New year, new you — at least, that’s what all the magazines say. If, like many of us, you’ve indulged just a bit too much over the holiday season (what, cookies and eggnog aren’t a balanced meal?), it might be a good time to detox (but don’t run away just yet).
The word “detox” tends to bring to mind scary-intense juice cleanses or a gluten- dairy-meat-grain-sugar-caffeine-free diet that will make you run away screaming (and hungry). But never fear — when we say “detox,” we’re talking about refocusing the mind, body, and palate on healthy, tasty, and nutritious foods. Instead of going crazy-restrictive and nixing all food groups except kale and steamed fish (not exactly a sustainable diet), let’s use the first weeks of 2014 to explore new tastes, textures, ingredients, and cooking techniques. Most of these recipes are based on healthy staples like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and both vegetarian and meat protein sources.
The following collection of recipes will get you psyched about eating well again (and might even help kick that cookie-a-day habit you picked up over the past two weeks). For a super-easy meal plan, just pick one recipe from each category per day.
Following are selected recipes under various subheads. For all 49 recipes, go to Greatist.com.
2. Vanilla Chia Pudding Start the day right with a healthy dose of chia seeds, which are loaded with protein, calcium, antioxidants, magnesium, iron, and potassium. Not bad for a bunch of tiny seeds, right? Whip up this tasty breakfast-worthy pudding by mixing seeds with a cup of milk (soy, almond, or cow’s), a dash of vanilla, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Let the mixture sit for a few hours (or overnight) and watch the chia seeds create a creamy, pudding-like texture.
3. Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins These gluten-free beauties are far from ginormous (gut-busting) bakery muffins. Instead of a carb-fest of processed sugar and white flour, these healthy little guys are made with brown rice flour, flax seeds, and applesauce. They’re sweetened with dried dates and topped with fresh blueberries and sliced almonds. Healthy enough for seconds, we think.
4. Veggie Quinoa Breakfast Bowl Is your breakfast style more savory than sweet? With just a tiny bit of olive oil and plenty of veggies and protein, this bowl is the real breakfast of champions. Pro tip: If your stomach isn’t ready for so much protein (egg, cheese, and quinoa) in the morning, this dish would make a bomb-diggety lunch or dinner, too.
6. Banana-Apple Buckwheat Muffins Who needs sugar or white flour when you can make delicious, healthy muffins out of buckwheat flour, mashed banana, apples, walnuts, and not much else? With plenty of fiber and healthy fats, and a bit of protein (from the eggs and buckwheat), these wholesome pastries will keep you full all morning.
9. Rainbow Salad The best way to eat healthy (without thinking about it too much) is to make sure there are a variety of colors and hues on your plate at every meal. This one-bowl salad takes care of lunch on that front. Chopped romaine lettuce, purple cabbage, red pepper, and avocado provide a veritable rainbow of produce. Add sesame seeds and salt and pepper on top for flavor.
10. Detox Salad What’s in a name? This recipe title says it all. Made with raw broccoli,cauliflower, carrots, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit, this salad is a nutritional powerhouse that’ll have you feeling strong and healthy (and satisfied) in no time.
11. Pumpkin-Lentil Soup with Maca Fall’s definitely over, but we’re not willing to forget about pumpkin just yet. This flavorful soup features maca, a cruciferous plant native to the Andes that has similar health benefits to cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. If you can’t find it in your area, feel free to omit and enjoy the blend of lentils, coconut milk, curry powder, and kale all on their own.
14. Baked Sweet Potato with Greens For a hearty, healthy lunch that comes together in a jiffy, look no further. Simply roast a sweet potato (if you’re short on time, pop it in the microwave for seven to 10 minutes), fill it with sautéed onion and greens and fresh avocado, and season with cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
15. Winter Greens, Kabocha Squash, and Pear Salad Usually, we want nothing to do with celebrity diets — but we couldn’t pass up this tasty-looking salad created by Gwyneth Paltrow. The fresh lunch dish contains spicy arugula, radicchio, and endive, filling kabocha squash, and sweet pear. Top it all with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and a sprinkling of fresh Parm.
20. Wild Rice and Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole We’re happy to present a healthy casserole that doesn’t involve dumping a can of cream-of-something soup on top of egg noodles and topping with a mountain of cheese. This wholesome baked dish is loaded with nutritious ingredients such as butternut squash, ground turkey, wild rice,spinach, and just a bit of cheese.
