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Hi, I'm Nellwyn!

The Cardinal Press is a lifestyle blog about living beautifully and creatively, every day.

How To Be Creative In Your Diet

How To Be Creative In Your Diet

As you may know from my last post, I'm doing the Whole30 food challenge this month. Being on such a strict regime as forced me to be a lot more creative in my cooking and meal planning. Since I've been thinking a lot about creativity and food this month, a guest post on the subject seemed like a perfect fit. This post is written by Kate Forsyth of Be Healthy Today.

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Do you know what’s one of the most difficult things to be consistent about these days? Yep, you get it, it’s eating healthy.

And it doesn't help either that most healthy diets can become so monotonous at times. After all, for most of them, you have to leave some of the most interesting (and delicious) foods out of your meal plans. But do you know that healthy doesn't have to necessarily mean boring? You just have to use your imagination (and perhaps Google) to liven up your meal plans. Not sure what to do exactly? Well, here are a few ideas you might wanna start with.

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Munch Healthy Granola Bars

Been sneakily snacking on Snickers bars lately (because you’re not you when you’re hungry :P)? Well, how about you snack on these healthy homemade granola bars instead?

Gather some of your favorite dried fruits and nuts, and combine them with oats to turn them into healthy granola bars. To thicken their consistency, add honey or peanut butter to the mix. And you don’t even have to bake them. How? Well, after spreading the mixture on a baking sheet or pan, put it in the fridge for half an hour or so. Once hardened, carefully cut them into rectangles and wrap individually in sandwich bags or wax paper. Et voila! You’re munching on healthy granola bars rich in fiber, good carbs, and other essential micronutrients, instead of those sugary sweet Snickers bars.

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Nibble on Fruit and Veggie Bites

Always munching on those greasy chips and fries? How about you snack on these instead?

Gather your favorite fruits and veggies and cut them into bite sizes, usually squares or strips. Measure about a cup or two of the sliced fruits or vegetables and pack them individually in ziplock or sandwich bags. If you’re using regular sandwich bags, seal them with a tape before putting them in the fridge. Do this in batches that will last you for 3 to 5 days, so you can save time and don’t have to go through the hassle of doing it every day.

Also, if you can get your hands on some of those “superfoods,” all the better. Not only will you healthily satisfy those munchies, but you’ll also be filling your quota of getting those much-needed essential micronutrients.

Note: Pack fruits and vegetables separately. Some fruits give off a gas called “ethylene glycol,” which could make vegetables ripen and spoil quicker than they should.

Say Yes to Seafood Sandwiches

Cut down on those pastrami sandwiches and prepare some tuna cucumber or grilled salmon sandwiches instead. No idea what I’m talking about? How about you try this really simple recipe.

Combine sliced avocado, cucumber, red onions, and tuna flakes in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything and use as a spread for slices of whole wheat or other multigrain bread.

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Sip Quick Delicious Smoothies

Fond of milkshakes and frappuccinos? Well, how about you sip these refreshingly fruity concoctions instead? Simply gather your favorite fruits and cut them into sizes that will fit in your blender. Put them all in, add some nonfat milk or plain yogurt, and blend until the consistency of the mixture is smooth. Pour in a glass or mason jar, put a straw, and sip to your heart’s content. If you want it chilled, add some ice cubes into the mix as you blend it.

The best fruits to make smoothies with are those with high-water content such as strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, pineapple, and citrus fruits. You can also add some high-water content veggies such as cucumber, zucchini, or celery. If you want a more nutrient dense treat, add a scoop of green juice powder such as this yummy new daily greens blend called Life Essentials to your smoothies. It’s made up of 14 superfoods, it’s organic, and it has no GMO or gluten.

Feast on Healthy Dips and Sauces

Are you a lover of pasta or salads? Well, instead of cheese, meat sauces, and regular salad dressings, you can prepare vegetarian sauces such as pesto and marinara instead. Cook them in batches that will last you for days, store them in a tight jar, and keep them in the fridge. Then when you’re craving pasta or a garden salad, you have a healthier option for sauces on hand and you save on cooking time, too!

You can also puree some of your favorite veggies. But instead of adding cream or butter, use extra virgin olive oil instead. And these will make yummy and healthy salad dressings or dips.

Who said being health conscious has to be tedious and boring? It should be easy, fun, and interesting. With all the colorful fruits and vegetables our planet has to offer, eating healthy should be a veritable feast for the senses, don’t you think? So get those creative juices flowing, start experimenting, and satisfy those munchies with these fun and healthy options.

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