Heart healthy nutrition tips
15 Easy Lunch Ideas That Nutritionists Actually Make
Kimberly Snyder, CN, a celebrity nutritionist and author of,satisfies crunchy lunchtime cravings with a powerhouse veggie salad made of thinly sliced golden beets, fennel, parsley, and cilantro. Fennel tends to be an overlooked salad ingredient, but it's time that changed. Not only does it have a delicious anise-like flavor, but it also contains a variety of nutrients—including calcium, iron, and zinc—that contribute to bone health. (Fennel is also one of the many foods that can help you de-bloat.)
PRO TIP:Top this salad with Snyder's go-to dressing made with 1½ Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp raw miso paste, 2 tsp coconut nectar, 2 tsp lime juice, and ½ tsp minced fresh ginger. Concerned this salad won't keep you full until your next snack or meal? Pair it with lean protein like skinless chicken breast, a blend of beans and lentils, or any of these 5 high-protein foods nutritionists want you to get more of.
Upgrade boring tuna salad with inspiration from Stacie Hassing, RDN, a dietitian at United Hospital District in southern Minnesota, who serves her fish on baguette slices. To make a similar salad at home, combine heart-healthy tuna (canned in water, not oil) with your favorite crunchy veggies, such as diced bell pepper and diced cucumber, and fold in Whole-30-approved Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayonnaise (, ) or a combination of plain Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard, to taste.
PRO TIP:When choosing your bread, keep in mind that fibrous whole grains (including sprouted grains) are always better than refined grains, which are stripped of their nutritious bran and germ.
MORE:4 Things You Need To Know Before Buying Whole Grain Bread
Skip the taco shop at lunch and opt for this homemade California "crunchwrap" instead. Liz Shaw, RDN, a registered dietitian based in San Diego, created this crunchy lunch recipe using ingredients like jalapeños, crisp flatbread, pulled chicken breast, and guacamole. The star of this dish, however, is the fiber-rich black beans, which are filling and support gut health. (Still craving tacos by dinner time? Try one of these 9 summer taco recipes.)
PRO TIP: If you can't find a wholesome flatbread at the market, use a 6-inch whole grain wrap as a stand in.
Myth buster: Nutritionistsdoeat pasta; they're just smart about it. For instance, a bowl of plain, unadorned noodles may cause a spike in blood sugar, leaving you ravenous later. That's why RDs balance those carbs with veggies and lean protein for a satiating meal. In this pasta salad recipe by Emily Dingman, a nutrition expert based in Los Angeles, cheese tortellini debuts alongside skinless chicken thighs, arugula, and cherry tomatoes for a lunch rich in slow-digesting fiber and protein, both of which will help you stay full well into the afternoon. (Want more pasta but less bloat? These 10 recipes have got you covered.)
PRO TIP: To keep your noodles tasting fresh all week long, store the dressing in a separate container and pour some over each serving of pasta right before you put fork to mouth.
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You've likely had your fair share of kale salads for lunch—and you'll likely have many more. But that doesn't mean you should settle for a boring bowl of greens. Gena Hamshaw, CN, a nutritionist and author of upgrades her kale by topping it with protein-packed lentils, hummus, and mashed purple sweet potatoes. While mashed spuds may be the last thing you'd expect to find in a salad, they add a creamy texture and irresistible flavor to the dish. They're also packed with anthocyanins, pigments that have been associated with reduced cancer risk. (For even more creative salad ideas, check out these 10 low-cal salads that are totally lettuce-free.)
PRO TIP:If you can’t find purple potatoes in your market, pick up orange sweet potatoes, instead, and use this recipe to create the perfect, savory mash.
This is an easy meal to make in large batches—enjoy some for dinner and save the remaining portions for lunch throughout the week. This savory dish from registered dietitian nutritionist Lyndi Cohen, an accredited practicing dietitian based in Australia, boasts cooked salmon, avocado (rich in blood pressure-lowering potassium) tossed with cherry tomatoes and red onion; leafy greens; and roasted cauliflower (bake florets on 400°F for 40 minutes) seasoned with harissa and topped with pomegranate arils, mint, and pistachios.
PRO TIP:Have leftover avocado from your side salad? To keep it from browning, sprinkle it with an acidic agent such as lemon or lime juice and store in an airtight container for up to a day. (You can also use that leftover avocado to make one of these creamy desserts.)
Marinated Portobello mushroom caps, avocado, tomato, radishes, and pea shoots are among the healthy ingredients stuffed into this sandwich from McKel Hill, RDN, the dietitian behind . Portobellos are a fibrous alternative to high-sodium processed sandwich meat, which the World Health Organization has classified as a carcinogen, or something that likely causes cancer. Score even more health benefits from the tomatoes, which are a rich source of lycopene, an antioxidant linked to cancer prevention and healthy cholesterol levels. (This is what one woman ate to get off her cholesterol meds.)
PRO TIP: To marinate a mushroom cap, whisk two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice, and sprinkle with your favorite herbs and spices (a few good options: garlic, rosemary, and a dash of salt). Pierce mushroom caps and place in a dish. Drizzle with marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. To cook, roast at 450°F for 20 minutes.
MORE: 30 Ways To Cancer-Proof Your Life
For a healthy alternative to traditional pasta, registered dietitian Sammi Haber, RD, CDN, a dietitian based in New York City, turns to fiber- and protein-packed chickpea pasta, which keeps you full longer than traditional noodles and promotes bowel health. One to try: Banza Pasta ( for 6 boxes, ). Here, she topped her pasta with tomato sauce, Parmesan, and scallions for a flavorful dish that's still relatively low in calories.
PRO TIP:Check your tomato sauce for added sugars. Some companies add the sweet stuff to make up for less-than-flavorful ingredients like cheap vegetable oils or dehydrated vegetables. Ideally, your sauce will have less than 4 g of sugar per serving. (For more ways to make pasta night diet friendly, don't miss these 6 ways to make Italian food flat-belly friendly.)
Believe it or not, health experts love gooey grilled cheese goodness just like the rest of us. Joy McCarthy, a certified holistic nutritionist based in Canada, makes her go-to grilled cheese recipe a little healthier with pear slices (you can also use apple slices). Adding fibrous fruit to your sandwich makes for a more nutritious and satisfying meal—not to mention it provides an unexpected juicy flavor. Complete the sandwich with Dijon mustard, white cheddar or hard goat cheese (both of which contain calcium, a mineral that helps maintain muscle mass), and a touch of butter for cooking. For more ways to upgrade your favorite sandwich, check out these 25 ways to make a spectacular grilled cheese.
PRO TIP:To ensure the fillings don't leave your bread soggy, toast the bread before cooking it in the skillet.
Get comfortable with the idea of comfort food being healthy. To pull off this tempting dish, Caitlyn Elf, RD, the dietitian behind Cait's Plate, tossed whole-wheat macaroni and cheese with grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli for a balanced pasta meal. It's a delicious way to sneak in the green vitamin-rich veggie, which your mom had good reason to encourage: Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes kale and cauliflower, broccoli gets its bitter taste from sulforaphane, which may inhibit the progression of cancer cells. This tree-like green also contains folate, which supports nervous system function and may decrease breast cancer risk in women.
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