5 Healthy Reasons to Eat Teff

We all know we should be eating more grains. However, getting your daily recommended servings can be tough, especially if you fall into a dietary rut. It’s easy to get burnt out eating the same old standards such as rice and oats. Even relative newcomers to the health food scene like quinoa and spelt are becoming old hat as their trendiness quickly fades. If your taste buds have grown tired of the usual suspects, you’re in luck! There’s another grain gaining in popularity that’s sure to please your palette. Here are five reasons you should try teff:

Healthy Reasons to Eat Teff
1. It’s eaten in its whole form
Teff is only about the size of a poppy seed, which makes it the smallest of all the grains. Its tiny size makes it difficult to process or refine so you can reap the complete advantages of this nutritious food. Eating the whole form of a grain always delivers the most benefits for your body.

2. It’s gluten-free
For those with Celiac disease or other types of gluten intolerance, teff is a great option. This grain is used as the base for many gluten-free cereals, breads, and wraps. Teff flour is also a good choice for those who wish to create gluten-free baked goods. Anyone avoiding gluten-based products knows that having more alternatives makes it much easier to follow the dietary restrictions of a gluten-free lifestyle.

3. It’s an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C
Teff may be the smallest grain, but it certainly packs a punch in the calcium department. In fact, tiny teff has the highest calcium level of any grain. With 123 mg per cup, a serving of teff provides more calcium than some dairy products. It also contains a good amount of vitamin C, which is rare characteristic in the grain family.

4. It’s high in resistant starch
Resistant starch is essentially a form of dietary fiber since foods containing it tend to pass into the large intestine without being fully digested. As a result, teff can help those on a weight loss plan by providing a feeling of fullness. It’s also a good choice for those managing diabetes due to its ability to help regulate the blood sugar. Because resistant starch acts as a prebiotic, teff is beneficial for the health of your colon as well.

5. It’s versatile
Teff has a very mild taste so it can be prepared in a variety of ways. It has a slight sweetness that’s comparable to molasses, which makes it a great breakfast option. It serves as a nice change of pace from the usual morning oatmeal or cream of wheat. Teff flour is also a good choice to make a grainier version of pancakes or waffles. Teff can even be used to bring a nutty and earthy essence to savory dishes. Try using it as a binder in veggie burgers or preparing it as a stand-in for polenta. The possibilities are endless! Teff is a great way to expand your diet and expose yourself to new, exciting flavors.

Coming up with different ways to get your daily recommended grains can be tough. But when the going gets tough, the tough gets teff! Don’t let its diminutive size fool you! Teff is a real powerhouse of nutritional benefits. It just might be the next big thing on the health food market. So give teff a try today and experience all the advantages this tiny grain has to offer!

The Best Part of Fall? Improving Diet and Nutrition with Fall Veggies

As a season, fall has so many redeeming qualities, especially if you live somewhere with four true seasons throughout the year; the air becomes a little cooler in the morning, the humidity is non-existent, and all sorts of delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables are available locally! I know, it seems like a strange thing to get excited about, but eating fresh from local farms (or even your very own garden) means that you are eating vegetables as they are fresh from the ground; they are not being forced farmed and forced ripened, you are eating them as they were intended to grow and ripen, which means they are totally saturated with nutrients and vitamins and taste their best.

Improving Diet and Nutrition with Fall Veggies
What are the best fall veggies for you?
Some of the vegetables with the most nutrients right from the ground are squash: there are so many varieties, they have wonderful nutrition, and they are such a versatile vegetable that can be added to almost anything! Each variety has a totally differently flavor, and because most squash have such thick skin, they can be stored for up to 6 weeks once picked, so you can buy up your favorites and store them…or buy a few different varieties and try them all. My personal favorites are sugar pumpkins, kabocha, spaghetti, and butternut squash because I cook and bake with them, and add them to my morning smoothies too!

Why are squash so good for you?
Each variety has its own amount of nutrients, however there are some key nutrients that squash are very high in, making them not only tasty but also very good for your health (and hitting weight loss goals)!

Fiber: All squash tend to have very fibrous flesh, which softens when cooked, which gives it a nice consistency, and it has many benefits. As fiber is difficult for your body to absorb, it slows down digestion in the stomach, helping to maintain steady blood sugars, which makes you feel full longer, and curb cravings. Because of that, you tend to take in less food when you eat a high fiber diet (you feel fuller faster), but it is also great for colon health and it helps to flush out your intestines by moving quickly through the digestive tract, giving you a flatter stomach. Be warned when you first start adding in these high fiber gems to your diet, you may feel a little bloated at first, but once your body gets used to it, you will feel great!

