7 Healthy And Delicious Summer Treats

7 Healthy And Delicious Summer Treats

Dessert and a bikini body? Yes, please.
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Nothing says summer quite like a big, chocolate covered ice cream cone or a slushy from the corner gas station. Unfortunately, there are a lot of sneaky ingredients lurking in your favorite summer treats, like artificial sweeteners and saturated fats, that could be wreaking havoc on your beach bod. But don't worry-you don't need to swap your summer desserts for salads and juice cleanses just yet. Try out some of these healthy and delicious alternative summer treats! They taste better than the real thing and they're fun to make.

1. Fruit Pops

Why it's better for you: The real fruit used in these popsicles creates an appetizing color without the use of artificial food coloring. The honey in the recipe is the natural, healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners used in store-bought popsicles, which contribute to weight-gain.

Get the recipe here.

2. Chocolate Chip Mint Greek Yogurt Pops

Why it's better for you: Regular ice cream is full of unhealthy fats and sugars. Greek yogurt typically has fewer calories, less saturated fat, more calcium, and more protein than ice cream.

Get the recipe here.

3. Trail Mix Cookie Bites

Why it's better for you: The oats are full of fiber (good for digestion) and whole grains. The peanut butter is full of protein and potassium for an extra energy boost. The flax seeds and chia seeds are high in iron, vitamins, and Omega 3 (good for your heart and your cholesterol). The honey adds vitamins and natural sweetness.

Get the recipe here.

4. Ice Cream Bites

Why it's better for you: The only ingredients are bananas and chocolate chips! Bananas are high in potassium, vitamins (B6 and C), fiber, and antioxidants. They're also very low in calories and fat.

Get the recipe here.

5. Fruit-Infused Water

Why it's better for you: Both ingredients -- fruit and water -- are all natural! Using fruit eliminates the need for unhealthy artificial sweeteners. Fruit-infused water helps to speed up your metabolism, improve digestion, and get rid of harmful toxins.

Try these recipes.

(If you're worried about drinking fruit pieces, try some of these fruit-infuser water bottles)

6. Zucchini Chocolate Muffins

Why it's better for you: With these, you get the taste of a chocolate muffin without all of the processed sugars. The zucchini keeps the muffin's structure while adding vitamins, potassium, and fiber. Substituting applesauce for oil and honey for sugar cuts down on unnecessary calories from fat or sugar. Whole-wheat flour is less processed, meaning that all of the healthy bits (like vitamins and bran) weren't lost in production. Almond milk also cuts down on calories and makes the muffins friendly for lactose-intolerant people.

Get the recipe here.

7. Banana Mango Smoothie

Why it's better for you: There are no preservatives or sugar syrups in this smoothie. Mangos can clear up your skin, improve digestion, and boost the immune system. The chia seeds and bananas are both full of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Almond milk is great for your muscles and gives you skin a healthy glow.

Get the recipe here.


Cover Image Credit: Community Table

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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A Love Letter To My Air Fryer

And why you would love an fryer too...

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In a previous article, I wrote about how love to use Trello.com for organizing things. I'm still loving Trello. I've haven't grown bored of it and stopped using it (like I have with some other organizational systems). This time, I'm going to share another item that I love, and it's for one of my favorite things, food! I finally gave in and bought an air fryer, and after my first use, I literally said that it's wonderful! I bought a small air fryer. It only holds about two quarts, but it's perfect for quick lunches.

I thought I'd love the air fryer if it could dry fry food with little to no oil, and it does just that. I'm also in love with the air fryer, because I could simply put the food in it, set the timer and live my life for a few minutes until the food is done. I don't have to stand over it and watch the food cook. That makes the air fryer a winner! Did I mention that it really does work?! Yes, it does work. Now, you could buy foods that are already breaded and throw them in the air fryer, but if you want to go the healthier route, you can use bread crumbs, flour, and eggs to make your own crispy coatings for your foods. Dipping your food in your own homemade batter cuts out some of the salt and added chemicals in the frozen pre-fried foods.

You can also fry foods that do not even need a homemade batter. Without using the batter, I've made sweet potato French fries and burritos in it. The tortilla for the burrito turned out nicely crispy, but I didn't leave it in the air fryer long enough for it to be crunchy. The sweet potato fries came out nice. I've tried making crispy chickpeas with Italian seasoning, but they weren't to my liking. However, I have loved everything else that I've made in the air fryer. Sometimes I just put a quick meal in it, just to re-heat it, since I don't use a microwave. I just think that using the air fryer is healthier than using microwaves, and I love that I don't need to put my food in a special box or anything for it to be really crispy. If you love fried chicken or fried fish, you'd love this little machine as much as I do!

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