The secret to experiencing the healthiest and easiest fast is to stay hydrated. Eating foods that are high in complex carbohydrates and water are important. That means water rich foods like cucumbers, apples, watermelon, lettuce, zucchini, and eggplant, combined with protein and carbohydrates. Not necessarily pizza and pasta though, those foods do not keep you full for long. Whole grains, sweet potatoes, lentils, and beans provide fiber, protein and carbohydrate combinations to keep you nourished for longer periods of time. Try some of these recipes with alongside some of your traditional favorites to ensure a hydrated day.

Mulligatawny Soup with Brown Rice

photo by Taste of Home

Serves 6

Don’t be afraid of the full flavors in this soup. Its rich and filling and the flu-fighting ingredient of chicken broth will hydrate you when you need it. The whole grain brown rice in this soup is the perfect complex carbohydrate needed on a fast. As an alternative, make chicken noodle soup. Choose your favorite chicken soup recipe, but make sure the vegetables are cut up into small pieces, and serve it with lots of shredded or cubed chicken from the soup and noodles too.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (this is a pinch, adds flavor not too much heat, or omit)
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) chicken broth (I use the Imagine brand in the box)
  • ¼ cup uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (any leftover chicken soup chicken roasted or grilled or use a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled sweet apple
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Garnish: 5 tablespoons Tofutti, non-dairy sour cream, optional

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add celery, onion and carrot and cook 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in flour, curry powder and cayenne until blended, stir and cook another 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in broth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add rice. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 45-50 minutes or until rice is tender.

Add chicken, spinach, apple, salt, pepper and thyme; cook, uncovered, 3-5 minutes or until heated through and spinach is wilted. Serve soup warm with dollop of Tofutti sour cream.

Best Roasted Chicken

Photo by simply recipes

Serves 5

One of the easiest and most delicious dishes. Don’t just make this before a fast!

  • 1 (4 - 6 lb.) whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Earth balance buttery stick or margarine, at room temperature*, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 head garlic, top sliced off horizontally
  • Fresh parsley
  • ½ cup white wine

Place chicken on an oven-safe baking dish. Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a small dish, mix onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix in softened margarine or oil until incorporated. Rub mixture under and on top of chicken skin. Spread thoroughly all over chicken, both underneath the skin, and on top of the flesh, and on top of the skin. If needed, sprinkle on more dried herbs and drizzle with a little more oil.

Place lemon, garlic, and parsley in cavity, close and tie chicken legs. Drizzle chicken with white wine

Roast uncovered, for 45 minutes - 1 hour, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Serve chicken warm with pan drippings.

* Earth balance buttery sticks are pareve (non-dairy) alternative to margarine. They are made with compressed canola oil and are a healthier alternative to margarine.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey

Photo by Chesea’s Messy Apron

Serves 6

These are delicious, sweet and savory. More filling and nutritional than white potatoes too.

5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1-2 inch pieces

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup canola oil or melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Preheat oven to 375°F. If you have a convection oven setting, this is a good time to use it.

Lay the sweet potatoes in a single layer on a roasting tray. Sprinkle generously with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and honey. With your handles toss and coat potatoes thoroughly.

Roast for 25 to 35 minutes in oven or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Marinated & Grilled Zucchini

Photo by Renee Comet

Serves 6

Zucchini is a super hydration food. This warm zucchini is wonderful on its own or atop a crunchy green salad.

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound zucchini (about 3 large), trimmed and sliced diagonally about 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 pound yellow crookneck squash (about 3 large), trimmed and sliced diagonally about 1/4-inch thick

Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, thyme and mint in a large bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the marinade into a small bowl. Cover and set aside. Add the zucchini and yellow squash to the remaining marinade and place in a resealable plastic bag. Seal and marinate at room temperature at least 3 hours or refrigerate up to 1 day.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the vegetables until they are crisp-tender and brown, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a platter. Drizzle with the reserved marinade and serve hot or at room temperature.

Alternatively, serve atop a green salad. Drizzle remaining dressing on salad and serve.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

photo by Taste of Home

Serves 8

The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water. The dressing is tangy and sweet but keeps you hydrated.

  • 2 English cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 1 Vidalia onion, halved, sliced thin
  • 2 scallions,sliced thin, white and green parts
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons Tofutti non-dairy sour cream (or sour cream for a dairy only meal)

In a medium bowl, toss cucumbers, onions, scallions, and dill.

In a small bowl, whisk sugar, water, vinegar, salt, and non-dairy sour cream until smooth. Pour dressing over cucumber onion mixture. Toss and store until ready to use. Can be made a day before serving. In fact, its best made at least 4 hours and up to a day before serving.

Homemade Applesauce

 

Makes 6 cups

Applesauce is sweet and hydrating and extra-delicious over some non-dairy ice cream for dessert. The homemade version makes the house smell amazing and if you use local fresh apples or a store-bought seasonal varietal, it is extra scrumptious.

6 pounds mixed apple varieties (local apples are best, Granny Smith, Gala, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious), peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces

1 cup apple juice or water

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons brandy, optional

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Generous sprinkle ground nutmeg

Place apples, apple juice, lemon juice and brandy into a large pan or pot and bring it to the boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until the apples are soft, about 15 minutes. Add sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

With a potato masher or a food processor mash the mixture coarsely for chunky applesauce or puree until smooth. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to use.

Serve warm over non-dairy ice cream.