How to Build the Perfect Salad

I love making a healthy salad for my lunch or dinner that’s packed with my 7 daily essential nutrients and pretty enough to look and eat.


I always make sure I have beautiful colors on my plate because most colorful veggies are full of vitamins and minerals.


Here’s a great infographic that shows you how to build the perfect salad in 5 simple steps to get your proteins, carbs, fiber, vitamins, minerals, water and healthy fats onto your plate.


Here are a few more salads I’ve made in my fit kitchen.


Become a Fitnomenal chef in your kitchen. Learn how to make the perfect salad, salad dressings and more in my upcoming Fitnomenal Cooking Classes with Chef Almetria.



Vegetarian Meals. The BBTLC: Beyond Burger Tomato, Lettuce, and Cheese.


I cooked this vegetarian dish with a little TLC  last night. I call it the #bbtlc. Beyond Burger tomato, lettuce, and cheese. It’s a plant based burger patty on a whole wheat bun topped with an oven fried green tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, smoked gouda cheese and a homemade tex mex aioli with a side of chili and cinnamon rubbed oven baked sweet potato fries.


The total meal cost less than $6.00 per serving and only 35 minutes to make from beginning to the end. It tastes like and has the texture of a real burger. You can find it at @wholefoods. You get 2 burgers for $5.99. Yum!


Healthy Thanksgiving Tidbits: How to make Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Casserole Healthier.

Photo_2017-11-15_10-41-05_AMLet’s face it, there’s no great recipe or miracle that will make that sweet syrupy goodness we call candied yams taste like mom’s or will make you go into a diabetic coma after eating it, but there is a way to make a great mashed sweet potato casserole that will still quench some of your sweet tooth, eliminate a lot of unwanted calories and still be healthy and flavorful.

If Thanksgiving breakfast is a tradition in your home, you can replace your hashbrown casserole or smothered skillet potatoes with a roasted sweet potato hash instead of using white potatoes. Sweet potatoes have greater nutrient benefits such as beta carotene rather than your regular potato.

Here are a few tidbits for making a yummy mashed sweet potato casserole and roasted sweet potato hash:

•Nix the butter, candied pecans, granulated white sugar, 2% milk, heavy cream, sweet condensed/evaporated milk, and marshmallows. All of these items are loaded with fat and/or sugar.

•Opt into using unsweetened almond milk or 1% milk if people in your family are allergic to nuts. Less calories, sugar and fat than regular milk, heavy cream or condensed/evaporated milk.

•I use unsweetened almond milk, vanilla extract, allspice (which is a blend of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg) kosher salt and a little brown sugar in my casserole. If you don’t have allspice, use cinnamon and nutmeg. No butter. Also, Stevia is a great sweetener substitute too for granulated white sugar. Honestly, this same concept can apply to when baking sweet potato pies. Less calories, fat and sugar but still sweet enough to make a great pie.

•If you want to lift your casserole with a little heat and try something different this Thanksgiving, add a little ground chipotle chile pepper to the above ingredients. A little sweet with a hint of spicy.

•If you like candied pecans as a topping, instead of tossing your raw pecans in melted butter, flour and sugar, toss them in olive oil cooking spray, a little kosher salt and allspice. Then, top your casserole with the pecans keeping the casserole covered until it’s time for it to brown.

•Instead of making your traditional hashbrown casserole or smothered skillet potatoes try making a roasted sweet potato hash.

Peel and cut your sweet potato into cubes.Toss the cubes in a bowl with olive oil cooking spray, kosher salt, allspice and a little brown sugar. If you don’t have allspice, use nutmeg and cinnamon.

Place the potatoes into a Pyrex dish or lined sheet pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Set your oven on 400 and cook them for about 20 minutes then tossing them halfway during the cooking process.

Meanwhile, cut up some onion, garlic and peppers. Saute them in a pan with olive oil cooking spray. Once the potatoes and veggies are done, toss them together and season to taste if necessary.

I’ve offered you a few healthier options with the same great taste for you to enjoy instead of your traditional candied yams, sweet potato and hashbrown casserole. It’s diabetic as well as vegan friendly. More Thanksgiving Tidbits to come.



Healthy Thanksgiving Tidbits: How to Prepare Healthier yet still Flavorful Dressing.


Dressing vs. Stuffing is another debate I’m really not going to get too deep in to, but I will tell you I’m a pro dressing girl lol.

Thanksgiving is about 1.5 weeks away and we all know no one is too concerned about their caloric intake on that day. It’s all about the buffet spread, football games and watching the parades on tv. Not only can you enjoy some of your favorite comfort foods on that day, some of it can be made a little healthier without losing it’s flavor with a few simple swaps.

