We all could use a boost in the meal prep department.
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Keeping up with your diet isn’t always easy—perhaps you started this year with a renewed sense of purpose, but now reality has set in and taken the air of your tires. That’s ok—it happens to everyone, and we’re here to help you stay on track.
These kitchen gadgets will save you time and effort. But more importantly, they make cooking fun. And that has surprising health benefits: If you can make that evening meal prep stop feeling like a hassle, you’ll start to enjoy cooking meals at home—which is naturally healthier.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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1) A Hybrid Julienne and Vegetable Peeler
Any way you slice or dice it, this little gadget can help you power through peeling and cutting a pile of fresh vegetables in a fraction of the time. Snag it on Amazon for just $8.75.
2) Microplane Veggie Wedgie
If you’re not a fan of dicing by hand, this tool is definitely for you—you can take any cylindrical vegetable and slice it into perfectly portioned pieces with just a flick of your wrist. Dicing fresh veggies for salads, sauteés, and roasted sheet pan dinners is a breeze with this $13 buy.
The last piece of the puzzle for easily including fresh veggies into every meal is the OXO Spiralizer, which can seamlessly bring zoodles and other fun veg-heavy dishes to life. Trust us, you won’t even miss pasta. Buy it on Amazon for $39.95.
4) Bear Paws Shredder Claws
5) Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender
Making soups, juices, and dips is ten times easier when you don’t have any extra cleanup—this handheld immersion blender can be stuck right into the pot, pitcher, or bowl you’re already working in. It’s just $30 on Amazon.
6) Misto Oil Mister
This clever mister can be filled with almost any type of oil, vinegar, or dressings. The best part? You’ll also stop oversaturating food with a high amount of oil you might not have meant to use. Spend $8 and it’s yours.
7) Compact George Foreman Grill
Cooking with this space-saving gadget is one of the best ways to drain meat of unwanted oils, fats, and grease, with the added bonus of being able to grill all year long. Get to cooking for just $19.
8) Pop Up Steamer Basket
9) Cuisinart Mini Food Processor
Looking to make your own nut butter, sauce, or oat flour? You’ll need this space-saving processor that can make daunting tasks much more manageable. It's a steal at just $37.
10) EZ Salad Cutting Bowl
Skip the pricey salad bar—this gadget lets you throw your favorite lettuce, veggies, and toppings into the bowl and have a chopped salad in seconds. Simply slide your blade through the bowl’s slits, then sit down to enjoy your fresh meal after all of your “hard work”. Bonus? It’s only $15 on Amazon.
44 Healthy Foods Under $1
When you’re on a budget and shopping for one, it can feel nearly impossible to stock up on healthy foods. Fear not: We did the work for you. Check out our list of 44 tasty and healthy foods that’ll cost you less than a buck per serving.
Note: Prices under $1 are based on units per serving and are followed by national average retail price. Pricing is approximate and will vary by brand and location.
1. Pinto beans
Price: .30 per 1/2 cup, $3 per can
If you’re a big fan of ordering refried beans at restaurants, you’ll be glad to hear that they’re a snap to make at home: Just mash pinto beans with garlic and spices on the stove.
Packed with protein and fiber, pinto beans are a delicious and healthy addition to any homemade burrito, soup, or salad. Canned beans are a budget-friendly way to bulk up dinner.
Price: .19 per egg, $3.50 per dozen
When in need of some protein, eggs are a quick fix. Scramble with veggies, add to a crepe, or make a frittata. When in doubt, put an egg on it.
Price: .60 per ounce (20 to 25 nuts), $5 per 8-ounce bag
Grab a small handful of almonds during the day or add to a bowl of cereal or oatmeal for an extra-filling kick of protein and crunch.
Rich in monounsaturated fat and fiber, these super nuts could reduce the risk of diabetes and aid in weight loss. Kamil A, et al. (2012). Health benefits of almonds beyond cholesterol reduction.
Price: .50 per ounce (25 to 30 nuts), $4 per 8-ounce bag
Though some peanut butters are packed with sugar, in their natural form, these legumes can be healthy treat. They’re great in trail mixes.
When eaten in moderation, peanuts supply a dose of healthy fats and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Guasch-Ferré M, et al. (2017). Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. Chicken breasts
Price: .75 for 4-ounces, $2.99 per pound
Forgo fast-food nuggets: A small, fresh chicken breast is cheaper and filled with healthy, lean protein. Make your own gyro with tzatziki or try any of these other non-boring chicken ideas.
6. Black beans
Price: .30 per 1/2 cup, $1.50 per can
These unassuming beans pack a ton of fiber, as well as calcium, potassium, and folic acid.
Pro tip: Buy dry beans for an even better deal. Boiling them at home may preserve more of their cancer-fighting antioxidants. Reverri E, et al. (2015). Black beans, fiber, and antioxidant capacity pilot study: Examination of whole foods vs. functional components on postprandial metabolic, oxidative stress, and inflammation in adults with metabolic syndrome
Cook up some black bean soup or make a healthy black-bean taco.
Price: .12 per 1/2 cup, $1.50 per pound (dry, in bulk)
These mild legumes add richness to curries and soups, plus act as a great meat replacement for Bolognese sauce or burgers.
Bonus points: Lentils have more protein per pound than beef and are rich with antioxidants, so it might be worth it to trade in that cheeseburger once in a while. Ganesan K, et al. (2017). Polyphenol-rich lentils and their health promoting effects. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5713359
8. Garbanzo beans
Price: .30 per 1/2 cup, $3 per can
These little beans (also known as chickpeas) pack a serious amount of fiber. Roast them with olive oil and your favorite spices (think: cumin, paprika, or curry powder) to use as a crouton replacement or blend into DIY hummus.
