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A tasty, satisfying breakfast that’s free of sugar, dairy, and grains. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

Last week, we shared a recipe for dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield’s delicious healthy pumpkin-banana bread. But if you, like our most recent food diarist, are on a Paleo diet, you may have felt a bit left out. So here’s a recipe just for you: These pumpkin-spice pancakes are easy to make and free of dairy, added sugars, and grains. They’re also packed with protein and vitamin A to keep you full and give your immune system a boost.

The recipe makes enough for two; we recommend serving it with grade-A medium amber pure maple syrup for an all-natural topping to sweeten the deal.

Ingredients
1 can all-natural pumpkin purée
2 eggs
½ cup all-natural peanut butter (Note: check the ingredients to make sure there are no added sugars. Some “natural” peanut butters are still full of additives.)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
1) Warm an electric griddle to 250 degrees or use a nonstick frying pan on the stove at a medium heat. Coat the surface with cooking spray.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin, eggs, peanut butter, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Stir until smooth.
3) Spoon the batter onto the hot griddle or pan surface, creating circles no larger than 3 inches in diameter.
4) After at least 5 minutes, carefully flip the pancakes to cook the opposite side. Due to the density of the batter, these pancakes take much longer to cook than regular pancakes, so make sure to look at the edges or test them with a spatula before flipping.
5) Allow the pancakes to cook another 5 minutes until they are firm and no uncooked batter is visible on the sides. Serve warm.

Adapted from this recipe. Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 04:00 PM/ET, 11/07/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This spicy-sweet treat is chock-full of whole grains. By Tanya Pai
Pumpkin and banana combine for a nutritious breakfast treat. Image via Shutterstock.

Happy Halloween, Well+Being readers! While pumpkin-flavored everything has been clogging the shelves practically since August, we’re still (somehow) not sick of it—especially when it makes an appearance in one of our year-round favorites, banana bread. Registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield created this recipe for a healthy version of the classic baked good that packs in plenty of whole grains, gets its sweetness from natural maple syrup, and adds a dose of vitamin A, iron, and potassium from the pumpkin. “This recipe is perfect on its own for a quick breakfast, snack, or dessert,” says Scritchfield. “It also pairs well with a bowl of roasted vegetable soup or hearty bean chili, and is great to make in advance and store in the freezer.” If you have a mini loaf pan, bake individual loaves and defrost them whenever you want for a take-anywhere treat.

Pumpkin-Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour for one loaf, or 40 minutes if using mini loaf pans
Serves: 12
Nutrition information: 183 calories, 6 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 27 milligrams cholesterol, 152 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar, 4 grams protein, 53 milligrams calcium.

Ingredients
2 mashed ripe bananas
1 can pumpkin purée
¼ cup vegetable oil (you can use corn oil, canola oil, or olive oil or experiment with your favorite)
½ cup maple syrup
2 eggs
2 cups flour (try whole-wheat pastry flour or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat flour)
½ cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Lightly coat an 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pan (or four mini loaf pans) with vegetable oil, and wipe off the excess.
3) Place mashed banana, pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with an electronic mixer on low speed.
4) Place flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium bowl, and whisk to combine.
5) Add flour mixture to wet ingredients, and stir or lightly beat until just moist.
6) Pour batter into loaf pan, and bake for one hour or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

Rebecca Scritchfield is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and Founder of Capitol Nutrition Group in Washington, DC. Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com with details for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 12:15 PM/ET, 10/31/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
An easy, filling solution for busy mornings. By Tanya Pai
Photographs by Tanya Pai.

On chilly mornings, a hot breakfast feels like a delicious luxury—but crawling out of your warm bed early enough to whip something up can be a challenge. When you don’t have time to linger over your first meal of the day, this baked oatmeal is an easy, make-ahead solution. It’s packed with whole grains, reheats well, and makes multiple servings. Even better? It’s infinitely customizable. You can add any kind of fruit and spices you want, replace the sugar with honey or maple syrup, and even substitute chia seeds for the egg if you’re trying to go vegan.

Play around with whatever flavor combinations you enjoy; you may never go back to those instant-oatmeal packets again.

