With creative recipes, mouthwatering images, and nutrition know-how, these writers will inspire you to experiment in your kitchen
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Gena Hamshaw, Washington, D.C.
Healthy eating philosophy: Healthful, plant-based food can be delicious, satisfying, and fun to prepare. While I’m a passionate vegan, I support and celebrate everyone’s food choices, so long as they’re thoughtful and sincere. As a nutritionist and as a blogger, my ultimate goal is to help folks love, celebrate, and make peace with the food on their plates.
No. 1 healthy cooking tip: Start simple! Some of the best food any home cook can enjoy is the simplest.
Biggest kitchen fail: I made a raw cream of broccoli soup that was terrible! I like acidic food, but I took it too far and ended up with something so tart and so salty that it was virtually inedible.
What makes my blog stand out: While it’s incredibly health-minded, my blog is also moderate, sane, and reasonable. Many vegan and raw food resources are strict in their approach, advocating an all-or-nothing philosophy or espousing drastic cleanses, fasts, or elimination diets. I don’t forgo my cup of morning coffee, I don’t skimp on indulgences, and I don’t believe in any kind of dietary extremism. I believe in an evidence-based approach to nutrition science and a gentle, open-minded, and celebratory approach to eating.
Five foods I always have on hand: Kale, avocados, bananas, medjool dates, and tahini
Cooking idols: Deborah Madison and Mollie Katzen. Their food is so fresh, so simple, and so versatile.
One cookbook every woman should own: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyoneby Deborah Madison. It’s a classic: clear, simple, and full of plant-based fare that will appeal to everyone.
Favorite recipe: Five-ingredient Vegan Blackberry Coconut Ice Cream
PHOTO: GENA HAMSHAW
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Gina Homolka, Oceanside, NY
Healthy eating philosophy: Eat seasonal, clean, whole foods and maintain good portion control. When you cook your own meals, you know you can feel good about what is going into your body.
No. 1 healthy cooking tip: I’m a big pasta lover, so now that it’s zucchini season I love swapping spaghetti for zucchini noodles. Sauté for two minutes and top with your favorite sauce. This cuts calories, plus it’s a great way to get an extra serving of veggies in your diet.
Biggest kitchen fail: Chicken and rice artichoke bake sounded good in my head, but that one I decided to give up on.
Why did you decide to start food blogging? I was getting married and trying to lose a few pounds for my wedding back in 2007. I started looking for healthy recipes online and realized there weren’t any good ones out there, so I set out to share my recipe experiments on my blog. People started making my recipes, and they liked them.
Five foods I always have on hand:Avocados, scallions, cilantro, tomatoes, and eggs
Food trend I’m over: Bacon everything. I love bacon, don’t get me wrong, but not in my brownies!
Cooking idol: Jose Andres
Favorite recipe: Zoodles with Lemon-Garlic Spicy Shrimp
PHOTO: GINA HOMOLKACrush Your Goals with Jen Widerstrom – Sign up now!
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Serena Wolf, New York City
Healthy eating philosophy: Everything in moderation. I know that’s cliché, but it’s the truth. I’d say I do a really good job with the clean-eating thing 80 percent of the time, but let’s just say I believe in “No-Calorie Sunday.”
No. 1 healthy cooking tip: Be creative! There’s a popular belief that healthy food has to be boring, which is ridiculous. If a recipe interests you but you’re not a fan of certain ingredients, use it as a base and make it your own with things that you love.
Biggest kitchen fail: Just one? In cooking school, we had to make crab bisque, which involved tossing about 20 live crabs into a piping hot pot and then smashing them with a rolling pin. Long story short, my crabs kept trying to escape, and a number of them succeeded. Trying to roundup rogue crabs in a test kitchen in front of my instructors was not my finest moment.
Why I decided to start blogging: I felt like everyone was virtually consuming food via outlets like Pinterest and television shows, but so few people were actually cooking it. I wanted to provide people with accessible, stress-free recipes that they would have no excuse not to make.
Five foods I always have on hand:Quinoa, lemons, sriracha, extra-virgin olive oil, and diced tomatoes
Cooking idol: Ina Garten. That woman is a goddess, and I can always count on her for simple, beautiful recipes.
One cookbook every woman should own: Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Every woman should take a cue from Julia Child, both in the kitchen and in life.
Favorite recipe: Brown Rice Jambalaya with Shrimp, Chicken Sausage, and Bell Peppers
PHOTO: SERENA WOLF
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McKel Hill, Nashville, TN
Healthy eating philosophy: My blog is rooted in plant-based, whole foods made deliciously simple. All recipes are free from processed foods and ingredients, yet flexible enough to be applied globally to all diets.
No. 1 healthy cooking tip: Batch cooking will not only save time throughout the busy week, but it also helps make eating healthy budget-friendly and attainable for everyone.
Biggest kitchen fail: Making vegan and gluten-free baked goods is tricky. I’ve learned that vegetarian baking (with eggs) makes the process a bit easier.
What makes my blog stand out:Passion. I have years of nutrition expertise and real-world experience working with clients in my nutrition coaching practice, but I also have fun and share nutrition information and education in an easy-to-understand way.
Five foods I always have on hand: Sweet potatoes, coconut oil, dark leafy greens, bananas, and spirulina
Food trend I’m over: Both low-fat and low-carbohydrate. We need both healthy fats and enough carbohydrates to thrive, and we all need to stop playing the “blame game” on one macronutrient over another.
Cooking idol: It’s a toss up between Jamie Oliver for his Food Revolution attitude, and Mario Batali for his simplistic style of cooking.
