5 SIMPLE & HEALTHY GLUTEN FREE COOKIE RECIPES

16 Nov 2018 no comments admin

You know it, we know it: Nobody should be denied their right to a good cookie—even if you’ve cut gluten and all its flour-powered uses from your diet. Thanks to a rising awareness of how gluten can affect digestion, recipes with alternative ingredients are popping up more. (PS here’s why we’re certified gluten-free ourselves.) Below is our fresh take on five recipes, borrowed from the pages of dedicated, health-conscious baker blogs, that let you make the best gluten-non-grata cookies out there.

(By “best,” we mean low in refined sugars, high in flavor, and containing as many nutritious ingredients as possible.)

#1 PALEO COCONUT FLOUR CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES | GOOD FOR: SWEETNESS.

Source: Ambitious Kitchen.

Besides being more delicious than your standard chocolate-chip cookie, this dairy-free, Paleo-inspired recipe from blogger Ambitious Kitchen wins for a few reasons: It subs refined sugar for coconut sugar (you can also use brown sugar or honey). Coconut sugar contains less fructose and ranks lower in GI than other sweeteners. It also uses nut butters that are high in heart-healthy fats (like almond butter and peanut butter) instead of margarine. Not to mention the coconut element adds that extra layer of sweetness. All you need is one bowl, 20 minutes, and 8 ingredients. Check out the full recipe here.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted creamy almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut sugar (or honey, maple syrup, brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips

Nutritional info per cookie: 119 calories, 8.5 of fat, 9.8 g of carbs, 7.4 g of sugar, 1.7 g fiber, 3.5 g protein

 

#2 DOUBLE CHOCOLATE AVOCADO COOKIES | GOOD FOR: IMPRESSING FRIENDS.

Source: Bushel and a Peck.3075959_orig

We know, we know: Avocado is a pretty unlikely suspect for a cookie recipe. But given avocado’s smooth texture and tons of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats (hi, Omega 3) this is a great recipe to prove to your friends that yes, you can make dark green cookies taste good. (Our Freshly editor tried this recipe immediately, and loves the chewy contrast of flavors!) Check out the full recipe here.

Ingredients (for 16 cookies):

  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 very ripe avocado
  • 1/4 Cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ounce well-chopped unsweetened dark chocolate

Nutritional Info: N/A

 

 

 

 

#3 TWO-INGREDIENT BANANA OATMEAL COOKIES | GOOD FOR: LOW-SUGAR/BREAKFAST

Source: Ambitious Kitchen.

You don’t get simpler and more reliable than a recipe with two ingredients that you can actually pronounce—even with a mouthful of cookies. This breakfast cookie mix from Ambitious Kitchen uses only mashed bananas and gluten-free oats and contains a tidy 2.1 grams of sugar per piece. The recipe can also be used as a re-mixable “base,” meaning you can throw in any extra ingredients your heart desires, like dried cranberries, raisins, chopped walnuts, almonds, pecans, or coconut flakes if you crave more sweetness or flavor. We like. Check out the full recipe here.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups gluten-free oats

Nutrition Info per cookie: 60 calories, 0.8 g fat, 12.4 g carbs, 2.1 g sugar, 1.7 g fiber, 1.4 g protein


#4 MAPLE BACON CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES | GOOD FOR: BACON.

Source: Paleo on a Budget.

These little guys have bacon, maple syrup, and no added sugar. Need we say more? Check out the full recipe here.

Credit: Paleo On A Budget
Credit: Paleo On A Budget

Ingredients:

  • 4 Slices of Bacon
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Bacon Fat
  • 1 Cup Almond Flour
  • ½ Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. Maple Syrup {Get the good stuff!}
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Nutritional Info: N/A


#5 PB + J HEALTHY OATMEAL COOKIES | GOOD FOR: LOW SUGAR/KIDS 

Source: SkinnyTaste

A gluten-free twist on both the classic PB & J sandwich and the peanut butter cookie, these oatmeal cookies are sweet and simple with just four simple ingredients. Make sure to pick jelly that’s low in sugar and gluten-free, and the same goes for the oats (Bob’s Red Mill makes great gluten-free oats). Makes 8 cookies. Check out the full recipe here.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup of uncooked quick oats*
  • 2 tbsp chunk peanut butter (I like the texture)
  • 4 teaspoons reduced sugar jelly

Nutritional Info (per two cookies): 91 calories, 3 g of fat, 15 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2.5 g protein, 5 g sugar, 19 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol

6 TIPS TO MAKE PALEO EATING EASY + AFFORDABLE

16 Nov 2018 no comments admin

Sometimes, it can feel like there are roadblocks to eating the diet you want – whether the bottleneck is money, time, or just easy access to the right ingredients. While you might know all the nutritional guidelines to a paleo (or paleo-ish) diet – from what to eat, what not to eat, to what’s ok to sneak in every so often – you still have to figure out how to make the whole thing feasible. We’ve put together a few of our favorite hacks for making paleo eating a little easier, collected from our own personal forays, and from like-minded bloggers around the web.


