Tag Archives: healthy eating

Healthy Sides for Turkey Day


Thanksgiving is just a week away! Get in the mood for food with these 3 wholesome sides that will mix up your holiday meal tradition.  These recipes are delicious and will help you stay healthy on turkey day. Enjoy!

Beet & Apple Salad  from Food & Wine


4 large beets (2 1/2 pounds)
5 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/3 cup salted pistachios, chopped
1 green apple, thinly sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a baking dish, lightly drizzle the beets and thyme with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast until the beets are tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Let cool, then peel the beets and cut them into 3/4-inch dice.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until emulsified. Add the horseradish and season with salt and pepper; toss with the beets and pistachios. Transfer the beets to a platter, top with the apple and serve.

Cauliflower Garlic “Mashed Potatoes” from The Splendid Table


2 large heads organic cauliflower
10 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons good-tasting butter
6 tablespoons good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Cook in two batches. Set a collapsible steamer basket in a 6-quart pot. Add water to come just above the bottom of the steamer. Cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, wash cauliflower and its leaves. Cut leaves into thin slices. Break cauliflower into florets.
  2. Drop leaves onto the steamer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add half the cauliflower, all the garlic, then remaining cauliflower. Sprinkle lightly with more salt. Cover and steam over medium-high heat 8 minutes, or until cauliflower is so tender a knife just slips into it.
  3. Drain in a colander, turn into a food processor fitted with the steel knife, and add butter and oil. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with pepper, nutmeg, and more salt if needed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, and reheat later.

Green Beans with Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette from Real Simple


3/4 cup pecans
kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

  1. Heat oven to 400º F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until toasted, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the green beans and pecans and toss to combine.

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Arugula, Brussel Sprout & Walnut Salad


Arugula, Brussel Sprout & Walnut Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Cups Arugula
  • 1 C Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • 1 TBSP Dried Cranberries
  • 1 TBSP Pepita
  • 1 Bacon Slice Bacon Crumbles
  • 1/4 C Walnuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Vinaigrette Dressing

Vinaigrette Ingredients:

  • 2/3 C Olive Oil
  • 1/4 C Balsalmic Vinaigrette
  • 1 TBSP Honey
  • 1 TBSP Dijon Mustard

Mix all vinergrette ingredients in a pot. On stove top, heat on low, simmer and wisk. Upon simmer, remove from heat.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts:

Heat Oven to 400ºF
Cut Brussel Sprouts in half
Toss Brussel Sprouts in Olive Oil, Sea Salt and Pepper
Place Brussel Sprouts on cooking sheet and drizzle with Balsamic Reduction Vinaigrette
Bake for 30-40 minutes

Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Mix all Salad Ingredients together and toss with Vinaigrette. Be careful with the vinaigrette. A little dab will do you and you will definitely have plenty left over for your next salad.

10 Healthy Eating Recipe Sites to Kick off the New Year

The holidays are over, and it is New Year’s resolution time. Since most resolutions include eating healthy, the iGnite Leaders have created a great guide to help in this — their favorite go-to healthy recipe sites.  Eating better in the new year will be much easier with these creative recipes to keep you interested. We suggest subscribing to a few of these blogs in order to get daily inspiration and motivation. Here are our top 10 favorites:

  1. Skinnytaste.com  Provides delicious, healthy, low fat, family-friendly recipes. You can sign up to get new recipes sent to you several times a week. Check out the Top 25 Most Popular Skinnytaste Recipes of 2015 to get you going. 
  2. The Defined Dish Two Dallas-based sisters give you the dish about food, fitness and other happy and healthy lifestyle tips. Along with great recipes, the site includes workouts, fitness styling, music playlists and more.
  3. Plant-Based Pulse iGnite member Allison Quinones created this blog as resource for those trying to find a healthier lifestyle by providing delicious plant-based recipes. She strives to make all recipes as close to refined sugar and oil-free as possible. She is a wonderful resource and  periodically shares her recipes such as Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit on the iGnite blog.
  4. Connoisseurus Veg  This blog is written by a vegetarian who has a passion for cooking and sharing her favorite recipes.  Try the herb crusted whole roasted cauliflower – delicious!  
  5. AmyChaplin.com Amy Chaplin, author of “At Home in My Whole Kitchen,” inspires people to seek out local and organic vegetables, stock their pantries with nutrient rich whole food ingredients and to cook at home. Find beautiful, healthy recipes on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
  6. Elana’s Pantry A go-to website for easy, healthy, grain-free Paleo recipes.  Elana Amsterdam is the author of the New York Times Best Selling cookbook “Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry.”  Her site even includes pizza, donuts, and other treats made the healthy way! 
  7. Greatist Daily Greatist covers all things healthy and makes it easy to navigate throughout their site — categorized by quick breakfasts, make-ahead meals, detox recipes and more.  Get their daily email with Greatist’s top health tips, workout ideas and delicious recipes.
  8. Oh She Glows One of the most popular vegan recipe blogs around featuring over 500 healthy recipes by Angela Liddon. Her goal is to inspire you to embrace more plant-based foods in your diet without feeling deprived. Most recipes are gluten-free and many are allergy-friendly. 
  9. Against All Grain  Paleo recipes to make you feel great created by Danielle Walker. She is the author and photographer of the New York Times Best Selling cookbook “Against all Grain.”  Use her Costco Paleo Shopping List as a great resource. 
  10. Naturally Ella Created by Erin Alderson, the blog focuses on seasonal vegetarian recipes that are pantry-inspired. Her goal is to keep the recipes simple, fresh, and exciting for the entire family. Her tex-mex inspired recipes are definite crowd-pleasers.

