Low-Carb, Bunless Sandwich Salute for July 4th

Looking to keep it light and low-carb this summer? I have four fun “sandwich” ideas that offer a real blast of flavor without any bread or buns that will be a hit at your backyard 4th of July celebration, family picnic in the park or anywhere else you plan to do some outdoor entertaining.

First up is my Watermelon Grilled Chicken Capr-easy Sammie. I’m never run out of ways to eat watermelon (you know how I love #LivingOnTheWedge).

Chicken Watermelon Capr-easy Sandwhich -- A fun, low-carb bunless sammie!

Simply take a juicy, grilled chicken breast, two strips of thick cooked bacon, and a slice of mozzarella or provolone and slide between two ½” planks of watermelon cut right from the sweetest, ripest “heart” of the melon. Top with basil and drizzle with some balsamic syrup if so desired!

Chicken, Bacon and Watermelon Sandwich with Sargento Provolone

I’ve been using Sargento® Ultra Thin® Cheese Slices this summer (the company was kind enough to send me product to try and review). Verdict – I love these paper thin slices of natural cheese that deliver 100% of the flavor I want for only 45 calories per slice (that means I can have a couple slices)! I also like how they are thin enough to roll up, fold up or “ruffle” like I did for a garnish on my sammie!

Do you have a favorite way to eat a sandwich without bread? Cheese or no cheese and why? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

Chicken Lentil and Veggie Collard Green Wraps with Sriracha RanchNext up, a Chicken, Lentil and Veggie “Green” Wrap —> Click Here

5 Ways to Get Teens’ Taste Buds to Grow Up + Visa GC Giveaway

Even though my family eats (mostly) a healthy diet, I’ve been encouraging my teenagers to break their monotonous meal preferences and try new dishes with exciting flavors. As they move through high school and college there are so many diverse and cultural eating experiences that will be missed (along with a wider array of nutrients) if they are dead set on having turkey meatballs, plain brown rice and an undressed salad for dinner (an all-too-common menu). That’s why I was excited to hear how Birds Eye Veggies is on a mission to redefine the way we all eat our vegetables with their Birds Eye® Flavor Full line of bold and exciting veggies that can be enjoyed as a side dish or the main course!  Keep reading down to the end of the post for the Gift Card Giveaway.

Birds Eye Flavor Full Veggies - Buffalo Cauliflower

This got me to thinking. Can picky eating-children change, or do they just grow up into adults who are ultra finicky about their food? There are valid reasons why a young child may avoid certain foods at all costs — did someone say “temper tantrum”?!  Factors that contribute to a picky eater include all the legitimate sensory things you’d connect with food aversions like texture, temperature, taste and flavor. Picky eating is also encouraged by parental response as well as peer pressure when kids get a little older. Allergies, too, can play a welcomed defensive role in picky eating, a way your body tells you to say away from a certain harmful food – but I won’t get into that here.

I believe that with the right opportunities and encouragement, most kids can join the adult world of eating as they move into their ‘tween, teens and early twenties. One reason is that as we age, taste buds dwindle away from an average of 10,000 working taste buds in small kids to only 5,000 in adults – simply put, things start tasting less intense and we naturally seek out more flavor. To support this, a 2005 study published in the Pediatrics journal reports that most children do not like bitter tastes (often found in vegetables), while adults do not find offense.

Birds Eye Flavor Full Vegetables

Always funny or philosophical, this kiddo says “Potatoes are the ‘gateway’ vegetable”

Another interesting study conducted in 2012 at the University of Copenhagen reported that when children move into their teens, they have a decreased interest in sugary tastes and a higher sophistication to distinguish between tastes – however, they are often more resistant to trying new foods than toddlers! This is why, we as parents, need to set a good example by eating a balanced diet filled with a variety of colorful, nutrient-dense whole foods.

Here are some tips to encourage the teenagers in your family to become veggie lovers and also try out other exciting new flavors. Of course, if your teen is not eating because of control issues, an eating disorder, real or perceived allergies or other concerning reasons, please see a medical professional as soon as possible.