Price: .20 per ounce, $3 per pound
High in protein and low in fat, tofu is a delicious staple for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Panfry tofu (or tempeh) with veggies in your next stir-fry, scramble extra-firm tofu like eggs, and try the silken variety in a fruit smoothie.
10. Pumpkin seeds
Price: .50 per ounce, $6 per pound
Pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) go well in a salad, sprinkled on soup, or can be roasted with spices for a crunchy snack. Seeing as they’re filled with essential vitamins and minerals, along with protein and iron, you really can’t go wrong.
Price: $1 per pound (in bulk)
Oats are high in fiber, low in fat, and, like many whole grains, may even help lower cholesterol. Hollænder P, et al. (2015). Whole-grain and blood lipid changes in apparently healthy adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26269373
Don’t be afraid to mix things up with one of these overnight oats recipes or non-oatmeal oats recipes instead.
12. Canned salmon
Price: .20 per ounce, $2.50 per 14.75-ounce can
No need to splurge on a salmon fillet to enjoy this seafood packed with omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids fact sheet. (2019).
Grab the canned version for some protein power — without having to dish out big bucks. Then try whipping up a batch of homemade salmon burgers.
13. Canned tuna
Price: .30 per ounce, $1.50 per 5-ounce can
Not only is tuna cheap, but it’s another easy way to get omega-3s. Try mixing with hummus or Greek yogurt for a healthier tuna salad, or any of these tuna recipes.
14. Whey protein
Price: .75 per scoop, $40 per 3-pound container
Need an extra dose of protein? Add whey protein to a smoothie or bowl of oatmeal, or sneak it into your next batch of brownies.
Pick up a breakfast treat that’s versatile and filled with protein and calcium. Just beware of flavors loaded with extra sugar. Greek yogurt is also awesome — and full of protein and probiotics — but it can be more expensive than our $1 limit.
16. Cottage cheese
Price: $1 per 1/2 cup, $5.50 per 16-ounce container
This soft, mild cheese is surprisingly high in protein and tastes great in both sweet and savory dishes. Try it topped with sliced pineapple and berries or make it savory in a creamy pasta sauce.
Price: .25 per cup, $4 per gallon
Add a splash of milk to a fruit smoothie or enjoy it as a classic: over a bowl of cereal. One calcium-filled glass can help keep teeth strong and even stave off excess pounds. Crichton G, et al. (2014). Whole-fat dairy food intake is inversely associated with obesity prevalence: Findings from the observation of cardiovascular risk factors in Luxembourg study
18. Brown rice
Price: .18 per 1/4 cup, $2 per pound
Use instead of white rice in any recipe (note that cooking times differ) for a more exciting flavor and texture. This whole-grain version of rice is full of fiber and may lower the risk of diabetes. Sun Q, et al. (2010). White rice, brown rice, and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women
19. Whole-wheat pasta
Price: .37 per 1/2 cup, $3 per box
Enjoy whole-wheat pasta’s nutty flavor paired with sautéed veggies and a fresh tomato sauce. Not only is the whole-wheat version of pasta more complex in taste, it’s packed with fiber, antioxidants, and protein, and it may even help lower the risk of heart disease. Aune D, et al. (2016). Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4908315/
Price: .30 per 1/2 cup, $1 per pound for kernels
Popcorn is a low calorie snack that’s also a good source of fiber. Pop kernels on the stove or in a paper bag in the microwave, and then top with your fave spices, like taco seasoning or cinnamon.
Price: .60 per 1/4 cup, $5 per 12-ounce box
Rich in protein and fiber, quinoa is a great addition to sweet granola bowls and veggie-filled salads or serve as a side instead of pasta.
Price: .75 per cup, $1.50 per pound
Add sliced grapes to salads instead of sugar-filled dried fruit or freeze them for a refreshing summer snack. It’ll be well worth it: These tiny fruits are high in antioxidants that may help reduce cholesterol. Liu Q, et al. (2018). Comparison of antioxidant activities of different grape varieties.
Price: .30 per cup, $5 per melon
This summer-friendly fruit might is packed with vitamin C. Slice and enjoy in some fruit salads or mixed into water for a flavor punch.
Price: .50 per banana, $2 per bunch
Filled with fiber and potassium, these 100-calorie snacks are any easy grab-and-go treat. Enjoy sliced with your favorite nut butter or blend frozen bananas into creamy single-ingredient ice cream.
Did you know kiwis are actually berries? Start snacking because they’re packed with vitamin C and fiber. Add a kiwi to your next fruit salad or granola bowl, or enjoy straight up with a spoon.
Price: .50 per 1/2 cup, $3 per small melon
Cantaloupe makes a perfect spring or summer treat. The antioxidant-packed fruit pairs well with yogurt, can be frozen as a DIY popsicle, or juiced.
An apple a day, right? Apples have plenty of antioxidants and are an easy staple to keep around the house. Eat them plain, smear with a nut butter, bake ’em hot, or pair with a few cubes of cheese for a protein- and carb-rich snack — perfect post-workout.
Price: .85 each, $1.75 per pound
Pears are high in fiber and antioxidants and come in varieties like Bartlett, Bosc, and Anjou. They’re a perfect match for fall-themed recipes.
Price: .50 each, $1 per pound
Oranges might get talked about for their vitamin C content, but they’re also strong in fiber, folate, and potassium. If you’d rather go with the juice, skip the carton and squeeze your own to make sure you’re not downing any unnecessary sugar.
