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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

UAE: Cooking for children made easy by a working mother of two in Abu Dhabi



Toddlers and young children are always looking for the smallest excuse to stop eating, and if the food on the plate is the same as yesterday’s, well there is a good chance that they won’t agree to even a single bite
Image Credit: Alex Green/

It must be a truth, universally acknowledged, that a parent in charge of young children must be struggling to feed them right. It starts from the first day, with challenges related to breastfeeding and formula feeding, and only gets more complex with time.

As a new mother, I naively believed that breastfeeding was as complex as it would get. Incorporating pumping and more than eight feeds a day into my daily routine, I dreamt of the day I could get my son to sit at a table and serve a freshly prepared meal for him to finish on his own.

It’s been five years since, and I can say that this is still a vision in progress. In the meantime, I’ve also come to calmly accept all the challenges that mealtimes and nutrition bring for a working mother of two.

While every household will eventually navigate the feeding task with what suits it best, a few learnings have served me well.

Meal prepping doesn’t work for us

Meal prep by Pavel Danilyuk

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It may be all the rage for working couples around the world. But when there are two young children to be considered, batch making meals over the weekend doesn’t work. Toddlers and young children are always looking for the smallest excuse to stop eating, and if the food on the plate is the same as yesterday’s, well there is a good chance that they won’t agree to even a single bite.

With that being said, certain meal prepping hacks can come in handy. For instance, I no longer make a whole lot of pasta. Instead, I boil pasta and store it in the fridge, adding a different mix of sauces, condiments and proteins just before mealtime.

Making attractive plates is an additional task I do not need

On Pinterest and Instagram, there are hundreds of examples of parents who manage to make mealtime fun by crafting elaborate landscapes and scenes with foods. I am in awe of them, and of their preppy Bento boxes and plates. As for me, I’d had enough of convincing my once two-year-old son that a biscuit broken in half tasted the same as a whole biscuit. Afterwards, I no longer wanted to cut pancakes and snacks into little star and heart shapes because I was worried that he might not go on to eat a differently shaped pancake on another day. So, I simply avoided the practice altogether

I choose to offer foods in boring, regular shapes and rely instead on variety. It makes me very much an old-school parent, but I can live with the tag if my children are eating right.

Varying meals

Speaking of variety, all I can say is that children are huge fans. My two-year-old daughter is such a proponent that I find I even have to offer subsequent meals from vastly different food groups. It’s not difficult, to be honest, but I do have to be somewhat mindful.

For example, she is quite all right with a peanut butter sandwich and some fruit for breakfast. But her mid-morning meal cannot include any bread afterwards, and any that I serve will be rejected. So I simply cut up and offer some different fruit, and that’s quite enough variety for her from one meal to another. If she gets the variety, she is much more likely to actually finish her portions.

Food bowls work spectacularly

To be very frank, my children aren’t really eating anything radically different – I simply arrange our basic desi (Indian) meal in a bowl and hand them a spoon. Bowls, in fact, fit right in with a desi meal, which is typically layered with grains, vegetables and protein, and doused with gravy. Offering it all in a bowl just makes it easier for small hands to enjoy. My children relish sifting through the various tastes and textures, especially my five-year-old, and I can relax knowing they’re enjoying a balanced meal.

Speaking of variety, all I can say is that children are huge fans. My two-year-old daughter is such a proponent that I find I even have to offer subsequent meals from vastly different food groups. It’s not difficult, to be honest, but I do have to be somewhat mindful.

– Samihah Zaman, Senior Reporter

Grating and thin slices help

When they had crossed the pureed food stage, I was keen on getting the kids to eat raw vegetables for their daily fibre intake. They loved the colour of carrots, so I began grating it onto their plates. Later, when my son claimed not to like tomatoes, I began adding thin slices to his food bowl and he ate them right up. And, thinly sliced lettuce in a sandwich got the kiddy green light too.

