If you’re like most people, you KNOW what is healthy and what isn’t. The issue for most is in the application – how to plan, prepare, and eat the foods we know we should be eating. This post will show you how to make any recipe healthy – giving you endless options and choices for healthy food!
To understand how I began this process, we must flashback 2008 when I was living in New York City…to that period of time I usually gloss over in my bio – the modeling era! I had to monitor EVERY single calorie – and it was brutal. But it taught me A LOT. In the context of this post, it forced me to discover ways to increase my healthy food options while still cooking in a way that helped maintain the leanest body possible.
I used to watch the Food Network daily. While watching I kept a notebook where I recorded every lesson and enticing recipe along with my plans to open my own restaraunt – one that would serve the meals I wanted to eat. (I still might one day! Or maybe it’ll just be a gluten-free, Paleo HOS food truck in the gym parking lot!) The inside flap of the notebook even has potential names for the restaurant…
I watched Paula Deen, Alton Brown, Emeril, and Bobby Flay. I wrote down every recipe that appealed to me. Then, I set about swapping the bad stuff for the ingredients I found acceptable in a manner that put the protein, carbohydrates, and fat totals where I wanted them.
Here’s an example:
Paula Deen’s Chicken Casserole
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken
- 2 cans green beans
- 1 Cup Mayo
- 1 onion diced & sauteed (It’s Paula Deen, so you know it was sauteed in a stick of butter)
- 1 can cream of celery soup
- 1 Cup grated cheese
- 1 can water chestnuts
- 1 can pimentos
As you can see, this recipe isn’t terrible. It has potential. But we need to UP the protein content, ditch the mayo and processed soup. I opted to make a broccoli casserole instead of green beans – mostly because that’s what I had. You can use whatever green vegetable you like. Here’s my recipe:
- 2 cooked diced chicken breasts
- 1 small container plain, no-sugar added Greek Yogurt (replaced mayo & upped protein content)
- 1/4 C sliced almonds (replaced water chestnuts – I don’t like them)
- 1/4 C diced celery (same flavor as soup – uses ACTUAL vegetable!)
- 8 oz low-sodium, free-range chicken stock (replaces liquid from cream of celery soup)
- 1/3 C shredded grass-fed cheese
- 1/2 – 1 C salsa
- 1 bag frozen broccoli
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Makes 2 servings, each with 40-50 grams protein, minimal carbs, and about 15g fat, making this a perfect anytime meal. If you want or need carbohydrates, simply serve with or over rice.
Now I’m not the best guinea pig. I’ll suffer through anything I make. Might not make it again, but I won’t admit failure. So I made a huge batch and took some leftovers to the gym where I worked to see if other’s approved. It was a hit. I knew I was onto something! So I continued, and still do to this day. In fact, if you search the recipes on this blog, almost every one is adapted from some “unhealthy” recipe and made into a “HOS-approved” recipe.
Chocolate & Pumpkin No-Bake Cookies
- 1.5 C white sugar
- 0.5 C brown sugar
- 0.75 C butter
- 2/3 C milk
- 1 box instant pudding mix – pumpkin spice flavor
- 3 C oats
- pumpkin spice
- Vanilla extract
As you can imagine, when I found this recipe, I knew it needed a serious overhaul. I mean, these “pumpkin” cookies don’t even have pumpkin in them! Let this be a lesson in labeling and food choices. Whenever possible, read the ingredients or recipe!
- 1 x 100% cocoa bar (broken into pieces)
- 6 scoops egg white protein powder (vanilla or chocolate)
- 2 scoops pea protein (unflavored)
- 8-12 oz water
- 1/2 C canned pumpkin
- 2.5 C oats
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Stevia (if you want sweeter cookies)
To make these no-bakes stick together, we need a fat source. I opted for the 100% cocoa bar. Grass-fed butter would be a perfect choice, as would unrefined coconut oil. (I already had those on this day, so I used cocoa for a different fat source.) We also need a liquid to replace the milk, and we need to massively up the protein content. The protein powders, especially the pea protein help to create a binding effect much like the sugar in the original recipe. So here’s how to do it…
Combine the oats, stevia, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin in a large bowl. Put the water and protein in a shaker or blender and mix. The add to a large saucepan along with the broken up chocolate bar. Over medium heat, stir until the chocolate melts. Once the chocolate is melted pour the protein and chocolate mixture over the oats and stir until well-coated. Spread evenly over 1-2 cookie sheets and place in freezer. Once frozen (2-3 hours) you can break them into servings, cookies, or whatever shape and size you want.
Follow these guidelines and you can make any recipe into a muscle building, fat-blasting winner.
I’d love to hear your experience. Take your favorite recipe, make it healthy and share it in the comments below so others can benefit!