Healthier meals to kick start the New Year
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Dec 30, 2015 | 5745 views | 0 0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Well, the holiday season has come and gone. And while most of us have spent the last few weeks stuffing our faces with chocolates, cookies, cakes and heaps of food during mealtimes, it is about time to get back into healthier eating habits.

While it may be hard to put down the donuts and gingerbread lattes, here are a few meals that could ease you into a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, these meals could also help you get into tip-top shape by summer.

Breakfast - The breakfast option is a fruit, nut, dark chocolate and yogurt combination. Use any (and as much) fruit that you like, such as strawberries, rapsberries, blueberries or peaches. Sprinkle it onto plain yogurt. If you want greek yogurt, go for it.

For a protein punch to keep you feeling fuller longer, add roughly 15-20 nuts like almonds or cashews. Almonds contain fiber and Vitamin E while cashews have zinc and iron.

If you have a sweet tooth, you could be a bit indulgent with true dark chocolate but keep it to an absolute minimum.

Depending on your fruit and the yogurt, the dish might be a little sharp. If you want to add some sweetness but are not a fan of dark chocolate, add a slight drizzle of honey. It really brings the dish together.

And even though this option involves four ingredients, you can add more other healthy choices if you want to get real fancy.

Lunch - Salads are a great light-but-filling option while you’re at work or school. And even though many people view salads as their mortal enemy, there’s no need to. Try packing in some color and texture into your salad to make it tastier.

Start off with a base of green leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce and spinach. Then add in a handful of arugula and raddichio, both of which have a wonderful spicy kick to it.

From there, add as much color as possible. You can add red or white onions, carrots, roasted squash, sweet potatoes or beets.

If you don’t mind fruit in your salad, try strawberries, orange slices, pomegranate seeds and chopped apples for more color and flavor.

To take your salad to the next level, cook lentils in a frying pan for a few minutes and put half-a-cup into the salad. Lentils have potassium, calcium, zinc, iron fiber and vitamin K. They add serious crunch too.

Top it all off with a generous squeeze of lemon juice or a vinaigrette.

Dinner - If you are rushed for dinner and don’t have time to cook grilled chicken, you can still enjoy a quesadilla with black beans.

Get a can of black beans to create a hearty filling with a sprinkling of your-choice cheese. Spread the mixture onto four tortillas (for four servings), and make sure to fold each tortilla.

Cook on a skillet for a few minutes. You can serve the quesadillas with fresh avocado. The black beans support heart health due to its lack of cholesterol. Additionally, the beans also contain fiber, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.

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