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Quick And Easy: 15 Healthy Desserts To Replace Ice Cream

Quick And Easy: 15 Healthy Desserts To Replace Ice Cream

As more and more scientific studies demonstrate that diet, not exercise, is the key to weight loss and weight management, we know that we should all make a few healthy substitutions in our diet. The good news is that finding nutritious alternatives to calorie-rich foods doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming.

When you’re craving a heaping bowl of ice cream, try any of 15 these easy, healthy desserts instead. Packed with nutritional benefits, you’ll feel just as good after you eat these treats as you do while you eat them.

1. Cinnamon Bun Smoothie

Cinnamon

    Required ingredients: frozen bananas, rolled oats, pitted dates, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract

    Simply all ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth.

    The rolled oats in this smoothie not only create a thick, creamy texture, but they also provide a ton of healthy fiber. Research has also shown that a diet of whole oats can lower bad cholesterol levels.

    2. Coffified Green Monster

    15 Healthy Desserts

      Required ingredients: fresh spinach, brewed coffee, instant coffee, frozen banana, chocolate protein powder, ice

      Blend the ingredients together, adding more or less ice depending on your preferred texture.

      This smoothie combines the caffeine boost of coffee with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber of fresh spinach. One of the most nutrient-rich superfoods, spinach is high in iron and vitamin K, two minerals that promote healthy blood function and bone health. For extra variety, add any flavor of protein powder you like.

      3. Greek Yogurt Popsicles

      Yogurt popsicle

        Required ingredients: Greek yogurt, honey, frozen fruit of your choice

        These popsicles are effortless to make. Just pulse the yogurt, honey, and frozen fruit together in a blender. Scoop the mixture into a popsicle tray, freeze, and enjoy. Blend separate batches of frozen fruit to create beautiful colors, which you can use for a fancy, layered effect.

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        Greek yogurt is a creamy alternative to ice cream. Though it’s high in fat, Greek yogurt is also high in protein, calcium, and probiotics to support a healthy gut.

        4. Peanut Butter Mousse

        Peanut Butter Mousse

          Required ingredients: silken tofu, reduced-fat peanut butter, powdered sugar, marshmallow fluff, peanuts for garnish

          Puree the tofu, peanut butter, and sugar in a blender. Pour the pureed mixture into serving dishes, and let them cool in the fridge. Top with marshmallow fluff and chopped peanuts.

          This velvety mousse gives a serving of healthy plant-based proteins from the peanuts and the tofu. For an even healthier variety, use homemade peanut or almond butter (which has no preservatives or sugar), and skip the sugar.

          5. Strawberries with Balsamic, Greek Yogurt, and Mint

          Strawberry Mint

            Required ingredients: fresh mint, Greek yogurt, strawberries, real maple syrup, pepper, honey

            Slice strawberries, and stir in maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and a little bit of fresh ground pepper. In another bowl, mix Greek yogurt and honey. Top the yogurt with the strawberries, and sprinkle with fresh mint.

            This sweet and savory dessert takes advantage of the many health benefits of Greek yogurt. It’s also the perfect pick-me-up when you’re feeling under the weather, as some studies have shown that honey can suppress coughing as well as medicine.

            6. Pumpkin Rice Pudding

            Rice Pudding

              Required ingredients: rice, milk, canned pure pumpkin, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt

              While the rice is cooking, heat the milk, pumpkin, honey, and spices on the stove. Add this mixture into the nearly cooked rice, and bake together for about 50 minutes. Let the pudding thicken in the fridge overnight before serving.

              This heart pudding gives an autumnal twist on a classic rice pudding. The addition of the pumpkin not only brings a seasonal flair, but it also provides some serious nutrients. Pumpkin is fiber-rich and especially high in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which contribute to healthy vision, a stronger immune system, and more youthful skin.

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              7. Pina Colada Smoothie 

              Pineapple

                Required ingredients: frozen banana, frozen pineapple, coconut milk, vanilla extract

                Just blend everything together, and garnish with shredded coconut and pineapple.

                This tropical smoothie gives the full pina colada flavor without the calories of added sugar or alcohol. Though coconut milk is high in saturated fat, much of the fat is in the form of lauric acid, which the body converts into a compound that fights viruses and bacteria.

                8. Pistachio Chia Pudding

                Chia seeds

                  Required ingredients: pistachio milk, chia seeds, vanilla extract, cardamom, maple syrup

                  Add the ingredients together in a sealable container, and shake to mix well. Use a spoon to stir the mixture, let it rest for around 10 minutes, and then shake again for a smooth texture. Refrigerate and serve cold.

                  This pudding is a great alternative for pistachio ice cream. It mimics the smooth, creamy texture but with fewer calories and less fat. Chia seeds are a superfood high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which improve essential brain functions.

