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Healthy Recipes For St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my fellow Irish peeps and those who are Irish for the day. After running a St. Patty’s Day themed 5k on Sunday, or course I was rungry. And how could we not celebrate the holiday with delicious food?! That doesn’t mean that delicious food can’t be healthy.

So here are some healthy recipes to enjoy for St. Patrick’s Day.

Green Eggs and Ham

Photo: Kalyns Kitchen
Photo: Kalyns Kitchen

Best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with some green food, and the first think this bookworm thinks of when thinking about green food is green eggs and ham from the Dr. Seuss classic. This Green Eggs and Ham recipe is a scrambled eggs with ham and kale dish. To make, wash and chop kale. Beat eggs and also chop ham (or any meat or non-meat substitute)  into small cubes and sauté , adding in the kale. Add the eggs and some salt and pepper and stir as it’s cooking.

Brown Soda Bread

Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Pam Morris
Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Pam Morris

Irish Soda Bread is a St. Patrick’s Day staple. But this Brown Soda Bread recipe takes a healthier spin on the classic by using whole-wheat flour and oats. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and line a pan with parchment paper and cooking spray. Combine 1 tbsp. of wheat germ, 1 tsp. of baking soda, 1 tsp. of baking powder and 1/2 tsp. of salt in a bowl and then add in 2 cups of low-fat buttermilk and 1 large egg. Stir and pour into pan, baking it for about an hour. Slice and serve!

Leprechaun Lunch

Meet The Dubiens
Meet The Dubiens

This is probably the most adorable lunch I’ve ever seen. Leprechaun Lunch is perfect for kids’ school lunch, party finger food for adults or even just for you because you are awesome. It consists of a chicken sandwich cut into a circle. Use grilled chicken and whole wheat bread to be healthy. I will make mine with a veggie patty. Put baby carrots as the beard and hair and cut a slice of green apple for the hat. to go on the side, this blogger used vanilla yogurt with a rainbow candy (or you could use skittles or M&Ms) and a small cup of bananas for golden coins.

Colcannon

Photo: Clean Green Simple
Photo: Clean Green Simple

A healthier take on the traditional Irish side, this Colcannon recipe doesn’t call for butter, it’s vegan, low aft and sugar free, and there’s kale! Boil a pot of water and add in 6 large  peeled and cut potatoes, cooking until soft. Saute onions until brown and add in kale and garlic. Blend or put kale and onions in a food processor. Then blend in to the potatoes with 1 tsp of oil and 1 cup of soy, almond or whatever milk you desire with a hand mixer. Add in kale mixture, stir and serve!

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Glue and Glitter
Glue and Glitter

Shepherd’s pie! How could we not include it, especially since yesterday was pie day. The recipe for for vegans and is healthier take on the classic comfort food since there is veggies like mushrooms.To make Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, cook potatoes and mash them, adding 1/3 cup of soy, almond or regular milk, 2 tblsp. margarine and pepper. Saute 1 block of cubed tofu with 8 oz. of mushrooms in olive oil, and then add in 1 cup of veggie broth and 1 cup peas and carrots. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a baking dish, add the potatoes to half the tofu mushroom mix and then add the other half on top on potatoes. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast on top and bake for 20 minutes and serve!

Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats

Okay, so it’s not the heartiest, but I am a girl all about balance. This foodie believes in treats in moderation. So when I came across this fun and festive recipe how could I resist?  At least there is no marshmallows and butter, while still staying gooey and chewy. The recipe calls for corn syrup, but instead you can substitute it by heating 1 cup of cane sugar and 1/4 cup of water on a low flame. Cool it and then use directly in recipe. You can also use brown sugar cup for cup as another alternative.

Photo: Hoosier Homemade
Photo: Hoosier Homemade

To make Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats, combine one cup of corn syrup or alternative and 1 cup of sugar into a saucepan on low fat until it boils. Then add in 1 cup of peanut butter (yes, this recipe features peanut butter!), and stir. Then add in 6 cups of Fruity Pebbles. Add the mix into a pan and press down so that the mix is even. Give it some time to set, and then cut and serve!

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Health Recipe: Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

It’s the weekend and that means I have the extra time to prepare some healthy food. I have grown to love to cook, even though I am not the most advanced chef. Still, preparing healthy recipes is easy to do.

