Tag Archives: healthy

Super Seed Energy Bars

For those of us eating healthy, finding a really tasty, chocolatey, snack that is really healthy and not loaded with unhealthy fat & calories is not always easy. When a friend recently shared a recipe for some bars she makes that are loaded with healthy super seeds, I knew I had to give it a try!

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Seeds are often overlooked when we are eating healthy. Nuts get all the glory! But when you stop and look at the health benefits of seeds, you may just try to work them in your diet.

This recipe is made with all sorts of super seeds. Chia seeds help regulate blood sugar, are anti-inflammatory and high in fiber. Flaxseeds are high in fiber, lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Pumpkin seeds promote better sleep, contain vitamins k, etc & b and have anti-microbial properties. Hemp seeds are high in protein, phytonutrients, Omega 3’s and contain all 20 amino acids. Sunflower seeds lower cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory and are a great source of magnesium.

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As if having all of the healthy goodness in the super seeds wasn’t enough, these super seed energy bars also contain other superfood ingredients, like cacao powder which contains high amounts of antioxidants, is rich in magnesium, has anti-aging properties, improves brain function, aids in weight loss, contains essential vitamins & minerals, promotes heart health and so much more. Can you tell I kinda love cacao powder?

You will also find tumeric in these bars which is a natural anti-inflammatory, improves digestion, lowers cholesterol, aids in fat metabolism & weight management and so much more. This is a spice that you should definitely be using! Cinnamon is also amy ingredient in these bars which controls blood sugar, aids in weight loss, can aid in lowering cholesterol and so much more.

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Now that I’ve given some great reasons to make these, how about the recipe? I took the recipe my friend shared and adapted it a little. I do recommend using all natural and organic ingredients if possible. You can of course add or delete ingredients to make it your own as well.

* The original recipe called for 1 c. of honey. I chose to use 1/2 c. of honey with 1/2 c. natural peanut butter. You can certainly omit the peanut or nut butter and make this a nut allergy friendly recipe by increasing your honey to 1 full cup.

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Super Seed Energy Bars 

Ingredients:

1 T. Ginger

1 T. Tumeric

1 T. Cinnamon

3 T. Cacao Powder (or cocoa powder)

1/2 c. Semi- sweet chocolate chips (or carob chips)

1/2 c. Unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 c. Chia seeds

3/4 c. Flax seed meal

1/2 c. Hemp seeds

1 c. Raw pumpkin seeds

1 c. Raw sunflower seeds

1 c. Oatmeal

2 T. Vanilla extract

1/4 c. Coconut oil, melted

1/2 c. Honey, warmed

1/2 c. Peanut Butter (or nut butter)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, sift together the Ginger, tumeric, cinnamon and cacao powder.

In a large bowl, combine chocolate chips, coconut, Chia seeds, flax meal, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and oatmeal. Add sifted ingredients to the large bowl and combine.

In another small bowl, whisk together the vanilla, coconut oil, honey and peanut butter.

Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the large bowl and mix until evenly incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a 9×13 pan and press down.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature and cut into bars. Cover and continue cooling in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 hours. Store in air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

I hope you love these super seed energy bars as much as I do. I love that I can have a sweet treat packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and so much goodness without the guilt.

 

The Best Tasting Healthy Superfood Hot Cocoa

As a healthy foodie & chocolate lover living in Indiana, I have always been on the hunt for a tasty, yet healthy hot cocoa recipe…especially during our cold winter months. I’ve tried so many recipes over the years but they were either lacking in taste or in nutrition. And the packaged cocoa, forget it! It’s loaded with sugar and far too many chemicals!

I’ve finally come up with a recipe that not only tastes good but is SO good for you!!

The Best Healthy Superfood Hot Cocoa

For this recipe, your won’t need cocoa powder. You want organic raw cacao powder. If you’re not familiar with cacao powder, you’re missing out! It’s full of anti-aging antioxidants, magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium. It’s the superfood in this recipe!