Vitamin A: Technically, squash are high in beta-carotene, which is changed into Vitamin A when it is broken down and absorbed in the stomach. Regardless of that, both are great sources of nutrition. They are high in antioxidants, and help to boost your immune system. Studies have found that diets high in beta-carotene result in less cardiovascular disease (think stroke, heart attack, etc) and lower rates of oral and lung cancers (which are very prevalent these days.) And Vitamin A assists with healthy vision, improves your skin (skin is more vibrant looking – who doesn’t want that?), and it has been shown to improve sperm function and production. Both high levels of beta-carotene and Vitamin A are a winning combination in squash!

Vitamin C: I bet you thought you knew everything about this vitamin, but there are new studies coming out all the time related to the benefits of a diet high in Vitamin C. It does help to boost your immune system, as it is one of the first vitamins depleted when we have a stress response (which usually makes our immune system work harder) so eating big doses can help to get your immune system back in the swing and fight off those common cold viruses. Women with diets high in Vitamin C have also been found to have skin with less wrinkles and fewer problems with skin dryness. It also has recently been found that people who eat high Vitamin C diets, have a decreased risk of stroke, and while the exact reason is unknown, it’s a good enough reason for me to eat high Vitamin C foods!

Now that you know how great squash are for you, you need to know how to cook them and add them to your diet!

How do I cook squash?

The best way, is to roast squash because after they are roasted, you can remove the pulp and freeze it for later, or cook/bake with it immediately. To roast to perfection every time, without fail:

Preheat your oven to 375F.
Slice the squash in half (takes some muscle) and scoop out the inside seeds.
Place the squash skin side up in a roasting dish, puncture the skin with a fork 4 times on each side, and drizzle a little olive oil over the top.
Roast for 45 minutes. (you know its ready because you can easily push in the outside skin and it feels soft)
Let the squash cool for a bit, and use a spoon to scoop out the inside pulp, perfectly roasted… and you can add to your favorite recipes or try something new!
How can I get more squash in my diet?
How can I get more squash in my diet
Easy, add it to a smoothie! My “go to” pumpkin smoothie:

1/4 cup fresh pumpkin
1/4 cup mango (frozen is great if you don’t have fresh)
1/2 an orange (or juice equivalent)
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon flax seed (I prefer ground)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
2 tablespoons uncooked oatmeal
Put all ingredients in a blender, fill halfway with your milk of choice, blend on high for 2 minutes, then pour, drink, enjoy, and feel healthy!

Small changes in your diet can greatly improve your overall health, and eating veggies that are in season, at their freshest, can be one of the biggest steps towards a healthy lifestyle and a healthy body!

In Good Health!

Pear: The Powerful Fruit You Should Be Eating More

Homer called pears “gift of the gods,” many nutritionists call pears “nutritional powerhouses,” and we simply enjoy this delicious fruit. Unfortunately, the health benefits of pears are underrated. While you’re usually better off eating an apple, a sweet, juicy pear is a tasty and healthy snack choice that will help curb your appetite and stop sugar cravings. It’s loaded with essential nutrients, fiber and powerful antioxidants that help fight cancer, boost your immune system, and improve your overall health. Next time you are hungry, munch on a pear to reap all its health benefits and satisfy your sweet tooth. I’m going to share a few reasons why pears are so good for us.

1. Pears are good for you heart
Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in the US and many studies claim that by 2020 it will be the main cause of death around the globe. Believe it or not, a pear a day may keep heart attacks and strokes away. The thing is, pears are plentiful in dietary fiber that helps keep your heart healthy. It also helps reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. Lower your risk of stroke by up to 50 percent by eating pears every day.

2. Pears are good for your eyes
Due to its high antioxidant and vitamin content, pears are among the best foods that nourish and protect eyes. Studies show that eating pears on a daily basis can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. That sounds to me like a great reason to eat a pear each day.

3. Pears increase your brainpower and boost your energy levels
One medium pear contains 15 percent of the recommended daily intake of copper‚ a trace mineral that helps keep your nervous system healthy, increasing your brainpower. If you are feeling sluggish in the early afternoon, snack on a pear to boost your energy levels and accomplish your tasks faster. Pears are an excellent source of fructose and glucose that will help keep your energy high all day long. I love adding pears to my morning smoothies for all-day energy.