For this Saturday’s eats I decided to prepare vegetarian-friendly stuffed peppers. I used organic yellow, orange and red peppers, one package of garden vegetable quinoa, organic tomato sauce and vegan-friendly cheese.
FullSizeRender_2
To make the stuffed peppers, wash them under cool water and slice off the tops. Put the tops to the side be causes you will need them later.

FullSizeRender_1Scoop out the middle part (the seeds and stem) so that the peppers are hollowed out.
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and in the meantime, boil water and cook your quinoa according to the package. As your quinoa is cooking, put the peppers on a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes.

When the quinoa is finished mix in some tomato sauce and sprinkle in cheese. Then stuff your peppers and put on the tops so you have a full pepper again.

Bake for another 20 minutes and then enjoy!
FullSizeRender_3Along with my stuffed peppers, I popped falafel balls in the oven. These were pre made (I know!), but ironically they were a pepper blend as well. They were so tasty and the perfect treat to pair with a pepper.
FullSizeRender_4I love that I have plenty of leftovers to take to work for lunch, so at least I have some meal prep already done before Monday!

Happy eats!

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Pillsbury Pizza Bites Recipe

Now that my half marathon training is really progressing, I stay rungry. The monster inside my belly, who wants to eat everything insight, is usually not awaken until the day after a long run. But today he came out to play in full force.

So I started the morning by baking gluten-free muffins from scratch. I picked up the gluten-free mix  from Stop & Shop, and it was really easy to make. All you need is six tablespoons of butter, one cup of milk (i always make with almond milk instead) and 3 large eggs (of course I use organic, cage-free). You can add any fruit or nuts, and I used organic blueberries. They were so tasty, I am happy I have lots leftover to take for breakfast.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 8.41.30 PMSo after indulging in those, and a caramel latte, it was soon time for my long-distance run. I had no motivation today and wish it wasn’t a long run day. I also wished I ran outside instead, but got on the treadmill even though I didn’t want to, so at least that is better than sitting on the couch (which I am enjoying doing now!)

It was really hard to complete 9 mile, and wasn’t feeling like myself. There were moments I really got into the groove of things, but I was just so tired. No runner should have to be subjected to the torture of running 9 miles on a treadmill in a basement with nothing to look at. Yeah, it was really boring, but I pushed through and got it done. I did have to walk for awhile so my time sucked, but I am so happy that I planned on doing it and completed it.

So of course right after, I became so rungry. I prepared a salad to take to work tomorrow, but my boyfriend was hungry too, so I decided to make a delicious dinner for the both of us since he wasn’t in the mood for a salad.

I saw this cool recipe for pizza muffins and just had to make them. And it is so easy to make.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 8.41.45 PMAll you need is tomato sauce, cheese, a package of Pillsbury rolls and a muffin tray.

Preheat your oven to 350 degree F. Place the crescents in the muffin slots and then pour on some tomato sauce. I use organic, this time from Nature’s Promise. Then sprinkle on some cheese. I opted for lactose free shredded mozzarella from Go Veggie! . My boyfriend wasn’t a fan of the fake cheese, but still ate a few. It’s probably only because I asked, but I love it.

shreds-lf-mozzarellaBake those babies for 13 to 17 minutes. Even though I know these rolls aren’t the healthiest thing to eat, if you love the way the dough breaks apart and love pizza, these are bite-sized pieces of heaven.

I defiantly deserved it after that run!

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Sweet Potato Month : Sweet, Easy-To-Make Recipes

We are so happy to have February coming to a close, as we step closer to spring months. But one of the best parts of winter weather is curling up (after a good workout of course) on the couch with some hot soup, cup of chai tea or other dishes that taste of the season.

Did you know that February is actually National Sweet Potato Month? Sweet potatoes remind us of home-cooked Thanksgiving meals. Baked sweet potato pie, delicious sweet potato soup, baked sweet potatoes as a side.

In honor of National Sweet Potato Month, we wanted to dedicate a post to tips, tricks and easy-to-make recipes that you can make this week as February comes to a close, or anytime throughout the year.

Why Are Sweet Potatoes Healthy?

