All Entries For healthy cooking

12 Chicken Meals You Can Prep in 15 Minutes or Less

Whether it's the holiday season sneaking around the corner, summer activities, school functions or the busy time at work, schedules have a way of becoming a carefully balanced juggling act. As a result, getting a healthy dinner on the table often takes a back seat to social events, the kids' extracurricular activities, shopping or baking. With the help of a trusty slow cooker and a long list of recipes, though, healthy meals can still be incorporated into your evening plans in almost no time and with very little effort. Slow cooker recipes require only a few minutes of your attention—just prep, go about your day and come home to a finished, nutritious meal.

Salsa Chicken Dice a few veggies, pop open some salsa and tomatoes and you've got a meal your family will love. 178 Calories, 4g Fat, 27g Protein

Marinara Chicken & Vegetables
 Throw your ingredients together in the slow cooker first thing in the morning. A hearty, healthy dinner will be waiting when you get home! 177 Calories, 4g Fat, 27g Protein

Creamy Italian Chicken With its creamy base and just a touch of zesty flavor, this chicken dish is one your family will request by name.385 Calories, 13g Fat, 41g Protein

Spanish Chicken Don't think you can create a gourmet meal in a slow cooker? This roasted pepper and almond recipe begs to differ. 322 Calories, 6g Fat, 31g Protein

Buffalo Chicken
 Not only is this four-ingredient chicken lighter than traditional Buffalo wings, it's also more versatile. 115 Calories, 5g Fat, 16g Protein

Chicken Tortilla Soup This flavorful soup will make you rethink how you enjoy Taco Tuesday. 89 Calories, 2g Fat, 8g Protein

Chicken Stew This hearty stew is brimming with both flavor and veggies. 203 Calories, 4g Fat, 21g Protein

Orange Chicken The ingredients might not sound like they go together--orange marmalade, soy sauce and barbecue sauce--but trust us, you're going to flip for this unique mix of flavors. 318 Calories, 5g Fat, 46g Protein

Chicken & Veggie Mac & Cheese This recipe contains cheesy goodness for the kids and veggies in every bite for you. 464 Calories, 15g Fat, 26g Protein

Rotisserie Chicken Supermarket rotisserie chickens are a busy cook's best friend. When you have time to plan ahead, make your own—right in your slow cooker! 278 Calories, 12g Fat, 42g Protein

Honey Mustard Chicken A homemade honey mustard sauce takes this tender chicken recipe to the next level of deliciousness. 200 Calories, 5g Fat, 25g Protein

Bourbon Street Chicken If the idea of shredded dark meat in a sweet sauce isn't enough to convince you to make this, will the fact that the recipe has been shared more than 136,000 times help? 168 Calories, 4g Fat, 20g Protein

Click here for more healthy slow cooker chicken ideas.

How often do you use your slow cooker? What healthy slow cooker chicken recipes will you be trying?
Posted 11/20/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 1 comments   8,735 views
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10 Restaurant Meals Get a Healthy Makeover

One of the more difficult parts of sticking to a healthy eating plan is knowing that many old favorites and fast-food standbys can no longer be on the menu. Outrageous calorie counts, sodium levels that are through the roof and processed ingredients you can’t even pronounce put a lot of ooey, gooey, sugary and sweet foods on the no-no list. But you’re in luck, because with a few modifications and healthy substitutions, many favorite restaurant meals and sweet treats can easily find their way into your new meal plan.
Whether it’s a Chinese takeout favorite that you can’t live without or a seemingly healthy smoothie that really isn't, these 10 copycat recipes for some restaurant favorites cut the fat, but none of the flavor or fun. Indulge away!

Iced Coffee It will take more time to find and put on slippers to drive to your local café than it will to create this sweet, mildly chocolatey coffee drink. 

Sausage McMuffin with Egg Trim 26 grams of fat in your breakfast sandwich with this classic drive-thru re-do.

Chicken Tacos Skip the assembly line counter and the guac-is-extra guacamole and make these better-for-you spicy tacos at home instead. The homemade jalapeno-avocado based salsa will have your taste buds singing.

