Vegetarian Gluten Free White Chili Mac

I’m going to be honest, this recipe was kind of made up on the fly. Because I tend to feel really awful when I’ve eaten tomatoes. I’m really sensitive to certain nightshade vegetables. So I was planning to make a chili mac dish for lunch but I needed one that doesn’t require tomatoes. Which made me think of white chicken chili with a vegetarian spin.

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Vegetarian White Chili Mac

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 medium Onion diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms stems removed and sliced
  • 2 15oz Cans White Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 4oz Can Diced Green Chiles
  • 3 cups Vegetable Stock
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 8.8oz Box Gluten Free Pasta cooked to package instructions

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender.
  • Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook an additional three to four minutes.
  • Add the beans, green chiles, spices, lime juice, and vegetable stock. Simmer about 15 minutes.
  • Add the cooked gluten free pasta. If preparing for meal prep, divide between meal prep containers and refrigerate until ready to heat and enjoy.
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Pearl Barley Salad with Figs and Chicken

Quick and easy salad, perfect for meal prep

It’s meal prep time again! This salad is a quick and easy combination of lots of amazing super foods. For starters, pearl barley is a good source of potassium and fiber. Figs, dried blueberries, spinach, and pumpkin seeds are all rich sources of antioxidants and other nutrients which help reduce inflammation in the body.

This recipe makes two lunch servings of salad. It can also be doubled and served as a delicious side dish, without the chicken.

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Pearl Barley Salad with Figs and Chicken

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Mini food processor

Ingredients
  

For the Salad

  • 1/2 cup Pearl Barley
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/4 cup Dried Blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 5-6 Calimyrna Figs quartered
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1 Chicken Breast cooked and diced

For the Dressing

  • 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Coarse Ground Mustard
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

For the Salad

  • In a medium pot, place the pearl barley and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, on low, for 30 minutes. The barley should be tender and all the water absorbed. Allow to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine the remaining salad ingredients. Add the cooled barley. Toss with the dressing to coat.
  • Divide the salad into meal prep containers and refrigerate until ready to eat.

For the Dressing

  • In a mini food processor, add the dressing ingredients and blend to combine.
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Roasted Vegetable Salad

Usually, I stick to roasting vegetables for fall and winter dishes. But sometimes, you just need a good comfort dish, regardless of the weather. In which case, this is the vegetarian lunch for you. Salmon or chicken would be great protein additions if you prefer to add a little more protein. This is also a great side dish.

Roasting Veggies

To roast my veggies, I start with preheating the oven to 400 degrees. I prefer roasting at a higher heat, to help the vegetables caramelize. Cut your vegetables into similar sizes to ensure they cook evening. In this salad, I used eggplant, yellow bell pepper, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms. Toss the cut vegetables in a tablespoon or two of avocado oil. Then I season them with a teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of za’atar, salt and pepper. If you’re a regular reader, you’re likely already familiar with my love of za’atar. It adds a delicious earthiness to just about anything. I’m a big fan and use this stuff on just about everything! Spread the veggies on a lined baking sheet in a single layer and roast about 35 minutes. I give them a stir about half way through the cooking process.

Israeli Couscous

Also called Giant Couscous or Pearl Couscous, this toasted pasta is a great option to accompany a wide variety of dishes. It’s quick and easy to prepare and adds great texture.

I’ve not found this in a gluten free option. If you are gluten free, I recommend substituting buckwheat, quinoa or millet in this salad.

You’ll want to follow the package instructions when preparing Israeli Couscous. The variety I use calls for one and a quarter cups of liquid to one cup of couscous. In this case, I used a vegan vegetable stock to add a little extra flavor. The pasta absorbs the cooking liquid so feel free to experiment with different cooking liquids.

Bring the vegetable stock and couscous to a boil in a small pot. Reduce the heat to low and cover for six minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and you’re ready to enjoy. I recommend not leaving the couscous sit too long before adding sauce or dressing. I will get very sticky when it cools and needs the sauce or dressing to keep from forming one big solid clump.

