Tag Archives: baking

National Bake and Decorate Month

National Bake and Decorate Month

It’s National Bake and Decorate Month, and with these lightened-up recipes, you don’t have to ruin your healthy eating to participate.

First up is a gorgeous Banana, Almond & Chocolate Cake that will satisfy your chocolate fix.

Banana, Almond & Chocolate Cake
Image and Recipe via Green Kitchen Stories

 

These gluten-free Cherry Pie Bars are the perfect summer treat and easier to share than a whole pie.

Cherry Pie Bars

 

 

Raspberry-Currant Yogurt Crumble Cake is a perfect afternoon snack for your sweet tooth.

Raspberry-Currant Yogurt Crumble Cake
Image and Recipe via Dolly and Oatmeal

 

This Lemon Curd Tart with Blackberries is also low-carb if you’re cutting back.

Lemon Curd Tart with Blackberries
Image and Recipe via My PCOS Kitchen

 

This Carrot Cake uses Greek yogurt in place of butter for a lighter take on the classic.

Healthy Gluten Free Sugar Free Carrot Cake

 

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Pomegranate Salt are an elevated take on your favorite.

Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Pomegranate Salt

 

Make this beautiful Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Salty Date Caramel and Coconut Cream to impress.

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Salty Date Caramel and Coconut Cream
Image and Recipe via The First Mess

Self-Care Month

Self-Care Month

It’s Self-Care Month, and if you’re not sure why self-care matters, these TED talks can explain why your emotional and physical health should be a priority.

If you’ve never focused on self-care before, these 10 habits are a great way to get started.

Taking Time for Yourself

 

Create a relaxing routine for self-care. Whether it’s herbal tea and reading a book before bed or coffee and the newspaper in the morning, taking structured time for yourself is a great way to wind down and prepare you for the next thing.

Relaxing Routines

 

Take a break from technology. Whether it’s picking up a book, heading outdoors, or just spending time with friends or family, turning off the news and social media can help you refocus on yourself.

A Break from Tech

 

If you need to be more mindful or focus on relaxation, even if it’s only for 5 minutes, find a meditation app that can help guide you.

Mindful Meditation

 

Learn something new. Cooking or baking new recipes, knitting, or playing an instrument requires you to focus but can also give you time to yourself.

Learn Something New

 

Mixing up your day-to-day routine, like taking a different route to work, can help you get out of a rut, and these little changes can help you create new neural pathways to keep the brain healthy and build new habits.

Changing Up Your Routine

Whole Grains Month

Whole Grains Month

It’s Whole Grains Month, and we can help you make hearty and cozy meals this fall with healthy whole-grain recipes.

First, learn about your favorite grains and how to cook them.

Cooking Grains
Image via Berkeley Wellness

 

Throw together these Vegan Whole-Grain Spelt Waffles for a guilt-free brunch.

Vegan Whole Grain Spelt Waffles.

 

Your lunch is covered with these 50+ Gorgeous Grain Salads


Image and recipe via Popsugar

 

Wow the family this holiday season with these beautiful Whole-Grain Oat Rolls.

Whole Grain Oat Rolls

 

This Blueberry Oatmeal Bread is sure to be a hit for breakfast or dessert.

Blueberry Oatmeal Bread

 

Need a weekend baking project? Try this Homemade Multigrain Sandwich Bread.

Homemade Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread
Image and Recipe via Whole and Heavenly Oven

 

This Healthy Barley Soup is a hearty soup perfect for your next rainy or sick day.

Healthy Barley Soup Recipe

National Bake for Family Fun Month

National Bake for Family Fun Month

It’s National Bake for Family Fun Month, so we have some healthy family favorites to help you get in the kitchen with your kids.

First up are Clean Triple Chocolate Scones that the whole family will love.

Clean Triple Chocolate Scones
Image and Recipe via Amy’s Healthy Baking

 

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this Healthy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Healthy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Image and Recipe via Running with Spoons

 

Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Cookies are the perfect after-school snack and activity.

