Sugar Free Cookies (Sweetened with Fruit!)

You can give your kids these soft, sweet, Sugar Free Cookies just about any time. Serve them for breakfast, tuck them in your big kids’ lunchboxes, or add one to your busy toddler’s snack plate.

sugar free cookies sweetened with bananas

Sugar, and sugary treats, are all around us. It can be exhausting trying to limit the amount of sugar your kids come in contact with. But there are surprisingly delicious and creative ways to enjoy sweet treats with your kids without adding any refined sugars at all!

Here’s one to try today: delicious, easy, “anytime” cookies that are 100% sugar free, sweetened only with whole fruits, and studded with whole grain oats.

These cookies have been a staple in our home for years. They’re a feel-good choice for snacking toddlers, and a smart addition to lunchboxes. If you’re the kind of person who likes to enjoy the best of both worlds (those worlds would be “healthy” and “indulgent” and we are all that kind of person) then it’s time to get baking!

sugar free oat cookies on a cooling rack

Sugar Free Cookies: How Do They Taste?

When you bite into these cookies, the first thing you notice is that they’re just plain delicious: gently sweet and flavorful, with soft chewy oats and raisins. If you’re skeptical they won’t have enough flavor without sugar, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

The cookies boast a slightly crispy, caramelized taste at the edges, and an interior that’s moist and cinnamony. You and your kids will want to have two or three at once. And you can.

The secret to a delicious, nourishing sugar free cookie lies in the fruit. Some fruits can stand in for sugar in baked good recipes, like dates, mangoes, and applesauce–anything with a high sugar content. In this recipe, we use bananas. Bananas are naturally high in sugar, and they also help keep the texture of the cookies moist and fluffy.

healthy sugar free cookies on a plate with bananas

How to Make and Store Sugar Free Cookies

These cookies are ever-so-simple to make. The dough may look a bit more wet than your typical cookie dough, but don’t worry–it’ll turn nicely golden brown in the oven.

Because the cookies don’t change shape dramatically in the oven (unlike typical cookies,) it’s wise to flatten the dough/batter into the size and shape you want your cookies to be before you bake.

You can store them in the refrigerator to help them keep their color (banana-based baked goods can turn gray-ish left out on the countertop.) Let them come to room temperature before eating, or warm them up in the toaster oven for a few minutes.

Leftovers do freeze well, if you can restrain yourself long enough to freeze them.

kids picking up fresh homemade sugar free cookiessugar free cookies on a plate and cooling rack

Enjoy, and try some more low-sugar treats here:

Healthy Carrot & Apple Breakfast Cookies

Healthy Sugar Free Granola

50 Low Sugar Snacks for Kids

Sugar Free Cookies | Healthy Ideas and Recipes for Kids

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Kale and Potato Soup with Turkey Sausage

Kale and Potato Soup with Turkey Sausage is an easy, hearty soup made with kale, potatoes, carrots and turkey or chicken sausage.

Kale and Potato Soup with Turkey Sausage is an easy, hearty soup made with kale, potatoes, carrots and turkey or chicken sausage.

Kale and Potato Soup with Turkey Sausage

This quick and easy soup is the perfect one-pot meal, and a tasty way to enjoy kale, which is high in vitamins K, A and C with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Great for dinner, or meal prep if you like batch cooking because this recipe is freezer-friendly and tastes great reheated. A few more hearty soup recipes are Leftover Ham Bone Soup with Potatoes and Cabbage, Chicken Soup with Spinach and Whole Wheat Acini di Pepe and Chicken Sweet Potato and Kale Soup.

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Orange Julius Recipe

Serve up a fresh glass of vitamin C, protein, and real fruit with this healthy Orange Julius recipe made from simple whole food ingredients.

homemade orange julius in glass with straws

Just what is it about an Orange Julius? That sweet, cold, and frothy treat famous at malls and state fairs across America has a way of staying in your mind, even if you’ve only ever ordered one or two.

In this cold classic treat, we saw an opportunity to create a healthy dessert (or breakfast!) for kids that delivers two servings of fresh fruit, a boost of vitamin C, and even a few grams of protein for their growing bodies.

Got frozen bananas and a few other basics on hand? Then you can be sipping on this burst-of-sunshine Orange Julius recipe in five minutes. You have to try it!

orange julius recipe in glasses with fresh oranges

What is this Orange Julius Recipe Made Of?

Unlike the original Orange Julius (made no doubt of mystical, sugar-laden, and also highly-processed ingredients,) this Orange Julius recipe contains just six simple, whole food ingredients, including two whole fruits. Here’s a full list of the ingredients in our freshened-up Julius:

Orange
Banana
Greek yogurt
OJ
Honey
Vanilla

Toss these goodies into a blender and you’ll create something like an old-fashioned Orange Julius, only better: a cool and ultra-refreshing citrus drink that tastes a lot like a Creamsicle. And take heart: this recipe makes enough for you and your kids, both.