Cacao Vs. Cocoa
Cacao Vs. Cocoa

I have also included coconut oil in my recipe which in my opinion is another superfood that should be in your diet every day! My favorite coconut oil is Coco Calla coconut oil. This coconut oil is the best tasting & healthiest I’ve tried. The coconuts are harvested on an organic farm next to the Gulf of Thailand and are packed with a unique blend of beneficial vitamins and minerals. There are many uses for coconut oil but my main use is sneaking it in my diet. It helps boost metabolism and can help with allergies. It’s a fat that is used as energy instead of being stored as fat. It even has anti-inflammatory properties. I sneak a spoonful in my coffee every day.

To add a little extra healthiness to this hot cocoa recipe, I also add cinnamon & tumeric. Cinnamon enhances chocolates flavor. It also has many health benefits including being an antioxidant and an anti- inflammatory. Adding tumeric will not change the taste. I promise you won’t know it’s in there. You will however, reap it’s many benefits which include being an anti-inflammatory as well as a metabolism and weight loss booster.

Tumeric Benefits

To sweeten this recipe, you can use raw honey, stevia, maple syrup or any other healthy sweetener of your choice. I chose to use Chocolate Sweet Drops. It’s a natural liquid Stevia with zero calories.

Healthy superfood ingredients

Now that I’ve given you all of the amazing reasons to make this healthy superfood hot cocoa, are you ready for the recipe?

The Best Healthy Superfood Hot Cocoa

2 c. Milk of your choice

2 – 3 T. Cacao Powder (more or less depending on hour chocolatey you want it)

1 t. Coconut oil

1/2 t. Cinnamon

1/4 t. Tumeric

Sweetener to taste

Start with your warm milk. Add all ingredients & stir until smooth. You can add whipped cream or mini marshmallows. While not the healthiest choice, what is hot cocoa without one or the other? Grab a book & sit back and enjoy this chocolatey goodness!

Let me know what you think of this recipe!!

 

The Best & Easiest Banana Cake Ever

I often have overly ripe bananas. I either peel & freeze them for smoothies & protein shakes or I make banana bread. I love recipes that are quick and easy so most of the time I make my banana bread using a boxed cake mix.

Yesterday, I planned on making banana bread because I had 5 black bananas to use. Yuck! For some reason, I just wasn’t feeling the banana bread and instead thought a banana cake sounded better. I hopped on Pinterest to try and find a quick and easy recipe using a boxed cake mix for banana cake but I couldn’t find one. So, I decided to experiment & it worked!

The best & easiest banana cake ever

I took one yellow cake mix & added 3 ingredients but absolutely no oil. That’s right! No oil!! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Yellow Boxed Cake Mix

3 overly ripe bananas, mashed

2 Eggs

1 c. Water

Directions

Add all ingredients & mix according to the cake mix directions. Pour batter into a bundt cake pan that has been greased. Bake at 350 for 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Invert onto a plate when cool & frost. I used the cream cheese icing Recipe below.

 

If you try this recipe I’d love to know what you think. I am impressed! I don’t typically make up my own recipes so I’m excited about how well this turned out! The cake is really most & so good!!

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

8 Oz Cream Cheese

1/2 c. butter

3 c. Pordered Sugar

1 t. Vanilla

Beat all ingredients until smooth. Frost cake when cooled.

The Secret to Amazing Boxed Brownies

One of my “go to” recipes is something that I came up with when looking for a healthier way to make brownies from a box mix.  They are so soft, chewy & delicious [if I do say so myself]. You can use any boxed brownie mix of your choice, however I typically my favorite is Betty Crocker’s milk chocolate mix.

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To make your brownies, simply follow the directions on the box but for my secret recipe, you will be substituting the oil with organic unrefined coconut oil.  That’s it! That’s my secret!!

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I also like my brownies extra chocolatey so I add 1/2 cup of mini semi sweet chocolate morsels to my brownie batter. Bake as directed & enjoy!!

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If you try this, let me know kw what you think.

