Chili is one of those cozy dinners we make once a week come wintertime. We’re pretty much always craving a spicy, warm bowlful. Bonus: It’s one of the easiest dishes to make vegetarian without changing much flavor or texture. So if you’re trying to cut back on meat or just get in more veg on a regular basis, veggie chili recipes are a must-have. These nine vegetarian (and some vegan!) chilis are just waiting to be made.
Expand your chili-horizons and throw cubed sweet potato and quinoa into a black bean-based veggie chili. For added easiness, the whole recipe can be dumped into a slow cooker and forgotten about until it’s time to eat.
While beans seem a no-brainer for vegetarian chili, give lentils a chance this time. Their quick-to-absorb tendencies make for a super-flavorful base to tomatoes, onions, pepper, and garlic. Our favorite part is that it’s self-thickened: Blend a few cups of the cooked chili until smooth, then stir it back into the pot.
White chicken chili is a classic, but who says chickpeas can’t take chicken’s place every now and then? This way-too-easy recipe uses a jar of salsa verde (which you might even have in your kitchen cabinet right now) and spices galore.
You’re at the office, hard at work, when your cubicle-mate shows up with a fist full of tissues and a nagging cough. Cue: panic. What can you do to avoid catching contagious bugs (short of threatening to work from home until spring)?
Cook. After all, you are what you eat, so whipping something up in the kitchen that’s both immunty-boosting and inflammation-fighting can help protect you from the inside out. At least, that’s what Lee Holmes, certified health coach, yoga teacher, and author of Heal Your Gut, does when she starts to feel an inkling of sickness coming on.
Because she’s a pro, she’s devised a plan that doesn’t require holding your nose while chugging down some terrifying concoction. From vitamin C loaded nacho chips (yes, really!) to a soothing lemongrass Thai soup that will put your Seamless fave to shame, these recipes will fight the good fight all winter long.
Might be time to come up with another way to use those sick days….
Keep reading to see what nutritionist Lee Holmes eats when she starts feeling sick.
For a cold: Nachos—with a twist
Forget chicken soup—Holmes is all about snacking on nacho chips when she starts getting a little sniffly. The key here: they’re golden nacho chips. Yep, there’s turmeric in there.
The anti-inflammatory root “is good for all-around immunity, and I make my nachos with grated orange zest to get in some vitamin C, too,” she says. “Plus, the combo gives them just the loveliest color.”
2. Place all the chip ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough.
3. Place the dough on a clean work surface between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/16 inch thick.
4. Remove the top piece of baking paper and transfer the dough and bottom piece of baking paper to a baking tray. Using a sharp knife, deeply score the dough every 1 1/4 inch, then do the same in the opposite direction so you form squares. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
5. Allow to cool before breaking them apart. To assemble the nachos, place the nachos chips on a chopping board, and top with the remaining ingredients. Any leftover chips will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.
For a stomach bug: Ginger tea tonic
Gut problems are the worst. Luckily this is Holmes’ area of expertise, so she has a sure fix. “If you have a gut bug, garlic, ginger, and lemon in hot water is the best thing to drink,” she says. “Garlic is anti-bacterial, so it helps kill bad bacteria hanging around the gut, and the ginger is going to sooth you.”
Can’t tolerate sipping garlic? Holmes says a mixture of turmeric, ginger, lemon, and honey in hot water is a potent anti-bacterial alternative.
Ingredients 2 cups water 4 cloves garlic, minced
4 chucks of ginger root, grated
1. Boil water. Place garlic and ginger in water and leave covered for 15 minutes.
2. Add the juice from one lemon. Pour into a mug and drink.
For a bacterial infection: Lemongrass Thai soup
“This recipe is a kaleidoscope treasure chest of medicinal herbs and spices,” Lee says. “The plant oils of lemongrass in particular have been shown to inhibit multi-resistant strains of bacteria and yeast, making it a must-have ingredient for strong immunity.”
1. Bring the vegetable stock, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, scallions, and stevia to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes.