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*Food photography by Allison Quinones of  Plant-Based Pulse




10-Day Reboot: Payton’s Day 3

iGnite 10 Day Body Reboot

by Payton Merriman

by Payton Merriman

My first iGnite experience was participating in last Spring’s Reboot. I really enjoyed how I felt after the 10 days and was able to make some changes in my diet and exercise routine that I desperately needed.

Lunch: a salad from Trader Joe's

Lunch: a salad from Trader Joe’s

Well, after the summer vacations, playdates, and eating out of the summer schedule I was ready to get back on track and excited to participate in the Reboot again.

I woke up feeling very refreshed after a good night’s sleep and even felt a little less “foggy” without my morning coffee.  Coffee is probably one of the things I miss the most during the Reboot. There is just something about getting lunches packed and kids out the door in the morning that is a little better with that cup of coffee in hand!  I have replaced the coffee with my hot lemon water and ACV.

Snack: rice cracker with peanut butter and apples

Snack: rice cracker with peanut butter and apples

My on-the-go snack of almonds

My on-the-go snack of almonds

One aspect I have definitely had to be more prepared for is making sure when I leave in the morning that I have snacks on hand to take with me. I found that I was eating a good breakfast and then would head out on the day’s errands and would not eat until much later in the day and was overeating because I was so hungry due to the amount of time between meals.

My kids have also enjoyed the new food choices in the pantry and refrigerator.

My son Weston enjoying an avocado for breakfast

My son Weston enjoying an avocado for breakfast

This morning for breakfast I had scrambled eggs and avocado, and my 6 year-old asked if he could have some avocado also. I was glad to cut one up to add to his meal. Again this morning as we were having a snack of hummus and carrots, my 3 year old ate almost the whole bag of carrots while he was playing — he kept coming back and asking for one more!

The most difficult aspect so far has been not being able to make it to an ignite workout this week. My kids have been home sick this week, so I have not been able to do much exercise. I hope that everyone makes it to school tomorrow and I will be at Molly’s kickboxing class.

My son Weston and I sat outside and did homework and had a snack together

My son Weston and I sat outside and did homework and had a snack together

Overall I am enjoying this experience and look forward to finishing out the next 7 days!

Ending the day with an Epsom salt bath

Ending the day with an Epsom salt bath

A Nutrition Coach's Easy & Healthy Meal Ideas

A Nutrition Coach’s Easy, Healthy Meal Ideas

by Molly Daniels

by Molly Daniels

With my Nutrition Coaching clients, I’ve found that most of us are wanting and needing more healthy meal and snack ideas for ourselves and our families. So, I’ve put together a list of easy, quick and healthy ideas for each mealtime.

First, I believe in moderation and portion control. You should never completely deny yourself of anything, because when you do, you will most likely binge on it later.  If dessert calls your name weekly, feed your craving in a controlled way!

Second, it is important to always combine your macronutrients, meaning always eat a carbohydrate with a protein, or a fat with a protein, etc.  It’s just like working several muscle groups at one time in a workout by doing compound exercises — make sure to “compound” your diet!  And, of course, the more colorful your plate, the better.


