Healthy Eats & Spring Treats!
We all know traditional burgers can be a big no-no when trying to eat healthier. Not all burgers have to be bad for you though! Swapping out the processed cheese, bacon, mayo, and fatty beef will save you a lot of sodium and fat. Looking for lower carbs? Trade in the bun and opt for a salad or fruit instead of fries! Try this healthy burger twist:
Cilantro-Quinoa Turkey Burgers with Garlicky Kale
Serves: 4 burgers
1 pound all natural ground turkey
¼ cup cooked quinoa (view package for instructions)
½ cup chopped cilantro
Garlicky Kale Ingredients:
4 cup kale, sliced into ribbons
4 – 6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil (for sautéing)
Whole-grain English Muffins, toasted (or other buns of choice: gluten-free, portabella mushroom cap, lettuce wrap…)
1 avocado, smashed
1 tomato, sliced
Ground pepper for seasoning
Mix the turkey meat with the quinoa, cilantro and season with pepper. Shape into four burgers and set aside. Heat the grill over medium high heat; grill the burgers until done, about 4 – 5 minutes per side. While the burgers are cooking, sauté the kale and garlic in a skillet with the olive oil, until the greens have wilted and the stems are soft. Sprinkle with pepper to taste. When the burgers have finished cooking, remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. This helps keep them juicy. Place burgers on one side of bun, top with avocado, then sliced tomato, then garlicky kale. Enjoy!
Health benefits of this dish:
Turkey is a great source of lean protein, B vitamins, and potassium. The quinoa will add more essential B vitamins and fiber. Cilantro, kale, and garlic are full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and many essential vitamins and minerals. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas and are good sources of fiber and healthy fats.
Nothing says spring better than a colorful salad! If possible, try to check out your local farmer’s market, as many of these ingredients are currently in season. This will ensure you the freshest produce possible and help your community!
Strawberry, Avocado, Spinach Salad with Poppy seed Dressing
Serves: 4 salads
6 cups fresh baby spinach
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 avocado, diced (or you can double this to 2 avocados!)
4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Half a small red onion, thinly sliced
Poppy seed dressing (recipe below)
Optional: lean protein of choice
Combine and mix all ingredients together.
Poppy seed Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup avocado oil (or any oil, such as olive oil)
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon of poppy seeds
Pinch of ground dry mustard (optional)
Whisk all ingredients together until combined. Pour desired amount over salad. Serve immediately.
Health benefits of this dish:
Spinach is an especially great source of Vitamins K and A. Strawberries are bursting with Vitamin C and antioxidants. Avocados contain more potassium than bananas and are full of fiber and healthy fats. Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein. Almonds provide protein and healthy fats to help you stay full. Onions contain protective polyphenols. Poppy seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids, fiber, and many vitamins.
Saving the best for last: dessert! Try this healthier alternative to a spring time treat. It can be easy to make a few easy swaps to lower the sugar and fat content in this dish. Enjoy without all the guilt!
Easy White Chocolate Berry Dessert
1 (10″ diameter) prepared angel food cake*, cut into 1″ cubes
1 (1 ounce) package white chocolate flavored, sugar free, fat free instant pudding mix
1 1/2 cups skim milk
2 (8 ounce) containers of Cool Whip Free, thawed
2 cups of mixed berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
*Depending on your health goals, the angel food cake can be made at home with gluten-free flours and less sugar.
- To make the chips into smaller pieces, place in food processor and whiz with the blade for 30 seconds or so, until they resemble crumbs. This will allow them to cover more area and are a little nicer on the palate when eating. Set aside.
- In a 13 x 9″ glass dish, spray with cooking spray. Arrange half the angel food cake cubes in bottom of dish.
- In large bowl, combine the pudding mix with the milk. Whisk until it starts to get thick. Fold in both containers of Cool Whip Free.
- Spread half of the pudding mix over the cubes in the pan. Top with 1 cup of fresh berries and sprinkle with half the white chocolate crumbs. Repeat layers. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dessert to sit in fridge for about 1/2 an hour before serving.
Health benefits of this dish:
Angel food cake can be a better option than alternative cakes since it is made without butter and egg yolks (only the whites are used), meaning it is less fat and generally less calories than traditional cakes. Using skim milk in the pudding provides calcium, potassium, and protein to the dish. Berries are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
What do these health terms mean? Here is a quick overview:
Anti-inflammatory: chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses – including heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. Certain foods can aid in the reduction of heat, swelling, and pain.
Antioxidants: protect the damage of cells from free radicals.
B vitamins: B vitamins work together to regulate the nervous system, turn food into energy/metabolic functions, and aids in the production red blood cells.
Calcium: needed to keep bones and teeth strong; is associated with muscle contraction and nerve functioning.
Fiber: normalizes bowel movements, helps maintain a healthy body weight, keeps you fuller longer, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps control blood sugar levels.
Healthy fats: eating foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat can improve blood cholesterol levels, lower your risk of heart disease, control blood sugar, help fight fatigue, improve memory, and even your mood.
Polyphenols: aid in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging.
Potassium: essential for maintaining proper fluid balance, nerve impulse function, muscle function, cardiac (heart muscle) function.
Protein: essential to the structure of red blood cells, for the proper functioning of antibodies resisting infection, for the regulation of enzymes and hormones, for growth, and for the repair of body tissue.
Vitamin C: aids in growth and repair of body; is an antioxidant.