Category Archives: Snacks & Treats

Football Snacks to Keep You on Track

Football

Are you ready for some football?!

I know I am!

This month I was going to run a 7 day group focused on football snacks to keep you on track, but I didn’t have any takers for it (insert sad Nikki face here). As a result, I decided to turn my idea into a blog post that might help some football fans who I have not personally connected with on Facebook yet.

(Hint Hint…you can like my Facebook page OR leave a comment below so we can connect!)

Fall equals football season, there is no denying that. Some of us can’t wait for Saturdays, so we can cheer on our favorite college teams, some are die hard NFL fans, some are into both and let’s face it…there are people who don’t care about who’s playing or who wins, they’re just in it for the snacks and the beer. I don’t know many of them, but I hear they do exist.

Personally I have always been into the NFL more (Go Broncos!) but over the last few years, I’ve been watching more Big 10 games and trying to keep all of the college rules and teams straight. I married into a family who takes football very seriously and likes to trash talk, which is really a lot of fun. Getting together with others on a Sunday to talk smack and drink a few beers is a great way to catch up and socialize, but the food that is typically served at these gathering can really screw up your week if you are trying to be healthier.

Below are some links to recipes that I love to make, as well as some that I plan on trying the football season. The goal is to help myself stay on track, while not feeling like an outcast who only eats steamed chicken and broccoli. I hope you give them a try and if YOU have any favorites that I did not list, I would LOVE to hear about them in the comments section below!

Football Appetizers

Healthy Football Appetizers:

Football Main Dish

Healthy Football Main Dishes:

Chili, Pizza and Taco’s just come to mind when I hear football. For you, it might be burgers or sausage subs. When you select your main dishes for game day, just keep a few things in mind:

  1. Keep it lean. (Sub turkey for beef or go 90% or leaner with ground beef. Turkey sausage is also super yummy!)
  2. Keep it hand held or easy to eat. (Sliders are a perfect way to enjoy burgers on game day!)
  3. Keep it simple. (You’ll want to watch the game, not be chained to the kitchen!)

As you can see, I kept things simple and flavorful. Good fun doesn’t have to be fried, full of fat or time consuming to make. These recipes are just the tip of iceberg and I encourage everyone to search Pinterest for more ideas, share some your favorite healthy game day snacks or even share an unhealthy favorite that you might need help cleaning up!

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box by using cauliflower pizza crusts, offering Energy Bites or Cookie Dough Dip as a sweet treat instead of cookies or using mini peppers to make some Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers!

My final tip is something that you already know…… LIMIT EMPTY CALORIES FROM BEER AND ALCOHOL! I know having a beer while watching football makes the experience feel complete, and it’s okay to have one or two. It’s when you begin drinking to excess that you run into problems. As with everything in life, moderation is key!

Have fun with your food this football season and best of luck to your team!

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{21 Day Fix} Beach Friendly Snacks

Pool Snacks
Let’s talk beach & pool food!

You’re working out hard, doing great with your meals and then your friends or family want to hit the pool or the beach to cool off and enjoy the summer weather. You begin to freak out because this is out of your norm and you don’t want to ruin your progress with the 21 Day Fix or your fitness routine.

Don’t worry! Here are some healthy options to pack and take with you for a little fun in the sun.

21 Day Fix Beach Friendly Snacks:

  • Fruit & veggies teamed up with some hummus, PB, guacamole or yogurt dip are all quick, simple & nutritious option to prepare the night before.
  • Clean out old PB jars or use a mason jar to pack celery, apples it baby carrots with some PB or hummus. (This will also help to reduce getting sand in your food at the beach)
  • Plastic soda cups with lids make awesome salad containers. Just layer your ingredients (put your dressing on the bottom) and stick a fork in the top, for easy grab and go lunch!
  • Wraps are another great option. One of my favorites is nitrate-free turkey or ham with hummus, lettuce, tomato and a little broccoli slaw for crunch. Want something lower carb? Ditch the tortilla and use romaine lettuce as a wrap instead.

