VEGANISM FOUND TO BE THE BEST DIET FOR WEIGHT LOSS

farmers market

It used to be for college students, yoga instructors, and people who named their children after planets, but veganism—foregoing every kind of animal product, from beef and milk to eggs and even honey—is the hottest diet trend around, and for good reason: Brand new research says it’s the absolute best way to lose weight.

Going vegan has worked for Bill Clinton, Jay-Z and Beyonce, and a new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine indicates it will work for you, too. The researchers compared results of a dozen diets—including Atkins, the American Diabetes Association diet, and others—and found that those following a vegan diet could lose 5 pounds more in the short-term than those following traditional diet plans. (Vegetarians, who allow themselves eggs and dairy, still fared well, losing slightly more than 3 pounds.)

But giving up eating animals is tricky, and not just because we crave the occasional bacon cheeseburger. Animals products are our primary source of protein and other important nutrients like vitamin D. And plenty of unhealthy foods—from Oreos to Red Bulls to Airheads—could be considered part of a vegan diet. To join the cool (and slim) kids, try these tricks to make veganism work for you, courtesy of the new book Zero Belly Diet. And to start losing weight immediately, find out if you’re guilty of any of these 25 Things You Did Today That Sabotaged Your Weight Loss!

1
DON’T REPLACE
YOUR MEAT

quinoa salad

If there’s one rule of happy veganism, it’s this: Don’t pretend you’re eating cow. No matter how much you manipulate tofu or wheat gluten, it will never taste like a Big Mac. So think about “replacing” your meat—just embrace its absence, stick with a veggie-based protein and a grain, and know that’s powering you towards your weight loss goals. You’ll discover new flavors that will slim you down, like these four Zero Belly favorite proteins:

Tempeh: Made from fermented soybeans, this uses whole soybeans to make it more dense. This density makes it a better protein source with 18 grams compared to the 9 for the same amount of tofu (100 grams). Speaking of tofu, try to avoid it if you’re dieting. The block of soybean curd is high in naturally occurring chemicals called phytoestrogens, which have the opposite effect of testosterone, and can influence our hormonal balance and lead to weight gain.

Seitan: Made from wheat gluten, it does a great job of looking like beef, so you’ll find it in a lot of vegan stir fry.

Teff and Quinoa: Even 7/11 carries quinoa bowls—so there’s no reason not to benefit from the 24 grams of protein per cup. And dubbed the next big thing in grains, teff has some calling it “the new quinoa,” and Lisa Moskovitz, RD, says that label is well deserved. “It’s a more complete amino acid-packed protein than quinoa itself,” she says. “That makes it great for anyone who wants to keep calories low and protein high.” For other fantastic protein sources, check out 30 Best Sources of Vegetarian Protein.

2
WATCH OUT FOR
CARB BOMBS

whole wheat bread

Despite the health halo around vegan restaurants, the bread there is every bit as bad for you as the loaves at the steakhouse next door. Replacing protein and fat with empty carbs is a lousy trade too many vegans make, so limit yourself to one small piece per meal. Don’t fall into a dessert trap, either, thinking vegan sweets are healthier. Some vegan desserts may end up with more of it, to make up for the lack of animal fats, according to research in Eat This, Not That! Watch out for soda, too—many vegan varieties are sweetened with agave, which has 60 calories per tablespoon!

3
POWER UP
WITH POWDER

plant based protein powder

You can’t eat or drink whey or egg protein powder on a vegan diet—and that may be why you’re losing weight. Researchers discovered that people who ingested higher amounts of plant protein were far less susceptible to metabolic syndrome (a combination of obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar), in a 2015 study in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation. A second study in Nutrition Journal found that “plant protein intakes may play a role in preventing obesity.”

