5 Healthier Holiday Cookie Recipes

‘Tis the season for holiday carols, cookies, and sugar-crashes.

Errr, wait a minute. Scratch that last part.

Let’s replace that with holiday cheer instead, with five healthier cookie recipes that make it easy to do just that. From protein-packed chickpeas, to naturally sweet dates, to fiber-filled oats, the following recipes include some magical ingredients that’ll take your holiday baking to the next (and better-for-you) level. While they’re probably not your grandma’s cookies, we promise that they’ll be just as tasty!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies via Sweet Treats & More

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LifeVester Recipe: Basil Tomato “Pasta” with Chicken

Recipe: Basil Tomato "Pasta" with Chicken

The following easy-to-make recipe comes from LifeVester Angela Delgado, and offers a much lighter alternative to your traditional plate of pasta. Since Angela discovered zucchini could be turned into noodles a few months ago, she’s been making it every single week!

“It tricks me into thinking I’m eating pasta, which I’ve always been addicted to,” she says. “It’s really quick and has simple flavors that all come together to create a really fresh dish.”

With less than half the calories of regular pasta, and a whole lot of vitamin C and other nutrients, this is one pasta where building a healthy addiction would be well-warranted! Serve it up as a light meal or alongside a slice of whole grain bread and a salad.

Click here for recipe…


Meatless Monday: Ratatouille with Summer Herb Corn

Summer ratatouille

When summer produce reaches its prime, we’re all about packing it all together in a bowl and calling it dinner. This naturally generates a meal that’s simple, healthy, and never fails to be full of flavor. Ratatouille is the classic definition of that.

A traditional French dish, ratatouille consists of vegetables stewed together so that their flavors meld. It’s generally composed of zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, onions and peppers, all items that meet together around the same month of the year in the garden. For today’s Meatless Monday version, our LifeVester Grace at FoodFitnessFreshAir calls upon one other summer veggie to add to that mix – corn – for a mildly sweet and crunchy topping.

As Grace says:

“When veggies are fresh and local, you really needn’t do much to them but put them together and let their flavors swim free. Ready in 45 minutes or less (depending on your grain choice), this recipe lends itself well to a weeknight meal that’ll leave you feeling great. Pair with a side of protein, or sprinkle some toasted walnuts on top and call it a meal.”

Gather up some veggies, choose a whole grain to pair with them, and then head on over to Grace’s blog for the recipe and get cooking!


Meatless Monday: Sesame Soba Noodles with Cucumbers and Roasted Eggplant

Sesame Soba Noodles with Cucumbers and Roasted Eggplant

Packed with vitamin C and containing 95% water, cucumbers are a LifeVest summer favorite. Thinly sliced with some onions, and a splash of oil and vinegar, and they easily become a refreshing side that won’t weigh down the rest of your meal. Make that same plate a snack, and it won’t weigh you down either.

Luckily, cukes run rampant in gardens this time of year, so there’s plenty of them to both snack on and lighten up pasta recipes like this. Here, their crispness compliments creamy, roasted eggplant that gets tossed with an Asian sesame sauce over soba.

Soba is a type of noodle made from buckwheat flour, which gives it a nutty flavor and also boosts it with protein. Lower in calories than traditional pasta, we love it as a way to add some variety to pasta night, especially when working with Asian flavors. Be sure to look for “100% buckwheat” on the package to get the most nutritional benefits. We recommend Eden, our go-to brand.

Click here to keep reading…


A healthy celebration of National Ice Cream Month

In 1984, Ronald Reagan marked July as the official month of ice cream. That presents 30 sweet years of history, so of course we want you to celebrate its anniversary – the cool-down, feel-good LifeVest way.

At LifeVest, we’d never prescribe a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (even in the most tearful situations, since dancing and taking a run are better, proven ways to cheer up quickly). But a simple, no-sugar-added, one-ingredient treat? Now that’s an ice cream we 100% stand behind. Today, we bring you our special, DIY banana ice cream.

Other than its capabilities of providing a naturally cool, creamy base to celebrate this month, there are numerous reasons why we are forever going bananas for bananas. Below are a few for why it can create a recipe that’ll outshine any other ice cream in your bowl:

Bananas for Ice Cream

  • A potassium powerhouse: Containing over 10% of your Daily Value, a banana is the most convenient source of potassium, a nutrient good for your heart. Regular consumption helps guard against high blood pressure and stroke. It also aids in recovery following exercise, which is why bananas are often an athlete’s snack of choice.
  • B6 beasts: Technically an herb, the banana is notably high in vitamin B6, too, important for brain function, maintaining proper blood sugar levels, & producing antibodies for a stronger immune system.
  • A sweeter-than-sugar swap: Love to bake, but want to cut down on your sugar-intake? Look no further than the extra ripe banana sitting on your counter. For every 1 cup of sugar, combine 1 cup of mashed, overripe bananas with just a few tablespoons of water. Puree until smooth. Then, if using in baking, cut down on the moisture in your recipe by using a little less milk or water. Not a big baker? Use mashed bananas to sweeten up your breakfast, such as plain yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal, rather than buying sugar-added alternatives.
  • A WISE choice: Health aside, the scientific name for banana is musa sapientum, which means “fruit of the wise men”. That fun fact makes us feel even more so that our ice cream recipe below is a smart choice.

Click here for recipe…