5 Fresh Sandwiches to Shed Pounds for Spring

SandwichSpring is here!

Well, almost. But with shorts and swimsuits looming in your not too distant future, it's time to dust off your News Year's plans to eat better and chef up these delicious sandwiches to help you get there.

I find that lunch can be the hardest meal of the day to get inspired over.  It's easy to fall into the same old ruts, or even worse, reach for take-out or visit the office vending machine and call it a meal.

Here are some of my spring faves that you can dig into guilt-free, knowing you're doing your body good, while keeping your planet's future in mind. Packed with healthy ingredients, protein, fiber for staying power (a key for weight loss), and an array of veggies to boost your nutrition quotient, each recipe is sublime and will keep you on your path to lean and green cuisine.

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Best-Ever Eggless Egg Salad

In my recent EarthGrains Facebook fan page post (full disclosure, I am a paid spokesperson for them), I shared several other delicious recipes, one of which was for an egg salad recipe. But here's another option, especially if you are limiting your weekly egg count. .

Make this super-tasty eco-conscious sandwich filler in no time.  This recipe is perfect for packing grab-and-go lunches or for lounging around at home. The nutritional yeast adds flavor, but also provides a rich source of protein and vitamin B12, so it's best not to omit. EarthGrains bread is 100% whole grain and has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives-which I love- plus 20% of the grain is Eco-Grain™ - a wheat grown using innovative farming techniques that help reduce the amount of pesticides, energy and carbon emissions associated with production.

1/4 cup Canola mayo or vegan mayo 1 tsp Granulated garlic 1 tsp Fresh chopped parsley 1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast 1 tsp Turmeric 1/4 cup Diced celery 1/2 tsp Dried dill (can use 1 tsp fresh if in season) 1/4 cup Broccoli sprouts, rinsed well. 1 Block extra firm tofu, drained, and chopped Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste Avocado slices Spring lettuce greens

2 slices of 100% Whole Grain EarthGrains bread made with Eco-Grain wheat

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the mayo through the dill until well combined. Add tofu and gently fold into mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Scoop 1 cup eggless egg salad on EarthGrains bread made with Eco-Grain wheat and top with veggies.

.. Sustainable Tuna & Artichoke Sandwich

Tuna is one of the most careful choices you have to make at the supermarket, as there are concerns about sustainable fisheries management and mercury contamination (to get the latest, download the latest copy of your region's Sustainable Seafood Guide). So what's the best choice for your tasty tuna sandwich? Look for albacore or skipjack tuna that is, "Marine Stewardship Certified" for a winning lean and green overlap. This certification confirms the tuna is caught in a sustainable fashion (using the troll or pole and line method). Artichokes make this filling feel extra creamy, and really kick this sandwich up a notch in taste. This sandwich powers you up with protein, slimming whole grains and heart healthy fats.  What's not to love?

1 6 oz. can Marine Stewardship Certified Albacore or skipjack tuna, broken into chunks 1/4 cup Chopped, pitted kalamata olives 4 artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped 1/2 tsp Lemon zest 1 Tbsp Chopped parsley 1 tsp Capers, drained 1 (12-ounce) Jar marinated artichokes, drained and coarsely chopped 2 Tbsp Canola mayo 1 tsp Fresh lemon juice Salt and pepper to taste 2 slices 100% Whole Grain EarthGrains bread made with Eco-Grain wheat

  1. In a medium bowl combine tuna through artichoke hearts. Fold in the mayo and the lemon juice. Add a bit more mayo or olive oil if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  2. Scoop out tuna/artichoke mixture on Earthgrains bread made with Eco-Grain wheat

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Sunshine Pita Pocket

There are loads of veggie burgers in the freezer aisle these days, so beware of the "health halo" that some not-so-healthy ones carry. Many now have super long lists that you need a magnifying glass to decipher- look for products made with 5 ingredients or less.

I am a big fan of Sunshine burgers, which I discovered at the ADA Expo last year. Aside from being vegan and organic (both great for the planet), they have a super clean ingredient list, and are also soy, dairy, wheat and gluten-free. A pretty tall order for a burger-and you will be amazed at how delish they are! And it's a perfect final destination for any leftover caramelized onion you may have.

1 tsp Canola mayo or Dijon mustard 2 strips Roasted red pepper 1/4 cup Chopped cucumber Caramelized onions 100% Whole Grain Pita Pocket 1 Organic Sunshine Veggie Burger

  1. Warm veggie burger according to package directions. Spread mayo or mustard on pita, tuck in the burger and remaining ingredients.

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Thai Chicken Wrap with Peanut Sauce and Asian Slaw

This fresh take on what can seem ho-hum leftovers, is filled with protein to help satisfy you all afternoon. The zingy combo of veggies, cilantro, and lime is a refreshing change for spring.

