With berry season in full swing, nothing beats a bowl of sweet, in-season fruit for dessert. Growing up, berries and Cool-Whip or whipped cream was a staple treat in my house. As an adult I’m not able to eat dairy, but still want to enjoy the classic combination. Here’s a fun, healthy upgrade to a traditional whipped cream that you’ll love. It’s bursting with rich, creamy flavor, is dairy free and added sugar is optional.
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This party-perfect recipe is a great replacement for traditional mayonnaise-based salads; it gets its creamy texture from dairy-free yogurt. The fresh carrots, grapes and tarragon give this salad an exciting, fresh taste. Gluten-free pasta makes it gluten free, of course, but if you don’t have a sensitivity, any pasta will do.
If you’re looking to up your kids’ veggie intake, read this! A new study found that serving vegetables alongside dip leads to munching on more veggies. Interestingly, kids were also found to prefer dips flavored with herbs and spices over plain, more bland dips.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that adding herbs or spices to a reduced-fat dip increased a child’s willingness to eat veggies. The portion-controlled 3 ½ tablespoon dips served to the kids had 50 calories, 4 grams of fat and 90 milligrams of sodium.
Pre-school children ages 3 to 5 years told researchers from the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University that they liked veggies when paired with a favorite flavored dip compared to eating a veggie without a dip or with a plain dip. Thirty-one percent of kids liked a veggie alone while 64% liked a veggie when it was served with their favorite dip. In addition, 6% of kids refused the vegetable when served with a flavored dip as compared with 18% who refused the veggie when served without any dip.
During a second experiment, researchers found that kids ate significantly more of a previously rejected or disliked veggie when it was offered with a favorite reduced-fat herb dip compared to when it was offered alone.
It can be intimidating to try new recipes, especially when you’ve perfected a healthy and beautiful recipe such as Giada’s Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil and Salmon. It can be difficult to find new recipes that are nutritious and simple to make, and the unknown is always risky — what if a new recipe isn’t as crowd-pleasing as your old standbys? I’ve taken the stress out the search for you: here are a few dishes to try when you’ve tired of the norm – these recipes are healthful, delicious, satisfying and fuss-free.
If You Like: Giada’s Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon (above)
This recipe from Giada is like spa food, made at home. All of the nutritious components — whole-wheat spaghetti, salmon, fresh greens — come together to create a rejuvenating and satisfying dish. Capers, lemon zest, and basil infuse the pasta with just the right amount of flavor, while also allowing the salmon to shine.
If you’re ready to switch up your salmon for a different fish, try this seared tilapia. Tilapia is a mild and flaky white fish; the real flavor in this dish comes from the gremolata – a piquant blend of fresh mint, garlic, lemon zest and pepper flakes – that dresses both the asparagus and fish for a refined and healthy dinner.
Get the Recipe: Seared Tilapia with Asparagus and Spicy Mint Gremolata
Banana pudding is a classic dessert made by layering vanilla pudding with wafer cookies, loads of fluffy whipped cream and of course, bananas. After a few hours (or a night) in the refrigerator, the pudding and whipped cream soften the cookies and they become cake-like and infused with banana flavor. Banana pudding is creamy, cool, comforting and indulgent — maybe a little too indulgent. If you love the flavors of banana pudding but don’t want a calorie overload, you can still enjoy this dessert classic with this Food Network Kitchen’s lighter banana pudding. It’s made with homemade vanilla pudding made with low-fat milk, that has all the creaminess you expect thanks to a few tablespoons of sour cream stirred in at the end. Use reduced-fat vanilla wafer cookies, and be sure your bananas are very ripe so they’ll impart the strongest banana flavor possible.
Try it This Weekend: Lightened Up Banana Pudding
More Healthy Banana Desserts:
When I’m cooking the same dish multiple times a week, I know it’s time to find new recipes. This can be difficult because sometimes I don’t have the energy to find new healthy recipes and sometimes I don’t have the time to try out these recipes — I know that I can have my favorite recipes on the table quickly so it’s easiest to defer to those. If you’re facing the same problem, I’ve taken the hard work out the endeavor for you; if Buffalo chicken wings, or Ellie’s healthier Buffalo chicken salad, have become a weekly staple in your house, here are a few new healthy recipes to try.
Hash browns are almost synonymous with breakfast. Whether you like yours extra-crispy or full of spice, these simple spuds are a perfect weekend brunch item. Surprise dad this Father’s Day with a serving of this hearty breakfast side that’s surprisingly healthy.
If extra potatoes are on hand in the kitchen, simply wash them, shred them and toss them into the skillet for easy hash browns. Stay away from the temptation of peeling the spuds because potato skins add texture. If time is short, use frozen hash browns—a must-have freezer staple. Pick up a few extra bags to have on hand and whip into these easy recipes.
Hash Brown Casserole (pictured above) is a comforting dish that gets lightened up thanks to Greek yogurt and milk. The crispy breadcrumb and cheese topping makes the dish extra-special. Once the casserole is in the oven, use the 45 minutes of cooking time to clean up the kitchen or spend time with Dad.
In my house, we always grill steaks for dad on Father’s Day. The secrets to making a steak dinner a healthy one are simple: it’s all a matter of buying the right cuts of beef and making sure portions aren’t outrageous.
Lighter cuts of beef include flank steak, top loin, sirloin, T-bone, filet mignon, and tenderloin. Trim off any visible fat before adding your marinade or rub. Grilling your steak will also allow even more fat to drip off.
Aim for 6-ounces of raw steak and get rid of that bottled sauce. Flavor the steak using fresh herbs, spices, fruits, veggies and other wholesome ingredients. Make a batch of Dana’s Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning and send the other dads home with their own jar.
Use our lightened-up steak ideas on your favorite dad-worthy recipe, or surprise dad with one of our favorite healthy steak recipes this weekend.
Team gatherings are a great way to build team morale and make sure everyone gets a good meal the night before a competition. There’s no need for parents to over-think the menu. Provide plenty of fluids (water, 100% fruit juice and milk), some fresh veggies and pasta.
Some parents feel the need to shy away from carbs but this is exactly what athletes need prior to exercise. Pasta dinners are also easy and cost-effective. Add some protein from meatballs, turkey meatballs, chicken breast or chicken sausage, plus a big salad with vinaigrette dressing and voila — all your nutritional bases are covered.
When the weather permits, cook up a team barbecue complete with turkey burgers, veggie burgers, plus pasta and potato salads. Remember to make accommodations for anyone on the team who’s vegetarian or has food allergies.
Don’t forget dessert! A large fruit salad or watermelon wedges and some small baked treats will please the whole crowd. Cookies, brownies or cupcakes decked out with team colors are always popular.
A team brunch might also be a good idea before the team hits the road for a trip. In this case opt for bagels with cream cheese and peanut butter, smoothies, yogurt, fresh fruit, frozen waffles and scrambled egg wraps. All will provide healthy fuel that is easy to grab and go. Don’t forget the fluid here either. Water, 100% fruit juice and if it’s a hot day, sports drinks to take on the bus ride.
- Melon Wrapped Prosciutto
- Mini Turkey Meatballs
- Chili Cheese Dip
- Grilled Cherry Pepper Poppers
- Chunky Guacamole
- Macho Gazpacho