No-Heat Lunches, Ready in Three Steps!

Coming up with quick lunch ideas para la familia can be a challenging task. On the one hand, sopas are too hearty for the summertime. On the other, basic salads and sandwiches can quickly become monotonous. Here’s a little lunchtime inspiration for no-heat recipes that take three steps and 15 minutes or less to prepare.

Summer Corn Ensalada (Serves 4)


4 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

1 1/2 cups fresh corn

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup cucumber, chopped

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, salt and hot sauce.

2. In a large bowl, mix the corn, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and basil. Drizzle with dressing and toss.

3. Refrigerate until chilled. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

Thai Veggie Salad + Diced Mango (Serves 4)



1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

3 cups snow peas, thinly sliced

3 carrots, thinly sliced

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 cucumber, cut into strips

1 cup dried mango, thinly sliced

2/3 cup peanuts, chopped

3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped


3 garlic cloves, minced

1 piece fresh ginger, minced

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

1/2 cup rice-wine vinegar

1/3 cup peanut butter


1. In a large bowl, mix all salad ingredients.

2. In a separate bowl, mix all dressing ingredients and stir until smooth.

3. Combine contents of both bowls. Toss and serve!

Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad (Serves 4)


1 pound jumbo cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, chopped

1 tomato, diced

1 hass avocado, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 limes

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper


1. Combine red onion, lime juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper.

2. In a separate bowl, combine chopped shrimp, avocado, tomato, jalapeño.

3. Mix together all ingredients, add cilantro and gently toss.

Buena Comida to Combat Everyday Stress and Anxiety

A whopping one-third of Americans say they are living with extreme stress, according to the American Psychological Association and the American Institute of Stress. The good news? Nutrients found in certain foods boost the “happiness hormone” serotonin and reduce “stress hormones” cortisol and adrenaline. Here’s the skinny on energy-boosting, stress- and anxiety-busting nutrientes you can use:


Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, beans and starchy vegetables, contain this nutrient that keeps you full for longer, so you have energy throughout the day and avoid afternoon crashes. Complex carbs have been associated with an increase in serotonin, while fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels, which can increase under extreme stress.

Vitamin B and C

B vitamins, found in complex carbs and proteins such as low-fat queso, help to improve mood, increase energy and ease stress levels. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens, will help boost your immune system, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety. So now you can relax knowing you’re taking steps to keep your body in germ-fighting shape, even if you’re feeling a bit worn down from work and the kids.


This nutrient, found in halibut, almonds and bananas, has been proven to relax and calm the body, relieve headaches and fatigue, and relax the muscles. So stash a bag of almonds at your desk for munching if your work situation is more stressful than usual, and add a dinner dish with halibut once a week to keep nerves at bay.


Omega-3 fatty acids, plentiful in foods such as salmon, sardines and walnuts, contain anti-inflammatory properties. Why is this important? Stress and anxiety affect the body and brain’s ability to regulate inflammation, which can promote the development of disease. Studies have shown omega-3s also relieve symptoms of distress and depression.


Caffeine, sugar and sugar substitutes, like corn syrup, provide a short energy boost now, leaving you more lethargic later. Healthy nutrients plus ejercicio -- another natural serotonin booster -- will leave you happy and reenergized to take on the most challenging of play dates, tight deadlines and those early morning traffic jams we all know too well! 

Lose Weight With Cold-Weather Ensaladas

Why wait for summer to get your green on? Adding spices and cold-weather frutas and verduras, like grapefruit or beets and broccoli, make a healthy salad the perfect meal option.

“I love to feature bold, fresh flavors with herbs like cilantro, spices like cayenne pepper and fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season,” says Michelle Rivas, health and wellness aficionado at The Healthy Latina. Try to be as colorful as possible when putting a salad together. The combination of fresh fruits and vegetables in a salad will keep you full from fiber, in addition to providing essential nutrients. “Don’t be afraid to add a protein other than meat, like beans or nuts,” says Rivas. “Make salads more filling with fiber from quinoa or multi-grain rice.” For a dressing, Rivas always starts with a little olive oil for the flavor and the healthy fats. Aquí, some of Rivas’ favorite recipes.

Kale and Quinoa Salad

Ingredients (amount to your liking)

Cucumbers, chopped

Kale, chopped

Broccoli, chopped



1. Cook quinoa in organic chicken broth, and add to a mix of fresh, chopped broccoli and kale.

2. Top with an organic garlic dressing, or Rivas’ dressing recipe below.

Black Bean Salad With Cilantro Lime Dressing


3 ears of corn

1 can of black beans

1 package of fresh tomatoes on the vine

1 package skirt steak pre-cut into strips

Olive oil

1 bunch of cilantro

3 limes

1 avocado

Salt and pepper


1. In a large pot, set water to boil. Shuck the ears of corn and place in the pot with water. Do not salt the water because it will make the texture of the corn tough. Let boil for eight to 10 minutes.

2. While corn is cooking, open the can of black beans and strain the water out. Place in a large bowl and let sit. Dice the tomatoes into chunks and place in the bowl with the beans.

3. In a medium bowl, drizzle olive oil and toss skirt steak strips with salt and pepper. In a large pan, heat up a drizzle of olive oil and add the steak.

4. As the steak cooks, remove the ears of corn from the boiling water. “Shave” the kernels off with a knife and set aside.

