Healthy Halloween 2015

halloween eggs

Boo! Halloween snuck up pretty quickly on us this year, huh? For me it did anyway! My last Halloween post that was updated in 2014 still has some great ideas but this Halloween I thought I would focus on a healthy day before heading out to trick-or-treat as well as sustainable candy recommendations, particularly Fair Trade. Continue reading

Spelt and Oat Pumpkin Muffins

Happy Autumn! While I waited until it was truly fall in late September to start enjoying fall foods, I am completely embracing and enjoying fall tastes with apples, winter squash, and of course pumpkin. I do have to say though, that while at Trader Joe’s last week, the amount of processed pumpkin foods on every end cap and stand in the store was scarier than anything I will encounter on Halloween.

Anyway, I am so excited to share this recipe! While I love my gluten free almond meal pumpkin muffins, the texture of these new ones really hit the spot with Sunday brunch this past week. I actually adapted it from a pumpkin cookie recipe and originally intended to put chocolate chips and nuts inside the batter but was distracted with other food prep. I am happy I forgot because the drizzled chocolate and crushed maple chia nuts on top add a little crunch to the light, fluffy and tender  texture of this delicious pumpkin spice muffin.

Continue reading

Hungryroot Plant Based Meal Delivery – Review and Discount Codea

Disclosure:  I received free products from hungry root and have received compensation for services. As always, all opinions stated are my own.

*Update 3/19/19: hungryroot has changed their format since this post was written. Click for $25 off of your first 2 orders.

After returning from California, I immediately traveled to CT for a friend’s wedding and didn’t arrive back home in PA until late Sunday night. We had a few odds and ends to eat on Monday and I was thrilled when a client rescheduled on Tuesday so that I could make it to the grocery store. While I could have made a meal, I was overjoyed when this package was on my doorstep when I got home from shopping!

 

What is Hungryroot?

Hungry root is a new whole foods meal delivery company. The catch is that the meals still need to be prepared… but it only take 7 minutes (if that)! Root vegetables (hence the name) are the base of the meal and you add in the plant based sauces, seasonings and toppings that come with the dish. In just 5 minutes in a pan or microwave, dinner is ready. The meals are chef designed and are all under 500 calories counting the chicken if you order it too. If not, you can add in your own shrimp, egg, or tofu, which is what I plan to do when I order more in the future! The meals are all non-GMO and gluten free as well.

I will be honest that when I opened the packages I thought the small containers of sauces and toppings seemed small. By the end I learned you can’t let the packaging fool you! Hungryroot had offered to send me two meals to try so that I could see if it was something I wanted to suggest or recommend to those I deliver nutrition information to {like you on this blog 😉 }. I don’t remember who chose what but between Tim and I we went with turnip noodles and pesto as well as carrot noodles and a sriracha peanut sauce. While all meals come without chicken to begin, you can add free range chicken when ordering. I did not eat the chicken but ordered it so that Tim could try for my poultry eating clientele and followers.

For our trial, I opened the packages, heated up a dash of avocado oil in a pan, and added the root veggies. I stirred and two minutes later added the other ingredients.

did screw up with the carrot dish though and forgot to add the homemade chimichurri while cooking, so I had to stir it in at the end. Can’t say it would have tasted any different if I added it sooner but it did contribute to how pretty the dish looked as you can see below!

First, pictured below is the turnip noodles with toasted walnut pesto, shredded carrots and chopped walnuts. So pretty!

The pesto was the perfect blend of sweet with a little bite of basil/garlic spice. The turnips were savory and had a hearty texture which I liked. Admittedly this is my first time having turnip noodles – total win! Even though the noodles didn’t look heavily coated with the sauce the flavor was powerful but not overpowering.

Here we have the carrot noodle dish with homemade sriracha peanut sauce and a peanut, cilantro, mint & lime chimichurri and pickled daikon radish. It sounds like it belongs on a high quality restaurant menu and tastes like it too!


T
he carrot noodles had a more fine texture than the turnips but I liked them just the same. I LOVE sriracha and can put it on anything so I knew I would like the sauce. However, this sauce gave a little bit of heat but had so many other great flavors balancing it out too. I couldn’t taste the mint much in the chimichurri but there was a slight sweetness that complimented the sriracha sauce well.