Add minced garlic to any pan of sautéed vegetables or roast whole in the oven for a sweeter flavor, and then blend into salad dressings and dips. In addition to its vitamins and minerals, garlic may help reduce your likelihood of catching a cold. Nantz M, et al. (2012). Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22280901
31. Canned pumpkin
Price: .75 per 1/2 cup, about $2.50 per 15-ounce can
Pumpkin’s orange color comes from carotenoids, a plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties. Cho K, et al. (2018). Recent advances in studies on the therapeutic potential of dietary carotenoids in neurodegenerative diseases. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5926482 Add canned pumpkin to sweet or savory recipes — smoothies, muffins, veggie burgers, curries, and more.
32. Canned tomatoes
Price: .50 per 1/2 cup, $1.80 per 14.8-ounce can
Tomatoes retain exceptional amounts of the antioxidant lycopene, which can be beneficial for vascular health. Mozos I, et al. (2018). Lycopene and vascular health. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5974099
Canned tomatoes are perfect for homemade sauces and stews, but be on the lookout for cans with no added sodium or sugar.
Price: .18 each, .59 per pound
Use along with garlic as an aromatic base for stir-fries, stews, and sauces or sauté until golden and sweet, then add to salads, pastas, or sandwiches. Onions pack a surprisingly nutritious punch, including a hefty dose of antioxidants. Nicastro H, et al. (2015). Garlic and onions: Their cancer prevention properties. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4366009
Price: .50 each, $2 per pound
Raw carrot sticks are perfect for dipping into hummus or nut butters (don’t knock it ’til you try it!) and taste great roasted with other root veggies and a drizzle of olive oil. That nutritious crunch comes with tons of beta-carotene, useful for healthy skin and immune systems. Grune T, et al. (2010). β-Carotene is an important vitamin A source for humans.
35. Winter squash
Price: .50 per 1/2 cup, $1.50 per pound
Squash is a versatile veggie filled with vitamins, fiber, and potassium. Roast a squash and fill it with whole grains, like brown rice or quinoa and veggies. Top with Greek yogurt or part-skim ricotta for a hearty vegetarian dinner — no bowls needed. Or try roasting it as a base for vegetarian tacos.
Price: .50 per cup (raw, chopped), $2 per bunch
Kale is an antioxidant king among fruits and veggies and contains vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium. Bonus: kale chips. Need we say more?
Price: .35 each, $1 per pound
These naturally sweet magenta gems are filled with betalains, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properites. Li G, et al. (2019). Research progress of betalain in response to adverse stresses and evolutionary relationship compared with anthocyanin. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6749444 Roast with olive oil for salads or as a side dish, add to a smoothie, or make it into a pizza crust.
Price: .50 per 1/2 cup, $2 per bunch
Broccoli has high levels of folate and vitamin C, which may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Yuan G, et al. (2009). Effects of different cooking methods on health-promoting compounds of broccoli.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722699 This veggie tastes amazing blended in soup, stuffed into potatoes, tossed into frittatas, or roasted with a bit of garlic and olive oil.
Price: .50 per cup, $2 per bunch
Replace lettuce with spinach in salads for added nutritional benefits or add a few handfuls into your morning smoothie. These mild-tasting greens are nutrient-dense with vitamins A, K, and calcium.
Here are some ways to use up that bag you probably have in the fridge.
40. Sweet potatoes
Price: .50 each, $1 per pound
Try this healthy alternative in place of a bread slice the next time you’re whipping up an avocado toast recipe. Sweet potatoes have high levels of vitamin A and calcium, plus they’re lower in carbohydrates than their white counterparts (just in case you’re counting).
Studies also show the root veggie has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. Mohanraj R, et al. (2014). Sweet potato (Ipomoea Batatas [L.] Lam)–a valuable medicinal food: A review. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24921903
Price: .50 per 1/2 cup, $3 per 10-ounce frozen package
Skip the chips and enjoy edamame steamed with a touch of salt. These bite-size legumes are filled with fiber and protein, which make for a great afternoon snack. Toss them into salads, too, for some added texture.
Price: .40 per 16-ounce cup brewed at home, $10 per pound
Not only is it good for you, but brewing coffee at home can save some serious cash. This morning pick-me-up also contains antioxidants that help protect your heart.
A small amount can be a great pre-workout choice to help increase endurance (just make sure you limit yourself to about a half cup).
Price: .10 per tea bag, $5 per box
There are plenty of health benefits linked to tea, ranging from lowering risks of depression and strokes to reducing chances of getting certain liver diseases. It may even help you maintain a healthy weight. Koithan M, et al. (2010). Using herbal remedies to maintain optimal weight.
Skip the sugary stuff and brew iced tea at home, and opt for the green or white tea varieties if you’re looking to maximize antioxidant intake. Check out this guide for making the perfect cup.
Price: Free (… kind of). Head to the nearest faucet: Our bodies depend on it. Water keeps us hydrated, flushes out toxins, and helps keep you full between meals. It’s also a lifesaver for skin health.
Still need more proof? Check out one of these science-backed reasons water is awesome.
How to Flavor Your Pancakes Without Too Much Syrup/Other Sources of Sugar
Refined sugars are one of the worst ingredients commonly found in pancakes. On top of that, most store-bought pre-packaged pancake mixes are coupled with highly processed flour and inflammatory oils, which makes a disaster of a recipe when it comes to eating healthy. A good pancake recipe doesn’t need that much sugar, and it certainly doesn’t have to be from a bad source. Fruit, raw honey, and maple syrup are great alternatives to refined table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other highly processed sugars.
