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Posts tagged with Healthy Eating

Ginger cookies with a healthy twist

These ginger cookies are healthy and tasty: A perfect January treat.

These ginger cookies are healthy and tasty: A perfect January treat. by Sarah Henning

So far this month, I've written about tricks for eating healthy, frozen food helpers, the pros of eating dessert and how to plan healthy snacks.

I thought I'd end this month's healthy eating pep talk with a delicious treat that works as both a snack and dessert. And — bonus — this treat has protein (from the almonds), healthy fats (from the almonds and coconut oil), iron (from the molasses) and contains no refined sugars.

Oh, and it's a delicious treat/snack/healthy choice.

I've been making these every couple of weeks since the fall and find the taste to be perfectly sweet and spicy and the texture is nice and chewy. In fact, the only downside to these cookies is that you have to wait 30 minutes for the dough to firm up.

But it's worth the wait. I promise.

Helpful note: You want to start with all your ingredients as close to room temperature as possible. This is because the coconut oil solidifies at 75 degrees. So, if you mix it with cold ingredients, it clumps a bit and this can drastically alter how your cookies come out. Trust me, I've been impatient before and the cookies I got were flat and off.

Grain-Free Ginger Cookies 1 1/2 cups almond flour

2 tablespoons coconut oil, liquid

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, and mix until a thick batter is formed. Chill the batter for 30 minutes in the fridge to make sure it’s nice and firm before scooping.

Preheat the oven to 350 and drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat, or parchment paper. Use a wet fork to flatten each dough mound, into your desired cookie thickness. If you’d like a sugar topping, try sprinkling a bit of low-glycemic coconut crystals over the tops before baking.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until firm around the edges, but still soft in the center. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serves 12.

— Recipe from www.detoxinista.com

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Room for dessert

Sometimes, you just need chocolate.

Sometimes, you just need chocolate. by Sarah Henning

This January, I’ve been making it a point to write about healthy eating and how to get started if your resolutions included cleaning things up a bit.

And, honestly, I could never, ever think about eating — healthy or otherwise — without thinking about dessert.

The need for something sweet is what kills many a healthy eating goal, including mine. And for me, and maybe for you, the worst offenses I’ve made have been because I’ve totally made sweets completely off-limits. If I ban something, I only want it more.

Therefore, I’ve gotten really good at almost exclusively enjoying healthy desserts.

The secret, in my opinion, to a healthy dessert?

Chocolate.

Honestly, I have chocolate every day. Every single day. High-quality, good chocolate is not something I ever feel guilty about. And you shouldn’t either.

Here’s my theory on this: If you let yourself have a little bit of something sweet — but not too sweet — daily, you save yourself from binging on it later on. Many times I’ve quit sweets for a week, only to overdo it dramatically once the floodgates open up again. It’s not pretty. And it never ends well.

But if you have a little bit every day, it doesn’t become this big deal or big event to have a little something sweet.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you eat a doughnut every day and try to call that healthy. But a square of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate? Or a few chocolate chips? Both are a good investment. And it’s satisfying enough that you probably won’t need more.

Another tip? Find recipes that use maple syrup or honey as sweetener. Sure, those liquids are still sugar, but I firmly believe they’re not as horrible for you in small doses as white sugar.

The key words there: “small doses.”

Overdo it on maple syrup or even dark chocolate and you’ll need to hit the reset button the next day.

But eating healthy isn’t just a resolution, it’s a lifestyle. And it’s necessary to learn to live within the parameters you consider healthy. And you can’t get through life without dessert.

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It’s Jan. 1. Now what?

Healthy, homemade and real. It can happen for you in 2014.

Healthy, homemade and real. It can happen for you in 2014. by Sarah Henning

Happy Jan. 1. Or, as it's known in most of the Western Hemisphere: the day New Year’s resolutions begin.

Confession: the only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever kept was giving up artificial sweeteners back in 2008. Every other resolution I’ve tried has been far too vague for a scorecard (spend less, save more, etc.).

But I can tell you from personal experience that if you want to start 2014 with a resolution to eat better, whether that’s just to improve the way you feel or because you want to lose 20 pounds, you can do no wrong starting with real, honest-to-god food.

Eating real, nothing-added, no-label-on-it food has been my mission for the past several years.

That said, I used to be of the group of health nuts who thought packed bars, shakes and other manufactured foods were the holy grail. In college, I’d blow all my meager grocery budget on protein bars and “healthy” frozen dinners, while skimping on actual food.

Actual food went bad. It wasn’t consistently the same (taste-wise or calorie-wise), either.

And if my manufactured diet had two attributes, they’d be 1. Shelf life of a Twinkie and 2. As consistent as the factory gods could make it.

While I admit to still buying the occasional protein bar or and sneaking protein powder into my smoothies, I can definitely say that the more I’ve worked to limit my diet to as much about real food as possible, the better it’s been for me.

So, being as it’s my job to inform, here, lovely reader, are my top tips for integrating real, honest-to-no-barcode food for better health, no matter your exact resolution in 2014:

  1. Don’t overbuy. It’s extremely tempting when you’re trying to start eating well to go to the store and drop $200 on tons of food you never eat … and then watch as $100 of it yellows and dies in the fridge or shrivels on the counter. Instead, try to buy on the conservative side of things. Only a few new items at a time.

  2. “Market shop.” And here’s the way not to overbuy but still eat well: Go to the store more than once per week. I know this is not that attractive of an idea to some but buying what you need from the store as you need it/or when you run out is a great way to make sure you actually use those beets or kale or persimmons rather than watching your good intentions rot with them.

  3. Stick to two meals per week. Rather than swing for the fences with a new healthy meal every night and leftovers every day at lunch, I highly recommend picking two nights per week to cook a healthy meal from scratch. Maybe Sunday and Tuesday or Monday and Wednesday. Make enough to have leftovers the next day. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be an everyday grind.

  4. Raid the salad bar for lunch. To avoid having a hard time packing a healthy lunch or raiding your leftovers and ruining your dinner meal plan for the week, head to a salad bar at the beginning of the work week and get enough salad to last you two to three lunches. Just keep the dressing separate and pile your day’s lunch on a separate plate or bowl before dressing it so that it stays fresher, longer.

  5. Put a fruit bowl out on your desk. If hitting the vending machine hard at work is your processed food downfall, I highly suggest bringing a little bowl to set on your desk and fill with fruits — apples, tangerines, pears— at the beginning of the week. It’ll keep hunger pangs at bay and work as a visual reminder of your resolution.

Good luck and good health in 2014.

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