Category Archives: Food

Is Dairy-Free Ice Cream Actually Better for You?

If you follow a dairy-free lifestyle, you no longer need to suffer from FOMO when it comes to enjoying a scoop of ice cream. Whether you’re a part-time flexitarian, lactose intolerant, or a strict vegan, grab your spoon because it’s now easy to find oodles of non-dairy options that lack animal products—but not flavor. Non-dairy is now the fastest growing segment of the frozen dessert category; at last count, my supermarket ice cream case featured more than 30 different dairy-free flavors as well as numerous novelties like ice cream sandwiches and bars.

RELATED: 5 Things That Might Happen to Your Body When You Give Up Dairy

The rise in dairy-free frozen desserts is based on one thing: demand. Significantly more Americans are seeking to follow a more plant-based diet. The reasons for living dairy-free are many, but according to consumer data from Mintel, nearly half of those surveyed believe that plant-based proteins are healthier. However, not all non-dairy frozen desserts are healthier than regular ice cream, and some may even be worse for your health.

Here’s why: Dairyless frozen desserts replace milk and cream with an alternative like coconut, soy, almond, or cashew milk. Almost all of the other ingredients remain the same between commercially available dairy ice cream and their dairy-free counterparts. Coconut is popular among manufacturers because its saturated fat makes for rich and creamy vegan frozen desserts–but it can pack in more saturated fat than a dairy version of your favorite frozen treat. Pints made with almond, soy, cashew, or other nut milks tend to be lower in saturated fat and calories than those made with coconut cream or milk.

While great for creating creamy frozen treats, coconut’s high saturated fat count may elevate harmful LDL cholesterol levels, increasing risk for heart disease. Some coconut-based brands can have up to 250 calories, 15 grams of saturated fat, and 20+ grams of sugar per half-cup serving. For context, “regular” dairy-based ice cream has on average up to 150 calories per serving, 2 to 5 grams of saturated fat, and 10+ grams of sugar.

RELATED: Is Ice Cream Healthy? A Nutritionist’s Take on Halo Top and Other ‘Healthier’ Brands

If you’re looking for a better-for-you vegan scoop, choose one with less than 200 calories and 5 grams saturated fat and no more than 16 grams of added sugars per half-cup serving. Brands like So Delicious and Almond Dream have healthier nut-based choices, and Halo Top has some of the most diet-friendly pints in the category. Halo Top’s dairy-free options weigh in at 70 to 90 calories, with low saturated fat counts and less than 8 grams of sugar per half-cup serving. (Halo Top uses calorie-free Stevia and sugar alcohols to keep calories and sugar counts low.)

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When you scream for ice cream, make sure to choose your dairy-free scoop wisely by reading the nutrition facts to find out how your dairyless pick stacks up against the rest.

What This Woman Learned About Her Body After Eating a Cookie Every Day for a Week

Read on—you’re in for a sweet surprise.

Social media is a minefield of personal stories about health and nutrition. You know the type—an influencer or random person extols the virtues of eating a certain food or sticking to a specific diet, telling followers that if they want to get healthy or lose weight, just do what they did (or don’t do it, if that’s the case).

So when we came across a recent bikini selfie from California-based fitness influencer Shannon Eng that teased a headline about what happened to her body after she ate a cookie every day for a week, we just couldn’t turn away. 

So what did happen, according to Eng?

