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15 Tempting Yet Healthy Alternatives For People Who Dislike Salad

15 Tempting Yet Healthy Alternatives For People Who Dislike Salad

Vegetables are integral to good health and skin. Being a great source of vital nutrients like vitamins (A, B, C, D , E and K), fibers and minerals, a diet rich in veggies can reduce the risk of stroke, cancer, heart disease and even diabetes. Veggies also reduce inflammation in our bodies and contribute to healthy skin. There’s no doubt – you need your veggies.

That said, I’ve been a vegetarian all my life and I absolutely hate salads. The number of deliciously cooked vegetable options has been on the rise. Yet growing up, it was scarce and I was often served a cold bowl of lettuce and tomato on airplanes as the “vegetarian” meal. I cannot count the number of times I wanted to say that being a vegetarian does not make me want to chew raw leaves like a cow.

So, I’ve curated some vegetable options that are healthy, yet mouth-watering alternatives to salads. And there are some fruits in there too for snacks and desserts of course!

Breakfast

Quinoa cereal with berries and almonds

Quinoa-berries-almonds

    For a tasty gluten free breakfast, try this quinoa with berries and almonds option.

    Image via www.pickupthewhisk.com

    Shakshuka

    shakshuka

      This is an egg and veggie combo from the Middle East that makes a wonderful breakfast with protein and vitamins to give you a stable energy burn for those long stressful days.

      image via: dartmouth.spoonuniversity.com

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      Baked egg avocado

      baked-avocado

        Filled with the healthy monosaturated fat, oleic acid – aside from vitamins B, C, E and K, avocados reduce cholesterol and even keep skin supple. If the classic avocado on toast seems too boring, try this avocado with baked egg to kick start your day.

        image via nu.spoonuniversity.com

        Lunch and Dinner

        Avocado and Tofu bowl

        Tofu-Avocado-Rice-Bowl

          If you want to include this healthy fruit in a meal for dinner then try this tofu and avocado bowl to spice up your evening.

          Cauliflower with Parmesan

          baked-cauliflower

            Cauliflowers are one of the healthiest veggies with vitamin C, B and vitamin K. This easy-to-make cauliflower with parmesan dish is not just healthy but delish!

            image via nu.spoonuniversity.com

            Coriander-Roasted Carrots

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            roasted-carrot

              I’m generally not a fan of carrots but this yummy coriander-roasted carrot recipe has me enjoying my beta-carotene for healthy skin and hair.

              image via cal.spoonuniversity.com

              Quinoa Stuffed Bell Pepper

                A tasty Spanish recipe for those with gluten intolerance. Get your veggies along with some healthy grains in this easy-to-bake recipe that will surely become a regular in your home.

                image via: minimalistbaker.com

                Mushroom, Onion and Goat Cheese Crostini

                mushroom-cheese-crostini

                  Amp up your toast with this yummy topping. It makes a great lunch or quick dinner.

                  image via: nu.spoonuniversity.com

                  Mushroom Trio Quesadilla

                  mushroom-cheese-quesadilla

                    Craving Mexican? This baked mushroom quesadilla is one healthy option to allow you to give in to your cravings while feeling good about the calories.

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                    image via: nu.spoonuniversity.com

                    Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

                    butternut-mac-n-cheese

                      If you can’t wait for the fall to get your fill of butternut squash soups then how about adding it to mac ‘n’ cheese for a fun alternative?

                      image via michigan.spoonuniversity.com

                      Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Risotto

                      mushroom-risotto

                        Get your greens without compromising on taste with this nourishing spinach and mushroom risotto.

                        image via: spoonuniversity.com

                        Snacks and Dessert

                        Goji Green Smoothie

                        kale-berry-smoothie

                          Smoothies make wonderful snacks and meal replacements. The “green” smoothie is all the rave. Make it work for you with this apple and berry filled smoothie with all the benefits of kale – one of the best sources of vitamin K that improves calcium absorption and helps prevent osteoporosis.