All you need is a cooler with some ice-packs, a little prep time the night before or the morning before you leave and you’ll be on track to avoid buying a hot dog, pretzel of other junk options that you typically find at either location.

Do you have a favorite pool or beach snack? If so, please share below!

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Crazy Cups: How I Conquer My Sweet Tooth

Crazy Cups PostDisclaimer: As a Crazy Cups Ambassador, I was sent a package of coffee to review. and no compensation was exchanged. All opinions stated are my own.

I have sweet tooth bigger than my head. Cookies, cinnamon rolls, ice-cream…you name it! I have a hard time saying no to them. I also have a hard time saying no to coffee, so this is where Crazy Cups becomes my saving grace!

Now, if you follow me on Instagram or if we are friends on Facebook, you know that I LOVE me some coffee! I am always picking up new flavors of K-cups to try and my morning posts typically have something to do with coffee, especially dessert flavored coffees. Knowing this about me, it will come as no surprise that when Crazy Cups reached out to me and asked me to become an ambassador for them, I said YES!

In case you have not heard of Crazy Cups before, here is a little info about them:

  • They have recyclable K-cups.
  • They are known for their flavored K-cups. (you’ll see why as you read on)
  • Their products are organic and fair trade.
  • Their cups have 13g coffee grounds, which is 30% more than the competition.
  • Get notifications about new flavors and become part of their Flavor Nation with their app: (Click Here)

I am not a stranger to the Crazy Cups line of coffee  and I have tried many of their flavors, including their Hot Cocoa line. (FYI: the Maple French Toast is hands down my favorite!)  They have a list of flavors that will make your mouth drool:

Crazy Cups

  • Chocolate Coconut Dream
  • Frosted Oatmeal Cookie
  • Italian Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Pumpkin Vanilla Creme
  • Cinnamon Churro
  • Caramel Truffle Sundae
  • Bananas Foster Flambe
  • Salted Caramel

…and more! Don’t those sound good?!

Coffee flavors like these have been the key to keeping my sweet tooth in check while doing my workouts and sticking to clean eating. They feel like a cheat to me and help me to curb my cravings without shoving a calorie-filled treat into my face and regretting it later. I also get the energy I need to feel human through caffeine instead of processed sugar. (Remember, always say no to processed sugar and enjoy your caffeine in moderation, while drinking lots of water because it can dehydrate you!)

Plus their dedication to flavored coffee brings a tear to my eye…

ode to flavor

Speaking of Death By Chocolate…it’s my new obsession!

This flavor can cure just about any chocolate craving with the smell alone. My entire kitchen smelled like a chocolate cake as this little pod brewed, it was absolutely heavenly!

Now, I drink my coffee iced and black (which is why this is a basically a calorie free treat for me) and the flavor of this was perfectly balanced. It was chocolaty but not so sweet that you forgot you were drinking a cup of coffee.

Want to try some Death by Chocolate for yourself? Enter my GIVEAWAY below for a chance to win a box of your very own! (CLOSED)

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{21 Day Fix} Memorial Day Recipe Inspiration

21 Day Fix Memorial Day

The unofficial kick off to summer is this weekend and I bet many of you are right smack in the middle of a round of 21 Day Fix!

No need to worry, starve yourself all day in an attempt to save your containers for the BBQ (we all know this doesn’t work anyway…you just mess up your metabolism and end up over eating so please….do not even attempt to do it.) or say f*uck it and throw your goals out the window. With a little planning, you can stay within your containers and enjoy flavorful meals without guilt!

Check out my 21 Day Fix Memorial Day Recipe Inspirations below and stay on track this weekend.

Kebab Collage

Kebabs: The possibilities are endless with kebabs and they are perfect for the 21 Day Fix program. All you need to do is choose a lean protein, some fresh vegetables and a seasoning combination. Then just need to marinade before being threaded onto a skewer and grilled to perfection! Simple, right?!