Cinnamon Roll Oatmeal Cookies
Image and Recipe via Amy’s Healthy Baking

 

Make breakfast ahead of time with Healthy Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

Healthy Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Image and Recipe via Baker by Nature

 

These Clean “Elvis” Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes will be a hit with your kids.

Clean “Elvis” Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes
Image and Recipe via Amy’s Healthy Baking

 

Make everyone happy with these Best Healthier Brownies in their lunchboxes.

Video and Recipe via Chelsea’s Messy Apron

 

Get baking on the weekends with these One-Bowl Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins.

One Bowl Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Image and Recipe via Running with Spoons

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Holiday Cookie Eating

Chasing Health: My Ho-Ho-Horrible Holiday Eating & Exercise Habits

I love the holiday season. In the fall and early winter, it seems like there is something special to celebrate nearly every other week. The list goes on and on, and I can’t get enough of it.

As a holiday enthusiast, I appreciate it all, from decorating, baking, and gift-buying to curling up and watching holiday-themed movies, not to mention mouth-watering smells, twinkling lights, and feeling like you’re in a magical snow globe at the first sight of flurries. Seems innocent enough, right?

Well, when I’m not watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Home Alone 2 for the 80th time, tearing up when “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” comes on the radio, or obsessing over the placement of ornaments on my tree (perfectionism strikes again), you can probably find me eating all the delicious holiday goodies that come along this time of year.

On top of turkey, ham, and the wide selection of casseroles, you get fudge, cookies, cheeseball, cheese dips, and pretty much any other finger food you can imagine. It’s amazing.

This is the time of year a lot of people take a break from their diets and indulge. It’s also the time of year when the days are short and cold, and your couch and TV seem to call your name the minute you walk through your door. (“Nicole, come catch up on The Walking Dead for the next five hours. I already set out your favorite blanket.”) It’s not a good combination.

But there is hope. Whether you overeat because your stress from the holiday grind has reached Clark Griswold level or (like me) you’ve waited all year for your mom’s chocolate crinkle cookies, you don’t have to put your healthy eating and exercise on hold.

I realize it’s hard to control yourself when you’re surrounded by fabulous snacks in every direction. I go into my family’s celebration with the same strategy every year, and it’s not a healthy one.

On Christmas Eve, I skip breakfast, make ham-and-cheese pinwheels (my decade-and-a-half-long contribution to our family’s party), nibble on the ones that don’t quite make the cut, and consider that my lunch.

An hour or two later when I’m extra hungry from skipping two meals, I help my mom set out all our delicious cookies. I’m an expert in taste-testing.

Cookie pic 2
My mom is in charge of chocolate crinkles (my all-time favorite!), peanut butter, and molasses. I’m in charge of the iced sugar cookies.

Once my aunt’s cheeseball and grandma’s fudge arrive, it’s game over. I’m usually not even hungry by the time my dad’s secret-recipe glazed ham is ready. But I somehow rally like a true holiday-eating champion and get through that meal and an equally delicious meal the next day with the other side of my family.

How does the two-day affair almost always end? With a stomachache and a tinge of regret.

Here is the fabulous spread of delicious goodies. Notice the salad and bowl of oranges. Not everything is unhealthy! Full disclosure, I skip right over both of those.
Here is the fabulous spread of delicious goodies. Notice the salad and bowl of oranges. Not everything is unhealthy! Full disclosure, I skip right over both of those.

Holidays don’t have to end in stomachaches or regret. Here are some tips based on my own worst holiday habits to help you stay on track this holiday season.