1/3 cup Last night's extra grilled chicken, chopped (preferably organic) 1/4 cup Shredded cabbage (red or green or even both) 1/4 cup Grated carrot 1/4 cup Diced red pepper 1 Diced green onion Tasty toppers: Fresh chopped cilantro and a squirt of lime 100% Whole grain tortilla/wrap 2 tsp Your favorite all-natural peanut sauce or Asian-inspired salad dressing*

*Make one yourself by whisking together 1/4 c. rice vinegar, 3 Tbsp all natural peanut butter, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp fresh lime juice and 1/4 tsp chili garlic paste, or to taste.

  1. Combine chicken through green onion in a small bowl. Top wrap with mixture and roll up.

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Grilled Sweet Potato Burger

My intern, Lindsey Toth, turned me on to this fantastic tower of goodness. It has grilled sweet potato rounds, caramelized onions, bean sprouts, and cilantro hummus (or any type of hummus you like). It is to die for!  If you make the sweet potato ahead of time and then just briefly warm on the stove before assembling, this hot and hearty sandwich is super quick. Feel free to add your own favorite veggie fixings too.

1 sweet potato, sliced about half-inch thick rounds Olive oil for grilling 1/4 cup Caramelized onions 2 Tbsp Cilantro hummus (or your favorite store bought kind) Handful sunflower sprouts 100% whole grain bun, toasted

  1. Heat grill over medium. Brush sweet potato slices with olive oil and grill over medium high heat until cooked through, about 5-8 minutes per side.
  2. Spread each side of toasted bun with 1 Tbsp hummus. Layer on sprouts, onions, and grilled sweet potato.

Got other faves to help you shed pounds for spring? I'd love to hear about them.

Going Green is Great for Swimsuit Season Too

Swimsuit SeasonGoing green isn't just good for the planet - it's good for swimsuit season too.

Even if you can't buy a hybrid this Earth Day, you can certainly start eating like one. Because what you eat is as important as what you drive when it comes to your impact on the planet.

With Earth Day next week, and summer a scant 8 weeks after that, it's the perfect time to get serious about what's on your plate-and you can start to whittle your waste and your waist with a few tasty changes.

Here are my top four  Lean and Green Superfoods to get you on the fast track to Lean AND Green this summer..to look your best while you do your best by the planet and your bod. The best part? They're super delish and save you money to boot. What's not to love?

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Lean and Green Superfoods for Swimsuit Season

Fire up the Grill-with Barramundi instead of salmon or steak

Toss barramundi (US farm raised) instead of steak on the grill this spring to literally slash calories and environmental impact in half (and it’s better than salmon too-from a slimming and eco-friendly standpoint).

Lean Savings:  grilled barramundi has 147 calories vs. 294 for the steak (100 grams, or a bit over 3 oz.).

Green Savings: Barramundi is 3x as energy efficient to produce as salmon, and 13X as efficient as that steak.

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Nibble with a Clean Conscience. Snack on edamame instead of cheese and crackers. This super simple swap lets you eat three times the volume, ensure you stay full longer, and tread more lightly on the earth in the same bite.

Lean Savings: ¾ cup edamame in pods with shower of sea salt: 135 calories , 12 grams protein, 6 grams fiber (Protein and fiber are critical to feel full) vs. only ¼ cup cheddar cubes: 133 calories, 8 grams protein, 0 grams fiber.

Green Savings: makes for a more eco-friendly nibble because dairy and soy represent opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to global impact-soy is one of the most eco-friendly foods, and dairy is one of the most warming to the planet. SOY has 1/16th the planetary impact of Cheese. So you are going lean and green in one bite!

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 Chef up a grass fed bison burger instead of beef burger.

As we all shift into BBQ mode, tap into the slimming power of grass fed game. A simple but powerful swap that will help you thin your waistline for summer AND thin your global impact at the same time.

Lean Savings: A 3 oz. grass fed bison burger packs 150 calories and 7 grams of fat, while a 3 oz. typical hamburger packs 236 calories (50% MORE), almost 15 grams of fat (more than TWICE as much)

Green Savings: A beef heavy diet is the SUV of eating styles. While we all know you can buy a hybrid to cut your impact-you can also start eating like one. A 2005 study found that a beef heavy diet is responsible for emitting more greenhouse gases than they car you drive!

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Amount of carbon released in a day by a typical American car: 3 kilograms

Amount of carbon released by clearing enough rainforest to produce beef for one burger:  75 kilograms

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Make Mushrooms a Mainstay.

Lean Benefits: mushrooms are one of nature’s superfoods. Eat more, lose weight-1 cup of grilled portabello mushrooms is only 35 calories! A cup of white button mushrooms is just 18 calories. A great way to add volume and nutrition while also slimming down. Some added pluses: fat free, meaty in texture with a woodsy flavor, and rich in selenium, vitamin D (one of the few natural sources) and antioxidants.