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                          image via: goodnessgreen.com

                          Apricot, Goat Cheese and Almond Bites

                          apricot-chocolate-bite

                            Long day ahead? If you think you might be looking for cookies or chips, take this healthy replacement snack with apricot with you and your body will thank you.

                            image via: bu.spoonuniversity.com

                            Chocolate, Pomegranate and Ginger Bark

                            chocolate-pomegranate-ginger

                              Give in to your chocolate craving without guilt when you make this simply sumptuous dessert that includes pomegranate and ginger in dark chocolate.

                              image via: finecooking.com

                              Healthy Candy Apple Wedges (with Chocolate and Walnut)

                              apple-chocolate-wedges

                                An apple a day keeps the doctor away. These wedges do more than that – they get your taste buds tingling with pleasure as you savor these chocolate dipped treats.

                                image via: anediblemosaic.com

                                Featured photo credit: Dana from http://minimalistbaker.com/ via minimalistbaker.com

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                                Last Updated on July 28, 2020

                                14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                                14 Low GI Foods for a Healthier Diet

                                Diet trends may come and go, but a low-GI diet remains one of the few that has been shown to include benefits based on science. Low GI foods provide substantial health benefits over those with a high index, and they are key to maintaining a healthy weight.

                                What is GI? Glycemic index (GI) is the rate at which the carbohydrate content of a food is broken down into glucose and absorbed from the gut into the blood. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into your bloodstream.[1]

                                The higher the GI of a food, the faster it will be broken down and cause your blood glucose (sugar) to rise. Foods with a high GI rating are digested very quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike. This is why it’s advisable to stick to low GI foods as much as possible, as the carbohydrate content of low GI foods will be digested slowly, allowing a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels.

                                Foods with a GI scale rating of 70 or more are considered to be high GI. Foods with a rating of 55 or below are considered low GI foods.

                                It’s important to note that the glycemic index of a food doesn’t factor in the quantity that you eat. For example, although watermelon has a high glycemic index, the water and fiber content of a standard serving of water means it won’t have a significant impact on your blood sugar.

                                Like watermelon, some high GI foods (such as baked potatoes) are high in nutrients. And some low GI foods (such as corn chips) contain high amounts of trans fats.

                                In most cases, however, the GI is an important means of gauging the right foods for a healthy diet.

                                Eating mainly low GI foods every day helps to provide your body with a slow, continuous supply of energy. The carbohydrates in low GI foods is digested slowly, so you feel satisfied for longer. This means you’ll be less likely to suffer from fluctuating sugar levels that can lead to cravings and snacking.

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                                Let’s continue with some of the best examples of low GI foods.

                                1. Quinoa

                                GI: 53

                                Quinoa has a slightly higher GI than rice or barley, but it contains a much higher proportion of protein. If you don’t get enough protein from the rest of your diet, quinoa could help. It’s technically a seed, so it’s also high in fiber–again, more than most grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it excellent for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

                                2. Brown Rice (Steamed)

                                GI: 50

                                Versatile and satisfying, brown rice is one of the best low GI foods and is a staple for many dishes around the world. It’s whole rice from which only the husk (the outermost layer) is removed, so it’s a great source of fiber. In fact, brown rice has been shown to help lower cholesterol, improve digestive function, promote fullness, and may even help prevent the formation of blood clots. Just remember to always choose brown over white!

                                3. Corn on the Cob

                                GI: 48

                                Although it tastes sweet, corn on the cob is a good source of slow-burning energy (and one of the tastiest low GI foods). It’s also a good plant source of Vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron, all of which are required for the healthy production of red blood cells in the body. It’s healthiest when eaten without butter and salt!

                                4. Bananas

                                GI: 47

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                                Bananas are a superfood in many ways. They’re rich in potassium and manganese and contain a good amount of vitamin C. Their low GI rating means they’re great for replenishing your fuel stores after a workout.

                                They are easy to add to smoothies, cereal, or kept on your desk for a quick snack. The less ripe they are, the lower the sugar content is! As one of the best low GI foods, it’s a great addition to any daily diet.

