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Transform Your Favorite Comfort Foods With 9 Healthy Meal Makeovers

As your daydreams about time on the beach become a reality this summer, so does slimming down to fit into your swimsuit. But just because you want to look good while splashing around, that doesn’t mean you have to eat salads and boiled chicken all summer; in fact, you can still enjoy all of your comfort food favorites with a few easy swaps.

Whether it’s macaroni and cheese with some secret squash filler or devil’s food cupcakes turned angelic with whole-wheat flour, it’s easy to slim down your meals. Check out nine mind-blowing meal transformations below.

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How Cooking Channel Chefs Get Kids to Eat Healthy

Kids. None of us would exist without them. Therefore, we hope the following impression isn’t too belittling (even if spot-on): “Wah. That food’s too brown. That food’s too green. Wah. That food’s too yellow. That food’s not yellow enough. I’m a kid. Wah.”

Fortunately, many of our chefs have kids of their own and have figured out ways to transmit their passion of food onto their offspring. We’ve compiled a few of their tenets here:

Last, but not least, new-as-of-this-week mom Haylie Duff (pictured) has several ways to disguise healthy foods as kid-approved treats — like pizza with secret veggies and apple cookies — and she’s sharing her recipes on The Real Girl’s Kitchen,  Saturday at 1pm ET.

More Healthy-Eating Tips

Food Delivery App Adds Healthy Button to Help Avoid Cheeseburgers

The last couple of years have seen the rise of the insanely convenient food delivery app. The only downside? Delivery food is not, on average, good for you. Most of it is downright unhealthy. One delivery app, Eat24, is trying to change that with the addition of a ‘healthy button.’

The company recently unveiled an aggregate system that uses a series of algorithms to determine what menu items are healthy enough to eat without breaking any of those vaunted New Year’s resolutions. It’s not the kind of thing that will just jut out obvious options like turkey burgers. The algorithms were designed by nutritionists so you can expect actually healthy instead of fake healthy.

This healthful button has already launched nationwide, so if you use Eat24 on the regular, and you want to cut down on the chimichangas, try it out.

50 Ways to Eat Healthy

Stick to your resolutions with light, healthy recipes to suit every appetite.

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Healthy Holiday Foods

ChestnutsBetween all the cookies and cocktails, it can seem like holiday food is out to get you (or at least your waistline). But let’s take a moment to celebrate all of the festive ingredients and dishes that are actually good for you.

Break out the nutcracker and get cracking on some fresh, whole almonds, walnuts, filberts and other nuts. They’re a great source of protein, healthy fats, fiber and some vitamins and minerals. Plus, if you take time to shell them you’ll be less likely to overdo it on these calorie-rich snacks.

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Health Reasons to Eat Pomegranates

Remember when pomegranate juice hit the shelves along with a lot of marketing hype about its super powers? While pomegranate juice does have laudable health benefits (it might help quell the growth of prostate cancer, prevent heart disease and improve memory), eating pomegranate arils may be even better. (FYI on the lingo: Arils are the seeds encapsulated by jewel-like juice sacs.) In fact, for all fruits and vegetables, getting the whole form is usually better than the juice, as whole fruits are packaged in perfect portions.

They’re rich in health-promoting flavanols. Flavanols are plant compounds that give pomegranate juice and the whole fruit most of its most-promising health benefits (see above: cancer and heart disease prevention, memory).

They take a long time to eat. Consider grapes: They are big, plump, sweet and easy to eat. You can down a couple cups of grapes (200 calories) without even realizing it. Pomegranates, on the other hand, make you work for those arils within. And the arils themselves contain seeds that require chewing.

Fiber! A half cup of pomegranate arils gives you 4 grams of fiber. Eating enough fiber is important for several aspects of your health: It makes you feel full, which can help keep your calorie intake in check, it can lower your cholesterol and it prevents your blood sugar from spiking. Women should get at least 25 grams per day; men need at least 38 grams.

They’re a good source of vitamins and minerals. Pomegranates are a good source of vitamins C and K, which support supple skin and strong bones, respectively. They also have a smattering of numerous other vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet.



A Festive, Healthy Holiday Party

Celebrate the season with holiday fare that will make your guests feel good, not stuffed. These bites are perfect for passing around a cocktail party and are so enticing, revelers won’t even realize they’re on the lighter side.

Fresh Ricotta Crostini: Wow your guests with this made-from-scratch fresh ricotta.

Smoky Spiced Pepitas: Smoked paprika gives these toasted pumpkin seeds just the right earthy note.

Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip: Sweet-tart pomegranate molasses and rich walnuts make this a wonderfully flavorful dip.

Stuffed Mushrooms: Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for stuffed mushrooms calls for heart-healthy olive oil, rather than butter.

Prosciutto Rolls with Asparagus and Arugula: This is a great way to get greens on the table at your holiday party in slightly more sneaky fashion. Or try the perennial favorite: Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs.

Shrimp Cocktail: You can’t go wrong with shrimp cocktail; the simple, classic app is always a hit.

Nutrition Smackdown: Pumpkin Pie vs. Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

It’s T-minus 24 hours to T-day, arguably the most important meal of the year. Are you ready? We’re not talking menu planning, grocery shopping and food prep, but that other important aspect: are you going to have apple or pumpkin pie? To help you with that important choice, we’ve put the two iconic holiday pies head to head in a nutrition showdown.

Pumpkin Pie:

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Make Your Own Spice Blends

Everything Bagel Spice

Whether you want to make a truly homemade pumpkin pie or gussy up morning toast, spice blends can fill a lot of needs in the kitchen with just a few shakes. A lot of these are great add-ins to light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt to make a flavorful dip for veggies. They’re also an excellent, portable gift idea.

Pumpkin Pie: With Thanksgiving around the corner, this is the perfect spice blend to whip up now. Use it not just in pie, but in muffins, oatmeal and pancakes.

Apple Streusel: Crushed dried apples infuse this blend with a strong apple flavor. Try it sprinkled on popcorn; stirred into sour cream or yogurt as a sweet dip for fruit; or sprinkle it on oatmeal, ice cream, pancakes or toast.

Everything Bagel: Addicted to the salty, savory flavor of everything bagels? Make this spice blend (pictured above) and use it to add flavor to a baked potato or pasta dish, coat a chicken breast, top a salad, or sprinkle over potato pancakes. It’s even great on pretzels.

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Healthier Take-Out Ideas


When it’s dinner and you need to put food on the table, it can be tempting to just phone in an order from a favorite nearby restaurant. But lots of take-out food is rife with too much salt, sugar and oil — and not enough vegetables! The truth is, many of your favorite take-out meals can be made healthfully and just as quickly (most in under 30 minutes, which is faster than it takes to get delivery!)

Here are 17 recipes to try, no matter what you’re craving:

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