The problem I think most people have is that they over think this program. I have some many clients come to me and say “I don’t know what to eat.” or “I wish the book had more recipes. I’m lost!” I felt the same way until I took a deep breathe and stop freaking out. The book is full of everything you need, especially for kebabs. Check out your red container list, green container list and then check out the seasoning blend recipes as well as the dressing recipes provided. Those dressing can make a kick-ass marinade for your protein! You just have to think outside of the box little.

For those of you who prefer step-by-step recipes, here are some delicious looking ones I’ve found on-line. They do not have 21 Day Fix breakdowns and you may need to change the oil type that is used to be “fix friendly” but they are all a great source of inspiration. Just break out your containers and have some fun with them.

Chipotle Chicken Kebabs with Avocado Cream Sauce: (Pictured on the left above) You will need to substitute the oil and brown sugar is not on the plan, but you can omit it without harm. Measure out the chicken using your red container before threading to create a single portion. The dipping sauce containers Greek yogurt & avocado and I would most likely just count it as a blue containers, but use your judgement as you make it. {Click here for the recipe}

Fajita Chicken Kebabs: (Pictured second from left above) You will need to substitute the oil in this recipe as well, everything else is plan approved. I recommend using your containers to measure out your protein and veggies before skewering them, to ensure portion size. This recipe should work out to be 1 red container and 1 green container per serving. Alter veggie amounts if needed. {Click here for the recipe}

Grilled Jerk Shrimp with Pineapple Kebabs: (Pictured second from the right above): This recipe has a few ingredients that are not on the plan but the amounts are so small I say go for it and enjoy, because in the grand scheme of what you could be eating…this is much better! As with the other recipes, measure your protein and your fruit for portioning before threading. Shrimp counts as a red container and pineapple is a purple. {Click here for the recipe.}

Chimichurri Beef Kabobs: (Pictured far right above.) Everything in this recipe is plan approved! The recipe is from the Whole30 cookbook that I just received for my birthday and I’ve been dying to try it. Just be sure to use your containers to measure your protein and veggies before you thread them to ensure portion size.

Ingredients:
For the kabobs:
1 lb lean steak (sirloin, strip, flank), cut into 1-inch dice
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares
1 onion, cut into 6 wedges
1 zucchini, cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds

For the chimichurri:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions:

1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes to 1 hour to prevent them from burning.

2. Make the chimichurri: Combine the vinegar, lime juice, garlic, and shallot in a food processor and mix on low speed. Drizzle in the olive oil while mixing; the dressing will begin to emulsify. Add the cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper and continue to mix on low until the dressing is uniform in texture and the herbs are chopped quite small.

3. Place the steak in a resealable plastic bag or nonreactive bowl with a lid. Cover the steak with enough chimichurri (about 1 cup) to coat thoroughly. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and marinate the steak in the refrigerator for 1 to 8 hours; more is better, especially for tougher cuts. (Feel free to leave your steak marinating overnight, or start your dinner prep in the morning before work.)

4. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the grill to high heat (500°F). (See below if you don’t have a grill.)

5. Remove the steak from the marinade; discard the marinade. Prepare the kabobs by threading the steak, bell pepper, onion, and zucchini onto soaked wooden skewers or metal skewers, alternating meat and vegetables. You should be able to make about 6 skewers.

6. Grill the kabobs directly over high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to medium (or move the kabobs to indirect heat) and brush with 1/2 cup of the remaining chimichurri. Grill to desired doneness, 12 to 15 minutes. (The easiest way to check is to remove one of the kabobs from the heat and cut into the meat, checking for color.) Serve the kabobs with extra chimichurri sauce for dipping; any leftover sauce can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days or frozen in ice cube trays for up to 6 months.

