Last Fall, I had so much fun hosting a “Healthy Tailgate” themed cooking demo for my local sorority alumni chapter! I LOVE preparing food for people I love, and showing how eating healthy can be FUN, so this was the perfect theme for a Fall event. It was so fun to share how I prepared the food, and then to enjoy it with some lovely sisters as well. With this big football game I keep hearing about this weekend (sorry, not a big NFL girl) and the onslaught of the polar vortex we are currently experiencing here in lovely O-H-I-O, I thought it would be the perfect time to share these recipes. They’re not just tailgate-friendly, but totally hit the spot when you’re looking for some healthier cozy comfort food!
In addition to sharing food and recipes, I wanted to share a message that’s very important to me: healthy eating should be delicious, easy, and FUN! In fact, it HAS to be those things, or we simply won’t do it. I spent countless years in a completely different mindset, and it was so harmful. In the past, I had a set of recipes that I deemed “healthy” and what I “should” eat… A lot of them were based on certain diets that didn’t serve me: low fat, low carb, gluten free, dairy free, weight watchers, “skinny bitch”, you name it, I tried it. Most of them were basic and bland, and held very little appeal except maybe if I eat these I’ll be skinnier, and if I’m skinnier, I’ll be happier.
Guess what that big pile of recipes did for me? They encouraged me to impulsively order takeout and spend money spur of the moment on restaurant food that didn’t even bring me much joy. They made me feel like healthy eating was boring, tasteless, and generally a pain. They made me feel like nourishing my body was a punishment for not looking the way I wanted to look. They led me to binge on fatty, sugary, highly processed foods in rebellion against the restrictive mindset I was stuck in. They did NOT make me skinnier or happier.
Enter the lovely health coach I worked with in 2015, who encouraged me to re-discover foods I enjoyed eating before the diet mentality crept in. Things I loved as a kid, or things that felt FUN and exciting. Gradually, as I worked these back in I began to see opportunities to tweak recipes or find different ones and “healthify” fun foods without compromising taste or enjoyment.
Please please please let me know if you try any of these and what you think! It means SO much when I hear from you all :).
Loaded Sweet Potato Skins
Roast sweet potatoes using this recipe: https://therealfoodrds.com/baked-sweet-potatoes-recipe/
Then scoop potato from inside to leave thin layer along with skin (save the innards for brownies!!)
Brush sweet potato skins with a little more oil and sprinkle a little salt, and put back in oven for about 5 min to crisp up.
Top with bacon bits (ideally nitrate free), blue or cheddar cheese, homemade ranch (see below), + chopped fresh chives!
Homemade Ranch Dressing
Whisk together the following:
2T Organic mayo
3T Greek Yogurt (I used grassfed)
1 squeeze lemon juice
3T (approx) fresh chives, chopped
2T powdered buttermilk
Shake dried dill weed (to taste)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Store in fridge up to 4-5 days.
Buffalo Chicken Tacos
I used this recipe, but adapted for instant pot ( to get tender, shreddable chicken, cook on high pressure for 15min and let pressure release naturally for about 5 minutes before quick releasing): https://belleofthekitchen.com/wprm_print/5814
Also, feel free to get creative - sliced avocado goes great with these! If there are any other veggies you’d like to have in them for extra crunch, go crazy, add them!
Sweet Potato Brownies
I used this recipe, using almond flour. I also used maple syrup instead of granulated sugar, in the same amount, and it worked! I used regular sized chocolate chips, enjoy life brand dark chocolate. https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2016/10/13/sweet-potato-brownies-recipe/