14 Great Side Dishes

A side dish can really make the rest of your meal sing. It also can add vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients you may not get from the main course. These WebMD recipes will give you some healthy, tasty ideas.

Quick Spinach Italiano

Potassium, magnesium, vitamins A and K, and more -- your arms will be bulging like Popeye’s in no time. Well maybe not, but you get the idea. This super-quick recipe uses frozen spinach, which is easy to keep on hand.

Wild Rice With Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Wild rice has much more fiber than other kinds of rice. It also has lots of nutrients, a pleasant nutty flavor, and a chewy texture. This recipe adds the zest of sun-dried tomatoes for a bold side dish that will stand up to a hearty entree.

Kale and White Beans

Thanks to loads of nutrients and fiber, kale is hard to beat as the new side green of choice. But it can be bland and hard to chew if it’s not made right. This recipe takes care of that. 

Swiss Chard Italian Wraps

It may not be as well-known as its famous cousin kale, but Swiss chard is packed with nutrients, too. It’s also softer and less fibrous, which makes it easier to work with. This recipe uses it as a wrap for other ingredients -- in this case, mozzarella cheese, garlic, and tomatoes.

Cheesy Stuffed Potato

They sometimes get a bad rap, but potatoes give you a big boost of potassium and fiber, if you eat them skin and all. This recipe has cheesy goodness and puts a new twist on an old favorite -- and gets you more vegetables to boot.

Baked Asparagus With Balsamic Sauce

Asparagus is loaded with vitamin K and folate, and it has plenty of fiber, too. This version layers on a rich sauce that makes it a great side dish for that steak you’ve been craving.

Basil Quinoa With Red Bell Pepper

A grain that’s somewhat new to the table, quinoa has lots of phosphorus, potassium, and iron. Try this recipe with some fresh fish or grilled chicken for a healthy, hearty meal that’s low in calories.

Brussels Sprouts Sauteed With Pecans and Shallots

Maybe it’s time to give Brussels sprouts another try. They have lots of fiber and potassium, and this recipe makes them crunchy and loaded with flavor. And it’s got bacon.

Cranberry-Glazed Carrots

Known for packing a lot of vitamin A, carrots add color to your table and taste pretty good, too -- especially if you cover them in cranberry sauce, salad dressing, and toasted pecans, like this recipe does.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Here’s a gourmet take on a classic. In addition to their nutrients, potatoes also help you leave the table satisfied. This recipe cuts calories and saturated fat by using fat-free half-and-half instead of cream.

Creamy Peanut Coleslaw

Raw cabbage, the main ingredient in coleslaw, is rich in nutrients and may help protect you from certain kinds of cancer, including prostate, colon, and breast. Try this version, which has roasted peanuts on top, with some barbecue chicken from the grill.

Green Bean Casserole

Rich in nutrients and low in calories, green beans are a healthy addition to any main course. And, of course, the casserole is a fan favorite. Here’s a recipe that keeps the richness of the original with fewer calories.  

Pan Fried Cabbage

Not only is cabbage low in calories, it’s also loaded with naturally occurring phytonutrients that may help protect you against cancer and other diseases. This recipe is a new way to prepare it

Sweet Potatoes & Carrots a l'Orange

This combo will deliver your shot of vitamin A for the day and then some -- both sweet potatoes and carrots have loads of it. Sweet potatoes also have more fiber, fewer calories, and fewer total carbs than white potatoes. This recipe offers a festive presentation.

8-Hour Diet: Fast 16 Hours to Lose

The 8 Hour Diet is a popular weight loss plan from David Zinczenko the author of the best-selling book Eat This Not That.

With this diet, David promises readers that they can lose 20-60 pounds or more and still eat whatever they want.

The key to the 8 Hour Diet is only consuming calories within an eight-hour window each day.

His concept isn’t entirely new as there have been several diets over the years that promote intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight. Here’s how his version works.

8 Hour Diet Basics

This diet works on the theory that the human body is designed for periods of eating and then periods of fasting.

This involves consuming calories over an 8-hour period and then fasting for a 16-hour period each day. During the 16-hour period, the human body should be focused on repair and rest, rather than continually digesting food.

8 Hour Food Window

All of a dieter’s daily calories must be consumed only during his/her predetermined 8-hour eating window.

For example, if your calorie window is from 9 am to 5 pm, you must eat during that time period only.

