Healthier Super Bowl Recipes

Healthier Super Bowl Recipes

With the big game fast approaching I’ve been scouring the web for tasty, easy and most importantly, healthier recipes for appetizers and sweets that would be great for a crowd of hungry football fans. Healthier super bowl recipes are often copy cats of their less than healthy original versions or altogether new and inventive creations. I’ve compiled an assortment of recipes that I hope you’ll enjoy whipping up for your friends and family:

Healthier Appetizers

Cottage Cheese Spinach Dip
Cottage Cheese Spinach Dip

Cottage Cheese Spinach Dip from Jo-Lynne Shane
This easy recipe replaces the typical packet of dressing mix with bottled spices. This helps to control the quality of ingredients and eliminates any of those undesirable ingredients in the packaged mixes too. Cottage cheese takes the place of heavier ingredients like cream cheese and mayo to give you full flavor with less fat and calories.


Cucumber and Hummus Cupcakes_mini
Cucumber and Hummus Cupcakes

Cucumber and Hummus Cupcakes from Amy Hudson at Creative Kids Snacks
Talk about festive! These “cupcakes” are the perfect vehicle for upping your veggie intake on Super Bowl Sunday. A bit of simple, decorative prep on the cucumber bases creates a perfect cup for hummus, as shown here, or any other pipe-able dip/spread. The addition of veggie garnishes adds additional flair and nutrients too.


Cowboy Caviar_mini
Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb
This quick and colorful recipe is packed with fiber and nutrients. Open a few cans, chop a few veggies, but don’t tell your guests how easy it was to put together. This recipe is also easy to tailor to your tastes. If you aren’t a fan of an ingredient you can simply leave it out or substitute it with more of another. If you make this at all in advance, I would hold off on adding the avocado until you are ready to serve it just to prevent any browning, though the lime juice should definitely help with that.


Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip
Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip

Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip from Kristin at Yellow Bliss Road
This dip would be perfect with chips, but equally good in lettuce “cups” or on a tiny sandwich roll. Using Greek yogurt significantly cuts the calories using cream cheese, sour cream or even mayo would have yielded. I might even consider kicking the heat up a bit in this recipe by including a diced jalapeno.



Baked Pickle Chips
Baked Pickle Chips

Baked Pickle Chips from Ari at Around my Family Table
If you aren’t a fan of fried pickles I’m not sure we can be friends. The tart bite paired with the hot and crispy coating is something I love. When I saw this recipe for Baked Pickle Chips I knew it would be the perfect game-time munchie for people looking to indulge without going overboard. I’d probably pair these with a ranch-style dip made with Greek yogurt or simply with yellow mustard for fried pickle purists. If you’re making these for a crowd you may want to slice up an extra batch of pickles and mix your dry ingredients so you have reserves to make a second batch quickly.


Broiled Buffalo Wings
Broiled Buffalo Wings

Broiled Buffalo Wings from David and Renee at Leite’s Culinaria
Delicious buffalo wings are a perfect game time snack, but who has the time or energy to deal with all the mess of frying? And who wants all those added calories on top of it! Enter the Broiled Buffalo Wing. Not only does boiling then broiling replace the hassle and additional calories of frying these wings, the traditionally butter-laden sauce is lightened up significantly by using chicken stock in it’s place. Genius!


Ranch Roasted Chickpeas
Ranch Roasted Chickpeas

Ranch Roasted Chickpeas from Charlene at My Frugal Adventures
Sometimes chips just don’t cut it, so why not turn to a more fiber-rich, but still snacky option like roasted chick peas. These little babies pack tons of fiber and are perfect to set out on your appetizer table. This recipe is for the ranch variety, but Charlene has provided some additional flavor ideas too. If you’re serving Southwest themed fare the lime and chili option might be a great or if you’re looking for a light, but sweet, treat the cinnamon and sugar version might hit the spot.