🚨ALERT‼️ I ATE A 🍪 COOKIE EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED! _ LOL. So ok. 😅 Not much of a newsflash here, because nothing really happened. I didn’t gain weight. The only thing that happened here is that I was so excited about cookies that I perfected my booty shake. Or maybe invented a new dance move called the hip wobble! Lol. _ Am I advocating that you eat a cookie every day? 🍪 Maybe, if that’s your thing! Can you fit it into your macros? Absolutely! My point is this: I ate a cookie every day. It only added 130 calories per day and on a 1800 calorie/day plan it’s a very small part overall! If you ate something that’s perceived as not healthy, that’s ok! One cookie doesn’t change your diet plan all that much. _ So can you maintain your weight or lose weight even if you eat a cookie every day? Of course you can. Moderation and balance is key. _ The problem with restrictive diets is that they’re not sustainable. Let’s say that cookies are my favorite not so healthy thing to eat. And I decided to restrict myself from eating them. One day, I’m just going to give into my craving or a friend is going to offer me some cookies and I’m going to go bananas and binge eat them! _ On the other hand, if I enjoy a small cookie in moderation once a day, the next time my friend offers some cookies I’ll enjoy one and not go overboard! Because I’ve been practicing the art of moderation and eating the things I want from time to time. _ What’s your favorite not so healthy food? 🍪🥧🍩🍕🍔🍟 Comment below and remember that even a cookie a day can be part of a balanced meal plan! #cookiemonster #cookies🍪 #iifym #macrocounting #mealprep #mealplan #balanceddiet #balancedlife #treatyoself #mealprepideas #cheatmeal #foodplan #weightloss

A post shared by Shannon Eng (@caligirlgetsfit) on May 17, 2018 at 8:11pm PDT

Refreshingly, nothing.

“I didn’t gain weight,” she wrote on Instagram. “The only thing that happened here is that I was so excited about cookies that I perfected my booty shake.”

With so many posts boasting about the positive effects of a certain food or sounding the alarm over a diet that backfired, this post was a huge breath of fresh air. Sure it’s important to eat a balanced diet. But it’s also inspiring to read about someone who indulged her sweet tooth . . . and suffered no side effects except joy.

“Am I advocating that you eat a cookie every day?” Eng continued in her post. “Maybe, if that’s your thing … If you ate something that’s perceived as not healthy, that’s okay! One cookie doesn’t change your diet plan all that much.” Amen to that.

RELATED: What Is Intuitive Eating? A Nutritionist Weighs In on This Popular Anti-Diet

Eng also commented on restrictive diets and how difficult these are to stay on, since they have so many limitations.

“They’re not sustainable,” she said. “Let’s say that cookies are my favorite not so healthy thing to eat. And I decided to restrict myself from eating them. One day, I’m just going to give into my craving or a friend is going to offer me some cookie and I’m going to go bananas and binge eat them!”

We love the way Eng called out the idea that certain foods are “good” or “bad.” And we’re on board with what she learned about her body: that being healthy means striking a balance between nutritious foods your body hungers for and the treats that make you happy.

Healthy Cooking on the Cheap: Springtime Split Pea Soup, Egg Salad With Carrot Fries, and Health(ier) Brownies


I’m really hoping that these April showers bring some beautiful May flowers because the weather this past weekend in Northern California has been terrible! We’ve had lots of cold rain and wind and all I want to do is nestle by the fire and eat belly-warming stews. Maybe it’s the gorgeous green color, but I find that split pea soup has that springtime appeal. I like adding hard-boiled eggs to make this a hearty, one-bowl meal. So I’ve added a dozen eggs to my shopping list this week, which I’ll hard boil to have on hand for my soup. I’ll use the rest to eat whole as snacks and to whip up an “egg-cellent” egg salad for on-the-go lunches.

Grocery list:
1 bag green split peas
Cocoa powder (I like Green & Black)
Dark chocolate chips
1 quart milk (skim, soy, or reduced fat is fine)
Pure maple syrup
2 quarts vegetable broth
2 yellow onions
1 bag large carrots
1 loaf whole-wheat bread
Canola oil mayonnaise
Sweet relish
4 stalks celery
Dozen eggs

Next page: Let’s get cooking!




Rainy Day Split Pea Soup With Egg
This is a filling soup full of protein from the peas and the egg. I love to make it and freeze extras for future rainy days!
Serves 4

2 cups green split peas
6 cups vegetable broth
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4–1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large carrots, chopped
4 eggs, hard boiled and roughly chopped

1. Heat the olive oil over medium/low heat in a large saucepot. Add the onions and cook on low for about 20 minutes, or until the onions have started to turn a golden brown color—just be careful not to burn them! Your goal is to caramelize the onions for maximum flavor. Be patient; it can take a while.

