If you’ve ever looked for online inspiration to reach your diet and nutrition goals, you’ve seen that there are umpteen bloggers offering enticing recipes and mouth-watering food photos. But whose nutrition philosophy and cooking prowess are worthy of your attention? We did a deep dive into this crowded field to choose five food bloggers, each with a special focus that can enhance your health, satisfy your taste buds and improve what can often be a love-hate relationship with food. Here, these fave five share their stories and offer ideas, advice and a favorite recipe that you can try…
Ellie Krieger, RD
Great blog choice for: Rebuilding a healthy relationship with food.
Krieger, a registered dietitian, is the host and executive producer of the popular public television cooking series “Ellie’s Real Good Food” and the host of Food Network’s “Healthy Appetite.” Her blog is devoted to finding the sweet spot where delicious and healthy meet. Her philosophy is that eating should be a joyful and sensuous experience, but she recognizes that many people are afraid of making food a wonderful part of life. Rather than looking at food as fats, protein and carbs, she groups them as foods you should eat usually, sometimes and rarely. “Usually” foods are vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains, fish, lean proteins, healthy oils and whole fruits and serve as the backbone of a healthy diet. Sprinkle in “sometimes” foods such as French bread, red meat, dark chocolate and sweeteners such as maple syrup for flavor, texture and variety. “Rarely” foods—bacon, cream, fried foods, chocolate cake—can be part of your life but should be eaten only once in a while or in small amounts. The idea is that there is no such thing as “never” foods—it’s all about balance.
Krieger’s tip: Don’t keep “rarely” foods in your home. For example, Krieger loves ice cream but enjoys it only as an occasional treat when she’s away from the house.
This recipe shows that you can be a gourmet and still serve healthful foods.
Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta
Yield: Six 1½-cup servings.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large scallions, white and green parts, chopped
1½ cups whole-grain orzo pasta, uncooked
2 cups fish broth or water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups, lightly packed, chopped fresh spinach leaves
¼ cup finely chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds skinless salmon fillet, cut into one-inch chunks
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat the oil in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat, add the scallions and cook until softened, two minutes. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, for two minutes more. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the orzo is about halfway cooked, five minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, spinach, parsley, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and cook until the spinach is wilted, one to two minutes. Gently stir in the fish, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the fish is cooked on the outside but still a bit translucent inside, four to five minutes. Note: If you want to prepare this in advance, stop here and let the mixture cool for 30 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate.
To finish, sprinkle the feta over the food in the skillet, then place the skillet in the oven until the cheese is lightly browned and melted, eight to 10 minutes.
Excerpted from You Have It Made © 2016 by Ellie Krieger. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP
Great blog choice for: Using nutrition to improve digestion and other health issues.
Valpone, a holistic health coach, was in demanding jobs at Vogue magazine and Ralph Lauren when she was waylaid with health issues in her 20s. Doctors put her on all sorts of medications including steroids, painkillers and antibiotics, all of which had serious side effects and left her feeling worse. Frustrated, she turned to integrative medicine practitioners to help her take back her health and her life. She learned how to cook without gluten, dairy, soy and sugar, an approach that helped her heal and created a career in the process. Besides loads of recipes, Valpone’s blog offers meal plans and programs of different lengths targeted to specific goals such as reducing inflammation and improving gut health.
Valpone’s tip: It’s more than just what you eat that contributes to your health and wellness—you can’t put only superfoods and protein powder into your body and expect it to heal. Explore and gain insight into your mind and emotions through exercise, meditation and being kind to yourself—also a big part of getting healthy.
This recipe shows how easy it is to adapt any cuisine to a more healthful style.
Sunrise Nori Wraps with Spicy Tahini Drizzle
Yield: Four servings.
For the spicy tahini drizzle:
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1¼ Tablespoons chickpea miso paste
1 Tablespoon raw tahini
2 Medjool dates, pitted
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Water, as needed, to thin the drizzle
For the wraps:
4 nori seaweed sheets
¼ small head red cabbage, very thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1 small yellow summer squash, julienned
1 small cucumber, julienned
1 large ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
Make the drizzle by combining all of the drizzle ingredients except the water in a blender. Blend, adding one teaspoon of water at a time, until the mixture becomes a thin sauce.
Place the nori sheets on a flat surface. Divide the cabbage, carrot, squash, cucumber and avocado evenly among the sheets. Top each pile of vegetables with a heaping tablespoon of the drizzle, and roll up the sheets into a tube shape.
Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN
Great blog choice for: Stopping yo-yo dieting and finding a forever eating plan.