As for which brand to buy, the Zero Belly favorites are Sunwarrior (with 19 grams of protein and 100 calories per serving, it’s organic and derived from peas, cranberry and hemp, with no sugars, gluten or artificial sweeteners) and Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein. Hemp protein offers a substantial amount of fiber (here, 8 grams) that’s easy to digest, and this one has 15 grams of protein per scoop. And hemp seeds are just one of our 8 Secret Superfoods That Help You Lose Weight and Burn Fat!

4
PLAY IT
SMOOTH

healthy smoothie

Studies show that high-protein, low-fat smoothies are highly effective at rushing nutrients to your muscles, and that blended fruit drinks, which include all the fiber, will keep you fuller longer than fruit juices. To keep it vegan—and to reduce inflammation caused by milk products—make one with a non-dairy base, like unsweetened almond milk. For more inspiration, check out these 56 Weight-Loss Smoothies.

5
STOP TIL YOU
DROP—POUNDS

Scientists aren’t the only ones noticing veganism is good for you; so are food marketers, who are flooding the market this year with new products. Take advantage. Here are three we’re excited for—each Zero Belly-approved:

Tío Foods Gazpacho: Available in only about 20 stores since their launch last fall, these organic, vegan, ready-to-eat (or drink!) soups will be available nationwide by the end of 2015. In addition to a classic tomato recipe, Tío Foods also offers gazpacho verde (with kale, spinach, avocado, and mint) and gazpacho del sol (yellow tomato, yellow pepper, and carrot).

American Flatbread Farmers Tomato Pie: We get why you’d be skeptical of a pizza that’s not only frozen but also totally dairy-free. However, this pie is worth the dough. American Flatbread combines tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, red wine, balsamic vinegar and a dash of maple syrup to create a flavor-packed pie that trumps the other vegan-friendly options on supermarket shelves.

Health Warrior Chia Bars: So-called “super snacks,” these chia-based bars are gluten-, dairy- and GMO-free, 100% vegan and boast mouth-watering flavors like coffee, acai and apple cinnamon. Each four-bite bar has only 110 calories and as many as 1,100 mg of omega-3s–that’s more ounce-per-ounce than is found in a piece of salmon! Love chia seeds? Check out the Best Ever Chia Seed Recipes from Instagram!

5 Smart Ways to Increase Your IQ (Because It’s Not Set in Genetic Stone)

I only recently discovered there is a secret society for people with high IQs. It’s called Mensa—aka The Nerd Herd. It’s actually not a secret, but I consider anything no one has told me about in the 39 years I’ve been on planet Earth to be a conspiracy. So it’s a secret as far as I’m concerned.

To get in, you have to take a test and score in the top 2 percent of all IQs in the universe, aliens included. (I’m assuming these people know about the aliens and aren’t telling us.) After that, your nerdship is official. You no longer have to wonder.

That is the stupidest thing I could ever possibly even imagine imagining, was the first thought that came to me when I learned about this. I want in, was the second.

So I set a goal to get into Mensa within 90 days, and I posted this highly questionable aspiration on Facebook so I could add “suffer public humiliation” to my list of motivators for making it happen. Then I went to work on boosting my nerdability. I wasn’t even sure if that was possible since some scientists say IQ is genetic, but I’ve never listened to science before. Why start now?

Related: 5 Habits for a Healthier Brain (and Life)

I downloaded the Mensa app to my iPhone, took a practice test—and failed miserably. They were all trick questions apparently. The words “You’re average” started flashing on the screen as my first urge to smash a $700 phone on the ground came over me.

Then I did some things (that I’ll tell you in a second) and started scoring at a genius level. I’ll be taking the official test later this month and will soon be able to put an end to all future arguments with my wife by simply pulling out my Mensa card. I can’t wait.

Here’s why I’m telling you this…

There’s this unspoken but subtly implied belief in the personal development world that intelligence doesn’t really matter. We delight in hearing the story about how Henry Ford was so stupid that he had to call people into his office to answer questions for him. Having a high IQ is almost something we scoff at. I know I used to before I became a genius [insert my smirking emoji  face here].

