this as a topping for a bed of greens as a green salad or a topping for tacos. The list goes on!

Black Beans

1 Cup Cooked Black Beans

  • 14.5 g Protein
  • 0.7 g Fat
  • 40 g Carbohydrates
  • 16.6 g Fiber | Weight Management & Intestinal Health + Healthy Cholesterol Levels
  • 28% Daily Value (DV) Iron | Healthier Blood
  • 27% DV Magnesium | Healthy Bones
  • 16% DV Potassium | Healthy Blood Pressure
  • 16% DV Zinc | Healthy Immune System
  • 36% DV Folate | Healthy Reproduction of Cells

Then you add in the antioxidant benefits of red bell pepper and red onion and you have a powerhouse of nutrients in a few bites.

Black Bean Salad (Corn Free)


Ingredients

  • 2 cans of black beans
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix together.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes after mixing before eating.

Nutritional Information

Per serving

108 calories | 0.5 g total fat | 0.1 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 409 mg sodium | 19.3 g carbohydrates | 7.7 g fiber | 0.7 g sugar | 6.7 g protein

Macro Sources

71% Carbohydrates | 4% Fat | 25% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.6 Meat Alternative
  • 1.2 Vegetables

Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

One of my favorite spring/summer desserts to make! It’s easy just requires chopping and patiently waiting for the chips to bake if you choose to make them. Now the chips are not necessarily nutritious but the salsa part can be used in different ways. Top your favorite pancakes instead of syrup, eat it by itself, healthy topping for ice cream or “nice” cream, or use with your yogurt or chia pudding in the morning. However you want to eat this, go for it! It does make a lot, so make sure you have other options on how to eat it or make it for a group of people.

Let me first share with you the cinnamon chips. Feel free to only use cinnamon instead of cinnamon sugar, and if you have a better way to making chips like in an air fryer, by all means do it! But this is how I made mine. It is dessert after all.

Cinnamon Chips

  • Servings: 10 servings, 4 chips each
  • Print

Ingredients


– 10 flour tortillas
– 3 tbsp cinnamon
– 6 tbsp granulated sugar
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions


1. Preheat the oven to bake at 350 degrees F.
2. Take the tortillas and cut them into quarters so that there are four pieces per tortilla. Add them to a gallon size ziplock bag and add the oil. You may need 1 more tbsp of oil. Toss the bag to coat all the tortillas. This may take a few minutes.
3. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar.
3. Lay the chips out evenly on a baking sheet or two. You may have to do more than one batch to bake all of them.
4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or to desired crispiness.
6. Continue with the other tortillas until all are cooked.

Nutrition Information

Per Serving (about 4 chips)… unfortunately

192 calories | 5 g total fat | 1.1 g polyunsaturated fat | 2.0 monounsaturated fat | 1.7 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 364 mg sodium | 33.5 g carbohydrates | 2.4 g fiber | 8.8 g sugar | 4 g protein

 

And now for the Strawberry Salsa! This is an antioxidant and vitamin C rich dessert so don’t feel guilty digging in!

Strawberry Salsa

  • Servings: 6-8 servings, about 1 cup each
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 16 oz strawberries, diced
  • 6 oz blueberries, cut in half
  • 2 kiwis, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 3/4 orange juice
  • 1 tbsp strawberry jam

Directions

  1. Combine all the fruit together, add lime and orange juice and mix. Add in jam and combine until dissolved.
  2. Cover and place in fridge until ready to eat. It’s good to let it sit for about 10-20 minutes.

Nutritional Information

1 cup serving

93 calories | 0.6 g total fat | 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 0.1 g monounsaturated fat | 0.04 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fats | 0 g cholesterol | 2 mg sodium | 22.6 g carbohydrates | 4 g fiber | 16 g sugar | 1.6 g protein

Caesar Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Homemade Croutons

I don’t know of too many people who don’t like Caesar Salad. It’s lettuce, a creamy dressing, and then the crunch of flavorful croutons. I originally had a recipe for a cashew dressing to make it dairy free, but since have made a yogurt version (using plant-based yogurt or dairy-based) so that it is low fat but still creamy, delicious, and not so heavy. But first, I want to share how I make my own croutons.

