The Top Recipes You Craved This Year

By , SparkPeople Blogger
On, members log thousands of food items daily on our Nutrition Tracker. SparkRecipes now has more than 485,000 recipes. That's a lot of info on what people like you are really eating when they're working to get healthy and stay that way. We looked back at the top cooking trends of the year, based on what members like you are searching for on the site. Keep reading for a wealth of recipes and meal ideas that will help you reach your healthy cooking and eating goals in 2014.

High-Protein Foods: Protein is huge right now. You know that it's crucial to weight loss, thanks to its ability to fill you up, ward off hunger, and rebuild muscles after your workouts, and you're looking for creative and delectable ways to get enough of it each day. Beyond the usual recipes, try homemade protein bars, protein pancakes & protein powder pancakes.

We like:
No Bake Protein Bars
Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars
Protein Pancakes

Drinking Your Vegetables
: Getting in your five servings of fruits and veggies daily can be tough when you're busy. One of the easiest ways to load up on fruit is with a smoothie. Toss in a banana and some berries or melon, and you're easily halfway to your goal. But a lot of you are catching on that vegetables can be sneaked into a smoothie, too. you're trying spinach smoothie and vegetable smoothie recipes. (trust us, you can't taste the veggies.)

Try one of these:
Chocolate Spinach Smoothie
Green Smoothie - Spinach, Banana, & Strawberry
Green Vegetable Smoothie

Slow Cooker Recipes
: Slow cookers and crock pots are a healthy cook's BFF. They do the work, and you take the credit at the dinner table. We know it, and you know it. Still, the #1 question people ask is: Do you have any new, easy, and healthy slow cooker recipes?
When we relaunched SparkRecipes and added themed pages, Easy Slow Cooker Recipes was top on the list. Start here for all your slow cooking questions and recipe searches. You've also been looking for slow cooker chicken breast, crockpot pork tenderloin, and low-calorie crockpot recipes.

Want more ideas?
11 Surprising Foods You Can Make in a Slow Cooker
14 Healthy and Delicious Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes
9 Dos and Don'ts for Perfect Slow Cooker Meals

Warning: We would be remiss to skip over this popular and potentially dangerous trend: Frozen Chicken in the Crockpot. Though it might be tempting to toss a package of frozen chicken in the slow cooker, don't risk it! According to the USDA, the temperature at which a slow cooker heats food is not high enough to prevent bacterial growth when using frozen ingredients. Always thaw ingredients (in the refrigerator and never on the countertop) before placing them in a slow cooker.  

Fish & Seafood: You know that fish and seafood are lean proteins that cook quickly. You also know that many types of fish are a great source of brain- and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But because fish has been a special-occasion or only-at-restaurants meal in the past, many of us are still learning how to cook it. Most people are starting simple, with baked cod fillets, canned tuna fish, and frozen tilapia filets.

If you want to source more meals from the sea, you might also like these recipes:
Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
Lemon Garlic Tilapia
World's Best (and Easiest) Salmon
Creamy Shrimp Pasta

What's for Dinner? White Meat
: Pork and chicken reign supreme on SparkRecipes. from boneless pork loin chops and chicken and spinach to chicken thighs and leftover pork, you love these affordable, lean proteins--but you're always looking for new ideas.

Have you tried:
Baked Boneless Pork Chops
Honey Garlic Pork Chops
Baked Pork Chops
Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
20 Minute Chicken Creole
Crispy Ranch Chicken

New (Simple) Side Dishes
: Main dishes are the easy part. What do you pair with them beyond plain-old veggies and potatoes or rice? You all certainly had a yen for side dishes to go with chicken and side dishes for pork tenderloin in 2013. have you tried any easy spaghetti squash recipes? this low-cal pasta swap is a runaway hit on pinterest as well as the site.  
We recommend:
Sweet n Savory Sweet Potato Recipes
World's Best Brussels Sprouts
Twice-Baked Cauliflower

Special Diets & Lifestyles
: No two people's idea of "healthy eating" is the same--and that's OK. Whether adhering to a special diet (low carb) for health reasons, learning to cook recipes for one person, or seeking out a new food trend, such as almond flour, a key ingredient in Paleo diet, the cooks over at SparkRecipes are turning up all kinds of tasty, delicious dishes that suit their--and maybe your--lifestyle.

Here's what else they're cooking:
Vegetarian Meals
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
Light Dinner
Low-Calorie, High-Protein

Fresh Ideas for Meals & Snacks
: A few years ago, we learned from a survey that most of you have 30-45 minutes to spend on dinner, but only 15 minutes maximum for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. when adding new recipes and seeking out good content from users, we keep that in mind--especially after seeing what you were craving this year. Here are some new ideas to make your daytime meals and snacks healthy and simple:

Don't miss:
12 Healthy Cool Weather Breakfasts
10 Warm Weather Breakfasts
10 Protein-Packed Snacks
Easy Lunch Ideas
11 Savory Snacks Under 250 Calories

Recipes for Ground Beef & Other Meats
: A lot of us shop the same way--we pick up a package of something at the supermarket, then get home and realize we don't know what we want to do with it. or, we know what to do with it, but we're tired of the same-old recipes. that's the case with ground chicken, leftover beef & taco meat, and ground pork--you guys came in search of new uses for this healthy meal staple!

If this sounds like you, give one of these meals a try:
Best Buffalo Chicken Chili
Salsa Turkey Burgers
Ground Beef-Potato Casserole
Slow Cooker Meatballs
Pork & Turkey Cabbage Rolls

Eggs after Breakfast: Crustless quiche was a surprising yet tasty addition to the top searches list. Quiche is a simple way to serve eggs any time of day, yet the rich crust adds almost no nutrition. When you get a hankering for eggs, go with:
Feta & Spinach Scrambles
Which foods did you cook most this year? Throughout 2014, what would you like to see more of on SparkRecipes?

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