2. Once the onions have turned golden, add the split peas, carrots, broth, and spices, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 35 minutes, until the peas and carrots are tender.

3. Carefully pour soup into a food processor or blender and whirl on high for a few seconds so everything is smooth and pureed. Pour soup back into the saucepot, season with more salt if needed, and ladle into 4 bowls, topping each bowl with a handful of chopped egg.

Egg-cellent Sammies and Carrot Fries
These sandwiches are perfect for your little one’s lunchboxes (and yours too)! Carrot fries are a tasty alternative to plain old carrot sticks—especially for picky eaters.
Serves 4

8 slices whole-wheat bread
8 eggs, hard boiled
1/3 cup canola oil mayonnaise
3 tbsp sweet relish
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 large carrots
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and then spray with nonstick cooking spray. Peel, then slice the carrots in half, then each half into fourths so you have long carrot “fries”. Bake fries for about 15 minutes on each side or until tender and golden.

2. In a large bowl, mash the eggs with the back of a fork and add the mayonnaise, celery, relish, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined and then spread between the bread and serve with the carrot fries on the side.

Hearty Health(ier) Brownies
Since dark chocolate is full of healthy antioxidants, I always choose the dark stuff over milk chocolate when baking brownies. I use olive oil for some extra heart-healthy benefits.
Makes 12 brownies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and stir until combined.

3. Add the olive oil, milk, and maple syrup, and stir gently only until combined. Don’t over mix.

4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 45–50 minutes. Let cool before slicing into 12 squares.

Read Jenna’s daily food and fitness blog, Eat, Live, Run.



Whole-Grain Meals: Fast and Low-Fat Chicken Dish

saffron-chickenHOWARD LEE PUCKETTThis recipe for Quick Saffron Chicken With Couscous requires just 10 minutes of prep for a flavorful dinner that wont put on the pounds.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Makes 5 servings

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped shallot
3/4 teaspoon paprika, divided
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup uncooked couscous
4 ounces chopped bottled roasted red peppers, rinsed
3/4 pound chicken breast

1. In a 4-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat olive oil. Saute shallot, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, thyme, and orange zest over medium-high heat, 3 minutes, until shallot softens.

2. Combine saffron and broth in a bowl; stir until saffron dissolves.

3. Add edamame, stock, and 3/4 tea-spoon salt to pot, cover, and bring to a boil. As soon as mixture boils, add couscous, stir, and cover tightly for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the peppers, and fluff the mixture with a fork.

4. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/4 teaspoon paprika and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; place on cutting board. Let sit 2 minutes. Cut chicken diagonally across grain. Serve over couscous. (Serving size: 1 cup couscous, about 2 ounces chicken breast)


Calories 275 (17% from fat); Fat 5g (sat 1g, mono 2g, poly 1g); Cholesterol 38mg; Protein 22g; Carbohydrate 34g; Sugars 2g; Fiber 3g; Iron 2mg; Sodium 331mg; Calcium 38mg

Toasted Quinoa With Chiles and Corn

Back to “Whole-Grain Meals Made Fast” Intro

6 Surprising Reasons Eating Right Pays Off

Eating healthy can make you look and feel better, but it can also be great for your wallet. Whether by reducing medical costs or helping you earn more, a healthy diet has benefits beyond a slimmer waistline. Consider these ways your diet can improve your finances:

1. You’ll Lower the Likelihood of Needing to Take a Sick Day

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that help boost your immune system so it can better fight off viruses and bacterial infections. Staying healthy during flu season means you can go to work and get that paycheck (or promotion), and you won’t have to spend money on meds and extra doctor’s visits.

Not only does consuming a lot of produce increase your immunity in the short term, but it also helps prevent disease in the long run. Notably, eating more vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease, which afflicts about a third of all adults and costs about $444 billion a year to treat in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2. You Can Stay More Productive

Not much is better for your finances than making more money, and one way to do that is to work harder. According to 2012 research conducted at Brigham Young University, eating healthy can help you do that. The researchers evaluated 19,800 employees at three large companies and found that eating well every day may lower your risk of productivity loss by 66%. They also found that exercise lowered the risk of lost productivity by 50%, and getting five fruit and vegetable servings lowered the risk by 39%. (Other research has found that frequent exercise is connected to higher pay.)

