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Healthy Eating
June 26, 2024

The impact of balanced meals on your health

9 minutes

Balance is key in creating a meal plan that you love. Explore how you can take steps toward balance in your nutrition plan.

Eating a balanced diet can help you feel your best, but it can be tough to meet your body's needs on a day-to-day basis if you're not sure exactly what a balanced meal looks like. If you're confused as to what exactly you're supposed to eat to feel your best, we get it. There's a ton of conflicting information out there on healthy eating, and it can be overwhelming to try to figure out what works for your body.

Balanced nutrition isn't about dietary perfection—it's about eating the foods that give your body the energy and nutrients that it needs to thrive. Here, we'll explore why it's so important to fuel your body with balanced nutrition, simple additions you can use to boost the nutritional value of your meals throughout the day, and how you can leverage technology to make it easier to enjoy balanced meals.

The importance of balanced nutrition for health and well-being

Balanced nutrition means eating the right foods in the right portions. Eating a balanced diet means that your body and mind are getting the foods they need to function at optimal levels.

Let's take a look at why balanced eating is so important for your health.

Physical health

A high-end vehicle needs high-end fuel, and your body is no different. When you eat a balanced diet, your immune system has everything it needs to do its job, which can strengthen your defenses against germs and other pathogens (while also helping your body heal quickly in the event that you do get sick). Balanced nutrition also supports healthy energy levels, and can help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.

Mental health

Your brain craves balanced nutrition just as much as your body. Regularly enjoying balanced meals supports your cognitive function and mood regulation. When you're providing your body and brain with all the nutrients necessary to thrive, you may find that you experience fewer cravings, as your brain is no longer informing your body that you're low on nutrients.


As we mentioned, eating a balanced diet works to strengthen your immune system, which can lead to a longer, healthier lifespan. Many people who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease (such as heart disease or diabetes) find that they're able to control and/or alleviate their conditions by changing their nutrition. In addition to aiding in the management of chronic disease, some balanced nutrition plans have been shown to lower the risk of developing certain cancers.

Nutrient-rich foods to include in balanced meals

We've covered why balanced nutrition is so important—now, let's dig into how to implement balanced nutrition best practices into your day-to-day life.

One of the easiest ways to start balancing your meals is by simply adding nutrient-dense, natural foods into your diet so that you can get an idea of what makes you feel your best. If you're just getting started with learning more about how your nutrition affects your body, it can be helpful to keep a food journal. Noticing how your mood and physical health correlate with certain foods can give you an idea of what should be included in your personal balanced nutrition plan.

Some of the foods that offer health benefits and fit well into a balanced diet include:

  • Fruits and veggies. Eating the rainbow—meaning, varying the colors of fruits and vegetables in your diet—is a great way to add low-calorie, high-nutrient foods to your routine. According to the American Cancer Society, the fruits and veggies that have the most color tend to be the most nutrient-packed. Try adding raspberries, blueberries, bell peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, eggplant, baby carrots, and other brightly-colored produce items to your diet—bonus points if you work them into your breakfast for a fresh start to the day.
  • Fiber-rich foods. Getting plenty of fiber in your diet doesn't just reduce your risk of colon cancer. Adopting a high-fiber diet (with plenty of foods like beans, lentils, berries, nuts, and apples) can help you feel satiated for longer than other foods due to their ability to help your body release acetate, a molecule that lets our brains know when we've had enough to eat.
  • Lean protein. Adding lean protein to your diet can help to lower your blood pressure, boost the good cholesterol in your body, and support muscle recovery after a great workout. You've got tons of options when it comes to choosing the lean proteins that work best for you. Turkey breast, chicken breast, salmon, tuna, tilapia, lean beef, Greek yogurt, eggs, tofu, quinoa, legumes (like beans and lentils), almonds, and pumpkin seeds can all help you get the protein your body needs.

The impact of balanced meals on energy levels and productivity

If you've ever felt the urge to put your head down on your desk and take a nap after an all-too-heavy workday lunch, you know that it's possible for food to zap your energy. When you balance your diet, however, you're much more likely to experience an energy boost instead of a 3 pm slump.

When you eat the right foods for your needs, your body gets exactly what it requires to function. Many people find that when they cut out excess calories and foods that offer little in the way of nutrients, their energy levels begin to rise.

Strategies for building balanced meals that suit individual preferences and dietary needs

If you've ever had the thought, "If only someone would tell me exactly how to eat... then, I'd have more energy," you're not alone. That being said, with the wealth of information we have at our fingertips today, it's rarely a lack of knowledge that stops us from eating the way that we want. Instead, it's struggles with busy lifestyles, seeing convenience foods everywhere we turn, and enjoying hyper-palatable foods that can get us off track.

Finding simple strategies that work for you can go a long way in creating a plan that you'll be able to stick to long-term. Check out these strategies that you can implement today to help you begin developing a balanced nutritional plan:

  • Start small. There's no need to perform a complete lifestyle overhaul overnight in order to begin the process of building balanced meals. Starting by planning and shopping for four healthy dinners over the coming week can be a great way to dive in without feeling like every minute is controlled by your new eating plan. Pay attention to how you feel as you begin the process of implementing changes, so you can begin to understand what works for your body.
  • Prep ahead of time. If you're down to prep a full week of meals at once, more power to you! If you're just getting started with eating a more balanced diet, you might find that it's more helpful to simply prepare grab-and-go foods so that you're not tempted to eat something that throws you off of your plan the moment that hunger strikes. Cutting fruits and vegetables ahead of time can make it much easier to reach for them when hunger strikes. Cooking a double portion of a healthy dinner—and storing the other portion in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch—can also help balanced eating feel less daunting.
  • Watch the sugar. While it may be tempting to chow down on sugar when you're in the need of a dopamine boost, doing so can wreck your energy levels. When you're eating to boost your energy, look for a snack that offers protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as close to its natural form as possible.
  • Consider checking portions. No, you certainly don't have to measure every ounce of food that you eat, but it can be helpful to understand portion sizes. Pay attention to how you feel as you adjust your portion sizes. When in doubt, increase your produce and protein portions, and decrease fats and sugars.

Understanding macronutrients and micronutrients and their role in overall health

Macronutrients are the building blocks of food that provide us with the energy we need to survive. Commonly referred to as macros, macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.


Contrary to what you may have heard, carbs are not evil! Carbohydrates give us the energy we need to fuel cellular activity. Sources of carbohydrates include dairy products, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.


While you need carbs for energy, you need protein to feel your best. Protein supports the maintenance and repair of your body's tissue, and works to bolster the body's immune and endocrine (hormone) systems.


A highly concentrated source of energy, fats support cell growth, protect your organs, and help the body absorb certain micronutrients. Not all fats are created equal, however, and it's best to stick to healthy fat options to give your body the fuel it needs. Olive oil, fish, nuts, and seeds all provide the healthy fats that your body craves.


These vitamins and minerals are essential for a healthy body, but they're effective in far smaller amounts than macronutrients.

Vitamins like A, C, B, E, and K all support your body's production of energy and support a healthy immune system. Minerals like iron, copper, sodium, calcium, and cobalt all work to protect your bones, keep the fluids in your body balanced, and maintain a healthy metabolism.

Practical tips for tracking dietary intake and monitoring nutritional balance

In order to know where you're going, you've got to know where you're starting, and tracking your current food intake can help. This isn't a time to judge yourself, rather, it's a time to develop a starting point and figure out how you can change your nutrition to help you feel your best.

Try these tips to help you track and adjust your nutritional habits:

  • Track, track, track! We can't say it enough—simply having an idea of what you're eating and where you could make changes is often all that it takes to create a shift in mindset and lifestyle. Using an app like MyFitnessPal can provide you with the insights you need to understand how different foods affect your physical and mental well-being.
  • Don't procrastinate. Entering your food into your tracker immediately can improve your accuracy and help you get a better picture of your nutrition.
  • Remember, drinks count. Solid food isn't your only source of nourishment. Adding drinks (including coffee, tea, and alcohol) to your daily tracker log can help you get a clear picture of how your choices are affecting your health.
  • Get a buddy. If you're ready to take on the challenge of revamping your dietary habits and working toward balance, pairing up with a friend who wants to do the same can help you to stay accountable.

