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. [Read more…]


Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash & Dried Cranberries

Blah blah blah resolutions blah. Seems like that’s all anyone talks about this time of year. But the fact of the matter is, there’s nothing magical about January in terms of getting healthy. In fact, it’s harder to make a drastic change mid-winter (when, let’s face it, your body is craving sleep and warm comfort food) than to make gradual changes over time that you can actually sustain.

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash & Citrus Honey Dressing

For me, the two major things are exercising almost every day and eating healthy at home since my job often entails lots of eating out, drinking, and treats. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that I’m not going to stick with a diet that I don’t enjoy. That’s why one of my big focuses in the past year has been finding super healthy recipes that I absolutely love.

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash & Citrus Honey Dressing closeup

Make a list of the most healthy foods and ingredients you should be eating—superfoods, whole grains, spices, etc.—and then see how you can work them into recipes. Everyone’s list is going to be different. For me, I haven’t found anything involving lentils that I enjoy and brown rice is dry and bland when eaten as leftovers. But conversely I’ve found a lot of quinoa and barley recipes that I like and are great to take to work the next day. I love kale, brussels sprouts, all squashes, okra, and spinach, but there is no recipe or list of healthy benefits that can convince me to eat cucumbers, green peppers, or fresh ginger.

quinoa salad with butternut squash roasted

Once you find ingredients you enjoy, hunt up all sorts of different recipes using them. That’s where this recipe comes in. I’ve found that quinoa salads like this one and my sweet & savory chicken quinoa and quinoa & kale salad with feta & pecans are easy, healthy, filling, and affordable. And that’s quite the combination. [Read more…]

Healthy Pear-Cranberry Crisp

I’ve never been a “New Year’s resolution” kind of girl. I figure if I see a change that needs made in my life (eating healthy, weight loss, being nicer), I should do it right away—whether it’s January or August. But I know that lots of people have taken the opportunity of a new calendar year to re-evaluate their lives and make healthier and smarter decisions.

So this one’s especially for you people. Because I’m all about eating healthy and making smart choices, but I’m also all about the fact that sometimes you Just. Need. Dessert. And I’m here to show you that dessert doesn’t need to be a diet-breaker.

pear cranberry crisp finished

I love sweets, but I tend to love things that are lightly sweet, not super rich. My two favorite desserts to make for myself are my healthy peach crisp and a healthy pear-banana pie with streusel topping (with whole wheat crust). These rely on the sweetness of the fruit, whole wheat flour, oats, oil, and the flavor of all the spices.

pear cranberry crisp fruit

I used an adjusted version of my peach crisp, and changed up the flavors a little. I had a few pears sitting around and was looking for something to do with them. Pears are my absolute favorite fruit (when they’re actually ripe) and there are so many interesting flavors that partner well with them. This recipe is very forgiving, you can change up amounts and flavors to suit your needs or the size of your pan (it could even make a delicious pie with my aunt’s whole wheat and oil pie crust). [Read more…]

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