Sesame Chicken Erase two-thirds of the restaurant version’s calories and milligrams of sodium in this slimmed-down version of a Chinese takeout favorite.

Carolina Chicken Salad With more than 1,100 calories and a whopping 68 grams of fat, it’s hard to take the original restaurant salad seriously. This makeover offers the same citrusy flavor for a much more reasonable 205 calories and 9 grams of fat.

Southwestern Eggrolls Eliminate more than half the calories found in this popular appetizer by skipping the deep fryer. The new recipe packs in a colorful array of veggies, too.

Chicken Carbonara Date night just got more delicious with this healthy spin on an Italian favorite. With just 363 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving, this dish pulverizes the restaurant original, which clocks in with a whopping 1,570 calories and 113 grams of fat.

Lettuce Wraps Swapping the chicken in these restaurant favorite wraps for turkey is just one of the changes that will save you roughly 200 calories per serving.

Berry Smoothie Smoothies are guilty of masquerading as a health food, but most are packed with sugary juices or ice cream. Skip the fro-yo and use a frozen banana to create the same creamy texture right in your blender.

Frosty® Grab the kid’s size chocolate treat at the drive-thru and you’ll be tracking 200 empty calories, but make this version at home and you’ll indulge your sweet tooth for just 66 calories.
Posted 11/11/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 1 comments   17,795 views
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12 Recipes for Little Chefs in Training

If your kid’s idea of cooking involves a three-step process of opening, toasting and eating a Pop-Tart, then National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day (September 13th) was probably invented with your family in mind. If you don’t already involve your child in cooking, getting him or her started at a young age is a great way to instill healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime (looking at you, college years!). When kids learn to cook healthy meals for themselves, they will likely be less inclined to rely on fast food, delivery or frozen meals as they age. Whether your child is four or fourteen, there is a job he or she can help perform. Little ones can help with washing fresh veggies or scooping ingredients into measuring cups, while older kids can assist with more prep work and even man the stovetop, with supervision, of course.
Posted 9/8/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 0 comments   9,051 views
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12 Healthy Dishes Served on a Stick

The kids might be back in school and store shelves are filling with fall merchandise, but we’re not ready to let go of summer just yet. With the weather still warm and Labor Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to take advantage of one of summer’s favorite foods: the kabob! Popping meats, veggies, fruits and even whole sandwiches on a stick is a great way to add fun and variety to your meals and parties, no matter the time of year. Plus, presenting a meal on a stick will certainly grab the attention of little picky eaters.
Reflect on a summer of sun and fun by assembling and cooking up a few of these crowd-pleasing healthy kabobs. 
Posted 9/4/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 2 comments   6,227 views
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13 Healthy Ways to Eat Leftover Easter Eggs

Is anyone else overwhelmed by the number of leftover hard-boiled Easter eggs? While hard-boiled eggs are a great (quick!), protein-packed snack, those get boring fast. Here are seven super recipes that highlight the humble egg, plus another six ideas for using hard-cooked eggs in new ways.
Posted 4/21/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 10 comments   55,351 views
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The Best Slow Cooker Recipe in America

As you might know, we recently hosted a $10,000 Split-the-Pot Slow Cooker Recipe Contest to celebrate the relaunch of and do our part to help alleviate hunger. We know how much our members love how easy it is to make healthy recipes using a slow cooker, and we wanted to highlight some of YOUR best recipes, so we devised a contest that would allow us to thank you for helping SparkPeople grow into the largest healthy living community in America, while also giving back to those in need.

After weeks of popular voting, we selected 15 finalists, then taste-tested their creations at SP HQ, judging the recipes on taste, appearance, overall healthfulness, and ease of preparation. Today we're thrilled to announce the #1 slow cooker recipe in America is:

It was a hit among our taste-testers:
"I’d definitely make this recipe for my next get-together. It had just enough kick for me, but some people might like to add a little extra hot sauce. It’s great to eat as a soup, but you could also serve it as a dip with chips. Yum!"

