All Entries For healthy recipes

What's for Dinner? Printable Monthly Menu for May

You asked for it, we answered! In April, we shared a month's worth of healthy meal ideas and our favorite recipes from Chef Meg, the SparkPeople Team and members in meal planner form.

We decided to make that a monthly feature. 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!
We even threw in a few probable scenarios that could prevent you from eating right. See these as a chance to apply what you've learned on SparkPeople and get creative while sticking with your healthy eating plan.
Posted 4/30/2012  10:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 20 comments   66,784 views
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Celebrate Derby Day with This Authentic Recipe

Those who are close to me know that I'm not one to brag. But today, as I look out my kitchen window and prepare for my favorite holiday feast of the year, I am reminded of my days riding the greatest Thoroughbred in history, Man O'War.  OK, so I brag sometimes
For those of you that know horseracing history, I am sure the numbers are working in your heads now. That can't be right. (Or, "she looks great for her age!")  Man O'War won 20 of 21 races just after World War I, how could she of possibly ridden that horse? 
Well, this is what happens to the truth when we brag, it gets shaded. I rode the statue.  I grew up surrounded by horse and grain farms in central Kentucky. Man O'War was born and died near my family's farm.  On beautiful spring days after picking wild strawberries and asparagus, we would make our way to the tall statue and saddle up.  Man O'War's remains have since moved to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.  Sadly, you can no longer saddle up and ride Man O'War, but you can take a short drive to Louisville to enjoy the fastest two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby. 
Some folks throw Super Bowl parties. We throw a Derby party. 
Posted 4/30/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 8 comments   8,914 views
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Better than Storebought: Easy Homemade Salad Dressings

I love to accessorize, don't you?  A hat, scarf or belt can make or break an outfit, just as a sauce, dressing, or marinade can make or break a dish.

Like everything else in my life, it all circles back to food--even accessories.  For me, the perfect accessory for salads, cold meats, fruit plates, and even savory dishes is the dressing.  It can be spicy, herbal, creamy, served hot or cold. I love them all.  The trouble is that traditional recipes call for loads of fat in the form of oils or cream.
When you're cutting the fat in dressings, the trick that I have found is that the flavor has to come in with a loud punch to offset the smaller amount of oils and cream. 
"Dressing" is a vague term that can be used to describe vinaigrettes, dipping sauces, marinades, and even flavored oils.  Whatever you call them, they basically can be divided into two categories: vinaigrettes and creamy dressings. 
Posted 3/5/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 7 comments   12,487 views
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12 Fresh Cranberry Recipes

Have you noticed bags of beautiful red berries in the produce department of your local grocery store? Did you know that those are fresh cranberries, a great food to add to your diet? According to The George Mateljan Foundation for The World's Healthiest Foods, cranberries are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients that provide anit-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. One cup of fresh cranberries has 5 grams of fiber, 90 mg of potassium and 25% of the Daily Value for vitamin C according to the SparkPeople Nutritional Tracker
Incorporating cranberries into your cooking is easier than you might think. Use a food processor to chop them into small pieces and pop them in the freezer. There is no need to defrost them before you cook. Cranberries add a nice tartness to your favorite salad, side dish, or sweeten a main course with cranberry relish. If you can’t find fresh cranberries, dried cranberries are a great substitute and are available year around. Dried cranberries can be used in place or raisins or nuts in any recipe. Make sure you use dried cranberries in moderation as a single serving has 123 calories and 26g of sugar.

I’ve gathered some of my favorite cranberry recipes from SparkRecipes for your health and enjoyment. Ditch the canned processed cranberry sauce and cut the calories and sugar by using fresh cranberries in your cooking this holiday season. 
Posted 12/7/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 10 comments   43,935 views
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The Top 10 Recipes Tracked by SparkPeople Members in 2011

By this time of year, many of us are in a rut when it comes to healthy eating. (I know I am right about now.) Today's list of the most-tracked recipes from is going to help you breathe new life into your meal plans. (Did you know you can always see the most-rated and most popular recipes on

These 10 recipes below have been tracked more than 230,000 times total in the last year by people just like you who were looking for something delicious and tasty to add to their meal plans.

The list yielded some surprises (like the #1 recipe is a vegetarian one!) and many recipes that have become classics on the site. Unless noted, the recipes are from experts and partners.

 Vegetarian Chili
Cut out the fat by leaving out the meat. This thick stew is perfect on top of a baked potato. For a thinner soup, add water.
CALORIES: 141.3  |  FAT: 2.9g  |  PROTEIN: 7.2g  |  CARBS: 23g  |  FIBER: 7.6g
Posted 11/30/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 13 comments   35,304 views
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Chef Meg's Loaded Potato Soup

My family loves potato soup but I prefer loaded baked potatoes. With this recipe, everyone wins! (Like this slimmed-down makeover recipe? Get more like it in the best-selling "SparkPeople Cookbook.")

