In this episode of cooking with Chef Christy, she bakes a delicious muffin that works as a wonderful, balanced snack.
Entertaining this summer? Make some crowd-pleasing dips. They are a convenient and delicious way to consume a wide variety of anti-inflammatory vegetables, spices, and healthy fats. While we love the convenience of purchased dips like packaged hummus, some brands may contain unnecessary levels of fat, sugar, salt, preservatives, and hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Making dips yourself allows you to control the flavor and quality – and it’s easy!
The best dips begin with a creamy base made from foods such as beans, lentils, avocados, edamame, and roasted vegetables [eggplant, carrots, squash, zucchini, peppers, cauliflower] that are blended with oil or another liquid. Add flavor boosters such as tahini, garlic, hot sauce, nut butters, nuts and seeds, lemon or lime juice, and zest to add dimension. Finish by seasoning with fresh and dried herbs, spices, salt, and pepper, and your dip is complete. Here are some of our favorite combinations with healthy vehicles ideas:
Ingredient and flavor combinations
- Chickpea hummus [and other beans] – The classic chickpea base is very versatile and can be made with any bean. Add tahini, garlic, lemon, and cumin to chickpeas for a traditional version. Variations include [but are not limited to] roasted red pepper, lemon kale, Moroccan carrot, roasted zucchini, kalamata olive, spicy sriracha, and creamy pesto. Try this crowd-pleasing version for Lemon Dill Hummus.
- Avocado, AKA guacamole! We love the healthy fats in avocado, but the calories can be intimidating. Cut the amount of avocado in half by adding defrosted edamame beans – you will decrease the calories and increase the protein. Win, win. Add some greens to keep your dip bright and fresh. Our Kale and Edamame Guacamole is a team favorite.
- Roasted vegetables – Baba ganoush is the ultimate example here – a combination of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, and garlic. Other roasted vegetables that work well in dips are butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, and peppers. Roasting them allows you to process vegetables until creamy. Start with store-bought for this nutrient-dense and super flavorful Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip.
- Carrot chips or sticks – You can purchase prepared crinkle-cut carrot chips or slice carrots on an angle. Baby carrots work too.
- Cucumber chips – Slice cucumbers on an angle to maximize surface area for scooping.
- Broccoli or cauliflower – Lightly steam these vegetables to bring out their sweetness – you want them to still have the firmness necessary to dip.
- Green beans – Remove stems, rinse, and dip. If you prefer, you can lightly steam these as well.
- Endive – This nutrient-dense vegetable is the ultimate chip – perfect shape, size, and sturdiness.
- Peppers – Red, yellow, and orange peppers provide a variety of phytonutrients and are milder than green peppers.
- Celery sticks – Firm and crisp, celery is a go-to vehicle.
- Snap peas – These can be consumed raw or lightly steamed.
- Cherry tomatoes – We love using grape tomatoes on our crudités platters, but dipping them can be tricky. Using toothpicks can help keep your fingers free of dip.
If you are interested in more Well Balanced snack options and new recipes, join us for our monthly webinar.
d simply enjoying good food and even better company can lead to a stress-free summer. The summer months offer an opportunity to create wonderful memories and oftentimes that includes yummy treats which should be enjoyed guilt-free! Every little effort counts, whether that’s cooking at home 2x per week, eating a side of veggies at 1-2 meals, or going on walks on your lunch break.
Mindfulness is living presently in the moment and appreciating its uniqueness, knowing we will never live that moment or experience again. Whenever we practice mindfulness, we bring a sense of awareness to what we are doing directly through our senses. Mindfulness is a personal practice and can be utilized at any moment. It offers a buffer between external experiences and internal reactions.
One way to approach a suspected leaky gut is to address inflammation and eat a more gut-friendly diet. This means reducing excessive alcohol and processed foods that tend to be high in fat and sugar or artificial sweeteners, adding in gut friendly foods, and focusing on fiber and plant diversity.
More and more research suggests that your gut is deeply interconnected throughout your body—from the brain, to your heart, to your immune system, and even to your mood. This means that the foods and drinks you consume can directly affect your health and mood. The gut’s ability to selectively allow the foods we consume to be absorbed while keeping others out is only possible if the cells are working properly and physically joined together very tightly, via tight junctions.
In this episode of Cooking with Chef Christy we get a brief overview (#lifehack) for adding juicy flavors without the fancy #sousvide equipment. She walks us through starting with a flavorful marinade for protein of your choice (such as chicken thighs). Then you cook them briefly on the grill. Lastly, you put the meat back […]
Meal planning and preparation are some of the most common struggles we (Lucy, Kristen and Bella) hear about from clients. Whether it’s due to a time constraint, creative block, picky eaters at home, or disinterest in cooking, meal planning and prep often take a back seat in many of our lives. That’s why at Well […]
Menopause. The change. Whatever you call it, it’s important to remember that it’s not a disease to be treated, but rather a normal stage of life. Menopause “officially” starts 12-months after your last period. That happens, on average, around the age of 51. This change doesn’t happen overnight, though. There are usually a few years […]
In the second episode of Cooking With Chef Christy, you’ll learn how to make a delicious and hardy salad with heart-healthy additions. Are salads really healthy? Salads are a great way to get in a lot of colorful plant-foods, but not every salad is a great choice. It is easy to think a salad is […]