Put it Together

To assemble this salad, add the roasted vegetables and the couscous to a large bowl. I also added some extra peas I had from my Quinoa Pea Salad. Toss everything to combine. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil and the juice of half a lemon to create a dressing. Toss to combine. Garnish with a little sprinkle of za’atar and feta cheese crumbles (omit if serving with meat).


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Roasted Vegetable Salad

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish

Ingredients
  

  • 1 small Eggplant diced
  • 1 small Zucchini sliced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper stem, ribs and seeds removed, cut into chunks
  • 1 large Carrot peeled and sliced
  • 8 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms quartered
  • 1 cup Peas
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Za'atar divided
  • 2 tbsp Avocado Oil divided
  • 1 cup Israeli Couscous prepared according to package instructions
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Feta Crumbles optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss the vegetables in one tablespoon of avocado oil, one teaspoon of za'atar, the cumin, salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables into a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring half way through the cooking process.
  • While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the couscous and peas according to package instructions.
  • To assemble the salad, combine the prepared couscous and peas with the roasted vegetables, along with any cooking liquids from the veggies. Add the remaining avocado oil, lemon juice, and za'atar. Toss to combine. Garnish with feta crumbles (omit if serving with meat).
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Blueberry Pumpkin Seed Chicken Salad

Great for lunch or a quick snack

Chicken salad is a great go to as a sandwich, with greens for a salad, or as a protein-packed snack with crackers. This salad has a little different twist with the addition of sweet, dried blueberries, and crunchy pumpkin seeds. Both add great flavor and extra fiber.

This recipe can dressed in two ways. I used a jarred olive oil based mayonnaise. You can also substitute vegan-aise.

Or blend your own dressing using an avocado, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a table spoon of avocado oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth and creamy.

However you choose to dress this salad, it makes a great grab-and-go lunch. Save yourself some time and use leftover chicken or even a cooled rotisserie chicken from your local market.

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Blueberry Pumpkin Seed Chicken Salad

Prep Time 10 mins
Course Main Course, Salad, Snack

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Chicken cooked and diced
  • 1/4 cups Dried Blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Green onions chopped
  • 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.
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Ginger Pineapple Chicken

The key to keeping meal prep lunches interesting is making them flavorful. This dish is loaded with flavor from the fresh ginger to the juicy pineapple. Add in tender chicken and a protein-packed grain. You really can’t go wrong with this one.

Benefits of Pineapple

Pineapple has long been known as an anti-inflammatory. Why? Because it contains Bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme that aids in digestion and contains anti-inflammatory properties. Studies say it can also help with pain control. So it’s a great ingredient to incorporate into your diet if you are affected by inflammatory autoimmune conditions (see my About Me page for disclaimers). Plus it’s sweet and delicious!

Benefits of Ginger

Ginger has a crazy amount of health benefits. It’s a natural germ fighter. It’s great for relieving nausea and stomach irritation. It’s anti-inflammatory and has been shown to reduce muscle pain. It’s the epitome of a super food! Plus fresh ginger adds a slightly spicy, slightly citrus flavor to dishes. It’s so good!

Grain Options

I try to stick with protein-rich grains with lots of antioxidants in my meals. So I tend to avoid things like white or even brown rice. If that’s your preference with a dish like this, by all means, go for it. But I find there are better options that pack more nutritional value into my meals. Which is important to me when I’m consuming a small portion. Might as well make every calorie count, right? I also like to avoid gluten whenever possible because I find it can lead to inflammation for me. So here are some other options for you:

Quinoa

Quinoa is a delicious super grain that is packed with fiber and protein. It’s a great substitute for rice and it’s really quick to prepare. Be sure to give your uncooked quinoa a rinse before cooking to eliminate any bitterness. My preferred brand of quinoa calls for a two to one ratio of liquid to quinoa. I add two cups of water or vegetable stock and one cup of quinoa to a small pot with a small pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil and simmer for fifteen minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Let it stand about five minutes and then fluff with a fork before serving.