Leveraging Evidation's health app to get insights and optimize balanced nutrition

Creating balanced meals supports countless aspects of your overall well-being, and it's well worth the effort it takes to ensure that you're fueling your body with everything it needs. At Evidation, we're here to support you on every step of your health journey. We utilize the data you share with us from your nutrition tracking apps to provide personalized insights and recommendations for improving your dietary habits, balancing your meals, and ensuring that you're taking smart steps toward your health and wellness goals. Click here to learn more about the app and get started.

Healthy Eating
June 21, 2024

11 easy recipes for eating well and enhancing your daily routine

5 minutes

Eating balanced and nutritious meals plays an essential role in maintaining optimal health and productivity. For eating well, recipes with high nutritional value are best.

Eating balanced and nutritious meals plays an essential role in maintaining optimal health and productivity. Healthy, well-balanced meals fuel the mind and body, and having a collection of recipes for eating well on hand will give you an edge when you create your weekly meal plan and head to the supermarket. The easy recipes and meal ideas we share below are sure to revolutionize your daily routines and meal planning.

Quick and nutritious breakfast ideas

1. Overnight oats with fruit and nuts

Overnight oats are an excellent breakfast option because there's no morning prep time. When you make overnight oats with basic pantry ingredients, this nutritious meal is also budget-friendly.

Best of all, oats are loaded with beta-glucan fiber, which may reduce heart disease risk and lower cholesterol levels. Adding some fruit or berries provides even more nutrition, while a handful of nuts on top of your cooked oatmeal gives your morning a nice protein boost.

Try this recipe.

2. Greek yogurt parfait with granola and berries

When you eat Greek yogurt for breakfast, you're giving yourself protein to get your day off to the best start. Additionally, yogurt is a calcium-rich food, and calcium is important for promoting bone health. Greek yogurt is also rich in riboflavin, vitamin A, B vitamins, and selenium.

Greek yogurt parfaits can be prepared in advance if you compile them in individual jars and stash them in the fridge. Adding granola gives you protein and fiber, both of which can make you feel fuller as you tackle your day. Also, studies suggest eating antioxidant-rich berries regularly may improve insulin levels and blood sugar.

Try this recipe.

Simple lunch recipes for busy days

3. Quinoa salad with veggies and vinaigrette

Most people know that a diet high in vegetables has many benefits. Vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, along with lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of digestive problems and eye disease, positively impacting blood sugar, and even preventing some types of cancer.

This healthy lunch loaded with veggies is even more nutritious when you add nutrient-dense quinoa. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamin B6, and many minerals.

Try this recipe.

4. Veggie wrap with hummus and mixed greens

Hummus is a power spread and dip in Middle Eastern cuisine. However, this filling dip has gained widespread appeal as a healthy meal component and snack around the world. While hummus is tasty, it's also a versatile food packed with nutrients such as folate and iron. Additionally, hummus offers several health benefits.

For a quick and easy lunch, spread a veggie wrap with your favorite hummus. Then, top it off with nutritious mixed greens.

Try this recipe.

Flavorful dinner options for healthier evenings

5. Stir-fried tofu with mixed vegetables and brown rice

Tofu is a nutrient-dense protein and a favorite among many people who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet. However, tofu is also a nice option for meat eaters who want to enjoy a meatless Monday or just add more plant-based foods to their diet.

A stir-fry is easy to prepare, and pairing tofu with veggies and brown rice allows you to get a full meal on the table quickly. Choosing brown rice over white rice is another sound choice. Brown rice is a whole grain, so it's an excellent source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), folate, calcium, and potassium.

Try this recipe.

6. Grilled chicken with quinoa and steamed broccoli

Food cooked on a grill almost always feels like a celebration, but it doesn't have to be high in fat and calories to be delicious. Grilled chicken is a rich source of protein, which helps build and repair tissues while ensuring you maintain muscle mass.

Quinoa is a fiber-rich food that also has protein. Add broccoli to this delicious meal and it's well-balanced with plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds.

Try this recipe.

7. Chicken and vegetable stir-fry with rice

Chicken is a go-to meat in many households. It tends to be an affordable meat option, and it works well with all types of vegetables and grains.

A stir-fry made with chicken and vegetables is perfect when served with any type of rice. Consider brown rice for the extra nutritional benefits we mentioned above. Plus, brown rice contains flavonoids and phenols, which are antioxidants that protect our bodies from oxidative stress.

Try this recipe.

Healthy snack ideas to keep you energized throughout the day

8. Apple slices with almond butter

Snacking can make you feel more satisfied throughout the day, and apple slices with almond butter will help you get over that afternoon slump. Apples are loaded with nutrients, and they're also an excellent source of fiber.

Almond butter provides a variety of micronutrients, but most importantly, this creamy nut butter is known for being high in vitamin E.

Try this recipe.

9. Trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits

Trail mix is hugely portable, with ingredients that are largely shelf-stable. While trail mix is loaded with nuts, you can also make trail mix with seeds and a variety of dried fruits.

The nuts and seeds in trail mix have a lot of protein, an essential nutrient for tissue repair, muscle growth, and immune health. Dried fruit adds flavor and sweetness, along with its own nutrients.

Try this recipe.

Plant-based recipes for a meatless meal rotation

10. Lentil soup with crusty whole-grain bread

Lentils are an excellent low-calorie source of fiber and plant-based protein. In the wintertime (or any time!), a bowl of soup is a comforting dinner choice. Lentil soup is a delicious option for an easy plant-based meal.

You can cook lentil soup in your slow cooker and dinner is ready when you get home after a busy day. Alternatively, for a quick and easy supper, cook lentil soup in your pressure cooker.

Try this recipe.

11. Vegetable stir-fry with tofu and noodles

In addition to being a protein-rich food, tofu also has other health benefits. For example, a 2023 systematic review of almost 50 studies found that people who eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and soy products are at reduced risk of breast cancer and other cancers.

Nutrient-dense vegetables such as broccoli and carrots add some crunch to a tasty stir-fry. For noodles, you can choose soba noodles made with buckwheat flour or Japanese udon noodles for a whole wheat option.

Try this recipe.

Your health goals and Evidation

Recipes for eating well give you a great start to living a healthy lifestyle. Long-term maintenance of a well-balanced diet adds value to your overall health and well-being. You can take these healthy recipes to another level by experimenting to find alternatives that work for you. Consider also including friends and family by sharing these recipes to foster a sense of community.

Pairing the Evidation app with other apps allows you to track your food intake. Also, with the Evidation app, you can earn points and rewards for your other healthy habits, including tracking mood, sleep, and activities. Download the Evidation app today to begin your journey to healthier living.

Healthy Eating
June 12, 2024

Weight loss diet plan for men: 5 easy-to-prepare recipes

5 minutes

The key to making sure you have nutritious meals for a weight loss diet plan for men is having access to easy recipes.

When it comes to a weight loss diet plan for men, there are no quick-and-easy solutions. Sustainable weight loss takes time and planning, which can be a challenge for people with busy schedules. The key to making sure you have nutritious meals that promote a weight loss journey is having access to easy recipes and information.

Below, we share five delicious recipes that are low in fat and calories but loaded with flavor. Additionally, technology can factor into your weight loss and healthy eating plan. With Evidation's app, you can track your healthy activities and gain access to helpful articles and even more recipes. Let's dive in and learn more about a healthy diet plan for weight loss.

Understanding the basics of weight loss and nutrition

Is there a secret to losing weight? Not really. However, the short answer is this: If we want to lose weight, we need to create a caloric deficit. Essentially, this means if you burn more calories than you ingest, you'll probably lose weight. Nutrition and weight loss involve a combination of a balanced eating plan, regular physical activity, and lifestyle modifications if needed.

