Skip Sub-navigation

Healthy Living Recipes

Deb Morgan: We dedicate our August recipes to kids—and to the kid inside all of us. As a mother of two (ages 12 and 15), I know that kids love to dip things into other things. Whenever my girls have friends over, I put out a bowl of one of these tasty dips, surrounded with fresh veggies, crackers, and/or organic corn chips, and stand back. Once they’ve eaten their veggies, I break out the oatmeal cookies and then I’m the best mom in town.

Don’t forget to check out John Bagnulo’s nutritional commentary on three of the four recipes below!

Traditional Hummus

1¾ cup cooked chickpeas (about 1 can)
3 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Pinch salt
Pinch cumin
¼ cup water (use plain water or the water from cooking the chickpeas)

Blend together all of the ingredients.


Makes about 1½ cups.

3 ripe avocados
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1–2 teaspoons fresh chopped garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh cilantro to taste

Make sure avocados are ripe. If they are rock hard, do not cut into them; once the skin has been broken, they will not continue to ripen. Open ripe avocados and remove pulp, discarding seed and skin. With a hand masher or fork, mash the avocado with remaining ingredients. Adjust flavor to your liking—some folks like more or less lemon and more or less garlic. Best if eaten immediately.

Read John Bagnulo’s commentary: Avocados—Not All Fat Is Bad

It’s hard to imagine a combination of recipes that offers more benefits for the cardiovascular system than this guacamole and the refried beans below. Both avocados and beans are incredible at lowering blood lipids (cholesterol), blood pressure, and blood sugar. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and plant sterols, both of which can significantly reduce cholesterol production. They are also very high in potassium, useful in treating high blood pressure or hypertension.

Refried Beans

Makes about 3 cups.

1 cup pinto beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of cayenne and/or chili flakes
1 tablespoon sea salt

Rinse pinto beans and soak for at least four hours (preferably overnight) in 3 cups of water. After soaking time, drain water and place in pot with 3 cups of fresh water. Add oil, garlic, and spices (not including salt) to water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Let simmer until beans begin to break up. Add salt and continue to simmer. If too much of the water cooks off, gradually add just enough water to cover beans. When beans are really soft, use a potato masher to mash beans, adjust seasoning to your taste, and enjoy. Great served hot or cold.

Read John Bagnulo’s commentary: Beans and the Body

As I mentioned above, the beans in this recipe are great for lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar due to their high soluble-fiber content. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol because it binds bile acids and prevents them from being absorbed in the large intestine. When bile acids are lost in elimination, the body can’t recycle them, and the production of replacement bile requires significant cholesterol, helping to lower the body’s total cholesterol level. In addition, beans are also a great source of minerals and electrolytes, and their high calcium, magnesium, and potassium content make them useful in lowering blood pressure.

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 12 cookies.

½ cup almond butter
¼ cup Earth Balance
¾ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cup whole grain flour or flour combination (spelt, pastry, rice)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cup rolled oats
½ cup raisins
½ cup pepitas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients separately. Mix wet and dry ingredients. Bake on oiled cookie sheet for 12 minutes or until golden.

Read John Bagnulo’s commentary: Desserts with Whole Grains Are the Way to Go

Research at the University of Minnesota showed that by simply baking all of their traditional recipes with 100 percent whole grains, study participants were able to significantly reduce their blood sugar levels over the course of the day and had better blood sugar control without altering their diet in any other way. This research illustrates that while it is important to enjoy our food, using whole ingredients while we’re at it leaves us better off physically.

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.