4. Pears help control diabetes
Pears have a low glycemic index of 38. They help prevent a spike in blood sugar and control the levels of blood glucose. Pears can also help you keep your weight under control. They are low in calories and high in nutrients that help speed up weight loss and boost your immune system.

5. Pears help prevent cancer
Due to its high fiber content, pears can also help prevent different types of cancer, including colon cancer and postmenopausal breast cancer. Moreover, pears are high in potent antioxidants in the form of vitamin C that protects your cells from free radicals. One medium pear contains about 11 percent of the recommended vitamin C intake. As an added bonus, pears contain hydroxycinnamic acid that helps prevent lung and stomach cancers. Since pear skin contains the majority of the antioxidants, it’s highly recommended to eat pears with the skin.

Best Reasons to Eat a Pear a Day
Nowadays pears are underrated and I have no idea why. Fresh, canned or baked, pears have a plethora of wonderful health benefits. Apart from the benefits mentioned above, eating pears helps improve digestion, prevent constipation, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, relieve fever, improve bone health and many more. I don’t recommend eating canned pears, but if you love them, opt for versions that have no added sugar. You can use pears in smoothies, salads, desserts, sandwiches, or you can enjoy baked pears with cinnamon, honey and walnuts. One of my favorite ways to eat my pear a day is to slice it and add to my spinach salad with Parmesan cheese dressing. What about you? What’s your favorite way to eat pears? If you’re not eating pears yet, why not start today?

8 Easy Ways to Make Your Spring Salad Fun

Spring salads are healthy and tasty but it’s easy to get stuck in a salad routine and ditch this wholesome meal. I love spring salads and always try to make them more delicious and fun so that I never get bored of eating them. Eating the same salad each day won’t help you meet your health and weight loss goals. Salads are chock-full of powerful antioxidants and essential nutrients.

Including them in your eating plan boosts your metabolism, increases your energy levels and has a positive impact on your well-being. Try out some of these easy ways to make your spring salad fun so you can enjoy its health benefits and jazz up your salad routine.

1. Add crunchy ingredients
Who doesn’t like crunchy salads? The perfect salad should definitely contain crunchy ingredients. The right balance of crunch helps you eat your salad for pleasure and health. Use cabbage, celery, apple, radishes, cucumber or romaine lettuce in your salads to add more crunch and texture.

2. Make it more filling
Whether you eat your salad for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s important to add some healthy fats and protein to it. A salad that has no healthy fat in it is not filling which means you will feel hungry within half an hour after eating. Avocado, nuts and seeds are all healthy fats. When using nuts and seeds in your salads, though, don’t overdo it. 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds and walnuts will be enough to make your spring salad more filling.

3. Choose protein over carbs
As I’ve already said that a salad is not filling without protein, by choosing carbs over protein you are making your salad too light to satisfy your hunger. Baked tofu, grilled chicken and hard boiled egg are all excellent choices. Protein is a more satiating macronutrient than carbs as well as healthier than fats.

4. Mix it up
There are so many wonderful kinds of greens that I don’t understand why people choose romaine or spinach only. You have have an absolutely different salad each day by mixing up your favorite greens. From Swiss chard, butter lettuce and baby spinach to arugula and dandelion greens, the choice is endless. Experimenting with greens is one of the easiest ways to make your spring salad fun.

5. Experiment with salad dressings
If you use jarred and bottled salad dressings, you may get bored with your spring salad rut in a week, not to mention you can wreck your diet and destroy your health. The thing is, these salad dressings are packed with refined oils and artificial ingredients which make your vegetable salad unhealthy rather than healthy. There are many wonderful homemade salad dressings you can create each day. From creamy key lime dressing and garlic salad dressing to cilantro salad dressing and ranch dressing, you will definitely find something for you.

Since I don’t use salt in my spring salads (you know, salt is bad for us) I love to make salt-free salad dressings. Look for them online and make your salad healthier and funner every single day.

6. Use whole grains
A grain-based salad is the perfect choice for dieters. However, it’s a healthy meal for everyone too. You can use quinoa, barley, bulgur, black rice, or buckwheat in your salad to make it fun and unusual. Have a grain-based salad for lunch to feel full until dinner.

7. Add your favorite fruit to it
Have you ever tried to add berries or any other fruit to a vegetable salad? Many of us love fruit salads but mixing fruit and vegetable salads up is a lot of fun and you can find some new tastes. Try using pineapple, mango, pears, apples, pomegranate seeds, oranges, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or any other berries you have in your freezer, in your vegetable salad. Fruits can brighten up any boring salad, not to mention they turn any bitter greens into a refreshing, sweet salad.