Fun, kid-friendly cutlery whenever possible

While I’ve religiously eschewed the attractive plating trend, I’m all for cutlery that help my children enjoy the eating process. We’ve gotten light, colourful plates and bowls, and spoons that are easy to hold, including ones with their favourite cartoon characters. Why not, if it helps make their boring mealtimes fun. Plus, they’ll even eat cut fruit without much coaxing when I serve it with a pretty pick.

Healthy fats bring the charm

When it comes to cooking itself, I’ve found that healthy fats add that extra bit of magic to any dish I prepare for my children. While I try to minimise the sugar and the refined carbs, I do feel that a dollop of butter or a splash of coconut milk is both paediatrician-certified and magical. I avoid sweetening the milk for a bowl of cereal while still adding a quarter teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa for the taste. And, the right dipping sauce or some mayonnaise gets my children finishing even the vegetables they least like to eat.

Food education is helpful even with small children

It sounds boring, but children do like eating healthy. I tell my son it makes him stronger to eat those extra veggie sticks, and he actually goes on to finish them without much complaint. What’s more, there is today a ton of videos and pop-up books that explain healthy eating in fun, engaging ways. I looked up a few videos and bought a lovely book, and at times when the kids are being especially picky, these do help provide that extra bit of encouragement.

Pavel Danilyuk/

Educate kids about healthy eating
Image Credit: Pavel Danilyuk/

There have to be substitutes

Of course, young children will always be most excited about junk food and sweet treats. But having healthy options around helps. When they’re begging for a treat, fruit yougurt often works in place of ice cream. Bread bites or quinoa chips are almost always a good substitute for potato crisps. And while there really is no substitute for chocolate, nearly 50 per cent dark chocolate is a tad bit healthier, and my kids are just as happy to get some.

Mealtime challenges are fun

This one certainly works best when there is more than one child around at mealtimes. I use it generously, telling both the kids they have won ‘the eating race’. “You’re the first five-year-old to finish his meal,” I tell my son, while adding to my daughter, “You’re the first two-year-old to finish eating.” They’re both happy, and so is their mummy.

My children, only two and five right now, will soon become wise to my tricks and hacks. And I will have to navigate the minefield of pre-teen love for junk food. But those are bridges I will simply cross when I get to them.

In the meantime, we’ll keep modelling healthy eating. That one is the oldest trick in the book, and what’s more, it actually works through all the different childhood stages!

Recipes for kids

I’m very much a home cook, and eyeball pretty much everything that I add. I also almost never prepare the same dish, adding in whatever my fridge or pantry has in store at that point in time. And I do love quick hacks and one-pot meals.

Here are three recipes that are a firm favourite at home.

My own version of congee, or savoury porridge

Savoury rice porridge

Savoury rice porridge or congee
Image Credit: Samihah Zaman/Gulf News

This dish is typically eaten in Sri Lanka at breakfast, and is often much spicier. For my children’s palate however, I hold off on the spices for this filling dish.

Prep time: 1 hour. Serves 4 medium bowls, but can vary based on how runny or thick the porridge is.


4 tablespoons of Canola oil

2 medium onions, sliced thin

2 teaspoons of coriander powder

2 teaspoons of cumin powder

1 ½ teaspoon ginger paste

4 pieces of long pandan leaves

500gm chicken breast, diced (as small as your children prefer their bites)

2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds

1 cup broken red matta rice

3-4 tablespoons instant oats

2 tablespoons coconut milk


Parboil the chicken in 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt. Also parboil the rice in 2 cups of water. The rice should be soft, and almost fully cooked. These can be done simultaneously, and takes about 30 minutes on medium heat.

Use a large pan, as the volume of the congee increases when the rice is cooked and coconut milk is added.

Place it over medium heat and pour in the remaining oil, and add the fenugreek leaves and pandan leaves.

After a minute of cooking, add the onion and cook on high heat for another minute.

When the onion is translucent, add the garlic, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and garlic paste with a splash of water.

Cook on high heat for a minute, then add in the parboiled chicken with another teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add the remaining cups of water to the chicken, then add the parboiled rice. When the water has reduced by half, add the milk and coconut milk. Let the porridge simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, and in the meantime, taste for salt, adjusting as you like.