If you don’t have a grill, you have two other options for the kabobs. First, buy a grill plate for your stove and follow the same directions — it’s just like a barbecue, minus the mosquitoes. Or, you can broil and then bake the skewers: Preheat the oven to broil (or 500°F) and place the skewers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil the kabobs for 3 minutes, then flip the skewers and broil for another 3 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and brush the skewers with chimichurri. Bake to desired doneness, 12 to 15 minutes.

For more kebab recipes, check out my new Summer Grilling board over on Pinterest!

Salad Collage

Salads: They are a staple at summer BBQ’s. Cool, refreshing and packed with nutrition. Whenever you attend a gathering, scope these out first or offer to bring one with you so you know there will be at least one “safe” side dish option that isn’t full of mayo and fat.

Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad: (Pictured left above) This salad is so colorful and refreshing looking. All of the ingredients are “Fix Friendly” and each serving works out to be about 1 yellow, 1 blue, 1 green and 1 orange. {Click here for the recipe.}

Spinach and Berry Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette: (Pictured second from left above) This recipe is patriotic with the red and blue berries plus it’s straight from Beachbody so they took the container guess work out of things! 1 Green, 1/2 Purple, 1 Orange. {Click here for the recipe}

Cucumber Salad: (Pictured second from the right above) This simple and refreshing summer salad is the perfect addition to a BBQ when doing the 21 Day Fix. All of the ingredients are “Fix Friendly” and only count as 1 green container! {Click here for the recipe}

Greek Salad: (Pictured one the far right above) Here’s another colorful addition for your next cook out. This version is low in calories, high in flavor and brought to us by Beachbody, so once again, the container counts are already done for us! Container counts: 1.5 green and 1 orange. {Click here for the recipe}

For more salads and other side dish recipes, check out my new Summer Grilling board over on Pinterest!

Sweet Collage
Sweets: Let’s face it…it’s just not a party or gathering without them! The trick to staying on track is avoiding the cupcakes, cakes, brownies and other highly processed, sugary treats.

Fresh fruit is your friend in these situations and thankfully, since it’s warm out, there is typically some sort of fruit platter at most gatherings. Just like with the salads, you can always offer to bring some as your contribution if you know you have a killer sweet tooth and will be tempted by the other goodies that may be on display.

Grilled Fruit: (Not pictured) Pineapple, peaches and nectarines are all super yummy when grilled. Top them with a drizzle of honey or team them up with some greek yogurt for a grown-up treat! Container count: 1 purple (1 red if teaming it up with Greek yogurt)

American Flag Toast Flags: (Pictured on the left above) Have some fun with your breakfast and show your patriotism! This recipe uses cream cheese as the base but I honestly think they would be yummier with some natural peanut butter or just whole fruit jelly! Make sure you use whole grain bread and you’ll want to stick to one flag as your portion or you’ll be out of yellow containers for the day! Using a waffle or one of my Healthy Pancakes as a base is another good idea! Container counts: 1 yellow, 1 tsp, 1 purple.

Watermelon Pops: (Pictured second from left above) Simple, inexpensive and refreshing. Watermelon is the poster fruit of summer and you can’t go wrong with serving these! Container count: 1 purple.

Fruit Salad: (Pictured second from right above) Another simple and refreshing treat that won’t leave you on a sugar high. The fruit salad pictured above will take a little more time, but it’s the perfect addition to a Memorial Day or Fourth of July gathering and you only need a star shapes cookie cutter to create this conversation piece. Toss in some blue berries and viola! Container count: 1 purple

Star Spangled Fruit Pops: (Pictured far right above) Okay, so this one is for the over achiever but I couldn’t resist including it. Kids would definitely get a kick of them and your guests would truly be impressed. We’re always trying to get our kids to eat healthier, so why not make fruit as fun as the icing covered cupcakes?! {Click here for instructions on how to make these.}

For more dessert recipes and inspiration, check out my new Summer Grilling board over on Pinterest!

