It’s been a full month since we hit the New Year, but how many of you are still sticking to your resolutions? Have you successfully stuck to eating healthier and reducing your fast food and junk-food intake?
If your resolution was to stick to a strong fitness regimen, that’s great, but you need to supplement that with a healthy diet or you’ll spend hours working out with no appreciable results.
Skip the common beer, soda, pizza, deep fried wings and fries and trying new and healthier food that are also delicious and won’t put you out of shape.
Here are some healthy alternatives from our nutrition expert, Jin Long Zhen that will be fun to eat, AND result in helping you hit your weight-loss goals.
—Kirk Myers, Health and Fitness Editor, DOWNTOWN Magazine NYC
Crispy Baked Kale Chips
The king of healthy snacks, is quick and simple to prepare, while providing numerous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The chips contain little or no fiber, keeping constipation away. Kale chips also provide two grams of insoluble fibers (not digestible by our human digestive tracts), which also helps alleviate constipation. They also help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and improve eyesight because it is rich in vitamin A.
- 1 washed kale head and then dried
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt (enough to sprinkle all over the kales)
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.
If you’re already going to dip your snacks into heavy cheese, why not make it a healthy alternative? Artichoke leaves have been found to reduce cell proliferation, which can be a cause of prostate cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer. There may be cheese in this snack, but the artichoke helps boost bile production, which helps break down fat in the small intestines making the digestion of greasy or fatty food a lot smoother.
- 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup light cream cheese
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped scallions
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat oven to 350°. Combine the artichokes, mayonnaise, cream cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella, garlic salt, pepper, scallions, and parsley in a bowl; transfer to baking dish.
- Top with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella; bake 20–30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
Guy Fieri’s Tequila-Lime Wings
Cooked with simple yet tasty ingredients, these wings contain a lot less fat compared to deep fried wings or even the heavily-sauced up Buffalo alternatives. The agave syrup ingredient is sugar replacement option and is sweet, yet low in the glycemic index. This will not cause an immediate insulin spike, which is great for anyone who is pre-diabetic and wants to watch their sugar intake. They also include Cumin which is a common Ayurvedic medicine in India. Turmeric, known as a powerful antioxidant, is widely used in treating arthritis, bowel syndrome and many digestive tracts discomforts.
Ingredients for the wings:
- 3 pounds chicken wings, split at the joint, tips removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Ingredients for the sauce:
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup tequila
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup (sometimes called agave nectar)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
- Prepare the wings: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Season the wings with salt and pepper and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until just brown and crisp, about 45 minutes.
- Make the sauce: Combine the lime zest and juice, tequila, agave syrup, cumin, adobo sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 tablespoon pepper in a bowl. Pour over the warm wings and let marinate at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat a grill to high. Grill the wings until marked, 10 to 15 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer the marinade to a saucepan and cook until slightly thick, about 8 minutes (you can do this on the grill as well). Drizzle the wings with the sauce and top with cilantro, if desired.
Jin Long Zhen and Health and Fitness Editor, Kirk Myers are personal trainers at Gotham Gym, NYC.
If you’d like to learn more about Tribeca’s Gotham Gym, NYC, or to sign up for a membership, go to: www.gothamgymnyc.com