When you're training hard for your next endurance event or you've stepped up your fitness routine in an effort to lose a few pounds, you want something more substantial to eat than a salad. To reach and then maintain a lean, high-performance physique, you need to feed your body high-quality foods that aren't adorned with excessive unhealthy fats, sodium and sugar. The following recipes not only fulfill your nutritional requirements, but they also deliver when it comes to flavor. Unlike cold dishes made mostly with raw fruits and vegetables (think salads and smoothies) that can also leave you reaching for a snack an hour or two later, these warm, comforting recipes satisfy.
Try to plan ahead and either have all of the ingredients on hand at home to whip up one of these satisfying dishes after work, or make a few of these recipes when you have more time on the weekends so you can healthy lunches to fuel your workouts all week long.
Gooey, Cheesy Pasta
With its kaleidoscope of colorful vegetables, this vegetable lasagna is as hearty and delicious as it is nutritious. It will quickly become a favorite of your entire family—even the omnivores. This lasagna is even better warmed up the next day if there's any left.
Satisfy even the heartiest of appetites with this vegetable-packed turkey chili. Loaded with protein from the ground turkey and three types of beans, this fiber-rich meal with help you power through a two-hour workout.
Two Satisfying Meat-Free Stews
High in fiber, healthy carbs, protein, folate, iron, manganese and copper, lentils are inexpensive legumes that can be used to make quick and hearty weeknight soups and stews. These lentil recipes highlight this plant-based protein's diversity: one is an herbaceous, golden pot and the other an Indian-spiced stew.
Low-Fat, Creamy Chowder
While comforting, chowder made with cream or half and half and butter can make an otherwise healthy bowl of warm vegetables high in calories and saturated fat. Enjoy the creamy consistency you expect from a good chowder but cut down on fat content by using twice the amount of stock or water and half the amount of whole milk, and by using heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil instead of butter to saute the vegetables. Use any vegetables you need to use up in this vegetarian chowder.
Get Your (Baked) Potato Fix
When you're craving tater tots or French fries, instead of loading up on deep-fried spuds, try roasting potato wedges tossed in a little olive oil in the oven. For a more elegant variation of oven-roasted potatoes, this rosemary and red potato terrine delivers nutritive benefits as well as the starchy potato flavor you're after.
Healthy Thin-Crust Pizza
Finally, you can enjoy pizza without feeling sick, bloated or remorse. This pizza is made with whole-wheat pita bread, cashew cheese, fresh basil, arugula and figs. Serve it as an appetizer at your next dinner party, take it to a wine-and-cheese party, or treat yourself to an elegant, healthy post-workout snack.
When you replace most of the butter or oil in a brownie recipe with pureed black beans, the result is an ultra-moist, fudgy dessert that's packed with good-for-you carbs, fiber and protein, compared to the original low-nutrient, fat- and sugar-packed counterpart. Spice up this healthier brownie recipe with cayenne pepper, give it a taste of the tropics with toasted coconut, or add sugared orange peel for an unexpected burst of citrus.
Risotto is a creamy, smooth rice dish that is a lovely side to most meat main dishes. It is, however, fairly high in fat and calories, with plenty of butter or oil added during cooking. This recipe uses a little oil, substituting reduced-fat cream cheese for less added fat. Brown rice is used instead of the more refined Arborio rice, which makes up most risotto dishes.
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