Sweet cravings are one of the most common obstacles I hear. I, too, am not immune from a major sweet tooth. I’m a big believer that purposefully and stubbornly resisting a craving will ultimately result in overindulging on the craved food or binging on all sorts of other foods in an attempt to compensate. In the summer, those cravings are also often for frozen goodies. So, today, I want to give you a few frozen treat ideas that can satisfy both that sweet tooth and cooling you off on a hot day!
- Frozen Fruit – blueberries, grapes, and cherries are AWESOME frozen. They’re perfectly sweet and frozen, they are amazingly refreshing.
- PB Banana Bites – thinly slice a banana. Between two slices, sandwich a dollop of peanut butter (crunchy is best!). Freeze for at least an hour, then devour! For an even more indulgent treat, drizzle with a bit of bittersweet chocolate before freezing.
- Stuffed Chocolate Dates – remove the pit from medjool dates. Stuff with nut butter. Coat with bittersweet chocolate. Place in the freezer for at least an hour.
- Smoothie Popsicles – next time you whip up a smoothie, pour some excess into popsicle molds and freeze for a tasty treat!
For more tasty summer treat inspiration, come by CoreLife and chat with one of us dietitians!
Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN
The summer is upon us and with it, barbecues, cook-outs, and picnics galore. When you’re enjoying a nice evening with friends, it can be easy to over indulge and mindlessly nibble on that second, maybe even third piece of pie or brownie. To help keep you from overdoing it, but still having a sweet summer, here are a few of my favorite go-to “desserts” for the summer. Light enough to not make you feel heavy on a hot day, indulgent enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, and all oven-free to keep you from further heating up your kitchen on those already hot days!
- Dark Chocolate Dipped Fruit – whether it’s strawberries or orange slices, bananas or kiwi, sliced fresh fruit dipped in a little dark chocolate shell is a great way to finish off an evening meal. Try sprinkling chia seeds or crushed nuts on top before the chocolate sets for an even more nutritious bite.
- Banana Soft-serve – freeze several bananas in 1 inch chunks. Add to food processor and process, pulsing, until smooth and creamy. Optional add-ins: nut butter, mini chocolate chips, other frozen fruit like strawberries or mangos, fresh spinach (makes for a gorgeous green color!)
- Fresh Whipped Cream with Fruit – whipped cream, homemade, fresh whipped cream, is wonderful! Light and fluffy, add a bit of buttermilk for a more tangy final product, or a bit of honey or maple syrup for a lightly sweetened one. Add a dollop to freshly cut mixed berries for a wonderful dessert.
- Grilled Fruit – pineapple slices, peaches, plums – all of these caramelize beautifully on the grill. Add some whipped cream for an extra special treat!
- Shakes – not the ice cream laden ones, but try out some milk, PB, cocoa powder, banana, and dates for a sweet, frosty treat sure to please and refresh.
Make your summer delicious and nutritious!
Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN
When you think of “health” food, pizza is probably not the first thing to come to mind. While pizza can certainly be and often is far from nutritious, if done right, it can be a fairly balanced meal and actually provide a good amount of nutrition. Here are some tips to make pizza a healthier, and therefore more regular, part of your diet.
1) Homemade – making homemade pizza gives you a LOT more control over what is (and ISN’T) going into your meal. You can do a whole grain crust, a cauliflower crust, or even mini pizzas on slices of eggplant. You can also opt for a thinner crust and simpler ingredients so you aren’t using most of your calories on greasy dough. You dictate the amount of cheese. And, you can control your sauce ingredients!
2) Sauce Magic – sauce is a great place to pack extra nutrients, just like smoothies. For a tomato sauce, try adding some pumpkin puree or spinach to increase the veggies. Or, opt for a non-tomato sauce like a simple pesto. Pea + mint, kale + walnuts, arugula or spinach – all make for some killer pizza sauce bases and offer not only a different delicious twist, but much-needed nutrients, as well. To make these pestos even more nutritious, use as little olive oil as needed to get a spreadable consistency, omit the cheese, and limit or remove the nuts/seeds. And if you really want to get creative, try a non-conventional sauce like butternut squash puree or pumpkin.
3) Toppings – what you put on top of your pizza base can derail your healthy day or finish it with a bang. Fresh veggies, especially seasonal ones, grilled fruits, and sparse or lean proteins amp up the nutrition per bite and slice without compromising on flavor. Use bold cheeses to decrease the amount you need to use to have a flavor impact and choose/shred finely shredded cheese so that a little really goes a long way. For a twist and a lighter option, try adding a lightly dressed salad of fresh greens on top just before serving in lieu of toppings other than sauce and a bit of cheese.