10 Habits to Live a Happy Life

I believe living a happy life is a choice…

There is so much going on in the world and negativity screams at us from our tvs, radios, cell phones and computers.  Social media has really changed our levels of anxiety, stress, and even happiness.  How many times have you been on social media and seen someone posting [bragging] about something? I know for women, we often fall into the comparison game.  We compare out lives to the lives of those on social media and around us.  We must realize that those “glamorous” lives we see on social media, are not all that perfect, happy or wonderful.  We all have good days and bad days.  We all deal with the same situations, disappointments, highs, lows, stresses, and etc. Some just choose to only show the good.  I guess it’s better than those who turn to social media to only complain about everything in life.

But seriously, social media can make us miserable.  It can really exaggerate life.  You have to learn to tune it all out. You have to know that being happy is a choice.  You can choose to be happy no matter what life throws at you, what you see on social media, hear on the radio, read in the newspaper or see on tv.  I think of myself as a happy person [thus the name of my blog].  I’d like to share with you a list of 10 habits I do that inspire me to live a happier life.

Happy Life

  1. Pray ~ I give it all to God.  I pray about everything.  I trust in Him & I have faith in His plan.  No matter what life throws at me, I trust that it’s all a part of God’s plan.
  2. Move your Body ~ I’ve been working out regularly for about 3 months now and I feel so much better.  I like what I see in the mirror which has given me added confidence.  My body can do things I never dreamed I would be able to do. I have met knew people and created lasting friendships because of a common interest.
  3. Eat Healthy ~ I have learned that eating healthier choices makes you feel so much better.  I do have days when I might have a cheat but for the most part, I eat healthy foods.  I try to eat organic and natural. And I drink plenty of water daily [half of my body weight in ounces].
  4. Ignore Negativity ~ People who feed on negativity bring me down to a place I don’t like to be.  It’s really hard for me to not let negative energy and thoughts get to me.  So, I’ve learned that I just have to separate myself from negativity.  If someone in my life is negative and just zaps the life right out of me, I’m moving on and pushing them out.  I just can’t do it!
  5. Laugh ~ I laugh a lot! My kids make me laugh. My husband makes me laugh.  My friends make me laugh.  Heck, some days I laugh at myself.  I have a bit of a sarcastic side…
  6. Listen More ~ When you listen to what people are saying and I mean truly listen to them, you become a much better friend to them.  They will appreciate you more.  So many people want to talk, talk, talk and never listen.  Just listen to what those around you have to say.  Also, I’ve learned that in certain situations, it’s best to just not say anything.
  7. Do What You Love ~ Find what really makes you excited & happy to be alive.  Take that passion and run with it.  Because our “work” takes up most of our lives, you must love what you do and if you don’t, maybe it’s time for a change.
  8. Read ~ Reading is what keeps me going in a positive direction.  I love to read books centered around personal development.  If I find myself in a slump or in a place where I maybe don’t feel so positive about things, it’s usually because I’ve not been reading. I do enjoy reading books for fun too but personal development is what I typically read these days.
  9. Breath Fresh Air ~ Get outside and soak up the Vitamin D [but don’t forget the sunscreen]. Take a walk. Breath the fresh air. Feel the sun on your skin. It does the body and soul good!
  10. Live Fearlessly ~ Don’t let your fears hold you back in life.  No one wants to look back on life and say they wish they would have done this or tried that but didn’t because they were too afraid.  I’ve done many things in my life that scared the crap out of me but in the end those things ended up being the best thing for me. I’m not talking about skydiving or anything like that [although that is on my bucket list]. I’m talking about life decisions…switching careers, moving out of state, walking away from an unhealthy relationship, going back to school, etc.

I truly believe that being happy in life is a choice that we make.  If you’re not living your happiest life, then maybe it’s time to make some changes.  You deserve to be happy.

Happy Life

Have a happy, healthy day!!

