All Entries For sparkmom
My love of donuts started on my sixth birthday, when my parents bought me donuts instead of a birthday cake. Ten years later my parents led my family through a pretty amazing lifestyle change that included diet and exercise. I’ll never forget walking into a well-known donut chain where you could watch them come off the line. My Mom and I asked for one without icing. They were shocked at the request, not able to comprehend. After convincing them we were serious about the no icing request, we asked for three. They delivered three dozen to the register.
Apparently, customers order them by the dozen there. This got me thinking how to enjoy the warm soft sweetness of donuts without the fat, calories and sugar of the traditional recipe. Here’s what I learned: start by substituting whole wheat flour, then use plain yogurt instead of oil and butter. Add natural ingredients—like berries, pumpkin, and banana—to add nutritional sweetness. Have fun with toppings too, using lemon zest, orange zest, cinnamon sugar, or add icing in moderation. Try baking instead of frying or make smaller ones to help with portion control. If you don’t own a donut pan, try a muffin pan instead. Donuts are a wonderful treat, but these recipes give you all the flavor, but not wreck your health goals. Read More ›
Your son can't find his backpack (again) and your husband still hasn't fixed the leaky toilet (three weeks later). Stress is everywhere—and though you may not be able to control what causes it, you do have power over how you react to it. And keeping your cool is a key to safeguarding your heart.
"Stress sets off a surge of hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, in your body," explains WD heart health expert Michelle Albert, MD. "Elevated levels of these hormones can harm your heart because they raise your blood pressure and cause inflammation." So it's important to develop ways to cope when life becomes tense. Keep clicking for six speedy strategies that'll calm you down. Read More ›
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. Read More ›
Welcome in the new year with these winter slow cooker soup recipes. As a busy mother, wife and writer, I have to plan ahead if I’m going to achieve my health goals. When I utilize my slow cooker, I’m able to quickly and easily prepare family meals. These hearty soup recipes will warm you on a cold night and support you nutritionally too. Begin 2013 on a strong note with these soup recipes. Read More ›
At many dinner tables, the term "meatloaf" strikes fear in the hearts of even the most hardened palates. I have spent considerable time trying to bring peace among those who in my family who love and hate this classic American dish. Even for those who crave this American delicacy, there's the problem of how to prepare it without the fat and calories that wreek havoc on your health goals. Start by substituting lean meats, whole grains and vegetables. Use fresh spices and dried herbs to give it an international feel. Did you know meatloaf can even be made without meat? Have fun in your kitchen and enjoy these healthy meatloaf SparkRecipes. Read More ›
It just wouldn't be the holidays without this warm and nutty spice. Impress friends and family at the dinner table with some trivia. Did you know nutmeg is actually the seed of a type of tree?
Cut open the fruit of a tropical variety of evergreen tree and you’ll find this inch-sized brown seed. It doesn’t look like much but this little baby packs in warm and earthy flavor when it’s freshly grated. Ground nutmeg is also widely available, but isn’t as potent.
Native to Indonesia, the Caribbean and part of India, the outer covering of nutmeg is cultivated as an entirely different spice known as mace.
One tablespoon of nutmeg has just shy of 40 calories, 1 gram of fiber and B-vitamins like thiamin, B6 and folate. You’ll also find minerals like copper, iron and potassium.
What to do with Nutmeg
Use nutmeg to add a spicy, sweet kick to baked goods. Banana, pumpkin, apple and carrot get along famously with this sassy spice. Sweet foods love nutmeg but so do creamy dishes like fettuccine Alfredo, mac and cheese and creamed spinach. You’ll find it in lots of holiday recipes; everything from pumpkin pie to green bean casserole.
Shopping and Storage Tips
Read More ›
Pasta is a crowd pleaser and doesn’t have to be hard to cook or unhealthy. Baked pasta is my go to meal when I need to prepare something ahead of time for dinner. With these simple modifications I've been able to take high-fat, high-calorie dishes and replaced them with highly nutritious ingredients.