Home-Made Croutons

Croutons can be expensive for how much you get, and almost always have dairy in the ingredients. Here is how I get around that. This recipe will fill about a 1/2 gallon bag when you’re done. Half the recipe if you need to.


Homemade Croutons

  • Servings: 1/2 gallon size bag, enough for 12 salads, 6 croutons each
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 6 slices of bread of your choice
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 3-4 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper (if desired)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Take 6 slices of bread and cube them. About 9-12 cubes each. Slice twice one way to make ribbons, and 2-3 times the opposite way.
  3. Spread on a cookie sheet (prepared with aluminum foil or parchment paper).
  4. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian Seasoning and salt and pepper.
  5. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the bread starts to brown. You might want to shake the pan around or flip them about half way through to make sure they get dry. Let cool. Add to salad or store in ziplock bag for about a week.

Nutrition Information (Whole Wheat Croutons Only)

1/2 slice worth of croutons per serving

84 calories | 5 g fat | 0.7 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 323 mg sodium | 7.9 g carbohydrate | 1 g fiber | 0.8 g sugars | 1.8 g protein

Energy Sources

38 g carbohydrates | 54% fat | 9% protein

Dietary Servings per Portion

0.4 Grain

 

So simple and easy that I always make my own croutons now. No added flavors or seasonings I don’t want. No hidden allergens. And it can be a healthy whole grain bread that I like.

Onto the salad!

Caesar Salad with Yogurt Dressing & Homemade Croutons

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, optional
  • 1/4 cup plain unsweetened yogurt, I used Kite Hill’s Plain Almond Milk Yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon
  • 1 tbsp miso paste, for soy free I use chickpea miso
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup Homemade Croutons
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan or my Nut Parmesan

Directions

  1. Add washed and chopped romaine hearts to a large bowl.
  2. In a blender add yogurt, garlic, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, miso, capers, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
  3. Add red onion if using, croutons, and parmesan to the romaine and toss. Right before serving, add in the dressing a small amount at a time and mix together until lightly covered.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

124 calories | 3.3 g total fat | 1.1 g saturated fat | 0.8 polyunsaturated fat | 1.0 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 4.5 mg cholesterol | 379 mg sodium | 16.5 g carbohydrates | 7.3 g fiber | 4.7 g sugar | 7 g protein

Macro Sources

53% Carbohydrates | 24% Fat | 23% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.2 Grain
  • 0.1 Milk Alternative
  • 5.3 Vegetables

Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol

One of the main concerns that I’ve heard from people is their need to lower their cholesterol or wanting to make sure to keep their cholesterol levels in the healthy range. What are some easy things to substitute or change in your diet to help? Let’s first talk a little about what cholesterol does and then we can better understand how to take care of our levels of cholesterol.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a class of lipids, or fats, that is made by the body for different purposes. For instance, cholesterol can be incorporated as part of the structure of cell membranes, used to make bile for digestion, made into vitamin D, and used to make sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. However, cholesterol can be deposited in the artery walls which leads to plaque build up and heart disease. How does it find itself there?

As you may know, water and oil don’t mix. For the fat to be transported during digestion it has to go through water based liquids, like blood. Those fats are combined with special proteins so that it can transport through the body. Lipoproteins are what those clusters are called and these include HDL and LDL. Cholesterol is a part of the cluster.

The difference in the HDL (high-density) lipoproteins and the LDL (low density) lipoproteins are the amount of fat (or cholesterol) they are transporting. The more cholesterol the less dense the lipoprotein will be. The more protein the more dense it will be. So the High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is the healthier one. The Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is the “lousy” one since it mainly consists of fat. This type is the cholesterol that can be deposited in the artery walls which then can lead to heart disease.

So how can we raise our healthy HDL and lower our lousy LDL?

Lowering LDL Cholesterol Levels

Lower The Amount of Fat in Your Diet

To lower the bad cholesterol means lowering the amount of fats in your diet. The total intake of fats should not be more than 20% of your total calorie intake. For a 2,000 calorie diet that would be 400 calories, which would be a total or 44 grams of fat. That is on the HIGH end.

