Tag: healthy food

Dark Chocolate Covered Banana Coins

Cool off with a sweet treat that won’t break the calorie bank. Introducing: Dark Chocolate Covered Banana Coins.

Fruit is a much healthier alternative to ice cream, popsicles, and other high calorie, high sugar frozen desserts. Fruit provides natural sugar, helping to satisfy your sweet tooth, while also supplying many essential vitamins and minerals. Make it frozen fruit, and now you really have something to cool off with. Bananas provide potassium and fiber while dark chocolate is an antioxidant and contains flavanols, which help reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow to the heart, prevent blood clots, and promote overall heart health. You can easily swap out the banana for strawberries or pineapple or prepare this recipe using a combination of all three fruits. This recipe is super easy to make and is one the entire family will enjoy both making and eating. Moderation is key with sweet treats, even healthier alternatives. Be sure to enjoy these delicious frozen desserts in a small but satisfying amount. 1 serving size = 4 pieces. Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe but firm bananas (peeled)
  • 2 cups of dark chocolate chips
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:1. Slice the banana into 1 inch thick coins. Line a tray with non-stick parchment or wax paper and lay the slices evenly onto the tray. Place the tray in the freezer for about 1 hour until the bananas are frozen solid.2. Place the dark chocolate chips and vegetable oil in either a small microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Microwave for 30 second increments, stirring each time. Repeat this process until the chocolate is melted down and smooth. Set the chocolate aside to cool (do not place in the refrigerator).3. Take the bananas out of the freezer. Set each banana slice onto a fork and, using a spoon, drizzle the cooled dark chocolate onto each side. Ensure the chocolate is coated evenly on all sides. Let any excess chocolate drip off before setting the slice down on parchment or waxed paper. Immediately put the slices back in the freezer and freeze for an additional 30 minutes until the chocolate sets.4. Enjoy some now or store in an airtight container. Slices can last up to a week.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 people
 
Ingredients:
1 Mason jar
¼ cup lemon juice 
¾ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
¼ teaspoon of pepper 
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
2 cans of low-sodium garbanzo beans
15 cherry tomatoes (equivalent to 1 cup halved)
1 cup of peeled and chopped cucumber (skin can be left on if desired)
1/2 cup chopped or sliced red onion
1/2 package of mint leaves (chiffonade; equivalent to about 1/3 cup)
1 cup of cubed feta cheese (use low moisture, part skim if available)

Preparation:

  1. In a mason jar, combine ¾ cup olive oil with ¼ cup lemon juice. Add 2 garlic cloves, ¼ tsp pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Shake everything together and store it in the refrigerator until use.
  2. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans under running water in a colander. Ensure there is no excess water and then place them in a bowl.
  3. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl.
  4. Peel and chop the cucumber and slice the red onion. Add both to the bowl.
  5. Chiffonade the mint leaves by stacking them on top of one another, rolling them up, then making small cuts with a knife. Add it to the bowl.
  6. Cut the feta cheese into large chunks and add it to the bowl.
  7. Add 1/3 cup of dressing and mix all of the ingredients together until evenly distributed.

Nutritional Benefits

  • This recipe contains ingredients from three different food groups (protein, vegetables, and dairy), making it a well-balanced meal
  • Each 1/2 cup serving provides 6 grams of plant-based protein, which is equivalent to the protein found in 1 oz. of meat. Plant-based protein is free of cholesterol and saturated (unhealthy) fat, making it a healthier alternative to animal protein sources
  • This recipe does not require any heating or cooking methods, making it suitable for all skills levels
  • Garbanzo beans are high in fiber (provide 6 grams/half cup), especially soluble fiber which can help: reduce blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increase satiety, and regulate your digestive system. They are also a good source of iron, folate, phosphorus and calcium
  • Cucumbers are low in calories and contain Vitamins K, A, and some antioxidants
  • Mint contains Vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight infection as well as promotes eye health. Mint is effective for relieving digestive problems such as upset stomach, indigestion, and nausea
  • Cherry tomatoes contain several antioxidants including: Vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene, which all protect against free radicals, reduce the risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancers, and promote eye health
  • Red onion is a great way to add flavor to a dish without adding calories, fat, or sodium. They are a good source of Vitamins C, B-6, and manganese, and small amounts of other nutrients and antioxidants

Tips

  • If you cannot find low sodium beans, you can always purchase the regular version. When you rinse and drain the can under cold water, you remove any excess sodium
  • Garbanzo beans can be swapped out for canned or cooked lentils
  • If you are vegan, omit the feta cheese
  • It is important to eat a variety of colored vegetables in order to get a variety of nutrients. You can easily swap out any of the vegetables used for others, just make sure that you have multiple colors represented. I recommend bell peppers in place of tomatoes 
  • Red onions contain a gas that causes eye irritation and tears when cutting. To reduce this, you can chill the onion for 30 minutes and then cup off its top, peel the outer layers and leave the root intact. If you don’t have time to wait 30 minutes, you can set up a desk fan across from your workstation
  • You can add whole-wheat pita, whole grain crackers, or a corn tortilla to the meal for extra fiber, whole grains, and representation of a 4th food group
  • You can add any herbs or spices to the dressing (i.e. thyme, rosemary, oregano) for added flavor

These recipes were developed and are owned by Melody Sayers, MS, RDN, NASM-CPT. They cannot be published or adapted without permission from the owner. Reposting or sharing must include an acknowledgement of the original recipe owner @elevateyourplate. Please contact elevateyourplatenutrition@gmail.com to be granted permission access for republishing or adaptation.