Baked Zucchini Fries
Baked Zucchini Fries

Baked Zucchini Fries from Beth at Budget Bites
With the crunch of panko and a hint of Parmesan cheese these Baked Zucchini Fries are sure to hit the spot. Serve them with marinara for dipping and you’ll have yourself another easy way to get more veggies while enjoying the game.


Healthier Sweet Treats

Cinnamon Toasted Almonds
Cinnamon Toasted Almonds

Cinnamon Toasted Almonds from Krista at Joyful Healthy Eats
The aroma of cinnamon wafting from your oven should be enough to convert even your fussiest eater over to the healthier side of snacking.  Just four ingredients and an hour in the oven produces these beautiful nuts.  If you’re cooking for a crowd you’ll probably want to double the batch to ensure you have enough because I’m guessing they’ll go fast.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Granola Apple Bites
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Granola Apple Bites

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Granola Apple Bites from Georgia at The Comfort of Cooking
These apple wedges are the perfect vehicle for a little peanut butter, crunchy granola and a hint of chocolate. If you’re setting them out for any period of time you may want to dip the apples in a little lemon water before assembling to prevent browning.



No Sugar Cookie Dough Dip
No Sugar Cookie Dough Dip

(No Sugar!) Cookie Dough Dip from Chocolate Covered Katie
Katie is a star at putting together sinful, yet healthy recipes. The “secret” base in this dip is chickpeas or white beans, but don’t let that scare you. The base is enhanced and covered by the addition of typical cookie dough ingredients like vanilla and salt. In this version dates add a natural sweetness instead of using sugar. Serve this dip with cut fruit, graham crackers or hide it from your guests and eat it with a spoon after they’ve gone home :)



A HUGE thank you to all the wonderful authors that shared their recipes and allowed me to re-post their beautiful photos. It’s the generosity of people like them that inspires healthier eating!  Please stop by their websites to grab the full recipes and leave a comment.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

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Friday Finds 1-23-15

Friday Finds from Former Fitness Flunky
It’s finally Friday!  I’ve been collecting lots of great articles I want to share with you this week. I hope you find these as useful, interesting or thought provoking as I did:


You’re Never Going to Make a Living as a Yoga Teacher (And Other Things Nobody Tells You at Yoga Teacher Training)
I read this and laughed. It’s not really funny, but I think it also applies to personal trainers and other people in the health and wellness industry. Yes, there is a demand for these services, but it’s not always easy to pave your way into the money making life of happiness you hoped you were pursuing. This is a great reminder that planning, persistence and a belief in what you are doing can go a long way.


Are You Guilty of Indulging Incognito?
I definitely do this from time to time. I know eating on the secret isn’t exactly normal, but sometimes I feel terrible if I’ve gone overboard and I just don’t want anyone to know! It’s silly that we even worry about other people judging our eating since it’s nobody’s business.

Smooth and Creamy Coconut Butter – Why You Should Invest in a Vitamix
I saw this and immediately knew I had to make it. I tried making coconut butter on my last Whole30 and it was good, but also rock hard. The secret seems to be whipping it before it firms up. And no one needs to convince me of the benefits of a Vitamix. It’s probably one of my very favorite kitchen appliances ever.


45 Reasons to Exercise and Eat Right That Aren’t About Weight Loss
Because weight is not an especially good indicator or health or wellness I liked that this list highlights so many none weight related reasons why healthy habits are such a boon for your body, mind or even your wallet. Longer life? Better sex? More money? How can you argue against that?!

See How Much the “Perfect” Female Body Has Changed in 100 Years (It’s Crazy!)
Another insightful article from Greatist. This one is especially thought provoking because of the impact it has on a women’s self image and self esteem.  The huge difference in the body shape that is considered fashionable puts a crazy amount of pressure on woman to obtain the ideals of the moment.  If this was the 1950’s my body shape would probably be considered rockin’.  In the 60’s I’d have to starve myself to get anywhere close to the general idea of a beautiful body.  If I were to compare myself to today’s ideal I’d have to say that I’m seriously lacking butt.  No matter what your shape, I think author Maria Hart is right, “confidence is always in style.”