8. Top your salad with herbs
Topping your salad with herbs is a great way to fight acne, boost your immune system and prevent diseases. Consider using oregano, neem, cilantro, mint, sage, parsley, basil or dill in your salads to improve their taste and make it more delicious.

I’m a firm believer that salads make us healthier. Spring is just the beginning of the salad season so it’s smart to start experimenting with vegetables, fruits and salad dressings right now. If you force yourself to have a salad for lunch, these tricks can help you make a salad your favorite meal. What are your favorite spring salad recipes?

5 Reasons to Drink a Green Smoothie for Breakfast

Breakfast is one of the best times of day to drink your green smoothie, especially if you are trying to improve your health or shed weight. Having a green smoothie for breakfast is a dream come true. Green smoothies are incredibly delicious (yes, they are!) and quick and easy to make. When you rush out the door without having your breakfast, you don’t start your day off right, which means you may feel weak, hungry and tired in an hour and all you can think about is have some yummy snacks.

I’m a smoothie junkie so experimenting with green smoothie recipes is one of my favorite tasks to do in the morning. Kids love green smoothies too. My niece (who is a huge picky eater!) enjoys drinking a green smoothie for breakfast and says it’s one of the best breakfasts. She loves to drink her green smoothie with her favorite pancakes.

Gone are the days of diet-friendly green smoothies. Today you can make healthy smoothies for the whole family. Here’s why I drink a green smoothie for breakfast and recommend you to do the same.

Reasons to Drink a Green Smoothie for Breakfast
1. Fight fatigue
Many people suffer from a morning fatigue. While exercise is a healthy way to fight fatigue, drinking a green smoothie in the morning helps to prevent it as well as helps to improve your mood and relieve a morning anxiety. Malnutrition is one of the major reasons for morning fatigue (and chronic too) and since a green smoothie is rich on many essential nutrients, having a glass for breakfast may help prevent malnutrition.

2. Nutritional powerhouse
Green smoothies are chock-full of vitamins and minerals, so you can meet your vitamin and mineral requirements with little to no effort. Sure, it all depends on fruit and veggies you use in your smoothies but generally any green smoothie is healthy. When you add spinach, apples, pears and kale in your smoothie, you boost your intake of potassium, selenium, vitamin A and vitamin C.

3. Low-calorie breakfast
Skipping breakfasts may help you save some calories but it won’t help you lose weight. Moreover, it’s bad for your overall health. A green smoothie is a great low-calorie breakfast that helps speed up your metabolism, boosts your energy, and satisfies your hunger while keeping you healthy, active and slim. Just be careful what you use in your green smoothies, since many fruits are high in sugar and calories. Opt for low calorie ingredients such as lettuce, kale, spinach, oranges, and green apples, and avoid adding too much banana that is high in calories and sugar. If you like to use yogurt in your smoothie, opt for low-fat versions.

4. Antioxidant boost
Green smoothies are high in powerful anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory antioxidants. These antioxidants help to prevent premature aging, improve your eye health and boost your energy levels. If you wake up feeling tired and exhausted, instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, reach for a glass of green smoothie to give yourself a natural burst of energy. Consider using bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes in your green smoothie to increase your antioxidant intake.

5. Healthy skin
Whether you suffer from acne or just want to improve your complexion, try drinking green smoothies on a daily basis to enjoy a healthy, glowing skin. Don’t expect instant results, though, especially if you eat some unhealthy food during the day. I suggest you add one red bell pepper to your green smoothie; red bell pepper is one of the best foods for perfect skin, not to mention it can make your smoothie tastier.

There are many reasons why I drink green smoothies for breakfast, and sometimes, for dinner. Green smoothies are healthy, nutritious and delicious. Although you can drink your green smoothie at any time, having it for breakfast is a healthier option. You will improve your skin health, maintain healthy hair, boost your productivity and stay slim and healthy all year long. What’s your reason to drink a green smoothie in the morning? What’s your favorite recipe? Let me know in the comments section please.

8 Health Benefits of Cherries + Dairy-Free Cherry Smoothie Recipe

Cherries are among the best antioxidant-rich foods you should be eating more right now. Besides having powerful antioxidants, cherries are chock-full of fiber, potassium, copper, magnesium, as well as manganese, iron, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.

Be they frozen, dry or canned, you can enjoy cherries and their health benefits all year long. But now that the cherry season is here, it’s hard (particularly for me) to find an excuse not to munch on a handful of cherries today. Check out some of the best health benefits of cherries and try out my favorite dairy-free cherry smoothie recipe.

