Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

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This Mediterranean Chickpea Salad is the perfect side dish for a weeknight meal or summer gathering.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces manchego cheese, chopped
  • 1 (10.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon (1 1/2 tsp.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup cherry or grape
  • tomatoes, each cut into quarters (8 oz.)
  • 2 bunches arugula or 1 (5 oz.) box baby arugula, cleaned and patted dry

Preparation

  1. Toss cheese, chickpeas, mint, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest together in a medium bowl; season with salt to taste. Set mixture aside to marinate at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and let it marinate in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Add lemon juice and tomatoes to cheese-chickpea mixture and toss to coat thoroughly.
  3. Divide arugula among 4 individual serving plates and spoon marinated cheese mixture on top. Grind freshly cracked black pepper directly over each salad. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.
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8 Things Healthy People Do

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We all envy the members of the Healthy Club.

The Healthy Club?

You know, that elite group of healthy people who have discovered the elusive secrets of nutrition and fitness. They probably meet in an underground lair and bask in each others’ healthy glow. Jillian Michaels, JJ Virgin, and Shaun T are totally in it, obviously…and can’t forget about those beautiful celebrities, like Matthew McConaughey or Scarlett Johansson.

Politicians are invited too, like Michelle Obama (have you seen those arms?). And I’m pretty sure my neighbor is secretly a part of it. He just runs way too often. It’s unsettling.

We at Inspiyr had our own personal spy at the Healthy Club meeting. Sorry, our spy won’t tell where it is. He’s worried for his own safety if he’s discovered…who knows what those healthy people would do to him.

 8 Things Healthy People Do

1. Healthy people go to the gym regularly…

Yes, that’s right! Our spy informed us of the shocking truth: that healthy people do, indeed, get off the couch sometimes and go to the gym. It turns out that in order to be healthy, you do have to move sometimes and get your heart rate going. To think I was trying to work off those calories by watching Netflix all day! Silly me.

2.  …but they don’t only pound away on the treadmill.

These elite healthy folks incorporate cardio, for sure. However, not just cardio. They lift weights, they bike, they swim, they move their bodies in whatever way their heart desires. But most times, they don’t just run.

Related: Why Burst Training is Your Best Fat Burning Workout

3. Healthy people don’t starve themselves…

Wow, you mean Jillian Michaels eats more than a cube of cheese and a grape for lunch to get that bod?

Yes, it’s true: healthy people eat. And they eat a lot. It turns out that your body actually needs fuel and can’t run off oxygen and dreams alone. And since these healthy people work out, their bodies need extra fuel, so they need to eat even more to replenish their bodies and help their sexy strong muscles regenerate into sexier, stronger muscles.

4. …but they also don’t eat processed “products”.

Our spy was shocked to learn that this elite, untouchable group did not eat more of those 100-calorie packs of Oreo-like cracker…things. They ate—brace yourself—unprocessed, natural foods. Fruits, veggies, and protein, oh my!

Related: Healthy Eating – The Benefits of Real Food

5. Healthy people get a good night’s sleep.

Turns out your body also needs to rest sometimes. God, it needs food and sleep? Unbelievable. Bodies are so needy nowadays.

6. Healthy people do all this stuff consistently.

Astonishingly, healthy people actually do this stuff all the time. Or at least, most of the time. They don’t just go to the gym when they’re feeling inspired, once a month or something. They go when they’re tired, when they’re feeling unmotivated, because they view it as something their body needs.

And they consistently eat well—they don’t just have a salad every so often and then wash it down with a bowl of mac and cheese. Apparently, the body reacts well to consistency.

Related: 7 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

7. Healthy people listen to and embrace their body.

Self-loathing is so totally not in right now. In the Healthy Club, members actually care about their bodies and view it as something amazing. After all, it does enable you to, you know, live. So they take care of it and love it, every part of it, every curve and every quirk, because it makes them unique.

8. Healthy people occasionally treat themselves.

In order to be part of the Healthy Club, members actually don’t have to sell their soul and their happiness and their first-born child. Guess they took that bit out of the requirements or something. Now, healthy people are allowed to have a cookie occasionally (without bursting into flames).

Related: How to Get in Shape in 5 Simple Steps

The Takeaway

Here’s the thing, folks: though it might feel like it sometimes, there isn’t an elite group of nutritious, healthy gods and goddesses who look down on you through their perfect noses for occasionally skipping a gym day (though I’m still not so sure about that neighbor of mine). Nor are there a set of secret codes to being fit, healthy, and trim. You can be healthy just by hitting the gym (but not just cardio!), eating lots of healthy food, and giving your body rest. But remember to treat yourself and love your body along the way.

 

Healthified Crispy-Coated Chicken

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200 calories • 87% less sat fat than the original recipe. Ready for some crunch? Bite into this mouth-watering crispy chicken.