As a high school and collegiate athlete, Glassman always knew the importance of fueling her body with healthy foods so that she could remain strong on the playing field. But like most college freshmen, she put on some weight…and knew she couldn’t lose it by subsisting on diet sodas. She figured out how to eat well enough to perform as an athlete and still get back into her skinny jeans for Saturday nights. Her interest in food and nutrition as an athlete propelled her to make it a career, and she went on to become a registered dietitian and certified dietitian/nutritionist. The nutritional philosophy at the core of her blog is “eating empowered,” or listening to your body and focusing on the foods you can have rather than those you can’t. This approach has spillover benefits on all aspects of health and well-being because it makes you happier and less stressed. For most people, she suggests a calorie breakdown of 40% fiber-rich carbs, 30% protein and 30% healthy fats, a combination that keeps energy up and encourages lean muscle without leaving you hungry.
Glassman’s tip: Break up with sugar. Avoid added sugar and artificial sweeteners, since these are serious health threats and provide zero nutritional value. When you crave something sweet, choose naturally sweet cashews, pecans or fruit.
This recipe shows that favorite snacks can be made healthier without sacrificing taste.
Sweet Potato Nachos
Yield: Four snack servings or two main-dish servings.
1 sweet potato
1 teaspoon olive oil
Dash of cayenne
Dash of chili powder
3 mini sweet red and/or orange peppers, sliced
¼ white onion, sliced
3 Tablespoons salsa
¼ cup black beans
2 Tablespoons jalapeños, diced
⅓ avocado, cubed
Cilantro, chopped, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Using a sharp knife or mandolin, slice the sweet potato thinly and lay flat on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with the olive oil, and toss with the cayenne and chili powder. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your potato slices.
While the potatoes are roasting, add the peppers and onion to a saucepan over medium heat and cook until softened.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, arrange them as you would nacho chips, and top with sautéed peppers and onions, salsa, black beans, jalapeños and avocado. Put the nachos back into the oven for about five more minutes, top with cilantro and serve.
Sharon Palmer, RD
Great blog choice for: Going vegetarian or vegan.
Palmer, who calls herself the “plant-powered dietitian,” became a vegan seven years ago and knows that making this leap can seem overwhelming. Her philosophy is that you don’t have to be totally vegetarian to reap the benefits from plant foods—but do try to tip the balance toward more whole plant-based foods to reap many of the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. Palmer creates recipes that help her blog readers do just that. She also shares the latest nutrition research and plant-based–food product reviews.
Palmer’s tip: Give meatless Monday a try. This is an easy, once-a-week way to fall in love with vegetables. Though veganism may not appeal to everyone, going all plant-based one day a week is something anyone can do. And once you try it, you’ll see how delicious and easy it can be.
This recipe is a protein-rich way to go meatless.
Chipotle Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers
Yield: 10 servings.
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1 15-ounce can vegetarian refried black beans
½ bell pepper, chopped finely
¼ red onion, diced finely
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
½ cup whole-grain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon chipotle-based seasoning
Salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Scoop up one-half cup portions of the mixture, and form into 10 patties about three inches in diameter and one-inch thick. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until crispy and firm.
Note: Freeze any leftovers for up to a month.
Laurie Lloyd, CHHC
Great blog choice for: Healthful eaters who still are wrestling with weight gain.
A holistic health coach who focuses on nutrition, Lloyd is especially conscious that to be useful, suggestions must work in the real world—advice that fits into your lifestyle and makes you feel good. She started her blog as a response to her husband’s blog, “Liv Cooks at Home.” (Liv is short for his name, Oliver.) Laurie describes her husband as a really good cook who’s more hearty than healthy. “LivLight” emphasizes creating healthier versions of classic favorites. That’s something she had to learn for herself—when she first started LivLight, despite the fact that she was making healthy dishes such as quinoa bowls with lentils, chickpeas and sweet potatoes, she gained weight.
Lloyd’s tip: You can’t eat even the healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts and olive oil, or the healthy but dense carbs, such as quinoa and sweet potatoes, in excess if you want to lose (or maintain a healthy) weight. Instead, fill up on delicious recipes using nonstarchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, string beans, spinach and more, and treat starchy carbs as garnishes and toppings.
This recipe is a tasty twist on the classic high-carb fried rice.
Cabbage Cauliflower Fried Rice
Yield: Two servings.
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces fresh or frozen cauliflower “rice” (florets pulsed in a food processor)
2 eggs, stirred (leave out if vegan)Bag of cabbage salad mix
4 radishes, diced
1 Tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon coconut aminos (a soy sauce–like condiment made from coconut palms)
¼ teaspoon ground dry ginger
Salt, to taste
¼ cup cilantro, chopped roughly
1 Tablespoon each black and white sesame seeds
2 green onions, green parts sliced thinly
Sriracha hot sauce, to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté the onion until slightly soft. Add the cauliflower rice, and cook until slightly dry and the onions are browned. Create a well in the middle of the mixture, and spray the area with olive oil spray. Add the eggs, and scramble until cooked. Add the cabbage mix, radishes, tamari or soy sauce, coconut aminos and ground ginger, and combine well. Salt as needed. Garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds and green onions. Drizzle with sriracha and serve.