  1. Toast (bread of your choice, but preferably whole grain, or gluten-free if you have an allergy) with mashed and spread avocado, scrambled eggs and salsa on top
  2. Breakfast taco on a corn or spelt tortilla with scrambled eggs, avocado, any and all vegetables of your choice and salsa
  3. Smoothie with 1 banana, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, frozen cherries, frozen blackberries, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter, a little drizzle of honey and almond milk
  4. On-the-go: Oatmega Bar (several flavor choices exist and can be found at HEB, Central Market and Whole Foods). If you eat this before a workout or before heading to work, make sure to eat a good protein-filled snack again around 10:00am


  1. Half of a sandwich loaded with greens and vegetables and your choice of protein with side choices of: vegetables and hummus (if not having for a snack that same day), handful of corn chips and salsa, or side salad
  2. Power bowl (inspired by Maudie’s Tex-Mex): Spanish rice, whole black beans, avocado, tomato, onion, corn chips and salsa on the side
  3. Spinach salad with fresh pear, toasted walnuts, bleu cheese and topped with your choice of protein. Lightly drizzle a vinaigrette for the dressing.
  4. On-the go: homemade smoothie or small smoothie from your local healthy smoothie shop (my Austin favorite: JuiceLand)


  1. Mixed green salad with big avocado chunks, tomato and onion with the Hot Dang (any of the 4 flavors and can be found at HEB, Central Market and Whole Foods) veggie burger on top
  2. Stir fry: brown rice (we use frozen and heat up on the stove), vegetables of your choice including carrots, edamame, broccoli, cabbage, etc. and protein of your choice like grilled chicken, shrimp or fish
  3. Quesadillas on corn or spelt tortillas with refried black beans, cheese, protein of your choice, avocado or homemade guacamole mentioned in the snack section, any vegetables including spinach, tomato, onion, peppers, mushrooms
  4. Breakfast for dinner: If you did not have eggs that morning, try making scrambled eggs with a green smoothie (1 banana, handful of kale and/or spinach, frozen blueberries, tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter, almond milk) on the side.
  5. Grilled salmon with a side of roasted quinoa: Quinoa is so easy to make and you can add diced, roasted vegetables, avocado chunks and roasted walnuts.


  1. Raw vegetables (carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumber) and hummus
  2. 1/2 – 1 cup (depending on hunger) of mixed nuts with almonds, walnuts, cashews, and dried fruit (be aware of the sugar content of the dried fruit)
  3. Apple slices or crackers (Nut Thins) with peanut butter or almond butter on top
  4. Homemade guacamole (avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro and juice of 1/2 lime) with vegetables or a handful of corn chips
  5. One of iGnite’s Peanut Butter Protein Bars
  6. Two hard-boiled eggs — try covering them with salsa!


  1. Handful (about 5-7) of dark chocolate covered almonds
  2. 1 small scoop dark chocolate ice cream
  3. Small bowl of mixed fruit

Happy healthy eating!

Molly Daniels graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition. After having worked through her own health and nutrition challenges, and drawing on her expertise in physical fitness, Molly provides a balanced and practical approach to basic nutrition coaching for women seeking guidance, accountability and overall health improvements.

Click here to learn more about Nutrition Coaching services through iGnite. 

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Healthy Corn & Black Bean Dip

Healthy Corn & Black Bean Dip

by Catherine Sanderson

by Catherine Sanderson

My sister gave me this recipe as a simple appetizer option for having guests over or for bringing to a party.  It’s a tangy, light and healthy alternative to all of the creamy and cheesy dips out there and is always a big hit!  It’s also super easy to transport — I just put saran wrap over the bowl I made it in and throw it in a cooler to bring it over to someone’s house.

Corn & Bean Dip Ingredients:

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1-2 cans shoepeg corn, rinsed & drained
  • 2 green onion tops, chopped
  • 1 can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 c. chopped red onion

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped fine
  • 3 T fresh minced garlic
  • The juice of 2-3 limes


  1. Toss bean mixture with dressing
  2. Refrigerate for at least half a day
  3. Serve with your favorite chips and enjoy!

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Delicious & Healthy Black Bean Brownies

black bean brownies

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Neissa Brown Springmann

Amy Younkman, one of our Yoga Leaders, shared a delicious Black Bean Brownie recipe from HEB with me. I made them last night for the first time, hoping they would turn out good so I could share with you and also eat them today too! Good news — they are YUM, super easy and are ridiculously healthy to be so good and taste so real!  The HEB recipe called for 1T of sugar, but I left that out and they still taste great. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!


