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It’s FINALLY that time of year… warm weather is here! With this transition, we all begin to crave more sunshine, pool time, and of course, refreshing meals and sweet treats. Summer is also the time where we want to feel and look our best, but how does one go about that when the calories seem to creep up at our fun BBQs and outdoor events? Try a healthy ice cream recipe!

With these 5 recipes, you can have your cake (or ice cream) and eat it too – indulge your sweet tooth without feeling the added guilt. Whether grilling out with friends, picnicking at the park, or relaxing at the beach, a healthy ice cream recipe like one of these 5 will keep you satisfied while also helping you to feel and look great for the summer. Get the scoop below and enjoy!

Protein Berry Ice Cream

  • (Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup frozen berries

Instructions

  • Place both ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Serve with additional berries on top and a sprig of mint if desired.
  • Enjoy!

*Adapted from Abbey’s Kitchen

Nice Cream Snicker Bars

  • (Makes 12 servings)

Ingredients

  • 12 large pitted dates
  • 2-4 tbsp. warm water
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 ripe frozen bananas (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter (look for PB that is made with just peanuts, or peanuts and salt)
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup peanuts, halved
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

Special Equipment

  • Ice cube tray

Instructions

  • Add dates to warm water and soak for 10 minutes.
  • Drain dates and add to food processor or blender. Pulse until a paste is made. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Add frozen banana to food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and pulse a few times to mix.
  • Assemble bars by placing a teaspoon of date into the bottom of an ice cube mold. Top with a thin layer of peanuts and fill the remainder of each mold with banana mixture.
  • Place ice cube tray in the freezer and freeze 4-6 hours or overnight.
  • Once frozen, prepare the chocolate coating. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler or a bowl over pan of hot water. Stir until smooth.
  • Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Line a plate with wax paper. Working quickly, remove each bar from the ice cube tray and fully dip in the chocolate to coat. Place on wax paper. Return to freezer to harden for at least 30 minutes.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

*Adapted from Byte Sized Nutrition

Mini Frozen Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

  • (Makes 20 bites)

Ingredients

  • 1 + ¼ cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. maple syrup, divided
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp. coconut oil, divided and melted
  • 2 cups cashews
  • 5-6 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup plain Kefir
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 can chilled coconut milk, just the cream

Special Equipment

  • Mini muffin/cupcake pan

Instructions

  • Before making this, be sure to pop a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight.
  • Pour cashews into a bowl.
  • Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat for 30 seconds. Pour over the cashews. Let soak for 20 minutes. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, mix the almond meal, 2 tbsp. maple syrup, and 2 tbsp. of coconut oil together to make the crust.
  • Press the crust mixture evenly into 20 mini muffin tins. Tip- you may use muffin/cupcake liners for easier removal of the cheesecake.
  • For the filling, add the cashews, remaining maple syrup, remaining coconut oil, raspberries, kefir, lemon juice, and just the solid cream part of the coconut milk can to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Fill the cups with the cheesecake filling and top with raspberries.
  • Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

*Adapted from Miss Allie’s Kitchen

Related: sweets don’t always have to have a bad rap – check out this delicious “new-tella” recipe when you’re craving something chocolatey! 

Blueberry Yogurt Swirl Popsicles

  • (Makes 6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Special Equipment

  • Popsicle mold

Instructions

  • Blend blueberries in a blender until nearly liquified. Pour into a large bowl.
  • Stir in honey. Add the yogurt very gently until everything is mixed together.
  • Pour mixture evenly into mold. If your mold has slots for sticks, insert them before freezing. If not, freeze for two hours, then put a wooden stick in the middle. Continue to freeze for 4-6 hours or overnight.
  • Run popsicle molds under warm water to easily remove. Enjoy!

*Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake

  • (Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients

Brownie layer:

  • 1 cup raw nuts (ex. walnuts and almonds)
  • 8 pitted dates
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Water, as needed

Peanut butter layer:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter (look for PB that is made with just peanuts, or peanuts and salt)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Water, as needed

Banana layer:

  • 2 large frozen bananas (peeled and sliced)

Chocolate layer:

  • 1 ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil

Instructions

  • In a food processor or blender add all the ingredients for the brownie layer and mix until dough forms. Add in water as needed to combine. It should be wet, but not too thin.
  • In an 8×8 baking pan lined with parchment paper, press the brownie mixture evenly into bottom of the pan.
  • In food processor or blender add the ingredients for the peanut butter layer and process until smooth. Add water until texture is like caramel.
  • Top brownie layer with peanut butter and spread evenly.
  • In food processor or blender add in frozen bananas and process until thick and smooth. Spread over the peanut butter layer. Put in the freezer to set.
  • Meanwhile, in a double boiler or a bowl over pan of hot water melt the chocolate chips, almond milk, and coconut oil until smooth.
  • Pour the chocolate over the banana and spread out evenly over the top.
  • Put cake in the freezer for about 2 hours.
  • Cut into squares. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

*Adapted from The Organic Dietitian

Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Chelsea Rice. 

 

While some flavors and spices seem to transport us directly to the holidays, the truth is that the benefits we can reap from spices are so valuable, we shouldn’t just assign them to one season. Not only do spices provide great health benefits, but the enhancements they bring to food make them a no-brainer cooking addition (with almost zero additional calories!). Think about what completes the smell and taste of a dish – it wouldn’t be the same without the flavors that help make that final dish taste so delightful. Check out these 6 spices to have on hand that will improve your health!

Cinnamon

Out of all the spices to have on hand, cinnamon is one of the most widely used. Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, which helps protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. It can also improve some key risk factors for heart disease including cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.

Studies have shown that cinnamon can even dramatically reduce fasting blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. It not only tastes great, but also provides manganese, iron, and calcium. Many think of cinnamon in baked goods, but you can also branch out with some new sweet and savory ideas!

3 Ways to Use It

  • Make a salty/sweet treat by adding cinnamon to popcorn.
  • Flavor plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon and top with nuts/seeds.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon in your coffee or tea to add extra spice and flavor – or even your yogurt, like this recipe!

Ginger

Ginger is best known for its ability to ease nausea, motion sickness, and indigestion. It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have benefits for not only your body, but your brain as well. It is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. All these things mean it is one of the most versatile spices to have on hand.

It has also been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain due to those anti-inflammatory properties. It may not have an immediate impact, but studies show it can be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain. It is a very common ingredient in recipes and cosmetics. Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil.

3 Ways to Use It

  • Cut up fresh ginger and add to boiling water with a little honey and lemon to make a soothing tea.
  • Add minced garlic to stir-fries for an extra kick.
  • Add to baked goods, such as the pumpkin gingerbread muffin recipe at the bottom of this post.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg contains phytonutrients including beta-carotene and beta-crypotxanthin. These can improve blood circulation to the brain and enhance sleep. The flavor and therapeutic actions are believed to be due to the oil it contains.

Because of its antibacterial properties, nutmeg can also effectively treat bad breath, gum problems, and toothaches – therefore, nutmeg is a common ingredient in many brands of toothpastes. It is also a spice that is used in many sweet recipes, but nutmeg can be used in a variety of other ways!

3 Ways to Use It

  • Sprinkle in milk in the evening to help achieve relaxation and induce sleep.
  • Add nutmeg to roasted carrots or winter squash for a unique savory side dish.
  • Mix with nuts, such as pecans, and roast in the oven for a tasty snack.

Related: using spices can drastically elevate your meal prep too. Need more tips on making sure meal prep is a part of your life? Check out this post!

Rosemary

The active components in rosemary are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic in nature. These powerful compounds include rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, betulic acid, and carnosol, which can boost immunity and fight bacterial infections.

Rosemary also may help ease indigestion and improve blood flow due to its stimulant effects. The aroma of rosemary alone has been linked to improving mood, clearing the mind, and relieving stress in those with chronic anxiety. Many use rosemary as a garnish, but there are a variety of other ways to use it.