Sweet potatoes have a high source of vitamin B6, which reduces the risk of heart attacks. They also contain vitamin C—perfect for cold and flu season—and promotes skin health. Sweet potatoes contain iron, magnesium and potassium. They are great to include into meals when training because they are carbohydrates, and even though they are sweet, they contain natural sugars that are released slowly unto the bloodstream instead of spiking blood sugar levels.

How To Pick A Sweet Potato 

When making your sweet potato selection, make sure that the potato is firm. Avoid the ones that have soft spots and cracks. Store then in a dark, cool place and not in the refrigerator.

Easy-To-Make Recipes

Sweet Potato and Apple Soup 

 PC: William Brinson/ Real Simple
PC: William Brinson/ Real Simple

If you are still thawing out from this brutal winter, than this soup is the perfect dish to warm you up. To make the Sweet Potato and Apple Soup, heat oil in a large pot and add in onion, salt, pepper, sweet potatoes, chopped apple, vegetable broth, nutmeg and water. Cook until the potatoes are tender and transfer until a blender and mix until smooth. Then serve the soup with blue cheese crumbles, walnuts and sliced apples.

Roasted Sweet-Potato Salad

PC: Kurt Wilson
PC: Kurt Wilson

If we talk about soup, we have to talk about an accompanying salad. This salad has just a bit more than 300 calories, with 11 grams of fiber and 7.6 grams of protein. To make the Roasted Sweet-Potato Salad, roast sweet potatoes in oiled pan placed in the oven at 425 degrees F with salt, pepper and bell peppers. Cook for 40 minutes, remove from oven and stir in vinegar. Place spinach in a salad bowl and add the potato mixture and serve.

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

PC: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro/ Health
PC: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Jan Gautro/ Health

These potatoes are sweet so it only makes sense to throw in a little spice, To make Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Peel the potatoes, cutting them longways into quarters. Throw then I’m a bowl with cooking spray, sugar, salt and pepper. Place them onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the wedges over and bake until brown.

Sweet Potato-Pecan Burger with Caramelized Onion

PC:  Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
PC: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

The perfect meal for a vegetarian, this Sweet Potato-Pecan Burger with Caramelized Onion is delicious and nutritious. Cook onions first by heating oil in a skillet and sauté until brown. Stir in vinegar, sugar and salt and then remove from pan. To make the burger, place sweet potato in a large saucepan and cover with water until it boils. Let this cook for 10 minutes and then drain. Put potato, onion/garlic mixture, pats, cumin, and salt and pepper into a food processor until smooth. Stir in toasted pecans and divide the mixture into 6 portions, making them into patties. Cook patties on oiled pan until brown. Then assemble your burger.

Banana Bread Muffins With Sweet Potatoes

PC: Bodybuilding.com
PC: Bodybuilding.com

Perfect as a snack before the gym or for breakfast on-the-go, the Banana Bread Muffin With Sweet Potato recipe is easy-to-make and surprisingly nutritious. We usually view muffins as cakes in sheep’s clothing, but this recipe uses egg whites and almond milk to make it lighter on your waist. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. Combine mashed sweet potato and banana until mixed well and then add in banana protein powder, unsweetened almond milk and coconut flour and mix well. Bake for about 40 minutes.

What’s your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?

[PHOTO CREDIT: thebittenword.com/Flickr]

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Zucchini Boats




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By Sarah Baker for Discover and Play

If you don’t have an inkling by now, I have a great affinity for zucchini. I showcased my zucchini stew, and zucchini pasta recipes, and am now using the versatile veggie as the base for a “zucchini boat” recipe. Zucchini keeps you warm and grounded throughout the crisp fall days, and is great for adding texture and earthy flavors to a meal.

This zucchini boat recipe can be great for entertaining, for a side dish, or even as a main. Make this recipe if you want to reap the benefits of a slew of healing properties such as aiding in the synthesis of fatty acids, metabolizing proteins and carbs, protection against oxidative stress, and more.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

•Cooked brown rice or farro

•Kalamata olives

•Feta cheese (or nutritional yeast if you are vegan)

•2 tbsp olive oil

•6 medium sized zucchinis

•1 tbsp coconut oil

•1 lemon

Seasonings:

• Sprinkle of each: mint, oregano, basil, himalayan salt, and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat an oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice the 6 zucchinis in half, and scoop out the center with a spoon, or knife
  3. Dice the innards of the zucchini and mix with the grain, seasonings, and feta cheese
  4. Line a baking dish with tin foil and olive oil, then set the zucchini shells in a row
  5. Fill the zucchini shells with your mixture, then top each mixture with kalamata olives
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden-brown
  7. Once out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil, squeeze some lemon over each boat, sprinkle some extra mint, and serve.