Benefits of following a structured diet plan for weight loss

Many of us find ourselves eating on the run. This can often mean grabbing a high-calorie protein shake if we don't have time to prepare a healthy breakfast. Or worse, passing through a drive-through for calorie-laden breakfast meals.

When you plan well, it's easier to stick to your healthy eating plan to lose weight. Planning your meals a week (or even just a few days) in advance will help you ensure you're ready to tackle your busy days and still lose weight.

Nutritional requirements for weight loss goals

An effective weight loss plan has plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. In fact, studies show that increasing vegetable and fruit intake can reduce waist circumference, lower overall body fat percentage, and even lower body mass index (BMI).

Increased protein may promote healthy weight loss as well, and protein is an important macronutrient for making you feel fuller. Equally important, diets high in protein may help preserve muscle mass during the process of losing weight.

Whole-grain foods may help lower cholesterol, along with lowering the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Making simple substitutions can make a big difference in a diet plan for weight loss. For example, choosing brown rice over white rice is a great option because brown rice is higher in fiber. Adding beneficial fiber to a weight loss diet plan for men plays an important role in elimination, but high-fiber foods also make you feel fuller, which may help aid in your weight loss.

How can technology play a part in a Weight Loss Diet Plan for Men?

Using an app such as Evidation can provide significant support in your weight loss journey. Evidation can help you track your sleep and physical activity, and these metrics are useful for identifying patterns and potential improvement areas.

Additionally, Evidation can give you personalized insights with daily check-ins. Exercise and movement play an important role in weight loss. With Evidation, you can monitor your daily step count and total active minutes for the week. If you're motivated by rewards (and most of us are!), Evidation has rewards for completing health-related activities.

Easy Recipes for a Men's Diet Plan for Weight Loss

If following a diet for weight loss is one of your goals, you won't go wrong including any of these delicious recipes.

1. Chicken and vegetable stir-fried rice

Servings: 2

Calories per serving: 728


  • 2 chicken breast without skin or bones, cut into half-inch pieces
  • 2 cups  prepared rice (brown rice is even better)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 teaspoons olive or sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk 1 teaspoon of oil with the egg in a small bowl.
  2. Season the chicken bites with salt and pepper.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to a large wok or skillet over high heat.
  4. Add the chicken to the skillet and stir fry until the meat is done. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
  5. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and stir-fry the frozen veggies for about two minutes, just until they're tender.
  6. Add the garlic and stir for no more than 30 seconds.
  7. Push the stir-fried veggies to the side of the pan or wok.
  8. Pour the egg mixture into the center of the pan and scramble the egg.
  9. Stir in the butter until it's melted.
  10. Add the rice and cooked chicken to the pan, tossing to combine.
  11. Serve with soy sauce or tamari if desired.

2. Broccoli feta omelet

Servings: 1

Calories per serving: 396


  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ Tablespoon cooking spray


  1. Coat an omelet pan or nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped broccoli to the pan, sauteeing for 3 minutes.
  3. Combine the feta cheese and eggs in a bowl and whisk.
  4. Add the eggs and cheese mixture to the pan, stirring it in with the broccoli.
  5. Cook the omelet for 3-4 minutes on one side, then fold it in half with a spatula.
  6. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

3. Quick berry oatmeal

Servings: 1

Calories per serving: 195


  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1 Tablespoon nuts, finely chopped (optional)


  1. Place all ingredients except the nuts in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Cook for up to 2 minutes until the oatmeal is hot, stirring halfway through cooking time.
  3. When the oatmeal is finished, top it with chopped nuts if desired.

4. One pan chicken dinner

Servings: 2

Calories per serving: 447


  • 2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 1 bunch asparagus with tough ends removed
  • 12 miniature potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • Seasoning blend spice mix
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil spray


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray a sheet pan with olive oil spray.
  3. Arrange the potatoes, chicken breasts, and asparagus on a sheet pan.
  4. Spray the chicken and veggies with olive oil spray.
  5. Generously season the chicken breasts with the seasoning blend.
  6. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake until the chicken is fully cooked and the potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes.

5. Poached egg and avocado toast

Servings: 1

Calories per serving: 380


  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices thick whole-grain bread
  • 1/3 avocado
  • Salt and black pepper


  1. Poach the eggs using your desired method.
  2. Toast the bread and mash the avocado atop the toast.
  3. Top the avocado with a poached egg.
  4. Season with salt and black pepper


The foundation of a successful weight loss diet plan for men begins with creating healthy recipes during National Men's Health Month and throughout the year. The five recipes we feature here are simple but delicious, giving you nutritious meal options for every meal of the day. When you incorporate these recipes into meal plans, you'll be well on your way to a healthier diet and overall improved well-being. Download the Evidation app to learn more about making informed dietary choices.

Healthy Eating
June 5, 2024

Low-calorie snacks for weight loss: how to easily incorporate them into your routine

5 minutes

It's essential to integrate low-calorie snacks into a nutritious eating plan and a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy meals are the foundation of a healthy eating plan, but adding healthy snacks to your daily food intake can give you the fuel you need to feel healthier overall and manage healthy weight loss. In fact, one-third of a person's daily energy intake is derived from snacks.

What is a good low-calorie snack? A visit to any supermarket or convenience store can be a dizzying experience when you're shopping for snacks to power you through a busy morning or sustain you during a hectic afternoon. Snacks loaded with salty and sugary foods line the shelves, with only a few healthy options hidden between the tempting treats.

The key to ensuring you've got healthy snacks on hand when you need them is careful planning. Let's dive in and explore some ideas for easy, healthy snacks that can complement your weight-loss grocery list.

Understanding the role of snacks in weight loss

Research has established that snacking can play an important role in weight-loss planning. When you snack on nutrient-dense foods high in protein and fiber, you're likely to feel more satisfied and fuller.

In terms of satiety, high-protein snacks give a more positive energy balance, especially when compared with snack-free stretches of time. Equally important, one study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that high-fiber snacks may help curb your appetite, which aids in weight control. Additionally, a separate study published in the same journal found that average-weight people snack more often than overweight people.

Benefits of incorporating low-calorie snacks into your diet

Snacking on nutritious foods offers these benefits and more:

  • Snacking can add more nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits to your diet if you don't add enough of these to your meals.
  • Foods high in protein and fiber can give you a quick energy boost between meals.
  • Snacking may boost your brain power. Focus-boosting snacks such as a small amount of dark chocolate or a handful of blueberries may help you stay alert when you're working on a task that requires your full concentration.
  • Smaller amounts of food can help you maintain adequate nutrition if you're experiencing a poor appetite or can't eat full meals because of an illness.

Characteristics of ideal low-calorie snacks

In short, a snack is loosely defined as a smaller portion of food eaten between meals. However, when looking for healthy snacks, try to keep nutrition density in mind instead of volume.

A small candy bar may seem like a smaller portion. However, you can enjoy a whole bowl of popcorn that will add tasty fiber-rich food to your meal plan and make you feel fuller for a fraction of the calories of that tiny candy bar. In other words, a low-calorie, high-volume snack is much more satisfying than a small sugary snack.

Practical tips for selecting and preparing low-calorie snacks

When not chosen carefully, snacks can quickly rack up the calories in your daily food intake. Some studies suggest that many snacks tend to be lower in nutrients and higher in calories than meals. Excess calories at snack time may help some people eat smaller meals. However, one small study found that young men still eat the same amount of food at dinner, even if they've enjoyed a healthy snack in the afternoon.

The answer to this dilemma is finding snacks low in calories and eating them at the right time. Here are some more tips:

  • Plan your snacks to stay on track. Sticking to a schedule will help you incorporate snacking into your healthy eating plan.
  • Try to eat a meal or healthy snack every three or four hours. Blood sugar levels begin to drop about four hours after your last meal.
  • Opt for whole foods instead of packaged foods. Often, packaged foods are loaded with sugar or extra sodium to add flavor.

