A few days back, we took to Instagram and asked you to share your best healthy desserts of the summer by using the hashtag #FoodNetworkFaves. And my — oh, my — did you deliver. Our feed was studded with fruity treats, home-baked confections and more good-for-you sweets that prove this summer was the sweetest yet. Here are some of our favorites.
Getting back into the swing of the school year takes time. Just getting the kids out the door with their teeth brushed, shoes on and homework in tow is an ambitious feat to pull off every day — and you better bet sitting down to a nice family breakfast straight out of the movies isn’t about to become a daily ritual either. Make busy mornings a whole lot easier by dropping the kids off at school — or the bus stop — with healthy take-to-school breakfast recipes that will keep them full and focused until lunchtime.
Take the stress out of mornings by baking at night or during the weekend. Ellie Krieger’s easy, no-butter Apple Muffins are made with whole-wheat pastry flour and loaded up with nourishing pecans and chunks of Golden Delicious apples. Ellie swaps the butter out for applesauce, which keeps the muffins moist and fruity without adding fat. Send your little ones off with these muffins and they’ll be set for the morning.
If your healthy lifestyle doesn’t quite welcome American classics like hot dogs and burgers with open arms, rest assured that it’s possible to eat patriotically on Saturday without completely sidestepping your efforts. When we asked you to share your finest healthy treats on Instagram in honor of July 4th, just like that, our #HealthyEatsFN hashtag was flooded with gorgeous, good-for-you red, white and blue treats. Here are some of our favorites.
Right up there with the burgers and hot dogs, pasta salad is one of those can’t-pass-up dishes that we can’t wait to serve up every summer, when we finally dust off the grill and throw a backyard cookout. Though the pasta and macaroni salads you’re used to may have been drenched in mayo, these better-for-you recipes prove that, with a few easy modifications, you can still take a scoop of this classic side without derailing your healthy lifestyle.
Just because you’re lightening up your pasta salad, it doesn’t mean you have to go without the creamy texture you grew up on. Instead of leaving the mayo out altogether, simply ease up on it for a lighter American Macaroni Salad. Food Network Kitchen’s quintessential recipe also loads up on veggies, so you get their crunch and nutrients.
You’ve heard it all before: Eating a rainbow of recipes is a sure way to keep healthy. Each colorful fruit or veggie on your plate brings its own share of valuable vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that work together to keep you fit as a fiddle. Get inspired by the Instagram photos of healthy-eating trendsetters who put colorful ingredients at the forefront of their dishes.
Cinco de Mayo is upon us. For a lot of us, it’s a day of bottomless guacamole scooped up in crispy fried tortilla chips, blissful rounds of salt-rimmed margaritas, and the endless guzzling of tacos and burritos. That being said, it goes without saying that it’s a day when our diets go by the wayside. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With these healthy Mexican recipes on your side, Cinco de Mayo can jibe with your healthy lifestyle without a problem.
You better bet tacos will be involved on the 5th of May. Ellie Krieger’s Chili-Rubbed Steak Tacos (pictured above) are loaded up with lean spicy steak, homemade salsa, shredded cabbage and cilantro — and they’re just as vibrant and delicious as they are healthy.
If you’re asking me, broccoli and cheese go together just like peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies. When creamy melted cheese, particularly cheddar, crosses with the green vegetable, a little magic happens. Of course, adding a little dusting of cheese can punch up nearly anything, but these recipes prove that broccoli and cheese share a beautiful union that can’t be denied (and still manages to be healthy). Though the mention of cheese might raise a few red flags for the health buff, broccoli and cheddar share a friendship of good influences, as a little dose of the good stuff sure goes a long way. Especially if getting your little ones to eat this cruciferous vegetable is a nightly challenge, uniting it with a much-loved indulgence is a sure-fire way to please. Read more
How did This Mama Cooks! On a Diet get started?
I started posting Thanksgiving recipes on my mom blog. Since I love cooking at Thanksgiving, it made sense to start a new blog just to document what I planned to cook that year. From there This Mama Cooks! morphed into a diet blog and then a healthy food and lifestyle blog.
What’s the best tip you can give to busy people looking to get healthy?
Small changes! If you do it all at once, you’ll be overwhelmed and won’t be successful in changing your life for the better.
Which This Mama Cooks! On a Diet recipe do you recommend for someone looking to please everyone in the family?
Chili made in a slow cooker. My favorite is Healthy Slow Cooker Pumpkin and Bean Chili (pictured above). You can quickly put it together before leaving for work. It’s delicious. And the kids won’t notice that you snuck in healthy vegetables and high fiber beans.
Tell us your story. Why did you embrace a no-salt diet?
Shortly after my twenty-first birthday, I went from wrestling for the perfect dorm room to fighting for my life. The autoimmune disease, Lupus, was aggressively attacking my kidneys and brain. After three months of chemotherapy, dialysis, and amazing medical care, I survived; my kidneys, however did not.
From the beginning, though, I was determined to do whatever I could, on top of medicine, to give myself the best chance of staying strong. That meant taking on a strict, no-salt, low-sodium diet. But as a very stubborn twenty-something, I was equally resolute to taste and experience everything life had to offer me. That meant rewriting the low-sodium rules.
Today, I live on medication and diet alone, having been off of dialysis and the kidney transplant for over seven years. I cook with love and respect and joy. I eat more adventurously than I did before restrictions.
How do you go about altering your favorite recipes?
I love the task of “salt-freeing” super salty recipes. Like an Iron Chef challenge, I feel like I get total creative license in order to successfully use the secret ingredient (or, in this case, not use it). Which means that I start with a traditional dish, and using imaginative and playful swaps, then I end up with something familiar but new and fun.
Oftentimes, we go to great caloric lengths to cool down, whether it’s slurping down a fluorescent margarita by the pool or downing a teetering ice cream cone. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If there’s anything that melon’s good for, it’s cooling you down. And the refreshing capabilities of cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon go far beyond the category’s prominent presence in fruit salad. On the contrary, melon does wonders in a salad, adds creaminess to a cool soup or can be transformed into something entirely unexpected. Melon fettuccini, anyone? Unlike other ultra-tangy, sugary fruits, melon serves as a foundation for bigger things. Seriously, the options are endless.