~ Michelle

Light & Fluffy 5 Ingredient Banana Protein Pancakes

These pancakes are so light & fluffy and with only only 5 ingredients they are not only easy to make but healthy too. They are low-fat, low-carb and packed with protein.  It’s the perfect meal for anyone who is lifting or working out or anyone who is looking for an amazing low-carb pancake recipe.  With only 200 calories, these will be a favorite meal!

I like to make these after I lift or do a HIIT class.  They would also be great before you workout, but I’m too lazy for that.  I like to top my pancakes with a little natural peanut butter, almond butter, strawberries & greek yogurt, or lite syrup & slivered almonds.  I’m not a fan of fake sugar, so I don’t use the sugar free syrups.  You can top these any way you want and change them up every time you eat them!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops vanilla or baking protein powder
  • 1 large very ripe banana
  • 1/8 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 eggs

Instructions:

  1. You will need 2 clean bowls.  Separate your eggs carefully. Egg yolks in one bowl and egg whites in the other. Beat the egg whites on high for 2 minutes until soft peaks form.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the egg yolks & beat until smooth. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture until well combined.
  3. Heat a skillet or griddle over low heat. Scoop 1/4 c. of the mixture & cook for 60-90 seconds on each side.
  4. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

My Spring 2016 Favorite Fitness Finds

Well, I did it! After 7 years, I finally stepped foot in gym today. It felt good and even though I was a bit nervous because I’ve not been committed to working out as of lately, I’m proud of myself! I didn’t give up! I pushed through and completed the strength training workout without passing out or throwing up. 🙂 Ha Ha (Kidding, not kidding)

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As a Mom of 4, a PTO President, blogger and a home-based business owner, for me working out has always been just one more thing on my plate every day.  I knew it was important and that I should be fitting it into my daily routine but it was just easier to skip the workouts.  I’ll ride my bike with the kids occasionally or go for a walk or play catch but that’s it for any form of physical activity. Over the years, I’ve purchased so many workout dvd’s and I’ll do them for a bit but I never stick with activity.  My husband has been going to the gym I went to today for the past 5 years or so and he’s always encouraged me to go but until today, I just wasn’t mentally ready. A friend recently joined and also encouraged me to join her.  So, finally I realized it was time! I have this image in my head of what my ideal body will look like.  Now it’s time to do the work.  I’m a pretty determined person and for the most part whatever I set my mind to do, I accomplish.  So, while this will be super challenging it will also be super rewarding and I’m really looking forward to a rockin’ body and feeling amazing!

As I headed back to the gym today, I took with me 4 of my new favorite fitness finds & I thought I’d share them with you.

(1) Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32 shoes

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I’m normally not a fan of Nike shoes.  Maybe it’s just because I never found the right shoe for me because these feel amazing on.  My favorite walking shoes are my Hoka’s but these are great for my HIIT classes and strength training classes.  They have some really good cushioning and they are lightweight.  For Nikes, these are pretty amazing!

(2) Thorlo Socks

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I discovered these socks a year or so ago and I love them! They have some really good cushion for your foot and are super soft.  They have extra padding on the ball and heel area as well as an Achilles tendon pad.

(3) Fitbit Blaze Fitness Watch

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I’ve always been a fan of Fitbit Fitness trackers.  I have purchased the first 2 that came out and recently bought this one because I wanted something to track my heart rate for my HIIT workouts. This Fitbit is obviously a bit larger then the other Fitbits.  It resembles an Apple or Galaxy watch. The band comes in 3 colors…black, blue and plum.  You can easily change out the watch bands too.  It tracks steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes.  It also has a heart rate monitoring system that can track your heart rate all day or when you want it to.  There is even GPS available for mapping your fitness routes.

(4) Hint Premium Essance Water or Hint Kick Essance Water

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This water is naturally flavored with no artificial sweeteners, sugara, dyes or chemicals. It’s preservative free, vegan and gluten free and is made from non-GMO plants.  What I love about this water is that it has a great fruity flavor without the nasty aftertaste that you get with some fruit flavored waters. The Hint Kick contains caffeine from coffee beans and is great when you need a little pick-me up!