Over the next couple of days leading up to Thanksgiving, I will share a few tidbits on how to make some of your Thanksgiving dishes a little bit healthier.

Here are a few quick and easy thanksgiving simple swaps on how to make your dressing/stuffing healthier yet flavorful:

•Choose cooking chicken stock vs cooking chicken broth. Stock has a richer and deeper flavor than broth due to the gelatin released by cooking mostly with bones. Broth is cooked mostly with meat and veggies.

•Choose Swanson or Kitchen Basics unsalted cooking stock vs regular chicken stock, chicken broth in a can, organic chicken broth, chicken bouillon cubes, or low sodium broth. You have to read your labels.

A. Unsalted chicken stock has 130mg of sodium per serving vs. Regular or Organic stock has 500mg+
B. Canned broth 860mg of sodium per serving
C. Canned lower sodium broth 570mg per serving
D. Chicken bouillon cubes have 700-1230mg of sodium either per 1 tsp or 1/2 cube


•Choose Campbell’s healthy request cream of mushroom or chicken soup vs. regular, fat free or reduced sodium.

A. Campbell’s Healthy request cream of mushroom or chicken has 410mg of sodium per serving or 1000mg of sodium per can vs the Regular creamed soups have 870mg per serving or 2200mg of sodium per can. Both contain a lot of sodium but you have to choose the lesser of 2 evils.

B. Fat Free or reduced sodium cream of mushroom or chicken soup has 650-750mg of sodium per serving or 1900mg of sodium per can. Most fat free foods are always higher in sodium because if you take the fat away you have to make up the flavor either in salt or sugar.


•If you’re making your own stock, ditch the bouillon cubes, lawry’s seasoned or soul food salt. Opt for kosher salt, fresh herbs in a bouquet garni, bones and a few veggies.

•Use fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and sage if you can. If it’s not available in your area, try ground or dried.

•Opt for kosher or sea salt. Garlic and onion powders. Don’t use seasoned salt, iodized salt, garlic salt, onion salt or soul food salt.

•Start prepping and cutting your carrots, peppers, onions, garlic and celery now. Bag them and freeze them. Don’t have time, frozen mirepoix will work too. Fresh is always better though.

•When sauteeing your veggies, cook them with olive oil cooking spray vs butter or other types of oils. Cooking spray contains 0 calories and 0 fat.

•Don’t butter your cornbread once it’s out of the oven. Those are unnecessary calories you don’t need and the flavor won’t be missed.

•Don’t use raw white bread or toasted white bread in your dressing. The extra bread is unnecessary in making cornbread dressing. The stock and soups will keep it moist.

•For your regular bread stuffing, toast 1/2 whole wheat bread and 1/2 white bread or all whole wheat bread to make your bread cubes. Skip buying the premade stuff.

•Use ground turkey instead of pork or turkey sausage if you’re making a savory specialty stuffing. Store bought sausage is high in sodium. Opt into buying 85/15 ground turkey instead and add sage, fennel and kosher salt to give it the flavor of sausage on your own. Continue to season your stuffing like you normally would with the apples, cranberries and other seasonings.

I hope this will help you to create a healthier family favorite this Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward in sharing more simple swaps and tidbits with you as you become more creative and fit in your kitchen.


What’s for Lunch on this Healthy Lunch Day?

Sweet and Sour “Pork” Fried Cauliflower Rice and Edamame Hummus with Crudites as a snack.

I decided to vegetarian all this week and create  a healthy alternative to some of my favorite dishes. Eating healthy isn’t expensive or what I call the 3 B’s, bland, boring or a budget buster.

For the Sweet and Sour “Pork” Fried Cauliflower Rice, I toasted some sesame seeds along with sauteing some eggs and veggies to go into my cauliflower rice that I got for a reduced price for $1.79 at Kroger. I used Gardein meat free porkless bites as my source of “meat”  that was on sale for $3.99. Talking about delicious! This rice dish tastes just like takeout. You don’t miss the meat or the white rice. It is the perfect carb friendly dish for diabetics. I was able to make 2 servings which cost less than $5.00 per serving.


I knew I would need a healthy snack that would help me get through the rest of my day and keep my numbers steady. I ventured out and made my own edamame hummus. I love hummus! I paired it along with a few of my favorite crudites to make it more antioxidant, vitamin and carb friendly. Also, you can toast and season whole wheat pita bread as another option for dipping.


