Spiced Oven-Baked Rutabaga Fries

Rutabaga Fries

“They’re like French fries but without as many of the calories and fat,” said LifeVest member Laura Meier.

Bingo. Laura’s description of rutabaga fries sounded great to us, and it didn’t take us long before we set out to discover its truth.


Since joining the program, LifeVester Laura is over halfway to her goal of losing 50 pounds, and now has a new goal of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the long run.

“We’re going to keep encouraging each other and thinking smarter so we can remain feeling good,” says Laura who set out on her journey to health in partnership with her husband. “You have to think long-term. Otherwise, it’s all for nothing. Why go back when you could feel good for life?”

Laura told us she loves finding new ways to transform some of her favorite recipes into healthier versions. It keeps her feeling both satisfied and excited about continuing on.

She has always loved french fries, and we do too, so we were thrilled to hear about her latest version that enables her to remain on the right track toward her goals.

Rutabaga Fries

Rutabagas have just 1/2 the calories and 1/2 of the carbs that potatoes contain. So, inserting them into the standard oven-baked fry equation sounded like a genius idea to us.

Often mistaken for a turnip, the root veggie has that same sweet bite of a turnip with the starchiness of a potato. This makes them perfect for slicing up into flavorful fries, ones that luckily come without too much detriment to your diet.

Rutabaga Fries

At just 65 calories per cup, the winter veggie (in season Oct. – March) has become no small fry in our recipe book. Rather, thanks to Laura, it’s our new fry-making go-to.

We were thrilled with the crispy results upon our first batch, and are excited to experiment with other spices and herbs. We’d encourage you to do the same after first trying the chili powder version below.

Chili powder

As Laura shares, “It makes us, especially my husband, think we’re having a burger and fries.” She serves her ruta-fries alongside turkey burgers with lettuce swapped for the bun, a combo we can get behind.

Let us know in the comments, how do you make your favorite comfort foods healthier? We’d love to hear what you’re doing to transform some of your favorite recipes, and thank you to Laura for sharing this idea with us!

Click here for recipe…

Happy Halloween from LifeVest!

How does LifeVest dress up for Halloween? That’s a no-brainer. We turn ourselves into Broccoli Man, of course, our favorite super-health-hero for fighting cancer, inferior food choices, inflammation, vitamin D deficiency, and more.

Broccoli Man

This got us thinking, what might Broccoli Man be if he were to dress up for Halloween? We asked him, and following are some ideas he’s pondering. He’s hoping you might help him decide by telling him which one is your favorite.

Broccoli Man

Homemade Curry Pumpkin Seeds

Homemade Curry Pumpkin Seeds

Put your carved jack-o’-lantern on your porch, but please pass along its seeds to your plate! Those tiny ovals will obtain an irresistible crunch upon roasting, meaning they have no place in the trashcan.

They’re also scary good for you. Legend has it that jack-o’-lanterns originated as a means to ward off evil spirits. However, we’re starting to think it’s the pumpkin seeds that deserve most of the credit for scaring off death. You see, pumpkin seeds contain a solid 150mg of magnesium per ounce. Research shows that meeting the recommended daily value of magnesium (442mg/day) is highly associated with a reduced risk of death. (That’s a 34% risk reduction for overall mortality, 59% reduction in cardiovascular death & a 37% reduction in cancer death, according to this study. Woah!)

In addition to that magical magnesium, pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and heart healthy fat. This all makes them an incredibly satisfying snack — especially when you add a little salt and curry powder to the mix.

We’ve got the recipe below that shows you how to do just that, so get ready to go save your seeds and take them to the table.

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LifeVester Recipe: Basil Tomato “Pasta” with Chicken

Recipe: Basil Tomato "Pasta" with Chicken

The following easy-to-make recipe comes from LifeVester Angela Delgado, and offers a much lighter alternative to your traditional plate of pasta. Since Angela discovered zucchini could be turned into noodles a few months ago, she’s been making it every single week!

“It tricks me into thinking I’m eating pasta, which I’ve always been addicted to,” she says. “It’s really quick and has simple flavors that all come together to create a really fresh dish.”

With less than half the calories of regular pasta, and a whole lot of vitamin C and other nutrients, this is one pasta where building a healthy addiction would be well-warranted! Serve it up as a light meal or alongside a slice of whole grain bread and a salad.

Click here for recipe…

Meatless Monday: Zucchini Noodles with Fresh Summer Sauce

Zucchini Noodles with Fresh Summer Sauce

Zucchini grows faster than your appetite does after an intense summer workout – and come August, there’s plenty of it. Gardener or not, now is the prime time to sneak this vitamin A filled veggie onto your dinner plate, and with it’s noodle-making abilities, it’ll be easy to do so.