1 & 1/2 Cup    Black Beans (I used organic and one can)
2T    Raw Cacao Powder
1c   Gluten-Free Quick Oats
1/4t   sea salt
1/3c   Local Honey
1/4c   Coconut Oil (liquified)
2t   Vanilla Extract
1/2t   Baking Powder
1/4c   Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

Cooking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Rinse and drain black beans with cold water. Mix all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in food processor. Transfer all in a bowl and mix in chocolate chips or sprinkle chocolate chips on top once put in an 8 x 8 baking pan. Bake for 15-18 min. Let cool before cutting into them and ENJOY!

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10-Day Reboot: Laura’s Day 8


by Laura Caskey

by Laura Caskey

What aspect of the Re-boot are you enjoying the most and why?
I enjoy trying new foods outside my normal comfort go-to foods. Some of my favorites have been making beet & sweet potato “chips”, almond butter on celery and sliced apples sprinkled with Penzeys cake spice and walnuts. I feel better eating these instead of the normal chips.

Breakfast was gluten-free oatmeal cooked with apple, cake spice, walnuts, a date & blueberries. And the yummy hot lemon water.

Breakfast was gluten-free oatmeal cooked with apple, cake spice, walnuts, a date & blueberries. And the yummy hot lemon water.

What aspect of the Re-boot are you finding the most difficult and why?
Passing up sweets. Also this past week I was out of town most of the week, so planning to have good choices with me took extra time. It was great that each of the cities I was in had a Whole Foods so I was able to pop in to get a few things to make it work for me.

Quality of last night’s sleep/how did you feel when you woke up?
I finally had time to take a lavender Epsom salt bath last night and went to sleep easily. I did wake after 6 hours, but that is actually good for me. I felt rested when I woke up.

My morning snack of apple with Penzeys cake spice & almond butter

My morning snack of apple with Penzeys cake spice & almond butter

Are you having any specific cravings?
My cravings are cheesy Mexican food & a rich gooey dessert and a hot fudge Sunday from Amy’s ice cream. And maybe a chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting or a galaxy bar from Food Food.

How was your energy level throughout the day?
My energy level has been great. All the healthy choices really make me feel better. I think some of the foods we are avoiding really do slow me down and my body feels better without them. If I could just get my brain to buy into that I’d feel better all the time!

Lunch: sliced turkey with horseradish, purple cabbage, red onion, radishes, arugula, cucumber & any other vegetable I have, rolled up

Lunch: sliced turkey with horseradish, purple cabbage, red onion, radishes, arugula, cucumber & any other vegetable I have, rolled up

Any other observations?
When I plan ahead I feel much better making healthy choices. This reboot seems easier probably because I have continued the daily apple cider vinegar and the lemon water since the last reboot. And I already knew several of the foods I had enjoyed in the last reboot. Last time I made the brownie bites from our booklet substituting almond flavoring for the peppermint and really like them.

For dinner I made the Green Turkey Chili from the booklet. It was yummy and Stan liked it too. And I have plenty for dinner tomorrow.

For dinner I made the Green Turkey Chili from the booklet. It was yummy and Stan liked it too. And I have plenty for dinner tomorrow.

Any tips or tricks you’d like to share with other Re-Booters?
Tips that work for me are keeping lots of ready-to-eat crunchy vegetables and fruits on hand. I had not bought much in the way of organic prior to the Fall reboot, and I was surprised how much better organic vegetables & fruits taste. I have snacks in bags and ready to go, even taking them on the plane to avoid the chex mix, peanuts, etc. I also took a sliced lemon to add to hot water to avoid the wine.

Neissa’s Day 10: We Did It!! | 10 Day Body Re-Boot


by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Day 10- YAHOO!! Each day seems to get easier and easier, although on day 7 I gave in and had some caffeine (and had some every day since). I’m dying to ask Brianne why caffeine is so dang powerful!  I’ve been shocked that I haven’t had more sugar cravings, as it’s definitely my Achilles’ heel. Aside from wanting a glass of wine on Day 5, and then again tonight when dealing with a screaming child in the bathtub who proceeded to pee on me as soon as I got her out of the tub, I haven’t wanted or needed sugar or alcohol much during the 10 days. However, I do plan to treat myself with cake and wine on Thursday night! I’ve missed the occasional treat. I’m looking forward to the perspective I’ll gain in seeing how my body reacts to the sugar after being off of it.

I unfortunately still haven’t brushed my skin, made it into an Epsom salt bath or had my lemon water at night. But that’s ok. I still feel very good and will add them moving forward.

