This recipe is one of my all time favorites. Growing up I was a candy fiend and could never get enough of the gummy, chewy sweets. When I finally decided to cut out sweets and focus on healthier foods, I scoured the Internet in search of healthy ways to get a candy fix and keep my diet on track. Although the conventional, Fruit Roll-Up branded snacks invoke nostalgic memories of grade school cafeteria lunches, I knew the excess sugar and artificial flavors would only worsen my candy cravings!
Luckily, Alvita has provided an easy-to-make, healthy fruit roll-up recipe using their hibiscus tea! These roll-ups are fun to make and customizable depending on your fruit flavor preference. Bake up a batch on Sunday to keep the kid’s (or your own) lunches stocked for the whole week!
1 cup boiling water
2 teabags Alvita Hibiscus Tea
1 cup sliced peaches (frozen is fine)
1 cup strawberries
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
- Pour the boiling water over the Alvita Hibiscus Tea Bags and let steep for 5 minutes.
- In a blender, puree peaches and strawberries.
- Pour tea into a saucepan. Add sugar and heat to medium heat until liquid has evaporated by 50%.
- Add pureed fruit and lemon juice into tea mixture and continue to cook until the mixture thickens, around 20-30 minutes.
- Spread mixture onto a baking sheet lined with either a splat mat or wax paper in a very thin layer.
- Bake for 3 to 4 hours until the mixture is barely sticky anymore.
- Let cool for 20 minutes.
- Peel off of used wax paper and place on fresh wax paper. Cut into long strips. Roll up for storage or eat immediately.
Looking for a low-sugar option? Substitute sugar for your favorite natural sweetener. Let us know how your fruit roll-ups turn out in the comments!
Looking for a delicious way to get your daily dose of turmeric? Golden milk has taken over the wellness world for it’s creamy, spicy flavor and health benefits, and its calming effect has made it a nighttime beverage of choice.
Did you know you can make golden milk with tea? So convenient! This amazing recipe from Alvita is super anti-inflammatory and makes for a wonderful, healthy nightcap.
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 teabags Alvita Turmeric Root Tea
¼ tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp black pepper
1scoop Reserveage Collagen Replenish Powder
2 tsp honey (optional)
In a small saucepan, heat almond milk until hot, but not boiling, about 3-5 minutes. Add tea bags and let steep for 5-8 minutes. Remove tea bags and add in ginger powder, black pepper and collagen powder, stir until combined. Pour into mugs, add honey if wanted and drink immediately.
Have you ever tried golden milk? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!
Over the last couple of decades, the Mediterranean diet has been studied by researchers all over the world. The general consensus from these studies revealed that the diet is nothing short of amazing. The Mediterranean diet consists of increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and fish, while limiting red meat and sweets. So, why has this diet become so popular? Maybe because it’s flexible and offers users ease of compliance. Maybe it’s because Mediterranean food is delicious and the diet allows users to drink red wine in moderation. Or, maybe it’s because all of the research over the past couple of decades shows an incredible amount of health benefits. One meta-analysis article showed that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with significant improvement in overall health status.
Benefits of a Mediterranean diet to consider:
- Prevention of major chronic diseases
- Improved quality of life
- Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and obesity
- Reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer
- Low in processed foods and sugar
- May help to lose or maintain a healthier weight
- May improve mood and decrease depression
- Naturally low-glycemic foods, which may help control blood sugar
Key components of the Mediterranean diet
Base every meal on these foods and eat them daily:
- Legumes and Beans: chickpeas, lentils, and fava beans
- Olives and Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is preferred
- Whole grains and whole wheat pasta
- Nuts: cashews, almonds and sesame seeds
- Vegetables such as leafy greens, garlic, onion and other non-starchy veggies like eggplant cauliflower, artichokes and tomatoes
- Fresh organic fruits such as grapes, apples, strawberries and avocados
Eat these at least two times per week:
- Fish (wild caught preferred) and seafood
In moderate portions (daily to weekly):
- Low-fat cheese & yogurt
Eat these a few times per month in small amounts:
Organic Mediterranean bean salad recipe
◦ 15 ounce can of dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
◦ 15 ounce can of fava beans drained and rinsed
◦ 15 ounce can of black beans drained and rinsed
◦ 1 cup of organic corn
◦ 1 large organic tomato, chopped
◦ 1 small organic red onion, chopped
◦ 1 avocado, sliced
◦ ½ organic cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped.