Forbidden Rice

Also aptly known as black rice for its hue, this stuff is also packed with protein, fiber and antioxidants. I really like the subtle nutty flavor while texturally, it gets soft like white rice. It is a little slower cooking than quinoa. My preferred brand takes thirty minutes. But it’s well worth it.

Gluten Free Brown Rice Noodles

This is a great, gluten free pasta option. I like the wider Pad Thai noodles but Maifun is a great option if you prefer a thinner cut. They’re a good source of fiber and they cook up in just five minutes.

Recipe:

Start by taking the skin off a fresh pineapple and removing the core. I like to use a pineapple corer to make this job a little easier and cuts the fruit into even slices. Place half the pineapple into the bowl of a food processor. Add ¼ cup of coconut aminos, 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 inch of grated ginger and a pinch of salt. Process until smooth and set aside.

Cut the remaining pineapple into chunks and set aside.

Cut about a pound of chicken thigh meat into bite sized pieces (swap breast meat if you prefer). Toss the chicken pieces in two tablespoons of cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil to a pan. Heat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken pieces and allow to brown. When the chicken is nearly browned, add the pineapple pieces. Allow them to caramelize. Add the pureed mixture from the food processor. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the chicken pieces are cooked through and the sauce is thickened.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare your grain of choice.

Divide the grain between three meal prep containers. Top with the chicken mixture. Store in the fridge until ready to heat and enjoy.

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Ginger Pineapple Chicken

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Pineapple peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Aminos
  • 3 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 inch Fresh Ginger
  • 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • To prepare the sauce, add half the pineapple along with the coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, and salt to a blender. Process until smooth and set aside.
  • Cut the remaining half of the pineapple into chunks and set aside.
  • Toss the chicken pieces in the cornstarch and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Add the pineapple chunks and allow to caramelize. Pour in the sauce mixture and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened.
  • Prepare your grain of choice.
  • Portion your grain of choice and the chicken mixture between two to three meal prep containers. Refrigerate until ready to heat and enjoy.
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Sweet Chili Chicken Meal Prep

Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry is great for a meal prep lunch. It’s satisfying and delicious without being heavy.

Grain Options

I try to stick with protein-rich grains with lots of antioxidants in my meals. So I tend to avoid things like white or even brown rice. If that’s your preference with a dish like this, by all means, go for it. But I find there are better options that pack more nutritional value into my meals. Which is important to me when I’m consuming a small portion. Might as well make every calorie count, right? I also like to avoid gluten whenever possible because I find it can lead to inflammation for me. So here are some other options for you:

Gluten Free Brown Rice Noodles

This is a great, gluten free pasta option. I like the wider Pad Thai noodles but Maifun is a great option if you prefer a thinner cut. They’re a good source of fiber and they cook up in just five minutes.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a delicious super grain that is packed with fiber and protein. It’s a great substitute for rice and it’s really quick to prepare. Be sure to give your uncooked quinoa a rinse before cooking to eliminate any bitterness. My preferred brand of quinoa calls for a two to one ratio of liquid to quinoa. I add two cups of water or vegetable stock and one cup of quinoa to a small pot with a small pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil and simmer for fifteen minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Let it stand about five minutes and then fluff with a fork before serving.

Forbidden Rice

Also aptly known as black rice for its hue, this stuff is also packed with protein, fiber and antioxidants. I really like the subtle nutty flavor while texturally, it gets soft like white rice. It is a little slower cooking than quinoa. My preferred brand takes thirty minutes. But it’s well worth it.

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce

I love the flavor of Sweet Thai Chili Sauce but all that extra sugar can be a little rough. So I came up with a quick swap that’s a little more anti-inflammatory friendly. Start with a sugar-free apricot jam. Use one made with Stevia. Stevia is a no calorie, plant-based sweetener that is anti-inflammatory friendly. Add a tablespoon of Thai chili paste to a measuring cup and add enough jam to make a cup. Set it aside.