Tim’s was impressed with the chicken. He said it was crispy on the outside but tender inside, with a texture and taste as if it was just grilled. As mentioned above, you can easily cook and egg or some shrimp in the time the noodles are cooking and top with them for protein. I think tofu would also be good but since I like it well done, would take more time.

SO overall, we were impressed by Hungryroot. I was definitely full and I didn’t eat any of the chicken and also didn’t add another protein since I had a late afternoon snack. The flavor was amazing and the food was REAL! I recommend having these meals on hand when you know there is a busy week ahead, or even to take to work once in a while since they are microwavable too. If you are using a meal delivery system like Nutri-systems, go to their website and read your ingredient lists. Compare them to those on the Hungryroot site. You’ll be getting much better quality food and nutrition with this type of meal and you will be taking a small amount of time to prep the food. I think this is where most meal delivery programs go wrong. You cannot promote weight loss and healthy living in a sustainable way unless the person is making the effort to prepare a little and actually change their environment, habits and lifestyle.

Want to try Hungryroot yourself? Head over to their website and enter the code Kelly20 for 20% off your purchase. It is not a first time only code so you can keep using it for future purchases too.  I plan to get 20% off of the beet and sweet potato noodle dishes next – I’ll let you know how they are over on insta! Let me know how you like the meals too!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Oats

Chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in heaven. But most products and recipes are loaded with tons of sugar, meaning you feel you can’t have this pair any old day. Not with this recipe! Nutritious, delicious and super filling, this oatmeal has no added sugar with all the flavor 🙂 And let me tell you, it was perfect this morning to warm me up on a snow day! As most people know, I am not a big supplement fan but the Garden of Life brand Raw protein is an excellent option every so often when you need a little boost in a carbohydrate dense meal for balance or after a workout. Another great protein is Manitoba Harvest Brand’s new Hemp Pro protein powders. Enjoy this healthy breakfast that seems like a treat 🙂 – there is even a slow cooker option if you think you don’t have the time!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Oatmeal (V, GF, DF)

Ingredients for 1 serving:


Just double, triple, quadruple as needed!

1/2 cup oats (40 g)
1 tsp chia seeds
1/2 scoop Garden of Life Raw protein (original)
1.5 tsp cacao powder
Optional: 1/2 tsp maca root powder
Optional: 1.5 tsp unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 banana, sliced

Directions:
-In a small saucepan, boil 6-7 ounces water (or non dairy milk)
-Add the oats and chia seeds at once and reduce heat to simmer
-Stir frequently to prevent sticking – quick oats should thicken within 2 minutes and rolled oats within 5
-Add the protein, cacao, maca, vanilla and stir well
-Pour into serving bowl and top with peanut butter, sliced banana, and coconut
Slow Cooker Version:
-Quadruple above recipe
-Use steel cut oats instead of rolled or quick oats
-Add all ingredients except banana and coconut to glass bowl that will fit into slow cooker basin
-Place bowl in slow cooker, fill slow cooker with water up to 1 inch below top of bowl
-Set on low for 6-8 hours, wake up and enjoy!

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 395
Total Fat: 14 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 5 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 49 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sugar: 9 g
Protein: 24 g

Sodium: 76 mg 5 % Potassium: 375 mg 8 %

Thiamin: 4 %         Riboflavin: 6 %    Niacin: 20 %
Vitamin B6: 21 %    Folate: 7 %
Vitamin C: 7 %        Vitamin E: 10 %    Vitamin A: 1%
Calcium: 4 %         Iron: 37 %             Zinc: 12 %
Magnesium: 21 %   Phosphorus: 18 %

Omega 3: .65 grams (recommended intakes 1.1-1.6g/day)

**vitamins & minerals are listed as % daily value; you may need more
than 100% each day if you’re an athlete, have a deficiency disease, or other medical concerns

Sprig and Vine Restaurant – Winter Dinner

Tim and I absolutely love Sprig and Vine in New Hope, PA. We have been dining there regularly this fall and winter, but if it was right here in Newtown, it would be difficult to keep from eating there less than once a week! The all vegan restaurant will blow any carnivore out of the water with each dish’s amazing creativity, flavor and presentation. Not only is everything vegan, but most of their ingredients are local, even in the winter! You can always see the list of farm’s that ingredients have been sourced from that week when you walk in.