3 Ways to Use It

  • Chop fresh rosemary and use in a variety of broth based-soups.
  • Sprinkle rosemary on bread dough before placing it in the oven to add extra flavor.
  • Flavor olive oil with dried or fresh rosemary for zestier salad dressings.

Sage

Sage is a member of the mint family and is also known for many antioxidant properties – which makes it one of the top spices to have on hand. Tea and essential oils derived from the leaves have been used to treat digestive and circulation problems, but it has also been used to increase concentration.

Sage contains vitamin K, an essential vitamin for the body that isn’t found in many common foods. Vitamin K is key in developing bone density and ensuring the integrity of our bones as we age. It is traditionally used in savory dishes, due to its peppery flavor, but see below for alternative uses.

3 Ways to Use It

  • Sprinkle in an omelet with vegetables for a new breakfast.
  • Add to pesto with other herbs for a great flavor addition.
  • Top sage leaves on meats such as chicken, pork, or lamb.

Turmeric

Turmeric is popular worldwide, although until recently has not been commonly used in the U.S. It contains Curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Turmeric is a common ingredient in Indian dishes, although you can find new twists on ways to incorporate turmeric into your daily lifestyle below!

3 Ways to Use It

  • Sprinkle onto rice to bring out a wonderful color and flavor to an originally bland side dish.
  • Simmer turmeric with coconut milk and honey to make a comforting beverage.
  • Add fresh or ground turmeric to smoothies – the pungent flavor is usually well-masked but you’ll reap all the benefits!

Try This Recipe: Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup whole grain spelt flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pure raw honey
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine all wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients – be sure to not over-mix.
  • Scoop batter into muffin pan and distribute evenly.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes and until tops are golden brown.
  • Yields 12 muffins – store at room temperature for 3 days or refrigerate for 7 days.

Post written by FFC Gold Coast Registered Dietitian Chelsea Rice.

 

 

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6 Spices to have on hand that will improve your health pinterest pin

Put most simply, metabolism is the term used to describe the chemical processes responsible for maintaining life.

There is a lot of information surrounding this subject – especially when it comes to exercise and nutrition. With that, of course, comes myths. Below are 5 common myths about metabolism, debunked!

Myth #1: Your metabolism stops working as you get older.

Due to possible loss of lean muscle mass, your metabolism can slow down slightly as you age, but the amount is very little. By building a lean and muscular body through diet and exercise, you can maintain a fast metabolism, even as you age.

Related: do you know your resting metabolic rate? Or why it’s important? Find out here! Plus a resting metabolic rate calculator you can use.

Myth #2: Eating [insert “magic” food here] will boost your metabolic rate.

Unfortunately, no “magic” food will help speed up your metabolic rate. Yes, some studies have shown that green tea and hot chili peppers temporarily boosts them, but the boost is not great enough to show significant results physically.

Myth #3: Eating late at night after 8 PM can cause weight gain and slow your metabolic rate.

Very little evidence supports the fact that eating late at night can slow things down.  However, many of us do not choose the best snack options in the evening. It is the excess calories and poor food choices that can lead to weight gain, not necessarily eating past 8 PM.

Related: want to indulge a little bit? Check out this post on how to practice mindful eating while you do to decrease calorie consumption & later cravings!

Myth #4: You cannot lose weight because of a slow metabolism/ you cannot gain muscle because of a fast metabolism.

Many of us believe we have a slow or fast metabolic rate due to previous success/failure of our goals. The best way to determine how fast or slow your metabolic rate is to complete a Resting Metabolic Rate test. This test will tell you the appropriate number of calories to eat daily. Even with calculators and apps out there to provide this information, many recommendations are inaccurate and only provide an estimate.

Myth #5: Very low calorie diets can jumpstart weight loss.

Eating fewer calories than your body burns each day is essential for weight loss. However, creating too large of a caloric deficit can be very harmful for our bodies.  By severely limiting calories, your body begins to take energy from other sources. This can lead to your body burning more muscle than fat. Over time, it can also lead to a weakening of your bones.

Interested in setting up a consultation with Chelsea? Email her at crice@ffc.com!

Post written by FFC registered dietitian Chelsea Rice.