◦ 1 cup of organic parsley, chopped.
◦ ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
◦ 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
◦ 2 garlic cloves, minced
◦ ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
◦ ½ teaspoon of cumin
◦ salt and pepper to taste.
- In large mixing bowl, combine kidney beans, fava beans, black beans, corn, tomato, onion, cucumber and parsley. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk.
- Pour dressing over salad and gently toss together.
Other helpful information:
- On top of diet, the Mediterranean lifestyle encourages individuals to be physically active and enjoy meals in a relaxing environment with others vs. on the go. Try to set aside time to sit down and enjoy your meals.
- Most of the foods found in the Mediterranean diet can be found on the perimeter of the grocery store.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that vary in choice of colors as each color has specific properties and nutrients.
- Replace butter and margarine with healthy, unrefined oils as often as possible.
- The Mediterranean diet has broad definitions since there are many countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
- In summary, the diet should focus on vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains. Enjoy fresh, wild caught fish and seafood, while limiting poultry, eggs and cheese. Rarely eat red meat and avoid sugar.
If you’re trying to avoid excess sugar, that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice sweet treats! Xylitol is a wonderful, all-natural sugar substitute with a number of health benefits. It’s metabolized without insulin, giving it a low glycemic index and can even help promote healthy dental hygiene.
This recipe uses xylitol instead of sugar and makes about 2 dozen small cookies.
You will need:
1 large egg
1 cup Xylo-Sweet
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup creamy, natural peanut butter
1 tsp. water
1/3 cup chopped peanuts or these sugar-free chocolate chips* (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric beater to mix the egg, Xylo-Sweet, baking powder and vanilla for about a minute. Then add in the peanut butter and water mix them together. *Note: the mixture is fairly dry. Be sure the peanut butter is mixed well with the other ingredients.
- Add peanuts or chocolate chips if using and blend into dough.
- Use a large non-stick cookie sheet. Measure out a heaping teaspoon of batter for each cookie, roll into a ball, and then smash down with a fork.
- Bake 15 minutes, or slightly longer, until cookies feel firm and are slightly browned.
This is a quick and easy recipe when you’re in need of that sweet fix. If baking isn’t your forte, try these amazing low-sugar, gluten-free, dairy free cookies from Simple Mills.
What are some of your favorite, low-sugar recipes?
*recipe sourced from Kalyn’s Kitchen.
Whether you’re packing for a hike or in need of snacks to power through the work day, these no-bake energy bites are incredibly easy and take minutes to make! They’re a delicious, healthy alternative to sugary granola bars.
Ingredients (makes about 20 bites)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond butter (or peanut butter!)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup raw honey
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
*Optional: Dried cranberries, cherries or other fruits
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Roll out teaspoon sized balls and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Pop them in the freezer for about an hour until they set. Enjoy as you wish, and store the leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer. You can customize these based on your favorite flavors or nutritional needs with dried fruits, raisins, chia seeds, etc! In addition to a healthy snack while on the move, these bites are great for curbing sweet cravings!
What are some of your favorite snack recipes? Share below!
