Holly’s scoop: New year nutrition

Nutrition doesn’t have to mean an overhaul of what you eat. Small changes here and there really can add up! The new year is here, and so many people are jumping on the “health food” bandwagon—just to jump right off by February. However, when you focus on adding whole nutritious foods to your plate rather than on avoiding other foods, you may be surprised just how good “health food” can be! I promise you will never miss the foods you used to grab, as I trim the recipes up and keep the flavor—your everyday favorite recipes included!

I like to make preparing healthful foods easy. If the prep work is not easy, it is so much more challenging to continue healthy habits. Keep a fully stocked pantry to pull from so you don’t need that drive-thru meal as an option. I make sure to keep several healthy ingredients on hand at all times, which helps make whipping up a hearty and delicious meal simple. Low-sodium chicken broth, frozen corn, canned beans, tomatoes and green chilies, combined with chicken breast, make a pretty outstanding Speedy Chicken Chili. I am always throwing this together to feed my family or a crowd. Add your favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, low-fat sour cream, cilantro and chopped red onion, and you have a party!

Another pantry-friendly meal that’s rich in nutrition as well as vegetarian and gluten-free is my Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas. Take some canned black beans, and rinse and drain them to reduce the sodium by as much as 40%. Combine with sweet potatoes and a few different spices, and roll it all up inside whole wheat or corn tortillas to make out-of-this-world meatless enchiladas. These are easy to freeze and pull out on one of those extra-crazy nights full of carpools and sports practice, or simply to bring to a friend.

And what south Louisiana recipe repertoire is complete without some good old Red Beans and Rice? And guess what? This dish is a real nutritional bargain! Use brown rice for added fiber (that’s a staple that can always be found in my pantry!) along with canned red kidney beans and low-fat sausage to create this classic Louisiana dish. With almost half your daily fiber intake per serving, no one will believe it’s actually good for them.

p_077-e1430417488509Holly Clegg has sold over 1 million cookbooks in her trim&TERRIFIC and Eating Well series. Sign up for her Monthly Menu newsletter at hollyclegg.com, check out her blog at thehealthycookingblog.com, or watch Holly on YouTube at youtube.com/user/hollycleggonline




Holly's scoop-red beansRed Beans and Rice

8 oz. reduced-fat sausage, sliced into 1⁄2-inch-thick rounds
1 onion, chopped
1⁄3 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 (16-oz.) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1⁄2 cup tomato sauce
1 1⁄2 cups fat-free chicken broth or vegetable broth
1⁄3 cup chopped parsley
1⁄2 cup chopped green onions

In a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring, until crispy and brown. Set aside. In a large nonstick pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté onion, celery, and garlic until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add beans, tomato sauce, broth and sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened, mashing some of the beans with fork. Add parsley and green onions, and continue cooking for several more minutes. Makes 10 (1⁄2-cup) servings.

Tip: You can substitute chicken sausage or another sausage of your choice if desired. Always rinse and drain beans to reduce sodium. 

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 145 | Calories from fat 4% | Fat 1g | Saturated fat 0g Cholesterol 5mg | Sodium 534mg | Carbohydrates 28g | Dietary fiber 9g | Sugars 5g | Protein 10g | Dietary exchanges: 2 starch, 1 lean meat


Holly's scoop-enchiladasSweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

2 large Louisiana yams (sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into small cubes (4 cups)
1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tsp. lime juice
1 1⁄2 cups green enchilada sauce, divided
1 1⁄2 cups reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
12 flour tortillas (use corn for gluten-free option)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking pan with foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Combine first 5 ingredients, and season to taste on prepared pan. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until fork tender. Add black beans and lime juice. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 1⁄2 cup enchilada sauce on bottom of dish. In each tortilla, place heaping 1⁄3 cup sweet potato filling and 1 Tbsp. cheese. Roll up and place in baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cover with remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Makes 12 enchiladas.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 255 | Calories from fat 19% | Fat 5g | Saturated fat 2g Cholesterol 8mg | Sodium 742mg | Carbohydrates 42g  Dietary fiber 7g | Sugars 6g | Protein 11g | Dietary exchanges: 3 starch, 1⁄2 lean meat


Holly's scoop-chiliSpeedy Chicken Chili

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups salsa
1 (14 1⁄2-oz.) can chopped tomatoes
4 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 (4-oz.) can chopped green chilies
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed, drained
1 (15-oz.) can navy beans, rinsed, drained
Shredded reduced-fat cheese, avocado, and red onions (optional)

In a large pot coated with nonstick cooking spray, season chicken with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for 15 minutes. Add corn and beans, cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes until well heated and bubbly. Serve with condiments if desired. Makes 10 (1-cup) servings.

Spicy advice: Look for fresh salsa or your favorite flavored salsa to pump up flavor. 

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 257 | Calories from fat 7% | Fat 2g | Saturated fat 0g | Cholesterol 53mg | Sodium 740mg | Carbohydrates 29g | Dietary fiber 7g | Sugars 6g | Protein 29g | Dietary exchanges: 2 starch, 4 very lean meat