                                5. Bran Cereal

                                GI: 43

                                Bran is famous for being one of the highest cereal sources of fiber. It’s also rich in a huge range of nutrients: calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and a host of B vitamins. Although bran may not be to everyone’s tastes, it can easily be added to other cereals to boost the fiber content and lower the overall GI rating.

                                6. Natural Muesli

                                GI: 40

                                Muesli–when made with unsweetened rolled oats, nuts, dried fruit, and other sugar-free ingredients–is one of the healthiest ways to start the day. It’s also very easy to make at home with a variety of other low GI foods. Add yogurt and fresh fruit for a nourishing, energy-packed breakfast.

                                7. Apples

                                GI: 40

                                Apple skin is a great source of pectin, an important prebiotic that helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are also high in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants, and contain a good amount of vitamin C. They are best eaten raw with the skin on! Apples are one of a number of fruits[2] that have a low glycemic index. Be careful which fruits you choose, as many have a large amount of natural sugars[3].

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                                8. Apricots

                                GI: 30

                                Apricots provide both fiber and potassium, which make them an ideal snack for both athletes and anyone trying to keep sugar cravings at bay. They’re also a source of antioxidants and a range of minerals.

                                Apricots can be added to salads, cereals, or eaten as part of a healthy mix with nuts at any time of the day.

                                9. Kidney Beans

                                GI: 29

                                Kidney beans and other legumes provide a substantial serving of plant-based protein, so they can be used in lots of vegetarian dishes if you’re looking to adopt a plant-based diet[4]. They’re also packed with fiber and a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. They are great in soups, stews, or with (whole grain) tacos.

                                10. Barley

                                GI: 22

                                Barley is a cereal grain that can be eaten in lots of ways. It’s an excellent source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), fiber, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium. It also contains beta-glucans, a type of fiber that can support gut health and has been shown to reduce appetite and food intake.

                                Please note that barley does contain gluten, which makes it unsuitable for anyone who is Celiac[5] or who follows a gluten-free diet. In this case, gluten-free alternatives might include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

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                                11. Raw Nuts

                                GI: 20

                                Most nuts have a low GI of between 0 and 20, with cashews slightly higher at around 22. Nuts, as one of the best low GI foods, are a crucial part of the Mediterranean diet[6] and are really the perfect snack: they’re a source of plant-based protein, high in fiber, and contain healthy fats. Add them to smoothies and salads to boost the nutritional content. Try to avoid roasted and salted nuts, as these are made with large amounts of added salt and (usually) trans fats.

                                12. Carrots

                                GI: 16

                                Raw carrots are not only a delicious low GI vegetable, but they really do help your vision! They contain vitamin A (beta carotene) and a host of antioxidants. They’re also low-calorie and high in fiber, and they contain good amounts of vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Carrots are great for those monitoring their weight as they’ve been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

                                13. Greek Yogurt

                                GI: 12

                                Unsweetened Greek yogurt is not only low GI, but it’s an excellent source of calcium and probiotics, as well. Probiotics help to keep your gut microbiome in balance and support your overall digestive health and immune function. Greek yogurt makes a healthy breakfast, snack, dessert, or a replacement for dip. The most common probiotic strains found in yogurt are Streptococcus thermophilus[7] (found naturally in yogurt) and Lactobacillus acidophilus[8] (which is often added by the manufacturer). You can also look into probiotic supplements for improving your gut health.

                                14. Hummus

                                GI: 6

                                When made the traditional way from chickpeas and tahini, hummus is a fantastic, low-GI dish. It’s a staple in many Middle Eastern countries and can be eaten with almost any savory meal. Full of fiber to maintain satiety and feed your good gut bacteria, hummus is great paired with freshly-chopped vegetables, such as carrots and celery.

                                Bottom Line

                                If you’re looking to eat healthier or simply cut down on snacking throughout the day, eating low GI foods is a great way to get started. Choose any of the above foods for a healthy addition to your daily diet and start feeling better for longer.

                                More Tips on Eating Healthy

                                Featured photo credit: Alexander Mils via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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