4) Size Matters – just about anything can become “unhealthy” if eaten in mass quantities. Avoid overdoing your pizza intake by making homemade, smaller pizzas, getting store bought individual pizzas, or ordering a small pizza for delivery. This keeps you from over-indulging! Can’t beat the price of that huge pizza? Wrap half in foil and place in the freezer for later consumption before digging in!
For more tips and recipe ideas, come visit CoreLife!
Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN
I’ve discussed the virtues of smoothies a few times before. They are a great way to sneak in a LOT of nutrition without compromising taste or spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Smoothies are one of my absolute favorite ways to incorporate more veggies and healthy fats into your diet. I wanted to share a few different add-ins that I regularly use in our smoothies to increase their nutrition punch and still be totally toddler approved.
Veggies are super easy to sneak into smoothies. Some are a bit too assertive to really go unnoticed, but many are perfect compliments to the sweet fruit ingredients. Our go-tos include:
-frozen butternut squash
-kale (thick middle stems removed)
*you can easily use fresh instead of frozen and vise versa for all of these, but I typically find the frozen versions of butternut squash and cauliflower to be the cheaper option!
Healthy fats are essential for good health, but can be tricky to get in. Omega-3s can be particularly challenging. These are some of our favorite fatty ad-ins:
-ground flax seeds
*be sure to drink the smoothie pretty immediately after preparing with the chia seeds and ground flax seeds, as both will cause the smoothie to thicken up when left for a bit!
Recently, we’ve been loving smoothie bowls instead of straight smoothies (a thicker smoothie that can be eaten easily with a spoon, out of a bowl). Some of our favorite fun toppers that also pack a good nutrition punch are:
-chopped nuts (for a yummy crunch!)
Try some new combos and up your veggie intake all at once! Having trouble deciding on the best combinations? Come on in and discuss it with us at CoreLife to get some recipe suggestions!
Aubrey Phelps MS RDN LDN
With two little ones under 3, I’m constantly trying to find ways to make meals as easy and straightforward as possible, and still nutritionally sound. This recipe is a great example of how you can modify a recipe to accomplish all of these goals. The original recipes I based this off of called for actual rice. However, that left me with a dish that had a bit of fruit, a bit of veggies, a lot of grain, and made me feel like I needed to add a side of vegetables to make it a balanced meal. After putting together this dish, however, I knew I wouldn’t want to have to worry about making something additional and brainstormed how I could mess with the recipe to achieve a more veggie-heavy dish, all served up in one bowl.
Enter cauliflower rice. This has become a new “trend” in the health food world, and while I definitely find many such trends to not be at all worth their hype, this is one that I’ve come to really enjoy. I’m not a big fan of cauliflower on it’s own, but as “rice”, I’ve found it surprisingly enjoyable. The texture is great (if you don’t overcook) and the taste is so mild that I doubt you’d even know it was cauliflower. By substituting in cauliflower rice in place of the rice called for in this recipe, I was able to give us a huge bowl of veggies, accented with juicy caramelized pineapple and a bit of spicy, bold chorizo. The leftovers were awesome too, and we all went back for seconds.
Caramelized Pineapple Chorizo “Rice” Bowls
1 head cauliflower
drizzle of olive oil
½ sweet onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
½ lbs chorizo
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup pineapple, chopped into ½ inch chunks
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Avocado Chipotle Cream
½ cup plain yogurt
1 chipotle from chipotle canned with adobo
juice from 1 lime
“Rice” your cauliflower. Quarter the cauliflower head; remove the stem, and process in a food processor or grate on a large hole cheese grater. Press gently with a paper towel to remove excess moisture and set aside.
Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic. Sauté until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add chorizo. Cook until browned. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Add butter to pan (no need to clean it!) and then add the pineapple. Cook from about five minutes, until browned and caramelized. Add peppers and cook a couple more minutes. Pour chorizo mx back into the skillet with the pineapple and peppers and add the cauliflower rice. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir to blend ingredients, adding green onions, and cooking until cauliflower rice is just beginning to soften.
Add avocado, yogurt, chipotle, and lime juice to your blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, adding a bit of water if desired to thin. (this will likely result in a good amount of leftovers, as we found it to be quite spicy and just used a bit to accent; you can certainly half the recipe instead)
Portion rice mixture into serving bowls and drizzle with chipotle avocado cream.