 #1 BUY A FOOD PROCESSOR OR CROCK POT.

Tools, baby, tools. While our early ancestors might have had stones for knives and hand-made axes, we’re lucky enough to live in an age where we can take full advantage of food processors, crock pots, and other kitchen tools that do half the work for us. If you have the means to make your life just a little bit easier, why not? The reason we suggest a food processor for paleo meals is because it slashes your food prep time AND makes it easier to make paleo-tastic ingredients like cauliflower rice (or cauliflower crusts), homemade nut butters, and other elements that add just a teeny bit more nutrition to your diet. Pre-cut veggies also tend to lose their nutrients faster once they’re cut. Meanwhile, a crock pot can ensure you have a hot, healthy, nutrient-rich dinner waiting for you when you return home in the evening.

Expert Tip: Check out some great paleo crock-pot recipes from our friends at Greatist.


#2 PLAN AHEAD + OWN YOUR SUNDAY.

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Take advantage of your days off. Set aside half an hour at the start of every week to organize the recipes you want to make, and what you plan to eat from Monday through Saturday. Thinking ahead and being mindful of your meals will not only help you save money throughout the week (no more impulse dinner-buying at Dos Toros), but also ensure you get the right amount of macro and micronutrients you need for optimal energy and primal satisfaction.

Expert tip: PaleoGrubs suggests making 7 Go-To Dinners for maximum efficiency: “Try as many Paleo dinner recipes as it takes to amass 7 different dinners that you a) love b) are easy to make c) you wouldn’t mind having on a weekly basis. You can then rotate them out and have something different every night of the week.”


#3 TRY A HEALTHY MEAL DELIVERY SERVICE.

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Meal delivery isn’t just for pizza and Chinese takeout, anymore. In the last year, the food tech scene has exploded with meal services for nearly every diet, fancy, and food fetish from vegetarian/plant-based (Sakara) to paleo-inspired, high-protein eats (Freshly.) At Freshly, we believe in packing our plate with macronutrients like heart-healthy fats, nutrient-rich carbs, and high-quality proteins. Our meals are paleo-inspired because we believe when you eat the natural food we were meant to consume as fuel, we can trust our body to build strength and burn fat. Expert tip: Choose meal services that clearly state their ingredients and nutritional info on their website, and make sure the ingredients are ones you recognize. And remember, you never have to sacrifice health for flavor. You can have it all!


#4 STRATEGIZE YOUR SUPERMARKET SHOPPING.

Man shopping at a mobile produce market

It’s no secret that healthy supermarkets tend to be a bit pricier than the plain old market around the corner. So a little effort can go a long way when planning out your weekend shopping route. If you buy all of your pantry staples at a health food store, you might find your grocery bill steeper than you’d like. Make a list of what you need to buy from Whole Foods, and what you can just pick up (maybe in bulk) at a store like Costco. Splurge for higher-quality organic, natural meats and other specialty items at the health food store, but save on the saran wrap.

Expert Tip: Joy Bauer, R.D., shared this tip with Women’s Health: go with a list. Bauer wrote in WH: “Not only will this keep you from throwing unnecessary items—hello, cookies!—into your cart, but it’ll also help you plan meals for the week and stay organized, especially if you divide the grocery list up by where you’ll find each item.”


#5 SCOPE OUT THE FOOD SCENE.

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Use Yelp, menupages.com, and TripAdvisor to look around your neighborhood and favorite going-out areas for paleo-friendly (or, more realistically, paleo friendly-ish) places. This way, you’ll have a set of vetted suggestions for the next time a friend asks you where you’d like to eat. Another great suggestion from PaleoGrubs is to “pre-eat” before events, if the event involves more people and less flexibility: “If you’re worried about being too hungry at a restaurant or potluck social event you can eat before you go so you’ll be less likely to binge while you’re there, or order something totally non-Paleo off the menu. It’s a way of being social and in line with your greater goals.”

Expert tip: When traveling or even just being away from your home kitchen for a day, eating paleo won’t be perfect. We like this advice from Ultimate Paleo Guide: “Aim to eat paleo 80% of the time. A missed meal or a poor snack choice here and there won’t kill you. Just don’t let it become a habit.”


#6 BE INTENTIONAL.

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If you’re going to eat healthy and invest time + money, you might as well own it. Set your goal (whether it’s to lose weight, feel better, or improve your mood) and write it down. Being intentional and mindful of why you’re eating what you’re eating every day will make it easier na more meaningful. Try keeping a food journal to remember what made you feel stellar, and what made you feel a little zapped. Also, be kind to yourself! It’s important to expect setbacks. Eating healthy is about feeling good, not creating more stress.

