Healthy Recipe

What makes a recipe “healthy”?

Ideally, you want your recipes to be low in sugar, salt and saturated fats.

Healthy recipes are low in processed carbohydrates and high in fiber.

If they don’t already contain lots of fruits or veggies, look for ways to boost the nutrition by adding them in, when possible.

Do you have some recipes that you love, but you wish they were a bit healthier?

You can try these swaps to make-over your not-so-healthy recipes…


  • Rolled oats or ground nuts or seeds > for breadcrumbs
  • Citrus juice and fresh herbs > for added salt
  • Avocado > for butter or mayonnaise (as a spread on sandwich, toast, etc.)
  • Applesauce or pureed prunes (in chocolate items) > for oil in baked goods
  • Whole wheat flour > for white flour
  • Whole wheat bread, rice or pasta > for white bread, rice or pasta
  • Vegetable ribbons > for pasta
  • Lowfat plain yogurt > for buttermilk
  • Greek yogurt > for sour cream

Check out this great website on recipe makeovers for more information:

Mayo Clinic: Recipe makeovers: 5 ways to create healthy recipes

One of my favorite new healthy recipes is this one that I found while I was writing about ancient grains…

Farro and Arugula Salad With Pistachios
Serves 4 to 6

tsp kosher salt
2 small bay leaves, or one large
6 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts (or substitute chopped walnuts or almonds)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
2 cups coarsely chopped herbs: parsley, cilantro, and mint
3 cups baby arugula leaves (or three big handfuls)


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring farro, salt, bay leaves, and three cups water to a simmer. Continue to simmer uncovered until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. If liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a bit more. If the farro is done but there’s liquid remaining, pour off the excess. Let the farro cool, then remove the bay leaves.
  2. In a medium or large salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of sea salt. Add the farro, pistachios, feta cheese, and apricots, and stir to mix well. Just before serving, fold in the chopped herbs, arugula, and additional salt (if needed).

Nutrient Analysis per serving (based on 6 servings)

Calories: 345; Total fat: 22 g; Sat fat: 4 g; Trans fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 11 mg; Sodium: 520 mg; Total carbohydrate: 33 g; Dietary fiber: 6 g; Sugar: 10 g; Protein: 22 g

— Recipe courtesy of Carrie Dennett, MPH, RDN, CD.

Source: Key Ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet – the Nutritious Sum of Delicious Parts. Today’s Dietitian.


Want More Healthy Recipes? Check out these Eight Great Recipe Links:

All Recipes. Healthy Recipes –

Cooking Light –

Dr. Weil Recipes –

Ellie Krieger Recipes –

Food Network. Healthy Eating –

Jamie Oliver. Quick and Healthy Recipes –

My Recipes. Healthy Diet –

Shape. Healthy Recipes –

Jen Kim, RDN

About Jen Kim, RDN

Jennifer is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). She completed her Bachelor’s of Science degree at the University of Illinois, and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from San Diego State University. Jennifer also has a Certification in Adult Weight Management. She has worked in hospitals as a Clinical Dietitian, done obesity research and worked as a Corporate Dietitian for a national weight loss company. Jennifer is passionate about helping people live healthier lives. She believes in a balanced approach to nutrition – where all foods can fit – centered around a natural, plant-based diet. Jen lives in San Diego with her husband and two boys – where she enjoys playing soccer and tennis, hiking, playing on the beach, playing board games and shooting pool.

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