I hope you have a wonderful, activity-filled weekend!

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Guest Post: How to Finally Reach Weight Loss Goals this Year


Today’s article was written by guest author Tina Hamilton. If you’d like to contact Tina please check out her social media and contact info at the end of the article.

Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions that people make. Most people who make this resolution also have to make it more than one year in a row because they did you reach their goal weight the year before. Losing those last few pounds seems to be like a never ending struggle that a lot of people experience year after year. Additionally, the average person gains about 1-2 pounds every year, so there are a lot of obstacles to overcome in the path towards weight loss.

There can be a lot of reasons why a person is not losing weight or reaching their goals. Every person is different, so everyone’s answer to weight loss will be different. However, there are a few common reasons why people do not succeed at a weight loss goal. Everyone can learn these common issues and create the tools they need to finally lose the weight for good. Here are some tips to help anyone finally reach their weight loss goals this year.

Reevaluate the goal
The first potential problem that needs to be addressed is the goal itself. One cannot simply say, ‘I want to lose weight,’ the goal needs to be more specific than that. In addition to setting a time limit on the goal (the end of the year) everyone should also create a solid plan that will help them get to that goal, which would include healthy eating and exercise. Including these things will help anyone get closer to their goal before they even get started.

Reduce stress
Stress can be a big factor in weight management. Excess stress can cause a person to gain weight even if they are doing everything else right with diet and exercise. So many people take on new responsibilities in the New Year that can cause them to stress out more often. Creating a steady routine and working on time management can help anyone reach their weight loss goals more easily.

Try a new workout routine
There are a lot of people who have been doing the exact same workout for years and wonder why they are not seeing results anymore. The truth is that a person’s body can adapt to a certain workout routine over time. To avoid this plateau, everyone can try a new workout routine in the New Year. This can be as simple as adding more weight to trying a new group fitness class. These methods keep the body on its toes and allow people to have more fun with their workouts.

Get more sleep
Lack of sleep has become increasingly common. Many people are getting under 5 hours a night. Sleep is the body’s only way to rest and recover at the end of the day. If a person is not getting enough time to recover, then their workouts will be less effective and their metabolism will slow down. Everyone should try to get about 8 hours of sleep each night to aid in their weight loss goals.

Keep track of foods
Many people do not even realize what they are eating throughout the day. They may see a label that makes them think they are eating a healthy food, but when they check out the nutrition panel on the back they can see that the food is not as healthy as the label had said before. Everyone should use a calorie counter app to help them make more informed decisions about what they eat every day. Many apps will help people find certain food information and create a goal calorie limit for every day to help them lose weight.

Lose the fear
Fear is a common emotion that is usually associated with goal-setting. Many people are afraid of failing and can even be so afraid that it prevents them from starting their work towards the goal in the first place. Getting rid of fear of failing is one of the most essential steps everyone needs to go through in order to lose weight for good. Making positive changes and surrounding oneself with encouraging people can help anyone finally meet their weight loss goals this year.

Tina Hamilton HeadshotAuthor Bio:
Tina Hamilton is a journalist, blogger and social media guru. You can usually find her online or walking along one of Southern California’s beaches with her dog, Joey. You can find her on Twitter.

I’m Doing the Whole30 and I ate a Potato

The white potato was once considered a forbidden food while doing a Whole30.  In fact, on my first go-round last year this was the case.  On day 7 of my current Whole30 I ate a white potato. It felt… weird. It felt wrong. There were leftovers so I did it again on days 8 and 9. It never got less weird. The whole time I felt like I was doing something wrong, like I was cheating.