You may already be familiar with castor oil, hemp seed oil, coconut oil, red palm oil and many other oils currently on the market. However, one of the most widely used oils today with great medicinal properties is Nigella Sativa or more commonly known as black cumin. This plant is native to southern Europe, northern Africa and southwest Asia and its use can be traced all the way back to King Tut. In old Latin, it is called “panacea” which translates to “cure all.” The shrub of this plant produces fruits that have tiny black seeds that can be pressed to extract the oil. Its medicinal properties stem from the presence of thymoquinone—one of the major active chemical components of the essential oil. Thymoquinone is believed to have a wide range of medical applications and benefits we’ll discuss below. This plant has become one of the top-ranked, evidence-based herbal medicines to date, and there have been over 600 scientific, peer-reviewed articles published about black seed oil benefits.
Benefits of black seed oil to consider:
- Supports liver health and helps protect the liver
- May have anti-cancer properties
- Contains protein, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc and iron as well as both fixed oils (fatty acids) and volatile oils
- May help treat a variety of common health conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, bronchitis and asthma
- May be helpful in treating against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)
- It may help increase milk production in nursing mothers
- May act as an appetite stimulant
- May help to boost the immune system
- Rich Source of Essential Fatty Acids
What to look for when choosing a black seed oil
- Extraction: the method by which the oil is expressed or extracted from the seeds matters! Slow, cold-pressed means that no heat is used during the extraction process. High temperatures may cause rancidity or cause some of the more volatile oils to evaporate. Avoid any oils that use chemical extraction.
- Purity: the product should be 100% pure Nigella Sativa oil and not filled with additives.
- Storage: look for oil that is stored in a dark, glass bottle that will protect it from both air and light.
- Quality: Look for unrefined vs. refined oil and make sure it’s organic!
Other important tips about black seed oil
- Make sure to store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
- It can be used as a spice or preservative! In fact, the seeds have been added to many Persian foods including bread, pickles, sauces and salads.
- Do not confuse it with black cohosh, cumin, curcumin or nutmeg.
- Supplements made from black seeds are usually made up of the basic seed extract in either a crushed powder or oil form.
Homemade black cumin seed salad dressing:
- ½ cup black seed oil
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 2 fresh chopped garlic cloves
- ½ tsp. Ginger root
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Instructions: Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and mix/shake until blended together.
Whether you are looking for breakfast that will keep you feeling satiated throughout the morning, tasty afternoon snack or nutritious after-work out treat, this smoothie is for you! Protein shakes aren’t just for body builders; our bodies need protein to help make new cells and repair old ones.
This is my all-time favorite protein powder. It’s made from real, whole-food ingredients and is packed with 20 grams of plant-based protein per serving. Best of all, it takes just like a chocolate milkshake. For an extra antioxidant boost I add a dash of matcha powder, which has 10-15 times the overall nutrients and over 100 times more antioxidants than black, green and white teas. Finally, I top this nutritional powerhouse with a healthy sprinkle of bee pollen and shredded coconut. Bee pollen is considered one of nature’s most perfect foods and is rich in proteins, free amino acids and vitamins — including B-complex and folic acid. The coconut adds a healthy dose of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) and flavor. Say hello to your new favorite smoothie!
2 cups of coconut milk
1 scoop of protein powder
1 tsp matcha
5 ice cubes
1 tsp bee pollen
1 tsp shredded coconut
Combine all the ingredients together and blend for 20-30 seconds. Pour into your favorite blender bottle and ENJOY!
If you’re a habitual label reader like me, then you’ve probably spent an embarrassing amount of time poring over every ingredient in your beauty and skin care products as if hidden among the glycerins, acids and glycols was the secret to life itself, always on alert for anything synthetic or gross-sounding. Wouldn’t it be great to have that time back and to eliminate the worry and obsessing? Then why not make your own?
Not only will you know everything single ingredient that goes into your homemade product, but you can take pride in knowing that you created something totally on your own, and on the cheap, too.
This super-easy, DIY soap recipe requires no lye (a common soap ingredient that can be pretty dangerous if mishandled), can be whipped up under 30 minutes and features nothing but safe, natural ingredients. Goat’s milk soap has caprylic acids which allows the milk’s emollients to be absorbed without stripping away your skin’s natural protective oils. Honey boasts some serious skin-saving and anti-aging properties while bringing the moisture in a big way. And who doesn’t love the soothing aroma of lavender?