"This was truly an easy recipe to make. I was amazed how many produce servings made it in there, and being ground up, the chicken really gave the chili a great consistency and taste."

The recipe's creator, Beth "Biz" Velatini, of Cary, Illinois, will win $10,000: $5,000 for her and $5,000 for her favorite hunger-relief charity, Common Threads. (The other 14 finalists will receive a $100 Amazon gift card.)

Founded by chef Art Smith, who was Oprah's personal chef, and artist Jesus Salgueiro, the nonprofit has been teaching children in underserved communities how to cook healthy, affordable meals during after-school programs for the last decade. Though it started in Chicago, Common Threads is focused on a nationwide effort to get one million kids cooking in the next five years.

Beth, who has a food blog called My Bizzy Kitchen, says she has used SparkPeople to help her manage her diabetes and lose weight. She's thrilled to be helping a program she believes in, and the prize money is much appreciated--she works two jobs to make ends meet, and her husband has been unemployed and dealing with health issues.
Posted 12/5/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 17 comments   45,954 views
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8 Resistance Training Exercises

Do you shy away from free weights at the gym? Thankfully, there are a slew of other ways to build your muscles that don’t require a pricey membership or bulky equipment. Besides the benefits of toning your body, resistance workouts help improve blood pressure and lower your diabetes risk. Strength training can also give you an  instant mood boost and help fight depression, much like a brisk walk or jog around the block does. Here are easy moves you can do at home and on the go. 
Posted 8/5/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   16,161 views
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How to Make Dried Fruit (Using Your Oven)

It's summer, and that means fruit trees, bushes, and berry plants are exploding with a bountiful harvest.  A healthy goal is to eat a variety of these local and fresh fruits.  
If we fast forward to fall, the taste of sweet, juicy strawberries are all but gone.  Never fear!  With local produce at its peak, think like the animals--harvest and store for winter.   
When it comes to fruit, you have three options: can, freeze, or dry.
Today I'm going to teach you how to turn summer's freshest fruit into a snack you can enjoy year-round. It's like nature's candy, and it requires no special equipment.
While you could use a dehydrator or old-fashioned drying cabinet, you don't need one. All you need is an oven, parchment paper or silicone liners and sheet pans or pizza screens if you have them. 
Posted 6/20/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 83 comments   412,875 views
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7 Better Turkey Burger Recipes

Ground turkey is a staple in my kitchen. I buy in bulk and keep it in my freezer. My favorite use for this versatile item is turkey burgers. It’s fun to experiment with items in my fridge, cupboard, or farm box, aiming for half of the ingredients to be vegetables and whole grains. This creates a complete nutritional meal for my kids that also affords them choice of toppings and condiments. My personal favorite is to enjoy the patty on top of leafy greens with honey mustard dressing. Instead of consuming that full-fat 500 calorie beef burger, opt for one of these juicy turkey burger recipes. Here are a few of the best turkey burger recipes from SparkRecipes members.
Posted 6/11/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 47 comments   312,623 views
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Weekly Menu: Gluten-Free Dinners

Per your requests, our recipe ideas come in a handy, downloadable calendar packed full of meal ideas that are healthy and delicious. (It's printable, too!) Whether you use this calendar every day or just use it for ideas is up to you. We hope we've inspired you to get into the kitchen and get cooking!

Each week we'll choose a different theme: our favorite no-cook summer recipes, 7 days of meatless meals, or a week of diabetes-friendly dinners, for example. If you have a special dietary request, let us know in the comments, and we'll do our best to devise a recipe plan that might suit your needs.

By posting a weekly calendar, we think it's easier for you to save and even reuse these recipe collections over time.