Now check the consistency of the porridge. It should be just a little bit runnier than you like, as the porridge will thicken once it is taken off the heat. If it is too runny, add half the remaining oats and let it simmer for 10 minutes. If it is too thick, add 1-2 cups of milk and then let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Take off the heat and serve in bowls.

Egg cups

Egg Muffins

Egg muffins – picture used for illustrative purposes only
Image Credit: Kseniya Chernaya/

I modified a mini quiche recipe for this to get my children to eat eggs. And it worked!

Preparation time: 1 hour from start to finish. Makes 12 mini quiches


1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

250g chicken breast, diced into tiny pieces

½ teaspoon chilli powder


Cook the onions over medium heat until translucent.

Chicken mix: Add the diced chicken, chilli powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes until chicken looks cooked. Then add in the parsley and give it a stir, allowing the leaves to soften slightly. Then remove pan off the stove.

In a bowl, crack the eggs and whisk. Then add the chicken, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and milk, and mix it all. Add another ½-1 teaspoon of salt.

Scoop the mixture into little muffin cups. I use silicone baking cups for easy extraction.

Place into pre-heated oven and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve with ketchup as a dip.

Tuna pasta

Tuna pasta

Tuna pasta
Image Credit: Samihah Zaman/Gulf News

Pasta is absolutely the most versatile thing to prepare, and if you leave aside the time it takes to boil the pasta, it is always quick and easy. Plus, you can make it as healthy or as decadent as you like.


300gm pasta of choice, I usually use whole wheat penne or fusilli, or even fettuccine.

1 small red onion, minced

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 to 2 cans of tuna in water

Salt and pepper to taste, basil and cherry tomatoes to garnish


Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions, then drain, reserving some of the pasta water.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Then add the drained tuna and the tomato sauce. Sautee over medium heat for 7 minutes, till the tomato paste has reduced a little.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then throw in the parsley and the peas. Let the leaves soften, then add the shredded mozzarella.

Add the cooked pasta, toss to combine and warm through for a few minutes. If sauce is too thick, add a splash of pasta water. If you like a bit of sweetness, add some tomato ketchup teaspoon by teaspoon. Or add some chillies to make it spicy.

Garnish with basil and chopped cherry tomatoes. Enjoy immediately.

Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

When life hands you lemons, you make Keto cookies



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Rita DeMontis Lydia Girges, owner of Keto Kookie Co., started her hugely successful cookie company after losing her job in the pandemic Lydia Girges, owner of Keto Kookie Co., started her hugely successful cookie company after losing her job in the pandemic Photo by Hana El Zohiry Hez Photography /Keto Kookie Co.

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The pandemic has caused so much disruption on different levels – personal, financial, emotional and physical, not to mention health. Many people reported gaining weight, others struggling with weight problems took the opportunity to shed unwanted pounds.


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Lydia Girges lost weight during the pandemic after having great success on the high-fat, low-carb keto diet – but in ways she never could have imagined. The young Toronto-based entrepreneur who worked in the food, beverage, and events industries for years started the keto program in the year of COVID-19’s decline and was suddenly while she was happily shedding 50 pounds during the worst of the pandemic unemployed thanks to the virus.

Two losses in one – weight and job – got her into a Plan B and a successful new career as her own boss.

Your new business? Keto foods, especially keto cookies, and what started as a special diet treat she baked for herself has grown into a nationwide grocery store called Keto Kookie Co. that continues to grow every day. A business she started less than a year ago.

Cookies from Keto Kookie Co. Hana El Zohiry Photo / Hez Photography Cookies from Keto Kookie Co. Hana El Zohiry Photo / Hez Photography Photo delivered by /Keto Kookie Co.

“In the past eight months, transitioning to this new role at my company has been extremely exciting, rapid, challenging … and humbling,” Girges said in a recent interview.

