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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 December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

          More to Help You Feel Relaxed

          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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