If you are a parent whose children have grown up and left home to start their own lives, then you know what a challenging transition it is. Many things change during this time, such as the way you cook and serve meals. Perhaps you no longer feel like making fresh meals because your children are not at home or that it is easier to grab frozen meals for you and your spouse. However, this can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and diabetes. To stay healthy as an empty nester, here are four low-carb recipes that are both delicious and nutritious.
1. Low-Carb Pasta With Broccoli and Pesto
While you may no longer need to cook large amounts of pasta for a hungry family anymore, this does not mean you have to remove it from your diet completely because of its carb count. Many stores now sell low-carb pasta, or you can make your own pasta using spaghetti squash. Broccoli pairs well with either choice and is rich in vitamins such as A, K, and D. Some studies have also shown that it may lower bad cholesterol.
You can make your own pesto from pine nuts, fresh garlic, basil, and Parmesan cheese. Separate broccoli florets from the stems and cook them along with the pasta. Drain both, and then toss them with the pesto. For best results, use fresh broccoli, not frozen.
2. Quinoa and Kale Salad
This healthy salad is suitable for either lunch or dinner and a vitamin-packed alternative to sandwiches that contain unhealthy nitrates and a great deal of sodium. The quinoa contains iron and protein, while the kale is low calorie and contains vitamins K and D, along with folates and magnesium, which carries a number of benefits to an adult’s diet.
To create this healthful recipe, cook the quinoa as directed. Then combine 4 cups of kale, one-half cup of dried apricots or cranberries, a can of kidney beans, and small red onion, chopped, if desired, in a separate large bowl. Add the quinoa and toss all ingredients until coated. This meal only contains 315 calories and 43 grams of carbs.
3. Egg-Free Stuffed Mushrooms
If you are trying to reduce the number of eggs you eat in order to lower your cholesterol, this recipe may make a good fit for your diet and allows you to reap the nutritional rewards of eating mushrooms, which contain large amounts of vitamin D and iron. The filling for these mushrooms uses Hampton Creek Foods Just Mayo, which is made from pea protein instead of egg whites. You will need one cup of the mayo, along with a dozen large mushrooms, ½ cup of chopped green beans, ¼ cup of onions, chopped, three cups of stuffing, and ½ cup of breadcrumbs.
Before you prep, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the stems from the mushrooms to hollow them out. Combine the Just Mayo, stuffing, and veggies, and then salt and pepper to taste. Fill the mushrooms with this mixture and then powder the tops of each with bread crumbs before baking them for about twelve minutes. These are just one of many appetizers that can be made with Just Mayo. Check out more Hampton Creek recipes that may make a perfect fit for an empty-nester diet that can help keep you happy and healthy.
4. Salmon with Citrus and Thyme
Adding a few fish dishes to your diet may increase the intake of much-needed nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and potassium. However, this salmon and citrus recipe adds additional nutrients like vitamin C and folic acid. You will need three pounds of salmon fillets, olive oil, one orange, sliced, one lemon, sliced, and 12 sprigs of fresh thyme.
Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit and then lay the fish out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the fish with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Top the fish with the orange and lemon slices, along with the thyme, and bake for 25 minutes. You can add more fresh, unbaked orange and lemon slices if as an additional garnish if you like. This is a quick and nutritious dish that is packed with flavor, not calories and carbs.
Maintaining a healthy diet after the changes that come with an empty nest is an important component to avoiding illness and depression. These recipes can be easily integrated into your weekly rotation of dishes and have brief prep times so you can include them in a daily regimen that includes exercise and a positive outlook for the future.
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