As you can see, there are a lot of healthy and flavorful ways to stay on track with the 21 Day Fix this summer.

I didn’t even touch grilled chicken or burgers! Both are absolutely allowed and the possibilities are endless with them too. The key to not getting bored with all of this is to experiment with seasoning. Seasoning is a free food on the program which means it is your best friend!

Be sure to check out the  Summer Grilling board over on Pinterest for more recipe inspiration. I already have some chicken and burger recipes on there that I didn’t include in this post and I’ll be adding to it regularly from now on.

Do you have a favorite 21 Day Fix Friendly recipe for BBQ gatherings? If so, please share it below! You know I love trying new things.

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The Whole30: Guacamole

GUACAMOLE
A week ago I celebrated my birthday and oh what a birthday it was!

Since my birthday typically falls the week of Mother’s Day, I asked my family for one big gift instead of lots of small ones this year, and they delivered!

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I have been wanting a DSLR camera for the longest time. Photography has always been something that intrigued me, but I could never justify spending a lot of money on a camera myself.

The more I began to shift my blog focus towards food, the more I knew I needed to up my photo game, so I’m so happy to finally have one! Now I just need to practice, practice, practice!

Another amazing surprise I received came from a fellow coach friend of mine. He has recently been bitten by the culinary bug and we love discussing recipes, spices and techniques together. He recently picked up the new  The Whole30 book and when he heard I didn’t have it yet AND that it was my birthday, he kindly sent me an eGift Card to Barnes & Noble so I could snag a copy for myself! How freaking sweet was that?!

Whole 30 book

Thank you, Eric!! You seriously rock!!

Maybe you’ve heard of The Whole30 plan. It’s all over social media and it’s a month-long “nutritional reset” created by certified sports nutritionists Melissa and Dallas Hartwig. The idea is that by cutting out stuff like sugar, alcohol, grains, and dairy for 30 days (meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and natural fats are fine), you can help improve your mood, sleep, energy levels, and body composition. Who couldn’t benefit from that, right?!

Now, I don’t have any plans to begin The Whole30 program right now, but I am finding the principles of it interesting. As of right now, I’m just using this book for the deliciously healthy recipes it is full of. However, I am not completely closed to giving the program a go down the road.

Have you do The Whole30? Did you like it? Share your experiences with me in the comments below!

I couldn’t wait to begin trying recipes from the book and immediately the carnitas and the guacamole jumped out at me. I’m a total sucker for Mexican flavors, so I know that was where I was going to start. It didn’t hurt that my mother had requested tacos for Mother’s Day dinner either….score!

The Whole30 carnitas recipe was actually very similar to one I already use, but mine has more spices and the addition of peppers, so I stuck with my recipe.  (Click here to view the one I use) Next time I’ll add the cinnamon that they use in their to see how that changes the flavor profile because I’m intrigued.

The Whole30 Guacamole recipe was also very similar to ones I’ve made in the past, but I rarely measure when I make mine and just adjust as I go. Being as I was itching to make something from this book, I decided to ditch my daredevil ways and follow an actual recipe for the guac and it was yummy!

Ingredients
  • 3 Avocados, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup red onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 big tomato, finely chopped seeded
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped 

    Instructions:

  • In a big bowl mash avocados, make sure you don’t over mash them. You still want some texture.
  • Add, onions, tomatoes, lime, cilantro, salt and lime. Stir till you incorporate all of the ingredients.
  • Wait 5 minutes to let all the ingredients mingle. Don’t skip this step!
  • Enjoy!

Since we are not following The Whole30, we enjoyed this with chips and also on our carnitas tacos…haha!

If you are following the plan,or just watching your carb intake, this would make an awesome topping for burgers, chicken or eggs. It would also be yummy with cut up peppers, carrots or celery. You could even use it place of mayo for chicken salad!

I’m so excited to try more recipes from this book and share them with you! I am DYING to try the Chimichurri Beef Kebabs….they look so good.

