The holidays are the perfect excuse for socializing and often with snacks. Chips and dip are often the high-calorie culprit, but we have recipes low in calories but full of flavor. From vegan bites to protein-packed dips, these appetizers make it easy to create a satisfying menu minus the guilt. With a few simple swaps — like opting to bake (not fry) — you will be the healthiest hostess this season!
Curious if you should be working out when you're dealing with a bug? We spoke to endurance athlete and family physician and Dr. Cathleen London, M.D. about the advice she offers clients when they ask the same question. The rule that Dr. London sticks by is: "neck and up!"
If your symptoms are in your head, nose, or throat — and you're feeling up to it — it's fine to work out. If it's below your neck (or in your chest), Dr. London says to dial it back. This is the time when you've really got to rest. Working out with a chest cold is "asking for trouble," since it can exaggerate your pesky symptoms and prolong your bug. Dr. London is a big believer in listening to your body and giving yourself the time and space to heal, even when it's "frustrating as all hell!" You'll thank your future self, since taking it easy is the only way you'll feel better, sooner.
Dr. London also shared a few of the habits that she sees in people who manage through cold and flu season unscathed. The mainstays are plenty of rest, a healthy diet full of antioxidants, and staying hydrated in cooler temperatures, but she says that exercise is also a big factor.
Besides keeper you saner through the holidays, exercise supports your immune system because it reduces stress. While stress wreaks havoc on your mind, it can can also wreak havoc on your immune system. When the levels of the stress hormone cortisol are heightened, it leaves you immunocompromised. Working out regularly keeps your cortisol levels in check — and keeps you healthier and happier!
You can have decadent holiday dessert that is also healthy and low in calories! This poached pear recipe proves it. Plus, this tasty and lovely-to-look-at dessert, created exclusively for us by the "farm to table" catering company Savour This Moment, is Paleo. Watch this video to learn just how easy this dish is to prepare, and then celebrate by making your own. Cheers!
Enjoy the aroma of apple pie baking in your oven without the floury mess or the hundreds of buttery calories by whipping up a batch of homemade apple cinnamon fruit leather.
This might be one of the easiest snacks you'll ever make, and aside from saving calories, you'll also save money since a fruit leather costs around $0.50 to $0.75 — these are only $0.19 per serving.
We love a challenge (who doesn’t?), so we tackled the ultimate in decadent desserts—chocolate mousse. We knew we had our work cut out for us to lighten up this rich classic.
Here’s what we found: Three chocolates are better than one when trying to save on fat and calories. Semisweet chocolate adds rich chocolate flavor and creaminess, while Dutch-processed cocoa lends intense chocolate flavor. The white chocolate chips add creamy sweetness.
Instead of folding in whipped cream, as traditional recipes do, our recipe relies on fat-free Italian meringue made by beating hot sugar syrup into whipped egg whites for a mousse with a billowy, thick texture. Italian meringue is made with sugar syrup, rather than sugar, and is thus more stable. It lends a creamy lushness to desserts without any added fat.
When she's not making us crack up from her crazy and clever produce-laden get-ups on Instagram, chef Laura Miller is busy creating recipes that are "Raw. Vegan. Not Gross." on her popular site, Sidesaddle Kitchen. We chatted with Laura to get the inside scoop on the healthy presents she's coveting and planning on gifting this holiday season.
The Ultimate Smoothie Sipper
Green-shake junkies in your life will love the Glass Dharma Beautiful Bends Glass Drinking Straw ($9). Laura calls this glass straw "the perfect solution" to your friend or family member who is always has "permanent green mustache" or is stocking up on single-use plastic straws. One of these glass beauties is an ideal stocking stuffer; Laura swears that "they [somehow] make everything taste better!"
Bright Knit BeanieLaura is "pretty obsessed with hats," especially those that are unique and come in bright colors. She'd love to give or receive this Bright Coney Hat ($60) from designer Annie Larson this year. Laura's a big fan of all her quality knitted goods.
The Tool That Turns Veggies to Spaghetti
As a raw- and vegan-cooking guru, Laura relies heavily on her vertical veggie slicer ($37, originally $60), calling it "the most amazing kitchen gadget!" She uses this appliance to turn zucchinis, sweet potatoes, or even beets into perfect uniform noodles. Laura is hooked, and she'd like to get one for everyone on her list this year.
The Best Day PackFor loved ones who want to head out for a hike, Laura suggests gifting an Alite Designs Ochiba Pack ($68, originally $105) for all their outdoor adventures. This colorful pack is waterproof, has an contrasting interior color to help you stay organized, and — Laura's favorite part — even has a place for a bike light.
A Fun, Fruity Phone Cover
Laura recognizes that this Watermelon Print iPhone skin ($15) is a little "off season," but she likes the idea of looking to this cheery case on a dreary Winter day.
