Health & Wellness Mental Health

New Year, New Eats: Healthy Eating for 2020

Yay! It’s a new decade! Which means, there are new things that people are trying to accomplish is this new period of life. Read More

new year, new eats

Yay! It’s a new decade!

Which means, there are new things that people are trying to accomplish is this new period of life. Some people are going after new careers; others are trying to get back into school. As for me, I’m trying to continue this healthy living, which, of course, means healthy eating. In order to get my spirits, health, body and mind in order, I started off 2020 with the Daniel Fast, which is 21 days of eating only eating fruits, veggies and whole grains, while drawing near and connecting with God.

Now, this is my first time doing the Daniel Fast and—I’m not going to lie—it has been difficult. Of course, I have strengthened my connection with God and I just feel like I’m a walking light—the spirituality behind it has been phenomenal. However, cutting out meat, snacks and all unnatural sugars has been the hardest thing to do…like ever. I’m a huge snacker, so letting go of my cool ranch doritos and chocolate chip cookies have been THE sacrifice. However, though it has been a struggle, I am beyond grateful for how amazing my body, mind and spirit have been feeling.

So, what have I been eating?

A LOT of veggies, fruits and couscous. But, because this is my first time, I have made a few modifications. For anyone interested in the Daniel Fast, yes, it is important to stick to the diet but it’s okay to have a cheat day. This is a way of eating that we aren’t used to, and God understands that, so don’t get too focused on the food.

With that being said, here are a few things that I’ve tried—and loved­—as I’ve been fasting. Just a heads up: I’ve substituted any dairy and sugar with vegan friendly options, but you can keep it original! Either way, it’ll be delicious. Now, let’s get some breakfast, lunch and dinner:

Maple Walnut Baked Oatmeal

Gather the ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter; slightly cooled
  • ¾ cup of walnut halves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ cup of rolled oats
  • ¾ cup of oat bran
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ of salt
  • 2 ½ cup of low-fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup
  • Vanilla Greek yogurt and fruit [for serving]

For candied maple walnuts:

  • ¾ cup of walnut halves
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat your over to 350 degrees. While that’s getting hot, lightly brush a 2-qt casserole dish—aka deep dish—with that melted butter.

In a small sauté pan, over medium heat, cook your walnuts until they are lightly toasted—should take about 5 minutes. Let them cool.

In a large bowl, throw in your oat bran, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, salt and walnuts. In another bowl, put together the milk, egg, butter, vanilla and maple syrup. Whisk all together

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry, add those toasted walnuts and stir. Put that mixture in your melted butter deep dish and top if off with candied walnut halves. Let this bake for about 30 minutes.

For those candied walnuts: cook the walnut halves in a small pan, over medium heat, for about 3 minutes. Then add maple syrup, salt, stir and let that go for about 3 more minutes.

Remove and BOOM! Ready to indulge.

cauliflowerCauliflower Grilled Cheese

The easiest part: the ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower—enough that yields 4 cups after grated/put in food processor. Cauliflower rice is also good and much easier than grating a whole cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded white cheddar

If you have a whole cauliflower: cut it up into florets and throw it in that processor—or grate it. If you have cauliflower rice, you’re saved from this step.

In a medium bowl, toss in the cauliflower, eggs, parmesan and oregano. Mix it until everything is nicely combined, then hit it with some salt and pepper.

Next, grab a large nonstick skillet, spray it with some cooking spray, place over medium heat, then add in that previous mixture in the form of 2 nice-size pancakes—or large, depending on how big you want your “bread” to be. Let your “bread slices” cook on both sides for about 5 minutes.

After the second flip, put some of that white cheddar on one of your slices, and fold the other slice on top. Cook until the cheese is all gloriously melted. And yes, now you can serve.

zucchiniChicken Zucchini Alfredo

It’s ingredients time:

  • 3 large zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¾ lb. chicken breast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • ¾ cup of half-and-half—can be whole milk, but half-and-half makes it creamier.
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • ½ cup of grated Parmesan—which extra for serving, of course
  • ¼ cup of fresh chopped parsley

First, we’re going to turn that zucchini into noodles. To do so, grab a vegetable peeler, peel each zucchini lengthwise to make long, thin strings. Lay them to the side.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, get that first bit of oil hot. Season your chicken with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning, then let it fully cook—should take about 8 minutes per side. When done, cut the chicken into strips.

Put the rest of the oil in the same skillet. Toss in the garlic and cook for a minute, then the half-and-half and cream cheese, making sure to stir it often and cooking until cream cheese has melted. Add the parmesan, salt and pepper, and let that thing thicken for about 5 minutes.

Lastly, add in the chicken, zucchini noodles and parsley [this is definitely optional]. Serve immediately. I know you can’t wait.

What new eats are you trying for the new year? Share them! I’m always up for new recipes. Let’s start the year off strong, healthy and tasty!