Low calorie snack options

What are some low-calorie snacks? Try some of the ones we've listed below.

Chia pudding

When you want something sweet and creamy, reach for a serving of chia seed pudding. The tiny but mighty chia seed packs heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and plenty of beneficial protein. A quarter of chia seeds mixed with one cup of non-dairy milk contains just 340 calories.

Apple and peanut butter

Sweet and salty makes for a great combination when snacking. The natural sweetness of fruit won't make your blood sugar spike. Best of all, enjoy your apple slices with peanut butter for an extra boost of protein, which research shows can help you reduce hunger and maintain a healthy body weight. Keep in mind that peanut butter is high in calories, so stick to about two teaspoons of nut butter.

Roasted chickpeas

High in fiber and protein, an ounce of roasted chickpeas packs a whopping six grams of protein, along with five grams of fiber. And you can enjoy all of these benefits with just 120 calories. Studies show snacking on chickpeas may reduce appetite, control blood sugar levels, and reduce caloric intake at meals.


For a high-volume, low-calorie snack, you can't go wrong with popcorn. You can make popcorn using a microwave popcorn popper, or shop for microwavable popcorn packets that are lower in salt with minimal additives. Four cups of air-popped popcorn has only 122 calories.


You can easily pair your favorite vegetables with hummus, a flavorful, creamy spread made with tahini, chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Veggies and hummus can be a satisfying snack or even a light lunch.

Cottage cheese

Some days call for a protein powerhouse, and that's a great time to indulge in some creamy cottage cheese. You can eat your cottage cheese plain or serve it with a side of fruit or berries. Try taking a half cantaloupe with the seeds scooped out. Spoon the cottage cheese into the cantaloupe half for a satisfying treat that feels decadent. Cottage cheese is also great to have in the fridge for a quick and easy high-protein breakfast.


Most nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat in nuts like pistachios is "good fat," or unsaturated fat. While eating 20 pistachios feels indulgent, you'll only consume 80 calories with less than a gram of saturated fat. Pistachios are rich in fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Fermented vegetables

Foods rich in probiotics include kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented carrot sticks. Similarly to yogurt, fermented vegetables may benefit health by strengthening your immune system and improving your digestion.

Low-Calorie Snacks for Healthy Weight Loss

It's essential to integrate low-calorie snacks into a nutritious eating plan and a healthy lifestyle. A power breakfast gives you the best start to a productive day, and snacking on healthy foods can satisfy you between meals. With the Evidation app, you can track your healthy habits and learn more about living your best life. Download the app today to get started.

Healthy Eating
May 29, 2024

15 best fruits for weight loss: how to incorporate them into your recipes

10 minutes

Fruits are delicious and refreshing, but there's so much more to them than that. For a weight loss diet, fruits are the perfect treat.

Fruits are delicious and refreshing, but there's so much more to them than that. For a weight loss diet, fruits are the perfect treat. They're low in calories but rich in fiber, both of which may help with weight loss.

Besides being low in calories and high-fiber foods, some fruits also make you feel fuller. When you feel full and satisfied, you might be less inclined to overeat later in the day. What are the best fruits for weight loss? Let's dive in and find out.

The role of fruits in weight loss

Fruit has an important link to lower body weight. Also, fruits such as apples and grapefruit have compounds that may reduce body fat in overweight individuals.

Foods rich in fiber, including berries and kiwi, can support your weight loss journey by adding fiber to your diet. A diet rich in fiber can result in you feeling fuller for longer and decreasing your appetite. Equally important, replacing high-calorie desserts or snacks with fruit reduces your total calorie intake for the day.

Nutritional benefits of fruits for weight management

While fruit is an important part of a weight loss plan, the fact is fruit provides tons of nutrition. Eating whole fruit is your best option, but healthy fruit smoothies for weight loss are also a way to get more fruit into your diet.

Many fruits are high in vitamin C, while other fruits provide fiber, protein, and other nutrients. Lots of fruits also have antioxidants that help with inflammation and support your overall health.

Strategies for incorporating fruits into daily meals and snacks

Fruit is famously used for salads, but adding fruit to your favorite hot and cold cereals is also a delicious and healthy option. If you don't like a big breakfast, consider making a fruit smoothie. Smoothies are light while also giving you a head start for a productive day and a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy fruits for weight loss aren't limited to breakfast and snacks. Many fruits are also ideal for side dishes at dinner. For example, baked apple works well with lean pork dishes, and berries add an antioxidant boost to a hearty chicken salad.

Best fruits for weight loss and their specific health benefits

Below, we share all of the benefits and recipe ideas for some of the best fruits to eat for weight loss. Add any of these to your grocery list to have easy and quick access to them.

1. Avocado

Whether you add decadent avocado slices as a side dish to a meal or prefer your avocado mashed up into creamy guacamole, this powerhouse food is a treat that's hard to resist. Avocados have more calories than most fruits, so it's important to practice portion control when enjoying them. However, this calorie-dense fruit will increase your feeling of fullness, decrease your appetite, all while improving cholesterol levels.

One clinical trial found that people who are overweight or obese have significant weight loss when they include an avocado in their diet every day.

How to integrate avocado into your meals

Avocados serve as a satisfying addition to a healthy weight loss plan because they feel indulgent. In addition to guacamole, you can serve avocado sliced as a side dish, blend them into protein-rich smoothies, or dice them to top salads or tortilla soup. If you're doing a fruit diet for weight loss, avocados add a lot of protein to your eating plan.

2. Blueberries

At 85 calories for one cup, blueberries are one of the fruits lowest in calories. For weight management, a clinical study assessed 133,000 women and men who ate 16 of the most common fruits, including blueberries. Over a period of 24 years, the participants who ate a lot of blueberries experienced less weight gain than those who ate other types of fruit.

The anthocyanin antioxidants in blueberries also support healthy weight management, and they've been associated with less midsection fat and lower fat mass.

How to integrate blueberries into your meals

Adding blueberries to a hot breakfast cereal such as oatmeal is a wonderful treat. Blueberries are also delicious in cold cereals. For an occasional dessert, whip up a batch of blueberry muffins. Add blueberries to a salad for a sweet addition.

3. Cherries

Cherries play an interesting role in weight management. Eating both tart and sweet cherries has been shown to improve the amount of sleep people get and their sleep quality. Within just three days of eating 25 cherries a day, people in a study slept better.

Why is quality sleep important in weight loss? Research indicates people with a healthy sleep practice have a lower body mass index and are less inclined to develop obesity.

How to integrate cherries into your meals

It's hard to resist a cherry cobbler, but be sure to find one that's lower in calories and uses healthy low-calorie sweeteners. You can also use cherries to make a sparkling summer drink made with seltzer and served with mint sprigs. Or opt for a frozen cherry slushie. Cherry popsicles are a great way to get more cherries into your diet.

4. Grapefruit

A cross between an orange and a pomelo, grapefruit has a long reputation for being beneficial in weight loss. One grapefruit half has just 37 calories while providing 51% of your Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C. Varieties of red grapefruit also have some vitamin A.

Equally important, the antioxidant-rich grapefruit slowly releases sugar into your bloodstream because it has a low glycemic index (GI), which can make you feel fuller for longer. Low GI foods have the added benefit of serving as an intervention in diabetes and heart disease. Also, the naringenin in grapefruit may help with inflammation.

How to integrate grapefruit into your meals

Like all fruits, you can enjoy grapefruit raw as a satisfying breakfast food or afternoon snack. Grapefruit is also a popular breakfast smoothie ingredient. Another way to enjoy grapefruit is in salads.

5. Kiwi

Nutrient-dense kiwi fruits are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, and folate. Kiwi can help with controlling blood sugar, improving cholesterol, helping with constipation, and supporting gut health. All of these have weight loss benefits. Kiwi has even been shown to help reduce waist circumference.

Because of kiwi's low glycemic index, the sugar in these tasty berries is released more slowly. This means you'll experience a smaller spike in blood sugar.