1. Prevent heart disease
Since I have some heart problems, I’m always on the lookout for new foods that help support my heart health. I did a lot of research on heart-healthy foods and read plenty of studies so I know what to eat to improve my heart health.

A few days ago I had my heart checkup and my doctor recommended me to eat more cherries. I did one more research and found out that cherries are a wonderful source of anthocyanins and potassium, which help regulate blood pressure and heart rate and lower the risk of hypertension and stroke.

Cherries are also rich in phytosterols that help lower bad cholesterol levels. Heart disease is still a number one killer of Americans and other people worldwide so adding some cherries to your desserts, salads and drinks can help you feel a bit healthier.

2. Ward off diabetes
If you watch your blood-sugar levels, it may be hard for you to find a healthy snack that has a low glycemic index. Cherries are perfect for snack time as they have a lower glycemic index (22) than blueberries, apricots, grapes, and peaches. Add a handful of cherries to a plain yogurt and voila – you have a healthy and tasty snack in a jiffy.

3. Improve sleep
No worries, eating cherries during the day won’t make you sleepy. If you have trouble falling asleep or getting quality sleep, however, I recommend you to include some cherries in your bedtime snacks. Cherries are high in melatonin that helps regulate sleep cycle and prevents insomnia.

Many doctors recommend drinking cherry juice too. Moreover, if you are trying to cope with jet lag, cherries may become your little best friends. Eating cherries won’t help people suffering from chronic insomnia – you should visit your doctor as soon as possible if you are one of them.

4. Boost your brain function and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease
As many other fruit, cherries contain powerful antioxidants that can save your brain from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Cherries boast fantastic memory boosting properties, which makes them perfect snack for students and super busy people. Next time you can’t accomplish that difficult project, sip your favorite cherry smoothie to give your brain a boost.

5. Relieve muscle and menstrual cramps
While you’re always better off eating bananas, cherries can also help you relieve muscle or menstrual cramps. Cherries have a lower potassium content than bananas, but they also have lower calorie content, which is why many dietitians recommends eating cherries before or after workout to relieve muscle cramps and burn more calories. If you need to relieve menstrual cramps, cherry juice may help.

6. Keep your digestive system healthy
In a fast-food-rich world, it’s almost impossible to keep the digestive system healthy. Many people often say that it’s hard to overcome those annoying sugar cravings and stick to a healthy diet.

They often end up eating french fries and high calorie desserts only to satisfy their cravings. The result is a poor digestion. Luckily, you can improve your digestion and tickle your sweet tooth with some healthy cherry recipes (I’m sure you have plenty of them!)

7. Prevent premature aging
Every woman is afraid of premature aging yet many do nothing to prevent it. There are two tried and true ways to look and feel young for longer. The first one is to cultivate a positive attitude and smile more, and the second one is to eat more age-fighting foods like cherries. Due to high antioxidant content, cherries help your body combat the free radicals that cause premature aging.

8. Reduce your risk of cancer
There’s no cure for cancer but eating antioxidant-rich fruit and berries, including cherries, can significantly reduce your risk of cancer. Several studies show that eating cherries or drinking cherry juice regularly can prevent colon cancer. Sure, it doesn’t mean you should munch on cherries all day and night long to stay healthier and live longer – a handful will be enough to feel all the health benefits cherries offer.

Cherries are low in calories and high in nutrients. They are delis, versatile and healthy. Whether you love these tiny berries or not, there are many ways you can incorporate cherries into your spring or summer diet to reap all their health benefits and ward off a number of serious diseases. Are you one of those cherry fans who enjoy cherries daily? Let me know what you think of this refreshing smoothie recipe.
Now that cherries are in season, I love experimenting with different cherry smoothies. Here’s one of my favorite one that I enjoy every other day in the morning:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cherries
1/2 cup strawberries
1 cup coconut water (or plain water)
1 apple (or banana)
1 tsp hemp seeds or chia seeds
Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If your smoothie is too thick, you can add a bit more coconut water. Enjoy!

Why You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed of Your Eating Habits

Having eating habits that no one supports is tricky. You always have to explain why you eat whole foods and avoid meat, for example. I’m often judged by other people who believe vegetarians are crazy and sick, but this never makes me feel ashamed of my meal patterns and eating habits.

