low sugar

The Best Thanksgiving Grilled Cheese

 
cranberry grilled cheese
 

This recipe video was sponsored by Cape Cod Select Cranberries. I only work with brands that I truly like and would recommend. 

This recipe was part of the monthly #letsberealmeals recipe project, a project featuring simple, healthy recipes created by registered dietitians. Follow along here.


I'll be honest, I was pretty impressed with this grilled cheese. I even served it to a group of (harder to please) guys, who were equally as impressed. We tried it with both brie and white cheddar, both were good, but we all agreed the cheddar stood out over the brie. 

I grew up spending summers on Cape Cod back in Massachusetts, so I was excited to connect with Cape Cod Select Cranberries, and equally impressed I found them all the way out in Montana. These cranberries seem bigger, brighter, and even sweeter than the standard cranberries. Plus, the frozen version is super easy to cook with. I'm a big fan.

 
cheddar apple grilled cheese
 

I love a good cranberry sauce. And as much as I like sugar, many cranberry sauces have a bit much for me. I love the natural sweetness and slight tartness of cranberries and would rather not mask these natural flavors with a bunch of added sugar. This cranberry sauce I made is just the right amount of sweet and tart to compliment the cheddar and apples. If you prefer it sweeter, you can add more maple syrup.

Check out my latest recipe video below featuring this amazing cran apple grilled cheese!

 

Ingredients:

Cranberry Sauce
1.5 cups Cape Cod Select Cranberries
1 ripe orange, juiced
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

Grilled Cheese
1/2 a Granny Smith apple, sliced thinly
2 oz white cheddar cheese
2 slices sourdough bread (I found cran orange sourdough in the bakery of my local store)
1/4 cup cranberry sauce

Your measurements for the grilled cheese may vary based on the size of your bread, use enough of each to cover one slice of bread in a single layer.

Directions:

1. Heat ingredients for cranberry sauce in a medium size pot over medium heat. As it begins to boil, mash the berries into a sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated and it reaches your desired consistency.

2. Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread.

3.  On the unbuttered side of one slice of bread - layer cranberry sauce, then apples, then cheese. Top with the other slice of bread - buttered side facing out.

4. Heat fry pan over medium heat. Fry the sandwich on each side for about 3 minutes each until the cheese melts and the bread is golden brown. I recommend covering the fry pan with a lid to keep the heat in and help the cheese melt without the bread burning.

5. Slice in half and enjoy!

Simple Chai Spice Granola

Granola is a staple in my pantry whether homemade or store-bought. I look for brands that have less than 7-8 grams of sugar per serving. My favorites are Grandy Oats or Nature’s Path Organic (see more dietitian approved brands here).

Making granola at home is actually quite easy. This recipe takes no more than 30 minutes and is a great recipe to meal prep for a quick, healthy breakfast or snack.

I like to keep my recipes simple and adaptable. We're not all chefs and we definitely don't have to be in order to eat healthy. Feel free to use whatever ingredients you have on hand - you will see some ideas and notes listed in the ingredients below. For this recipe, I used chai spice but feel free to adjust it to use whatever spices you have on hand (cinnamon, turmeric, and pumpkin pie spice would all be great!). 

Buckwheat is a type of (gluten-free) grain and gives this granola a really nice earthy taste. I highly recommend the buckwheat but feel free to substitute it for extra oats or another whole grain like quinoa.

To make your own chai spice . . .

Combine the following ground spices . . .
1 Tbsp ginger + 2 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp cardamom + 1 tsp allspice + 1 tsp cloves

 

Ingredients:

Dry:
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup roasted buckwheat (also known as kasha)
1/2 cup chopped almonds (walnuts or pecans would be good too)
1/4 cup dried currants, cranberries, or fruit of your choice
2 Tbsp hemp seeds

Wet:
2 Tbsp nut butter (I used 1 T peanut butter, 1 T tahini)
1 Tbsp milk, any kind
2 Tbsp honey (or real maple syrup)
2 tsp chai spice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking sheet.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients except the dried fruit. Set aside.
3. Combine all wet ingredients in a separate, smaller mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly with your hands.
5. Spread on your baking sheet.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until it starts to get golden brown. Add the dried fruit with about 10 minutes left to prevent burning.
7. Sprinkle on yogurt or eat by the handful!

Simple Chai Spice Granola.jpg
 

Healthier Cocktail Recipes for Your Summer Cookouts

12 Healthier Summer Cocktails.png

Memorial Day is just around the corner and for me that (usually) means summer is officially here!

With the warmer, sunnier, and longer days I'm finding both my clients and my friends are finding more opportunities to drink cocktails, microbrews, chilled wine, (or other drink of choice).

For whatever reason we seem to associate certain activities and seasons with various beverages. Growing up spending summers on The Cape, each afternoon we looked forward to cocktail hour on the porch after burning to a crisp on Neel Road Beach. The adults sipped cape codders and g&t's and us kids sipped ginger ale & cranberry juice.

With the warmer days, it's nice to come home after a long day to sit on the porch, beverage in hand, enjoying the last few hours of sunshine. I don't blame you. But do we really need multiple drinks each night? This time of year, with what seems like more opportunities to drink more frequently, it can be a tough balancing act when trying to lose weight or reach your health goals. 

Last week, I shared my tips for Choosing a Healthier Cocktail with my email subscribers (if you missed it you can download the tips below). I wanted to follow up with some actual healthier cocktail recipes. As always, the goal is not to be on a diet but rather to make healthier choices to benefit your health long- term.

 
 

The recipes and tips (above) are meant to help you choose healthier beverages without feeling deprived or like you're missing out on the fun. Because we wouldn't want that!

Keep these in mind for all your summer cookouts!

 

 
watermelon mojitos.jpg

Watermelon Mojito

Jessica Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Culinary Nutrition Expert

healthy-raspberry-blackberry-spritz-mojito.jpg

Raspberry Blackberry Spritzito

Whitney English Tabaie, RD
To Live & Diet in L.A.

Spicy Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita

Jessica Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Culinary Nutrition Expert

Soconut Summer Cocktail

Ginger Hultin, RD
Champagne Nutrition

Frozen Mango Coconut Daiquiri

Marisa Moore, RD
Marisa Moore Nutrition

low sugar margarita

Low Sugar Beet Margarita

Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD

healthy spritzer

Pinot Grigio Melon Ball Spritzer (and more!)

Abbey Sharp,RD
Abbey's Kitchen

Abbey also shares tips for choosing lower calorie cocktails, a Mango Kombucha Margarita and a Watermelon Mojito!

cucumber herb spritzer

Cucumber Herb Champagne Sparkler

Sharon Palmer, RD
The Plant Powered Dietitian

skinny margarita

Skinny Margarita

Christy Brissette, MS, RD
80 Twenty Nutrition

bourbon iced tea

Bourbon Iced Tea

Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD
Shaw Simple Swaps

The next two are mocktails, but do as you please - add your favorite liquor or sip as is.

Berry Lavender Lemonade

Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RD
One Hungry Bunny

Strawberry Blood Orange Mocktail (and more!)

Lindsey Janiero, RD
Nutrition to Fit

 

Thank you to all the fabulous RDs who contributed recipes to this post! Be sure to check out their sites for more recipes and nutrition tips!