To prove this place isn’t just for those on plant based diets, I have my husband. While Tim enjoys eating the vegetarian meals I cook all week, he may order a grass fed burger or filet on a rare occasion while out. Still, he will always be just as excited as me (if not more) about a meal any night at Sprig and Vine, Vedge or Charlie was a Sinner, all completely vegan restaurants. On Valentine’s Day this year, we had two reservations, one at a restaurant in Princeton that serves local humane meats (along with veg options), and one at Sprig and Vine. He made the final decision to go to Sprig and Vine!

At sprig we love to share some small plates, but usually get an entree each too, and I bring half home for the next day. Here is a sampling of one of our most recent visits to Sprig and Vine where we even splurged on dessert. (This happens to often because just like you, we convince ourselves its “healthy” in the moment since its vegan).

Their soups are to die for and change every time we are in. Tonight there were two options but with how much Tim loves any food with a Mexican flare, once he heard “black bean” the decision was made. Here is the black bean & butternut soup with jalapeno cashew cream and cilantro. Flavors really popped by themselves but also worked together extremely well. We could have ordered seconds of this for our dinner and been happy!

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On the side we decided to order the baked garlic cashew kale chips. Brad’s Raw, sorry but you have nothing on these! I loved that they were 3 different local kale varieties/colors and Tim liked dipping them in the soup!IMG_7102

Yes, we got another appetizer to share. Couldn’t help it. Black eyed pea sweet potato griddle cakes with smoked paprika aioli. How can I describe its taste any further when the title is that complex? Well like all of the dishes here, the flavor is always balance perfectly, here with sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the spicy paprika aioli, there is the tart from the apple & winter radish salsa. So pretty too!!

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Tim’s dinner, not pictured, was the Cauliflower and Fingerling Potato Curry: black quinoa with butternut and chickpea, coconut-curry sauce, fennel-root vegetable slaw, cashew and cilantro. It was delicious, especially the cauliflower, but more importantly my meal!

For years, I swore off tofu. It had a weird texture to me but I have realized that really, I never prepared it well or went to a restaurant that did. Just 6 or so months ago, Charlie was a Sinner in Philly changed my mind about tofu when we accidentally ordered it, and now I have been more open minded trying it at all our fave vegan restaurants! So, on this occasion at Sprig I was extra open minded ordering this dish since I typically don’t love fennel either. Fennel Seed-Seared Tofu: butternut squash caponata, saffron cauliflower puree, sauteed swiss chard, chickpea and fennel, pine nut. The crusted tofu had a perfect texture, and the creamy cauliflower puree balanced out the texture. Swiss chard is hiding under the tofu in the picture but it was a perfect dose of greens! Best part, having half saved for lunch the next day 🙂

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For dessert we picked the Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake: Ginger Snap Crust, Cranberry Red Wine Caramel, Cinnamon-Apple Cider Ice Cream, Miso Candied Walnut. Tim apparently never even liked regular cheesecake and loved this one. I used to ask for cheesecake for my birthday instead of regular cake as a kid, so now being dairy free, having a good “cheese”cake is awesome – this was beyond good and honestly better than I remember dairy filled cheesecake to be. Any and all of the ice “cream” they make to garnish desserts is ridiculously good. Whether a simple vanilla, this cinnamon apple cider one, or the black pepper strawberry sorbet, you’ll never be disappointed with what is on your plate. And who would ever think to elevate this type of dessert with miso candied walnuts?! Thankfully the chef at sprig and vine did!!

IMG_7105So if you’re ever headed to Philly and have the time, venture about 45 minutes north to New Hope, PA. If you’re in NYC and want to get out for a day, the historic town of New Hope on the DE river has a lot to offer on top of this amazing restaurant, and its just a little over an hour away from the city!

If you have any vegan restaurant suggestions for me, local or in other cities, let me know! Meals are the first thing we tend to plan when we travel 🙂

Easy, Creamy, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus has been super popular for years and I don’t see it going away anytime soon! While it is a healthful snack or spread, you are spending way too much money on it! This recipe can give you 4 times what you’ll get in a store bought container for a lower cost and with a better, fresher taste. Even if you think you can’t cook, it is so easy that I promise you can do this! Since red pepper is one of the most popular flavors, I figured it was a perfect one to post.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (GF, V, DF)

Ingredients :

2/3 C Roasted red peppers (I buy organic jarred or roast my own!)
1.5 cans or 3 cups soaked garbanzo beans
1.5 tablespoons tahini
3 cloves garlic
Black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup warm water

*Purchasing tip: If I do purchase canned, I buy beans at Trader Joe’s because they do not contain BPA. A risk of using canned foods is that the cans are lined with the carcinogenic chemical BPA. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, click here for brands that are BPA free.

