Healthy Take-Out Alternatives as featured on The Doctors show
It might be easier to grab take-out, but WOW can it sabotage your health! The theme with all of my recipes is getting the most nutrient-dense bite for your calorie buck, balancing blood sugar with a macro balance and enjoying delicious food without sacrifice so you can THRIVE. No one should do anything that starts with DIE as in DIEt, so let’s change the game! Check out my feature on The Doctors show and get just a few of the recipes featured in my #1 new release book, Eat Like You Give a Fork: The Real Dish on Eating to Thrive.
Now, enjoy these free recipes!
1) Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai vs Take Out Pad Thai
A typical takeout Pad Thai is made with white rice noodles that are high in starch with not much nutritional value. This Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai is made with beta carotene-rich winter squash, in season now, that helps support healthy cells and heart health. – 1 cup of spaghetti squash has 10 grams of carbs vs. about 48 in a the take-out variety, and only 42 calories vs. about 240 in the take-out version. My version is loaded with fiber, B vitamins and vitamin C, so it’s loaded with antioxidants and because it’s fiber-rich, helps you feel fuller faster. – Instead of sugar, I use monkfruit extract or stevia which is a natural sweetener, without the sugar carbs so you’re saving about 12-15 grams of sugar per serving. – I also use high-quality, wild caught shrimp, which is very important because they’re eating what nature intended vs. manufactured pellets that are used in farm-raised shrimp cultivation. This yields a high-protein, omega 3 rich shrimp vs. one that can be high in omega 6 and more inflammatory. I have never had a shrimp allergy in my life but went to the emergency room this year after eating just one farm-raised shrimp from India.
– BOTTOM LINE nutrition: Traditional pad thai takeout – about 540 calories and 58 grams of carbs per serving. Mine is about half that at 280 calories and only 14 carbs with twice the quantity of ‘noodles’ so you will still feel full.
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
- 1 (3- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash, top trimmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
- Nonstick olive or coconut oil cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons raw coconut oil
- 1 pound 16-20 ct. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Juice of 2 limes
- 3 tablespoons coconut amino acids
- 1 tablespoon monk fruit sweetener
- 1 tablespoon red chile paste
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 4 scallions, sliced
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Mist the cut sides of the squash with cooking spray and place on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash’s flesh is tender and can easily be removed from with a fork. Let the squash cool slightly, then scrape the flesh into spaghetti-like strands with a fork and transfer to a bowl. Set the scraped shells aside.
- In the meantime, in a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over a medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and opaque on each side, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lime juice, amino acids, stevia, and red chile paste.
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat and melt the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Add the squash and pour the garlic-lime juice mixture over the top. Toss thoroughly to evenly coat the squash. Add the beaten egg and quickly cook for 2 minutes.
- Top with the shrimp, carrots, scallions, peanuts, and cilantro and serve.
2) Overstuffed Sweet Potatoes vs. Take-Out Burrito
My version features a beta carotene-rich sweet potato at its base, full of Vitamin A and fiber – much like the spaghetti squash we used. One medium sweet potato only has about 100 calories and because its full of fiber, helps you feel very satisfied, especially with all these nutrient dense toppings like black beans, avocado, Greek yogurt and hemp hearts instead of a lot of cheese and sour cream. The creaminess of the sweet potato makes up for it! Even though they’re ‘sweet’ or sweeter than regular potatoes, they have fewer calories and are considered low glycemic index so they help to balance your blood sugar. They’re also amazing for managing blood pressure, helping with weight loss and balancing hormones. Plus, there’s additional nutrient and fiber benefit in the peel, so clean them well and you can eat the whole package! – I absolutely adore using the purple sweet potatoes whenever I can because they contain anthocyanins, a special class of compounds with super antioxidant benefits, commonly found in foods that are purple – so you get extra benefits. Purple sweet potatoes are my ‘It Veggie’ in my 2020 Healthy Trends Report.
BOTTOM LINE: An average takeout burrito filled with beans and rice in a flour tortilla – which is often refined white flour – with cheese and guacamole is about 600 calories with 60 grams of carbs and 30 grams of fat. My version comes in at half of the calories, only about 300 calories per serving, 35 grams of carbs and 10 grams of fat which is mostly coming from the heart-healthy avocado. SO you can still enjoy all of the Mexican flavors you love in a burrito in a better-for-you package.
Overstuffed Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle-Lime Yogurt
- 4 small to medium sweet potatoes, or 2 large sweet potatoes cut in half
- 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or raw coconut oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon dried chipotle chile powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 cup cooked or canned black beans (drained and rinsed, if canned)
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon hemp hearts (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil
- Put the sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet and roast until fork-tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Slice the potatoes lengthwise down the center and rake fork through to “fluff up” the soft flesh. Work 1 teaspoon of the ghee and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper into each potato.
- MAKE THE CHIPOTLE-LIME YOGURT: Combine all the chipotle-lime yogurt ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
- Put each sweet potato on a serving plate and top with ¼ cup of the black beans each. Top with 1 tablespoon of the cubed avocado, 1 ½ teaspoons of the parsley, ½ teaspoon of the chives, and a drizzle of the chipotle-lime yogurt. Garnish with a sprinkle of hemp hearts, if desired, and another grind of black pepper. #nomnom
3) Apple Pie Protein Fit Bites vs. Traditional Apple Pie
Who doesn’t love the smell of apples and spice, especially this time of year, right? You can get all of that wrapped up in one delicious bite-sized package with my apple pie protein fit bites. And I give you permission to have these for breakfast! – The combination of the high fiber oats with protein helps to keep your blood sugar in check. – By using stevia in these, the only ‘sugar’ comes naturally from the apples, which are also low glycemic and full of fiber. – By adding almonds and protein powder, you are staying ‘powered up’ which makes these perfect for a light breakfast, before or after a workout or as a pick-me-up when you feel that afternoon slump. – Cinnamon is a superfood! It has amazing benefits when it comes to managing blood pressure and lower inflammation – and also balancing blood sugar! (see the theme here)
BOTTOM LINE: Mom’s apple pie may be your go-to, but at an average of 350 calorie, 29 grams of sugar and 47 grams of carbs in an average serving compared to my version at just 120 calories 5 grams of sugar and 10 grams of carbs with the added benefit of 2 grams of protein in 2 of my protein bites. And trust me, they are just the ‘right amount of pie’ to let you enjoy the flavors of the season without the feeling of being ‘overfull’.
Apple Pie Protein Fit Bites
- 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
- 2 tablespoons low-sugar plant-based protein powder
- 10-12 drops maple syrup-flavored Monk fruit extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ Fuji or Honeycrisp apple, cored and finely diced
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons granulated stevia
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, stevia, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time, until a dough-like consistency is reached and the mixture can be formed into a ball. (If you add too much water at once, you’ll have oatmeal. If that happens, just add more oats.) Let cool slightly. Add the apples and almonds and incorporate evenly into the dough.
- Freeze the mixture for about 15 minutes.
- Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl. Roll the oat mixture into 1-inch balls and then roll each in the topping until evenly coated. Freeze in an airtight container for grab-and-go snacks, clean desserts, and pre-/post-workout energy boosts.