3. You Can Take Fewer Pills

Disease costs a lot of money in terms of doctor’s visits, procedures, surgeries, and medical devices, but a large chunk of medical spending goes toward prescriptions that could be discontinued. In fact, three of the top five most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. are for preventable heart conditions, adding up to more than 160 million scripts per year. Keeping your heart healthy and your weight down through diet will help reduce the need for these medications and the monthly expense that goes along with them.

4. You’ll Steer Clear of Complications

When you’re unhealthy or obese, you’re more likely to have complications with an existing condition. For example, obesity decreases lung performance and is thought to exacerbate asthma symptoms. But foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can increase lung performance. In addition, high blood pressure and diabetes can complicate your pregnancy, according to the CDC, and those costs can add up. Eating a healthy diet and keeping a normal body weight can help you avoid these problems.

5. You’ll Age Better

When most people think of retirement planning, they think of 401(k)s and IRAs. That’s a great start, but if there’s anything that can deplete your retirement funds, it’s unplanned medical costs. Studies conducted over the past 20 years show that plant-based and Mediterranean diets increase longevity and health, helping you work longer (if you want), save more toward retirement, and hopefully spend less on health care later.

More recently, researchers in Rome and the Washington University School of Medicine jointly published a paper that concluded that calorie restriction may be the best way to prevent disease and lengthen lifespan—even for people at a normal weight. The paper, published in 2011, took into account studies on rodents and humans. More human studies are needed, but the paper provided a basis for in-depth trials to come.

6. Your Insurer May Reward You

Employers and insurers are doing what they can to get you to eat right and work out (and need less high-cost medical care). That can mean discounts on the food you should be eating. The health-care network Harvard Pilgrim rewards workers for buying healthy food (up to $20 a month) and recently announced that it would roll out the program to other employers. Blue Cross Blue Shield offers Jenny Craig discounts, and Humana gives members a 10% discount on healthy groceries purchased at Wal-Mart.

Read more from NerdWallet Health, a website that empowers consumers to find high quality, affordable health care, and insurance.

This article originally appeared on

Whole-Grain Meals: Vegetarian Dish Packed With Protein

quinoa-chiles-cornHOWARD LEE PUCKETT

The whole story: The quinoa in this Toasted Quinoa With Chiles and Corn recipe has more protein than any other grain, so it makes a fantastic vegetarian main dish or side.

Prep: 8 minutes
Cook: 23 minutes
Makes 4 servings

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned no salt-added whole-kernel corn, drained
1/3 cup jalapeño peppers, chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Add the quinoa to a 2-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, and place the pan over high heat. Swirl the quinoa in the pan to toast it evenly. When the grains are fragrant and crackle, remove from heat. Add cumin, salt, and cocoa, then slowly add the broth (be careful; it might boil over). Put the pan over high heat, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

2. Stir in the corn and jalapeño peppers; cover and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in scallions and lime juice. Serve warm. (Serving size: about 1 cup)

Calories 218 (15% from fat); Fat 4g (sat 1g, mono 1g, poly 2g); Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 9g; Carbohydrate 40g; Sugars 2g; Fiber 4g; Iron 5mg; Sodium 313mg; Calcium 42mg

Whole-Grain Meals: Lamb Chops High in Fiber and Heart-Healthy Fat

lamb-chops-bulgurHOWARD LEE PUCKETT

Make the nutty, satisfying bulgur in this Lamb Chops With Lemony Bulgur recipe a staple in your kitchen. Its great in salads and pilafs.