How to integrate kiwi into your meals

Add kiwi to your cereal to reduce glycemic response. Or enjoy kiwi raw for an afternoon treat. Another way to enjoy kiwi is in salads or baked goods.

6. Lemon

Most of us know lemons are a rich vitamin C source, but this tart fruit also has numerous other benefits. A whole lemon has less than 20 calories and adds loads of flavor to tea, water, or healthy fruit smoothies for weight loss.

One study observed the impact of lemon juice for 100 women who were trying to lose weight. The women added lemon juice to their diets and experienced a reduction in body mass index and weight. Also, the women measured their upper arms, hips, and waists and noted significant loss of inches in these areas.

How to integrate lemon into your meals

Lemon is commonly juiced and used for beverages. Lemonade is a refreshing and hydrating summer drink, and it's great for weight loss if prepared with a healthy sugar alternative. Lemon slices can also grace grilled or baked fish to add a burst of flavor. Squeeze lemon juice over seafood for a tangy pop of flavor.

7. Mango

A juicy, sweet mango has an indulgent feel, but research has backed this fruit's weight loss benefits. A seven-year study found that adult males who added mango to their diet experienced lower body weights, reduced body mass index scores, and lower waist measurements.

How to integrate mangoes into your meals

Creamy mango is the perfect fruit for freezing into fruit popsicles because mangoes freeze very well. You can also make mango salsa to serve with main dish meals and meats. Grill mangoes for a sweet side dish.

8. Oranges

Orange juice is one of the most popular fruit juices and also perhaps the best fruit juice for weight loss (along with grapefruit juice). Be sure to read the ingredients list on the bottles. Many commercial orange juices have lots of sugar. Also important, this fruit is famous for providing loads of vitamin C. However, studies have shown that when you eat the whole fruit instead of juicing oranges, you may be less hungry and feel fuller for longer.

How to integrate oranges into your meals

In addition to eating orange slices, you can also add oranges to a dessert or salad. Blend oranges into a smoothie for a refreshing breakfast or afternoon treat.

9. Papaya

A sweet tropical fruit with orange flesh, papaya is rich in vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin A. The papain enzymes in papaya aid in digestion. Because they're a hydrating and filling snack, papayas can be a solid addition to your weight loss plan. This is a sweet fruit with a lower glycemic index than most tropical fruits. The B vitamins in papaya boost metabolism, which helps burn more calories.

How to integrate papaya into your meals

Some of the best fruit smoothies for weight loss have creamy papaya as a main ingredient. Diced papaya also adds a sweet touch to a salad. Papaya makes a delicious summer fruit relish.

10. Pears

Pears have natural compounds that have been shown to curb inflammation and reduce blood sugar levels, making them an excellent source for managing and losing weight. In a study of 40 women and men with metabolic syndrome between the ages of 45 and 65, participants ate two fresh pears or drank pear juice with the same number of calories as fresh pears per day for 12 weeks. This change to their diets resulted in reduced waist-to-hip ratios.

How to integrate pears into your meals

A baked pear is an excellent side dish when served with meat. Diced pears add a nice crunch to a green salad, and a pear sauce can be added to your favorite meats.

11. Pineapple

A sweet tropical fruit, pineapple gives you a sweet treat that's low in calories. One cup of pineapple has about 82 calories and boasts a whopping 131% of a person's daily recommended vitamin C intake. Pineapple helps with weight loss by giving you a sweet treat without the calories of sugary snacks.

How to integrate pineapple into your meals

Pineapple slices are a great way to enjoy this delicious tropical fruit, and you can also add pineapple to yogurt or cereal. Pineapple is also an essential ingredient in main dishes such as teriyaki chicken.

12. Raspberries

A cup of raspberries provides 36% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C, 12% of vitamin K, and manganese. Add to this the fact that raspberries have just 64 calories per cup, and you've got a power food.

Because they're higher in beneficial fiber and lower in sugar than many other fruits, raspberries are an excellent addition to a healthy weight loss plan. In adults, raspberries regulate blood sugar levels after meals. This is especially true for overweight people or individuals living with insulin resistance or prediabetes.

How to integrate raspberries into your meals

You can add raspberries to protein bars or fiber bars when you want to have some quick breakfast bars on hand. Raspberries are especially delicious in baked goods for when you want a sweet treat. Like all berries, raspberries work well as a salad topper.

13. Strawberries

With just 50 calories per cup, strawberries are an excellent addition to a healthy weight loss plan. A cup of strawberries packs 99% of the vitamin C you need every day, along with 26% of the daily recommended amount of manganese. The dietary fiber in strawberries is also good for digestion.

People trying to lose weight may also find that most types of berries lower obesity-related inflammation, which can also help with weight loss.

How to integrate strawberries into your meals

Eat strawberries whole for a tasty treat, or add strawberry slices to your favorite salad at lunchtime. Strawberries are also great for adding to cold cereal, oatmeal, or a breakfast smoothie. Or serve strawberries as a nutritious dessert with some fruit dip.

14. Watermelon

For the ultimate fruit for hydration, there are few better summertime treats than watermelon. Watermelon is comprised of lots of water, and this can support weight loss. Keep in mind that watermelon has a higher glycemic index than most fruits, so use portion control when eating watermelon for weight loss.

How to integrate watermelon into your meals

Melons are at their most delicious when you indulge in a slice right after cutting it. You can also use watermelon balls or cubes to add some liveliness to your favorite fruit salad. For even more hydration, blend watermelon into smoothies or freeze it to make summer fruit popsicles.

15. Apples

Apples have a high fiber content, and they're low in calories. Research shows people with varied weights and body mass index (BMI) can prevent visceral fat accumulation because of the polyphenols in apples. Additionally, apple peels are rich in nutrition, containing beneficial compounds and antioxidants that may reduce obesity risk.

When it comes to weight loss, apples can be your best friend. According to research, eating whole apples reduces appetite and increases satiety.

How to integrate apples into your meals

In addition to munching on raw apples, pair apple slices with nut butters for a quick and easy protein-rich snack. Apples are also delicious when added to oatmeal, yogurt, and salads. For a side dish, add chunks of apples to stews or bake whole apples.


On your weight loss journey, enjoying treats such as fruits can be key to healthy weight loss. In addition to being good for you, fruit is also versatile and accessible, giving you a natural fast food that's nutrient-dense. Best of all, you can experiment with a wide variety of fruits and recipes to find what works best for your preferences. Evidation is here to serve as another tool for living your best life. Download the Evidation app today to learn more about healthy eating, get tips for being more active, and track your healthy habits.

Healthy Eating
May 22, 2024

10 delicious summer meal ideas to stay healthy and fresh

9 minutes

Healthy summer meal ideas including citrus grilled salmon, watermelon and feta salad, and more.

The warm breezes of summer are just around the corner, and it's time to update your roster of healthy summer meal ideas! Choosing produce-heavy meals reaps myriad benefits in the summer. With fruits and veggies at peak freshness, there's no better time to enjoy all that nature has to offer when it comes to produce. In addition to high levels of nutrients, summer fruits and veggies are often high in water, which can make it easier to stay hydrated in high temperatures.

Here, we'll take a look at healthy, fresh meal ideas that will keep you enjoying all that summer has to offer.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables

This veggie-packed summer salad recipe from Cookie and Kate is a perfect way to load up on nutrients and flavor without spending hours in the kitchen.

You'll need:

  • ⅓ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (or 1 cup cooked quinoa)
  • 1 small eggplant (about ¾ pound), diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small yellow squash (or another zucchini), diced
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste (about 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ cup halved grape tomatoes (quarter any larger tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • For garnish: crumbled feta, optional


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Divide the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash between the two baking sheets. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss. Add a little more if necessary; you want enough to lightly coat the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until the veggies are softened and beginning to brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. Set the roasted vegetables aside to cool.

3. To cook the quinoa, combine the uncooked quinoa with ⅔ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let the quinoa steam with the lid on for 5 minutes. Remove lid, fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside.