That’s the trouble with getting too wrapped up in a good versus bad food mindset. I know damn good and well there is nothing wrong with white potatoes. They are filled with vitamins, minerals and fiber. I even complained about this on my first go-round on the Whole30. But once you get an idea in your head, i.e. NO white potatoes, it can be hard to overcome.

If you’re stuck in the mindset that a particular food is “good” or “bad” you may want to stop and re-evaluate why you feel that way. My first round of Whole30 left me asking myself if I was eating too much fruit. What about the carbs? The sugar? I got worried, then I got to really thinking about it. Sure, you can eat too much of anything but fruit is not bad. Fruit can be a nutritional powerhouse. It’s certainly better than junk food.

Doing the Whole30Lots of different diets (hate that word!) villainize certain foods and sometimes it doesn’t always make sense. That’s why it really pays to get well acquainted with your body and with your knowledge of food. What is gluten? Does eating dairy negatively impact me? How many calories do I need and how many do I currently consume on average? The list goes on and on. When you start to explore these and other questions like them you’ll start to understand what works best for you.

In other news I am now on day 15 of my Whole30. It’s been fairly uneventful. My energy is really high and I’ve been sleeping pretty awesome.  Even waking up before my alarm.  As I assumed, having a little background knowledge/experience in doing this before has given me an upper hand in being ready for issues I knew might come up. I have been extra careful to have compliant choices cooked and ready to eat at all times. I really struggled with this on my first go-round because it seemed like every time I was hungry it would mean a full cooking session. This time I have made a lot of pre-cooked meats and veggies, hard-boiled eggs and other things that a ready to go when the need arises.

whole30 foodI have been exploring lots of new recipes that are compliant and have found some real winners. I’ve been sharing these goodies on Instagram so if you’re not currently a follower now would be a great time start!

Since starting this Whole30 I’ve made:

Paleo Mayo
Kombucha (the sugar gets eaten up so no worries there!)
Roasted duck
5 Minute Fruit Mousse (removed sugar from recipe)
Kulua Slow Roasted Pig
Meyer Lemon Nut Bars

I’m looking forward to exploring even more compliant recipes as I continue on my 30 days.  Non nom paleo and The Domestic Man have become staples in deciding what I’m making.  If you haven’t checked out these sites I urge you to take a look.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Frosty Vox Box Reviews

I recently received a free box of goodies to sample and try out courtesy of Influenster. The Frosty Vox Box was packed full of great products and I really enjoyed the opportunity to test all of the included items. Here’s a quick recap and review of each product included in the box:

Boots No7No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Sachet
The Good: This serum feels like silk on your skin. It’s so soft and smooth.

The Bad: It’s hard to get a real sense of how the product might work in the long term with such a small sample which is not truly a bad thing, just a difficulty in testing out this type of product. The product directions indicate you should follow this with a moisturizer. That’s not really bad either, but when you pair the price of this with a moisturizer you are looking at some hefty money being spent.

Overall: I would definitely be inclined to give this a try, but I will admit the $29.99 MSRP for a full size bottle is a bit of a shocker. Pricing like that makes this something I would put more research into before I committed to spending that much.


NYC LipstickNYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum
The Good: For not picking this color out myself, Sugar Plum is an absolutely lovely shade. The lipstick glides on smoothly and it’s very creamy.

The Bad: Smells a little fake/waxy.

Overall: I’m not a frequent lipstick wearer. It gets on stuff and looks more made-up than I typically desire. This shade is really pretty though and I can definitely see myself wearing a light swipe in combination with some clear gloss. If I was looking for lipstick I would definitely consider the NYC Expert Last Lip Color line due to the performance of this particular shade.


Celestial Seasonings TeaCelestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea
The Good: The flavor of this tea is very holiday-centric. It’s light and it’s drinkable even without sweetener.

The Bad: There is an interesting mix of herbs in this tea, including chicory, cinnamon and roasted carob. The aroma is not particularly to my liking, nor is the flavor. Despite licorice not being on the ingredient list, I definitely get a sense of that flavor along with the mint. There are “natural flavors” added to this tea per the ingredient list.