Add expert “soaper” – ie, someone who makes soap, duh – to your bag of tricks with this simple and rejuvenating recipe.
- Slice the goat’s milk base into cubes and place in microwave-safe glass container that can hold four cups.
- Microwave for 15-30 second increments until melted.
- When the soap is completely melted, stir in 3 tablespoons of honey and the essential oils.
- Pour the melted soap into the honeycomb mold, and allow to sit undisturbed until cool.
- Once cooled, carefully remove the soap from the mold.
Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t mean you have to eat yourself sick. Snack without regrets with these two healthy and delicious recipes. Swap your dairy-laden dips for a creamy avocado and kale hummus or try our cauliflower “wings” that are so good you’ll actually think you’re chowing down on chicken. Now that’s something to cheer about!
Kale and Avocado Hummus
- 2 cups chopped curly kale
- Cook kale in coconut oil until tender
- In a blender combine avocado, lemon, slat and pepper
- Rinse, drain and quarter the artichokes
- Combine avocado cream, kale and artichoke hearts in a bowl and mix well
- Store in an air tight container and can be made 1-2 days ahead of time
- 1 head of cauliflower
- For the batter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup water
- dash of sriracha sauce
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- For the BBQ sauce
- ¼ cup BBQ Sauce
- 3 Tbsp melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Cut the head of cauliflower into pieces
- In a separate, medium sized bowl, combine all the batter ingredients
- Dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter and place on a lined baking sheet
- Bake for about 15 minutes until the batter just hardens
- In another separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce
- Remove cauliflower and brush with the “wing” sauce
- Bake for additional 5 minutes
- Enjoy with celery and blue cheese
Get on the plant-based bandwagon and shed those pounds with this skinny green smoothie! It’s got fiber, enzymes and nutrients to de-bloat and feel your best inside and out! Spirulina provides a full array of micro and macro nutrients including all the essential amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, B6, and B12, magnesium, iron, zinc, healthy fats and vitamin A which elevates your body’s nutritional profile. Chia seeds contain fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach, which should increase fullness and slow the absorption of food. Take this smoothie on the go in your favorite blender bottle, along with a healthy diet and exercise and you steps closer to a better you!
1 celery stalk
1 cup spinach
½ cup frozen pineapple
1 frozen banana
1 cup almond milk
6 ice cubes
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon spirulina
Juice from one lemon
Combine all the ingredients in your Blendtec and enjoy!
This hearty soup is perfect for cold days. It can fill you up and is packed with a ton of plant-based protein. There are eight grams of protein per cup of quinoa. Chickpeas contain twelve grams per cup. And lastly, a whooping eighteen grams of protein are in a cup of lentils. Now let’s get to the turmeric, it contains compounds curcuminoids found in curcumin which have amazing anti-inflammatory affects. Also known as “queen of spices,” turmeric is a potent antioxidant. Basically, this is one healthy soup.
TIP – You can make this soup on the weekend and portion in mason jars for your lunch for the week!
1 quart of vegetable stock
1 celery stick
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon gram masala
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon ginger
1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 cup red lentils
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat coconut oil in a stock pot
- Add celery, onion and carrots cook for 5-7 minutes
- Add turmeric and gram masala and cook for an additional minute
- Add tomatoes, stock and lentils bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes covered
- Lastly, combine with quinoa and chickpeas and let simmer for an additional 5 minutes
Winter is here which means it’s time for filling and hearty soups. And what’s easier than a crock pot dinner? This hearty combo of mushrooms and lentils will make you feel all warm and cozy inside. Mushrooms are a great low-calorie food that contain a variety of nutrients, enzymes and b vitamins. You’re also getting additional b vitamins from lentils along with minerals zinc, magnesium and iron. Add the greens and viola, dinner is done.