Containing a mere 33 calories per medium zuke, the summer squash makes for the perfect pasta swap. Alas, a solution that lets you send a pile of pasta high onto your plate without feeling weighed down afterwards. All you need is a cheap julienne peeler and a few minutes of time. From our Meatless Monday columnist and food blogger Grace:

“You should find the julienne peeler rather easy to use. Simply place your zucchini on a flat surface, and slide its blade from one end to the other. Repeat until you get down to the end.”

With any leftover zucchini scraps from the process, Grace places those right into the blender with the avocado cream that tops this recipe. It lends a bit of decadence to this light and fresh, summer-in-a-bowl recipe. As Grace says:

“With a bowl full of the whole summer garden – sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, fresh herbs – this is a good place to start the zucchini noodle marathon that’s bound to follow. Here, you get a whole bunch of fresh ingredients to keep things light, but also a richness from the avocado that pulls it all together. For presentation purposes, keep it all separate like pictured [above]. But you’ll definitely want to give everything a good mixing with your fork before diving in.”

Head on over to FoodFitnessFreshAir for the recipe, and get ready for a Meatless Monday pasta party that’ll make you feel fresh.

5 Healthy H20 Infusions for Summer

Summertime – the livin’ is easy, and so is cultivating that slightly sweat-drenched look. This time of year, step outside and it often doesn’t take more than a few blocks till you end up in your own perspiration party. The best way to celebrate? Hydration, hydration, hydration –  in a form that’ll get your taste buds movin’. (And maybe some deodorant, too.)

Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly, and thus staying hydrated is crucial to your health. (Approx. 60% of your body weight is water!) However, the solution isn’t reaching for a sugar-loaded soda or juice. If you really want to cheers to your health, H20 is the way to go, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up your cup with a little extra jazz. Get ready to cue those party tunes – we’ve got 5 flavor infusions that’ll bring a guilt-free party to your H20.

Water infusions

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A healthy celebration of National Ice Cream Month

In 1984, Ronald Reagan marked July as the official month of ice cream. That presents 30 sweet years of history, so of course we want you to celebrate its anniversary – the cool-down, feel-good LifeVest way.

At LifeVest, we’d never prescribe a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (even in the most tearful situations, since dancing and taking a run are better, proven ways to cheer up quickly). But a simple, no-sugar-added, one-ingredient treat? Now that’s an ice cream we 100% stand behind. Today, we bring you our special, DIY banana ice cream.

Other than its capabilities of providing a naturally cool, creamy base to celebrate this month, there are numerous reasons why we are forever going bananas for bananas. Below are a few for why it can create a recipe that’ll outshine any other ice cream in your bowl:

Bananas for Ice Cream

  • A potassium powerhouse: Containing over 10% of your Daily Value, a banana is the most convenient source of potassium, a nutrient good for your heart. Regular consumption helps guard against high blood pressure and stroke. It also aids in recovery following exercise, which is why bananas are often an athlete’s snack of choice.
  • B6 beasts: Technically an herb, the banana is notably high in vitamin B6, too, important for brain function, maintaining proper blood sugar levels, & producing antibodies for a stronger immune system.
  • A sweeter-than-sugar swap: Love to bake, but want to cut down on your sugar-intake? Look no further than the extra ripe banana sitting on your counter. For every 1 cup of sugar, combine 1 cup of mashed, overripe bananas with just a few tablespoons of water. Puree until smooth. Then, if using in baking, cut down on the moisture in your recipe by using a little less milk or water. Not a big baker? Use mashed bananas to sweeten up your breakfast, such as plain yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal, rather than buying sugar-added alternatives.
  • A WISE choice: Health aside, the scientific name for banana is musa sapientum, which means “fruit of the wise men”. That fun fact makes us feel even more so that our ice cream recipe below is a smart choice.

Click here for recipe…

Meatless Monday: Pesto with Shaved Asparagus and Roasted Tomatoes

Pesto with Shaved Asparagus and Roasted Tomatoes

Our LifeVest food blogger, Grace over at FoodFitnessFreshAir, is back again for today’s Meatless Monday. She brings us a colorful pasta recipe, lightened up with vitamin-loaded, shaved asparagus and roasted tomatoes. Naturally vegan, this meal will hold up well for picnics or dining al fresco. Here at LifeVest, we’re all about chowing down in the grand outdoors – especially when pesto’s involved.

Stick with whole wheat pasta to bring extra fiber to your plate, and serve with a side salad of early summer greens. Head on over to Grace’s blog for the recipe!


Go local: 5 reasons to shop at your area’s farmers’ market

From train station parking lots to urban city parks to suburban strip mall blacktops, farm-fresh food is everywhere. Raspberries are no longer a novelty most common in your neighbor’s backyard. And rarely do you ever need to pull over at the “Eggs 4 Sale” sign if you want a carton of local eggs.

