Whether you are a believer in New Year’s Resolutions or New Year’s Solutions we can all agree that New Year or not, promising yourself to start eating healthier is always a good move. If you’ve fell off your healthy track after an overindulgent holiday season or if you’re finally ready to clean up your diet, Miraval’s Executive Chef Justin Macy is helping us resolve to eat healthier in 2015 – without feeling overwhelmed, or hungry! Start down a healthier path with these five simple swaps!
Dark Chocolate > Milk Chocolate
“Dark chocolate is rich, delicious, available at all stores, and perfect for those who can’t imagine life without chocolate in some shape or form. Dark chocolate is also rich in minerals, fiber, and antioxidants and may even help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure.”
What else is dark chocolate good for? Pain relief! Dark chocolate of 70% or more can reduce inflammation and even boost seratonin!
Homemade Granola > Chips
“Sugary and salty bagged treats are major sources of ’empty’ calories. Granola made with oats and nuts is packed with fiber and protein, as well as healthy fats.” This makes it a perfect blend for staying fuller, longer! Try the recipe from Chef Macy below.
Grass-fed Meat > Standard, Processed Meat
“Grass-fed animals are healthier and leaner, without any compromise on taste. They contain lower levels of bad cholesterol and higher levels of omega acids. Both the meat and milk from grass-fed animals are the richest known source of a type of good fat called conjugated linoleic acid or CLA. CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer.”
Homemade > Eating Out
“Swap eating out at least once a week with cooking at home. Restaurant cooking is inherently oiler, saltier, and uses much more butter. Cooking at home, even once a week, can help cut calories. More importantly, cooking at home allows you to see and control what you are actually putting in your body. Mindful eating is at the core of healthy eating!”
Farmer’s Market > Grocery Store
“Swap the grocery store for a trip to the farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets offer seasonal and local produce that is fresher than your average grocery store. With an exciting variety of fruit and veggies that frequently changes, farmer’s markets can keep you excited about eating fresh instead of processed or packaged foods. This is also a great activity to do with friends and burn a few extra calories walking around!”
Chef Macy’s Granola
What you’ll need:
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3 cups rolled oats
1½ cups oat bran
3/4 cup agave syrup or honey
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out (reserve halves for another use)
1½ cups apple juice
¼ cup diced dried apricots
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup dried cranberries
What you’ll do:
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Spread the almonds and pumpkin seeds on a small baking sheet or in a large skillet and bake until lightly toasted and fragrant, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
3. Spread the oats on one large baking sheet and the oat bran on a small sheet pan and bake each until golden brown and fragrant, 8 to 9 minutes. Set aside.
4. Lower the oven to 350° F.
5. Combine the agave syrup or honey and vanilla-bean seeds in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cook while whisking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool.
6. Combine the apple juice, apricots, raisins, cherries, and cranberries; and bring to a simmer. Cook until the fruit is plumped and tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the fruit in a strainer, and discard the cooking liquid.
7. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, scraping the agave-vanilla mixture with a rubber spatula, and stir well to coat the dry ingredients. Spread the oat mixture on a large baking sheet and bake on the middle rack in the oven until crisp, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns an even golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
8. Remove the granola from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally.This recipe will make 4 cups of granola. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container until ready to serve. (The granola will keep for up to one week in an airtight container at room temperature.)
Nutritional Information: Serving Size: ½ cup | 210 Calories | 4g Total Fat | 43g Carbohydrate | 5g Dietary Fiber | 6g Protein
Since opening in 1995, Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa has been at the forefront of the spa-cuisine industry with Executive Chef Justin Macy at the helm. Chef Justin, who has over 13 years of experience and is author to two cookbooks, is known for taking the taking delicious and highly fatty dishes you may receive at a world class restaurant and transforming them into meals with sensible calorie counts and full-flavored, complex tastes.
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