4. To toast the pine nuts, cook them in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they turn lightly golden and fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Citrus-marinated grilled chicken

In this recipe from Epicurious, the flavors of garlic, shallots, and fresh lemon and lime juice meld to create a brightly flavored, protein-packed dinner.

You'll need:

  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1½ lb.)


1. Whisk 2 large shallots, finely chopped, 4 garlic cloves, finely grated, ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil, ¼ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, 1 tsp. sugar, and ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper in a medium bowl to combine. Set ⅓ cup marinade aside.

2. Arrange 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1½ lb.) in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour remaining marinade over chicken and turn to coat. Cover dish and chill, turning chicken halfway through, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

3. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grate. Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip back into dish; discard marinade in dish. Grill chicken, turning halfway through, until cooked through and blackened grill marks appear, 10–14 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5–10 minutes before slicing.

4. Serve chicken with reserved marinade spooned over.

Creamy Chilled Cucumber Avocado Soup

Craving the comfort of soup, but struggling to enjoy anything warm when the temperature keeps creeping up? This soup recipe from It's a Veg World After All will cool you off and fill you up with healthy monounsaturated fats.

You'll need:

  • 1 large cucumber peeled and chopped into a few pieces
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 jalapeno trimmed and deseeded
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro use ¼ cup for more flavor
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pineapple for serving
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber for serving


1. Combine the cucumber, avocado flesh, jalapeno, lemon juice, cilantro, salt, and ½ cup water in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding more water as needed. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.

2. Chill the soup for at least an hour (preferably 2 or more) in the fridge before serving. Serve with chopped pineapple and cucumber.

Watermelon, feta, and mint salad

The combination of watermelon and feta can be surprising, but trust us – you'll want to give it a try. This recipe from Serious Eats combines perfectly ripe summer watermelon with the saltiness of crumbled feta and the brightness of mint to keep you coming back for more.

You'll need:

  • 3 pounds seedless watermelon (about 1 small or 1/4 large), rind removed, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 pounds/1 kg chunks after rind is discarded)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) juice from 1 lemon, plus 4 (2-inch) strips zest, removed with a sharp vegetable peeler
  • 1/4 cup (10g) roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Up to 4 ounces (1 quart) arugula leaves (optional; see notes)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces (110g) feta cheese (see notes)


1. Place watermelon chunks in a large bowl. Finely chop lemon zest. Add lemon juice and half of zest to bowl with watermelon. Add mint, oil, and arugula (if using) and toss until watermelon is evenly dressed. Season lightly to taste with salt and pepper. (The cheese will add saltiness, so go light on the salt at this stage.)

2. Transfer salad to a wide, shallow bowl or a large plate and spread out evenly. Crumble feta over the top. Sprinkle with remaining lemon zest. Drizzle with more olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Serve immediately.

Pesto zucchini noodles with cherry tomatoes

Close your eyes while you're enjoying this pasta alternative recipe from Eating European–you just might be able to convince yourself that you're relaxing in your Italian villa while enjoying the sights and sounds of your vineyard.

You'll need:

  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons of store-bought pesto 
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 1 tablespoon shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Using a spiral vegetable cutter create thin ribbons from zucchinis

2. Heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet

3. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute

4. Add pesto

5. Add zucchinis, season with salt, pepper and mix well

6. Cook for 2 minutes

7. Remove from the heat and shave some Parmesan on top. Serve immediately.

Tropical smoothie bowl

With in-season fresh fruit, you'll get a super-charged bowl of nutrients that prepares you to sail through the morning with this recipe from Simple Green Smoothies. For an extra boost, click the link below to get a recipe for homemade protein powder that will help keep you full until lunch.

You’ll need:

  • 1 orange peeled
  • 1 ½ cups strawberries frozen
  • ½ cup mango frozen
  • ¼ cup water optional
  • 1 serving homemade protein powder (optional)

Topping options: 

  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • coconut flakes
  • strawberries
  • kiwi
  • granola


1. Place orange in blender followed by the frozen strawberries and mango.

2. Blend, stopping to scrape down sides, until smooth. Feel free to add water to help it blend, yet you want it to be thick. The texture should be similar to soft serve ice cream.

3. Transfer to a bowl and top with desired toppings.

Mediterranean chickpea salad

This perfectly fresh summer salad from Downshiftology with Lisa Bryan offers savory feta, a punchy lemon vinaigrette, and the crisp crunch of cucumber, bell peppers, and red onions.

You'll need:

For salad:

  • 2 (15-ounce cans) chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 large cucumber diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • ¼ cup red onion diced
  • 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley

For dressing:

  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon honey, or maple syrup
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste


1. Toss all of the salad ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

2. Add dressing ingredients to small bowl, whisk until combined.

2. Pour the lemon vinaigrette over the salad and give it a gentle stir until well combined.

Grilled fish tacos with mango salsa

There's nothing that says summer like grilled fish with a kick of citrus and jalapeno – we're sure that this recipe from Sweet Tea and Thyme will become a regular in your summer dinner rotation.

You'll Need:

For salsa: 

  • 2 cups ripe mango small diced
  • 3 roma tomatoes deseeded and small diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper deseeded and small diced
  • 1 small red onion small diced
  • ½ cup cilantro finely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼-½ teaspoon kosher salt to taste

For spice blend:

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

For tacos: 

  • 3 lean white fish filets like cod, mahi-mahi, snapper, or halibut
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Corn Tortillas for serving


1. Mix together mango salsa ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Set aside. This can be made a day ahead.

2. Mix spice blend ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.

3. Cover the white fish in vegetable oil with a pastry brush, then generously season the filets with the spice blend on all sides.

4. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (you can also do this on a grill pan on the stove top).

5. Use a heat-safe silicone brush to cover the clean grill grates with a high heat oil (more vegetable oil works here) and carefully place the fish onto the grill. Cook on each side for 4 minutes, flipping once. Set aside

6. Warm the tortillas on the grill or a plancha on the grill for 45 seconds on each side, remove to a tortilla warmer or plate and cover the tortillas with a damp paper towel.

7. Let the fish rest for a couple of minutes before gently using a fork to break them apart into big chunks. Pour lime juice over the fish.

8. Serve on the grilled tortillas with mango salsa and other toppings.

Caprese stuffed portobello mushrooms

Mushrooms have been shown to decrease the risk of cancer, protect brain health, and support a healthy immune system – what's not to love? In this recipe from Cafe Delites, you'll enjoy mushrooms infused with rich garlic butter, fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and a decadent balsamic glaze.

You'll need:

Garlic butter:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley


  • 5-6 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed, washed and dried thoroughly with a paper towel
  • 5-6 fresh mozzarella cheese balls, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup grape, (or cherry) tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • fresh basil, shredded to garnish

Balsamic Glaze: (or you can use store-bought)

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (optional)

Berry and spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette

This stunning salad looks gorgeous, tastes fantastic, and is the perfect choice for entertaining. We recommend following the Allrecipes recommendation to top your salad with roasted nuts for an extra crunch!

You'll need:

  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • ½ cup raw pecans
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Combine spinach, strawberries, Gorgonzola cheese, and pecans in a large bowl.

2. Stir together balsamic vinegar and honey in a medium bowl; slowly stream in olive oil while whisking continuously. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Drizzle dressing over spinach mixture just before serving.

Evidation: Here to help you feel your best, no matter the season

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Healthy Eating
May 10, 2024

5 healthy smoothies for a great summer breakfast

5 minutes

Healthy smoothies are the ideal compromise you need for a quick and easy breakfast that's also good for you.

For generations, breakfast has been heralded as the most important meal of the day, a claim often argued by experts. Whether it's the most important meal may be disputed, but it's a well-established fact that a healthy breakfast can help power us through our most productive and busy days.