The problem is that a lot of unhealthy ingredients hide in pancake recipes. Even homemade recipes call for enriched white flour, vegetable oil or granulated sugar. Sure, you can skip the premade mixes and make your own recipe at home, but you’ll need a good recipe to follow. If you’re not sure how your current favorite pancake recipe stacks up, here is a list of ingredients you want to avoid:
- All-purpose flour
- White or brown sugar
- Regular cow’s milk
- Corn syrup
- Hydrogenated vegetable oil
- Palm oil
- Defatted Soy Flour
- Additives or preservatives such as food colorings or dyes
Research shows that diet high in refined starches and sugar and low in antioxidants and fiber from fruits and vegetables are linked to inflammation and oxidative stress, which is the perfect formula for chronic diseases. Processed foods are not as healthy as their whole food counterparts because they have been stripped of many nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and essential fatty acids. Instead of using a store-bought pancake mix recipe, try making one at home using the following ingredients:
1. Almond Flour
Like coconut flour, almond flour is an excellent choice for low-carb and gluten-free dieters. It contains slightly fewer carbohydrates and fiber than coconut flour but has more calories. A lot of healthy pancake recipes call for the use of both almond and coconut flours because the two pair well together. Coconut flour has a mild taste and lots of fiber, so it absorbs more water than almond flour to create a soft yet dense consistency. On the other hand, almond flour tastes nutty and crunchy, and the mixture tends to be firmer. Plus, when you use them together you’ll get a more complete source of protein and good fats.
Bananas are the perfect binding agent for your pancake batter. They are soft and mushy. Plus, they’re tasty and full of manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. Additionally, bananas are prebiotic, which means that they feed the good bacteria in your gut to promote digestion and a healthy microbiome. Since they are sweet and sticky, bananas can replace refined sugar and other unhealthy ingredients that are used sweeten or enhance the texture of your pancake batter.
3. Coconut Flour
Replacing the wheat or enriched flour in your pancake recipe with coconut flour is a great way to get more fiber, protein and healthy fats in your diet. A one-quarter cup serving of coconut flour provides you with a whopping 10 grams of fiber to support digestive health. Plus, you’ll be skimping out on the gluten and nuts, which are off limits for many people.
4. Flax Meal
Flax meal rounds out the healthy gluten-free flour list. It’s made of finely ground flax seeds, which is the leading plant source of anti-inflammatory omega three fatty acids and fiber. When flax seeds are ground into a fine powder, it unlocks their nutrients because whole flax seeds tend to be so small that they go through the digestive tract undigested. Eating flax meal instead of flax seeds is an excellent way to make you’re getting the nutritional benefits of the food when you eat it.
Like almond flour, flaxseed meal has a slightly nutty taste that enhances the flavor of your pancake recipe. It’s nut-free, so it’s a great alternative to almond flour if you need a nut-free base to pair with coconut flour.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is the perfect sweetener for any pancake batter. It has a sweet flavor and is loaded with health benefits. Research shows that apple cider vinegar may be able to stabilize blood sugar levels after meals, fight diabetes, make you feel full so you lose weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and protect against cancer. It also has antibacterial properties that are great for boosting the immune system and fighting germs from the common cold.
6. Ghee or Coconut Oil
Pancake recipes call for oil on two different occasions. Some recipes have you add them to the recipe itself. You’ll also need to save some to coat the pan you are cooking the pancakes in. Instead of using hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are high in unhealthy fats, use coconut oil or ghee.
Coconut oil has incredible health benefits. It has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties to boost the immune system healthy fats and antioxidant properties that promote weight loss and soothing anti-inflammatory qualities that soothe the digestive system.
Ghee, or clarified butter, is butter that is made from grass-fed cows. It’s higher in nutrients and healthy fats than butter and lower in casein and lactose, which is excellent for people who are sensitive to dairy. Plus, it tastes better! You’ll add a rich and deep flavor to your pancake recipe when cooking with ghee.
7. Almond or Coconut Milk
Lots of pancake recipes call for milk to make the batter smooth and creamy. Unsweetened almond or coconut milk are great replacements for regular cow’s milk because they are dairy free and lower in sugar. They also contain good fats and fewer carbohydrates to help maintain stable blood sugar levels all day long. Dairy products that contain lactose can be hard on the digestive tract. They have also been linked to skin problems, such as acne.
When picking out coconut or almond milk at the store, be sure it does not contain added sugar or carrageenan. Try making your own at home if possible to ensure that you’re not using any harmful ingredients.
If you’re looking for a natural sweetener to go in or on top of your pancakes, look no further than good old berries. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries contain unique flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanins that have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and neuroprotective properties. They also support collagen production to give you healthy skin and increase levels of vitamin C in the blood.
9. Organic, Pasture-raised Eggs
Eggs are a staple in most pancake recipes, but it’s a good idea to make sure your eggs come from a high-quality source. Look for organic and pasture-raised eggs as this ensures that the chickens have room to roam and access to sunshine, which enhances the nutrients in the eggs. Cage-free doesn’t always mean that the chickens are free to roam.
10. Maple Syrup
Pancakes and syrup go together like peanut butter and jelly. But not all maple syrups are created equally, so you’ll need to make sure you’re buying the real stuff to top your pancakes with. Some recipes even call for maple syrup in the batter as a natural sweetener. Pure maple syrup is high in manganese, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. It also contains as many as 24 different antioxidants.
When picking out a brand at the store, go for the darker, grade B types as these tend to be higher in antioxidants than lighter syrups. Also be sure the only ingredient is 100 percent pure maple syrup with no added ingredients.