Notes:
If you do not have already cooked brown rice, make the rice ahead of time by simmering in water for about 20-30 minutes. Every time I use seasonings, I never really measure them. For new chefs in the kitchen, measuring every ingredient and seasoning can be tedious and time consuming for recipes like this. Some recipes are crucial and need measurements, but the majority of the recipes shared on Balanced Babe are meant to be quick and easy to make.

Bio (Can Post as DEK): Sarah Baker is a holistic health, nutrition and Image consultant focused on bringing vitality and balancing to her clients. Her consulting practice, Style Body Soul LLC, offers numerous programs suitable for various lifestyles, and her blog; Balanced Babe, focuses on nourishing recipes and daily tips to leading a vibrant fulfilling life. You can also stay motivated to be healthy by using her plant-based dining guide: Eat Healthful.

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Your Recipe Guide To Healthy Super Bowl Snacks and Drinks : T-Lounge : Tech Times

Besides the commercial, the food is my favorite part of Super Bowl Sunday. But you don’t have to sacrifice your diet or healthy eating to enjoy the snacks and drinks. Here are some healthy spins on the traditional foods.

Your Recipe Guide To Healthy Super Bowl Snacks and Drinks : T-Lounge : Tech Times.

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Homemade Pesto Recipe



By Sarah Baker for Discover and Play

Store bought pesto can be jam packed with sodium and preservatives to the point where it can feel pretty pointless to incorporate into a dish. I have a super quick homemade recipe that takes only 10 minutes to whip up! If you have a glass jar, make a large portion and store your leftovers to last you for the whole week.

This pesto is nutrient dense, low in sodium, and extremely delicious. And for a little nutritional information, I’ve got some extra info on how this pesto will keep you looking healthy from the inside out.

Pine nuts are the base and superstar of this healthy recipe. Bringing you a punch of iron (which is great to fight fatigue around that time of the month, ladies), Vitamins A C and D, boosts immunity, and is packed with healthy fats.

I also use fresh basil in this recipe which offers a plethora of anti-aging properties, can diminish inflammation and is packed with antioxidants. Now on to the recipe:

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. – 1 cup of pine nuts
  2. – 1 bunch of basil leaves, chopped
  3. – 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  4. – 3 tbsp olive oil
  5. – 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. – 1/2 of lemon
  7. – 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (optional if you don’t want recipe to be Vegan or Raw)

Instructions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the pine nuts, chopped basil, and olive oil.
  2. Blend until the pine nuts turn into a fine mixture with the basil.
  3. Add the garlic and nutritional yeast, squeeze half of the lemon, and blend in the Parmesan cheese (only add the parm if you do not want to keep this a vegan dish)
  4. Blend every well until it turns into a nice mixture, but do not puree completely.
  5. Keep stored in an airtight jar in the fridge, or store half of your batch in the freezer if you want it to keep for longer.

A lil’ sumpin’ sumpin’ to add; this recipe is considered vegan and raw. If you are following either of these eating lifestyles, basil pesto is a stellar condiment to include into your daily menu!

I personally love putting this homemade pesto recipe in my zucchini pastas, and in egg dishes. What recipes do you use pesto in?

Sarah Baker is a holistic health, nutrition and Image consultant focused on bringing vitality and balancing to her clients. Her consulting practice, Style Body Soul LLC, offers numerous programs suitable for various lifestyles, and her blog; Balanced Babe, focuses on nourishing recipes and daily tips to leading a vibrant fulfilling life. You can also stay motivated to be healthy by using her plant-based dining guide: Eat Healthful.

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Three Day Juice Cleanse Recipes & Review

Ever since I’ve gotten a NutriBullet I am obsessed with making fresh veggie and fruit juices. I have been starting my day off with a breakfast blend with nutritious greens, attempting last week to do a complete cleanse.