“I actually kept working on all of the COVID challenges, even though many of the events I was involved in were canceled. But I lost my job last November. My last day of work was December 31, 2020. “

Girges says the initial loss of her career and source of income was “devastating. I was confused – we were experiencing a global pandemic that seemed to never end. And I wondered if I could ever go back to the work I loved. “


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The dedicated entrepreneur said she needed to “stay busy” and immediately began developing business ideas that would enable her to potentially start a new career, certainly a new role.

Enter Keto: “I had been on the keto program since 2019 and had lost 50 pounds. The program helped me lose weight and I honestly felt great. While this program is not for everyone, it has brought me many of the health benefits that I have been looking for. “

Girges admits that she recognized keto, with all of its food requirements, as “an emerging industry in Canada,” especially since it was sourcing foods that she could eat. “I wanted healthy foods that are appetizing and make you feel normal – and I’ve looked for these foods everywhere.”

And so it started. With cookies that she baked herself. Their cookies had a wonderful taste and texture but were made without sugar, gluten, grains and were GMO free.


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One can imagine Girges nibbling on one of her cookies while, with the help of a friend, hatches a business plan to create the same delicious, nutritious cookies for the masses. “I decided to take a leap of faith and start a small business until the world was up and running again and I could go back to work,” said Lydia. “My mission was to make healthy, organic, guilt-free cookies that were made from simple and clean ingredients, but also looked and tasted delicious.”

A business plan was drawn up while Lydia researched all about cookies. Recipes were tested, an Instagram account set up and the Keto Kookie Co. was born.

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“The whole process took over two weeks to complete – over the holidays,” said Girges, still marveling at the speed with which she had started her company. At first, Girges just took orders, created the cookies, created a marketing plan, sourced and bought the ingredients, juggled the finances – and even delivered the cookies in person.


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To her surprise, when the news spread, business exploded and orders tripled. Well-known grocery stores, like Toronto’s iconic Summerhill grocery market, knocked on. Girges has started shipping biscuits across the country. And the orders from the grocery store came and came – all within a few months.

Girges couldn’t keep up on its own, so I found a professional kitchen, dedicated staff, including a baker and a delivery man. I am now looking for a pastry chef. “

Even their cookie selection has grown to include more than 25 innovative flavors, with a spinning repertoire that includes traditional favorites like chocolate peanut butter cups, citrusy coconut lime, milk and granola, to name a few – all post-keto -Program.

“That sounds a little crazy, but COVID … gave me the opportunity to sit down by myself and say, ‘Why not?’ This should be a sideline until my work called me back. It is now my own company and I can only say that I am incredibly happy and blessed to have this opportunity. “


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Her future looks bright and bright – business is booming and Girges is looking to expand into grocery stores and supermarkets across the country.

“It’s amazing what you can do when faced with adversity – I lost my job to COVID,” said Girges. “I feel so happy now. And really blessed. “ @ketokookieco; #ketokanada

With keto. keep pace

The insane search for the best weight loss program left millions searching the internet for ideas and guidance. Keto, or the ketogenic diet, was one of the most popular searched by UK-based, making it the most wanted weight loss program alongside Paleo.


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The high-fat, low-carb diet was crowned the most popular with the highest number of Instagram hashtags.

According to, keto is a metabolic state in which the body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. “It is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that bears many similarities to the Atkins and (other) low-carbohydrate diets and involves a drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake and its replacement with fat. This reduction in carbohydrates puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis, which allows the body to “burn calories for energy,” adds Healthline.

Keep in mind that this is not a one-size-fits-all program and there are several versions.

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Weeknight family dinners | Home & Garden



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Recently a meme was circulating on social media that said, “School is back in class, so we can have dinner at 4 or 9 pm.” As the parents of three children, two of whom are involved in several extracurricular activities, I was deeply impressed by this simple sentence. When it comes to meal planning, I spend far too much time figuring out what and when to feed my children and I would bet a lot of money that I am not alone in this fight.

In the past, extracurricular activities often took place right after school and there was little, if any, travel. The children could safely ride their bikes home from training, where they came with their family for a home-cooked meal around dinner. Unfortunately, a lot of this has changed in the last decade and family meals are almost obsolete. Instead of slowing down and reconnecting over a leisurely meal, many parents desperately hand out burgers and fries in the car to over-scheduled children, wondering how life got so hectic.