2. Stir through the coconut milk, vinegar, and tamari, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pepper and mushroom and simmer for another 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Take out the lemongrass and lime leaves. Add the lime juice and zest, then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with a grind of black pepper and garnish with cilantro.
Most of us don’t get enough vegetables. In fact, 90% of Americans don’t get the recommended 2-3 servings a day. (For most vegetables, 1 cup is a serving. For raw, leafy vegetables like salad greens it’s 2 cups). Vegetables are a great source of healthy nutrients like fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin A. They also play a big role in helping people lose or maintain weight. Vegetables are rich in fiber, which helps fill you up. Plus, when you’re eating more low-calorie vegetables, there’s less space for eating less higher-calorie less-healthful foods. Here are seven easy (and delicious ways) to eat more vegetables.
1. Add vegetables (and fruits) to breakfast.
The nutrients you get are a plus for your health, but eating produce in the morning can also help you maintain a healthy weight. A recent Cornell University study looked at the habits of people with normal BMIs—just naturally, without trying—and found that 96 percent ate breakfast, versus skipping it or merely sipping coffee. The most common items on their A.M. menu? You guessed it: fruits and veggies. So whip up a chock-full-of-veggies omelet or smoothie bowl bursting with fruit.
2. Eat more veggie soup.
Research has shown that when people eat soup they tend to eat fewer calories. Soup is also a great way to eat more vegetables because you can add a lot of produce to your soup pot. Make one of these chock-full-of-vegetables soups to help you get your fill this week.
3. Snack on vegetables.
And we don’t mean potato chips and French fries. Your snacks should help you fill up in between meals so you don’t feel starving at dinner. They also can help you fill your vegetable quota. Try carrots or cucumbers dipped in hummus, celery with peanut butter or a small cup of vegetable soup.
4.Turn sweet potatoes into noodles.
Flip pasta night on its head and make noodles out of vegetables. Use sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, turnips or beets to replace pasta and you’ll be getting loads of nutrients for not a lot of calories. Make Sweet Potato Carbornara for dinner tonight or try our other vegetable noodle recipes. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a vegetable peeler to create long “noodles” with your vegetables.
5. Make wraps with lettuce.
Cut down on calories and carbs by using with lettuce to make a wrap. Butter lettuce leaves, cabbage leaves, lacinato kale and swiss chard all make good stand-ins. It’s a fun spin on lunch or dinner and an easy way to add more vegetables to your day. Wrap up your favorite sandwich fillings or get inspired by our healthy lettuce wrap recipes.
Make eating vegetables fun and whip up homemade chips with beets, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts or kale. Baking thin slices or leaves with a little salt gives you a crunchy snack or side. Even kids and picky eaters can’t resist vegetables when they’re served like chips!
It’s tempting to sip a sugary latte in the morning or grab a candy bar when you hit a midday slump. While those sweet treats can give you a quick boost, you’ll usually end up crashing—and craving even more sweets. But the right foods can keep you feeling energized all day, without all the ups and downs. These 10 women reveal what foods they reach for when they need to power through a long day. (Repeat after us: No more dieting. Ever. Instead, learn how to eat clean—with zero deprivation!—and watch the pounds drop off, with Your Metabolism Makeover.)
“Two years ago, I was exhausted, overweight, and overwhelmed by life,” says Sarah Foster, a group fitness instructor in Poughkeepsie, NY. I was too tired to cook, so I ate a lot of takeout, and before long I’d feel drained again. To break the cycle, I started eating 5 or 6 small meals a day, which I prep in advance. Fueling my body properly increased my energy levels; it’s amazing how quickly my body responded.”
Favorite energy-boosting food: “My no-crash lunch is a turkey burger topped with guacamole, half a sweet potato, and a green salad on the side.”
Eliza Whetzel, RD, a nutritionist at Middleberg Nutrition in New York City, noticed a dramatic improvement in her energy level after she started including more healthy fats in her diet—like avocados, walnuts, hummus, or coconut oil. “Adding fat has made all the difference,” she says.