While I continued to drink my juices, I found myself being tempted to eat a slice of pizza (or two) and indulge in eggplant rollatini—but at least this divine meal was for my birthday dinner and I opted not to eat cake.

I tend to eat very healthy, besides the amount of cheese I consume and my weakness for pizza. I live with others who are 1. not vegetarians and 2. consume processed food, lots and lots of junk, and soda. I am not about the fried food, chips and Pepsi life. However, it is really hard to turn down pizza every once in a while.

Still, my fridge is stocked with kale, collard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, butternut squash, broccoli, carrots, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, cantaloupe, mango and pineapple. I also eat Greek yogurt with granola and fresh fruit, quinoa and sweet peppers and pretty much could live off of spinach-based salads.

However, my tummy was aching and I was feeling a bit sluggish. (I am convinced I have developed an intolerance for gluten, but I may be suffering from it mentally since I report on it a lot) So I decided to increase my juice intake, eating only vegetables and fruits for three days. For inspiration, I watched Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead 2, finding it just as informative as the first.

While he does his reboot only drinking juice, I found this to be difficult. Instead, my three day juice cleanse included mostly juice, but was able to eat fruits and veggies as well.

Here’s how it went down.

Day 1:
Breakfast -> 1 cup kale, 1cup Swiss chard + strawberries and 1 huge banana (+ the water)

Lunch ->1 1/2 cup kale + mango, pineapple, cantaloupe, flaxseed (+ coconut water)

Snack-> 1 cup kale, Swiss chard, pineapple, mango, broccoli, raspberry (not sure what else, my boyfriend’s sister made this one for me)

Dinner-> Raw spinach, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, Greek yogurt-based honey mustard dressing.

Exercise: Planned on either 4 miles or 2 miles speed work on the hills, but barely got through the two. Wasn’t feeling well, but at least I did it! I say that now, but I was so pissed during the run. My lungs burned in the cold and my stomach was hurting, making me have to seriously slow down. My the time I got back home, I was so mad that I didn’t have a good run, which made me feel even worse.

To soothe my stomach, I drank LOTS of green tea with honey and lemon, and then just hot water with lemon for the rest of the night.

Late night snack-> Baby carrot sticks on the couch watching TV!

Day 2:

Breakfast -> 1 cup kale, 1 cup collard greens + strawberry, blackberry (+water)

Lunch-> Spinach salad with raisins, blue cheese crumbles, almonds and light balsamic dressing

Snack-> 1 cup kale + strawberries and banana (+water)

Dinner-> Iceberg lettuce salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, croutons, cheese, and my fav honey mustard dressing.

Exercise: 4 mile hill run, where I really focused on speed. My average min/mi going up the hills was much faster, and I was running 20 second faster miles. I felt great during the run and had lots of energy to really push myself.

Back at home: 20 squats holding 5 lb. toning ball. Calf raises 20 on each side.
Lots of crunches, I would estimate 100 (some with toning ball, some without)
25 reps biceps curls.
End it off with yoga stretch sequence

Post workout juice -> 1 cup kale, 1/2 collard green, broccoli, strawberry, raspberry

Then drank green tea with honey and lemon, followed by lots of lemon water.

Day 3:

As I am writing this, it’s only day 3 morning, but I have to say I feel so much better. I feel lighter and wake up already with energy to start the day.

While I did wake up to have a cup coffee, the rest of the day, I plan on following my juice plan.

Breakfast -> 2 cups kale, pineapple, watermelon (+water)

Hot water with lemon

Lunch-> 1 cup kale, 1 cup collard green, strawberry, banana (at this point, I am running out of fruits because everyone in the house is getting on a the healthy bandwagon!)

Dinner-> kale, Tomato, basil, garlic, water (then put in on the stove for to tomato soup!)

Exercise: Run 4 or 6 miles (haven’t decided)

I must say that the juices make me feel fuller longer, increases my energy, makes me feel light on my feet, and boosts my mood. I also been having better night’s sleep, but I think that’s due to the running.

Have you juiced before? For how long? How did you feel? Recipe tips?

(PS I have a whole booklet with recipe tips and will share some more with you!)

[PHOTO CREDIT :

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Vegetarian lunch idea: Sun-dried tomato quinoa and balsamic-drizzled veggies

Talk about brain food! I find that the more I submerse myself into healthy living, the more inspired I become. Making healthy habits is not only good for the body, but also for the mind.