Expert Tip: Hannah, author of The Frugal Paleo Cookbook shared this tip on Robb Wolf’s blog: “If you’re not able to meet the gold-standard of Paleo foods 100% of the time—that’s OK! (…) if all you have bandwidth for in your brain is to focus on shopping the perimeter of your neighborhood grocery store and doing all you can to skip the grains, dairy, and processed foods, then go for it!  (…) You’re gonna be at this Paleo thing for a while, so be kind to yourself as you adjust to a very different way of sourcing food and prepping meals.”

5 FOODS THAT SOUND HEALTHY (BUT AREN’T)

16 Nov 2018 no comments admin
At one point or another, we’ve all fallen for a snack or meal that seems good for you, whether thanks to clever marketing, misunderstandings, or, well, the fact that they’re the color green. While a product might look healthy, sound healthy, and even taste a little healthy, it’s always important to look past the buzz words and recognize that not all matcha-quinoa-and-kale protein bars are made equal. (Not that we don’t love a good matcha-quinoa-and-kale protein bar – as long as that’s all there is in it.) Sometimes, foods that sound healthy can contain crazy amounts of added sugars or processed additives, making them far from fresh and nutritious. Well, we got your back. We’ve identified five of the biggest offenders, and what you should eat instead.

#1 VEGGIE BURGERS (THE FROZEN KIND!)

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Don’t fall for every frozen hockey puck marketed as a ‘veggie burger’ at your supermarket. The reality is that most frozen veggie burgers are loaded with highly processed ingredients (including processed soy and/or processed cheese) rather than a sufficient portion of actual vegetables. These burgers are often stripped of the nutrients that constitute them as ‘healthy’, and are overloaded with calories and sodium … without the natural nutrients to balance out the bad stuff.

Alternative: Good news – there are good veggie burgers out there. It might just take a little extra effort. Look for patties whose ingredients you can recognize and those that derive protein from foods like beans and seeds rather than processed soy. We likeHilarys’ Eat Well Adzuki Bean Burger for all those reasons.Of course, you can also just eat real veggies! Nothing tastes better than fresh produce.

#2 VEGGIE CHIPS

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While veggie chips might sound healthier than your regular ketchup-flavored-potato chip, they’re usually just corn flour and potato starch disguised in an attractive shade of green. Even the veggie chips that do contain an acceptable amount of vegetables have gone through so much processing that – like veggie burgers – their essential nutrients like vitamins A and C are lost. You also might be getting a bigger dose of sodium and unhealthy fats than you’d probably like.

Alternative: You can make your own baked veggie chips or look for brands that actually do contain a sufficient amount of vegetables by checking out their ingredients. The vegetable should be the first or second ingredient listed, and if it’s a kale chip it should be kale, rather than kale flakes or kale dusting. Go unsalted, and beware of ingredients with long names that you don’t recognize. Again, actual vegetables are always a good choice, too.

#3 FROZEN DIET DINNERS

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Frozen dinners are no doubt convenient. Throw the words healthy, low-fat, or low-calorie in there, and they seem like a great choice. But frozen diet entrees can also be chock full of preservatives, additives, and sodium, and surprisingly, not enough calories to keep you full. That puts you at risk for undereating. (Undereating can make it tougher for you to lose weight by slowing down your metabolism.) Most frozen entrees also contain unrecognizable ingredients that help mimic the flavors and textures of fresh food… but provide very little actual freshness.

Alternative: If you are too slammed to find time to cook, there are freshly prepared meal services (kind of like, ahem, Freshly) that deliver healthy meals – with all essential nutrients in tact – to your doorstep.

 #4 YOGURT PARFAITS

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Yogurt, most especially Greek yogurt, is a pretty optimal snack. But there’s a big difference between fresh Greek yogurt and the sugary concoctions you see in some coffee shops with all of their extra add-ons. These parfaits, while they do in fact contain essential nutrients calcium and protein, also come with too much sugar (often as much as 30 to 50 grams) to make them seem tastier.

Alternative: Go for simple cups of yogurt mixed with fruit. You’ll still get the sweetness from the fruit, but none of the extra sugar. You might have to do a little adjusting your expectations of what yogurt actually tastes like, but remember, this is natural, and won’t add anything extra to your waistline.

#5 MOST PRE-PACKAGED GLUTEN-FREE SNACKS

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Just because it’s gluten-free, doesn’t mean it’s good for ya. While a lot of the pre-packaged gluten-free ‘alternatives’ you see at supermarkets are, in fact, devoid of gluten, they’re often also substituted with unhealthy ingredients like refined sugar. There’s little point in eliminating refined breads, pasta, and flour-based cookies if you’re just going to load up on prepackaged cookies, pasta, pizza, or frozen alternatives that are labeled “gluten-free” but still contain evil amounts of sugar and other high-glycemic elements. Keep your refined sugar levels very low (ideally at zero), and check ingredient labels for artificial sweeteners, even if those sweeteners are gluten-free.

Alternative: Go for fresh, whole, naturally gluten-free foods rather than the pre-packaged, highly processed “substitutes.” We always advocate for a diet of meat and fresh produce. Check out our guide on going gluten-free here.