Few of us can resist a hot breakfast on a fall or winter day, but summer days require our energy, too. It can be tempting to rush out to enjoy summer days without stopping for breakfast. However, staying nourished and hydrated in summertime is crucial. Loaded with nutrients and bursts of flavor, healthy smoothies are the ideal compromise you need for a quick meal that's also good for you.

Benefits of starting the day with a nutritious breakfast

A healthy breakfast does much more than "break your fast." A nutritious breakfast will give you and your family members the energy you all need to have your most productive and enjoyable days. Here are some of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast:

  • Increased brain power: Children who eat a healthy breakfast before school are shown to perform better, with more alertness, better memory, and improved mood. Those good moods can carry over to summer vacation for both the kiddos and their parents.
  • Boosted energy: Food is the fuel our bodies need to do the work they do every day, and that includes summertime fun.
  • Essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients: Skipping a meal decreases our chances of getting in those valuable nutrients. Eating a healthy breakfast is an excellent way to get a head start on our daily nutrition.
  • Weight control: Studies show that people who regularly eat a healthy breakfast may have a lower BMI and consume less fat during the day. As it turns out, the best smoothies for weight loss can also be filling and satisfying.

Importance of staying hydrated during the summer

The average adult's body is made up of 50-70% water. Maintaining hydration levels by drinking plenty of water is especially important in summer because the excessive heat and busy summer activities can cause us to become dehydrated more quickly. However, we can get our daily hydration from smoothies as well as water.

Instead of calculating daily fluid intake using just water, keep in mind other hydration sources. This can include juices and the water content in milk (dairy or plant-based), along with fruits and vegetables with high water content.

When you stay hydrated, you'll enjoy these benefits:

  • Healthy heart habits: Staying adequately hydrated increases overall heart health and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart failure.
  • Weight management: When you stay hydrated, you might find your appetite decreases. Also, drinking more water increases our metabolism.
  • Skin health: Our skin consists of approximately 64% water. In the summer, our skin loses a lot of moisture, so staying hydrated is essential to skin health. 

Becoming dehydrated in the summer heat makes for a potentially dangerous situation. Dehydration can result in kidney and urinary problems, cognitive impairment, heatstroke, and other health issues.

Nutritional advantages of smoothies for breakfast

You might think of nutrient-dense smoothies as healthy energy drinks. A smoothie is almost as quick and easy as grabbing an energy drink at a convenience store. But unlike questionable energy drinks loaded with caffeine and sugar, smoothies provide beneficial energy with nutritious foods. For example, a smoothie made with oatmeal is rich in fiber.

Smoothies can also provide healthy fats, as evidenced by the avocado smoothie idea we share below. Looking to add more iron-rich foods to your diet? A smoothie made with spinach as a primary ingredient will fix you right up.

How about protein? Try a smoothie made with an avocado (and enjoy the healthy fat!). Also, a smoothie made with ingredients such as yogurt or peanut butter is an excellent source of protein. Smoothies are even better than the healthiest protein shakes because many smoothie recipes also call for veggies, probiotic foods like yogurt, fiber-rich grains, and fruit.

Recipe ideas for refreshing and healthy summer smoothies

Carrot, Apricot, and Greek Yogurt Smoothie

Give your skin a treat with a silky-smooth smoothie made with apricots and carrots, both of which are rich in beta-carotene. Our bodies convert this important antioxidant into vitamin A. Healthy amounts of vitamin A have the potential to help offset skin aging. Plus, vitamin A helps our skin fight off damage from pollution and UV rays.

For this smoothie, blend together:

  • 1/2 Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 2 dried chopped apricots
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pitted and chopped fresh apricot

Pumpkin and Avocado Smoothie

Pumpkin puree and Greek yogurt make this smoothie so perfectly creamy. Adding in a dab of pumpkin pie spice and pure maple syrup will have you dreaming about fall days. The avocado brings healthy fat and even more creaminess. For fiber, we add some flaxseed.

For this smoothie, blend together:

  • 7 ounces Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen pureed pumpkin (canned is OK)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Peanut Butter, Spinach, and Banana Smoothie

It's hard to resist a smoothie made with frozen bananas and peanut butter. Best of all, this recipe also calls for spinach, which gives you your daily dose of dark leafy greens. Probiotic-rich kefir adds a wonderful tang to this tasty morning meal.

For this smoothie, blend together:

  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 cup plain kefir
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Honey for sweetener (optional)

Mocha Protein Smoothie

You don't have to skip coffee in lieu of your breakfast smoothie. This creamy breakfast drink is as decadent as a milkshake. The surprising ingredient in this smoothie is walnuts. Of course, nuts are a great protein source. However, walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats to help protect your heart and fight inflammation. Chocolate protein powder adds even more protein to this rich shake.

For this smoothie, blend together:

  • 1 1/2 cup cooled black coffee
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 6 tablespoons chocolate protein powder

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Smoothie

Oatmeal is a classic breakfast food, and you can even enjoy it in a smoothie. Peaches are one of the delights of summer, and they work beautifully with this smoothie. Use whole-grain oats with prebiotic fiber to increase your gut health.

For this smoothie, blend together:

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (or plant-based milk)
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1/2 frozen banana

Healthy Smoothies for a Healthy Summer

With these recipes, you're all set to start having summer fun. Best of all, any of the smoothie recipes we've shared here can be customized to your liking and tastes. Feel free to experiment and enjoy creative variations of your own. To learn more about healthy living and how you can earn points for tracking, download the Evidation app today.

Healthy Eating
April 24, 2024

Discover how to lower your cortisol with these 5 easy recipes

5 minutes

Over time, high cortisol levels can lead to serious health conditions. The good news is some of the most delicious foods are also foods that can help manage cortisol levels.

If you're familiar with the phrase "fight or flight," you already have a basic understanding of what cortisol is. In short, cortisol is the body's natural stress hormone that triggers the "fight or flight" response.

Short-term cortisol release can give us the boost we need to run from danger, but prolonged high cortisol levels are unhealthy, leading to some chronic diseases and weight gain. If you're wondering how to lower cortisol, you may be surprised to learn that some simple dietary changes can help. Let's learn more about what exactly cortisol is and how diet and delicious recipes can play a role in cortisol regulation.

Understanding cortisol and its impact on health

It's no secret that stress is harmful to both our minds and our bodies. Released by the adrenal glands, cortisol is the stress hormone that is triggered through the sympathetic nervous system to:

  • Release energy stores
  • Deal with stressful scenarios
  • Regulate the body's immune system
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure levels when we're experiencing stress

Over time, high cortisol levels lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. Equally concerning, high cortisol levels can interfere with sleep hormones, and poor sleep has an impact on concentration and energy levels. Learning more about how to reduce cortisol levels can have a huge impact on your health.

Role of diet in cortisol regulation

Most of us can enjoy all foods in moderation, but some foods may actually increase stress and affect how we manage our cortisol levels. What foods raise cortisol levels? High sugar intake can cause an elevated cortisol level, as can saturated fat and refined grains. An elevated cortisol level makes it more challenging for our bodies to handle stressful situations.

Moreover, research has indicated a strong relationship between improved mental health and a healthy gut microbiome. Microbiomes are the microbes that live in our guts. Eating a low cortisol diet plan will support gut health and may help reduce anxiety and stress, which improves overall health.

The good news is some of the most delicious foods are also foods that can help manage cortisol levels. Let's go over some foods to lower cortisol.

Key nutrients and foods for lowering cortisol levels

All of these foods may lower cortisol to support healthy stress levels and gut health.

  • Whole grains: Rich in fiber and plant-based polyphenols that may support gut health and stress levels
  • Dark chocolate: Contains flavonoids that may control stress reactivity in the adrenal glands
  • Whole vegetables and fruits: High in polyphenolic compounds and antioxidants that may reduce cortisol levels and fight free radicals
  • Green tea: Contains catechins and the calming compound L-theanine, which is linked to increased mental alertness and stress reduction
  • Lentils and legumes: Fiber-rich to manage blood sugar levels and support gut health
  • Healthy fats: Linked to reduced stress and brain health

Additionally, prebiotics and probiotics can help lower cortisol levels. Consider foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi to support lowered cortisol levels and promote a healthy gut.