Toasted rice bread with organic peanut butter and 100% fruit spread

Toasted rice bread with organic peanut butter and 100% fruit spread

As for food, I’ve found some great options. For breakfast (and actually for any snack), I’ve devoured a a slice of toasted rice bread with organic peanut butter and 100% fruit spread, and I don’t measure any of it. I just slap on some peanut butter and spread and call it a yummy day. After years of measuring my food, I’ve given it up forever and I’ve never felt more liberated.

As for lunch, since I’m usually running around at that point in the day, my meal usually boils down to less emphasis on enjoyment and more about eating for convenience, good calories and a healthy metabolism  – which for me is a Lara Bar and one hard boiled egg.

Dinner: Amy's burrito & green salad

Dinner: Amy’s burrito & green salad

For dinner, I found something super yummy in the frozen food section of Whole Foods. It’s Amy’s organic beans and rice burrito, which is gluten- and dairy-free.  I ate it along with a green salad with avocado, beets, and legumes to make sure I got my greens as well.

"spaghetti squash & meatballs"

“spaghetti squash & meatballs”

Another easy, balanced and healthy meal I cooked was “spaghetti and meatballs,” but with spaghetti squash instead of pasta noodles. The recipe is in our re-boot booklet, is super yummy and has many less carbs and calories than traditional pasta.

Ultimately, the focus on sleep, a clean diet and proper hydration over these past 10 days has resulted in the end of my weird stomach pains and very healthy bowl movements (sorry, TMI — but it’s the truth!). I didn’t manage to get a massage — DANG IT! — and will definitely be making that a priority very soon!

Body Re-boot: Day 1 | by Catherine


by Catherine Sanderson

by Catherine Sanderson

photo 1

Breakfast time! 2 eggs, 1/2 avocado & some all natural salsa (no longer wrapped in a corn tortilla)

Ok, day 1!  Since I was really trying to pay attention to how my body felt all day so that I could record it, I can say that I woke up to my alarm very tired and wanting to go back to sleep (as usual), with bags under my eyes and bloated, even my rings are tight… is that normal? Doesn’t sound like the best start to me now that I’m  sharing it out loud :/

I have to say that after my hot lemon water, Re-Boot-friendly breakfast and my first 20 oz. of water, I was feeling very satisfied.  So far, so good, I wasn’t feeling any bit deprived.

photo 2

I met my mom for lunch at my favorite Thundercloud Subs, excited to enjoy my fave gluten-free sandwich in town: gluten-free bun w/turkey, avocado, lots of veggies & peppers, spicy mustard, olive oil & salt & pepper

At one point in the day I messed up and started thumbing through Instagram for a  brain break before I caught myself and quickly logged out of my account on my phone– oh my gosh it’s not even something I do consciously anymore! It’s almost become second nature to mindlessly grab my phone to browse my friends’ photos or get up and get a snack (I’m not even hungry!?) when I need a quick 30 second escape. That was a big realization for me.

I like to think that I only occasionally look at social media (Instagram & Pinterest have definitely become my social media of choice), but in reality I reach for it a number of times a day, when instead I could do something much more rejuvenating for a break, like get up from my desk and step outside for a quick breath of fresh air. That is now my Re-Boot stand-in activity for social media & mindless snacking.

photo 3

I measured my water bottle the night before to find that it holds 20 oz. of water, so my aim is to keep this baby at my desk with me and make sure I finish at least 3 bottles by the end of the day.

photo 4

Worktime snack time! Apple with a tablespoon of all natural, unsweetened peanut butter. Just enough salty & sweet and very filling. It’s also my favorite for pre-workout energy.

Knowing that I needed to make sure I fit in 7-9 hours of sleep after getting home from school past 10pm and then get up early for work really made me much more conscious of planning out my night and responsibilities ahead of time so that I could get to sleep right when I got home. I have to say, I think I need that incentive to be better about planning ahead. It felt really good to be more prepared.

Even at the end a busy work day followed by school in the evening, I realized that I personally felt much more calm and like my mind was moving at a much more pleasantly slow pace — not always jumping from task to to-do-list task and in between busying myself with distractions like social media or TV.  Lesson learned!

photo 5

My on-the-go “kitchen sink” smoothie dinner for running off to school — frozen bananas, frozen blueberries, spinach, all natural unsweetened peanut butter, almond milk and coconut water

Usually when I get home from class my husband and I sit down and watch a TV show together to “wind-down” and spend time together, but I found that not doing that and instead grabbing books and magazines and getting ready for bed was instead so much more of a wind-down. I was relaxed after only a few minutes and easily fell asleep in time to get in over 7 hrs of sleep. Glorious!

I’m interested to see where the rest of the week takes me — it’s not easy, but I’m determined to push through!