I march to my own beat and don’t feel the need to stick to the same eating plans most people have. No matter what your eating habits, there are always others out there that can judge you and try to change you. Don’t let them do it. Be proud of your eating habits, unless they are not the bad ones. Whether you are a vegetarian or a fast food hater, here’s why you shouldn’t be shamed of your healthy eating habits:

1. Go vegan? Be proud of yourself!
Just because you strive to save animals’ lives doesn’t mean something’s wrong with your mind. Vegetarians are not crazy, as many people think. I remember the first time I said out loud that I’d never eat meat again. My parents and friends were shocked and couldn’t understand my decision. If you are a vegetarian, you know what I’m talking about. It was hard for me to stick to my vegan diet while others enjoyed juicy grilled meat. It’s not because I craved meat, it’s because I felt awkward and a bit ashamed of my eating plan. Though, I didn’t give up and now I’m proud of being a vegetarian. Some of my friends are trying to go vegan too, and my parents don’t moan about my “unhealthy” (as they think) eating habits anymore. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Just being proud of your meal plan is enough to show others that you eat what you really want.

2. Can’t imagine your day without processed foods? No worries, you don’t wreck your health
Well, of course, if you consume processed foods in moderation. When eaten in excess, processed foods are seriously harmful. I have always believed we can eat whatever we want but in small portions. It’s okay to consume processed foods with whole ones – just look for processed foods that are made from whole foods to reduce your risk of disease. Some of the healthiest processed foods are organic, plain Greek yogurt, raw nut butters, unsweetened coconut and almond milks, cocoa powder, organic coffee, flax meal, and organic salsa.

3. Are you a smoothie junkie? Enjoy a fantastic health!
Smoothies… It seems people have become obsessed with this type of drink. If you are a healthy smoothie lover, congrats, guys, you have a better chance of living a healthier and longer life. Why are smoothies so popular these days? I receive many messages and emails every day that contain a similar question. I can proudly say that I’m a smoothie junkie and I do like to recommend people to include both fruit and green smoothies in their daily eating plans.

Smoothies are fortified with vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants that help you stay healthy day by day. They are good for everyone – for those who are trying to put on weight and those who want to shed some pounds. Starting day with a green smoothie is an instant way to boost your energy, speed up your metabolism, detoxify your body and kick-start your brain. The benefits of consuming smoothies are endless. Give them a try and you’ll feel all of those benefits. If you are already a huge smoothie lover, don’t break this habit and don’t feel ashamed of being a little bit obsessed with smoothies. I can’t stop experimenting with new smoothie recipes and I don’t care when others say I need to stop following any smoothie trends.

4. Stick to your own diet plan? You don’t know how lucky you are
Why? Because it’s much easier to create your own diet plan and stick to it on a daily basis. You know what you need and want to eat, you know when you can enjoy that delis dessert and when you should skip fast food. You know what foods helps keep your energy levels high during the day. You know what bedtime snack to have in order to sleep better. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s so wonderful when you know what you should eat to feel and look healthy without turning to any supplements and medications.

Although healthy eating is the key to a longer and healthier life, make sure you are not obsessed with it. Nowadays more and more people, particularly young ladies, suffer from orthorexia – an obsession with healthy food. Anorexia is another dangerous eating disorder that affects both emotional and physical health. If you are sure you don’t have any eating disorders, be proud of your healthy eating habits. Have you ever felt ashamed of your meal plan? Let me know about your favorite healthy meals in the comments section.

8 Dessert Tricks You Didn’t Know About

With a wide variety of colorful and delicious desserts available everywhere, many of us don’t even try to make our own treats. However, when you have a child in the house, you can’t buy all those sweet treats loaded with refined sugar, syrups, vegetable oils, fats and other nasties. Every time my niece spends a weekend with me, I know I should make lots of tasty but healthy desserts. I’ve tried and tested tons of different tricks. Some of them are ridiculous and silly, while others are like a magic wand. If you are curious to find out some of my favorite dessert tricks that I swear by, keep on reading.


1. Waffle iron brownies
Baking a tray of brownies in the oven is a time-consuming process. I make my brownies in a waffle iron to save time and create quick yet tasty treat in a matter of minutes. Waffle iron brownies are perfect for breakfasts and brunches. You can make them each day instead of storing that tray of brownies and worrying about how to eat them all.

2. Moist cake the next day
It’s hard and time-consuming to make a fresh cake each day. I keep my cake in the fridge for 2-3 days and it still tastes like it’s just out from the oven – the only difference is that it’s cold. The trick is to cover the cut part of your cake with any bread slices and fix them with toothpicks. Your cake is moist and delis, while your bread slices are stale and hard. If you keep your cake in the fridge more than a day, use fresh bread slices again.