But IQ is in large part a measure of your ability to recognize patterns. And as Ray Kurzweil famously says, “Pattern recognition is the essence of all human thought.” Intelligence is not the same as being book or trivia smart (although those are helpful, too). It’s your ability to manage and manipulate life with your mind. It’s the closest thing to a superhero power you’re going to get in this world.

Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between high levels of intelligence and success in life. It’s actually one of the biggest predictors of success—I call it the Nerd Effect. Read about Terman’s Study—they tracked genius-IQ level kids for their entire lives. They ended up richer, healthier, taller, stronger and even more able to dunk a basketball than kids with lower IQs. I made the basketball thing up, but the rest are true.

Now the really interesting thing about Terman’s Study is that not all the high-IQ kids were successful. Some turned out average and had higher rates of alcoholism and divorce. What made the difference? The difference was the successful kids had cultivated desire, prudence, willpower, goal-orientation, self-confidence and perseverance—all the stuff you’re probably doing right now.

So it’s true that intelligence alone won’t get you the success you’re after. But neither will your typical self-help strategies, unless accompanied by a reasonably high level of intelligence (the higher the better). So why not add, “increase my IQ” to your list of goals?

If I had to guess, intelligence accounts for about 50 percent of your success, and all the other typical self-improvement stuff—positive thinking, goal-setting, time management, character development, etc.—gets the other 50 percent. And my reasoning for that is simple. Intelligence is your ability to think at a high level. Think of your favorite billionaire; I guarantee you they are thinking at an extremely high level.

You know what… I just realized you may be reading this assuming you’re already really intelligent. You may be right. But take this test real quick to be sure: Mensa Workout

So how can you increase your IQ? Here are five ways, but it really all boils down to stretching your brain by learning new things:

1. Become a renaissance man. Or woman.

Be a student of life—not just wealth, health and happiness. Study history, science, psychology, art, languages, math, music, etc. Learn how this world works. Add depth to your mind and character. Read at least one book a week. Start to notice the patterns. Intelligence all boils down to pattern recognition.

One of my mentors said something interesting last week. He said, “I’ve noticed something. All my super rich friends are good at math.” And I realized that’s true of mine as well. Are you good at math? When you watch Shark Tank, can you calculate the valuations of the businesses in your head like the sharks do? If not, why not get good? Add it to your arsenal. You need a big arsenal to succeed in life. Mindset and success techniques are just a small fraction of what’s required.

2. Play the brain game Dual N-Back.

Do this 20 minutes a day. It will improve your working memory, and one study showed it increased IQ drastically. Other studies showed it didn’t. Screw those studies. I’ve been doing this for a while, and it is definitely doing something amazing to my brain.

3. Do regular high cardio exercise.

The version of Dual N-Back I use tracks my progress. Well one day I went to the gym and played the game right when I got home (I use the word “game” lightly—it’s mild torture). My scores went through the friggin roof. There is something about the release of endorphins that sends your brain into overdrive. Get as many of those endorphins as possible.

4. Learn an instrument.

Learning to play music is the equivalent of giving your brain a full body workout. This has been proven in studies using FMRI scans. Simply put, playing an instrument lights your entire brain on intellectual fire and has lasting impact on math and spatial reasoning skills. It’s not for no reason the wealthy almost universally require their children to learn a classical instrument whether they like it or not. Carve out 30 minutes a week to take a lesson and release your inner rock star.

5. Buy the book Boost Your IQ by Carolyn Skitt, and play all the games.

This book was written by Mensa nerds, so you can be guaranteed they know what they’re talking about.

Bottom line: your intelligence is not set in genetic stone. You can increase it. And as you do, all the other things you’re trying to succeed at will become amazingly easier. I did it. You can do it.

A Simple Trick to Make Recipes Healthier

Nothing beats home-cooked food. Unfortunately, if you spend most of your time in the office, you must have barely enough time in the kitchen most days of the week. This only leaves you with the only opportunity of cooking during weekends.

