Craving Wellness

Nutrition & Fitness

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Black Bean & Avocado Gluten-free Protein Brownies

If you’ve never tried black bean brownies, you must! Seriously, they are so soft, moist, and chocolate-y with the nutritional benefit of fiber and many vitamins and minerals, and I promise you won’t even notice the beans!


¼ cup Butter, melted
2 oz Coconut oil
¼ cup Maple syrup
1 Avocado
1 12-oz can Black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 cup Whey protein powder (chocolate or cookies & cream)
¼ cup Almond meal/flour
½ cup Flaxseed, ground
½ cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1 dash Salt
1/3 cup Stevia, powdered
6 oz Semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Grease a 9″x13″ baking pan with cooking spray or butter.
  3. Add butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, avocado, black beans, and vanilla extract into a blender or food processor and blend/process until smooth.
  4. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
  5. In a medium bowl, add protein powder, almond flour, flaxseed, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and stevia.
  6. Mix dry ingredients until well-combined.
  7. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
  8. Mix in chocolate chips until well-dispersed throughout the batter.
  9. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  10. Check brownies with a toothpick at 20 minutes and continue checking every 2-3 minutes after until toothpick comes out clean or with minimal residue.
  11. Let cool for 20 minutes, then cut into desired number of pieces and enjoy!

Makes 20 brownies.

Nutrition Facts (1 brownie): kcals: 164, total fat: 10 g, sat fat: 6 g, MUFA: 1 g, PUFA: 1 g, cholesterol: 16 mg, sodium: 254 mg, potassium: 91 mg, carbohydrate: 14 g, fiber: 2 g, sugar: 8 g, protein: 7 g

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Fruit & Veggie Smoothie

I have often made smoothies with fruit, yogurt, juice and/or milk, but they usually turn out very sweet. I love sweet foods and drinks (who doesn’t?), but after cutting down on the amount I consume, I have found that I am satisfied by much less. I decided that adding vegetables would decrease the sweetness, but the idea of adding vegetables to a smoothie never appealed to me much as it made me think of tomato juice, and I have never cared for that.

Fruit and Veggie Smoothie

So, the obvious use of vegetables in a smoothie was to use those that don’t have a strong or bitter flavor. My choices were spinach, arugula, sweet bell peppers, and cucumber. I added these to some of my favorite fruits, including mango, pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, and pomegranate. I then added flax seed and equal parts almond milk and orange juice and blended to created a thin smoothie. This was one of my favorite smoothie creations, and the addition of the veggies was perfect!

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Summer Produce: Nutrients and Meal Ideas

One of my favorite things about summer is the abundance of fresh produce. The variety allows you to try exciting new recipes and include fruits and vegetables in every meal, and since they’re so easy pack, there’s no reason to skip them! Plus, the high water and nutrient content keeps you hydrated in the warmer weather—a definite bonus.

Here’s a list of 15 fruits and vegetables (categorized by their culinary use) that are plentiful in the summer, along will their most abundant nutrients and some snack and meal ideas for each of them. What are your favorite summer fruits and vegetables?

Fruit Nutrients Meal & Snack Ideas
Apples Vitamin C, fiber Apples and peanut butter, Waldorf salad, and apple pie are some easy ideas for the summer months.
Apricots Vitamin A, potassium Add apricots to a fruit tart or try them baked with chopped almonds, cinnamon, and sugar on top!
Blackberries Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, fiber, folate, magnesium, manganese, potassium Blackberries go great in a homemade parfait or added to a salad with walnuts and feta.
Blueberries Vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, manganese Blueberries can be added to muffins, pies, pancakes, parfaits, ice cream, and more!
Cantaloupe Vitamin A, vitamin C Cantaloupe, prosciutto, and arugula make a terrific salad.
Cherries Vitamin C, fiber Add cherries to pancakes, pies, or a fruit salad (and remember to pit them first!).
Figs Calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium Try figs in a salad or on a sandwich or pizza!
Grapes Vitamin C, vitamin K Freeze grapes for a tasty and healthy snack or add them to a pasta salad.
Honeydew Vitamin B₆, vitamin C, potassium Honeydew and prosciutto go great on bruschetta for a light snack.
Mangoes Vitamin A, vitamin B₆, potassium Mangoes can be added to salsa, chutney, or a quesadilla for a little sweetness.
Peaches Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium Add them to vanilla ice cream for a healthier treat, make a peach glaze to add to meat, or roast peach slices and serve with fat-free vanilla yogurt.
Plums Vitamin, A, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber Try them roasted with a fat-free vanilla yogurt on the side or add them to a smoothie.
Raspberries Vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, magnesium, manganese, potassium Raspberries are great in smoothies, parfaits, cobblers, and crisps!
Strawberries Vitamin C, fiber, folate, manganese, potassium A fruit tart is the perfect dessert for strawberries to shine, or they can be added to drinks, salads, ice cream, or popsicles.
Watermelon Vitamin B₆, vitamin C, potassium, thiamin Make watermelon punch or popsicles—a perfect refreshment in the summer!
Vegetables Nutrients Meal & Snack Ideas
Avocados Vitamin B₆, fiber, potassium Make your own guacamole and spread on sandwiches and burgers (instead of mayo).
Bell Peppers Vitamin C, fiber Make stuffed bell peppers or add them to homemade hummus for extra flavor.
Corn Vitamin C, fiber, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, thiamin Try it grilled with flavored butter or added to salad, salsa, or chowder.
Cucumbers Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese pantothenic acid, phosphorous, potassium Cucumber is refreshing in soup or slaw.
Eggplant Vitamin B₆, vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, fiber, folate, magnesium, manganese, niacin, potassium, thiamin Eggplant lasagna is a popular entrée or you can add it to ratatouille or soup.
Green Beans Vitamin A, vitamin B₆, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, copper, fiber, folate, iron, niacin, potassium, protein, riboflavin, thiamin Green beans are perfect on their own or added to casserole, pasta, or salad.
Greens and Lettuce Vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium Greens can be added to soups and pastas, while lettuces are great in sandwiches and salads.
Mushrooms Vitamin B₆, copper, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, riboflavin, selenium Try them in soup, risotto, pasta, or sautéed with other veggies!
Okra Vitamin A, vitamin B₆, vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, fiber, folate, iron, phosphorous, potassium, zinc Okra is great in corn salad, baked, or paired with shrimp.
Onions and Shallots Vitamin A, vitamin B₆, vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium Onions are great in pasta, rice, skewers, omelets, salads, and sautéed with other veggies.
Potatoes Vitamin B₆, vitamin C, fiber, potassium Homemade potato wedges or potato salad are great sides for a picnic or barbecue.
Sugar Snap Peas Vitamin A, vitamin B₆, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese,  phosphorous, potassium, thiamin Sugar snap peas are great in a stir-fry, sautéed, or dipped in hummus.
Summer Squash Vitamin A, vitamin B₆, vitamin C, potassium Squash stuffed with ground turkey, veggies, and Parmesan makes a delicious entrée or appetizer.
Tomatoes Vitamin A, vitamin B₆, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, fiber, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium Stuffed tomatoes are great for a tomato-lover, but they can also be added to pasta, salad, sauces, pizza, and sandwiches.
Zucchini Vitamin A, vitamin B₆, vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, fiber, folate, phosphorous, potassium, protein, riboflavin Grilled zucchini makes an easy side, and zucchini bread is always a great snack or dessert.