3. Perfect cake slices
Need to cut perfect slices of cake? No worries, ladies. Grab your dental floss and let it do its work. Make sure your dental floss is unflavored and waxed, otherwise you can spoil your cake’s taste. I don’t know if I’m the only one who thinks a perfect slice of cake tastes a lot better, but I don’t think I am. Use this trick to impress your guests with your expert cake cutting skill. You can use a dental floss for cutting cheesecakes as well.

4. Marshmallow frosting
Whether you are making spiced pumpkin cupcakes or unusual birthday cake, use marshmallows instead of your regular frosting. Not all of us have a can of icing in the kitchen, especially when you don’t cook frequently. But almost all of us have marshmallows (after all, it’s a hot chocolate season now!) When your cupcakes have two minutes left to bake, place one marshmallow (or two small ones) on top of each cupcake and ta-da! Your super delicious cupcakes look like you used your regular frosting, but taste better.

5. Mason jar lid cupcakes
If you don’t have a muffin tray in the kitchen, you can hold the cupcakes liners in place with the mason jar rings. Maybe your mason jar lid cupcakes won’t be as beautiful and perfect as muffin tray cupcakes, but they will definitely be amazingly delicious!

6. Quick and tasty cookie cups
Store-bought cookie cups aren’t as delicious as those I make at home. Plus, I know what ingredients I use in my cookie cups. I spread my healthy cookie dough on the bottom of a muffin tin and bake until golden brown. Then, place ice cream, yogurt with fresh fruits or chocolate mousse into each cookie cup. Voila!

7. Coffee mug brownies
If you don’t have time for baking, you can fend off your sugar and chocolate cravings with these coffee mug brownies. It takes 3-5 minutes to make them and you can mix and match any ingredients you like. For one coffee mug brownie, I mix flour and cocoa powder together, add brown sugar, melted coconut oil and a little bit of vanilla extract, and microwave for one and a half minute. Of course, you can create your own recipe. Top your mug brownies with a spoonful of whipped cream or ice cream to make them even more delicious.

8. Saving stale cookies
Refresh your stale cookies by placing them in a plastic bag with a few slices of fresh bread, depending on the amount of cookies. You already know how bread works. If you’ve just baked your cookies, make sure you store them with a piece of bread as well to keep them soft and fresh as long as it’s possible.

Making your own desserts isn’t that hard when you know and use some of these tricks. Be it a birthday party or a Sunday brunch, these tips are sure to help you. There are many benefits of making your own desserts. First of all, because your little ones deserve to eat the healthiest treats. Plus, you save your cash and waistline. I highlighted some of my favorite dessert tricks, but what are your favorite ones? Any to share?

5 Reasons Your Child Should Eat an Apple a Day

Whether your little one loves apples or makes faces while eating them, it’s crucial to incorporate at least one apple into your child’s meal plan each day. Not only does an apple a day keeps the doctor away, munching on apples provides a nice boost in child’s energy and gives nutrients they need to get through the day. It may sound ridiculous, since children have tons of energy, but some kids feel low in energy and have many health issues. Keep your little one healthy all year round by adding more apples to their favorite meals.

1. Boost your child’s bone health
Apples are rich in boron, a trace mineral that helps the body to absorb magnesium and calcium, which are both important to your child’s bone health. Since your child’s bones keep growing throughout childhood, you should make sure your little one’s eating plan includes all essential nutrients for healthy teeth and bones. While eating apples alone isn’t a surefire way to keep your child’s bones healthy, an apple a day can significantly promote bone health.

2. Increase vitamin C intake
Oranges are not the only source of vitamin C. One apple provides about 14 percent of the daily recommended allowance for vitamin C. The body doesn’t store this vitamin, so it’s crucial to consume vitamin C rich foods each day. Vitamin C helps to boost your child’s immune system, thus can reduce the risk of flu and cold. If your child doesn’t want to eat an apple a day, try adding it to oatmeal, fresh juice, kid-friendly smoothies, yogurt, or make apple chips.

3. Apples are an excellent source of healthy carbs
Your child needs carbs to stay active throughout the day. There are many great sources of carbs, but apples are probably the healthiest one. Apples have a high fiber content and a small sugar content, which makes them perfect kid-friendly snacks. Due to its high fiber content, an apple a day helps keep your child’s energy level high and mind alert during the day. The problem is, not every child loves apples. When I was a child, I was a terribly picky eater, and I literally hated apples, so my mom always tried to trick me into having my apple a day. One of her best tricks was a grated apple and carrot salad. I still love this delicious salad and, hopefully, your picky eater will love it too!