Cooking on weekends breaks the monotony of having takeaway fastfood the whole week. Furthermore, occasionally flushing out a week’s worth of that greasy slob of meat you call food—by eating healthier during weekends—can do wonders to your body. If you still cannot find the incentives of cooking for yourself, treat it as a reward for having endured another week of work. Be a broccoli in a sea of fast-food burgers—at least during weekends.

Readers share recipes from healthy bake sale

If you are seriously wanting to eat healthier, then you should keep reading on. I have just found the one, best secret to make your recipes brim with health benefits—and it is inexpensive.

One Trick for a Healthier Diet

Whether cooking for yourself or your significant other, this simple yet awesome tip on how to make your recipes healthier might just be what you need to help avoid that one trip to the emergency room. This extremely simple trick can not only help you have healthier meals, but can also save your pocket. Also, did I mention that this trick has been scientifically-proven?

3 healthy football tailgate recipes

Both the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture have testified on the benefits of this new practice. In fact, they are currently advising everyone to incorporate this interesting trick into their own recipes.

If you are ready for the big reveal, read on below and discover for yourself the trick that has been making waves in the food industry.

Get Off the “Superfood” Hype

superfoods

The bomb has been dropped. “Superfood”, “superfruit”, or any variation of the term are nothing but a marketing approach to lure you into buying these specific food items that are claiming to provide certain health benefits.

Both the Europe and the United States Food and Drug authorities have reminded the public that the presumed health benefit claims of these so-called superfoods have little to no scientific basis. The European Food Information Council stated that it was “impractical for consumers to have their diet based on presumed superfoods when nutrients are provided readily from a diet using diverse foods, especially including fruits and vegetables.”

The proliferation of superfoods in the market is just one big marketing device as foods with awesome nutritional benefits have been here since forever. Common types of superfoods involve relatively rare fruits coming from different parts of the world. Fruits originating from China (goji berries), Oceania (noni), and Southeast Asia (mangosteen) which are unfamiliar to American consumers have been the most successful types of superfruits introduced in the market. By the end of the last decade, the “superfruit” manufacturing industry has become a fast-growing multi-million dollar enterprise.

Healthy recipes perfect for fall

Even the definitions of the terms “superfood” and “superfruit” have been obscured to mislead consumers on what they really represent. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture has yet to come up with an official definition for these. Furthermore, the food products classified to belong to the superfoods and superfruits category showed little to no signs of significant nutritional value compared to “non-superfood” items.

Medicinal Uses of Apple Cider

Treats Acid Reflux

Starting the list with a shocking revelation to many, acid reflux is actually the lack of acid in your stomach, not the overproduction. Consuming two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar daily would treat your acid reflux in no time. However, you must not drink it on its own. Instead, mix it with coffee, milk, or other beverages.

Lessen the Pain of Health Care Costs

Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease

Study on rats have shown the effectivity of apple cider vinegar in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. There are some that prove that this can also reduce blood pressure, a major risk factor in cardiovascular disease. Although there are many who say that it has been effective, no study with human subjects has scientifically proven this claim.

Protects You From Cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease, bringing heartaches to the people involved and to their family and friends. The good news is, apple cider vinegar can potentially save you from this suffering. Studies done in cells in test tubes and in rats have seen that this miracle “cure” is able to kill cancer cells. However, there have been contrasting observational study outcomes. In China apple cider vinegar was linked with lower chances of acquiring cancer, but Serbia reported the opposite. Until more substantial research is conducted, there will be no hard evidence.

Fights Bacterial Infection

Apple cider vinegar is said to have antibiotic properties, so it obviously must help in fighting bacterial infection. Those who prescribe this folk remedy recommends that you take two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to alleviate suffering from diarrhea caused by bacterial infection, and from intestinal spasms. Remember that the vinegar must be diluted with a drink, and not taken on its own, though.