Directions:
-Add all ingredients except the water to your food processor.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // Eatreallivewell.com

-Pulse for 30-60 seconds. If the mixture is very thick and difficult to blend, add 1/8 cup of water. If you use canned beans, you are less likely to need to add the water. Pulse for another 30-60 seconds and then gauge if you think you need the remainder of the water.
-Pulse an additional minute or until mixture is very creamy.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // Eatreallivewell.com
-Add to a serving dish or pour into a storage container and enjoy within a week!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // Eatreallivewell.comShown above on the right with black bean dip on the top and cashew cheese dip on the bottom. Who doesn’t love a variety of dips for your veggies?! Looking for another fun dip? Try my spicy sweet potato hummus or my dairy free creamy spinach & artichoke dip.

Since my home only consists of myself and my husband, I sometimes will freeze half for next week if we won’t be having anyone over. Just throw it in the fridge a day before you want to eat it 🙂

Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:

Garbanzo Beans, aka “chickpeas”, contain protein, fiber, manganese, folate and even some iron.

Tahini which is a paste made from sesame seeds, is an ingredient in the hummus you buy at the grocery store that you maybe never knew was in there. It provides great flavor but also gives you some protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and plant sterols. Vitamins and minerals in tahini include thiamin (a B vitamin), vitamin E, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.

Red Bell Peppers provide you with tons of Vitamin C (even more per serving than citrus!), lots of Vitamin A and fiber as well as Vitamin E, B6 and potassium. Phytochemicals include lycopene (associated with reduced risk for prostate cancer & heart disease) and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are great for eye and cardiovascular health.

Garlic provides the phytochemical allicin and sulfides which are linked to improved immunity and respiratory health and act as antibacterial agents.

New Beginnings and Best Nutritionist Nomination

I have waited way too long for my first post of 2015! In my defense, I have already had a busy month. My husband and I bought and moved into our first home, and have been decorating and painting up a storm. I can’t wait to whip up some new recipes in our new kitchen! I also co-ran an advising institute at Bucks for new faculty advisors, and have had several new work opportunities too. Since it is MLK Jr. day, I thought I would share a quote that drives my career and personality on a daily basis:

photo 1 (1)I am in the field of nutrition not only because I enjoy eating healthy food and staying active. I am always promoting real food and good health because I want everyone to have an understanding of how the daily choices they make impact not only their own health, but also the health of others, food production and cost, and the environment. Ignorance is not bliss. Lack of knowledge, whether intentional or not, will often come back to someone, making them wish they had made changes sooner to prevent the consequences of their actions. No matter how old we are, we should never stop learning or stop evolving our knowledge, beliefs and actions! I hope in 2015 to be able to educate more individuals than ever before so they can make the best decisions for themselves, their families, communities, and our world.

2015, as I mentioned above, is off to a busy, but great, start. I have several new clients and am getting ready for another semester of teaching (which starts Wednesday) at Bucks County Community College. While my best work friend has taken a position at Temple University, and I will miss him dearly, the Exercise Science program we created is really kicking off this semester and I can’t wait to see students benefit from it. I am most excited however, for a new opportunity that begins next week at the Newtown Athletic Club. I have been a member at the NAC for several years now and am thrilled to join their team part time to provide free nutrition seminars to members and other inspiring health programs in the near future. What I love about the NAC is that membership is all inclusive (spinning, group ex, yoga, pilates, pools, etc) and that the owner really wants the nutrition information provided to members to be of no added cost. While I have been reaching and educating community college students and local athletes for over four years now in Bucks County, I am ready to reach another group in the community!