                  9. Cannoli Strawberries

                  Strawberries

                    Required ingredients: ricotta cheese, strawberries, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest

                    Strain the ricotta through a cheesecloth in the fridge, and then mix the strained ricotta with the sugar, vanilla, and grated lemon zest. Hollow out the center of large strawberries, and fill them with the ricotta mixture. Garnish the cannoli strawberries with chocolate, nuts, or chopped fruit.

                    These bite-sized treats are a light alternative to traditional cannoli, with are rich in heavy cream and refined sugars. Ricotta cheese is full of healthful benefits like protein, calcium, and minerals such as phosphorus. Use light or skim ricotta cheese for a lower-calorie variety.

                    10. Carrot Cake Smoothie

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                    Carrot Smoothie

                      Required ingredients: banana, diced carrots, almond milk, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

                      Blend all the ingredients together in a blender, and enjoy! Top with traditional carrot cake toppings like coconut, walnuts, or shredded carrots.

                      This recipe is a nutrient powerhouse! With the calcium and protein from the Greek yogurt, the potassium and fiber from the banana, and the beta-carotene from the carrots, this smoothie will fill you up and give you energy to start the day.

                      11. Chocolate Chia Pudding

                      Chocolate Chia

                        Required ingredients: milk, semisweet chocolate, cocoa powder, agave nectar, salt, chia seeds, vanilla extract

                        Slowly heat the milk, chocolate, cocoa powder, agave nectar, and salt together, and then add in the chia seeds and vanilla extract. Let the pudding cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator. Serve cold.

                        Chia seeds add a hearty texture to this chocolate pudding, while providing their fiber and omega-3 health benefits. For extra superfood power, substitute the semisweet chocolate with dark chocolate, which science has proven to lower cholesterol and improve healthy blood flow.

                        12. Almost-Famous Frozen Yogurt

                        Frozen Yogurt

                          Required ingredients: whole-milk yogurt, Greek yogurt, extra-fine sugar, light corn syrup

                          Stir all ingredients together, place in an ice cream machine, and prepare according to the machine’s instructions. Serve with fruit, chocolate, or nuts for toppings.

                          This recipe is a close and healthy alternative to vanilla ice cream. With a satisfying and light texture, this frozen yogurt provides the calcium, protein, and probiotics of Greek yogurt. For a more natural take, substitute the corn syrup with all-natural honey or agave nectar.

                          13. Fruits in Lemongrass Syrup

                          Fruit Salad

                            Required ingredients: canned lychees, fresh lemongrass, sugar, mixed fruit of your choice

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                            Bring the lychee juice, sugar, and crushed fresh lemongrass stalks to boil, and let it cool to room temperature. Pour over cut fresh fruit.

                            The lemongrass syrup in this modern fruit salad gives a unique zest to fresh fruit. You can add any fruit to this fruit salad, but especially consider adding fruits with the most health benefits, like grapefruit, papaya, and blackberries.

                            14. Homemade Cookie Dough Green Smoothie 

                            Green Smoothie

                              Required ingredients: milk, bananas, kale, oats, almond butter, dates, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, lemon juice

                              Add the ingredients to a blender, and blend until you reach your desired texture.

                              Because it’s vegan, raw, nut-free, and gluten-free, this smoothie can fit any diet. Containing superfoods like kale, almonds, and dates, this tasty dessert is full of fiber, antioxidants, folate, and minerals to keep you feeling full—and full of energy.

                              15. Blueberry Sorbet 

                              Blueberries

                                Required ingredients: fresh blueberries, apple juice concentrate

                                Blend the fresh blueberries and juice in a blender until a thin liquid forms. Freeze the liquid in a baking pan for about 2 hours, and then lightly blend the semi-frozen mixture again. Place the mixture back in the freezer, and serve when fully frozen.

                                This two-ingredient recipe provides the antioxidant power of fresh blueberries without any added sugars. Substitute the apple juice concentrate with fresh-squeezed orange to add extra vitamin C and pulpy fiber.

                                Want more on-the-go healthy recipes? Learn how to cook healthy in less than 10 minutes!

                                Featured photo credit: Ken Hawkins via flickr.com

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                                Last Updated on January 11, 2021

                                11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                                11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                                Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

                                Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

                                1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

                                Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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                                2. Stress Relief

                                Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

                                3. Improved Sleep

                                Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

                                4. Appetite Control

                                Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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                                5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

                                When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

                                6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

                                Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

                                7. Mosquito Repellant

                                Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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                                8. Pain Relief

                                While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

                                9. The New Anti-Viral

                                Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

                                10. Improved Cognitive Function

                                Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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                                11. Money Saving

                                With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

                                Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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