Staying well-hydrated will also help you keep your cortisol at healthy levels. When we're dehydrated, cortisol levels can temporarily increase.

5 easy and delicious recipes designed to lower cortisol

These recipes are a good start for enjoying a healthier breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

1. Banana almond butter smoothie


  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 1 frozen or fresh banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk (vanilla almond milk is an excellent choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon almond butter


Blend all of the above ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth.

2. Turkey and avocado wrap


  • 2 warmed whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced turkey breast
  • 2 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
  • 8 tomato slices
  • 1/4 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced


  1. Spread the whole wheat tortillas with the light mayonnaise.
  2. Top the tortillas with all of the ingredients.
  3. Roll up the tortillas with the ingredients and cut them in half to serve.

3. Oatmeal with berries and walnuts


  • 3/4 cup organic oats
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1 cup berries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. Bring the oats, water, chia seeds, salt, and flax to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer the oatmeal for 7-10 minutes, just until the water is completely evaporated and the oatmeal is soft.
  3. Add the chopped berries to the oatmeal and serve.

4. Grilled chicken and vegetable skewers


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 juiced lemon
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces whole mushrooms with stems removed
  • 2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces


  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a zippered bag or large bowl.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, tossing thoroughly to coat.
  3. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and refrigerate between 30 minutes to two hours.
  4. Heat the grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Build the chicken and veggie skewers by threading the vegetables and chicken onto wooden or metal skewers.
  6. Grill the skewers for about 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.

5. Dark chocolate and almond energy bites


  • 8 ounces Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 4 Tablespoons almond butter
  • 6 Tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • Optional toppings: white sesame seeds, unsweetened cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles


  1. Combine the almonds and dates in a food processor bowl. Blend these ingredients until they're finely ground. The pieces will be about the size of sesame seeds and mixed together evenly.
  2. Add the almond butter and cocoa powder to the bowl, pulsing until smooth. This mixture should stick tightly together when pressed between your fingers. If the mixture is crumbly or dry, add more almond butter.
  3. Roll 1 tablespoon at a time of the almond butter and chocolate dough into balls.
  4. Roll the energy bites in the desired toppings.
  5. Store at room temperature for two days or up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Conclusion: food for healthier cortisol levels

Learning how to control cortisol levels involves managing stress reactions, but making simple changes to your diet can also help. Using these recipes and adding some of the healthy foods we listed above can play a crucial role in keeping cortisol at a healthy level. This can lead to long-term stress management, a healthier lifestyle, and improved overall health.

Evidation can serve as another tool for living your healthiest life. Download the Evidation app today to learn more about healthy eating, get tips for being more active, and track your healthy habits.

Healthy Eating
April 19, 2024

Is corn good for you? 3 myths and truths about corn

5 minutes

Is corn good for you? Simple answer: Yes! Explore how including corn in your diet can support your health.

From commercials on TV to articles in magazines, you don't have to look far to find opinions on whether corn is good for you. Corn's nutritional value has been debated for years, and it can be tough to find an answer to whether it's the right fit for your nutritional needs. Here, we'll take a look at the nutritional profile of corn, facts and myths around the vegetable, and how you can enjoy corn as a part of your balanced nutrition plan.

The nutritional profile of corn

A jack of all trades, corn is technically classified as a grain, vegetable, and fruit, and can be used to meet many dietary needs. Corn is high in carbs (which isn't necessarily a bad thing!), and it's also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The veggie is also fairly low in fat.

One cup of sweet corn includes:

  • 177 calories
  • 41g carbohydrates
  • 5.4g protein
  • 2.1g fat
  • 4.6g fiber

A cup of corn also contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • 17% of the recommended daily value (RDV) of vitamin C
  • 25% of the RDV of thiamine (vitamin B1)
  • 19% of the RDV of folate (vitamin B9)
  • 11% of the RDV of magnesium
  • 10% of the RDV of potassium

Myth 1: Corn is high in sugar and unhealthy

While corn is higher in sugar than other vegetables and may not be the best fit for people with certain health conditions (like diabetes), most people can safely enjoy corn. That being said, staying away from high-fructose corn syrup – a type of sweetener derived by isolating corn sugar – is a smart move for anyone.

Truth 1: Corn provides essential nutrients and dietary fiber

Whole, unprocessed corn provides your body with nutrients and fiber that can support a healthy lifestyle. Adding corn to your grocery list can help you enjoy meals that are packed with iron and plenty of fiber that can be helpful for dealing with constipation and other digestive issues.

If you're concerned about your sugar intake or have health conditions that require you to limit the amount of carbohydrates you eat, it's important to talk with your doctor to ensure that you're following the correct nutritional guidelines for your health.

Myth 2: Corn is genetically modified and unsafe

Studies show that over 90% of the corn grown in the United States is genetically modified. While more research needs to be done on the effect of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on humans, research thus far has shown that GMOs are generally safe to consume.

Truth 2: Understanding GMOs and corn production

Many people enjoy genetically modified foods as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Some of the most common crops that are genetically modified in the United States include soybeans, corn, canola, sugar beets, potatoes, and alfalfa. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 95% of animals raised for meat and dairy purposes in the United States are fed GMO crops.

Some GMOs have been modified to increase the amount of nutrients in the food, allowing your body to get more of what it needs. Some fruits and vegetables are genetically modified to reduce browning, or to resist certain pests during the growth process.

GMO foods are studied carefully before they're released to the public and GMOs in the US are regulated by the FDA who “makes sure that foods that are GMOs or have GMO ingredients meet the same strict safety standards as all other foods,” but some researchers believe their safety is still up for debate. While human clinical trials have yet to be run, some animal studies show that the consumption of GMOs may be related to accelerated aging, blood pressure changes, infertility, gastrointestinal issues, endocrine system problems, and changes to the immune system. 

Myth 3: Corn causes weight gain and should be avoided

Every food can be enjoyed on a balanced diet, and there's no need to avoid anything that's eaten in moderation and fits into your nutrition plan. An ear of corn on the cob is calorically similar to an apple, and the fiber in corn can help to slow down your body's digestive process, increasing the amount of time until you feel hungry again.

While corn is sweet for a vegetable, it has less than a third of the sugar in a banana, and less than a fifth of the sugar in an apple. Whole sweet corn – not to be confused with high fructose corn syrup – can be a balanced addition to any nutrition plan.

Truth 3: Incorporating corn into a balanced diet

It's easy to add corn to your nutrition plan, and it's a good fit for any meal of the day. Try these Mexican Street Corn Breakfast Tostadas, an easy breakfast option that will have everyone in your family coming back for more.

Sweet corn can also be a delicious addition to a balanced lunch or dinner – check out these quick, delicious options that allow you to enjoy raw corn (no cooking required!).

Cooking and serving suggestions for corn

Whether you're using canned corn or you're working with corn on the cob, there are plenty of ways to prepare this delicious, sweet, starchy vegetable in your kitchen.

A few tips for cooking and serving sweet corn in your home:

  • Corn begins to lose sweetness after it's picked, so it's best to use corn that you bring home from the grocery store or farmer's market as soon as possible.
  • Focus on including fresh corn in your diet during summer and early autumn, when corn is in season.
  • Corn is fairly low in calories, and there's no reason to limit yourself when it comes to enjoying the veggie. That being said, keep an eye on how much salt, butter, or other additions you add to your corn.
  • Cooking fresh corn is simple: with or without the husk, you can boil, steam, roast, microwave, or grill corn. If you'd prefer, you can also remove the corn husk and cut the kernels from the cob prior to cooking.

Evidation: Here to help you live your best life

You care about your health, and you want to feel your best. Whether you're just getting started with living a healthier lifestyle or you've been tracking your health data for years, we're here to help you put your health data to good use. We offer personalized insights and articles to help you live your healthiest life. Learn more about how Evidation works and download the app today.

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