11. Raw Honey
Raw honey is an excellent topping for any pancake recipe. It’s sweet and tasty and has been shown to help naturally treat coughs and wounds, boost energy, decrease allergies, and reduce inflammation. One study even found that manuka honey kills more bacteria every available antibiotic! The trick is to find a jar of honey that is raw and unprocessed so that it has not been stripped of its many nutrients.
12. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Adding a pinch of sea salt to your pancake batter is a great way to bring out the natural sweetness of berries, bananas, honey or maple syrup. Pink Himalayan sea salt is high in antioxidants that naturally detox the body. Unlike other sources of salt, it contains up to 84 different types of trace minerals.
13. Vanilla Extract
Pure vanilla extract is not only flavorful it’s also a powerful antioxidant. It has been shown to boost brain power, reduce inflammation, pain, and fevers, and lower cholesterol. Be careful though because a lot of store brands contain hidden sugar.
Sweet spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, are a great way to add flavor to your dish without the calories. As a bonus, cinnamon increases blood flow throughout the body and lowers blood sugar in people with diabetes while nutmeg is a brain tonic and naturally reduces pain.
15. Raw Cacao Powder
If chocolate pancakes are your thing, then add in some raw cacao powder in place of the usual sugary chocolate chips. It’s one of the best sources of antioxidant flavonoids ever! Studies show that cocoa may help improve cognitive function, reduce inflammation, promote healthy skin and aging, and even lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. There’s a big difference between raw cacao and cocoa powder though. One is highly processed and the other is raw. Look for a brand that is 100 percent pure unprocessed or raw cacao powder.
16. Nut Butter
Nut butter is flavorful and full of nutrients such as good fats that may be able to protect against heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. They make a great topper to any pancake recipe, or you can put it in the batter before cooking. Nut butters a great binding agent so that you can use them in place of eggs in vegan dishes. Again, be sure there are no sugars added to your favorite store brand. Or you can make your own nut butter at home!
Bashir Navid Source: Bashir Navid
You probably keep a few boxes of matches in your home in case of emergencies, but you may want to consider stocking up on them, so you can use them for your plants, too. Matches have a lot of magnesium, and your plants need it. Soak or dissolve the matches into the water, and then pour the water on the plants. The matches will release the nutrients into the water as they dissolve, and the plants will soak it up.
How to subdue cravings
Putting a cap on your cravings is far easier said than done and there are more than just one or two factors involved in making a change. According to Cassetty, it takes a multi-pronged approach. She suggests four methods for how to start:
Be mindful of where you work: Make sure your workstation is out of and away from your kitchen. This helps avoid being triggered to eat. Being around your kitchen, Cassetty said, keeps your mind off work and on your next meal instead.
Eat balanced meals every four hours: "A balanced meal contains mostly whole, plant foods," Cassetty said. "Half your plate should be covered with non-starchy veggies that are accompanied by protein and some healthy, plant-based fats (such as avocado, nuts, or seeds)." This balance helps you to feel full, so you're less likely to want to snack.
Take a pause before you eat: Before eating, ask yourself if you're actually hungry or if underlying feelings are causing you to want to eat. If it's the latter, try to pinpoint what those feelings are and how to combat them. For example, if you're craving a connection, set up a Zoom call with your friends. If you're bored, pick up a book or watch a TV show. If you're stressed or not sleeping well, Cassetty suggests addressing your overall self-care routine. Meditate, exercise, go to bed earlier. These add up and help you feel better.
Be realistic: "It's not practical to expect you'll never seek solace in food again," Cassetty added. "Maybe it's more realistic to work on one healthier coping tool this week and see how it goes. Focus on the process instead of the outcome - in this case, reducing cravings. As long as you're continuing to put effort into the process, you're making progress and you should feel really good about that."
Don't forget to be kind to yourself, too. As Cassetty pointed out about being realistic, it's not a damning characteristic to be swayed by junk food. Especially right now, those feelings aren't just normal, they're warranted (and expected).
Craving that? Cook this
One way to start weening off excess junk food is to find healthy alternatives to what it is you like to eat. To help, we turned to Mason Woodruff, an at-home chef who runs the popular cooking blog, Kinda Healthy Recipes. Woodruff originally wanted to be a registered dietician but shifted gears by combining his love for food science and healthy eating to develop better-for-you takes on traditional junk food.
The following are five of his go-to recipes that anyone can easily cook at home to help satisfy a variety of cravings. Maybe you feel like downing a basket of garlic fries? Try Mason's garlic parmesan air-fried carrots instead. There's even a cookie recipe included for anyone with an insatiable sweet tooth.
Craving: Buffalo chicken mac & cheese
Cook this: Buffalo chicken chickpea mac & cheese
Classic macaroni and cheese is a fat and carb bomb void of protein. Woodruff cuts down on the carbs by replacing standard pasta with a chickpea variety that contains a third of the carbs of regular elbow macaroni.
The recipe also combines full-fat Monterey jack with fat-free cheese powder and yogurt to deliver the same gooey texture but with less than 20 grams of fat per serving. To amp up the protein, he adds ground chicken to the mix, too.
Craving: Garlic parmesan French fries
Cook this: Garlic parmesan air fryer carrots
There are few culinary joys as indulging in a basket of garlic fries. They're salty, crispy, and cheesy. Like most junk food, though, they offer almost no nutritional value in the form of vitamins. That's why Woodruff replaced high-carb, low-vitamin potatoes with carrots, a vegetable that has more than half the carbs and is packed with vitamins A and C.
By cutting them into thin strips, seasoning them generously, and cooking them until crispy, you get the same satisfying texture as fries but with none of the fattening side effects.