Cures Colds and Sore Throat

This is one of the most popular uses of apple cider vinegar. More and more people use it instead of medicine, a reason to believe that this is indeed effective. To get rid of nasty colds, combine two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a glass of water, then drink it. Repeat this three times a day to see the results.

 

Readers share recipes from healthy bake sale

This Saturday will be the annual Breast Cancer Walk at the Wilmington Riverfront at 9:45 a.m. As always, Curves workout centers for women will be supporting this effort.

As a member of Curves Newport, I am aware of numerous activities through September that earned money for owner Alicia Bolton to turn in at the walk. Several women put together baskets filled with unique items for an auction. A painting party elicited talents and income. Members bought pink ribbons to post on the Wall of Hope, honoring those they know who have dealt with this challenge.

A lovely pink print quilt was donated by a Peoples Plaza member for a raffle among three Curves locations.

The Healthy Bake Sale was the one that drew most of my attention. Recipes were checked for the amount of carbs, sugar, fat and overall healthy ingredients. The three top recipes, with no more than 25 grams of carbs, were baked and sold in individual quantities, with the recipes. Except for the painting party, 100 percent of all other proceeds will be donated.

Patti Weaver of Kiamensi Gardens found her recipe for carrot and quinoa mini-muffinsin The News Journal on Aug. 31, written by Melissa d’Arabian for the Associated Press. Space does not allow for all three recipes.

If you want this one, email me at [email protected], or send an addressed and stamped envelope, and I’ll mail it to you.

To request a recipe or send one in response to a request, send emails to [email protected] or letters to: What’s Cooking, 500-B Greenbank Road, Wilmington, DE 19808. Include your name, address and phone number. No calls, please. Recipes in this column are not tested by The News Journal.

SPICED CARROT RAISIN BREAD

Cary Johnson is a Pennsylvania resident who works, and works out in Delaware during her lunch break. She discovered this recipe on the Mayo Clinic website under healthy recipes. This dark bread is rich in oodles of my favorite wholesome ingredients.

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon paprika (or cayenne, if you like spicy)

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups shredded carrots (about 4 carrots)

2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift or whisk flour, baking soda and powder, salt and spices in a large bowl. Separately, mix eggs, sugar, honey, applesauce, olive oil and almond extract. Add carrots and raisins.

Mix the wet ingredients in the dry ingredients just until combined, being careful not to overmix. Pour batter into a lightly greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cut into 1/2-inch slices.

FAT-FREE APPLESAUCE CAKE

Anne Sewell, of Middleboro Manor near Banning Park, found this recipe on Food.com. Several of the ingredients are the same as in Johnson’s recipe, but this one adds yogurt.

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt

2 egg whites, beaten

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup raisins

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In another bowl, combine applesauce, water, yogurt, egg whites and almond extract. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raisins. (I would add more than 1/4 cup.) Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Healthy Table: Apple Pumpkin Bread packs some powerful nutrients

Nothing says fall like apples and pumpkin, and that’s precisely why we paired them in today’s quick bread.

Apples contain a variety of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) being studied for their anti-cancer effects. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, eating one or more apples a day was associated with a lower risk of lung and colon cancer in several large studies. To get the most phytonutrients, eat the peel, too.

Apples provide a heart-healthy dose of soluble fiber that can help lower levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood.

► Healthy Table: Diet rich in seafood may lower risk of disease

Pumpkin’s big claim to nutrient fame is carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and lutein, the pigments that make them orange. Carotenoids may protect against chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, and may help ward off age-related vision loss, such as macular degeneration. Pumpkin also provides a healthy dose of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E and iron.

Don’t mistake canned pumpkin pie mix or filling for pure, solid-pack pumpkin purée. While the labels look similar, pumpkin pie mix is pre-sweetened and spiced; pumpkin purée is 100% pumpkin.

Many recipes featuring pumpkin never use the entire can, and today’s quick bread is no exception. As a point of reference, a 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée equals 13/4 cups, and a 29-ounce can has 31/2 cups. A quick Internet search for leftover canned pumpkin resulted in a slew of ideas.