Homemade orange julius in glass

The Secret Ingredient for a Kicky Orange Taste

Other copycat Orange Julius recipes on the web use frozen orange juice concentrate to get that intense citrus flavor. We chose to get that kicky orange taste another way: with zest!

Orange zest is rich in natural oils that have an incredibly fresh, strong taste of oranges. (If you’re concerned about pesticide residue on your oranges, just grab an organic orange at the store.)

A microplane zester like this one works perfectly for the job, but you can also use the fine holes on a box grater to get orange zest, too.

By using a combination of zest, whole orange, and orange juice, we’ve been able to create a deliciously potent orange flavor that will keep your kids sipping… without the sugar rush that can come out of using canned concentrate.

More Sweet Sippables

This is not our first Julius rodeo! For a cool twist on this Orange Julius Recipe, try our Green Julius Recipe. (Hint: the ingredient that makes it green is one you want your kids eating more of!)

And if you love smoothies with an orange juice base, you’ll also love our Cherry Pineapple Smoothie. Happy sipping!

homemade orange julius in glass with fresh orangesOrange Julius Recipe | Healthy Ideas and Recipes for Kids

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Skinnytaste Meal Plan (February 18-February 24)

A free 7-day flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and Weight Watchers Freestyle™ SmartPoints®.

If you’re new to my meal plans, I’ve been sharing these free, 7-day flexible healthy meal plans (you can see my previous meal plans here) that are meant as a guide, with plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food, coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc or swap recipes out for meals you prefer, you can search for recipes by course in the index. You should aim for around 1500 calories* per day.

There’s also a precise, organized grocery list that will make grocery shopping so much easier and much less stressful. Save you money and time. You’ll dine out less often, waste less food and you’ll have everything you need on hand to help keep you on track.

Lastly, if you’re on Facebook join my Skinnytaste Facebook Community where everyone’s sharing photos of recipes they are making, you can join here. I’m loving all the ideas everyone’s sharing!

Also, if you don’t have the Skinnytaste Meal Planner, now would be a great time to get one to get organized for 2019! There was a print error last year, but it’s perfect now! You can order it here!

THE DETAILS:

Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, are designed to serve 1 while dinners and all meals on Saturday and Sunday are designed to serve a family of 4. Some recipes make enough leftovers for two nights or lunch the next day. While we truly believe there is no one size fits all meal plan, we did our best to come up with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. Everything is Weight Watchers friendly, I included the updated Weight Watcher Freestyle Points for your convenience, feel free to swap out any recipes you wish or just use this for inspiration!

The grocery list is comprehensive and includes everything you need to make all meals on the plan. I’ve even included brand recommendations of products I love and use often. Cross check your cabinets because many condiments you’ll notice I use often, so you may already have a lot of them.

And last, but certainly not least, this meal plan is flexible and realistic. There’s plenty of wiggle room for cocktails, healthy snacks, dessert and dinner out. And if necessary, you can move some things around to make it work with your schedule. Please let me know if you’re using these plans, this will help me decide if I should continue sharing them!

MONDAY (2/18)
B: PB + J Yogurt (6)
L: Food Cart-Style Chicken Salad with White Sauce* (8)
D: Red Lentil Soup with Spinach* (1) and 1 mini naan (or flatbread) (5)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 20, Calories 1,008**

TUESDAY (2/19)
B: 2 hard-boiled eggs (0) and an orange (0)
L: Food Cart-Style Chicken Salad with White Sauce (8)
D: Instant Pot Chicken Taco Chili (0) with 2 tablespoons reduced fat cheese blend (1), 1 tablespoon light sour
cream (1) and 1 ounce avocado (1)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 11, Calories 863**

WEDNESDAY (2/20)
B: PB + J Yogurt (6)
L: Food Cart-Style Chicken Salad with White Sauce (8)
D: LEFTOVER Instant Pot Chicken Taco Chili (0) with 2 tablespoons  reduced fat cheese blend (1), 1 tablespoon
light sour cream (1) and 1 ounce avocado (1)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 17, Calories 915**

THURSDAY (2/21)
B: 2 hard-boiled eggs (0) and an orange (0)
L: Food Cart-Style Chicken Salad with White Sauce (8)
D: One-Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce (8) and 1 ½ cups romaine*** (0) with 2 tablespoons Skinny Caesar Dressing
(2)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 18, Calories 991**

FRIDAY (2/22)
B: 6 ounces plain nonfat Greek yogurt (0) with ½ cup sliced strawberries (0), 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts (2),
and 1 teaspoon honey (1)
L: LEFTOVER One-Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce (8) and 1 ½ cups romaine (0) with 2 tablespoons Skinny Caesar
Dressing (2)
D: Honey Garlic Shrimp (2) with Asian Edamame Fried Rice (4)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 19, Calories 1,018**

SATURDAY (2/23)
B: Eggs and Tomato Breakfast Melts (3) and 1/2 cup grapes (0)
L: Asian Lettuce Wrap Chicken Chopped Salad (8)
D: DINNER OUT!