- Use only half the amount of cheese.
- Replace high-fat protein with lean protein.
- Replace half the pasta with vegetables.
- Try pasta made with rice, corn or quinoa flour for a gluten-free option.
- Use non-fat milk and Greek yogurt for a cream based sauce.
The modern coffee house has become the de facto office space for thousands of work-from-home Americans, including yours truly. When I need to change of scenery or to interact in-person with other human beings, my local java joint is my go-to option. The people-watching is decent and I will often bump into a friend, which approximates the traditional water-cooler conversation. It’s also a place for nutritional choices and I often find myself struggling to stick to the program. Whether it’s the sweet aromas or the attractive displays, many of the items in the forefront are loaded with calories and easily put me over the top on my daily sugar intake. not to mention how terrible I feel later. Even worse are the hidden calories in my original favorite drink, the latte. I thought I was being so healthy, because there was no minimal sugar, only to find out how many calories are in the deceptively large servings. I am happy to share, however, that I have learned a lot over the last year to take control of the coffee house menu to make it work for me and my health needs. Read More ›
To help increase your immunity this cold and flu season, give yourself an extra boost of vitamin C (no supplements required!). This antioxidant is found in a wide range of foods from potatoes to bell peppers. Check out these 5 delicious, vitamin-C rich recipes.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 60 milligrams. Each of the recipes below contains at least 20% (or 12 milligrams) of your daily recommended dose.
Vitamin C has many other roles besides helping stave off the common cold. It also helps form collagen, a building block of connective tissue that gives strength to skin, hair, and nails. Vitamin C also helps increase the body's absorption of iron. Read More ›
There's no better time than the holidays to teach your teens the significance of making a difference. By helping them create a giving circle—a group of people who pool individual contributions to make a bigger charitable donation—you'll enable them to have a greater impact and pick up some valuable life lessons. "Kids become much better informed, not only as philanthropists but as active community members," says Ken Menkhaus, Ph.D., professor of political science at Davidson College in North Carolina, who helped launch a course as part of the Learning By Giving program. Classes at selected schools—including Tufts, Columbia and UC Berkeley—research local nonprofits and debate who should receive grant money. But you don't have to wait until your kids reach college. Just use this simple plan to get your teens to step up. Read More ›
When I was in high school, my parents made a big lifestyle change that included improved diet and exercise. One of our staples when eating out became salmon. Many years later, it's still my favorite fish, but now I enjoy it at home around our family dinner table too. The best thing about salmon is that you don't have to be a professional chef or require expensive ingredients. This fish is simple to prepare, cooks fast, and has high levels of omega-3 fats and protein, but is relatively low in calories. I prefer fresh wild salmon, but you can opt for farmed or canned salmon also. Whether you already love salmon, or if you're ready to try something new, try these simple and healthy recipes to acquaint yourself with this amazing fish. Read More ›
Are you still looking for Thanksgiving meal plan ideas? Don’t panic. Instead, use these simple recipes to give your Thanksgiving dinner the special touch you're looking for. These recipes utilize ingredients you may already have on-hand and are healthier versions of the traditional full-fat calorie laden side dishes. Happy Thanksgiving! Read More ›
Turkey, pumpkin pie, football, family. Thanksgiving might include any of those things, but for many people, a vital part of the holiday weekend is the shopping. And while there are countless bargains to be found, not all promotions may be worthy of an early wake-up call or being jostled by crowds. We put Claudia Lombana, PayPal Shopping Specialist, to the test for her best Black Friday advice. Read More ›
We know what it's like—you prepare a well-balanced, nutritious meal for your kids, only to have them turn up their noses at the veggies. Before you give up and head for the McDonald's drive-thru, consider this: With a little know-how—and patience—you can instill healthy habits in your children. We've talked to some of today's leading nutrition experts and learned real-life tricks for sneaking in good-for-you foods at home, at school—and yes, even at fast-food joints. Read More ›