Whether your like me and returning to the gym after a hiatus or you are a gym rat, I hope you find my favorite fitness finds helpful.  If you try them, I’d love to hear what you think.  Please feel free to share your comments below. I’m always on the hunt for great new finds so please feel free to share.

Have a happy, healthy day!

~Michelle

5 Surprising Reasons To Drink Green Tea

I must admit that I’m a bigger coffee drinker than tea drinker, however I do love a good cup of tea.  I’ve always heard the benefits of drinking green tea and I knowing it’s growing popularity with the health conscious people is something to consider, but until recently I’ve never been one to drink it daily. For thousands of years, people have used green tea for medicinal purposes, so maybe I should be drinking more of it! Right?

I started doing my research and this is what I found about green tea.  The unique set of chemicals in green tea has so many health benefits. It has 10 times more antioxidants than the amount found in fruits and vegetables. What?! Why haven’t I been convincing my kids to drink green tea alomg with their fruits and veggies?

Green tea comes in all sorts of flavors and can be consumed both hot and cold. My personal favorite flavor is Pomegranate.  I typically look for organic tea but this particular favorite of mine is not organic.  I love the Yogi teas.  They have the fun little quotes on the tea bag tags too.

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What I discovered about green tea was interesting so i came up with 5 surprising reasons to drink green tea and I thought I’d share them:

1. Green Tea may lower your risk of getting sick.  It is packed with antioxidants which boost the immune system, making us healthy and strong. Studies have show that green tea helps suppress the growth of cancerous cells in the body.

2. Green Tea is good for your teeth.  It contains catechins which may inhibit the growth of bacteria and can lower the risk of infections, cavities & reduce bad breath.

3. Green Tea can delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by protecting brain cells from dying & restoring damaged brain cells.

4. Green Tea can give you smoother & younger looking skin.  The antioxidants in green tea kill the free radicals found in the body, giving you a healthy and glowing skin. It acts as a natural anti-aging ingredient, preventing wrinkles and blemishes. Green tea prevents cell oxidation and damage that makes us look older.

5. Green Tea can help manage diabetes by regulating glucose levels thus preventing high insulin spikes which result in fat storage.  This also aids in weight loss. 🙂

6. Green Tea can help relieve pain & swelling.  Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can prevent the loss of bone density too. Doctors also recommend green tea as a remedy for treating arthritis.

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I have started drinking a cup of green tea after dinner and I’ve noticed that I’m actually sleeping better.  I used to wake up several times during the night but now, I am waking up maybe once.  Coincidence? Maybe but I’ll keep drinking it and let you know for sure!!

Are you a tea drinker? If so, what’s your favorite brand or flavor? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to “comment” down below or drop me an email at happycleanlife@gmail.com.

 

 

Why Walnuts?

Walnuts are an amazing nut! Up until just recently, I was an “almond girl”.  Almonds were my “go to” quick snack and I always keep a canister of them on the counter.  Recently, I read an article about the benefits of walnuts and now I’ve got both walnuts and almonds in glass canisters on my counter. I’ve always enjoy walnuts in baked goods…breads, cookies, brownies and etc but I’ve never kept them around for snacking, that is until I realized just how perfect these little guys are for my health!

My kids are not too fond of the taste of walnuts.  They do have a slightly bitter taste but I personally love them.  I grab a small handful (about 7) and off I go! It’s one of the best snacks for your health, skin and even hair.

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Here are 10 reasons to start eating walnuts (organic is best) every day:

1. IMPROVE HEART HEALTH

Walnuts are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for heart health. These Omega-3’s help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol while boosting good cholesterol which is good for your heart.

2. FEED YOUR BRAIN

Omega-3 fatty acids that are in walnuts are also good for your brain health.  Improve your memory and keep your brain functioning at it’s best.  Isn’t it ironic that a walnut looks like your brain?