Here are some of my favorites:

■ Add a few dollops to a warm bowl of oatmeal, with a dash of pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar and toasted pecans.

■ Mix with reduced-fat cream cheese and a pinch of cinnamon for a bagel spread.

■ When making chili, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup to the pot. The flavor is so mild, no one will notice.

■ For a hint of pumpkin flavor, add about 1/3 cup to most cupcake, muffin or quick bread batters.

Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.

Apple Pumpkin Bread

Makes: 24 servings (12 slices per loaf) / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes (plus cooling time)

Cook’s note: This recipe makes 2 loaves and freezes well.

Floured baking spray

1/4 cup canola oil

5.3 ounces (about 2/3 cup) fat-free plain Greek yogurt

13/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 cup (about 1/2 of a 15-ounce can) pumpkin

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

11/2 cups all-purpose flour

11/2 cups white whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

21/2 cups unpeeled, diced apple (Granny Smith works well)

2/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans with baking spray, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat oil, yogurt and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs, pumpkin, milk and vanilla; beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture until just moistened, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in diced apples and walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool bread in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

Created and tested by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

176 calories (26% from fat), 5 g fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat), 30 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein, 81 mg sodium, 16 mg cholesterol, 45 mg calcium, 2 g fiber. Food exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 fat

3 healthy football tailgate recipes

This week we’re focusing on healthy meals for every occasion and with football season in full swing we wanted to share the best football tailgate foods that won’t crush your diet dreams!

RECIPE #1: Cheesy Potato Casserole

Ingredients:
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 (32-ounce) bag frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 2/3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
4 ounces 2% reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded (about 1 cup)
Cooking spray
3 cups cornflakes
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Add potatoes; cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 8 minutes or until potatoes begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt and black pepper.
3. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan; cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat. Stir in yogurt and cheese. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
4. Place cornflakes in a medium bowl; drizzle with butter and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle cornflakes over potato mixture. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and topping is crisp.
RECIPE #2: Ham and Cheddar Potato Skins
Ingredients:
6 small potatoes (1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, sliced (white and green parts separated)
2 ounces sliced deli ham, chopped
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Bake potatoes on baking sheet 25-30 minutes or until tender; set aside to cool. Preheat broiler with rack in highest position.
3. Halve cooked potatoes lengthwise. Scoop out flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch border; transfer potato flesh (about 2 cups) to a bowl. Mash potato with sour cream and 2 tablespoons water; season with salt an pepper. Fold in scallions whites and ham; spoon filling into potato shells.
4. Arrange filled potato skins on a baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with scallion greens before serving, if desired.

RECIPE #3: Cajun Oven-Fried Chicken

Ingredients:
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon salt-free Cajun seasoning (such as Spice Hunter)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 chicken breast halves (about 1 pound), skinned
2 chicken drumsticks (about1/2 pound), skinned
2 chicken thighs (about 1/2 pound), skinned
Cooking spray
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Place panko in a shallow dish. Dip chicken, one piece at a time, into buttermilk mixture; dredge in panko.
3. Place chicken on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until done, turning after 20 minutes.

Hungry Girl: My Healthy Bread Pudding Is Basically Happiness in a Mug

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of eleven books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

Oh, bread pudding — why must you contain so many calories?!

Good news for lovers of this sweet treat: I have a healthy portion-controlled version that’ll knock your socks off. This recipe is packed with cinnamon and raisins, making it perfect for mornings.

If you always grab the cinnamon-raisin bagel from the break room, this is a much better alternative. Hello, protein! Bonus: You can make it in the microwave in minutes.