Edamame beans are a great source of a complete protein and fiber for it has all of your essential amino acids. Protein and fiber helps keep you feeling fuller and will stop your blood sugar from spiking.

I even saved some money by purchasing hulled sesame seeds at Whole Foods in which I toasted and blended in EVOO for $0.64 rather than buying tahini for $6-8. Delicious and winning! My vegetarian week is off to a good start. This vegetarian dish serves as a great snack or appetizer at your next party or gathering.

I hope you made some great choices today in brown bagging your lunch or finding a healthier option on the menu. Remember to lunch right with every bite!




The Summer of Salads Bonus: Repurpose your leftovers. Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken, Fat Free Feta Cheese, and Roasted Vegetables

The Summer of Salads Bonus: Repurpose your leftovers.

Bonus Salad:
Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken, Fat Free Feta Cheese, and Roasted Vegetables.


A few days ago, I cooked some chicken breasts and roasted a variety of vegetables. Instead of throwing it away like some people do whom don’t like leftovers or feel as if they are tired of eating the same thing, I repurposed my leftovers and created a new salad dish.



I boiled some whole wheat penne pasta, cut the chicken breasts into chunks, and then I tossed everything together along with my roasted veggies, fat free feta cheese, reduced sodium black olives and Italian dressing. Voila! Lunch or Dinner.


You can use a store bought Italian dressing that you have on hand or make one like I did. Shrimp works great in this pasta salad too or if you’re a vegetarian, don’t add the meat. Use all of your leftover veggies or add in some tofu.

Not only did I save money, I didn’t waste any food and I created a new dish that I can have for lunch, dinner or take to my next party or pot luck gathering.

You too can get creative in your fit kitchen and save money with The Healthy Budgetnista.


Salmon, Roasted Grape, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad with a Honey Balsamic Viniagrette


It’s week three of my 12 week “The Summer of Salads” Series. Hopefully, you’ve tried and enjoyed the recipes so far.

Week three: Salmon, Roasted Grape, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad with a Honey Balsamic Viniagrette.

Let me know if you tried the recipe by posting pics this week on social media. Don’t forget to hashtag it with #thehbsummerofsalads and share this post. I hope will enjoy it.

Live and Be Well. Happy Wednesday!




Red, White and Blueberry Chicken Pecan Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Viniagrette


Week two of my 12 week “The Summer of Salads” Series.

Week two: Red, White and Blueberry Chicken Pecan Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Viniagrette.

Let me know if you tried the recipe by posting pics this week. Don’t forget to hashtag it with #thehbsummerofsalads and share this post. I hope you, your families and friends will enjoy it.

Live and Be Well.



The Summer of Salads: A 12 Week Series of Simple Summer Salad Recipes with The Healthy Budgetnista


Today, I’m kicking off my 12 week Summer Challenge called, “The Summer of Salads: A 12 Week Series of Simple Summer Salad Recipes with The Healthy Budgetnista.”

Each week, I will debut one of my salad recipes along with some Summer slimdown secrets, fitness tips, and healthy “Simple Swaps” to your favorite meals, snacks and recipes throughout the week.

Hopefully, you will join in with me on this challenge, learn to make some amazing salads, have fun, get creative in the kitchen, and lose a few unwanted pounds in the process.

Be sure to share my weekly posts with others and tag your salads, simple swaps pics and slimdown progress with the hashtag #thehbsummerofsalads so that everyone can join in on the learning and fun.

Live and Be Well. Happy eating. Enjoy!




Southwestern Sweet Potato Skins

img_20160918_204846Are you ready some football and some great tailgate/party food? I’m putting a healthy spin on a few of your classic tailgate party foods done with twist.

For the First Down: Southwestern Sweet Potato Skins

3/4lb 85/15 ground turkey
2 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup green giant steam crisp southwestern style corn
1 jalapeño
1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

•Preheat oven 400°
•Puncture sweet potatoes in several places.
•Wrap each in aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet.
•Bake 40-50 mins until fork tender.
•In a sauté pan, add ground turkey, corn, garlic and seasonings.
•Cook until done. Remove from heat and let it cool.
•Once the potatoes are soft to the touch, remove from the oven and let cool.
•Once cool, split the potatoes length wise in half.
•Scoop out the center of each half leaving some of the flesh.
•Fold in the potato with your turkey mixture.
•Season to taste with kosher salt.
•Place the mixture back into the skins.
•Sprinkle cheese on top of each potato.
•Place it back into the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
•Remove from the oven.
•Place the skins on a serving platter.
•Garnish with sour cream, dried parsley flakes, fresh cilantro leaves and jalapeños.