3. RELIEVE CONSTIPATION & IBS

Walnuts are high in fiber which is crucial for maintaining a healthy functioning digestive system.  To have proper bowel movements, we need fiber.

4.  SLEEP BETTER WITH LESS STRESS

Walnuts contain melatonin which helps with sleep patterns.  And since the Omega-3’s keep your blood pressure in check, you feel less stressed.

5. LOWER YOUR RISK OF BREAST CANCER

Research suggests that walnuts inhibit an anti-inflammatory enzyme that advances breast cancer while it activates 2 breast cancer genes that actually help prevent cancer development.

6. BUILD STRONGER BONES

Walnuts contain and essential fatty acid known as alpha linolenic acid which can help bones grow stronger and healthier over time.

7. BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Walnuts contain good amounts of antioxidants to keep the immune system healthy and protected from many diseases.

8. CURE INFLAMMATORY DISEASES

The high amounts of fatty acids in walnuts helps with inflammation which can be beneficial to those with inflammatory diseases like asthma, arthritis and eczema.

9.  DELAY SKIN AGING

Walnuts are filled with Vitamin B’s & Vitamin E which are amazing for your skin.

10. GET HEALTHIER, LONGER, SHINIER HAIR

Walnuts are a great source of Omega 6, potassium, Omega 3 and Omega 9 fatty acids which all help strengthen the hair follicles.  The proteins in walnuts improve hair color while adding a healthy shine. You can consume walnuts or even apply the walnut oil to your hair for best results.

 

Skinny Chicken Salad

I love good homemade chicken salad but I’m not a big fan of the fact that it’s loaded with so much fat and calories.  A good chicken salad is one of my favorite comfort foods…especially if it’s on a fresh croissant.  Yum! These days, I’m doing my best to choose healthier options especially with my food.  I do try to eat organic and natural and yes, sometimes I do splurge and have something “not so healthy” but for the most part I really do try to eat healthy.

A while back I came across a post on Pinterest with a recipe for a “healthy” chicken salad.  It sounded delicious but I just never got around to trying it.  Last night I grilled some chicken breasts on the grill for dinner and much to my surprise we had 3 breasts left over.  My husband recently had food poisoning from some chicken he ate at a restaurant and still hasn’t gotten his taste for chicken back.  I don’t blame him! Yuck!! So, lucky for me (sorry honey) we actually had some leftovers that I could use to try out some chicken salad.  So, I took the recipes I’d found on Pinterest and tweeked them a bit and let me tell you…this is the BEST chicken salad EVER!! It’s the perfect blend of sweet, tangy, crunchy & healthy.  This recipe is SO good! I can’t wait to have dinner tonight and I’ll probably be enjoying this for breakfast and lunch tomorrow too.  It is THAT good! The best part, is that it’s not packed with all of the fat and calories that your typical chicken salad has.  I used and recommend using organic ingredients when they are available.  I struggle to find organic grapes at my local grocery but most everything else, was organic.

 

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So, here is my recipe.  Feel free to adjust any of the ingredients to fit your taste.  You could substitute walnuts for the almonds.  I used purple grapes because those are my favorite but you could use red or green grapes.


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SKINNY CHICKEN SALAD

 

2 Cooked/Grilled Chicken Breasts, diced (or 1 Rotisserie chicken, shredded)

1 Green Apple, diced

1/3 c. Dried Cranberries

2/3 c. Grapes, halved

1/2 Red Onion, diced

1/3 c. Slivered Almonds

1 T Lemon Juice

1 c. Greek Yogurt

Salt, Pepper & Garlic Powder

 

1. Start by cutting your onion, apple, grapes and chicken.  Place all in a bowl.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and combine well.

3. Serve on bread, a bun or roll or on a crisp leaf of romaine lettuce.

4. Enjoy!!

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I would love to know what you think when you make this recipe! I am sure you will love it as much as I do!! Please feel free to share your comments, suggestions, and etc. in a comment below or email me at happycleanlife@gmail.com

 

Have a happy, healthy day!

~ Michelle