Healthy Fats

When you are watching your fat intake, make sure the fats you are digesting are unsaturated fats and that less than 1/2 of your fat intake (10% total calorie intake, or 20 grams) is from saturated sources. The best way to tell the difference without a label, is that unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature (olive oil, avocados, most nuts, seeds, fish) and saturated fats are solid at room temperature (butter, animal fats). Avoid trans fats at all cost.

Increase Fiber, Fruits, & Vegetables

Fiber in the foods you eat has been proven to help decrease bad cholesterol. Eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, etc. will help.

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake to 5-9 servings a day, more being from vegetable sources. Fruits and vegetables (not canned) are our source of antioxidants which helps prevent heart disease and strengthens the body’s defense against cell damage. These antioxidants can neutralize free radicals which contribute to the build up of plaque in the arteries.

Lose Excess Weight

Just as much as a small increase of damaging factors can contribute to higher cholesterol levels, small decreases can have a good effect as well. Just a 5-10 pound decrease in weight is enough to start seeing a decrease in LDL cholesterol in most people.

Bottom Line

Lower the amount of fat in your diet and try to fill your day with low-fat whole foods rich in antioxidants and fiber. If overweight, loosing just 5 pounds can be enough to see a decrease.

Need help in lowing fat in your diet? Take my Free Nutrition Assessment to get my feedback and start getting your diet back on track!

Greek Chickpea Salad or Pita Filling

This is a great recipe to add to your meal prep for lunches. I always look for lunches that won’t “bring me down” come the mid-afternoon slump. Sometimes you just can’t avoid it, but I do notice that whatever I eat for lunch can directly effect it. Easily digestible carbohydrates and raw food always keeps me running! Not all people are the same, but for me this recipe truly does the trick for busy days. Whether I have it as is, a bean salad, or I have it in a whole wheat pita – this is something I keep in mind for lunches.

Let’s talk a little about why this recipe is nutritious.

Chickpeas
  • High in Fiber – Good for Weight Management and Bowel Health
  • Can Help to Reduce LDL (bad) Cholesterol
  • Omega-3 Fats – Reduce Inflammation
  • Good Source of Protein
  • Rich in Minerals for Bone Health
Low-Fat Yogurt
  • Good Bacteria for Gut Health & Immune Health
    • Relieves bloating and cramping
    • Combats bacteria in the stomach and intestines that can cause infection.
    • Helps prevent yeast infections by balancing pH levels
Cucumbers
  • Promotes Detoxification by Helping the Liver
  • Balances pH in Body
  • Balances Blood Sugar
    • A hormone in cucumbers helps the pancreas to utilize insulin
  • High in Vitamins & Minerals for Eye, Bone, Teeth, and Nail Health

Meal Prep Tip

If you are making this in advance, make sure to pat dry the chopped cucumber and tomatoes before adding them to the bowl. This will dry up excess water/juice so that the salad doesn’t become watered down the next day or two when you eat it.

Greek Chickpea Salad or Pita Filling

  • Servings: 4 Servings
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cans chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain yogurt
  • juice from 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, if desired
  • whole wheat pitas, if using

Directions

  1. Take the chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, and cherry tomatoes and stir together.
  2. In a small bowl make the yogurt sauce. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, fresh dill, and garlic and combine.
  3. Add the yogurt sauce to the chickpea mixture and taste. If desired, add salt and pepper.
  4. Serve immediately as a bean salad, in pitas, or store for later.

Nutritional Information

349 calories | 5.5 g total fat | 0.5 g saturated fat | 2.1 g polyunsaturated fat | 1.1 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 1.2 mg cholesterol | 484 mg sodium | 56 g carbohydrates | 15.5 g fiber | 11.2 g sugar | 19.1 g protein

Macros

64% Carbohydrates | 14% Fat | 22% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.3 Fruit
  • 1.2 Meat Alternative
  • 0.2 Milk Alternative
  • 2.8 Vegetables