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Healthy recipes to kick-start your diet


The New Year is here and that inevitable diet resolution to lose the holiday weight you gained can be an easy endeavor if your everyday meals are outstandingly flavorful. Here are three healthy recipes that will not only kick-start your diet but also keep you satisfied even after you reach your goal weight.

Spaghetti Squash

Savory quinoa with dried Fruit and hazelnuts

Serves 6

Packed with protein, fiber, and tantalizing flavors, this quinoa recipe is a healthy main course meal or satisfying side dish. The addition of protein – quinoa and nuts, for example – to a meal will keep you full longer and curb cravings. Bonus: Quinoa can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


  • 1-1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed, drained
  • 2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 green onions, chopped (green and white parts)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a medium pot over high heat, bring quinoa, broth, orange juice, and zest to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 12 to 13 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together apricots and boiling water in a small bowl and let sit to rehydrate apricots, about 3 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl.
  3. To the bowl, add green onions, hazelnuts, and parsley, tossing to combine. Fluff quinoa and add to the bowl, tossing to combine.
  4. In a second small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and syrup. Pour over quinoa mixture, tossing to coat well. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Cook’s note: You can also refrigerate quinoa and serve it cold.

Love quinoa? Try these easy, gluten-free quinoa recipes >>

Asian Tempeh Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Tempeh is a soy-based, protein-rich meat alternative that has a heartier texture than tofu. Try this vegetarian stir-fry for lunch or dinner whenever your yen for Asian-style food arises.


  • 8 ounces tempeh, your favorite variety
  • 1 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, sliced at a diagonal
  • 4 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded, sliced crosswise
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup black sesame seeds


  1. Cut tempeh into bite-sized chunks. Steam for about 5 minutes in a steamer basket set in a large pot of boiling water or in a steamer. Set aside.
  2. In a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oils and add almonds, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until just lightly toasted. Immediately remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel to drain.
  3. Add onion and ginger to the wok, adding a bit more oil if needed, and cook, stirring often until onion is just translucent. Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  4. Add carrots, cabbage, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender and cabbage has wilted.
  5. Add lemon juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Add tempeh and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until tempeh is heated through. Toss with almonds and remove from heat.
  6. Serve warm sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Cook’s note: You can serve this with brown rice or whole wheat noodles.

If you’re craving Mexican, try these Tempeh Tacos >>

Italian-style spaghetti squash

Serves 6

Curb those carbo cravings for pasta with this lower-calorie “spaghetti” recipe. Spaghetti squash is a nutrient-rich vegetable alternative to strands of carb-laden pasta.


  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 to 4 leaves fresh basil, rolled tight, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash cut-side down in a baking dish and add 1 inch of water. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes or until tender. Drain the water, cover dish with foil, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent and golden. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes, peppers, capers, and Italian seasoning and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes then remove from heat.
  4. Use a large fork to shred squash into a bowl. Add tomato mixture, parsley, and basil, tossing to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve garnished with a modest sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

More tasty tips to jump-start your diet

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