WATCH THIS: How to Make Five-Minute Caprese Garlic Flatbread

Made-in-a-Mug Bread Pudding for One
Makes: 1 serving 

¼ cup (about 2 large) egg whites or fat-free liquid egg substitute
¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 packet no-calorie sweetener
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. cinnamon
Dash salt
2 slices light bread
1 ½ tsp. light butter or light buttery spread
1 tbsp. raisins, chopped
2 tsp. powdered sugar

RELATED: Hungry Girl: How to Make a Healthy In-N-Out Burger at Home

1. Spray a microwave-safe mug with nonstick spray. Add egg whites/substitute, almond milk, sweetener, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Mix thoroughly.

2. Spread bread with butter. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

3. Add bread pieces to the mug, and gently stir to coat. 

4. Fold in chopped raisins. Microwave for 1 minute.

5. Gently stir. Microwave for 1 minute, or until set.

6. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar with 1/2 tsp. water. Mix well. Drizzle over bread pudding.

Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes or less
Nutritional information: 224 calories, 4g total fat (0.5g sat fat), 552mg sodium, 34g carbs, 6g fiber, 14.5g sugars, 12.5g protein

’Til next time… Chew the right thing! 

The Healthy Chicken Recipes You Need To Reboot Your Life

There comes a time in all of our lives when we realize that we’re not eating as healthy as we should. It might be because of the burgers that are eaten a little too often, or one too many ice cream sundaes consumed. Whatever it is that’s leading your eating habits astray, it’s nothing that a handful of healthy chicken recipes can’t set straight.

Chicken for dinner might not feel as exciting as say, pizza, but with the right healthy recipes in front of you it can be. We have those recipes right here. After eating one or two of these dishes you’ll soon see that your palate has been reset, your lifestyle rebooted and you’ll be well on your way to eating and thinking like a healthy person again.

Halloween 2016: Recipes for Festive Dishes That are Healthy and Delicious

Why not try aiming for a healthy Halloween this year? You can totally do it, and here are some recipes to try out with family and friends that are delicious and still good for you. Sometimes Halloween can throw our healthy habits off the radar because it’s a holiday that’s known for indulging in sweet treats and candy, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with shaking things up. Here are some ideas for Halloween snacks.

Halloween 2016: Healthy Recipes

The first Halloween recipe comes to you from Laurie Aker of Earth Fare’s The Healthy Supermarket. This is a recipe for a Halloween salad with tons of flavor. Here it is:

Halloween Salad with Jack-O-Lantern and Frankenstein Cups

1 tsp nutmeg. 2 cups black rice, cooked. 1 cup black quinoa, cooked. 2  cups butternut squash, cubed. 1 tsp cinnamon. 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled. ½ cup purple cabbage, chopped. 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds. 4 large orange or green bell peppers (to make Jack-O-Lantern and Frankenstein cups). 2 cups kale, chopped. 1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped. 1 cup zucchini, chopped. Note: will need 8 small button mushrooms for Frankenstein cups.

Dressing

¼ cup lemon juice. 1 tbsp. honey. ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper, to taste.

Directions:

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then place the cubed butternut squash on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Then sprinkle it with cinnamon and nutmeg and toss to coat.

Arrange the butternut squash evenly on sheet and place it in the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool. Then, in a large mixing bowl, mix together the cooked rice and quinoa, then add crumbled feta, kale, zucchini, parsley, purple cabbage, and pumpkin seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and then pour over the salad mixture and toss it all together to coat. Finally, add the roasted butternut squash to the salad and gently mix it. Put it in the fridge to continue cooling.

To make Jack-O-Lantern Cups:

With a small pairing knife, carve out the top of the bell pepper at a slight angle, similar to a pumpkin. With a small spoon, scoop out the inside pulp/seeds. If you need to run it under water to remove leftover seeds, that’s okay.

Save the top portion of the bell pepper with stem. Once the peppers are cleaned and completely dry, carve out two eyes carefully and a triangle nose and mouth, creating a Jack-O-Lantern face with the small pairing knife.

Fill it up with the Halloween Salad and top off with the stem before serving.