This is not your traditional potato soup recipe. I've added yellow bell peppers and corn for a boost in vitamins and fiber then loaded on my favorite potato toppings tomatoes, cheese and lettuce.

This soup is loaded down--with nutrition not fat! A loaded baked potato can have 460 calories each, and potato soup has gobs of salt.

By the way, it's not a mistake that you put lettuce in this soup. The hot soup will wilt the lettuce, and you will be amazed with the taste within the dish.
Posted 10/17/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Meg Galvin : 20 comments   10,749 views
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Chef Meg's 200-Calorie Chili Cheese Dog Makeover

According to the National Hot Dog Council Americans consume an average of 60 hot dogs per year. That's a lot of dogs--and a lot of fat and sodium!
If you are going to eat a hot dog, make some smart swaps. Switch out the white bun for a whole wheat variety, put aside the sugary ketchup for real diced tomatoes, select a leaner meat hot dog and add fiber-rich beans and corn to bulk it up.
Take a look at a traditional fast-food chili dog:
Posted 9/19/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 15 comments   10,331 views
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The Best Kid-Tested Lunchbox Recipes

My nephew phoned me last week to tell me that his first day of kindergarten was great. He loved his teachers, made some new friends, and got to eat his cookie before he ate his sandwich and vegetables because his mom was not around to tell him that he could not--freedom at last! I had to laugh because it made me think just how many other kids out there do the same. I would guess a lot.

Can't you see them all now sitting at the lunch table together, unpacking their new lunch bags then holding up the after-meal treats as a toast to newfound freedom? Let's just hope the lunch lady does not catch on. I guess the moral of the story is that if you give them a treat you know they will eat it first, so why don't you send them with a healthy treat? Then everyone is happy. I like to pack Blueberry Flax Seed Muffins in my kids' lunch boxes for a sweet treat--one that will add fiber and fruit to the meal.

So besides a healthy treat, what else should you pack?

Posted 9/12/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 9 comments   13,225 views
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Labor-Less Labor Day Recipes

You’ve been working hard all summer, taking care of business, your household, and the never-ending to do list. As the long sunny days of summer begin to vanish, trade in laborious and time-consuming cooking, for fast and easy recipes that are healthy and taste good too. We’ve gathered 11 recipes from SparkRecipes that minimize preparation, while maximizing flavor.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Caps 'n' Herbs

"Fried" Chicken

Spicy Turkey Burgers
Fast Fix Gaspacho 

Posted 8/31/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 2 comments   11,832 views
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Think INSIDE the Lunchbox with '4 Ingredients'

Editor's Note: I recently connected with Kim McCosker, of the Australian best-selling cookbooks and popular websites, 4 Ingredients. Vivacious and passionate, the 4 Ingredients team is run by busy moms who are committed to making healthy cooking easy and fun for the whole family. Today, Kim shares her best tips for getting kids to eat right at lunchtime.
With three active and growing boys ages 9, 6 and 3, lunchboxes are a part of my family’s daily routine! If you are like me, a busy mom intent on giving your kids delicious, nutritious lunches, here are some great ideas to get your children back to school packed with healthy foods.
I like these because they are quick, easy and economical and often help me make use of my leftovers.
Choose a lunchbox with individual compartments, or otherwise use lidded containers, kids loooove little containers of things! Then add some of these...

Apple slices: Served with peanut, cashew, or almond butter or then sprinkled with coconut or raisins. Or add thinly sliced orange and lemon slices with honey to the top.
Cheese cubes: With sliced turkey and grapes--for a lunchbox cheese board!
Posted 8/29/2011  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 21 comments   41,142 views
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10 Honey Sweetened Recipes

Honey is nature's choice to sweeten up any dish, to keep your baked goods moist and flavorful, and to provide an energy boost at work or during exercise. Honey is also easy to work with. When baking, replace each cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of honey, lower the oven temperature 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and reduce liquids about 2 tablespoons for each cup of honey you use. When used in moderation, honey is a great way to enhance your cooking and achieve your personal health goals. Try these 10 honey sweetened recipes from Sparkpeople today!