Craving: Spicy popcorn chicken
Cook this: Spicy popcorn chicken
Although the name of each dish here is similar, Woodruff differentiates the two by instead asking for honey and corn flakes to make the chicken's coating. In doing so, you get a sweet and spicy flavor with a satisfying crunchy exterior, which goes a long way to quell your cravings for anything fried.
Craving: Cheeseburger from a fast food chain
Cook this: Cheeseburger Bites
Burgers may be high in protein but they also pack about a day's worth of fat for most folks. Compared to most healthy versions of fast food, however, burgers can be easily modified while keeping flavor and familiarity intact.
Swap 80/20 beef for the extra lean variety, cut back on the amount of cheese you use, and instead rely on mustard, ketchup, and pickles to flavor the meat. In his version, Woodruff ditches the bun and bakes these balls in a muffin tin to create a low-carb treat.
Craving: Chocolate chip cookies
Cook this: Chocolate chip protein cookies
This recipe is a little more involved, as you have to make your own dough, but it's well worth the elbow grease if you're craving something sweet. You'll still use standard flour and chocolate but will mix it in with low-calorie sweeteners and protein powder for more balanced macros.
Rainbow Smoothie Recipe
Strawberry Coconut Breakfast Cookies
With a soft texture and slightly sweet flavor, you can enjoy these healthy cookies anytime! These fruity cookies get their sweetness from honey, shredded coconut and chunks of fresh diced strawberries. Keep them more Bulletproof and use grass-fed butter and raw honey.
10 Products That’ll Help You Eat a Little Healthier in 2018 - Recipes
Using a Plant-Based Keto Diet to Reduce Inflammation
Have you been on the ketogenic diet because of health concerns or to shed extra pounds? Have you heard about the ketogenic diet but think it sounds too extreme for you? Almost all of our health problems stem from inflammation, and if we can cut down on chronic inflammation in our bodies, we will feel better.
If you’re struggling with losing wei g ht, experiencing acne, hormonal changes and/or chronic pain not associated with an injury, you have chronic inflammation in your body (1, 2). Inflammation is not always harmful. When you run into something and develop a bruise, your body sends fluid to the bruise to heal it.
However, if your diet is causing chronic inflammation in your body, then it is constantly fighting against food it doesn’t recognize. Unfortunately, many seemingly healthy foods that have been genetically modified, sprayed with pesticides or, in the case of animal products, even raised in a way that’s not natural to them.
How can the ketogenic diet cut down on inflammation?
The ketogenic diet reduces inflammation by recommending that you eat a ratio of 70–80% fat, 15–20% protein and 5–10% carbohydrates. For every 1 gram of carbohydrates we eat, our bodies hold onto 4 grams of water. Many carbohydrates that we regularly eat are overly processed and have a diminished nutritional profile.
It’s important to note that even healthy carbs found in their organic forms such as oats, wild rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas and more cause our bodies to hold onto excess fluid. Generally people on a keto diet eliminate high carb foods from their diet to gain control over the inflammation present in their bodies.
Anti-inflammatory diets recommend that you eat foods high in antioxidants to fight the oxidative stress in our bodies which makes us fat, tired and sick (3). These diets also recommend that you avoid sugar and other processed foods which our bodies weren’t made to absorb.
When our bodies can’t process the number of carbs that we’re eating, those carbs are converted to glucose. The glucose can build up in our bloodstream, cause inflammation and be stored as excess fat. If we eat too much protein, our bodies will turn the excess protein into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis.
By filling up on fats instead of carbs, our bodies are able to use fat for energy instead of using glucose for energy. This process is called nutritional ketosis. It occurs when our bodies are no longer getting enough glucose to use for energy and sends messages to the liver to start making more ketones for fuel.
Once we’re in ketosis, our bodies use fat for fuel instead of using glucose for fuel, which can also support weight loss. Hopefully within a few weeks on the keto diet, you’re able to not only shed some extra water weight but also become fat adapted.
When you’re fat adapted, you’re using ketones for energy instead of using glucose, so you will not need carbs the way you once did. You may find that you’re more in control of your appetite since you’re not experiencing blood sugar spikes throughout the day as you consume glucose.
Is the ketogenic diet anti-inflammatory?
Yes. By decreasing the number of carbs in our bodies, the keto diet gets rid of extra fluid and increases levels of the ketone Beta-Hydroxybutrate. This ketone has been shown to deactivate chemicals causing inflammation and pain in the body without inhibiting the immune function of the cells, allowing the body it continue to heal itself (4).
Beta-Hydroxybutrate also improves mitochondrial function, which makes us healthier at the cellular level (5). The mitochodria is the powerhouse of the cell, so when our mitochondria are healthier, our whole bodies become healthier from the inside out. They are able to fight off infection and other causes of inflammation better and more efficiently.
Why do we want to reduce chronic inflammation?
When we reduce inflammation, we reduce our chances of developing chronic disease and are able to manage a disease that we already have more effectively. Sugar is highly inflammatory, and it’s no secret that sugar is added to everything from breakfast cereals to ketchup to salad dressings to yogurts. The SAD Diet is full of sugar, and when we eat carbohydrates, those are also converted to glucose (or sugar) by our bodies.
The ketogenic diet was originally developed to treat children with epilepsy and has been helpful in allowing them to function with this illness (6,7). Some physicians are incorporating a ketogenic diet into their treatment plans for patients with cancer and have achieved some impressive results (8,9). Patients with diabetes have also been able to reduce several illness markers by using the ketogenic diet to control their disease (10).
How can a plant-based ketogenic diet help to cut down on inflammation further?