This week's theme is Gluten-Free Dinners.
Posted 5/30/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 53 comments   163,042 views
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10 Quick Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa pronounced KEEN-Wah has quickly become a staple in my cooking. I love that it is quick and easy to prepare, has outstanding nutritional value and is allergy-free. Since it cooks through in less than 20 minutes, it is a useful grain substitute in just about any recipe. A single serving is high in healthy fats, fiber protein, iron, magnesium phosphorus, and riboflavin.  Quinoa is also gluten free! Increase your nutritional grain options with these quick and convenient Quinoa recipes.  
Posted 5/7/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 43 comments   594,934 views
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11 Healthier Cupcake Recipes

Have you noticed that cupcakerys are the new hot trend in restaurants? Even in my non-metropolitan home town, our local bakery competed in the 2011 and 2012 Food Network Cupcake Wars and won "Best of the Best" on Cupcake Champions in 2012.
In our home, the month of February is an unofficial cupcake month, with Valentine's Day and nine separate family birthday celebrations to prepare for. However, if I stuck with the standard recipe, my husband and I would surely gain a few pounds and my kids would gain an eternal sugar high. 

That said, there are some simple modifications that add nutritional value, reduce the processed sugar, fat, and calories too. Substitute whole-grain flours for all purpose flour. Use fruits and vegetables as a natural sweetener and add color and texture; applesauce can be used in place of oil; flaxseed meal or chia seeds mixed with water can be used in place of eggs; and Greek yogurt can be used in place of flour. I also find that when I use natural ingredients, I crave the processed sugar less-and-less. Another health benefit and convenience with cupcakes is that a serving is as simple as one cupcake. Leftovers can go right into the freezer instead of a late night snack. Celebrate something special with these healthier cupcake recipes. 
Posted 5/2/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 45 comments   493,207 views
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Kale Recipes You'll Actually Eat

My current go-to green vegetable is kale, which has nutritional value and health benefits that are off-the-charts. Whether I’m throwing it in my smoothie or steaming it as a recipe addition, I do my best to eat it every day.

The next time you are at the supermarket grab a bunch of kale and start cooking these recipes that you’ll actually eat and taste great.

Kale Stew

Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

Posted 4/25/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 49 comments   284,883 views
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Easy Asparagus Recipes

Asparagus is delicious when prepared simply: steamed, roasted or grilled. I like to blanch and shock the asparagus before grilling.  Boil the asparagus for 1 minute (this is the "blanch" part of the process).  Immediately plunge the asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking process (this is the "shock"). The asparagus will turn bright green and retain all its taste and nutrition. Dry it off and then grill it. Serve alone or on a pizza. Or serve it cold with vinaigrette.
How do you prepare it? Easy--Mother Nature gave you a guide. Pick up a spear, hold one end in each hand, and snap it. It will naturally break at the spot where it turns from woody to tender. You can either snap each spear or use the first one as a guide and cut them all off at the same spot.
Don't throw away those tough ends. You can simmer them for stocks or puree and use in soups. If all your spears are thick and woody, use a vegetable peeler to trim the outside and expose the tender interior.
You'll love these easy asparagus recipes:

Salmon-Asparagus Casserole

Crab and Asparagus Crepes

Asparagus Tart with Ricotta

Strawberry-Asparagus Salad

Roasted Salmon with Lemon Couscous and Asparagus

Easy Asparagus Au Gratin

Asparagus Wrapped in Phyllo Dough

Posted 4/11/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 43 comments   41,340 views
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6 Ways to Pick Peppers for Dinner

We love bell peppers. Served raw, they're a tangy and low-calorie snack and a great addition to any salad. When cooked, their natural sweetness is highlighted. We've picked a pack of pepper recipes that are both delicious and nutritious!
Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers: Who says you have to serve fajitas in a flour tortilla? Instead of serving peppers in the fajitas, I serve fajitas in a roasted pepper!

Chicken Oregano with Sweet Peppers: Serve this on top of a bed of brown rice.

Stuffed Bell Peppers: This stuffed bell pepper recipe is really delicious! You can use red bell peppers if you like that flavor better. It incorporates your protein, starch, and veggies in one neat package! Brown rice is used for an added nutritional punch.

Chicken Tostadas with Corn and Peppers: Tostadas top tacos in our book: This knife-and-fork meal lets you pile on more (healthy) toppings!
Posted 4/9/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 46 comments   459,741 views
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