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 11, Calories 544**

SUNDAY (2/24)
B: 3 Czech Crepes with Berries and Cream (6)
L: Lentil Bowls with Avocado, Eggs and Cholula (2) (Recipe x 2)
D: Slow-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls (10)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 18, Calories 970**

**Prep Chicken Salad Sunday night for lunch Mon-Thurs. Freeze any leftover soup you/your family won’t eat

**This is just a guide, women should aim for around 1500 calories per day. Here’s a helpful calculator to estimate
your calorie needs. I’ve left plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food such as coffee, beverages, fruits,
snacks, dessert, wine, etc.
***Chop extra 1 ½ cups romaine for lunch Friday

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Crispy Homemade Falafel with Garlic Tahini Sauce

Homemade Falafel is SO much better! Learn how to make this deliciously crispy, light and fluffy chickpea fritter the right way, from scratch, with good wholesome and nutritious ingredients! It’s much easier than you think!

Homemade Falafel is SO much better! Learn how to make this deliciously crispy, light and fluffy chickpea fritter the right way, from scratch, with good wholesome and nutritious ingredients! It's much easier than you think!

For the longest time, I believed that falafel was extremely long and complicated to make. Pfft! I just didn’t know better… I guess it’s only because it’s not something I’m really used to making, for they were never really a part of my diet growing up. But eventually, once I got the hang of it, I came to realize that they are in fact extremely easy to make: just throw everything in the food processor and blitz away!

The only thing is that they do require a bit of planning, because the key to making good falafel is that you must absolutely, imperatively make them with dried, soaked but uncooked chickpeas. This is a case where you cannot cheat and get away with using the canned beans. Why? Because since the canned chickpeas have already been cooked, the starch molecules within them have pretty much been washed away in the cooking liquid, leaving the actual beans with very little binding power. If you try to grind them, form them into balls, and deep-fry them, they will invariably completely fall apart in the oil. Sure, there are ways to work around that, like adding flour or other binding agents to the mixture, but then the texture of the fritters will suffer big time! You end up with dense, pasty, almost doughy balls…

Trust me, starting with dry chickpeas and giving them ample time to soak is the only way to go! 

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Healthier Homemade Donuts

Make rich, chocolatey, homemade donuts right in your own kitchen! These donuts are baked, not fried, and even include a surprise ingredient to make them a more balanced treat. 

homemade chocolate donuts

Care for a cakey, delicious chocolate donut? Made in your own kitchen? Without all the processed frying oils, and minus cups and cups of sugar? (Yes, this offer just keeps getting better and better.)

When we make treats like these homemade donuts at home, we get to enjoy fresher flavors and better nutrition– so important to us when we’re feeding our kids!

These chocolatey homemade donuts taste sweet and indulgent, and are topped with a thick, rich glaze made from two simple ingredients. Try them the next time you’re looking for a lightened-up dessert.

homemade chocolate donuts on cooling rack

What Makes These Homemade Donuts Healthier?

Store-bought donuts lose nutrition points in a few major ways. First, they’re loaded with sugar. Second, their macro-nutrient profile is strongly skewed towards simple carbohydrates and processed oils.

These yummy homemade donuts win back both those points. We wanted to sweetened them naturally, so we chose honey; you’ll find no refined sugar whatsoever in the batter. (Yes, the glaze includes dark chocolate chips, and they do contain sugar. We’re human.)

We also included chocolate protein powder, and cut way down on the oil in these donuts, to balance the macro-nutrients a bit better. Balancing fats, carbs, and proteins helps kids–and us–stay satisfied longer and prevent crazy blood sugar spikes. (You know how your kids act in the middle of a sugar-rush? Then you’ll be motivated to prevent it.)

While these homemade donuts are still absolutely a treat food, they’re a healthier alternative to store-bought donuts for kids who love donuts. Have a bite!

homemade chocolate donut with bite taken out

How to Make Homemade Donuts

To cook up donuts in the signature shape, you’ll of course need to start with a donut pan. We love silicone because it’s so easy to pop the donuts right out. You can buy a cute pair of silicone donut pans here.

Mix up the batter like you would for a cake: dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, then fold them together. When you’re filling the molds, make sure you only fill the batter 2/3 of the way up the mold, to account for rising in the oven.