Gluten Free Breading

My go-to coating when I need a breading is cornstarch. Be careful if you have celiac because cornstarch is often processed in plants that also process wheat. Cornstarch adds a light crispiness and helps thicken sauces.

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Recipe

To prepare this recipe, start by cutting your chicken into bite-sized pieces. Toss the chicken in two tablespoons of cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil to a saute pan and heat over medium-high heat, until it shimmers. Add the chicken and brown. It will cook through in the sauce.

Add the slices of bell pepper and matchstick carrots. Cook an additional two minutes. Then lower the heat to low and add the sauce mixture. Allow the chicken and vegetables to simmer in the sauce until the chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare your preferred grain option. In this case, I used rice noodles.

For meal prep, divide the noodles between two meal prep containers. Divide the chicken mixture between the containers. Store in the refrigerator until ready to reheat and enjoy.

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Sweet Chili Chicken

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 tbsp Thai Chili Garlic Paste
  • 1 cup Apricot Jam sugar free
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Your Grain of Choice prepared according to package instructions
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper sliced
  • 1/2 cup Matchstick Carrots

Instructions
 

  • Add the chili sauce to the apricot jam. Stir to combine and set aside.
  • Toss the chicken pieces in the cornstarch and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat the avocado oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken and brown on all sides.
  • Add the sliced bell pepper and matchstick carrots. Cook another two to three minutes.
  • Reduce the heat and add the apricot jam mixture. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
  • Portion your prepared grain of choice, followed by the chicken mixture between two to three meal prep containers. Refrigerate until ready to heat and enjoy.
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Smoky Maple BBQ Salmon

Smokey and delicious

For this salmon recipe, I created a spice paste using hickory smoked sea salt, cumin, and smoked paprika, to create an earthy, smoky flavor, blended with maple syrup, for sweetness. If you like a little heat in your barbecue flavor, I recommend adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or some red pepper flakes to the spice paste.

This is a great recipe for meal prep lunches or a really easy weeknight dinner. Pair it with my gluten free, dairy free “mac & cheese” or Mexican sweet corn sweet potato salad.

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Smoky Maple BBQ Salmon

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients
  

For the Salmon

  • 1 lb Salmon Fillets
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Hickory Smoked Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper optional

Instructions
 

For the Salmon

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, combine the spices and maple syrup.
  • Place the salmon fillets on a lined baking sheet and brush with the spice mixture.
  • Bake the salmon for 25 minutes, or until done.

Notes

Cook’s note: soak your cashews in hot water for approximately 30 minutes before preparing this recipe. You may skip this step if using a high speed blender.
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Gluten Free, Dairy Free “Mac & Cheese”

Guilt-free, satisfying comfort food

Since overhauling my diet in 2019 to a more anti-inflammatory friendly way of eating, it meant avoiding gluten and dairy. Gluten hasn’t been that difficult of a transition. It has it’s challenges but there are so many substitute products available now, it really hasn’t been that bad. But dairy, that has been really tough. Keep in mind, I grew up in the mid-west where we smother literally everything in cheese. Like, we put cheese on our cheese. So avoiding dairy was a big change!

What I really like about this recipe is, you really don’t miss the dairy. It has that yummy, creamy, comforting texture and a delicious flavor. A lot of vegan mac & cheese recipes I’ve run across typically call for white potatoes, which are part of the nightshade family of fruits and vegetables.

There are a lot of conflicting opinions on whether or not nightshade vegetables contribute to inflammation in the body. Personally, I avoid them and replace white potatoes with sweet potatoes, which are anti-inflammatory friendly. But everyone is different and may be affected differently by certain foods. Bottom line, use what best fits your diet or what was recommended by your healthcare provider. My recipe here calls for sweet potatoes, which also gives that familiar yellow color to the sauce.