Leaving chicken behind has been much easier than I would have thought. My vegetarian diet is making me feel so strong and alive, and I notice a huge difference overall compared to my previous eating habits.

I mostly much on veggies and fruits now a day. I actually crave spinach and could live off it raw for the rest of my life. I throw in organic, fresh goat cheese and an organic french balsamic dressing from my local shop and it is divine.

Sad news was today I am out of spinach. But I cooked up the healthiest and delicious easy-to-make meal that was done in minutes.

Recipe for sun-dried tomato quinoa and balsamic-drizzled veggies

Ingredients:

I package of Roland Quinoa, Sun-Dried Tomato- 5.46oz

4 large bushels of broccoli

1 large green pepper

1 cup of mushrooms

1/2 cup of snap peas

Directions:

shopping

Follow quinoa directions on package. Boil 1 1/2 cups of water, add  entire package and stir occasionally. You will know its ready when the water is soaked up completely.

While the water boils, soapy non-stick spray on a flat grill or stovetop pan. (I use an indoor “grill” used for burgers or bacon) Throw in broccoli, peppers, and mushrooms first and then snap peas. Mix occasionally and let cook until broccoli is soft and mushrooms are brown.

Portion out a serving spoon of quinoa and fill top with veggies. Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar on top. (NOTE: I don’t always use balsamic, but today wanted a little flavor since I do not cook with salt.)

Total time to make everything was about 30 minutes and it was such a nutritious and delicious meal. After eating, I just had to share the simple recipe. Now I am ready to finish the rest of my work day without feeling sluggish!
Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 2.30.20 PMHappy eats!

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How to Make Burgers Healthier

How to Make Burgers Healthier

By Jessica Remitz for Discover and Play

Just because Labor Day has come and gone doesn’t mean you have to pack up the grill — or settle for a humdrum burger.  From condiments and toppings to the actual patty you create, check out three new ways to enjoy a delicious, healthier version than the original.

Make Your Own Condiments
Why settle for store bought condiments like mayonnaise and ranch dressing, which can be high in fat and calories, or ketchup, which can be high in sugar, when you can make a delicious version at home? This homemade spicy ketchup from Joy the Baker includes allspice, paprika and red pepper flakes to give your burger a burst of flavor without any unwanted preservatives or additives. You can also try topping your burger with homemade tzatziki using Greek yogurt, cucumbers and dill.

Get Funky with Toppings
Swap that soggy piece of iceberg lettuce for a creative topping — like a fried egg, a slice of avocado, or both, like I am baker — it won’t only delight your taste buds, but also provide a boost of nutrition . The egg provides a second source of protein, B vitamins and iron, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. And adding in some avocado will leave you with a heart-healthy topping, containing folate, vitamins C, E and monosaturated fat. This fruit of the tree improves blood cholesterol levels and decreases your risk of heart disease.

You can also try adding a non-traditional cheese, like feta, or grilled veggies to your burger for an extra healthy dose of flavor. To help you make the healthiest topping choices, try out the app Fooducate the next time you hit the grocery store. It’s a diet tracker that grades your food based off of barcodes on the packaging — it’ll let you know what’s really in the item and provide healthy alternatives if your first choice doesn’t quite make the grade.

Try a New Meat
Traditional burgers are made with high-fat ground beef — that when smothered with other fatty toppings like mayonnaise and cheese can quickly turn into a calorie-bomb. Try swapping your go-to beef with turkey, lamb or even bison! Not sure if you’ve made the healthiest choice? Give Pic Healthy a go — an app that makes healthy eating a game. You rate how healthy you think a food is and then your friends can be the judge! Your social group can comment on your choices and cheer you on or call you out.

Annie’s Eats’ Jalapeno Cheddar Chicken
Burgers with Guacamole is a delicious healthful spin on the classic patty. If
you can’t live without that beef flavor, try to use leaner ground beef.

Jessica Remitz is
a freelance writer and web producer living in Brooklyn. Her work has
been featured in a variety of health and lifestyle websites including
Spafinder, FitPregnancy and Everyday Health. To see additional writing
samples and learn more about Jessica’s work, visit her 
website.