Green Benefits: Mushrooms are nature’s great recyclers-literally helping to regenerate soil and transform our waste products into clean resources again. With all the talk of eating seasonally and locally-mushrooms have a 365 day growing season (unlike so much of our produce), and are super light to transport-which means less fossil fuel.

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So let me ask you: Are you hungry for change? If so, email me and let me know what kinds of changes you're making.

Add Steps and Lose 14 Pounds this Year

ScaleSo many  of our daily activities have been made easier and faster through technology. The downside is, it also cuts the number of calories you burn. Find five swaps you can make to cut carbon, burn more calories, and shed some pounds….over a year the potential calorie savings are below.

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Try this: Walk 1 minute to colleague's desk, talk for 3 minutes while standing, 2x a day. 6 calories. Instead of this: Emailing colleague for 4 minutes. 2-3 calories. Burn this much more: 3-4 calories

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Try this: 30 minutes cooking dinner. 25-30 minutes. Instead of this: Ordering take out pizza and waiting 30 minutes. 15 calories. Burn this much more: 10-15 calories

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Try this: Take 3 flights of stairs. 15 calories. Instead of this: Take the elevator 3 times. 2 calories. Burn this much more: 13 calories

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Try this: Getting up and changing the TV channel 5 minutes a day. 3 calories. Instead of this: Using the remote for 5 minutes from your recliner. 0.06 calories. Burn this much more: 2.4 calories

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Try this: Wash Fido yourself for 20 minutes. 100 calories. Instead of this: Call "Groom A Pet" to come and wash Fido for you. 2 calories. Burn this much more: 98 calories

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Try this: Manually open and close garage door 2x per day. 3 calories. Instead of this: Use garage door opener. 0.25 calories Burn this much more: 2.75 calories

 

Total daily additional calories burned with green steps: 135 calories

Potential calories burned over a year by switching each day: 49,330 calories

Potential pounds of fat lost: 14 pounds of fat

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Small savings add up. ..to big weight loss. Now just think of all the carbon you've shed as well-no batteries in the remote, auto miles saved for pizza and dog deliveries, and energy use in office buildings.

Hara Hachi Bu: The Secret of Lean, Green Living

Hara Hachi BuIn Okinawa, Japan, elders have a simple statement for their eating philosophy; “Hara Hachi Bu” which translates into “ Eat until you are eight parts full”. It’s part of their secret to living longer, leaner and healthier, and it can be yours as well. What does this mean? Don’t stuff yourself. Leave a little space at the end of your meal, which will allow your brain to catch up to your stomach (it takes about 20 minutes for the stretch receptors in your stomach to signal your brain that you are full). Practice moderation in your portions (In Okinawa, portion sizes are about half of what you find in the US). Hara Hachi Bu still leaves you feeling satisfied instead of like a force fed fois gras- which is all too common in America, especially when eating out. As a result, the calorie intake of Okinawans is 10-40% lower than Americans.

Americans would be wise to take note. Okinawans have the longest life expectancy on the planet (Japanese live an impressive six years longer than the average American), as well as the highest concentration of centenarians (those who live to the ripe old age of 100). Most importantly, these are vibrant, healthy, high functioning extra years-the exact kind you would probably like to add.

There is a growing number of animal studies which have found that caloric restriction improves mental acuity, animal fur sheen, calcium loss from bone, and extended life expectancy by up to 50% (that would be the equivalent of a human living to about 150 years) . And research from the National Institute on Aging found that primates fed a calorie restricted diet had higher levels of DHEA (a steroid hormone associated with youth), lower fasting glucose levels, and lower diabetes risk . There’s a fantastic book called The Okinawa Program which outlines this entire topic in detail. If you read it you’ll find that their overall eating pattern has many similarities to a Lean and Green Diet: primarily plant based, limited red meat and dairy, rich in phytochemicals from foods like tea, soy and vegetables, and healthy oils like canola.

While regular calorie restriction may be the best way to stay young, lean and sharp in mind as you age, the immediate savings to your carbon footprint are an added bonus. Hara Hachi Bu fits perfectly with the “Take Less, Want Less” approach that is the hallmark of a Lean and Green Lifestyle. So take home that extra heaping of food from the restaurant rather than forcing it in. Heap a bit less food onto your family plates at dinnertime (this also helps kids learn to self regulate their intake better). Skip the mall snack and remind yourself that you’re about to eat when you get home in 20 minutes. Don’t take that donut at the office meeting “just because it’s there”, and then when you do choose to splurge on your own green treat, slow down and savor it like it deserves to be savored.

Lean in the immediate, greener in the immediate and vibrant in the long term. What’s not to love about that?