Studies show that a plant-based diet is anti-inflammatory on its own (11). Have you ever looked up the keto diet on social media only to see cheese-smothered fatty meat and cream cheese fat bombs as examples of what to eat? The keto diet takes away the fear from eating full-fat dairy products, which is a good thing. Our bodies need fat to absorb vitamins and minerals and to feel satiated after our meals.
Eating full-fat dairy is encouraged on the keto diet, and most dairy products are low in carbs. You may have gone from eating few dairy products to eating much more dairy than your body is used to processing. If you’re curious why you haven’t lost weight on the keto diet or are still having unexplained health issues, you may have a dairy intolerance that you haven’t recognized yet.
Grass-fed dairy is healthy for many people. However, if dairy is irritating your gut lining, removing it for a time may allow your gut to heal. If you find that you feel better after removing dairy from your diet, you may be able to add it back in down the road and enjoy your favorite dairy products again.
Conventionally raised meat is inflammatory because the animals are not eating what they should be eating for optimal health (12). The World Health Organization even released a statement in 2015 based on research done on conventionally raised red meat that said it was carcinogenic (13). We are what we eat, eats.
If you’re eating too much protein on the keto diet, then your body will know. It will convert protein to glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, so you may not be reducing inflammation because of this extra stress on the body. Make sure that you’re also eating fiber-rich foods with antioxidants to help your body to fight stress.
What would you eat on a plant-based ketogenic diet?
If you’re not vegan and would like to experiment with eating a more plant-based keto diet, here are a few suggestions. You can eat tempeh, beans and eggs for protein. Avocado oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds are good plant-based fat sources. Olives, sprouted beans, avocados and non-starchy vegetables will be easier on your digestive system, too.
Are there additional benefits of doing a plant-based keto diet?
You can save money. Dairy and meat are often the most expensive grocery items that we purchase. By eating a more plant-based keto diet for a short time, we can afford spend more on high quality meat when we aren’t eating it at every meal in every season of our lives.
Eating a plant-based diet expands your palate. You learn to be satisfied with the huge variety of plants that are available to us. It can also help you out of a cooking rut if you’ve found yourself making the same few dishes over and over. You’ll be surprised at how delicious a bowl of tempeh taco salad or roasted vegetables can be.
Your body processes more nutrients (14). We all know about the recommendation to “eat the rainbow” and add a variety of colored foods to our diets. Eating a plant-based diet makes this process easy. If you haven’t known how to incorporate foods such as purple cabbage or radishes into your diet, now is the perfect time to find recipes that you’ll love.
Are there any disadvantages of doing a plant-based keto diet long term?
Even though our body doesn’t need as much protein as we’re led to believe in our culture, eating a plant-based diet long term can result in a low protein intake. There is a possibility that you may have increased gut inflammation from eating more beans than usual on a plant-based keto diet. Eating sprouted beans will limit the amount of inflammation you experience.
If you avoid fish while doing a plant-based keto diet, you will probably have low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids since these are usually found in fish. Even though you take a fish oil supplement, nutrients will always be best absorbed through our food.
This method of eating is very restrictive and can be difficult to maintain for any length of time. The good news is that if you remove ingredients from your diet that you suspect may be causing you inflammation for as little as two to three weeks, you can add them in one by one to see if they are causing you inflammation or not.
Worried that full-fat Greek yogurt or another dairy product could be causing inflammation? Your body will tell you how it feels after not consuming dairy for a few weeks. It will let you know if you can add it back in permanently or if you need to keep it out for a little longer.
What’s the difference between a vegan keto diet vs. a plant-based keto diet?
If you want to try a vegan keto diet for ethical reasons or for short-term healing, this can be a fantastic option and is doable. Most vegan diets are high in carbohydrates, and animals tend to store fats while most plants do not. This makes it challenging to follow a vegan keto diet, but not impossible.
A completely vegan keto diet would limit the types of food that you would be able to eat. It may be difficult to eat the recommended 15–20% of calories from protein that is recommended on the keto diet. Most vegan protein sources also contain carbohydrates, which would make keeping carbs to 5–10% of your daily calories difficult. Vegans may opt to use pea protein or another vegan protein powder to supplement their diet, especially while limiting their carb intake.
Beans can have an inflammatory effect on the intestinal lining, especially if they are not sprouted. Just as a reminder, adding sprouted nuts and seeds to one’s diet will increase the nutritional value and limit the negative effects on the gut.
If you’ve been on the keto diet for a while, you may find that you can add in more carbohydrates from plant sources and still stay in ketosis. You can also implement intermittent fasting if you’re worried about staying in ketosis, which should help your body to burn its fat stores instead of looking for glucose to use for energy.
Interested in learning more about reducing inflammation, living your healthiest life and having a diet instead of being on a diet? Check out the 131 Method for further information.
Would you try a plant-based keto diet in the short term? Let me know in the comments!
Yogurt Recipes for Babies
26. Orange Creamsicle Frozen Yogurt
You won’t believe how yummy this dessert from My Fussy Eater is! Made from simple ingredients like fresh oranges and full fat yogurt, this is very easy to make, and also deliciously creamy! Perfect dessert for the summer months!
27. Easy Mango Yogurt
As summer arrives and mangoes become abundant, you have got to make this Easy Mango Yogurt Recipe! This is another super healthy dessert that is way better than store-bought yogurts that contain loads of sugar and added flavors. Instead, you get the probiotic goodness of yogurt and the fiber and vitamins of mango in a yummy dish!
28. Pear Yogurt
Cow & Gate has a super easy recipe for pear yogurt that needs just two ingredients – pears and yogurt! Choose a ripe, juicy pear, so that the yogurt is more sweet than tart. If you think it needs a little sweetness, try adding some homemade applesauce.