Baked Oatmeal With Peaches and Almonds

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
¼ cup white or light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups frozen or fresh peach slices


Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger.
3) In another medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk, egg, and vanilla.
4) Arrange peach slices on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, reserving a few for top of oatmeal (optional). Pour oat mixture evenly over peaches. Pour milk mixture over the oats. Gently tilt the baking dish to make sure the milk covers the oats evenly. Sprinkle almonds evenly over surface of oatmeal. If using, add a few peach slices to the top of the oatmeal.
5) Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and set. Serve warm or cool.

Adapted from this recipe. Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 10/24/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This elegant appetizer is as easy as it is tasty. By Tanya Pai
Photograph by Rebecca Scritchfield.

Want to impress your friends at your next potluck? Try registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield’s recipe for kiwi-prosciutto crostini, an easy appetizer that’s as pretty as it is healthy—not to mention delicious. Bright green kiwi fruit has “more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a banana,” Scritchfield says. “They’re also a great source of micronutrients like vitamin C and antioxidants, and they’re high in fiber.”

Kiwis are in season through the month, and Scritchfield makes the most of their tangy flavor by pairing the fruit with cool goat cheese and thin slices of prosciutto. The dish packs a sweet-salty punch and is a great way to sneak in a serving of fruit, which Scritchfield says nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t eat enough of.

Yield: 16 servings
Per-serving nutrition: 100 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 230 milligrams sodium, 11 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein.

Ingredients
16 slices toasted crostini*
1 package (4 ounces) garlic-and-herb goat cheese
2 kiwis
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (8 slices), cut in half

Directions
1) Spread crostini slices with goat cheese.
2) Peel and slice each kiwi lengthwise into 8 slices. (A serrated peeler works great for this.)
3) Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each piece of kiwi.
4) Top crostini with prosciutto-wrapped kiwifruit. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.

*To make crostini, heat broiler. Slice 8-ounce baguette into ¼-inch slices. Using about 1½ tablespoons olive oil, lightly brush each slice. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes per side. Cool on wire rack. (May be made up to 2 days before serving. Store in airtight container.)

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 10/17/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Dishes so satisfying you won’t miss the meat. By Tanya Pai
You could have this fennel, mushroom, and tomato pizza for dinner tonight. Photograph by Ali Eaves.

Going meatless (even occasionally) is good for your health, good for the environment, and—with the right recipe—great for your taste buds. In honor of World Vegetarian Day on October 1, we’ve rounded up some easy-to-make, meat-free options that are packed with nutrition and fall flavors: light snacks, slow-cooker soups, even a feast made for two. (And if you want to celebrate National Homemade Cookie Day afterward as a reward; Best Bites has you covered.) Read on for the recipes, and if you try one, tweet us at @washwellbeing to let us know how you liked it! 

Garlicky chickpea soup is great for chilly nights. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Soups and Chili

Kale-and-Cannellini-Bean Soup 

Vegetarian Chili

Gluten-Free Curried Carrot Soup

Crock-Pot Moroccan Lentil Soup

Garlicky Chickpea Soup

Butternut-Squash-and-Apple Soup

This cauliflower pasta is easy to make and packed with vitamin C. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Hearty Main Dishes

Brown-Rice-Stuffed Eggplant

Eggplant and Tofu With Curried Mint-Tomato Sauce

10-Minute Pita Pizza

Simple Cauliflower Pasta

Pizza With Fennel, Mushrooms, and Cherry Tomatoes

5 Delicious Vegetarian Mains 

A 3-Course Vegetarian Meal for Two

Brussels sprouts get crunch from almonds and a touch of sweetness from dates. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Snacks and Sides

Brussels Sprouts With Slivered Almonds and Dates

Tabbouleh With Lemon-Garlic Dressing

3 Low-Calorie Pumpkin Seed Recipes

Vegan Sweet Potato Latkes

Lemony Mint Quinoa

Zucchini 3 Ways

Sweet Potato and Apple Stacks

Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being. 

Posted at 04:00 PM/ET, 10/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Easy ways to incorporate apples, sweet potatoes, and other seasonal favorites into your diet. By Alison Kitchens

The official start of autumn brings a few things with it—cooler weather, changing leaves, and insatiable cravings for fall foods. Dealing with the last one? Check out the six recipes below to help.