The window can be adjusted depending on a person’s schedule and can be different during different days of the week. Dieters should eat this way at least 3 days a week at the beginning of the diet and gradually increase towards the ultimate goal of 7 days a week.

Eat Whatever You Want

There are no forbidden foods on The Eight Hour Diet, but Zinczenko does advise that this diet is not an excuse to overeat. Portion size must still be considered.

The only exception to this rule is sugary beverages since the 8 Hour Diet discourages drinking calories.

Delay Breakfast

Dieters should delay eating breakfast until the beginning of their food window. For example, If you can’t start eating until 10 am, Zinczenko recommends starting the day with a cup of tea, water, or coffee and doing some light exercise before any calories are consumed. (similar to 6 Weeks to OMG Diet)

Eat as Often as You Want

Snacks can be eaten as often as a dieter wants as long as all eating is within the 8 Hour Diet window.

Portion size should be considered when choosing snacks.

Supercharge the Diet

The 8 Hour Diet shows dieters how choosing 8 healthier power foods instead of processed and refined foods can dramatically increase the effectiveness of the diet and the dieter’s overall good health. The book gives suggestions on how to easily incorporate these foods into the diet.

Sample Meal Plan

Upon Rising

Water, coffee, or tea

Breakfast (10 am)

Oatmeal with blueberries and maple syrup
Coffee, tea, or water


1 granola bar


2 slices of pizza
1 8oz bag of potato chips
1 apple


1 fudge brownie

Dinner (5:30 pm)

Grilled Salmon Steak
Baked sweet potato w/butter
1 cup of broccoli
½ cup ice cream

Only 8 Minutes of Exercise

To be successful on the 8 Hour Diet just eight minutes of exercise is required to turbocharge the fat burning process.


Why The 8 Hour Diet Works

  • It all comes down to calorie restriction. If you can find a way to keep the calories low enough to result in weight loss, you will be successful. By only having 8-hours to consume your food, you might be able to trick the body into taking in fewer calories.
  • This diet reminds me of a couple of years ago when Oprah talked about cutting off your eating at 6 pm as a way to lose weight. This became a popular diet trend for a while because it helped to prevent late night overeating and excess calorie consumption.
  • Intermittent fasting has shown health benefits.
  • Another benefit is that you don’t have to deprive yourself. Many of us have been through so many diets that we feel overwhelmingly deprived. This is bad for our long term success. We need to learn how to feel comfortable making choices that aren’t so healthy, but in exercising excellent moderation and portion control. 

The bottom line is: The body knows calories in and calories out for the entire day. So, if you can eat balanced, keep the metabolism going strong, feel healthy, then it doesn’t matter too much when you eat. It matters how much you eat.

Where This Diet Could Fail

  • The authors claim that the types of food don’t matter too much. However, you can’t expect to eat 1200 calories of chocolate for your diet and feel amazing. We must continue to eat a balanced portion of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and a few healthy carbohydrates. The authors do support healthy eating with the 8 Hour Diet Power Foods, but they don’t want to restrict you.


    Eight Hour Diet Power Foods

  • It can be tough to stave off hunger in the evenings. For example, if you start eating at 8 am, then you can’t eat anything past 4 pm. What are you supposed to do if you feel hungry again at 8 pm, and don’t go to sleep until midnight?
  • Many suggest waiting to have breakfast to help with this. But, research proves that breakfast is best for the metabolism if eaten within the first hour of waking.
  • Not suitable for those with unstable blood sugar.
  • The authors say that you only have to follow the diet 3 days per week. This seems odd to me. Why not follow it 6 days per week? 3 days is only about 43% of the time. This doesn’t seem too effective.
  • This is not a new diet idea. Intermittent fasting has been around for quite a few years now but has yet to gain popularity until now.

In the end, the positives and negatives seem to balance out. I have a feeling it will work for about half of the people who try it.

So, try the diet if you like, and let us know how it goes for you!

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

  • References
  • Mattson, M. P., & Wan, R. (2005). Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 16(3),
  • BLOOM, W. L., & AZAR, G. J. (1963). Similarities of Carbohydrate Deficiency and Fasting: I. Weight Loss, Electrolyte Excretion, and Fatigue. Archives of internal medicine, 112(3), 333-337. Link
  • Brownell, K. D., Greenwood, M. R. C., Stellar, E., & Shrager, E. E. (1986). The effects of repeated cycles of weight loss and regain in rats. Physiology & Behavior, 38(4), 459-464. link