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 11 minutes
Makes 4 servings

12 (2-ounce) French-cut lamb rib chops, trimmed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 14-ounce can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup uncooked bulgur
1 large carrot, julienne cut
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons black pepper

1. Place chops in a zip-top bag. Whisk together vinegar, 2 teaspoons oil, and mint. Pour over lamb, seal bag, and rub marinade around. Chill 20 minutes.

2. In a 2-quart saucepan with a lid, bring the broth to a boil. Add bulgur, carrot, and salt, simmer 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Chop parsley and mix with lemon juice and remain-ing oil. Stir the parsley mixture into bulgur, fluff with a fork. Set aside.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add lamb to pan, discarding marinade. Cook 2–3 minutes per side. Sprinkle lamb evenly with pepper. (Serving size: 3/4 cup bulgur, 3 chops)


Calories 330 (34% from fat); Fat 13g (sat 4g, mono 7g, poly 1g); Cholesterol 50mg; Protein 22g; Carbohydrate 34g; Sugars 2g; Fiber 8g; Iron 3mg; Sodium 250mg; Calcium 64mg

17 Best and Worst Foods of Summer

Easy to throw on the barbecue, chicken kabobs are packed with protein but low in calories, fat, and carbs.

When you add veggies (like zucchini, bell peppers, and squash) to your skewer, you’ll add delicious, summery flavors and loads of antioxidants.

Vitamin C-packed red bell peppers are a great addition, as they get even sweeter on the grill and a half-cup provides only 14 calories. Another option: Dip chicken skewers into yogurt sauces, like in this simple-summer Yogurt-and-Spice Grilled Chicken Skewers dish.

We Tried the New Whole Foods Red Beet Pizza Crust—Here’s What We Thought

We know that cauliflower products like cauliflower pizza, cauliflower flour, and cauliflower gnocchi are having a moment—but there’s a new gluten-free (and brightly colored) crust in our midst. We’re talking about Whole Foods’ red beet pizza crust.

As soon as we caught a glimpse of this eye-popping red crust, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it. The 365 branded box retails for $5.99 and can be found in the frozen pizza section of your local Whole Foods.

If you’re considering enjoying gluten-free crusts at home in the hopes of cutting calories, cauliflower crusts at Whole Foods are just a tad healthier with 110 calories and 14g of carbohydrates for a quarter of the pie. The beet pizza has 140 calories and 17g of carbohydrates for the same serving size—but it does have more fiber and protein than its cauliflower counterpart.

In our test kitchen, we chose to make a basic margherita pizza using fresh mozzarella and a jarred tomato-based pizza sauce, then topping it off with some fresh basil. Some of our staffers noted during our taste test that the crust may have fared better with a pesto base.

But the box’s instructions were very straightforward, and the pizza only took a few minutes to make. You’ll just have to preheat the oven, unwrap the pizza, add your favorite healthy toppings, bake it for six to eight minutes, and you’re ready to serve.

Looking at the ingredients, we were shocked to see the crust hardly contains beets at all. In fact, beet root powder and beet juice concentrate are among the last ingredients listed of the bunch, only followed by xanthan gum. Other ingredients include potato flour, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, chickpea flour, sorghum flour, and egg whites— a bit strange considering the Whole Foods’ cauliflower crust product first ingredient is actual cauliflower puree.

But even more disappointing is that it was nearly impossible to detect a strong beet flavor, and a few editors (who claim to fervently dislike beets) weren’t bothered by the flavor at all. The crust was more potato-forward than anything—another editor claimed if you were to close your eyes, it really would taste just like a potato crust.

The saving grace? The crust had a great texture, and it held up under the pressure of our toppings. It wasn’t nearly as flimsy and off texture as some of the more popular cauliflower crusts are. And the vivid red hue was certainly Instagram-friendly.

Some of our staff said they would buy it, and even prefer it over cauliflower crust should they be in the market for a gluten-free alternative. But the overwhelming response was, well, meh.

8 After-Work Snacks Under 80 Calories

Hungry after the daily grind? Nosh on these satisfying treats.

4 ounces Very Cherre Tart Cherry Juice (, 3 ounces seltzer, 1 cherry for garnish

69 calories

Free Bottle Offer

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