5 ways to get your teen's taste buds grown up

  • Get teens cooking: Not only does teaching your older children how to prepare meals create self-sufficiency; it also creates a more adventurous attitude about eating as they master various skills.
  • Host international night: Once a month, prepare a meal that features cuisine from a different culture – for example, Indian, Korean, Thai, or Italian (no pizza!). To keep everyone happy, every family member gets to select one recipe to be included on the menu, but has to eat at least three bites of every other dish. Have them invite a friend over who may just announce “ooh, I love curry” – and suddenly your son or daughter will too!
  • Focus on vegetable variety: As teens lose their taste for sugar (allegedly it’s a real thing!), support their savory side with more and more vegetables. Look past buttered green beans and toward more exotic or bold tastes, like Buffalo Cauliflower! Filling up your plate with a rainbow of vegetables is the easiest and tastiest way to optimize health, in my opinion.
  • Educate and relate: Share online resources for healthy and clean eating with your children. Older kids are smart enough to understand that eating vegetables and a variety of foods is best, but are sneaky when it comes to actually eating what you serve – just think of all the Brussels sprouts “dropped” on the floor or yogurt and berry parfaits swapped for pink cupcakes at lunch. I always share the story of how I traded my celery, peanut butter and raisin “ants on a log” for Ding Dongs at lunch and quickly lost my get-up-and-go for gymnastics practice in the afternoon.
  • Role model without pushing: No one likes a pea pusher, and even worse so if it’s your own mother or father. With most teens, realize that the more you “strongly suggest” you eat your vegetables or try new dishes, the more likely they are to rebel by absolutely doing the opposite. They are teens, they will come around – just keep the message honest yet low-key, the most important thing you can do is be a role model for clean eating.

Birds Eye Flavor Full Veggies - Buffalo Cauliflower

As I hinted, I’ve been using Birds Eye Vegetables in my covert parental plan to encourage my teens to embrace new foods. The line of Birds Eye® Flavor Full vegetables transforms plain veggies with bold and on-trend flavors – it makes eating healthy side dishes so much fun. Plus, I love the convenience of the Steamfresh packaging – you just heat up in the microwave right in the bag. When my kids are making dinner, having one less dish to clean up is a major selling point! The unexpected but utterly delicious flavors include Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli, Barbecue Sweet Corn, Sweet Chili Carrots, Wasabi Peas and Fiesta Lime Corn.  Check here for a product locator.

Head over and get a $1.00 off coupon that is good for 30 days once downloaded (but must be used by 12/31/2015).

Win a $25 Visa Gift Card at TheFitFork.comEnter to win my giveaway for a $25 Visa Gift Card — you can spend it on vegetables for your teens, or whatever you please. Although I really hope you get some cauliflower and beets!

Follow the Rafflecopter app directions to enter now through Dec 9th.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lettuce Party! 8 Healthy Appetizers for New Year’s Eve

Eight Healthy Appetizers - TheFitFork.comRing in the New Year without all the “oh I shouldn’t have eaten all that” guilt. Whether watching the ball drop in Times Square at home in your jammies or hosting an elaborate cocktail party, all your clean-eating resolutions can start early thanks to my eight healthy appetizer ideas – each under 100 calories!

blue diamond natural almond and apricot snackApricot Almond Chocolate Bites – It’s hard to believe that this little trio of tasty goodness has only has 20 calories, but it’s true! Plus, dried apricots are rich in iron, so there are no worries about having a few!

Mini Gorgonzola Cheese Balls - TheFitFork.comMini Gorgonzola Cheese Balls – Each little ball of bold, beautifully creamy cheese has just 85 calories – even less if you substitute fat-free cream cheese for the gorgonzola.  You can check out the full recipe along with variations I put together for the Living Litehouse blog.

litehouse roasted chickpeas title

Lime Coconut and Basil Roasted Chickpeas – With 95 calories for ¼ a cup (a handful), you get loads of Thai-inspired taste plus a bonus of fiber and protein.