Do you have a favorite fall recipe of your own? Share it in the comments below.

Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Sweet Potato and Apple Stacks
This simple snack combines two of our fall produce favorites.

Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Pumpkin Pancakes With Spiced Apples
These pancakes are low in calories but still have tons of flavor.

Photograph by Ali Eaves.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus
Sweet potatoes add an autumn twist to this classic dip.

Photograph by John Wilwol.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
There are only a few ingredients in this warming soup, but it will feed you for days.

Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Pumpkin Pie Shake
Ditch the pumpkin spice latte and try this healthy shake instead.

Photograph by Melissa Romero.

Baked Apples With Honey and Oats
Put your favorite apples to good use with this easy snack recipe.

Find Alison Kitchens on Twitter at @alison_lynn

Posted at 11:21 AM/ET, 09/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Cool down with this refreshingly light dish. By Tanya Pai
Photograph by Mariana Diaz.

The calendar may say it’s September, but the weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo. As the sticky heat hangs around, certified health coach Mariana Diaz turns to this layered salad of fruits and vegetables to cool off. “I really love this salad because it has only three ingredients and involves no cooking,” she says. “I find it perfect for these warm days, since it’s really refreshing.”

Pineapple is packed with vitamins A and C, phosphorus, and potassium, and is a good source of fiber. Cucumber and jicama—which is crunchy and lightly sweet—are low in calories and high in water, making them extra-hydrating. 

Serve this on its own as a pretty side dish, or with cottage cheese for a snack or light lunch. 

Ingredients
1 medium jicama
3 cucumbers
½ pineapple


Directions 
1) Shred the jicama, cucumber, and pineapple—use a knife to slice them into very small, thin pieces, or grate them. 
2) Layer all of the ingredients in a ring-shaped bowl: Place the pineapple into the bottom of the bowl, then add a layer of cucumber, and finish with the jicama (this order will allow for a strong base).  Press each layer down firmly as you go, to ensure they take the shape of the bowl.
3) Flip the bowl onto a plate, and serve. You can substitute the pineapple for mango or any other fruit you might prefer. 


Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured on Well+Being.

Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 09/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Preserve a taste of summer with these easy-to-make crunchy snacks. By Tanya Pai
Classic dill pickles are easy to make in the refrigerator. Photographs by Amy Rizzotto.

Back in June, MOARfit owner and blogger Amy Rizzotto shared a peek at her daily diet with her one-day food diary. Her meals—many of them from original recipes—looked so delicious that we asked her to share yet another healthy recipe with Well+Being. She obliged with these dill pickles that are simple to make and taste great on top of a burger or on their own as a snack. 

“Pickles are especially wonderful in summer, when it’s easy to get fresh, locally grown baby cucumbers,” Amy says. “They are mostly water, so they’re not only refreshing and hydrating on hot summer days, but they’re also low in calories and loaded with vitamins C and A, as well as potassium.” She recommends buying organic cucumbers, as the vegetable is high on the Environmental Working Group’s 2014 Dirty Dozen list, which ranks produce most contaminated with pesticides.

There are myriad flavor and spice combinations for pickles available, but “there’s nothing more classic than a crisp and sour dill pickle,” says Amy. 


Refrigerator Dill Pickles
Makes 2 pint jars
Nutrition per serving: 15 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams fiber, 3 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram sugar, 440 milligrams sodium. 


Ingredients
1½ pounds baby cucumbers (about 8 to 10 small cukes)
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 fresh sprig of dill for each jar
1 tablespoon mustard seed, whole
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, smashed


Directions
1) Wash and dry the cucumbers. Trim away the blossom end of the cucumber, which contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles. Leave the pickles whole, cut them into spears, or slice them into coins, according to preference.
2) Divide spices and herbs (dill, mustard seed, garlic, turmeric, and red pepper flakes) evenly between two pint jars.
3) Pack the pickles into the jars. Trim the ends if they stand more than half an inch below the top of the jar. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing the cucumbers.
4) Combine the vinegar, water, lemon juice, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Pour the brine over the pickles, filling each jar to half an inch from the top.
5) Gently tap the jars against the counter to settle their contents and remove all air bubbles. Top off with more pickling brine if need be, then tightly close jars with lids.
6) Wait at least 1, but ideally 3 days before eating. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
7) Serve alongside your favorite veggie burger or with a plate full of light summer barbecue fair. Or, if you’re like me, munch on them for a healthy snack any time of day!