  • Don’t cut back on sleep before the big celebration. I like to stay up late any chance I get, whether there’s a special occasion or I’m just watching Netflix by myself. I’m no better than the millions of kids staying up to wait for Santa. But research shows that not getting enough sleep can make you crave the not-so-healthy foods, which isn’t good when the not-so-healthy foods are everywhere.
  • Don’t skip meals to overeat at the party later. Sometimes I think skipping breakfast and lunch gives me a free pass to fill my body with chocolate. It doesn’t. It not only puts me in the wrong mindset, but an Ohio State study suggests that doing this regularly can also affect how your body gains belly fat.
  • Don’t stand around the snack table. This is my favorite place to camp out for the afternoon, but it makes snacking a little too convenient. I probably don’t need a 10th piece of fudge, but who’s counting? (This brings me to my next point.)
  • Keep track of what you’re eating. I started tracking what I eat at the beginning of December as part of a headache diary for my migraines, and my snacking has fallen way off since then. I can only imagine how much this tracking system will help me through the holidays. Any kind of food diary can help you see how healthy or unhealthy your eating habits are.
  • Eat something healthy. Sadly, despite what Buddy the Elf tells us, the main food groups are not “candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.” Mix some fruits and veggies into your holiday meals and snacking options, and eat the unhealthier options in moderation.
  • Keep yourself busy with something other than food. Play games (my brother and I are quite the Catch Phrase duo) or set up a tournament. My cousins and I have hosted all kinds of championship events, everything from table tennis to Guitar Hero to rock-paper-scissors (we must have been feeling either really bored or hyper-competitive that year). The more physically active and farther from the food, the better.
  • Keep up your exercise routine (or something close to it). If you fall off, don’t feel discouraged (and don’t eat more cookies to console yourself). Just start exercising again. It’s easy to make excuses, but if you’re like me, you’ll feel better physically and mentally if you don’t ditch the physical activity.

I hope to follow at least some of these tips this holiday season and hope you do, too. I’ve already tried pretending celery is chocolate. It didn’t go so well, but I have high hopes for these other more reasonable tips.

Happy holidays!

me alternate option

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Fight the Common Food Allergy

Food Allergy Awareness Week

It was Food Allergy Awareness Week, so we had more info each day.

Find ways you can help raise awareness!

FARE_Poster_No_Crop
Image via FARE

 

Millions of people suffer from different kinds of allergies, and there are a lot of myths around them. Get informed on the facts:

Allergy Myths Dispelled
Image via Allergy Be Gone

 

This handy app, LifeCafe Healthy Pantry, can also help you find out what allergens are in your food. Search for it in your app store!

Peanuts are one of the most common food allergies for kids, but there are other nut butters you can try!

Nut Butter Alternatives

 

Eggs are another common food allergy, but there are easy substitutions you can try while cooking so you won’t even notice they’re gone:

Egg Substitutions
Image via Swanson Health Blog

 

If you’re allergic, or just avoiding added sugar, these are some of the best sugar alternatives to try.

Sugar Alternatives

 

Still adapting to a new food allergy? Or never found a good alternative? This chart can help you find options when you’re cooking:

This for That Chart
Image via eReplacementParts.com

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Healthy Cherry Recipes for Fresh Cherry Season

Healthy Cherry Recipes

This week we featured healthy cherry recipes to make the most of the fruit while they’re in season.

First up was an easy overnight recipe for Chocolate Covered Cherry Refrigerator Oatmeal.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Overnight Oats
Image and Recipe via Grocery Budget 101

 

This Purslane Salad with Cherries and Peaches combine the ripest produce in a healthy and unique salad.

Purslane Salad with Cherries and Peaches

purslane salad with cherries and peaches

 

This Sparkling Cherry Spritzer is a refreshing way to drink your fruit.

Sparkling Cherry Spritzer

 

These Rosemary Polenta Pancakes with Fresh Cherries and Lime combine the best flavors of the season.

Rosemary Polenta Pancakes with Fresh Cherries and Lime

rosemary polenta pancakes with sliced cherries and lime

 

This Tomato Bruschetta with Sweet Cherries is a new take on a classic, mixing sweet and savory.

Tomato Bruschetta with Sweet Cherries
Image and Recipe via Babble

 

Very Cherry Hazelnut Coffee Cake takes some time, but it tastes like an old-fashioned breakfast straight from Grandma.

Very Cherry Hazelnut Coffee Cake

 

This Bittersweet Chocolate-Cherry Sorbet with Fresh Cherry Compote tastes rich but is still only 197 calories.

Bittersweet Chocolate-Cherry Sorbet with Fresh Cherry Compote

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