For the salmon, I created a spice paste using hickory smoked sea salt, cumin, and smoked paprika, to create an earthy, smoky flavor, blended with maple syrup, for sweetness. If you like a little heat in your barbeque flavor, I recommend adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or some red pepper flakes to the spice paste.

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Gluten Free, Dairy Free “Mac & Cheese”

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz Gluten Free Pasta
  • 1 medium Sweet Potato peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup Carrots peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium Onion diced
  • 3/4 cup Water preserved from cooking the vegetables
  • 1/2 cup Raw Cashews
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the pasta according to package instructions and set aside.
  • In a small pot, add the potatoes, carrots, and onions. Add cool water until the veggies are covered.
  • Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the veggies are tender, about ten minutes.
  • When the veggies have finished cooking, use a ladle to carefully measure off 3/4 cup of cooking liquid.
  • Add the veggies, reserved cooking water, and the remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add the sauce to the pasta and stir to coat.
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Chipotle Chicken Salad

Sweet and spicy

Summertime is almost here. The weather is finally warming up and that has me in the mood for light and fresh food when I’m creating my meal prep menus for the week.

This salad is a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. It’s mixed greens, sweet strawberries, creamy avocado, and spicy chicken.

The dressing in this case is mayonnaise-based. I used a combo of mayo, honey, lime juice, and a little sauce from chilies in adobo. It also adds a nice creamy element. If you’re not into mayo, it could be swapped for avocado instead.


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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 2 lunches

Equipment

  • Mini food processor

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken

  • 1 1/2 lbs Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tsp Chipotle Powder
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil

For the Salad

  • 3 cups Mixed Greens
  • 1/2 cup Strawberries quartered
  • 1 cup Sweet Corn prepared to package instructions and cooled, if using frozen
  • 2 Green Onions sliced
  • 1 Avocado diced

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise or 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp Adobo Sauce from chilies in adobo

Instructions
 

For the Chicken

  • Combine the spices in a small bowl and generously coat the chicken pieces.
  • In a pan, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken, about three to four minutes per side.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Allow the chicken to cook through, about 30 minutes for bone in pieces.
  • Once cooked, set the chicken aside and allow to cool.

For the Salads

  • To assemble the salads, divide the salad ingredients evenly between two meal prep containers.
  • Dice the chicken and add to the salad.
  • Refrigerate until ready to eat. Keep the dressing on the side to avoid the mixed greens getting soggy.

For the Dressing

  • Add the dressing ingredients to a mini food processor and proces until combined.
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3 Ideas for Infused Water

Three fresh and flavorful ways to stay hydrated

Infused water is a great way to stay hydrated. It’s also great for getting additional antioxidants into your diet. Plus it can help boost your immune system and regulate blood sugar.

I like to create blends of three types of fruits when I create infused water. I also like to add herbal tea, like mint or ginger, for an extra layer of flavor. Just add a tea bag of your favorite to your pitcher with your fruit.

I recommend getting an infusion pitcher for creating your waters. Mine has a strainer in the lid to keep the fruit, and any seeds or pulp, from getting into my glass.

Staying hydrated is really important for fighting inflammation. So drink up!

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Watermelon Lime Cucumber Water

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Drinks

Equipment

  • Infusion pitcher

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Watermelon cubed or balled
  • 1 Lime sliced
  • 1 small Cucumber sliced
  • 6 cups Water

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients in an infusion pitcher. Refrigerate at least four hours before consuming.

Pineapple Lemon Cucumber Water

Prep Time 10 mins
Course Drinks

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Fresh Pineapple
  • 1 Lemon sliced
  • 1 small Cucumber sliced
  • 6 cups Water

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients in an infusion pitcher. Refrigerate at least four hours before serving.

Strawberry Kiwi Lime Water

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Drinks

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Strawberries sliced
  • 1 Lime sliced
  • 2 Kiwi peeled and sliced
  • 6 cups Water

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients in an infusion pitcher. Refrigerate at least four hours before serving.
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