Pretty Leash For a PupIf you follow Sidesaddle Kitchen on Instagram, you know that Laura has got one cute pup at home! She uses this Chaco Dog Leash ($15, originally $20) for "runs on the beach with my mutt." She will be buying one for all "her dog friends" this year.
Make More Use of Mason JarsWith a cupboard full of mason jars, Laura has found that a Cuppow Mason Jar Adapter ($8) makes her canning collection even more practical. When you're on the go, this BPA-free container fits snuggly on the mouth of your favorite mason jar to separate hummus from sliced veggies or dressing apart from a fresh salad. These little adapters keep things organized (and safe from a spill) in your purse or gym bag.
A Retro (and Indestructible) CoolerWhile semiutilitarian in design, we agree with Laura that this Stanley Thermos-Cooler Combo ($75) has got a "rugged, old-school" vibe to it. Yes, it's a little pricey; but this cooler promises to stay together even if you run it over with a truck or drop it down from a three-story building. According to Laura, this makes it "her kind of lunch box."
It's true! The fitness world has a new power couple, and we couldn't be happier. Starting Dec. 16, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tracy Anderson will team up in a new fit reality show, The Restart Project. An AOL web series, this show aims not to get women "into their skinny jeans" but rather showcase the stories of amazing women who have healed themselves from the inside out. With Gwyneth and Tracy by their sides, they will reveal how they found "what's possible" through health and fitness. Just through the trailer alone, we can tell this show is going to be a tearjerker and definitely the motivation we need to stay on track throughout the holidays. Will you tune in?
Feeling under the weather? One of the most important things to do when you're sick is to replenish your body's fluids. Hydrating with water is essential, but these elixirs take things one step further. Each includes healthy ingredients that alleviate your symptoms and help you feel better sooner.
Apple Cider Vinegar Brew
If you're working with a sinus infection, just one inhale of this warming pungent drink will help you breathe easy through your nose and feel less cloudy in your head. A helping of apple cider vinegar brew soothes your symptoms with cayenne's anti-inflammatory powers, while the vinegar boosts your immunity.
Actress Nikki Reed swears by this cranberry cleanse for a little daily detox, and this antioxidant-rich drink is also effective when you're feeling under the weather. The cranberry and lemon juice in this recipe support your kidney and liver and help flush out toxins from your system.
Fresh Ginger Tea
To clear up congestion or a sore throat, we love this old family recipe for fresh ginger and lemongrass tea. As an added bonus, this recipe also works to soothe an upset tummy!
The classic hot toddy is one of the healthiest low-calorie cocktails for the holiday season. With the help of citrus, honey, and cinnamon, some folks swear by this one as a surefire remedy to knock out a cold.
Sweet potatoes are having a moment, and these recipes prove they're here to stay. Although they are a bit starchy and heavier than other veggies, this seasonal spud is loaded with vitamins A and C, fiber, manganese, and potassium. Hearty enough for both meat-lovers and vegetarians alike, these sweet potato dishes will keep you satisfied.
Sweet Potato Black Bean Veggie Burger
Robust in flavor, these hearty burgers are made with the goodness of sweet potatoes, black beans, millet, and corn. This dinner will only cost you 367 calories — much less than the 520 for a regular burger. Win!
Sweet Potato Hash
For a filling breakfast or healthy brunch side dish, serve up a side of sweet potato hash browns. Complete your gluten-free breakfast with scrambled eggs for protein.
Spicy Sweet Potato Salad
High in fiber, this sweet potato salad can regulate blood sugar and help you lose weight. With a spicy antioxidant-rich red pepper and jalapeño dressing, it's easily a portable salad that is even more delicious the next day.
Spiced Sweet Potato Fries
When a french fry craving hits, make a batch of these baked sweet potato fries. Thanks to the spices that give the recipe a kick, you'll never notice they aren't deep-fried.
Cumin-Spiced Mashed Sweet Potatoes
While most mashed sweet potato recipes call for maple syrup and cinnamon, this recipe uses a spicier calorie-free kick with cumin and cayenne instead. And it's not just for their fabulous flavor: both cumin and cayenne help with digestion, something we could all use after indulging through the holidays.
Black and White Bean Soup With Sweet Potatoes
This black and white bean soup with sweet potatoes is a twist on the classic and is less than 300 calories a bowl. Chunky and filling, it's a great way to warm up on a chilly day.
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. In the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed, using paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter, and beat on medium until coarse crumbs form. With mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition; mix in apricots, pistachios, and fennel seeds. Continue to mix until dough forms a ball, about 1 minute.
- On a parchment-lined baking sheet, shape dough into two two-by-12-inch logs. Bake until dry and set, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. Transfer to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut logs on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Bake on parchment-lined sheets until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on sheets on racks. (Store in airtight containers for up to one week.)
- Desserts, Cookies
- About 66 cookies
- Cook Time
- 45 minutes