To make Frankenstein Cups:

With the same small pairing knife, carve a Frankenstein face and cut out two small squares on each side of bell pepper, towards the bottom portion of the pepper. Insert the stem of a button mushroom into each square, creating Frankenstein “neck bolts.” It looks so cool!

Fill with Halloween Salad and top with stem.

Serve and enjoy!

Healthy recipes perfect for fall

The change in seasons gives us the opportunity to change up our diets and bring the freshest seasonal vegetables onto our dining tables. As the days get cooler, the body also can crave and want different nutrients.

Have a morning shake to get the day started! I like shakes in the morning as a breakfast alternative because they are fast and easy – you can also drink it on the go.

Try this:

Shake it up!

You can make this no hassle shake in less than 5 minutes. It is less than 200 calories (if you use water) and is delicious!

This recipe makes one serving.

What you need:

  • Vega Sport Vanilla Flavor: This is my protein of choice as it is vegan and contains no sugar at only 150 calories
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin puree: You can use more if you wish, but I find just 1 teaspoon is enough. Also, when you get the can, make sure that you check the ingredients for no added sugar. It should only say “pumpkin” in the ingredients. I found so many cans that have added sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 2 cups of water or 2 cups of almond milk

What to do:

  • Place everything in the blender and blend on high.

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Eggs in a muffin tin

If a shake is not your thing for breakfast, another healthy and fast breakfast alternative is eggs.

This recipe makes six servings.

What you need:

  • 6 eggs
  • Red or green bell peppers, chopped
  • Sliced button mushrooms
  • Whole wheat English muffins (optional)
  • Salt
  • 6-cup muffin tin

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Mix eggs in a large mixing bowl and add peppers and mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt. Evenly pour the egg batter into each muffin tin.
  • Place the muffin tin in the oven and allow to bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a toothpick or fork to check if eggs are completely done.
  • Remove from oven and enjoy with or without whole wheat English muffin.

Avocado toast with or without smoked salmon

This is the perfect easy-to-pack lunchtime recipe for children as well as adults. We all know how healthy avocado is. Avocados are rich in potassium (more than bananas), loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, full of fiber. Oh, and the good news? Avocados are always in season.

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This recipe make two servings.

What you need:

  • 2 slices of rye toast
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional: chili pepper flakes, smoked salmon, chia seeds

What to do:

  • Toast rye bread.
  • Cut ripe avocado in half. Scoop out the meat of the avocado and mash with a spoon in a bowl until smooth.
  • Smear avocado onto rye bread.
  • Top with salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Add chili pepper flakes, smoked salmon and chia seeds.

Avocado shrimp salad

Shrimp are low in calories and contain zero carbs. They are a great source of protein and contain a treasure-trove of vitamins and nutrients: iron, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B12. Thus, I was so psyched to prepare this recipe!

Recipe makes one salad.

What you need:

  • 6 medium size pre-cooked shrimp
  • 1 avocado
  • Spinach leaves
  • Fava beans
  • Cilantro ( 2-3 stems) , chopped no stem

What you do:

  • Place spinach leaves (as much as you want) into a big bowl.
  • Cut avocado vertically and remove the pit. Slice the avocado inside the skin. Using the tip of the knife, slice into the avocado flesh, making sure not to cut through the skin. Repeat until you have cut through the entire avocado. Slices can be ½-inch thick. Gently scoop the avocado out with a spoon, working between the flesh and the skin of the avocado. Place the slices on top of bed of spinach leaves.
  • Arrange 6 medium size pre-cooked shrimp on top of avocado.
  • Place fava beans into bowl and sprinkle on top of salad

Jean Chen Smith is a fashion executive who works in New York City and also teaches Pilates at Renaissance the Studio in Red Bank and Monmouth Beach Yoga and Wellness in Monmouth Beach. Jean, a marathon runner, is passionate about health, fitness and fashion, which is the reason she started her lifestyle website, www.projectcloud9.com. Email her at[email protected] or on Facebook.