21. Lentil, Kale, and Sweet Potato Stew Warm up after a long day in the cold (or at the office) with this rich, hearty, and 100-percent vegetarian stew. With seven different veggies (and plenty of room for more), this is a flexible dinner option to keep in your back pocket for long, dark winter nights.
22. Fall Mexican Rice Bowls Pretty much anything tastes better when it’s served in a bowl, which is probably why this dish (basically a deconstructed burrito) is so darn appealing. Layer spicy rice, sweet potatoes, kale, and chicken in bowls and serve with plenty of lime wedges, avocado, and salsa.
23. Lemon Chicken Stew When life gives you lemons (or cold, gloomy days), make lemon stew! This rib-sticking concoction features dark meat chicken, celery, carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, orzo pasta, and of course, lemon. Make it more of a one-pot meal by subbing in a heartier whole-wheat pasta like penne or rotini.
28. Maple Roasted Chickpeas Whip up a batch of these tasty chickpeas to ensure plenty of healthy snacks for the week. With a drizzle of maple syrup, a sprinkling of brown sugar, and a touch of cinnamon, they’re a healthy way to enjoy a sweet treat.
29. Minty Pea Dip For those times when you’re just sick and tired of hummus, salsa, and guac, this fresh dip hits the spot. Whiz peas, mint leaves, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, and olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Dip in with homemade pita chips, veggies, or thin slices of whole-grain baguette for a healthy snack.
30. Ham and Broccoli Quinoa Bites This slightly more substantial snack is ideal for the 3pm munchies. Made with quinoa, eggs, ham (omit for a vegetarian-friendly recipe), broccoli, and cheese, these little nuggets are loaded with protein and will keep you full ‘til mealtime.
31. Savory Pumpkin-Flaxseed-Onion Crackers Looking for something crunchy to eat with your favorite dips and spreads? These healthy crackers contain just nine ingredients (including salt and pepper) — compare that to your favorite brand of store-bought crackers. Plus, with flax seed and pumpkin seeds making up two of the main ingredients, these crispy crackers pack quite a nutritional punch.
32. Sweet Potato Hummus It’s no secret — we’re pretty obsessed with all varieties of hummusaround here. This tasty variation gets an extra boost of fiber and beta-carotene from a baked sweet potato. Just blend the sweet potato, chickpeas, cider vinegar, tahini, olive oil, and a touch of maple syrup or agave in a food processor and you’re ready to snack!
33. Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips Kale chips are the perfect solution for when you want to eat junk food but also feel good about your dietary choices. They’re super easy to make at home — just toss chip-sized pieces of kale with a bit of olive oil, and let them crisp up in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. This version — reminiscent of salt-and-vinegar potato chips — gets flavor from olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and a sprinkling of sea salt.
38. Long Weekend Grilled Salad This salad — loaded with grilled veggies like peppers, zucchinis, and corn — makes a delicious side dish or even a light lunch. Black beans and wheat berries add some protein and fiber to keep you fuller, longer.
39. Detox Slaw Cabbage (both purple and green), carrot, onion, and sesame seeds come together to make this super-bright, super-healthy raw veggie salad. Drizzle the shredded vegetables with homemade tahini dressing to give it some bright, nutty flavor. You’ll feel healthier after just one bite!
40. Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese Take advantage of these slightly sweet winter root vegetables by making this side dish, stat. It’s super simple — just roast beets in a sauce made from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and thyme. When the beets are cooked all the way through (about 30 minutes), slice them up and sprinkle with creamy goat cheese.
41. Citrus Salad Did you know that citrus fruits are at their best during the winter? Brighten up cold gloomy days with this summery (and healthy) salad. Peel and slice up two oranges, two clementines, a grapefruit, and a few slices of red onion. Top the sweet-and-savory concoction with chopped basil and mint.
Get your daily dose of antioxidants with this berry-rich blend. Mix up fruit of your choice (tart cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are all loaded with the healthy compounds) with a dash of almond milk, honey, and vanilla for an energizing way to start the day.
46. Ginger Cucumber Juice While juice cleanses are usually not a good idea, we won’t turn our noses up at a glass of green juice first thing in the morning (as long as it’s not the only thing being consumed all day). This pungent beverage features cukes, cayenne pepper, lime juice, parsley, and ginger — it’ll definitelywake you up in the morning.
47. Coconut-Lime Detox Drink This green machine drink manages to be the oh-so-elusive combination of super-healthy and super-tasty. To make it, just blend together baby spinach, lime juice, lemon juice, coconut water, and a drizzle of maple syrup (to keep it from getting too sour).