Farmers’ markets are popping up everywhere, and with them come a haul of local eggs, cheese, and veggies serving communities all over. In fact, according to the USDA, farmers’ markets are one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture, with the latest Census of Agriculture showing a 40% increase in the number and concentration throughout the U.S. since 2008.

Why is this important? Since these markets are built from farmers all around the surrounding area, your food will be traveling far fewer miles than most items at the supermarket. This means fresher, more flavorful ingredients for you, with often more vitamins in tact, too. Need more motivation to make a trip to your local farmers’ market? Check out the USDA Farmers Market Search to locate a farmer’s market in your area. Then read on for five more reasons you should go local.

Shop local

5 reasons to take a trip to the Farmers’ markets:

  1. From chore to chill: Unlike the drudgery of shopping at a crowded supermarket, wandering around at a farmers’ market can be a relaxing experience. As you stroll, you are drawn in to each stall with its vibrant colors, smells, and tables that overflow with fresh, colorful items. This turns typical grocery shopping under artificial fluorescent lighting into a sunny experience for all the senses.
  1. Going social: Farmers’ markets often include not just carrots and kale, but music, entertainment, and other activities, too. This allows you to check out what else is going on in your local community and connect with others who are nearby. Consider striking up a conversation with that person in front of you, or perhaps swapping a recipe with the other person touting home a basket of broccoli. These types of interaction can make the experience both fun and memorable.
  1. Farmer knows best – knowledge from the source: At a grocery store, if you pick up an apple, its grower could likely live 1,000s of miles away. At a farmers’ market, however, you’ll get face-to-face contact with those who planted, picked, and sold you the fruit right within your hands. Have questions on how it was grown? Or maybe you’d like to know more about the flavor discrepancies of multiple varieties being offered. Regardless of where your curious mind might take you, farmers are generally glad to share their knowledge about the plants they grow. Plus, they’ll be onsite for you to pick their brain on how to prepare the items you’ve selected for when you get home.
  1. The opportunity to be bold & try something new: Many farmers’ markets offer fruits and vegetables that are not typically found in supermarkets, providing a variety that can be both tasty and nutritious. Spring boasts unique items like ramps, kohlrabi, and fava beans, all of which farmers can inform you on how to select the best quality, storage techniques, etc.
  1. Direct support to the hand that feeds you: Shopping at farmers’ markets supports your local farmers and keeps the money you spend closer to your neighborhood. When you purchase food at a farmers’ market, the money you spend goes directly to the farmer, rather than through a middleman that will reap some of the reward. It also forms a relationship between farmer and consumer. The hand that pulled the potato, or fed the chicken, is the hand of the farmer who answers your questions, accepts your payment and provides a handshake. That handshake is his or her seal of approval that the food that was just purchased is fresh, clean and safe. This kind of relationship and guarantee of quality food is one you can’t get unless shopping locally.

Next time you are at a farmers’ market, take the time to walk around and let the sights and smells of the offerings guide you. Use your shopping list as a template. It could say something like, “vegetables for roasting” or “fruits to grill on Sunday”. This leaves flexibility for whatever the market has to offer that week and is a true lesson in cooking off the land. The idea is to find inspiration from the sights and smells around you. Start there and you’ll be guaranteed a tasty, seasonal meal every time.

If you need a little inspiration, check out this Farmers’ Market Pizza, with spring asparagus, scallions, and goat cheese!

Trish Ryan is the founder of Time for Dinner, a service designed to simplify the meal planning process and help you enjoy dinner with your family.

Time For Dinner members are provided recipes for five simple, healthy, seasonal meals including side dishes each week. Meal plans are created to be efficient and eliminate waste. Ingredients are maximized to create balanced dinners that play off each other. Members are also provided with an organized shopping list, cost estimates to help keep you on budget, a list of pantry items you will need, and guides to meal preparation.

As a LifeVest reader, enjoy a special rate ($14 off an annual membership). To join visit:http://timefordinnerplanning.com/get-started/annual-offer/.




MEATLESS MONDAY: We were meant to be(an).

Kidney Bean

Beans are an excellent source of both fiber and protein. On average, just ½ cup holds the same amount protein as an ounce of meat. As for their fiber, beans have been shown to help lower cholesterol and keep blood sugars even, which is important for weight control and overall health.

In fact, in a new study shows, participants who ate ¾ cup of legumes per day reduced their LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by about 5 percent. Researchers suggest that this could reduce heart attacks and other major cardiovascular events by 5-6 percent.

Our hearts tell us it’s time to bring you a bean-filled recipe to fuel up and use for today’s Meatless Monday. This colorful and easy salad comes from wellness and nutrition expert, Emma Fogt, MBA, MS, RD, LDN, FAND. She suggests making it a day in advance and allowing the flavors to marinade, then serving with a green salad, and grilled salmon or chicken.

Click here for recipe…