Do you already have this book? Have you tried recipes from it already? If so, please share your favorites with me in the comments below!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology Ice Cream

Chocolate Shakeology PB Ice Cream

Ice cream. Once upon a time it was my favorite thing to eat. Then I realized a lot of the bloating and digestive issues I had were because of dairy issues and I had to break off our relationship.

Sigh…

Then, one day while grocery shopping I found Lactaid ice cream and we were reunited and happy together.

Yay!

That is until the 21 Day Fix came along and broke us up again.

Boo.

Since I started the 21 Day Fix Extreme a week ago, I was missing that sweet treat that I typically craved in the evening. Giving up those “treats” is tough, especially when they were already healthy. Yes, I could have my Shakeology at night and I did a few times, but it just wasn’t what I was craving. I wanted ice cream!

{Fun Fact: I tend to crave ice cream when it’s cold out. I’m totally weird, I know.}

Tonight I remembered a while back I had experimented with ice cream and decided to try making it with my Shakeology!

The result was yumtastic and it’s simple to do. I decided to try a Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology Ice Cream, but I have plenty of ideas for other flavors.

 1 scoop of Chocolate Shakeology
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp natural PB
1 cup of ice

Blend it all together, freeze until it firms up and enjoy!

This totally satisfied my ice cream craving with zero guilt whatsoever!

It also fit my container counts which made it even better. This tallies up as 1 RED, 4tsps (add less peanut butter if you don’t have that many available) and 1/2  YELLOW since I only used 8 ozs of unsweetened almond milk.

You could absolutely turn this into flavor Shakeology you normally like to blend up. If you are not following the 6pm no yellow, no purple container rule (which I kinda broke by using almond milk, but I was afraid this would turn out like a sorbet with just water) you could use a frozen banana in this so it will be creamier.

Some flavors I plan to try:
All of the Girl Scout Cookie flavors I posted the other day. (This is basically the Tagalongs flavor)
Chocolate Covered Strawberry
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana
Mocha Fudge (add strong coffee and a splash of almond milk)

Currently I only have chocolate on hand and you could use any protein powder for this. There are some great flavors on the market too, like cake Batter, Fudge Brownie, Mint Chip and Cinnamon Roll, which would make flavoring even easier!

Have you ever turned your Shakeology or other protein into ice cream? If so, what flavor combo did you use?

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Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Smoothies

Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Smoothies
It’s that time of year! The Girl Scout mafia is out pedaling their sweet treats that none of us can resist. You know, the ones that come in colorful boxes that seem to get smaller each year but the price gets higher?

Yes, I know I sound bitter…it’s how an addict sounds when they’re trying to resist temptation.

At this current time in my life, I have to avoid these tempting morsels because I am doing the 21 Day Fix Extreme and there is no container for them. Wouldn’t it be great if the color of the box the cookie came in dictated which container you could count these sweet delights as?

  • Tagalongs in Red
  • Samoa’s in Purple
  • Thin Mint’s in Green

A girl can dream, right?

Sadly, that is not the case and I have 2.5 weeks until I can shove my face full have a taste of my favorites.

Until then, I will satisfy my cravings for them with these Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Smoothies using Shakeology!

Tagalongs Shakeology

Samoa Shakeology

Thin Mint Shakeology
These recipes have really been satisfying my Girl Scout cookie cravings without feeling guilty.

I truly have the worlds biggest sweet tooth, which is why I love Shakeology so much. It truly helps me to keep it under control, while getting lots of the nutrients I would be missing if I was just shoveling cookies into my face all day.

If you don’t use Shakeology, these recipes can absolutely be made with any protein power…not just Shakeology. The flavor will vary based on the brand you use, so you may have to adjust things a little.

Want to bump up the nutritional value of these even more? Add a handful of baby spinach to them. It won’t alter the taste but it will up the goodness!