Favorite energy-boosting food: Salad with chicken, quinoa, olives, avocado, and olive oil vinaigrette.
Making smoothies for breakfast every morning “has been life-changing,” says Nancy Knutson, director of marketing for the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. “Thanks to that simple adjustment, I have more energy than I’ve ever experienced. Take my coffee—just leave me my smoothie.”
Favorite energy-boosting food: A smoothie made with frozen or fresh fruit, a banana, Greek yogurt, whey protein powder, spinach, and fiber powder or flax seeds. (We like NorCal Organic whey protein powder.)
“The single thing that’s helped me most with maintaining energy throughout the day is water—lots of water,” says Lyssa Menard, a clinical health psychologist in Chicago. “Proper hydration is so critical to energy maintenance, but I wasn’t taking it as seriously as [my diet].” Once she made a point of frequenting her office water cooler, she says, “My energy shot through the roof.”
Favorite energy-boosting food: A glass of water (duh!).
In her 20s, Kerri Axelrod, a lifestyle coach and yoga instructor in Boston, battled chronic fatigue caused by an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder. “There were days I literally couldn’t get out of bed,” she says. “It wasn’t until I transformed the way I approached food—transitioning away from processed foods and removing gluten and dairy from my diet—that I was able to see a lasting change. When I nourished my body properly, I was able to regain energy.”
After moving out on her own for the first time, Liana Werner Gray, a natural-food chef based in New York City, fell into a junk-food rut. “I was always drained,” she says. “I would be up one minute and down the next because my body was using so much energy to digest all the processed foods and refined sugars.” She started satisfying her sweet tooth with natural sugars— like honey, dates, and fruits—and found it much easier to sustain her energy.
Favorite energy-boosting food: Acai bowls, made by blending acai with a frozen banana. “It’s basically a smoothie poured into a bowl, with fun toppings like fresh berries, gluten-free granola, and chia seeds,” she says. (Here are 9 more breakfast bowls you’ll love.)
Lyn Alden, a finance blogger based in Atlantic City, NJ, says switching to a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet dramatically improved her energy. “From the moment I wake up to the minute I go to sleep, I never feel hunger cravings or drops in energy,” she says. (Not everyone will respond to a ketogenic diet the same way; the extremely low-carb count leaves some people feeling zapped.)
Favorite energy-boosting food: Salad with leafy greens, sliced avocado, a can of sardines, lemon juice, and olive oil. “Sardines taste like tuna, but are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat,” she says.
“After finding out about how beneficial a vegetarian diet was for the planet, I decided to try it and discovered another bonus—I have so much more energy!” says Julie Hancher, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Green Philly Blog. “I don’t need as much coffee as I did before going before vegetarian.”
Favorite energy-boosting food: Energy-boosting bars made with quinoa, dates, almonds, peanut butter, and a pinch of melted cacao chips on top.
“I didn’t eat breakfast at all for years, because I’ve always enjoyed eating in the evening and wanted to ‘save my calories’ for night,” says Devin Alexander, a cookbook author and celebrity chef in Los Angeles. “Just eating a small breakfast changed both my metabolism and energy level. When I start my day with lean protein, I’m satisfied and feel better.”
Favorite energy-boosting food: “I eat egg whites in some form almost every morning—breakfast sandwich, omelet, scrambled, you name it,” she says.
Cindy Santa Ana, an integrative nutrition health coach in the DC area, said her afternoon slumps subsided when she cut back on carbs and sugar. “I started eating meals high in protein, fiber, and fat to keep my blood sugar balanced,” she says. “That also helped me shed 50 pounds!”
Favorite energy-boosting food: “Power salads,” which she creates by mixing 2 cups of greens, a cup of raw veggies, a protein (like grilled chicken, tuna, or hard-boiled eggs), and a healthy fat (like shredded cheese, sliced almonds, olives, or sunflower seeds), topped with homemade dressing.