Every once in a while I like to do a post in which I feature some of my favorite new food discoveries, or staples in my diet that I think everyone should know about and work into their diets as well! (Previously known as Peek Into My Pantry, A Few of My Favorite Things, etc.) I like to switch the name up to keep you on your toes. I also want to make it known that dietitians don’t just sit around and eat apples and kale all day (although we do love those things too). These foods will make it easy for you to eat nutritious foods and can easily be incorporated into your meals and snacks. Keep reading and I’ll show you how.
Here we go again:
1) Season’s Choice steamable bag of Greens and Grains from Aldi: There are so many great things about this product. First of all, it’s from Aldi, so it’s affordable. Second of all, all you do is pop this bag in the microwave and voila! You have a delicious side dish in a matter of minutes, with no clean up required. Lastly, it is full of nutrition! The name really says it all. It is packed with tons of healthy grains including quinoa, barley, rice, and couscous, as well as kale – superfood alert – which is the first ingredient! And you can eat 1 whole cup for only 130 calories. Yes, please. Beasley obviously approves too. 🙂
2) Plain Greek yogurt: If you don’t have some chillin’ (literally) in your fridge at all times, go get some. You can use plain Greek yogurt in so many different ways: in my healthy chicken salad, as sour cream on crockpot chicken tacos, atop your at-home chipotle burrito bowl (make it yourself so you don’t get E. coli, y’all), or even instead of mayo on a sandwich. It’s so versatile and will save you lots of fat and cals in the long run! PS: all of the above recipes can be found in the “Lunch & Dinner Entrees” tab at the top of the page if you’re itching to try using Greek yogurt ASAP. I even used it for the filling in the whole wheat lasagna shown below!
3) Light string cheese made with 2% milk: There’s not much to say about this besides it is…
- Low-fat (2.5 g)
- Low-cal (50 calories)
- Good source of protein and calcium (6 g protein, 15% DV calcium)
- Makes for a quick and easy snack
- Fills you up between meals
- Aaaand it pairs well with number 4!!!
4) My new-found love: TRISCUITS. Okay, these things are whole grain squares of heaven, I’m telling ya. The reduced-fat version is made up of only 3 ingredients! Whole grain wheat is the first. They pair extremely well with my healthy chicken salad (again), string cheese as I mentioned, and they even taste great by themselves! There are several different flavor variations too, which I also love. Sweet potato and fire-roasted tomato in particular are a few of my faves, which are made with brown rice! So much yum.
Last, but certainly not least:
5) Hemp seeds. If you follow me on Instagram you know I put these in and on almost everything I eat. But I just realized I have never talked about them on a “Peek Into My Pantry” post, so I figured it was time. These cute little seeds have a healthy blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, and are packed with fiber and protein that will fuel your body and keep you full. They also add some extra texture and nutty flavor to all your favorite foods. Sprinkle them on salads, toast, oatmeal, in and on top of smoothies, on Greek yogurt and more!
If you need some new, healthy foods to add to your diet, you should consider buying some of these products!
Spinach & Artichoke Dip Stuffed Spaghetti Squash (With Chicken)
Try saying that 5 times fast. 😉 Okay, so I found this recipe on an old friend’s blog, With Salt & Wit. I’ve been wanting to make spaghetti squash lately, I LOVE spinach dip, and this version is healthy! So this particular recipe was an obvious choice. It’s also perfect because it just so happens to include one of the foods I talked about today – plain Greek yogurt! Told you this stuff is versatile. I added the chicken of course for some added protein (and because I might as well be a chicken I eat it so often), but you could leave it out for a vegetarian version. You will get almost an entire day’s worth of veggies with this meal. Now that’s what I’m talking about. (Insert hallelujah hands emoji).
- 1 large (4-5 lb) spaghetti squash (I used 2 small ones)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided (or Mr. Misto oil sprayer)
- Salt and Pepper (I never add salt, so just used pepper and didn’t think salt was needed)
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken, diced (or just cooked chicken – I used 2 medium sized chicken breasts and cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can chopped artichokes, drained and rinsed (I couldn’t find chopped artichokes so cut them into small pieces myself!)
- 1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- 6 oz provel cheese, divided (I couldn’t find whatever provel cheese is, so I used a package of 2% provolone/mozzarella mix!)
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp salt (didn’t use)
- ½ tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 415 degrees F.
- Place the spaghetti squash in the microwave for 5 minutes. (This will help to cook the spaghetti squash quicker and make it easier to cut into).
Side note: One of my squashes “exploded” a little while it was in the microwave, possibly because it was a small one? So if you use smaller squashes as well, try 3 minutes or so first and test to see if it needs to be microwaved longer. I also wish I would’ve known that some people cut the stem off first to make it easier to cut length wise! I would recommend doing this first. See picture below.
Remove squash from the microwave carefully using oven mitts because it will be very hot! Carefully cut in half, length wise.
Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the middle. I found that it was helpful to use a spoon first and then a fork to finish scraping.
I didn’t completely “clean” out the inside of the squash before putting it into the oven to bake and it turned out fine. Some people scoop out every little bit – but I didn’t go to all that trouble. 🙂
Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
*I just sprayed the insides with olive oil using my Mr. Misto sprayer, and only seasoned with black pepper.
Place on prepared baking sheets face down and place in preheated oven. Roast for 35 minutes or until the flesh of the squash will shred easily when scraped with a fork; they will be like spaghetti noodles.
Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add ~1 tablespoon olive oil and add the diced onion. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes, or until onion is soft.
Add the diced red pepper and garlic. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, or until veggies start to caramelize and are soft.
Remove from heat, and add the chicken, artichokes, chopped spinach, greek yogurt, 4 oz of the cheese, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Stir well to completely combine.
Once squash is done, carefully scrape each squash half with a fork, to fluff and create the noodles.
Divide the mixture among the two squashes and top with the remaining 2 oz of cheese.
Place back in oven and cook for 10 minutes longer, or until heated through. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
So beautiful and tasty!
This recipe is a little labor intensive, so I would recommend tackling it with your significant other, mom or friend so you can distribute some of the work! Also, maybe try it on a weekend night when you aren’t pressed for time. 🙂
Have a great rest of the week!
[eat well. live well. be happy.]