Favorite recipe: Fig Zucchini Pasta with Hemp Seed Crumble
PHOTO: MCKEL HILL
Back to Her Roots
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Cassie Johnston, Perkin, IN
Healthy eating philosophy: I grew up eating fresh foods from the garden and playing pick-up basketball in my driveway. I believe that I can be the healthiest me by choosing to go back to my roots—gardening, cooking fresh, local food, and exploring all the beauty that the great outdoors has to offer.
No. 1 healthy cooking tip: Don’t restrict yourself. The healthiest eaters are the ones who “allow” themselves to eat what their bodies crave, whether that’s a big garden salad or a bowl of ice cream after a hard day.
What makes my blog stand out: My husband and I are young homesteaders who hobby-farm nine acres in rural southern Indiana. We love growing our own food, and the majority of my recipes (especially in the summer) spotlight the bounty of our farm.
Five foods I always have on hand:Grass-fed butter (the real, good, bright yellow stuff!), local eggs, dried beans and grains, and whatever fresh veggies are in the garden at the time
Food trend I’m over: Low-fat! Fat is your friend. Eat some butter, drink some whole milk, have an avocado—don’t fear the fat!
One cookbook every woman should own: You can’t beat the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. It’s been a staple in my life since I was a kid! There are a ton of not-so-healthy recipes in there, but it’s an awesome reference to use as a starting point to health-ify classic dishes.
Favorite recipe: Grilled Tomato and Herb Bread
PHOTO: CASSIE JOHNSTON
Eff Yeah Food
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Jessica Steele, Ontario, Canada
Healthy eating philosophy: You are what you eat, and let food be thy medicine. I strive to eat whole, nourishing foods that provide my body with nutrition that it truly needs to thrive and help me be the best version of myself.
No. 1 healthy cooking tip: Be simple and creative. The best dishes aren’t recipes that I have followed, but ones that I have created through experimentation with different ingredients. And a pantry full of spices is a must!
Biggest kitchen fail: I tried to bake a birthday cake for my grandfather (mind you, I was in the seventh grade). I was super excited to make this cake, and well, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Rather than bake the cake, I broiled it on top of the stove. When you dug in, it was batter. How embarrassing! Lesson learned: Each failure is an opportunity to learn and develop a skill.
Why I decided to start blogging: I wanted an excuse to use my new DSLR camera even during the cold winter months. It was also around the time that I made a huge change in my life to stop eating processed foods and eat clean. Within two weeks, I felt amazing and discovered newfound energy. Food blogging provided me with an opportunity to practice my food photography, stay on track eating clean, whole foods, and have a creative outlet where I could experiment and share my recipes and photos with others.
Five foods I always have on hand:Quinoa, medjool dates, cacao powder, coconut oil, and chia seeds
Food trend I’m over: I’m both skeptical and sick of foods deemed to be “superfoods.” Yes, some foods may be higher in nutrients than others, but all food is good in one way or another.
One cookbook every woman should own: Hands down, the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon. It’s filled with absolutely delicious, mouth-watering vegan recipes with stunning photos to accompany them, and it’s definitely a must-have, even if you’re not vegan.
Favorite recipe: Crunchy Nut Granola Bars with Dark Chocolate and Goji Berries
PHOTO: JESSICA STEELE
Fed & Fit
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Cassie Joy Garcia, San Antonio, TX
Healthy eating philosophy: Eat real food! I promote a mostly Paleo, always delicious, fun, and active lifestyle.
No. 1 healthy cooking tip: Invest in a great pot, knife, cutting board, and food processor, and fill your home with fresh and frozen organic fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats.
Biggest kitchen fail: My recurring attempt at making refined sugar-free meringue cookie clouds. I’ve tried at least a dozen times—each one resulting in a flop. I’m still optimistic, though! Meringue is too delicious not to try.
What makes my blog stand out: To help readers jump-start their kitchen skills, I provide thorough step-by-step photography for each recipe. Providing a picture and explanation with every step of a recipe takes the fear and mystery out of the equation.
Five foods I always have on hand:Curly kale, full-fat canned coconut milk, grass-fed butter, grass-fed ground beef, and eggs
One cookbook every woman should own: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle. While so many of the recipes don’t fall within the generally accepted parameters of Paleo, it’s an unparalleled education in classic cooking methods that reads like a novel.
Favorite recipe: Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers
PHOTO: CASSIE JOY GARCIA
The Lean Green Bean
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Lindsay Livingston, R.D., Columbus, OH
Healthy eating philosophy: Eat simple, balanced meals and snacks packed with fruits and veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats and carbs. Choose real, whole foods as often as possible and limit processed foods, but don’t be afraid to eat dessert!
Biggest kitchen fail: I once tried to make homemade cranberry BBQ baked beans. It sounds good in theory, but it was an epic fail and totally inedible.
What makes my blog stand out: I’m a registered dietitian, and I practice what I preach. I’m honest with my readers, I don’t claim to be perfect, and I’m not afraid to treat myself! I create simple, healthy recipes that people can easily recreate in their own homes.
Five foods I always have on hand:Eggs, avocados, oats, red peppers, and salsa
Food trend I’m over: The low-fat craze. There are so many wonderful healthy fats that can be part of a balanced diet. Plus, when fat is removed, sugar and salt are usually added for flavor, and more and more research is showing that these are actually more harmful than fat in the first place.
Cooking idol: My mom. I’ll be forever grateful that she took the time to cook almost every meal at home while I was growing up.
Favorite recipe: Summer Salsa