Find more of Amy’s healthy recipes on her website. Have a recipe of your own to share? E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for a chance to be featured.

Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 08/15/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Swapping the usual mayo for hummus makes this creamy salad delicious and healthy. By Chris Campbell
Photograph courtesy of the Wild Pea.

Summer is usually high time for cold salads. Egg, tuna, and chicken salads are classics, whether as side dishes at a cookout or piled high on a sandwich.

Unfortunately, traditional versions of those salads involve copious amounts of mayonnaise—which means a lot of extra saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. Sure, there are a host of light and vegan mayonnaise options on the market, but ditching the mayo altogether can lead to some surprisingly satisfying results.

One easy substitution: hummus, a favorite option of chef Blake Wollman. As the owner of the Wild Pea, outside Baltimore, he’s been making hummus for more than a decade—his company produces more than 350 flavors of the chickpea spread, which is high in protein, iron, dietary fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Wollman’s go-to chicken salad recipe trims the extra fat from the mayonnaise, but doesn’t skimp on taste. “Chicken salad is such an easy and classic food,” he says. “Switching out the mayo for hummus makes it so much healthier, but it still has that creaminess, plus even more flavor thanks to the curry. You can put it on top of a green salad, have it as a sandwich, or just grab a fork and dig in.”

Curry Chicken Salad

Serves 6

Nutrition per serving: 242 calories, 24 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 2.8 grams sugar, 10.5 grams total fat, 2.7 grams saturated fat, 205 milligrams sodium. (Does not include optional ingredients.)

Ingredients

1.3 pounds chicken breast
8.5 ounces plain hummus
½ tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped mango or golden raisins, as desired (optional)

Directions

1) Prepare cooked chicken as you desire (diced, shredded, etc.).

2) In a bowl, mix the hummus, honey, and spices.

3) Add the chicken and mango or raisins (if using) to the hummus mixture and mix well to combine. Serve.


Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail us at wellbeing@washingtonian.com.

Find Chris Campbell on Twitter at @campbler.

Posted at 11:29 AM/ET, 08/08/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
A creative way to use up an abundance of summer squash. By Chris Campbell
Photograph by Danielle Omar.

Chances are high that when picking up your CSA or while shopping your local farmers market, you’ve noticed an abundance of zucchini. The delicious summer squash is at its peak—and luckily it can be prepared countless different ways to keep your taste buds excited.

One of registered dietitian Danielle Omar’s favorite preparations for zucchini is using it to create vegetable noodles. We tried this trick a few months ago, and the result here is just as flavorful. Subbing fresh veggies for prepackaged pasta makes for both a fun time in the kitchen and a healthier meal.

“This delicious, high-fiber dish makes use of all the gorgeous summer produce available now—fresh corn, zucchini, and tomatoes,” says Omar. “It also works well with any kind of corn you have on hand: roasted, grilled, steamed, frozen, or even canned. It’s a great side dish with grilled shrimp or salmon and can be prepared in less than 15 minutes.”

Lemony Zucchini Noodles With Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Corn

Serves 4

Nutrition per serving: 190 calories, 5 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams dietary fiber, 11 grams sugar, 8 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 165 milligrams sodium.

Ingredients:
4 zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1½ cups corn, roasted, grilled or steamed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful fresh basil, diced

Directions:

1) Heat oil in large sauté pan and add tomatoes, salt, and lemon zest. Sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break apart.

2) Add corn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more, then stir in lemon juice and basil.

3) While sauce is cooking, spiralize or julienne zucchini and place in a large mixing bowl.

4) Add tomato sauce to zucchini and toss to combine. Serve immediately.


Have a healthy recipe to share? E-mail us at wellbeing@washingtonian.com.

Find Chris Campbell on Twitter at @campbler.

Posted at 01:55 PM/ET, 08/01/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()