Southwestern Shrimp & Avocado Starters - TheFitFork.com

Southwestern Shrimp and Guacamole Starter –    You’ll say “ole” to this avocado and shrimp pairing, especially when you find out it only has 55 calories (and that includes licking the little cup).


mushrooms stuffed with pepper jack, hatch green chile and kaleHatch Green Chile Stuffed Mushrooms –  Mushroom caps are the perfect healthy vessels to be stuffed with delicious ingredients — that’s because mushrooms sop up flavors like little sponges, have virtually no calories, and are packed with tons of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Each one of these succulent, almost meaty (although no meat – vegetarian recipe) mushroom caps has only 67 calories!

carrot beet parsnip firesBaked Root Vegetable Fries –  A fantastic substitute for traditional chips or fries, these root vegetable “fries” are baked in the oven and have only 53 calories per serving. If you add in 1 tablespoon of a light dip (I like the OPADIPITY line by Litehouse Foods made with Greek yogurt), you add only another 35 calories, bringing the grand total up to 88 calories.

Grape Blue Cheese Walnut Bites - TheFitFork.comGrape, Blue Cheese and Walnut Bites – This recipe was inspired by a much-requested fall fruit salad with the same ingredients.  No official recipe to follow, just skewer up a single grape, small hunk of blue cheese and raw walnut half on a little toothpick for a big explosion of flavor —  only 30 calories each!

Veggie Cups with Dip - TheFitFork.comVeggies-‘n-Dip Cup – Another “no-recipe” recipe, just place 1 tablespoon of your favorite light dressing (again, I used OPADIPITY Greek Yogurt Ranch) into a condiment up and add in the veggies of your choice. This fun finger food assortments has only about 50 calories per cup, depending on your exact dressing and produce selections.

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve?  What do you reach for first when it comes to party food? 

Southwestern Roasted Veggie Wraps, Veggie Snacks & Workouts

You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy the wholesome goodness of this Southwestern-Spiced Roasted Veggie Wrap. A spinach tortilla is lightly charred on the grill (or gas burner) and then stuffed with roasted vegetables kicked up with a light dusting of cumin and chipotle chile powder. Perfect for a #MeatlessMonday meal.

roasted veggies in tortilla

Southwestern-Spiced Roasted Veggie Wrap Recipe

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼” planks
  • 1 medium summer squash, cut into ¼” planks
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered
  • 2 carrots, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ancho or chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 spinach tortillas
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 4 spinach tortillas
  • 4 ounces fresh spinach leaves
  1. Preheat grill or broiler. In large bowl, toss together zucchini, squash, red bell pepper and carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, chile powder and cumin with oil. Place in single layer on large baking sheet. Grill or broil vegetables 4 to 6 minutes per side, turning once.
  2. Remove veggies from oven and let cool for 5 minutes; cut into long julienned strips approximately ¼ inch wide.
  3. In small bowl, mash avocado with lime juice. Spread in even portions across each tortilla, leaving a ½ rim at the border.
  4. Spread out a pile of fresh spinach on top of each tortilla. Arrange remaining filling ingredients in a row along in the center of tortilla.
  5. Roll of tortilla as tightly as possible, cut in half crosswise and secure with toothpicks if needed.
  6. If packing in a lunchbox, switch the avocado and spinach steps so that tortilla doesn’t become soggy. Serves 4.

vegetable platter

Three servings of veggies are the recommended bare minimum amount for the daily diet of an adult – are you getting enough?  Snacking on vegetables is a great way to help you meet and surpass this good health goal. this Forget about the chips and cookies; it’s so much easier to reach for a healthy handful of veggies if you’ve prepped them and have them waiting in the fridge.  Keep cut up veggies in single-serve zip-top baggies for on-the-go grabbing – I also love to make mini veggie dip cups to serve the kids after school (great for a party too).

jennifer fisher litehouse mini veggies in dip fridge 2

Oh, one last thing to mention! In a rare moment of organization, I pulled all my workouts and put them on one page that is easily accessible by the category bar under the header.  The precious minutes you save by not having to hit the search bar can be reallocated to some extra burpees. You can thank me later!

workout screen shot