1 quart of vegetable stock
2 carrots diced
1 onion diced
¾ cup lentils
1 bay leaf
I cup of mushrooms sliced
2 cups of greens (spinach chard or kale)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
- Sauté the onion in a pan with olive oil until translucent (about 5 minutes
- Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 5 hours
- When 30 minutes are left of cooking time add your greens
Chia seed is a superfood because let’s face it, it’s pretty super which is also it’s a great food for your little one. Even plain yogurt and squeeze pouches in the grocery store contain over 5 grams of sugar which is something you don’t want your kids to have very often. Well, why not make your own yogurty, pudding that’s gluten and dairy free with zero preservatives. This is so easy to make ahead of time and it can keep in the fridge for up to three days.
FUN FACT – Did you know chia contains five times more calcium than milk, three times more iron than spinach and twice the potassium content of one banana.
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons chia seed
1 mashed banana
1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
Mash the banana in a small bowl with a fork
Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl
Combine both bowls together in a mason jar
Leave in the refrigerator overnight so the chia can gel
Feed to baby in the morning and top with his or her favorite fruit
After celebrating my son’s first year of life, I was torn about what to make for his infant class at school. One thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to whip up a batch of sugar-laden cookies or cupcakes for a classroom full of babies. Luckily, I was able to pull a few tricks out of my vegan baking bag which helped me swap out junk ingredients for healthier alternatives.
Did you know that applesauce and bananas make for great egg substitutes? It’s true, they do. And they also add a hint of sweetness, which is important if you’re reducing or cutting out sugar, entirely. After making a few other modifications I was able to create a cookie that passed my test…healthy, homemade and delicious. This recipe is a daycare must-have!
With childhood allergies on the rise, you can deliver a dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, sugar-free cookie that actually tastes good. Plus, any busy mom or dad can whip these up, end-to-end, in less than an hour.
Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ cup of gluten free rolled oats
2 ripe bananas mashed
¼ cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
¼ cup of organic dried cranberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350
- Combine applesauce, cinnamon and vanilla in a small mixing bowl
- In a separate medium sized bowl mash bananas until smooth and creamy consistency
- Add oats, walnuts and cranberries to the mashed bananas
- Mix together the applesauce mixture with the banana mixture and let sit for 10 minutes
- Roll into balls and place on a greased baking sheet
- Flatten tops with a spoon and bake 25-30 minutes
are as nutritious as they are delicious. Cholesterol-free, which makes them heart healthy, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, phosphorus and magnesium – that’s a lot of good stuff. Their signature crunch also helps lend an enjoyable snap to salads, soups and side dishes.
Here’s some additional health benefits:
– These small but mighty seeds contain L-tryptophan which may combat depression and help resolve restless sleep issues.
– A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a correlation between low dietary intake of zinc and osteoporosis of the hip and spine. Pumpkin seeds are zinc superstars which make them a great weapon against osteoporosis.
– A great source of Vitamin E, pumpkin seeds contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per 100 g.
The great thing about pumpkin seeds at this time of year is that there is definitely no shortage of them to be found. Instead of tossing out all of those post-carving innards, set them aside in a small bowl or mason jar and try this simple recipe on for size.
Preheat your oven to 300° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the seeds out in an even layer on the baking sheet to guarantee a nice, even roasting. The ideal way to roast the seeds is at a low temperature – to help ensure that they crunch up nicely without burning – for about 20 minutes.
Once you have these bad boys all toasty, you can try some of these delish, sweet and savory flavor combos below.
Pumpkin Seeds 3 Ways
Using 1 cup of previously roasted pumpkin seeds
Salt & Pepper
1 tsp coconut oil
Salt to taste
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp Garlic powder
¼ tsp Basil
¼ tsp Oregano
Lightly dust with some Parmesan
Cinnamon & Sugar
1 tbsp Coconut sugar
¼ tsp Cinnamon
½ tbsp. Olive oil