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup finely crushed multigrain tortilla chips
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 lb)
Shredded romaine (optional)
Medium chunky style salsa (optional)
Avocado slices (optional)

Directions:

Step1
Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a shallow dish combine tortilla chips, oregano, cumin, and pepper. Place egg in another shallow dish; beat lightly. Dip chicken in beaten egg, then coat with tortilla chip mixture.
Step2
Arrange chicken in the prepared baking pan. Bake about 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170°F). If desired, serve chicken on a bed of shredded romaine with salsa and avocado slices.

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (1 Serving)Calories 200(Calories from Fat 50),Total Fat 6g(Saturated Fat 1g,Trans Fat 0g),Cholesterol 120mg;Sodium 125mg;Total Carbohydrate 7g(Dietary Fiber 1g,Sugars 0g),Protein 29g;Percent Daily Value*:Exchanges:1/2 Starch;0 Fruit;0 Other Carbohydrate;0 Skim Milk;0 Low-Fat Milk;0 Milk;0 Vegetable;4 Very Lean Meat;0 High-Fat Meat;0 Fat;Carbohydrate Choices:1/2;*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Let Them Eat Cake! Best Way to Drop Pounds Is to Drop the Guilt

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Guilt…who needs it? Not anyone who is looking to lose weight.

Educators from the Department of Psychology at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand gathered nearly 300 adults of various ages and asked them the following question: When you think about chocolate cake, do you connect it to a celebration or with guilt? Their response: 73% of the volunteers linked it to a celebration and 27% associated it with the dreadful “g” word.

Part two of the experiment was to determine if their feelings about chocolate cake (their “default food association”) had any correlation with the number on the scale (among the participants who had weight loss goals).

According to the abstract that was published in the recent issue of the journal Appetite, the “guilty” volunteers reported “lower levels of perceived behavioral control over eating.” They were also less successful at losing weight during a three-month period and were less likely to maintain their weight over the course of 18 months.

Let’s face it — unless you haven’t apologized for wronging someone, guilt is a pointless emotion. And sadly, the majority of us tend to feel guilty about the most ridiculous things. As a result, it will slowly chip away at your intentions and will eventually rob you of your power, including the power to take charge of your health. I believe this quote from author Daniel Nayeri says it all: “Guilt is a useless feeling. It’s never enough to make you change direction — only enough to make you feel useless.”

Guilt be gone — now bring on the cake so we can celebrate!

Sesame Asparagus

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Soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and sesame seeds give this chilled asparagus recipe an Asian spin. With so few ingredients, it’s a cinch to prepare.

Serve this seasoned chilled asparagus side dish with grilled meat, chicken, or fish

Ingredients
1 – pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
2 – tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4  – teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Sesame seeds, toasted
Directions
In a covered large saucepan, cook asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer asparagus to a large bowl of ice water. Let stand for 2 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Place asparagus in a large resealable plastic bag.
In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce and sesame oil; pour over asparagus. Seal bag. Chill for 1 to 4 hours. Drain, discarding soy sauce mixture. To serve, sprinkle asparagus with sesame seeds.
Nutrition Facts 
21 kcal cal.; 1 g Fat, total; 0 mg chol.; 0 g sat. fat; 3 g carb.; 0 g Monosaturated fat; 0 g Polyunsaturated fat; 1 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 2 g pro.; 301 mg sodium

Crisp Cucumber Salsa

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Note: 1/4 cup is only 16 calories! YES!!!
2 cups finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped
4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 c reduced-fat sour cream ( I would Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream)
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
Tortilla chips

In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately with chips.

Chipotle Chicken and Vegetable Tacos

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Chipotle chicken paired with Green Giant® frozen vegetables make these tacos a quick and easy dinner solution!
Prep Time 30 min – Total Time 40 min – Servings 4

Ingredients:

1 box (8 oz) Green Giant® frozen garden vegetable medley
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (from 7-oz can), chopped (with 1 tablespoon sauce)
1 cup shredded chicken breast
8 Old El Paso® flour tortillas for soft tacos & fajitas (6 inch)
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges, if desired

Directions:

Step1
Cook vegetable medley as directed on box; pour into 2-quart saucepan. Stir in chipotle chile and adobo sauce. Stir in chicken. Cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot.
Step2
Spoon filling onto tortillas; fold in half over filling. Sprinkle cheese and cilantro over filling. Serve with lime wedges.

Nutrition Information:
1 Serving (1 Serving)Calories 260(Calories from Fat 70),Total Fat 8g(Saturated Fat 2 1/2g,Trans Fat 1g),Cholesterol 35mg;Sodium 700mg;Total Carbohydrate 33g(Dietary Fiber 1g,Sugars 2g),Protein 16g;Percent Daily Value*:Exchanges:1 Starch;0 Fruit;1 Other Carbohydrate;0 Skim Milk;0 Low-Fat Milk;0 Milk;1/2 Vegetable;1 Very Lean Meat;0 Lean Meat;0 High-Fat Meat;1 Fat;Carbohydrate Choices:2;*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.