4. They have a high pectin content
It’s never too early to start thinking about cancer prevention. Apples contain pectin that helps prevent high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. Pectin can also help with your child’s digestion and can treat diarrhea, though if your child has any health issues, pay a visit to your doctor as soon as possible.

5. They are rich in vitamin A
If you grow your own apples, or you’re absolutely sure you buy organic, pesticide-free apples, don’t throw away the skins of apples as they contain vitamin A – an important vitamin that benefits child’s vision, tooth and bone development. Additionally, Vitamin A helps protect your child from infections, promotes the growth and health of tissues and cells in the body, particularly those in the skin, nails, and hair. When you are not sure that apples are pesticide-free, peel an apple right before you give it to your kid.

The nutritional value of apples are awesome, which is why both adults and kids should have at least one apple a day to stay healthy. If your child is bored with plain apple juice and apple slices, use your creativity and kid-friendly recipes to create incredibly tasty snacks and desserts, such as mini apple pies, apple salads and smoothies. Does your little one have an apple a day each day? What tricks do you use to make sure your child is getting all the essential nutrients? Share them with us, please.

4 Moscow Mule Recipes to Die for

Gone are the days when the Moscow Mule was a silly vodka drink. Lately, I’ve received a few emails asking for ways to make the ordinary Moscow Mule a bit different. Since I’m not a big fan of alcoholic drinks, I asked my friend to help me test some popular Moscow Mule recipes. We spent two hours experimenting with the drinks and chose the following recipes. But let’s start with the Classic Moscow Mule recipe.

Moscow Mule Recipes to Die for
1. Classic Moscow Mule
The classic recipe is simple. All it takes is 2-3 minutes and some mixing of 3 ingredients. No boiling, muddling, or shaking.

Ingredients:

2 ounces vodka
lime juice
ginger beer
mint sprig
ice cubes, optional
Directions:

When it comes to the classic Moscow Mule, all you have to do is to combine vodka, fresh juice of half a lime in a copper mug with ice, and slowly pour the ginger beer on top. Garnish with a mint sprig. You can skip the ice during the winter season to create a warming drink.

2. Orange Moscow Mule
I found a few different Orange Moscow Mule recipes, so it was difficult to figure out the best one without trying. Luckily, I have a friend who’s keen about alcoholic drinks (he’s not habitual drunkard; he’s a barman.) He suggested this recipe:

Ingredients:

2 ounces vodka
2 ounces orange juice, fresh squeezed
juice of half a lime
½ cup ginger beer
ice cubes, optional
Directions:

If you use the ice, fill the mug with the ice cubes first. Combine vodka, orange juice, lime juice and ginger beer, stirring gently. Pour it over the ice. Garnish with orange slice and mint sprig. Or, skip the ice and you’ll get a holiday beverage for your Christmas party.

3. Apple Cider Moscow Mule
If you don’t like oranges, apple cider is a great swap. It’s best to use homemade apple cider in the recipe, but a store-bought one isn’t the worst option too. The drink reminds me of the holiday season.

Ingredients:

2 ounces apple cider
2 ounces vodka
1/2 cup ginger beer
1 teaspoon lime juice
cinnamon
ice cubes, optional
Directions:

Add apple cider, vodka, and lime juice to your Moscow Mule mug. Top off with ginger beer and sprinkle cinnamon over it. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or an apple slice. Enjoy!

4. Cranberry Moscow Mule
Cranberry is a fabulous addition to the classic Moscow Mule. This is the perfect holiday cocktail that will astonish every Moscow Mule lover and save you time on Christmas Eve. It takes about 3 minutes to make.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz unsweetened cranberry juice
2 oz ginger beer
mint sprig
lime wedge
sugared or fresh cranberries
ice cubes, optional
Directions:

Combine the juice and vodka. Pour over the ice cubes (if you use them) and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a mint sprig, lime wedge and sugared or fresh cranberries. You can also sprinkle cinnamon to boost the holiday spirit.

See, you don’t need any exotic ingredients and a lot of time to make the cocktail that many of you love. Continue experimenting and you will have more than 4 Moscow Mule recipes. If you don’t have vodka, you can use rum or bourbon. Also, you don’t necessarily have to buy the copper mugs. You can serve the drink in a tall glass or just anything you have at home. No one cares about the glass or mug when the cocktail is incredibly delicious. Are you a Moscow Mule junkie?