Starting a new healthy eating plan can be daunting—especially when you’re on the hunt for recipes that are nutritious, simple to make and actually tasty. But once you do find those magical meals, things get a whole lot easier.
And that’s exactly what happened with the participants in our fourth annual Woman’s Day Live Longer & Stronger Challenge. The five woman all discovered recipes—with help from Joy Bauer, RDN, and her team of nutrition professionals—that seamlessly fit into their lives, and made them realize that they might enjoy eating healthy for the long haul.
“It’s key to have four or five go-to recipes, and to keep the ingredients for these dishes on hand so you’re always prepared no matter what life throws at you— everyone can relate to daily chaos!” says Bauer. “And remember, they don’t have to be gourmet meals—in many cases, all it takes is 10 to 15 minutes and a few simple ingredients to whip up a healthy and delish dinner.”
Read on to see what recipe had the single biggest impact for each of the women—they’ve all lost at least 25 pounds and improved their heart-health. Who knows—maybe one of these recipes might become your new favorite, too.
Jacqueline Gilmore-Jackson, 47 | Wilmington, North Carolina
Why it works for me: “I’ve always enjoyed salmon, but I used to pair it with a starchy side. The sautéed spinach was a great change from rice and potatoes; it’s low in calories, so I get to enjoy larger portions without the extra calories. Sometimes I switch it up and add mushrooms, onions, and green peppers to the sautéed spinach. It’s very flavorful, and I eat it at least three times a week.”
The family feedback: “I’ve prepared the Baked Salmon and Sautéed Spinach for my son, and he enjoys it as well. It makes me feel good preparing healthier meals for us. Plus, the meal makes us feel satisfied, and not stuffed.”
*Jacqueline has lost 45 pounds so far, and has worked up to taking 15,000 steps a day (and sometimes more on the weekends!).
Amber Duncan, 37 | Gladstone, Oregon
Why it works for me: “This recipe was a game changer because I am a huge chocoholic. I knew that if I was going to be successful on this plan, I was going to have to find a way to incorporate occasional chocolate treats without throwing my calories completely out of whack. I also knew that I wanted to find a way to indulge with my family so that we could all be enjoying the same thing. This recipe helped because I could relish a dessert right along with them.”
The family feedback: “My family said it was delicious! My kids seemed to enjoy it as much or more than a milkshake. Since it is so fast to make and requires so few ingredients—just chocolate syrup, fat free evaporated milk, vanilla extract and ice—it’s easy to prepare for any last minute celebrations.”
*Amber has lost 35 pounds so far, and improved her marathon time by 26 minutes since starting the challenge.