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Make Your Own Brownies That Can Be Much Healthier

Make Your Own Brownies That Can Be Much Healthier

Baking, and desserts in general, is a staple in some households. Whatever your favorite dessert or other baking favorite, it’s fun and often relaxing to prepare and eat, but not so fun if you’re trying to incorporate healthy eating into your diet.

The good news is, healthy eating doesn’t mean you have to cut out all the foods you love, even desserts. There are ways to prepare just about any recipe in a much healthier way. You can use alternative ingredients or substitute one ingredient for another to make it healthier. Even desserts packed with sugar and calories, like brownies, can be prepared with fewer calories and a better type of fat.

Here are just a few examples of healthier brownie recipes you can make at home.

Reduced-Calorie Brownies

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    Have you ever counted how many calories are actually in your standard homemade brownie? One delicious square has more empty calories (energy your body burns through quickly without much benefit to your health) than you might think. High quality, alternative ingredients are the solution to this calorie-packed problem.

    Still want to enjoy your brownies without all the extra calories? Try this reduced-calorie brownie recipe and see how it turns out. It uses Greek yogurt to help the brownies keep their form and the texture you love while using less butter and fewer eggs in the process.

    Dairy-Free Brownies

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      There are plenty of opportunities to get all your required daily servings of dairy, and dessert certainly doesn’t have to be one of them. Maybe you’re looking for a dessert that doesn’t have any extra dairy mixed in (not very easy to come across, since we love rich, creamy and chocolate-filled everything). Maybe you’re allergic to dairy and are tired of missing out on all the deliciousness.

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      Give this dairy-free brownie recipe a try if you’re on the hunt for something a little different. It uses pumpkin puree to replace some of the ingredients needed to keep a typical batch of brownies from getting too dry or falling apart, and it probably tastes just as good, too.

      Healthy Brownie Bites

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        When a fresh pan of brownies comes out of the oven, it’s up to you (the baker), to choose how each square “portion” is cut. Theoretically, you can make each serving as big as you want to. Which is great for your sweet tooth and not so great for your waistline.

        The healthy key to this protein-packed recipe is portion control. In this case, less is more. The smaller you make your brownie bites, the more you’ll have to share with family and friends. If you’re still worried you’ll eat too many at once, you can leave three or four in the refrigerator at one time and freeze the rest for later.

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        Chocolate Avocado Brownies

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          You may have heard avocados are healthy, even though they’re loaded with fat. How is that possible? How is the fat in an avocado different from the fat in butter?

          Put simply, the kind of fat found in an avocado, called unsaturated fat, is better for your body to process and use than the kind of fat found in butter, called saturated fat. It’s “healthy” because it has the opposite effects on your body – it actually lowers your risk of developing heart disease, for example.

          This brownie recipe uses avocado instead of butter, meaning your brownies will still taste rich and creamy. They just use a different, healthier form of fat in order to do so.

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          Conclusion

          There’s no law that says you’re not allowed to enjoy your desserts. Made a little healthier, and in moderation, you can still get your chocolate fix at home whenever you need it.

          Featured photo credit: alex lang via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on September 18, 2020

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

          Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

          1. Exercise Daily

          It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

          If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

          Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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          If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

          2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

          Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

          One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

          This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

          3. Acknowledge Your Limits

          Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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          Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

          Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

          4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

          Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

          The basic nutritional advice includes:

          • Eat unprocessed foods
          • Eat more veggies
          • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
          • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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          Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

            5. Watch Out for Travel

            Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

            This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

            If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

            6. Start Slow

            Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

            If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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            7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

            Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

            My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

            If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

            I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

            Final Thoughts

            Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

            Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

            More Tips on Getting in Shape

            Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

            Reference

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