Overall: I don’t care for this tea. Celestial Seasonings is among my favorite tea companies, but this tea misses the mark. I don’t like the flavor and I especially do not like the inclusion of flavoring agents, natural or not since there is no specific indicator of what that really means. I would not buy this tea.


EcoTools Hairbrush EcoTools Hair Brush
The Good: The construction of this brush seems very solid.  The venting in the bristle area and back of the paddle seem very conducive to facilitating speedy hair drying.

The Bad: I have fairly short hair (about chin length) and the large oval design of this brush was really too big to get into my hair very well. While the product tag indicates the brush should fight static my hair became a static electricity nightmare every time I tried to use the brush. I am not sure if it was the bristle or just the really dry winter climate playing a part in that.

Overall: I am typically not a hair brusher. I know that’s weird, but I usually wear my hair pretty short and when it’s not it’s pretty wavy and brushing has always just resulted in making it a mess. I tried to use this brush, but it just led to more trouble – especially in the form of static. If my hair gets longer I may try it again to see if the larger size is better suited for long hair.


Rimmel Makeup RemoverRimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
The Good: This Gentle Eye Makeup Remover was easy to use with a cotton pad. A bit of fairly gentle rubbing was all it took to remove most of my eye makeup, both waterproof and not. There was no oily residue in this remover which was great because I hate remover that gets oily film in your eyes.

The Bad: While this makeup remover did get most of my makeup off, it did not get everything off on the first try.

Overall: I really liked this remover because it took the majority of my eye makeup off without a lot of rubbing and without the gross oily residue left by a lot of other removers. While it didn’t take everything off, it did tackle some pretty substantial waterproof mascara and I only had to gentle wash my face afterwards to really finish the job. I would say this was on-par with most other removers I have tried. Given it’s lack of oily residue and it’s fairly good removal capabilities I would definitely consider buying this.


scandaleyesRimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner
The Good: This liner is soft and easy to use. The color was a very deep, true black. It glided on effortlessly without the need for much pressure at all.

The Bad: The texture of the pencil was super soft. While that meant it glided on very easily, it was also easy to get way too much product on/too heavy a line. With the product being so dark it was hard to conceal a heavy-handed application.

Overall: Despite this liner being very soft and easy to over-apply, I liked it. The deep black color was just right. I was able to very lightly glide it on and then use an eyeliner brush to smudge and smooth out the line and blend it in. I used it over primer and it was long lasting. I would definitely buy this.


McCormick ThymeMcCormick Gourmet Thyme
The Good: The glass bottle that this thyme came in was perfect for storage. It was both pretty and substantial. I felt like the spice inside was well protected. The thyme, while dried, seemed fresh. It was very aromatic.

The Bad: I did not experience anything bad with this product.

Overall: I used this gourmet thyme when roasting a duck. The flavor was spot-on and I would definitely consider buying this thyme or another spice from this product line next time I was in need.


Vine BitesFruit Vines Bites
The Good: The fruity aroma that immediately wafted from the bag upon tearing it open was great. It was very cherry, albeit a tad artificial. The size of each candy piece was on the larger side and they were slightly soft.

The Bad: The first candy was… not great. The texture was very similar to regular Red Vines when chewing it and I’m not a huge fan of the original version. The flavor was fruity and I did detect cherry, but it was intensely fake. I ate a couple more, but the flavor did not improve.

Overall: The flavoring of these candies is pretty fake and off-putting. While the smell is divine, it just didn’t translate in the taste. I thought the texture was going to be more soft and chewy, but they were actually kind of gummy like original Red Vines. I would definitely save the calories and skip this candy.


Full disclosure: I was provided with all of these products for free by Influenster. In no way did this influence my opinion or reviews of the products.

If you are interested in joining Influenster please feel free to contact me as I have a handful of invitations available.


About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.