Welcome to the Healthy Holiday Swaps Challenge! Are you ready?

From holiday parties to cookie swaps, it’s easy to lose track of your healthy-eating goals in December. And if you suspect that you usually gain a few pounds this time of year, you’re probably right: Recent research from Cornell University tracked the year-round weight patterns of nearly 3,000 people and found that their weight began to rise in October, then increased by about 1.3 pounds during the Christmas-New Year’s season. What’s more, it took about five months for participants to get back to their pre-holiday weights.

The good news, though, is that it is possible to indulge in your favorite seasonal treats and comfort foods without adding inches to your waistline. By making these diet-friendly swaps, you can cut back on calories and load up on good-for-you nutrients.

Here’s how the challenge works: We came up with three weeks’ worth of simple food substitutions that boost nourishment without sacrificing flavor. Since we know you’ll need all your energy for the busy month ahead, we’re kicking off the challenge with clever swaps that trim calories in everyday meals. And because it’s the holiday season, there are also smart tricks to help you indulge in baked goods and party fare guilt-free by replacing fattening ingredients with healthier (but equally delicious) alternatives.

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We’re ready. Are you? Show us how you’re using these healthy swaps and connect with others taking the Challenge on Instagram and Twitter with #HealthySwapsChallenge.

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Theme: Fuel Up on Healthy Basics

Day 1: Make a Bowl of Zucchini Oatmeal

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Oatmeal is a tried-and-true breakfast staple. Zucchini? Not so much—yet. But once you swap regular oats for zucchini oats (or “zoats” as they’re called), you may never go back. When grated, zucchini mimics the consistency of oats and gives you a serving of nutrient-packed greens first thing in the day. The diet-friendly veggie also contains just 19 calories per cup and is a great source of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

Day 2: Learn How to Make Cauliflower Rice

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For a low-calorie, low-carb alternative to white rice, try cauliflower rice. In a few simple steps, you can transform this superfood veggie into a grain-like shape and size. Cauliflower rice has a mild flavor that pairs easily with your favorite meat and fish dishes and can be used in any recipe that calls for rice. As an added bonus, you’ll benefit from 51 milligrams of vitamin C in every cup, or 85% of your RDA—which is important during cold and flu season.

healthy-swaps-chicken-salad

Whip up this healthier version of chicken salad for nights when you’re rushing from work to gift shopping to holiday parties. By combining a lean protein with avocado instead of mayonnaise, you’ll load up on healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The best part? This dish is incredibly quick and easy to make: all you need is one cooked chicken breast, a mashed avocado, and salt and pepper to taste.

healthy-swaps-eggs-benedict

Craving a heartier breakfast? Eggs Benedict is a classic brunch order, but with the English muffin, ham, and buttery hollandaise sauce, it can be rich and not exactly low in calories. For a healthier option, try this version which uses creamy avocado instead of hollandaise. Thanks to avocado sauce and a Portobello mushroom “muffin,” our upgraded dish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and B vitamins.

Day 5: Toss Your Pasta, Fish, or Veggies in Avocado Dressing

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Love avocados? Then you need to try this tangy sauce, which is made with avocado, cucumber, garlic, anchovy, lemon juice, and plenty of fresh herbs, making it a healthier alternative to the cold-weather comfort food you’re probably craving right about now. Make one big batch and use it in a variety of different dishes throughout the week. It’s delicious drizzled on top of fish, folded into a pasta dish, or used to dress a salad (just thin with a few spoonfuls of water first).

Day 6: Trade Spaghetti for Spaghetti Squash

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Instead of spaghetti—another comfort food fave—try spaghetti squash. By making this simple (and gluten-free!) swap, you can cut nearly 180 calories and load up on vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, and fiber. To add flavor, try tossing it with asparagus, rosemary, and pine nuts, or serve with a dollop of whole-milk ricotta and fresh herbs.

Day 7: Replace Ground Meat with Mushrooms

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By using chopped white button mushrooms instead of ground beef, pork, or turkey, you can eliminate as much as 200 calories from your meal. In one study,…

Chicken Pasta | Indian Cooking Recipes

Today we are making Chicken Pasta Indian Style! Awesome comfort food, ideal any time! …. Well maybe not breakfast! Haha!

Firstly I just wanna say, today’s video is a collab with a good friend of mine who is a Henna Mehndi Artist from Dubai and shows amazing YouTube videos of her beautiful designs and how these are done!
So if you like, then please do pop over to her channel, show some love and subscribe!

And hey if this is your first time on this channel, and you like food, hit subscribe to stay up to date with new videos every week!