A couple tip about glazing the donuts: after your donuts come out of the oven,  let them cool completely before you add the glaze. Then chill them to set the glaze, but not for too long.  You’ll want to take them out of the fridge and eat them at room temperature.

homemade chocolate donuts on a white platter

For chocolate-obsessed kids, try these healthy treats too:

Double Chocolate Banana Cake

Magic Chocolate Milk

Healthier Chocolate Donuts | Healthy Ideas and Recipes for Kids

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Amazing Azomite. What it is and How to Use for Home and Garden

azomiteAzomite is one of those beneficial substances that is useful for many things around the home. It belongs in the same category as apple cider vinegar, diatomaceous earth and baking soda.

For this reason, it’s best to have some on hand especially during springtime!

What is Azomite?

While many people have heard about azomite,

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Healthy Fruit Pizza Recipe

Not your traditional sugar-laden cookie! This healthy fruit pizza recipe takes ten (no-cook!) minutes to make and features wholesome ingredients you can feel good about serving.

healthy fruit pizza recipe

Traditional fruit pizza is pretty to look at, delicious, and topped with fresh healthy fruits. But also, let’s be straight, it’s a cookie. A very sweet, frosted cookie. And not a simple one to make at home yourself, at that.

We set out to take the best elements of this tasty treat (The fruit! The crust! The frosting!) and create a fruit pizza recipe that’s fast and easy to make at home, and healthy enough to serve as an after school snack. It’s also a snack that can double as a fun activity for your kids, which we’ll get to later.

First, let’s have a closer look at this fun and tasty treat…

healthy fruit pizzas with greek yogurt frosting

What Makes This Fruit Pizza Recipe Healthy?

Here’s how we turned this once-in-a-while dessert to an everyday treat: we cut way, way back on the sugar. The whole wheat “crust” is free of any added sweeteners, and the frosting is re-imagined using Greek yogurt plus a touch of orange juice and honey. Trust us… the gorgeous fresh fruits and creamy yogurt topping are plenty sweet!

Plus, the colorful fruit topping provides a boost of antioxidants and vitamins that every kid (and grownup!) can benefit from.

close up of fruit pizzas

How to Make This Fruit Pizza Recipe

If you’ve ever made fruit pizza with a sugar-cookie base before, you know there’s usually a little time and effort involved. Not so with this fruit pizza recipe.

In fact, for these little cuties, you won’t need to turn on the oven at all. They’re 100% no-cook! The secret is using soft whole wheat tortillas on the bottom of the pizza.

Grab a drinking glass to get started. Just punch out a few mini rounds from a tortilla and set them aside. (Wondering what to do with the scraps? You can throw them into a casserole, or toss them with butter and bake them into crispy chips… but do that later. We’re not baking now. 😉

In a mixing bowl, stir together Greek yogurt, vanilla, honey, and a splash of orange juice. There’s your healthy, whole food frosting! Now you’re ready to spread it on the cut-out rounds. Or pass the bowl and a butter knife to your kids, and let them do the spreading.

The last step in this fruit pizza recipe is perfect for little food artists. Let your kids design their own personal pizza by arranging cut fruit on top of the frosted rounds. And admire the beautiful edible rainbows you create!

healthy fruit pizzas with fresh fruit

Working on improving your snack strategy? Learn how we ensure healthy snacking at home here:

5 Healthy Snacking Tips for Kids

Healthy Fruit Pizzas | Healthy Ideas and Recipes for Kids

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Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Rich, creamy, thick, comforting, soul warming, and crazy delicious! Yet, you will never believe just how nutritious this Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup actually is…

Rich, creamy, thick, comforting, soul warming, and crazy delicious! Yet, you will never believe just how nutritious this Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup actually is...

Looks like I’ve been in revisiting old posts” mode lately… Trust me, it’s not a bad thing; not a bad thing at all! In fact, I’m bringing a bunch of truly worthy recipes back to the top of the pile! This beautiful cream of mushroom soup, for instance… I’d created it a while back after I’d gotten inspired by one of my favorite fellow bloggers of the time, and to this day, I remember having fallen head over heels for it at first bite!

However, over the years, certain people had reported in the comments that they hadn’t had much success with the recipe. Some found their rendition turned out too watery, or grainy, while others found it to be kind of bland. I could never quite figure out why, as bland food is something I simply do not do. I would never post a recipe for something that tasted bland…

So I retested the recipe exactly as written — save for a minor change that I had to do to accommodate my new dietary reality — and frankly, I fell in love all over again. This soup, it tastes absolutely fantastic! It’s delicate, simple and earthy, just like any mushroom soup should be… but it tastes really, really good! And it’s crazy creamy, silky, and thick. So thick! Plus, it’s loaded with all kinds of pieces of creamy mushrooms and nutty, chewy wild rice. So good!

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