How many people do I miss these seemingly simpler times and often wonder how other families deal with the insane pressures and time constraints we are all under while eating nutritious meals. At the beginning of each school year, I ask my friends what they feed their families for dinner. I ask them to share their simplest recipes, and I hope that one of them will give me some advice that will make me feel like this huge, meal-centered puzzle has been solved. Instead, I often get answers that reflect my own dinner dilemmas and groans at the impossible task of feeding people who all have different schedules.

I turn to Google a lot for advice, but instead of feeling like things have been simplified, I am faced with hundreds of “simple” meals that make me feel completely overwhelmed. Also, many of these online recipes during the week are heavily based on meat that can be cooked in a slow cooker for hours. This is a great option if your family is a carnivorous bunch, but when you’re trying to cut down on the amount of meat you consume, these recipes won’t always be very helpful. Realizing that my family’s needs were not being met by my online searches, I decided to create a few meals that were easy to prepare and based on easy-to-find, real-life ingredients.

Below are some incredibly delicious meals that are in heavy rotation at home. They can be cooked ahead of time, require minimal cooking and prep, pack a hefty nutritional value, and can be customized to please everyone who gathers around my kitchen table. Leftovers are rare, but when they do, all of these meals keep well in the refrigerator and travel well in the school lunch box.

The first (and probably my family’s favorite) meal is sesame noodles. Here, cooked soba noodles (or whole grain spaghetti) are paired with soy sauce, mirin, toasted sesame oil, and sliced ​​green onions. This dish is served immediately, but served cold, with slices of cucumber or fried vegetables, makes it even more delicious. These noodles never get mushy and the longer they sit, the better the taste. So they’re a great option if you have kids who come and go at different times.

Another dinner at our house is something my family affectionately refer to as “stuff on a plate”. This meal originated when I was pregnant with my son and my morning sickness was so severe that the thought of cooking something rolled over me in huge waves of nausea. My husband was working in a different city at the time, and I knew that if I didn’t want my little daughters to survive for months on top of cold cereal, I had to come up with something that we could throw together in no time and that would keep me far away Stove.

Stuff on Plate is exactly what it sounds like. It’s basically a lazy mezza and a carefree sausage. I usually like to make a large serving of homemade hummus (it’s easier than you think!), Reheat some pita, and search the fridge and cupboards for anything that needs to be used. That random half block of cheddar cheese hanging in the crisper? Cut it into cubes and toss the stuff on the plate. The apple someone took a bite of and tossed back into the fruit bowl? Halve, throw the half eaten part to the squirrels and shape the good half into apple slices. Other foods that go well with Stuff on a Plate are olives, nuts, and lightly steamed vegetables. But honestly, just use the foods your family loves to eat. This is an all-time crowd-pleaser, and if you serve it on paper plates with tiny toothpicks, everyone will think you’re a total rock star.

The last simple weekday meal I want to share with you is soup. My husband likes to make fun of me because I could easily eat soup every day, even if it’s unbearably hot outside. I firmly believe that dinner will always end up being effortless and enjoyable when you have some great soup recipes in your pocket.

In the summer, when the garden vegetables are at their peak, I love making a giant pot of minestrone, a versatile, delicious soup that highlights any seasonal vegetable. I love adding beans or chickpea noodles to my minestrone for a little protein and extra nutrition because they add incredible flavor and texture, but they are completely optional.

In winter I make all kinds of meatless stews, chowders and bisques. These soups are creamy, hearty, and incredibly filling. Plus, they’re wonderful to freeze and reheat, which means that when you double your recipe you’ll always have a stash of soup on hand, just waiting to be reheated and served with a crusty bread or crunchy green salad .

If you’re on a break from cooking, I recommend giving some of these simple meals a try. They’re perfect for busy families looking to find easy ways to enjoy the benefits of stress-free family meals.

However, don’t be too strict with yourself when you pull into the drive-through from time to time. We all do our best, and sometimes there’s nothing like a hot, salty french fry.

