healthy snacks

Easy Oven Kale Chips

Kale has returned to the scene as a popular green that is not only full of delicious flavor, but also as an extraordinary source of vitamins A, C and K. These three vitamins are at the top of the list of immune-boosting benefits to our bodies, so this easy-to-prepare green leafy vegetable is a great option for your family's table. 

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Aside from its rich nutrient value, Kale is great at boosting your immunity, and health! Eating kale is proven to help cancer prevention, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, promoting compounds for eye health, and more. ALL good reasons to eat more kale!

There's only one disadvantage with eating Kale (besides that it disappears from the plate too quickly!) and that is it can interfere with your body's absorption of calcium. To help prevent this problem, avoid eating calcium-rich foods at the same time. 

Besides eating kale fresh in salads or smoothies or wilted on pasta dishes, these kale chips are a popular way to get enough greens into your family and your own body!

Our friend & healthy lifestyle leader Lolita McNeal shared this easy recipe with our FRESH Start Online Community as a wonderful way to get the satisfaction of a salty crunch into our diet when we are craving chips or other salty no-no's!

LOLITA’S EASY OVEN KALE CHIPS

Here's How To Make Them:

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 heads fresh kale (you can find it in the produce section of your grocery store)

  • 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees. Cut the greens into 2-inch sized pieces. Rub the kale with extra virgin olive oil, evenly coating both sides.

  2. Spread out the pieces evenly on 2 parchment lined baking sheets; season with salt and pepper.

  3. Bake, rotating and switching pans halfway through cooking, until crisp, about 8 minutes.

  4. Optional: Zest lemon over the hot chips.

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Lolita shares:

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"From my experience, you need very little extra virgin olive oil, the cooking time was closer to 6 minutes than 8, and it's okay if you leave out the lemon zest.  Some other flavor suggestions included with the original recipe were:  bbq rub, sriacha [a type of hot sauce], ranch dip mix, and sesame seeds. 

My family's favorite were the ones I rubbed with a little bbq sauce. If you decide to try the bbq kale chips look for low sugar bbq sauce."

 

 

If this recipe was a hit with your family, let us know in the comments below!

Here at FRESH Start, our mission is to share simple steps to better health that the whole family can get on board with - and we want to know how we're doing! Drop a note below and let us know.

How to Make Homemade Hummus {That everyone LOVES!}

Ahhhh hummus.

Most people either love it or do NOT (it's a strong taste and not for everyone, for sure!) 

But for those of us who DO, I'm sharing my awesome (and EASY!) recipe with you right here. If you want to save money and taste a better batch of hummus (homemade really is the BEST!) then read - or watch - on as I share with you

How to Make Homemade Hummus {that everybody loves!}

Hummus can get expensive when you're buying it in a convenient ready-to-go container at the store, but can be a great backup option. No judgy-judgy for store bought hummus here! You'll even occasionally find some in my fridge! If you're ready to taste a fresh hummus that is far and above the store bought version, here you go...

How to Make It

Pretty easy, right? Tahini is the "hummusy" ingredient that turns a grainy ground chickpea mix into a silky smooth hummus dip. It's quite expensive (around $8 a jar) but that one jar will last you through DOZENS of batches of hummus, so in the long run, it's much cheaper still to make this homemade than to pay $3-$5 per batch at the store.

and here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) rinsed and thoroughly scrubbed with hands to remove the loose hulls
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic (less or more to taste)
  • 1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) tahini paste
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • sprinkle of salt

Instructions:

Put all of this PLUS a tiny amount of water (start with 1/4 cup and then slowly add more until you get desired consistency) into your blender or food processor (I use my Nutribullet!) and blend, then scrape, then blend, then scrape until you get the desired "feel" of your hummus!

You can serve immediately, or store the hummus in the fridge for up to a week!

We enjoy our hummus with toasted Naan bread, or raw cucumber and bell pepper slices, or our Gluten-free seed crackers. It also makes a GREAT "spread" for wraps and sandwiches!

Sweet Green Smoothie Recipe

This smoothie recipe is close to my heart as a crunchy mama, because it's the first smoothie recipe I could get my uber-picky 9-year-old daughter (now 13!) to eat and actually enjoy.  She swears by it to all her friends now, and loves the fact that she is getting a serving of veggie in every glass (but can’t taste it!)

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 cups baby spinach

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 5-6 ice cubes

  • 3 ounces low-sugar Vanilla Greek yogurt (1/2 small container)

  • 1/2 green apple, peeled and cored

  • 1/2 banana

  • 1/4 cup water (or to taste)

  • Drizzle of honey (if needed for sweetness)

Instructions

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend them on high until smooth (usually about 1-2 full minutes in a regular blender). Serve with a dallop of canned whipped cream on top for a fun extra to this healthy and nutritious smoothie!

Easy to make, no added sugar, and protein-rich for a quick, healthy breakfast option.  You just can’t go wrong with this family-friendly smoothie recipe!  

Weight loss tip: Drink down 8-12 ounces of this smoothie at mealtime for a fabulous weight loss meal replacement that keeps you feeling satisfied.

Got picky eaters in your house like me? Try this healthy green smoothie with them, then let us know...did they like it? You can post here in the comments or over in our free FRESH Start Online Community on Facebook.

If you liked this recipe, we think you'll enjoy these as well:

Berry Nutty Smoothie (Our signature smoothie)

Healthy Homemade Pizza

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

There are many health benefits in this Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie, and it is easy to make!

This little smoothie is jam-packed with antioxidants and vitamins because it's made with sweet potatoes. Yes, you heard it here first- baked and mashed sweet potatoes make a terrific smoothie! In addition to the yummy flavor of a sweet dessert, sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamins C, D, and B6, along with providing good amounts of iron and magnesium.

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

The nutritional benefits found in this great-tasting healthy snack will improve your skin health, immune system, and your heart muscle! As if that's not enough reason to dig into this smoothie, the kids will love this creamy treat, too!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large sweet potato, baked until soft
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • Topping: Whipped cream, sprinkle of cinnamon

Instructions

Blend all ingredients together in blender for about 2 minutes, or until smooth.

The Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie will make a great addition to your breakfast (or snack!) rotation - it's superfood on the go! 

You can try any one of our other delicious smoothie recipes in our FRESH Start recipe box! Smoothies are an easy & fun way to make healthy food for your family, so we love to help you find FRESH new ways to do that! 

Tell us what you think of this recipe in the comments below or in our LIVE Facebook Online Community here.