If you enjoyed this video, please do give me a thumbs up and with that being said, let…

Eat to beat diabetes: Delicious dinners that are just 500 calories, quick breakfasts that will keep you full until lunch and comfort food that could save your life

Research has shown that eating 800 calories a day for eight weeks is the best way to lose weight quickly, correct your blood sugar levels and dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes (File photo)
Research has shown that eating 800 calories a day for
eight weeks is the best way to lose weight quickly, correct your
blood sugar levels and dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes
(File photo)

Gnawing hunger. Deprivation. For so many people, these are the images that dieting immediately conjures to mind — until now.
The incredible success of my revolutionary 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet is changing the face of weight loss.
Research has shown that eating 800 calories a day for eight weeks is the best way to lose weight quickly, correct your blood sugar levels and dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes.
And my diet plan is backed by studies which show that if it is done properly, a rapid weight-loss diet can be a safe and effective way to cut dangerous belly fat and achieve your weight-loss goals.
And it’s really not difficult. Where’s the hardship when you can tuck into 800 calories of deliciously comforting cauliflower cheese, quiche or coq au vin?
As your blood sugar levels improve you simply won’t feel hungry any more.
All this week, the Mail is featuring scrumptious low-calorie recipes from the 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet Recipe Book, created by my wife, GP Dr Clare Bailey, who has been using this approach very successfully with her patients.
Working with nutritionist, Dr Sarah Schenker, she has created meals which contain healthy fats and nutrients and are specially designed to banish cravings and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
The real secret of the 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet is the effect it has on a hormone called insulin.
Insulin is produced by your pancreas and one of its jobs is to keep your blood sugars under control. When you eat a sugary or starchy meal your blood sugar levels start to rise, rapidly.
Because high blood sugar levels are bad for your body, your pancreas starts to pump out insulin, to bring your blood sugar levels down. At the same time insulin will also encourage your body to store excess calories as fat. If you keep on eating a lot of sugary, starchy foods then your pancreas will struggle to keep up, desperately pumping out ever more insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the greatest epidemics of modern times thanks largely to sedentary lifestyles and high-sugar diets adopted but many do not know they are at risk (file picture)
Type 2 diabetes is one of the greatest epidemics of
modern times thanks largely to sedentary lifestyles and high-sugar
diets adopted but many do not know they are at risk (File
photo)

This will not only make you fatter and hungrier, but will also raise the risk that your body will either become resistant to the effects of insulin or your pancreas will stop producing it.
Either way, you will have joined the nearly four million people in the UK who have type 2 diabetes.
The way to break this vicious cycle is to bring your insulin levels down. And that’s where the 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet comes in.
If you can cut right back on sugars and starches — bread, white rice, pasta and potatoes as well as cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks — you will be heading in the right direction. The recipes featured all this week show you just how deliciously easy it is to do so.
Avoid a low-calorie/fasting diet if you are: under 18, underweight or have a history of an eating disorder; you are pregnant or breastfeeding; have a significant psychiatric disorder; are frail or you are recovering from surgery.
Check with your GP first if you have other medical conditions or you are taking medications such as warfarin, insulin or drugs for diabetes or blood pressure.
One way to boost this blood sugar reduction even further, is to go for slightly longer periods without eating food.
Technically, this is ‘fasting’, of course, but you can achieve the blood sugar lowering benefits without any kind of suffering, simply by skipping the occasional meal, or subtly extending the period between dinner and breakfast (by cutting out any late-night snacks).
Overnight, or if you skip breakfast, your body gets a break from digesting food and is able to get on with the essential tasks of internal spring cleaning and self-repair.
The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet plan suggests days when you might skip breakfast and have a more substantial brunch instead, or after a big lunch one day, perhaps skip dinner or just have a bowl of miso soup instead.
Doing this means you can be fasting for around 16 hours almost without noticing.
It shouldn’t be tough — research shows people who eat two meals a day feel less hungry and more satisfied than people eating exactly the same number of calories but spread throughout the day.
Each recipe featured in this week’s Daily Mail has been specifically crafted to control calories, maximise nutritional content and eliminate insulin-triggering sugars and refined carbohydrates.
Stick this out for eight weeks and the impact on your weight — and your blood sugar levels — will be dramatic.
 
Indian-spiced prawns
Serves 2
 
  • 250g large prawns
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder (to taste)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste (or ½ tbsp mirin or juice of half a
    lime)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
  • ½ 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 100g spinach (frozen or fresh)

• CALORIES 190 • PROTEIN 24g • FAT 7g• FIBRE 2g • CARBS 10g
Marinate the prawns in the chilli powder, turmeric and tamarind paste for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan and sauté the onions until softened then add the garlic and cinnamon stick. After 2-3 minutes, add the tomatoes and the marinade (not the prawns).
Check the seasoning and cook the sauce on a moderate heat until it thickens. Then turn the heat to low and stir in the prawns and spinach. Cook prawns until they change colour if using fresh or for 5 minutes if they are already cooked, stirring occasionally. Serve with cauliflower rice or stir-fried shredded cabbage.
Coq au Vin
A classic French dish made with braised chicken and a rich red wine and mushroom sauce. Serve with cauliflower mash to mop up the gravy.
Serves 4
 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 chicken legs
  • 10 shallots
  • 50g pancetta, or smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 400ml red wine
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • Bouquet garni
  • 1 carrot, cut into batons
  • Handful of parsley, chopped

• CALORIES 500 • PROTEIN 40g • FAT 28g• FIBRE 2g • CARBS 10g
Preheat the oven to 180c. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan and fry the chicken until golden all over. Add the shallots, pancetta, garlic, mushrooms and herbs and cook gently for 5 minutes, then scatter over the cornflour. Add the wine and stock, bouquet garni and carrot. Stir well.
Transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Scatter over the chopped parsley and serve with cauliflower mash (steam a whole chopped cauliflower for 8 minutes with...