29. Healthy Yogurt Melts
These yogurt melts are so cute! And considering all they contain is fruit puree and plain yogurt, they’re super healthy as well! Use any fruit puree of your choice, though I think strawberry would look the prettiest! These also make great snacks for older kids.
Jackfruit Is the Game-Changing Vegan Ingredient That Perfectly Mimics Meat
This trendy fruit makes the tastiest pulled pork sandwiches that'll fool the biggest meat eaters.
If you&rsquove been grocery shopping lately, you may have noticed a huge, funny looking fruit in the produce section. (At least you think it&rsquos a fruit?). It&rsquos covered with a thick green, spiky rind and looks more like a medieval weapon than something you&rsquod eat.
Say hello to jackfruit&mdashthe darling ingredient and prized vegan-friendly meat alternative that&rsquos getting all the buzz in the health-conscious world. Not familiar with this tropical staple? No sweat. Here&rsquos what you need to know about its nutritional and health benefits and how to prep it. It&rsquos not hard&mdashwe promise!
What is jackfruit?
Jackfruit is actually the world&rsquos largest tree fruit&mdashsmall ones weigh between 10 to 15 pounds and large ones can weigh in at 100 pounds! It&rsquos typically grown in South and Southeast Asia.
Depending on the ripeness of the fruit, you&rsquoll get different flavors and textures. Young, green jackfruit has a blander taste, making it great for savory dishes, while ripe jackfruit is sweeter and tastes like a combo of mango and pineapple&mdashperfect for desserts and smoothies.
Nutritionally, jackfruit is a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber and has very little fat. &ldquoJackfruit is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B6 and fiber. It&rsquos basically packed with immunity boosting vitamins and gut healthy fiber!,&rdquo says Theresa Shank, RD, LDN, a Philadelphia-based dietitian.
One cup ofEmily Kyle Nutrition in Rochester, New York
Is jackfruit good for you?
It might be too early to tell. &ldquoThere is not much scientific research to back up the health benefits associated specifically with a jackfruit at this time given its new rise in popularity," says Kyle. However, Kyle says there is research that backs up the health benefits of the nutrients and compounds in jackfruit. &ldquoStudies have shown that antioxidants and dietary fiber, like the ones found in a jackfruit, have positive health benefits,&rdquo she adds.
For example, the spiky fruit is considered a low glycemic food, thanks to its fiber content, which means that it&rsquos digested slowly and prevents blood sugar spikes. Antioxidants like vitamin C may buffer your cells against oxidative stress and reduce inflammation, which can lead to chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Jackfruit is also full of phytonutrients like isoflavones, carotenoids, and flavonoids.
Plus, adopting a more plant-based diet is good for you overall, says Kyle. &ldquoReplacing some meat in the diet with a plant-based alternative like jackfruit is a great way to reap some of those health benefits,&rdquo she says.
How to eat jackfruit
&ldquoJackfruit itself is sweet, so it pairs well with dishes that are already naturally sweet, such as a dish with a sweet BBQ sauce,&rdquo says Kyle. Her favorite recipe? A BBQ Jackfruit Bowl, highlighted in her upcoming cookbook, The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook. &ldquoIt combines a sweet, Carolina-style BBQ sauce with the jackfruit, served over quinoa with lots of veggies for a delicious, plant-based meal,&rdquo she says.
Other funs ways to try jackfruit? Add some shredded jackfruit to your tacos, sandwich or pizza. Shank says jackfruit also makes a great addition to hot cereals, parfaits, stir-fries or topping a salad too.
But jackfruit&rsquos claim to fame is as a vegan-friendly meat alternative. Unlike other vegan protein sources like nuts and beans, cooked jackfruit has a texture similar to pulled pork or chicken. However, Shank says don&rsquot expect it to actually taste like meat.
Because jackfruit has a versatile flavor, it's a fun ingredient to work with for both savory and sweet dishes. &ldquoIt&rsquos easy to incorporate into various recipes, taking on the flavorings of whatever it is paired with,&rdquo says Shank.
Jackfruit's hearty texture makes it a good meat substitute, but it doesn't provide the same protein boost as other plant-based sources of the macronutrient. &ldquoSo if you're hankering for jackfruit carnitas for dinner, make sure the rest of your day is nutritionally adequate in protein,&rdquo says Shank.
How do you prep jackfruit?
If you&rsquore ready to try jackfruit for yourself, check out your local grocery store or Asian market. And have a good set of kitchen knives on hand! FYI: The fruit can also be sticky.
Check out this video for tips on how to cut jackfruit:
To make it easier on yourself, pick up canned or frozen jackfruit at the grocery store. &ldquoThey have done all the hard work for you, so all you need to do is open the can, prepare and enjoy,&rdquo says Kyle. When buying canned jackfruit, be sure to choose varieties packed in water or its own juices&mdashnot sweetened syrup&mdashso you&rsquore not consuming added sugar and extra calories. A number of food companies are also dipping their toe into the world of jackfruit, packing the fruit in a variety of pre-seasoned flavors like Upton&rsquos Naturals&rsquo Chili Lime Carnitas and Thai Curry.
So next time you&rsquore at the grocery, don&rsquot run away from the green fruit. Grab some jackfruit and start enjoying it with your dishes!
We haven't forgotten about you, meat lovers! Even picky eaters will chomp at the bit for Trader Joe's mildly sweet and spicy broccoli and beef. The two-pound bag ($6.99) cuts the prep work out of chopping broccoli, slicing meat and the whole marinating process. Plus, the huge size means enough for the whole family plus leftovers! The only thing left to do is dish up the rice and enjoy.