I know there are a lot more Girl Scout flavors but these are the only ones I’ve messed with. Honestly, these are the only Girl Scout cookies I really like, so I haven’t tried to mess with the others.

If you have any healthy shake recipes for any cookie flavors not shown here, please share them in the comments!

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Healthy Cookie Dough Dip

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip Banner
Let’s face it, the best part about making chocolate chip cookies is licking the spoon. I don’t care that there is raw egg in it and I’m willing to roll the dice on getting sick. It’s just that good.

On the flip side, I can truly live without all of the sugar, butter and other “evil” ingredients that go into chocolate chip cookies.

That my friends is where this recipe comes in.

I’m sure you’ve seen this on Pinterest a million times and much like the Energy Bites I blogged about yesterday, you’ll find tons of variations on this too.

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip a

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter. almond butter – or allergy-friendly sub
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • heaping 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Drain beans, rinse extremely well, and pat dry. Process all ingredients except chips in a strong food processor until completely smooth. Stir in chips. Cover leftovers and store in the fridge.

 

Who knew the chickpeas could be so versatile?! I certainly never would have thought to turn them into a cookie dough dip. Hats off and a million thanks to the genius who did!

I enjoyed this as a dip for my apple…and I may have shoved a few spoonfuls into my face as well. I think this is a great, protein filled alternative to actual cookie dough and it would make a great dessert dip for parties too!

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Have you tried making Healthy Cookie Dough Dip before? Did you a recipe like this or one that uses oats as well? If you’ve tried both, which did you enjoy more?

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Energy Bites

Energy Bites.jpg
Every afternoon I find myself looking for something…

A cup of coffee? A cookie? A nap?

I don’t know what it is but 2:30-3:00 pm is a tough time of day for me. I try my hardest to avoid that cup of coffee, because as good as it will taste, I will kick myself come 9:00 pm when I’m trying to relax for bed and my brain is going a million miles a minute thanks to the caffeine that seems to linger in my body. As for the cookie… well… most days I do have my Banana Oatmeal Cookies on hand, but they don’t always satisfy my craving.

Thank goodness Pinterest was invented. A while back I found a recipe for Energy Bites and they became a staple in my fridge. Then I got lazy and stopped making them.

Last week I was heading to over my friends house to help her take some photos and she told me to bring something to photograph for my blog as well. (As you can tell from most of my photos, I use my phone to take them. While I’m getting better at it, it’s not the same as using a DSLR.) As my brain started scrambling for something I could quickly “make & take” I remembered these little life savers.

Much to my dismay, the link I had on the old post no longer worked and while Pinterest has tons of these gems, I couldn’t find one that looked right. Thankfully I rarely clean out my junk drawer, so I dug through it, hoping to find the piece of paper I had scribbled the recipe on…and I did, but it was ripped, so I tried to fill in the gaps and came up with these, which were perfect to me.

Energy Bites Square

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  2. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  3. Makes about 20-25 balls.

Don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment with these. Swap out the chocolate chips for some dried cranberries or raisins. Toast the coconut or add some chia seeds to the mix. Changing the type of nut-butter you use will change the flavor profile too!

*If you are doing the 21 Day Fix, you can use these as a yellow container treat. I would count 2 of them as a serving.*

Have you ever tried making Energy Bites? There are sooooooo many different versions of these out there, I would love to hear of variations you’ve tried and liked.

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The Big Game Workout Challenge

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Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!?

While my favorite team is not in it to win this year, I will be watching the game along with millions of other people.

Big Game parties are known for chips, dips, wings, pizza and other fried finger foods. Let’s not forget the beer and the fact that we are all just sitting around while enjoying all of these high calorie goodies.

Today I thought I would share some healthier food options that you could serve or bring for the party, as well as some tips and “The Big Game Workout Challenge” which could be a fun way to burn off some of the treats and get you off the couch!