5. For the dressing, loosely chop the cilantro and set aside. Juice the limes into a blender and add cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil. Blend the dressing until it is fully combined and the cilantro is very small.

6. Remove the steak from the pan and set aside. While the pan is still hot, toss the corn for extra flavor. For the final touch, slice an avocado and serve!

Sweet and Spicy Dressing


1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp of red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Whisk ingredients together and splash over a bed of baby kale and spinach.

2. Add cut-up orange slices, sliced raw almonds or pistachios, and your favorite vegetable medley.

Postres Saludables Without the Weight Gain

Though millions make New Year resolutions to eat healthy and lose weight, it’s not always easy when your body is craving postres. Fortunately, you can reach your goals and satisfy your sweet tooth. “With the popularity of gluten-free and the “Paleo diet,” baking substitutes for flour, sugars, oils and dairy are easy to find at your local store,” says Maribel Marmol, healthy food blogger at food 4 thought NYC.


  • Whole-wheat flour or coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour to increase your fiber intake, keeping you fuller longer.

  • Fruit, such as applesauce or crushed pineapple to replace the empty calories of refined sugars. These fruits pack in vitamins and minerals, while making cakes and cookies moist and flavorful.

  • Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, whole milk or cream cheese. This ingredient has the added benefit of calcium and protein without the high calories.

Healthy French Toast Recipe to Try:

Gluten-free Peach French Toast with Cardamom

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Servings: 8 to 10 slices


1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted

1/2 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

5 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/8 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Peach Sauce

3 peaches, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

French Toast

2 eggs

1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, unsweetened

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

Optional: Maple syrup and Greek yogurt for topping


Prepare ingredients and grease 8”x4”x2.5” loaf pan for bread. This step can be done one or two days before. Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet to the dry and mix well. The batter will be thick by the time you’re done. Add batter to a greased loaf pan and place in heated oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let the bread cool completely before removing it from the pan. *Note: Since this is gluten-free bread, the loaf will not rise like regular wheat-based breads. Doesn’t make it any less tasty, but you should have a heads up! Heat a small saucepan or frying pan over low to medium heat. Add sliced peaches, spices, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir until the peaches start to disintegrate and the juices are bubbling. Remove from heat. Cut thick slices of cooled coconut flax bread. Mix French toast ingredients in a shallow bowl. Add bread slices and cover with mixture on all sides. Allow it to soak while heating a medium frying pan with coconut oil over medium heat. Once hot, add up to three slices to the pan with tongs. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes or until slightly browned. Arrange toast slices on a plate, top with peaches, syrup and yogurt. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top. Serve!

Healthy Cake Recipe to Try:

Upside Down Strawberry Cake

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Servings: 12 to 14 pieces


1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons coconut flour

1 cup strawberries, sliced

Drizzle of honey


1 cup unblanched almond flour

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 F. Add butter to an eight-inch cake pan and place in oven. Once melted, swirl butter to coat the bottom and sides of the pan and set aside. Whisk all the dry ingredients in one bowl (coconut flour, almond flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, salt). In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix the wet ingredients (coconut oil, eggs, honey, vanilla) together thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients along with the Greek yogurt and mix well, creating a thick batter. Sprinkle the coconut flour into the pan over the butter and drizzle with honey. Place the sliced strawberries along the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Scoop the batter over the strawberries and level out with a spatula. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean from the center. Remove and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before flipping the cake out onto a serving plate.

Is “Sugar-Free” a Danger to Your Health?

For many working toward weight-loss goals, choosing sugar-free foods and drinks would seem right. But did you know that anything labeled “diet” is loaded with artificial sweeteners, which have the potential to do more harm than good? “The only benefit to ‘sugar-free’ food is if it is really devoid of both sugar and artificial sugar,” says Dr. Zina Kroner, who practices at Advanced Medicine of New York, PLLC. Here, why sugar-free shouldn’t be a staple in any diet.

A Dangerous Diet Tool: Reaching for a diet soda or sugar-free cookie can actually have the opposite effect when you’re trying to lose weight. “One will gain weight on artificial sugars made in a lab, as they can worsen insulin resistance,” says Dr. Kroner. Insulin resistance can contribute to serious health concerns, including obesity.

Health Issues: Aspartame, which contains the toxins phenylalanine and aspartic acid, has been linked to side effects such as headaches, migraines, dizziness, depression and visual changes, says Dr. Kroner. For Latinas with diabetes, which is on the incline, sugar substitutes can worsen the disease. “Phenylalanine and aspartic acid have been shown to stimulate the release of insulin and leptin, leading to insulin resistance and worsening of blood sugar control,” says Dr. Kroner. “With diabetes, the goal is to improve insulin sensitivity.”

Alternate Options: If you’re still looking for a secret ingredient for weight loss, Dr. Kroner recommends stevia, a plant that has been around for 1,500 years and is considered the safest sugar alternative. Stevia can be used to sweeten recipes such as hot cocoa, banana bread and chocolate chip cookies -- without harmful side effects. Or, try foods made with healthier sweet ingredients such as Greek yogurt, applesauce or honey. For soda junkies out there, the safer alternative is regular -- in moderation. Or, try flavored water or flavored seltzer for a sweet, carbonated kick.