Healthy Living Blog

How to ‘Healthify’ 2017

Tina Miller, MS RDN Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,

Following a month long binge on holiday treats and heavy meals, diet resolution week kicks off on January 8.  How will you “healthify” your diet?  With a few simple steps, you can easily add more nutrition to your meals without sacrificing flavor or convenience.  Get started with these tips:

Add a veggie to every meal:

Why? Vegetables deliver nutrients that fight chronic disease, inflammation and brain fog along with fiber for a healthy gut.  All of this for so few calories, veggies are the best diet investment you can make.


How?  Think before you eat – plan to include a vegetable at every meal.  For breakfast try spinach in your scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes on the side, or add greens to your smoothie.  Put vegetables first! At lunch and dinner make veggies the star of your meal, planning other foods around what vegetable(s) you’ll be enjoying at that meal.

Spice it up!

Why? Beyond adding flavor to your food, spices are great sources of antioxidants that promote health and enhance foods without adding sodium or calories.

How? Experiment with ethnic cuisines that add flavors you may not typically use, like Eastern Mediterranean foods using Baharat seasoning blend (typically contains black pepper, cumin, cardamom, clove, coriander, nutmeg and paprika).  An easy way to get started is by using common spice blends that are salt free.  Herbs de Provence from France for poultry, pork and vegetarian dishes, Italian blend seasoning for casseroles and meat dishes, and Mexican blend for just about anything including eggs.  For more spice inspiration, check out the “Flavor Forecast” from McCormick Spices at

Focus on Fiber:  Pulses, whole grains

Why? We only eat about half of the recommended 25-35g fiber per day.  Fiber nourishes a healthy digestive tract, is filling without adding calories—benefiting weight loss, and promotes regularity.

How?  Switch out refined grains for whole grains.  Read labels and look for grains with 3g or more fiber per serving such as whole grain bread, oats, or brown rice.   Add 1/2 cup of pulses to your daily eating plan.  Pulses such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas are super-foods loaded with fiber and other health promoting nutrients.  Add beans to your salads, roast chickpeas for snacking and include beans in your favorite soup, stew, stir-fry or casserole dishes.

Fill up on Fruit:

Why?  Nature’s candy is a low calorie way to please your sweet tooth while pumping up nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

How? Reach for fruit between meals as snacks and at the end of meals for a simple dessert.  Enjoy fresh fruit but don’t overlook the simplicity of using frozen fruit in smoothies or canned fruit (in juice or light syrup) as dessert.

Rethink your drink: 

Why?   Flavored coffee or tea drinks, and some smoothies can be loaded with sugar and calories!

How?   At home make beverages without adding excessive amounts of sugar or creamy fat.  Add sweetness using natural low-calorie sweeteners such as stevia products or sweet tasting spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg.   When ordering out, be aware of what’s in your drink and adjust.  For example, a small vanilla latte at McDonalds is loaded with 36g sugar (that’s 8 teaspoons), 230 calories and 7g fat.  Control your sugar intake by ordering black coffee and add your own cream and sugar (or no-calorie sweetener).


Butternut Squash and Chipotle Chili with Avocado

Serves 6


2 Tablespoons True Goodness by Meijer Organic Olive oil

1 Red onion, medium, chopped

2 Red bell pepper, chopped

1 small Butternut squash, peeled and chopped (~1.5 pounds, look for precut squash in produce department)

4 Garlic cloves, minced

2 Tablespoons True Goodness by Meijer Organic Chili powder

1 Tablespoons True Goodness by Meijer Organic Ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon True Goodness by Meijer Organic Ground cinnamon

1 teaspoons Sea salt

1 Pepper, chipotle, minced

1 McCormick® Bay leaves

1 Can Fire-roasted diced tomatoes, including liquid (14 oz.)

1 Can True Goodness by Meijer Organic black beans, rinsed and drained

2 Cups True Goodness by Meijer Vegetable broth

2 Avocado, diced

Fresh cilantro, to garnish, if desired


  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, squash, and garlic and sauté until the onions begin to turn translucent, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until vegetables are evenly coated, then add the bay leaf, tomatoes, beans, and vegetable broth.
  4. Cover and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. Taste for spice level and adjust, as needed.
  5. To serve, remove bay leaf, then ladle into individual bowls and top with avocado and cilantro. If desired, spice it up with some chipotle hot sauce.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 400 calories, 19g fat, 49g carbs, 11g protein

Recipe Source: