Challenge Yourself: Make Healthy Mexican Meals

Grilled Vegetable Fajitas

Tiffany’s been making Taco Night healthier at the Lehman home. With some guidance from her nutritionist, she’s cooked meatless quinoa and bean tacos on whole grain tortillas.

You, too, can also enjoy lighter versions of your favorite Latin fare. Check out these great recipes for no-guilt tacos, fajitas, empanadas, enchilladas and more.

How do you make Mexican meals healthier? Share in the comments below.

Tiffany, Week 3: Our Healthy Taco Night Dinner

Veggie Tacos

What a blessing it was to weekly have fresh fruits and veggies waiting for us so we could use them and become more healthy! A big thank you to Melissa’s for giving us tips, ideas, the books and your knowledge. NEVER would I have guessed there is so much variety out there. Red quinoa? Pixie tangerines? Baby kiwi?

To those that give a second thought to fruits and veggies or think they are too expensive. Think again. It is amazing how a piece of fruit as a snack versus something out of a vending machine or one of the “healthy” bars will fill you up faster and keep you more satisfied.

Our first challenge is to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible and we had quite a variety sent to us to try to help us execute this challenge. I fell in love with lentils. Never have I had a lentil until this challenge and chances are I never would have either.  Lentils are a great source of fiber and help fill you up which makes for eating less that ultimately helps reduce your waistline.

The nutritionist we are working with also gave us a great idea for a meatless meal. Quinoa tacos or taco salad. Cook the quinoa to the package directions, drain and rinse black beans, combine into the quinoa, add taco seasoning (we learned you only need about a half packet of the taco seasoning if you’re using store-bought seasonings) and serve.

If we’re having tacos we use whole grain soft shells. For the salad we’ll serve it over spinach—in a bowl, not a greasy taco salad shell bowl, use plain fat free Greek yogurt rather than sour cream, a little shredded cheddar cheese and salsa and dinner is served.  It is so good and filling you don’t miss the meat!

This challenge really helped me put produce in the forefront of my mind and made me open up my eyes and realize how important it is to eat these things.  I felt like I had more energy and I just felt clean and light.

Post a comment and tell me your favorite healthy dinner recipe.

Challenge Yourself: Try New Fruits and Veggies

Multicolored (Party) Cauliflower

Peggy has been eating new fruits and vegetables, thanks to her weekly shipments from Melissa’s Produce. Her family’s current favorites include kiwi berries, pomegranate seeds and baby cucumbers.

It’s easy to fall into a rut of always buying the same fruits and veggies. (I’m guilty of over-relying on bananas, apples, avocados, spinach and frozen peas.) And while it’s okay to have a few healthy recipes you cook regularly, adding a new fruit or veggie to a dish can make dinnertime more exciting–how much fun would it be to serve multicolored cauliflower, like in the photo above? Check out other interesting veggies you can work into your diet here.

What new fruit or veggie have you tried and loved recently? Share in the comments below.

Your Top 3 Fruit and Veggie Mistakes

Sometimes you have the best intentions, but end up getting the worst results. Take eating more healthy, for example. Ever gave up dessert only to find yourself eating more dinner and not losing weight? Eating more fruits and veggies is a great idea, but sometimes how we do it takes away from the health benefit. To help you maximize your results, we spoke to Miki Hackney, corporate chef at Melissa’s Produce.  Watch out for these healthy food slip-ups she pointed out.

Mistake #1: Cooking Veggies Too Long
“The longer you cook them, the fewer nutrients you’ll get,” explains Chef Miki, who warns that the veggies keep cooking even after you’ve turned off the heat. She says most people over-bake and over-stirfry because they prefer soft vegetables. But if you want more vitamins and minerals from your food, work on developing a palate for crisper produce.

Mistake #2: Drowning Your Salad
Fess up. How much French, Ranch or Caesar dressing are you pouring on your greens? Probably too much. “You only need an ounce of dressing for a side salad, but most people put on at least ¼ cup,” reveals Chef Miki. That means at a minimum you’re drizzling double the amount of calories and fat, which can get pretty high. “Dressing is supposed to enhance the flavor of the salad, not take it over,” says Chef Miki. Aim for that and you’ll pour out less.

Mistake #3: Letting It Go To Waste
Instead of tossing out rotten strawberries or blueberries, freeze your extra fresh fruit before it goes bad. Just wash and slice it first before you put it on ice. “It will lose some of its nutrient value and texture,” admits Chef Miki. But it’s better than letting fruits and veggies end up in the trash.

What fruit and veggie mistakes are you guilty of? Post a comment and fess up here!

In addition to sending our Healthy Family Challenge teams weekly bundles of new fruits and vegetables to try, Melissa’s Produce offered up corporate chef Miki Hackney as an advisor to our families.

Challenge Yourself: Make a Healthy, Hearty Salad


Every day, Peggy has been concocting new recipes from her fruits and veggies. In her most recent post, she mentioned a delicious salad she threw together: lettuce, pomegranates, feta cheese, baby cucumber and black cherry tomatoes with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

You, too, can make healthy, hearty salads in minutes. Start with a bed of greens, then add lots of fruits and veggies. Top with a lean protein (like chicken, tune or egg whites). Then add a small amount of light dressing, or just a little oil and vinegar.

Need inspiration? Check out our recipes here:

30 Simple, Scrumptious Salads

7 Main-Dish Salads

7 Healthy Salads

What’s your favorite healthy salad recipe? Share in the comments below.