Best Healthy Recipes of 2016

I guess it’s that time again.  After all the holiday gluttony (and general comfort food craving this time of year), everyone is making resolutions and getting back to the gym and meal planning.

Honestly, I’m not.  I know myself well, and I have to have small, sustainable life choices vs. a diet or life change.  I try to eat healthy (except when I’m traveling) and work out every day (even when I’m traveling), and overall that works for me.  I let 15-20 pounds sneak up on me in late 2014, so I started tracking everything I eat and do in MyFitnessPal and finding healthy recipes I actually *liked*.  And by spring of 2015 I was back to normal and have been able to maintain.

So the good news is that I have a bunch of healthy recipes to re-visit from the last couple years, all now listed in one place for 2017 healthy living ease!

Don’t forget to look at all these great healthy recipes I posted at the beginning of 2015.  There are a ton of yummy make-ahead breakfast options, easy healthy dinners that also make satisfying lunches to pack for work, and (duh) healthy desserts.  Because I don’t believe eating healthy should be sad or boring or a chore.

Main Dishes:


“Crack” Beef & Cabbage Stir Fry

Sweet and savory and crunchy and super satisfying.  But mostly cabbage, which is both cheap and super healthy (yay colon health!).  This is crazy fast and makes good lunch leftovers as well.

Balsamic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts

Balsamic Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

One of my go-tos, because I love brussels sprouts so much and balsamic is a favorite as well.  Super easy and fast, and makes great leftovers.  And the walnuts add a nice little crunch.

Chicken with Creamy Feta Sauce done

Chicken with Creamy Feta Sauce

Sometimes I really get tired of chicken, but it’s such an easy, (relatively) cheap, and healthy option compared to other meat.  The sauce on this one’s the game-changer though, it feels so decadent.  And keeps the chicken super moist as leftovers too.


Lemon Shallot Chicken

So packed full of flavors that I didn’t even know what to call it.  Lemon, shallots, paprika, rosemary, garlic, brown sugar.  Add some roasted veggies and this is good for dinner and a few days’ worth of lunch after the fact.

one pot kale & quinoa pilaf assembled

One-Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf

I’m generally disappointed by quinoa dishes, so this one was a pleasant surprise.  The cheese gives a great saltiness to it, the kale provides texture, and the quinoa gives the heartiness you need.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Chicken

Slow Cooker Caramelized Chicken

Mine didn’t really caramelize, but I won’t hold that against it because it was delicious…complex flavors and super moist, which doesn’t often happen for me in a crockpot.

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

Healthy Lemon Almond Chicken Salad

Not as enticing in the dead of winter, but this bright and light take on chicken salad is really filling and feels like a treat at the same time.

Whole30 Avocado Sonoma Chicken Salad done

Whole 30-Approved Avocado Sonoma Chicken Salad

Yes, I’m obsessed with chicken salad.  Next question.

Chicken Nachos Bite

Nacho Chicken

Put it on actual nachos, salad, in a bowl with brown rice, whatever.  This is really versatile and flavorful, so make up a big batch on Sunday and eat it all week.

baked potato soup finished

Mom’s Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

Not new, but the most popular recipe of all time on this site…this soup is amazing, hearty, and healthy, but also feels like a treat at the same time.  It’s one of my family’s go-to recipes and the internet seems to agree.

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprout & Kale Slaw with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

Vegetarian (though you could easily add chicken) and packing a mouth punch of flavor, this holds up well in the fridge for a few days since the brussels sprouts and kale are really sturdy to begin with.  It even improves a bit after a day or two…softens.

Grilled Honey Balsamic Chicken

Balsamic & Honey Grilled Chicken

Putting grilled dishes on the list feels a bit like cheating since it’s January and most people can’t grill, but save this bad boy for later because it’s totally delish and soooo easy.

Roasted Carrots & Potatoes with Turmeric closeup

Roasted Carrots & Fingerling Potatoes with Turmeric

Not really a main dish (but I’m not the boss of you), but definitely super healthy.  Turmeric is really popular right now because it’s a great natural anti-inflammatory.  Also, it stains like crazy so be warned.  But this side dish is full of flavor and color, which makes it fun, which makes me want to eat more of it.



Tex Mex Breakfast Casserole

I’m lazy about trying new breakfast casseroles because the ones I have are so awesome and easy.  I mean, why mess with a good thing?  But I’d been wanting to try this forever and I’m so glad I did.  It got rave reviews at work and kept me satiated for hours (not an easy task…).


Clean Eating Banana Muffins (gluten-free)

I don’t know why I don’t make muffins more often, they’re so insanely easy and so portable.  These feel like you’re getting a treat, but are fully of healthy ingredients with just a touch of chocolate for a little treat.  And they can easily be made gluten-free.

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Apple Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

These are all about that crunchy cinnamon sugar topping…but the muffin itself is nothing to sneeze at.  Moist and flavorful but still healthy, this one’s a keeper.

Double-Chocolate Banana Muffins

Double Chocolate Banana Muffins (gluten-free if you want)

Mmmm.  That’s basically all I have to say about these.  The banana flavor isn’t super strong (which I prefer), and they feel completely indulgent due to the rich chocolate flavor (from the dutch-process cocoa).


Single-Serving Cherry Crisp

Single-Serving Cherry Crisp

One of my personal obsessions.  Comes in at about 300 calories a serving, but helps with portion control and not much in the way of refined ingredients.  Whole wheat flour, oats, a bit of brown sugar, and cherries.

Peach Rhubarb Pie

Peach Rhubarb Pie with Whole Wheat Crust

Dessert is almost never going to be truly “healthy”…not in the same way kale is.  But this pie is almost entirely naturally sweetened, and the whole wheat and olive oil crust brings more nutrients than a regular butter and white flour crust.

Almond Cake with Fruit Compote done

Almond Cake with Fruit Compote (gluten-free)

One thing that’s important to note on this is that it’s not low-calorie.  Anything almond-based will be higher in calories, but it’s still got very little refined sugar or overly processed ingredients.  Think of this more like whole eating.

What are your 2017 healthy eating goals?  Favorite recipes??

20 Healthy Recipes for 2017...great for leftovers, lunches for work, even desserts


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