Here are some healthy food ideas & recipes to get you started. The YoCoach team will include more healthy diet foods & recipes in their daily emails to keep you inspired.
Fruit is a ‘feel good’ food—it’s gives you some sugar but no guilt! Fruit is your new go-to healthy snack and dessert when you want to lose weight. Always have a supply of fruit at hand and eat that when you’re feeling hungry in between meals. It doesn’t get any easier than apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, kiwi, oranges, clementines, grapefruit, tangerine, peaches, nectarines, apricot, grapes, plums, mango, melon, pomegranate… Stock up.
Still hungry? Add a handful of plain nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.).
- Layer raw oatmeal (not instant) with a liquid (milk, soy milk, juice, or yogurt), a handful of nuts or seeds (chopped almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds), and dried or fresh fruit (raisins, apricots, banana, blueberries, strawberries, etc.). Maybe a sprinkle of cinnamon. Make it in a Tupperware for an easy to-go breakfast.
- Slice of high-fiber, whole-grain toast with a little butter and jam, with an egg or two on the side.
- Slice of high-fiber, whole-grain toast with low-fat cream cheese and some jam.
- A high-fiber cereal with fresh fruit and nuts or seeds (add a handful yourself if necessary).
- Cook frozen, French-style green beans (the sliced ones). Mix in a can of tuna (including some of the water from the can to keep the dish moist), a drizzle of olive oil, salt to taste, and lots and lots of freshly ground pepper. Add some grated parmesan. Yum.
- Soup — Look for broth-based soups with veggies and beans, and avoid soups heavy with cream.
- Lean-meat or low-fat cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread with mustard and lots of vegetables (lettuce, tomato, avocado, or roasted vegetables).
- Fruit, fruit, fruit!!! Apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, kiwi, oranges, clementines, grapefruit, tangerine, peaches, nectarines, apricot, grapes, plums, mango, melon, pomegranate… (limit bananas to a few a week)
- Low-fat cheese sticks
- Sliced avocado
- Plain nuts or seeds (one handful only!)—walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc.
- Slice of whole-grain toast with hummus
- Hard-boiled egg
- Dark chocolate (yes, but just a few squares, not a whole bar!)
- Cut up apples or pears with cheese
- Hummus with whole grain pita, crackers, or bread, or veggie sticks
- Carrot, celery, sweet pepper, cucumber sticks. Cherry tomatoes. Radishes
Side Salads & Salad Dressing
Salads are a great side dish—tastes light and helps you eat less of the heavy stuff. If you eat salad as a main meal, beware that you will likely get hungry and need a snack soon after. Make sure to include some lean protein (chicken, chickpeas, beans) in main-dish salads.
Keep a supply of grated carrots and washed and torn lettuce in the fridge. Mix and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground pepper for an easy, tasty side salad.
Variations: Add other of your favorite vegetables! Tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, corn, sweet peppers, etc. Add some fresh herbs for a new taste: basil, dill, parsley, chives, mint, etc. Or try with balsamic vinegar instead of lemon juice.
Beware of prepared salad dressings. Many are full of junk like high fructose corn syrup or trans fats. Read the labels.
Veggie, Bean & Lentil Recipes
Here are some important recipes, with vegetables, beans, and lentils. They taste good, are filling, and are full of fiber, protein, and good nutrients. Most importantly, if you spend 1 hour cooking once a week, you can keep them in the fridge and eat them throughout the week as ready side dishes or small meals.
Sweet Potato Fries
Wash and cut sweet potatoes into wedges or sticks. Toss in olive oil. Bake until tender. Season to taste.
Easiest Warm Vegetables
Frozen mixed vegetables. Buy lots, cook lots, and eat lots. So easy. There’s nothing wrong with a small amount of butter or olive oil if you like, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cold Side Vegetables
Chop up some vegetables, including an onion and a few cloves of garlic. Mix to coat every few cups of vegetables with a generous amount of olive oil (1/4 cup), a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a teaspoon of sugar, and a few chopped tomatoes (or about 1/2 cup canned, chopped tomatoes) in a saucepan. Add water to cover about 3/4 of the vegetables. Cook on a gentle boil until vegetables are cooked through—maybe 20 minutes—stirring occasionally. Cool and store in the fridge in a non-metallic container. Mix in dill if you like. Serve cold as a ready side dish, topped with a dollop of plain yogurt and red or black pepper.
Vegetable variations: green beans; leek and carrots; eggplant and red peppers; eggplant and zucchini; eggplant, zucchini, and red peppers; spinach; your favorites.
Chop up some vegetables into large pieces, toss with olive oil in an oven proof pan, and roast in the oven until soft and starting to brown, stirring occasionally.
Try sweet potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, broccoli (watch out– the delicate florets quickly go from brown to burnt!), red onions, peppers, etc. Serve warm from the oven or cold from the fridge.
Beans, Filling Beans
Chop and sauté two cloves of garlic in about two tablespoons of olive oil. Add two cans of butter beans (drained and rinsed), 1/2 can of chopped tomatoes, and one teaspoon of sugar. Cook on low heat for five to ten minutes, to infuse the flavors. There should be some liquid remaining in the pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool and store in a non-metallic container in the fridge for up to a week. Serve cold as a ready side dish or small meal with a slice of whole grain toast and green salad.
Variations: Also try with navy or pinto beans. Add chopped dill, basil, or parsley.
Rinse and drain a can of Canelli or navy beans. Mix with chopped carrots, cucumber, parsley, tomatoes, a tablespoon each of lemon juice and olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold.
Puy Lentils with Caramelized Onions
Slice a large onion. Cook in a few tablespoons of olive oil, stirring occasionally, until onions turn medium to dark brown (just this side of burned—may take 20 minutes). They caramelize and taste sweet and yummy.
While onions are cooking, rinse in a strainer 1 cup of puy lentils and 1 cup of brown rice (brown basmati is best). Add to a saucepan with 3 cups of water and a stock cube or broth. Bring to a gentle boil. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes (until water is absorbed and lentils and rice are cooked through but still firm). Mix with caramelized onions. Store in the fridge. Serve cold on its own or drizzled with plain yogurt.
The lentils and brown rice form a complete protein. And this dish also offers lots of fiber and nutrients.
Corn, Rice & Beans
Cook brown basmati rice according to the directions. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, pour frozen corn into the pan—do not stir, and replace the lid. Finish cooking, then pour a can of rinsed and drained black beans into the pan—do not stir and replace the lid. Let rest 5 minutes. Stir in either chopped cilantro or chopped dill. Great