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A Vegan or Gluten Free Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving one week away, we’ve spent the week thinking about finding healthier alternatives to heavy Thanksgiving classics. Without further ado, let’s start with the sides:

Many of our facilitators consider sweet potatoes a nutritional superfood, and a delicious sweet potato casserole is usually a staple at our tables! This vegan, sugar-free version from Oh She Glows eliminates the cream and extra sugar sometimes loaded into sweet potato recipes – with 51 reviews averaging nearly five stars, we’re guessing the gluten free crunchy nut crumble on top is worth savoring!

Sweet Potato Casserole

 

PC: Oh She Glows

 

We all love getting on the gravy train – but since extra fats + oils aren’t ideal, this delicious Vegan gravy recipe from Fat Free Vegan is a perfect substitution. It’s so easy to make that you’ll have enough to pour over gluten free biscuits, potatoes and more.

 

 

PC: Fat Free Vegan

 

Green beans are a healthy Thanksgiving staple – this Bon Appétit recipe keeps them healthy without forgoing a special holiday touch – in this case, tomato-almond pesto.

 

PC: Bon Appétit, Christopher Testani

 

And for the main event…Now that it’s fall, we’ve been stuffing acorn squash with EVERYTHING – you can make enchilada boats, soup bowls and more out of these beauties. We love Martha Stewart‘s idea to stuff them with quinoa and pistachios for a high-protein turkey alternative. If you’d like a touch of cheese-like richness, substitute feta cheese for nutritional yeast.

 

 

PC: Martha Stewart / Johnny Miller

Cancer-Fighting Salad Ingredients

If you’re looking to give your spring salads an extra-healthy boost, we have the ingredient list for you! Sometimes it can be tough to quickly cook up a stellar and well-balanced meal, especially during lunch time. We often find ourselves in the frozen food aisle or microwaving poorly portioned leftovers, neither of which makes for an ideal lunch. So, we put together the perfect list of salad ingredients to stock up your fridge, whether it’s at home or at work. They don’t take up too much space and have tons of nutritious value. Even if you buy salad kits from the grocery store, consider rounding them out by sprinkling in these ingredients!

Pomegranate Seeds

While you can buy whole pomegranates, you’ll save time and work getting packets of seeds alone in the produce section. Delicious with chunks of butternut squash, kale and a huge lineup of fruits, pomegranate seeds also are a prime superfood in the fight against breast cancer. Chemicals in the pom suppress the production of estrogen, which research hopes will help stunt some cancer growth. You can also buy pomegranate seed oil, which is a great addition to your bathroom cabinet for extra skin health.

Blueberries

Another fruit that City of Hope has found helpful against tough breast cancer cases, blueberries are the perfect size for throwing into a spring salad. They taste especially delicious with spinach.

Lentils

Lentils add lots of texture to your salad, but are also provide Vitamin B and a very healthy form of fiber. Use these and beans to replace lunchtime bread! It’s helpful to cook lentils yourself and be sure to avoid adding too much salt. Lentils are delicious with tons of healthy spices, though, like turmeric and rosemary. Try them with these, kale and chicken for a delicious warm salad!

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been a very popular health food for skin and digestion. If you’re having trouble with either, it doesn’t hurt to add a little tang to your salad with a homemade dressing. Try this recipe with honey and dijon mustard. Lots of salad dressings are unfortunately very sugary and fatty, so this is a great homemade alternative! Plus, you can adjust it to your taste.

Avocado

One of the best ways to get a healthy fat in your diet, some studies say that avocados can fight leukemia and other cancers. Plus, the edge of avocados closest to the skin can be full of cancer-fighting carotenoids, a type of antioxidant. Learn how to reach these when you cut your avocado here, and leave a couple on your desk to ripen up!

Valentine’s Day: Chocolate Meets its Healthier Match

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it might seem like there is chocolate on every shelf, every counter and every menu in town. It’s one of our favorite tasty treats, but it is also packed with sugar and even caffeine. We did some digging and came up with a brilliant alternative for baking, trail mix and snacking.

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Carob comes from a tropical plant and has much less sugar than chocolate. Plus, it is naturally sweeter, so it needs less artificial ingredients to become a palatable treat. Carob is also low in fat and has plenty of calcium and fiber.

Markets like Whole Foods carry carob chips, which look almost identical to chocolate chips. Use them for low-sugar baking, melt them down into a warm drink, use them for a healthier fondue, throw them into trail mix or make protein-packed nut clusters.

Here are our favorite carob-worthy recipes and treats:

DAIRY AND CHOCOLATE-FREE HOT (COCOA) CAROB

TRAIL MIX IDEAS WITH CAROB

VEGAN CAROB BANANA BREAD

CAROB-COVERED RAISINS

Your Healthy 4th of July Guide

We searched the web to create a definitive list of healthy 4th of July recipes! Scroll to see wholesome, easy tips we’ve gathered for you to enjoy this holiday. Let us know what you’ll be using, and share favorites with your friends!


EASY, HEALTHY RECIPES

Want to rock a potluck without breaking the bank or spending hours in the kitchen? Here are some super snappy recipes that are healthy AND fun.

Watermelon Cake

An easy “cake” made almost exclusively of fruit, with no batter needed! Plus, you can probably get your prep time under ten minutes.

Flag Fruit Kabobs

A refreshing family treat to create together! Have everyone work on a different kabob! Arrange according to a photo guide, and you have a patriotic, nutritious serving of fruit. Click the image example below to find a step-by-step guide from Rada Cutlery!

flag-kabob

Red White and Basil:

A Caprese Salad Plate is an easy and classic potluck recipe! Simply layer round slices of mozzarella with tomato slices and pieces of basil. Click the photo below for instructions from All Recipes. Avoiding dairy? Substitute cauliflower!

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Cranberry Relish:

Filled with antioxidants, cranberries are a colorful must not only for Thanksgiving-but also 4th of July! Check out this tasty Cranberry Relish recipe, and serve it on absolutely anything: Veggie burgers, wholegrain crackers and even a bed of spinach! Click the image below for the recipe-you can substitute orange juice for the liqueur. Too much sugar? Coconut sugar is a sweet alternative!

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 Main Dish Idea:

Want an all-in alternative to traditional 4th of July pasta salads? Quinoa is the way to go! According to Medical News Today, quinoa is the only grain considered a complete source of protein. It also has tons of vitamins, calcium, iron and other nutrients! Red quinoa is a festive idea for your Fourth. Serve the quinoa with grilled chicken breast and purple potatoes or carrots for a patriotic and well-balanced meal!

Happy Fourth, FFLB Community!

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