One thing that I definitely know from experience is how large a role diet plays in reaching weight loss and toning goals. There is only so much that working out can do without its best friend, a healthy and clean diet. Most people would believe that eating clean is virtually tasteless, boring, expensive and too much work. Now, I have debunked many of these excuses in previous columns but this week I am really excited because I have spent some time in the kitchen perfecting some really good recipes I have made in the past.
Breakfast is a meal that I never skip and love to eat. Even if it is not in the morning, breakfast food makes a perfect meal anytime. Warm blueberry pancakes are absolutely phenomenal, but most people think you would need to steer away from them because they are too high in carbohydrates and extremely filling. Do not let that stop you from trying this amazing blueberry pancake recipe. Trader Joe's has a really great multigrain pancake and waffle mix, or you can use oat flour; you will need two cups. The other ingredients are: 2 scoops of vanilla whey protein, 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil, 1 cup of almond milk, 3 egg whites and 1 cup of blueberries. Grapeseed oil was the new ingredient I substituted for the Smart-Balance cooking oil and it made a world of a difference. The grapeseed oil has a nuttier taste and pairs well with the almond milk. This batter is a little thicker than normal pancake batter but makes four medium-sized fluffy and moist pancakes. This replaces the white flour or Bisquick with a complex carb, adds protein, reduces fat with the egg whites and almond milk, and there are lots of nutrients and antioxidants from the blueberries. Add some flax seeds or flax seed meal for some omega-3.
Pizza is a food that I am super picky about. Usually it would be something of a cheat meal for me, so it better be a tasty piece of pizza. I love making a health version of this Italian favorite so that I can have pizza a lot more often and not feel too guilty about it. My favorite pizza to make is vegetable pizza on whole wheat crust. Pick any whole wheat crust, dough or even a whole wheat tortilla as the base. Use a half and half mixture of tomato sauce and olive oil with fresh ground pepper, red hot pepper flakes and minced garlic for the sauce. Top with broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, more fresh garlic, fresh basil, and light, shredded mozzarella cheese. Then bake it in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees or until the cheese is melted and the crust is done to the desired crispiness. This is a quick and easy lunch or dinner option. You can also add chicken on top or add non-fat plain Greek yogurt to the sauce mixture for some added protein. Don't hesitate to experiment with different healthy toppings and share them with your friends.