healthy recipes

Healthy Side Salads - Fresh Summer Fare

Easy and light summer sides and salads are the way to stay cool and healthy this summer.  Here are three for you to whip up for your family - add these healthy sides into your dinner menu often as a delicious way to get those crunchy vegetables into your family's diet!  When making these salads, think easy - use already grated carrots, bagged real bacon pieces, etc.  It doesn't take but 5 minutes to throw these sides together.


Take 1 1/2 cups grated carrots, 1/4 cup craisins, 1/2 cup diced pineapple, and 1/4 cup crushed walnuts to make this beauty!  Then keep it sugar-free (the ingredients give it enough sweet crunch!) by stirring 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk with 1/4 cup mayo (or veganaise) and 1 teaspoon (packet) of Truvia.  Yummy sweetness, no added sugar!


Mix together 2 cups diced broccoli florets, 1/4 craisins, 1/4 cup real bacon pieces, 1/4 cup diced sweet onion, and 1/4 cup sliced almonds.  Take 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk, 1/4 cup mayo or veganaise, 1 squeezed lemon, and 1 tablespoon honey and stir together to make this lemony sweet sauce.  Stir it into the salad mixture.  Pleasing to the tastebuds, and body!


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To make this easy side, take 1 1/2 cups cucumber slices (peel the cucumber first), 1/4 cup diced green onion, 1/2 cup diced avocado, and stir together.  For marinade, mix 4 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp canola oil, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (these you can buy at the store in a seasoning bottle already toasted!) together and stir into salad.  Refrigerate for at least an hour to give the salad better flavor!

These 3 salads are perfect paired with fish, chicken or even the occasional beef entree.  Enjoy these salads often, as they are easy and so good for you!

Healthy Cereal Cookies

Ever get a sweet tooth, and just need a little bite to satisfy the craving?  These little treasures can fulfill that need, and put health in your body at the same time!  Full of fiber, low on sugar - win-win for you and your family! These cookies are actually more like a homemade granola bar, but my kids still think they are eating dessert! I make a couple batches at a time, and freeze them in little baggies for quick lunch and snack grabbing. This way, we keep portion size in check, yet provide a healthy option to other empty calorie snacks!

Those “100 calorie” snacks bags at the store don’t hold a candle to the 100-calorie-per-cookie goodness of these babies! These cookies actually contain natural sources of nutritious fiber, very little sugar, and NO fillers or preservatives! The benefits of the flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, nuts, oats, and bran come together to make a nutritious treat!

Healthy Cereal Cookies 

How To Make It:


•    1 cup whole wheat flour
•    1/2 cup flaxseed, milled
•    1 tsp baking powder
•    1 tsp baking soda
•    1 tsp ground cinnamon
•    3/4 cup butter, softened (1 ½ sticks)
•    1/2 cup white sugar
•    1/2 cup brown sugar
•    2 eggs
•    1 tsp vanilla
•    2 cups wheat cereal flakes (bran)
•    2 cups rolled oats
•    3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
•    1/2 cup craisins
•    1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds



1.    Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl, set aside.

2.    In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. (For chewier cookies, add in an extra 2 Tbsp butter!) Add sugars and beat for about 2 minutes more, or until combined. Add eggs and vanilla in and mix until combined. On low speed, add in the flour mixture a little at a time, until the entire mixture is combined. Then stir in the bran flakes, oats, nuts, and fruit.

3.    Drop a rounded teaspoonful onto cookie sheets, and bake for about 11-13 minutes, or until golden around edges and set. Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack. Enjoy these cookies in moderation, as they are natural “system regulators!

For the *Peanut Butter/Chocolate Chip version,* just switch out 1/2 cup of the butter for peanut butter, leave out the walnuts and craisins, and add in 1/2 cup MINI chocolate chips instead....yummy!

Let me know what you think of this healthy goodie in the comments below, or join the discussion in our community!

Healthy Whole Wheat & Buttermilk Pancakes

On my quest to begin finding healthier, more wholesome breakfast options, I came across this winner, and now my kids won't let me go long without making these!  They are great if you make a double batch, and stick a few away in a baggie in the freezer for quick school mornings.  They re-heat easily in under a minute in the microwave, and my kids swear they taste just as good as the day I made them. This recipe is originally from Ellie Krieger’s Cookbook, “The Food You Crave,” but I deliciously supercharged it with flaxseed!  It is one of my absolute favorites, because it’s not obvious that it’s so darn healthy!  The whole wheat flour and flaxseed are wonderful sources of fiber and whole grains, but the cakes are still fluffy thanks to the buttermilk and tiny amount of plain flour!

Healthy Whole Wheat & Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe

How To Make It:


•    3/4 cup whole wheat flour
•    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
•    1/4 cup ground flaxseed
•    1 1/2 tsp baking powder
•    1/2 tsp baking soda
•    1/4 tsp salt
•    2 large eggs
•    1 cup lowfat buttermilk
•    3/4 cup nonfat (or soy, almond, or rice) milk
•    1 tbsp honey
•    1/4 tsp vanilla extract
•    Cooking spray


  1. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then set aside.  In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs buttermilk, milk, honey, and vanilla.
  2. Place a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat, and spray the cooking spray lightly on the surface.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones, only long enough to mix them together.  Batter may be slightly lumpy.  
  3. Ladle the batter into the pan in small amounts, and wait for the cakes to form bubbles on top before flipping them.  After about 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown, remove the cakes from the griddle and serve.

 I keep it interesting for the kids by adding a tiny amount of mini chocolate chips or blueberries to the batter as the cakes cook up!  The kids add protein by dressing the pancakes up with a tablespoon of peanut butter.  Then they top them off with just a dollop of low-sugar syrup or a drizzle of pure maple syrup!  Yummy, healthy, goodness for breakfast!  (Pictured is the pancakes with a homemade strawberry sauce and a shake of confectioner's sugar over them.)

Tell me what you think of these after you've made them...I can't wait to hear from you on my Facebook page, Coach Bess!