Sesame noodles (for 4 people)


¾ pounds of soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti

Cup of regular or low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons dead

3 tbsp toasted sesame oil

3 spring onions, thinly sliced


Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.

While the pasta is cooking, stir together the tamari, mirin, and toasted sesame oil in a large bowl.

When the pasta is ready, drain, rinse with cold water and add directly to the bowl with the sauce; throw to combine.

Cover the sesame noodles with sliced ​​spring onions and serve.

Simplest, creamiest hummus


1 can of chickpeas, drained; Reserved liquid

¼ cup tahini

1 clove of garlic, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt (optional)


Place the drained chickpeas, tahini, and garlic in a food processor and blend until the ingredients blend. Slowly add the reserved chickpea liquid until the mixture reaches the consistency you want. Add lemon juice and salt (if used) and serve.

You can also top this hummus with sliced ​​cucumber and halved cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with warm pita slices.

Lana Shovlin is a freelance writer who lives in Springfield with her husband and three children, all of whom love to eat vegetables. Always trying to choose healthy foods, she wholeheartedly agrees with Julia Child that when it comes to meals, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just great food made from fresh ingredients.”

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

The Healthy Costco Frozen Food Items You Have to Try



When you think of shopping for healthy foods, you probably think of whole foods. Well, we have news for you: Costco’s freezer department is also packed with tons of healthy items! Read on to take a look at some of our favorite Costco frozen food finds we spotted on Instagram fan accounts like @costcohiddengems, @costcobuys, and @costco_doesitagain.

Protein wafers

Do you want something sweet for breakfast and still be healthy? These high protein power waffles are the answer. They taste like buttermilk and vanilla, have 10g of protein per serving and are mainly made from whole grain products.

These should definitely be on your list if you’re not getting enough protein.

Sweet potato fries

Fries can’t be beat, but they aren’t the healthiest. Enter: Sweet Potato Fries. This pack eliminates the need for peeling and chopping – just open it and throw it in the oven for baking. They are also vegan and gluten free.

Here’s why you might want to switch to sweet potato fries.

Vegetable protein wrap

Would you like to supply your system with electricity? Come on in: this delicious falafel wrap with lemon and garlic hummus. Each wrap contains 14g of protein and can be heated in the oven or microwave, giving you a healthy, tasty, plant-based meal on days when you don’t have time to cook.

Check out these simple plant-based recipes for more food ideas.

Organic vegetable lasagna

We all love a good lasagna, but it’s definitely not the healthiest option for dinner. Fortunately, this frozen vegetarian lasagna can help save you time and give you a health boost! It’s packed with 18g of protein per serving and 9g of whole grains that are good for your heart.

Check out these great whole grain recipes.

Beyond plant-based burger pies

Whether you’re a die-hard Burger King’s Impossible burger fan or just want to see what all the fuss is about, Costco has a great option for plant-based burgers lovers. Frozen Beyond Burger Patties are vegan, soy-free, gluten-free and contain 20 grams of vegetable protein in each serving.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower is so good for you, and if you’re on a keto diet, it’s a great way to marginalize carbs. With roasted zucchini, yellow and green peppers, onions, and a delicious 3 cheese mix, this is a veggie-filled treat everyone will love.

Deep Dark Chocolate Frozen Dessert

Looking for a healthy alternative to chocolate ice cream? You have it. This deep dark chocolate frozen dessert is vegan, gluten-free and filled with creamy avocados, which makes it the perfect after-dinner treat.

Chicken enchiladas in green tomatillo sauce

Enchiladas might not be the healthiest, but these have a twist – they’re made with chicken and cheese tortillas! Yes, they’re a grain-free, gluten-free, low-carb alternative to your regular enchiladas, with 20g of protein and 2g of net carbohydrates per serving, making them perfect for a keto diet.

Now that your shopping cart is full of healthy meals and snacks, learn how to maximize your savings with these helpful shopping tips from Costco.

The Healthy Costco Frozen Food Items You Must Try post first appeared on Taste of Home.

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