Game Plan:
1. Don’t arrive for kick-off with an empty stomach. Make sure you eat a light meal with lean protein before game time. This would actually be a good time to drink your Shakeology, specially since you could take it on the go with you. Doing his will help curb junk food cravings because you won’t be starving.

2. Don’t sit within arms reach of the snack table or the buffet set up. When you arrive you’ll want to take a look at what your choices are so you can form a mental plan, but you don’t want to sit where it can tempt you. Doing that could end with you mindlessly reaching out and stuffing chip after chip into your face.  No good!

3. Be involved in the game! Make sure you actually watch the game and the commercials! (we all know they tend to the best part when your team isn’t in it). Talk to your friends, cheer, talk smack about the other team…whatever it’ll take in order to move your focus away from the food.

4. As I stated in number 1, there will be beer as well as other drinks. You’ll need to have a plan for how many you’re going to drink before you start. (21 Day Fix people, you can swap a yellow here but it’s not for a 6 pack!) If you plan on having multiple drinks, make sure you drink a bottle of water between each one. It will help to keep you hydrated, reduce your risk of a hangover and it can help to keep you from going over the predetermined number of drinks you’ve set.

5. Participate in “The Big Game Workout Challenge” that I have below! It’ll get people up and moving, which means less time for snacking. It can also be a good way to get people laughing and joking. Parties are about having fun right?!

The Big Game Workout Challenge

*This is not meant to be a full workout. It’s just designed to get you moving and burn a few calories while enjoying the game.

 

Healthy Snack Options:

1. Buffalo Wings: They are a staple item when it come to football. We all love them but they aren’t exactly the healthiest things around. Check out these healthier versions:

2. Dips: This best friend to the chip is typically filled with sour cream, mayo or both mixed together. Not exactly friendly to your waist but oh so easy to go overboard with. Here are some healthier recipes that use greek yogurt as a healthy swap:

Don’t forget homemade salsa, guacamole and hummus are quick and easy to make and allow you to flavor things to your liking. Be sure to offer fresh veggies as a dipping option in addition to chips.

3. Food: Pizza, sandwiches and chili all tend to be popular at Big Game parties. The first two are easy to hold and eat and chili is just warm, comforting and allows the guys to show just much hot sauce they put in their food without crying, right?! I’m a huge fan of chili and if you need a recipe, I highly recommend this one which I posted a few weeks ago – Turkey Chili.

Here are some ideas for making these items a little bit healthier:

  • Opt for whole-wheat or whole-grain crust pizza. (Many pizzerias offer these now, so if you’re ordering be sure to ask.)
  • Have some veggie topped pizza options for your guests or a Margherita style pizza, which is usually topped with fresh mozzarella (less greasy) and basil. Not everyone wants greasy pepperoni, sausage or supreme!
  • Opt for whole-wheat or whole-grain for your hero or hoagies (depending on where you are from) too! Many people think wraps are healthier but that isn’t always the case. Some wraps pack a bigger calorie punch than bread and can have less nutrients. If preparing them yourself, check your labels!
  • Consider a vegetarian option. Roasted veggie wraps are really delicious. (Just be sure to ask wherever you order from to go easy on the oil.)
  • When ordering wraps or sandwiches, make sure the condiments are on the side. This will reduce calories and leave things up to your guests.

4. Think outside of the box: Many of you eat healthy on a daily basis. There is no reason why that needs to be tossed out of the window because of a game. Think of the foods you typically opt for and use them:

  • Instead of potato skins loaded with cheese, use sweet potato and top them with nitrate-free turkey bacon and a dollop of greek yogurt.
  • Make your own baked tortillas to go with your dips.
  • Serve fresh fruit with a simple fruit dip: Mix together 1 cup of vanilla greek yogurt, 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter and 1 Tbsp honey. Store in the fridge in an air tight container until ready to serve.

Do you have any healthy swaps or recipes that you plan on serving this weekend? I’d love to hear about them!

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