Posted 8/24/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Samantha Donohue : 9 comments   9,503 views
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Easy Tips for Getting More Veggies and Whole Grains on the Table

Editor's Note: I met Nicki Sizemore while we were working on some new videos for the site earlier this summer. She's a new culinary instructor and food stylist and writer who's also a new mom. Nicki is passionate about healthy living--her whole face lights up with enthusiasm when she talks food. I asked her to write a guest blog post for dailySpark. Enjoy!
We all know the benefits of eating more vegetables and whole grains, from shrinking our waistlines to warding off chronic diseases and cancer.  If like me you have a busy job and a family to feed, however, getting whole, unprocessed foods on the table every night can seem daunting.  Well, forget about falling back on processed foods or take-out!  With these simple tips, you can throw together quick and delicious meals from scratch that are brimming with veggies and whole grains, any night of the week.
Plan Ahead
We’ve all done it—purchased an armload of produce at the market with no idea of what we’re going to make, only to watch it wither away, untouched, as the week passes.  One way of ensuring that all of the produce you buy actually makes it to the table instead of ending up in the compost heap is to plan out the dishes that you’re going to make throughout the week ahead of time, either before shopping or right after you get home.  It only takes a few minutes, but it will increase your chances exponentially (at least that’s my calculation) of actually eating your vegetables. 
You can get as detailed with this as you want (“stir-fry with sautéed eggplant, spinach and cashews on Monday”) or keep it general (“stir-fry one night, pasta one night”). 
Then, when you get home on Wednesday night, instead of looking in the fridge and seeing a whole bunch of random stuff, but nothing to make (you know what I mean), you’ll know instantly that you’re making a frittata with the fingerling potatoes and mustard greens, and you’ll get right to work instead of picking up the phone for pizza. 
Posted 8/23/2011  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 23 comments   11,200 views
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11 Dark Green Leafy Vegetable Recipes

According to the latest USDA nutritional guidelines, dark green vegetables should be a significant component of your vegetable intake. Collard greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, beet greens, spinach, chard, and kale are just a few of the dark green vegetables that are a rich in vitamins (K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins), minerals (like iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium), and phyto-nutrients. In order to maximize nutritional value and flavor, use these simple SparkRecipes.

Sauteed Garlic & Greens

Roasted Kale Chips

Stir-fried Kale with Slivered Carrots

Kale and Potato Hash

Spinach Burgers

World's Best Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Posted 8/17/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Samantha Donohue : 9 comments   39,915 views
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10 Ways to Use Roasted (or Sun-Dried) Tomatoes

It sure has been a hot summer here in Kentucky.  Earlier today I went out for my run and wished I had gotten up at 4:00 a.m. instead of 5:30.  While passing a group of walkers I commented that it was like running in a bowl of soup.... and not chilled gazpacho!  A mile down the road I thought to myself that it could be worse and to make the best of the hot weather.  "My gosh," I thought. "Look what Mother Nature is giving us in our gardens.  Tomatoes are in full season due to the hot dry weather." (Check out those beauties from the garden and the farmers market, all ready to be roasted--if they don't get eaten before then!)
The moral of the story is that when life hands you a bushel of tomatoes, make something with them.  Give Chef Meg's Oven Roasted Tomatoes recipe a try to extend the season of your harvest.  Roasting tomatoes intensifies the flavor of the tomato, and it's an easy way to store them for winter. 
Oven-roasted tomatoes are a great basic to always have on hand! Instead of spending money on expensive, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, make your own.

Make large batches when tomatoes are in season, then freeze them for use during winter. Serve them in a sauce over whole wheat pasta, on a sandwich or in a green salad.

So what can you do with those roasted tomatoes? Use them anyplace you would use sun-dried tomatoes or…  
Posted 8/15/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 21 comments   35,927 views
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11 Healthy Dips and Spreads

Dips and spreads are an outstanding way to spice up a party, dinner table or coffee table. The bold flavors, creamy textures, and endless choices draw family and friends together for fun and conversation. At the same time, they are typically loaded with hidden calories, abundant sodium and saturated fat that are too difficult to resist and track. To prove that dips and spreads can be fun and flavor rich, we’ve chosen the top dips and spreads from SparkRecipes that substitute unhealthy ingredients with nutritional alternatives. Each recipe can serve as a standalone dip or as a sandwich spread.

11 Dips and Spreads from

Did you know?
Serving size for dip=1 ounce/2 Tablespoons (about the size of a pair of dice)

A cheese ball has 100 calories and 7 g fat per serving.
French onion dip has 60 calories and 6 g fat per serving.

Start the night off right. Instead of rich, creamy and cheesy dips, put out a tray of raw vegetables, whole grain crackers and a lighter version of that favorite dip.

Chef Meg's Lemon Zucchini Dip

SP_Stepf's Skinny Cheese Fondue

Coach Nicole's Yummy Hummus

Roasted Eggplant Spread

Edamame & Feta Spread

Posted 8/10/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Samantha Donohue : 9 comments   13,629 views
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