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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 August 13, 2020

                                12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                                12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

                                As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

                                1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

                                I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

                                Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

                                Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

                                2. What is the purpose of meditation?

                                The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

                                It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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                                Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

                                In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

                                You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

                                This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

                                The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

                                Less Physical, More Psychological

                                Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

                                This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

                                The First Benefit of Meditation

                                The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

                                1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
                                2. Relaxation of the body

                                Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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                                Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

                                That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

                                When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

                                When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

                                Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

                                Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

                                This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

                                Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

                                Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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                                This benefit takes you to the second one.

                                The Second Benefit of Meditation

                                While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

                                1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
                                2. Observance
                                3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
                                4. Patience

                                Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

                                You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

                                This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

                                1. Energy

                                Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

                                2. Observance

                                The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

                                3. Peacefulness

                                Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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                                4. Patience

                                The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

                                The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

                                Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

                                Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

                                The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

                                • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
                                • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
                                • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
                                • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
                                • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
                                • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

                                These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

                                Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

                                Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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                                Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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