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That brings me to another honor/opportunity. I have been nominated for Best Nutritionist in the Bucks Happening 2015 competition. Thanks to anyone who nominated me to get into the contest, I am flattered! I am in the running with some other well established local RD’s such as Kristie Finnan of Eat Right Bucks and Jennifer Lynn Pullman of Nourished Simply. A couple of younger RD’s working under Kristie in Doylestown have been nominated too, including Heather Pavlik. I would love your support in the contest! While I wish I could encourage you to vote daily for me like some contests allow, your email address is able to be used for only one vote, which I suppose is much more fair! You can vote here whether you live in Bucks County or are being counseled or following my blog from afar: http://bucks.happeningmag.com/happeninglist/2015-people-nutritionist/.

I know it has been a while since I have gotten a recipe up here, so once we are more settled in the new house, I promise something new and exciting will be up!

Too busy? What a Dietitian Eats with No Time and an Empty Fridge

Too busy to make healthy meals & exercise?

Suggested activity:
Make a list of things more important to you
than your health and the health of your family.

Have you been using the “I’m too busy” excuse a lot lately? I could be too… but I know I would feel more stressed and even more tired if I was eating poorly and not making time to exercise. In this post I want to help you tackle 2 barriers to healthy eating: busy schedules and running out of fresh food (cause you’re too busy to get to the store, of course).

I know you’re all busy right now… so am I. I’m actually writing this post at 9:00 PM on the train ride home from a Junior League of Philadelphia meeting in the city (yay for multitasking). Between teaching, advising, office hours with students, meeting with clients, grading diet analysis projects, holiday volunteer work, exercise and attempting to relax, it can seem there isn’t much time to cook healthy meals.  But then I remember my slow cooker!

This past weekend after traveling to New England for the Thanksgiving holiday, I didn’t return home until Sunday evening. This meant I had no time to prep food for the week and for Monday and Tuesday, Tim and I were relying on pantry and frozen items before I could make it to the grocery store later today. For us, because we stock our pantry & freezer with the right things, this doesn’t mean microwave meals and take out! We use the ingredients at hand and pull out the trusty slow cooker. It’s one of my best friends during the holidays and when I have an overly busy week. Here is a sample of how it was used to make healthy meals Monday and Tuesday, as well as other ideas when your pantry is looking bare and you’re pressed for time.

Monday & Tuesday breakfast: Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats with Pumpkin and Peanut Butter.

Simply add the following ingredients to the slow cooker and set on low for 6 hours:

1 cup of steel cut oats (aka old fashioned oats-rolled/quick won’t work)
4 cups non-dairy milk or water
1 can puréed pumpkin
6 tablespoons peanut butter (or other nut butter)
Optional: 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Tip: less will stick to the sides if you put all ingredients in a glass bowl and fill the crockpot up to 1 inch below the top of the bowl.

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Monday lunch: Lentil Wrap

Leftover lentils were in the freezer that I thawed overnight with some frozen spinach. I added some seasoning (garlic powder, cayenne and black pepper) and put them in an ezekiel brand tortilla wrap for lunch and added an apple and some carrots as snacks (they keep in the fridge for a while).

Monday Snack: Smoothie

Frozen banana, and frozen strawberry/mango/pineapple mixture with a ½ cup of almond milk

Monday dinner: Pasta & Veggies

I am loving black bean pasta right now! If you haven’t seen it yet, I first found it at Organnons on Durham road in Wrightstown, but have since seen it at Giant and recently got a bulk package at Costco! It is a great pasta replacement with the same calories as normal pasta but 25 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber, many minerals, and one ingredient: black beans. I threw sauce together with garlic, a large can of organic diced tomatoes*, a can of tomato paste*, and dried basil, oregano and crushed red pepper. I sautéed up some frozen kale and broccoli and there you have a balanced dinner!
*When buying canned tomatoes I choose Muir Glen or Trader Joe’s as they are not lined with BPA. Low sodium is best!

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Tuesday lunch: leftover black bean pasta & veggies

Tuesday Snacks: Apple, Roasted Soy Nuts, Clementine

Tuesday dinner (and lunch today!): Slow-Cooker 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili (modified from my original recipe).

My husband and I always have dried beans and lentils on hand. They are less expensive and don’t have tons of sodium, or a risk of BPA lining the cans. When I woke up in the morning I boiled 1 cup each of dried black, pinto, and kidney beans and let them sit while I got ready. Before leaving for work I threw the following in the crockpot and set on low for 8 hours.

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 chopped onion
Beans (drained)
½ – 1 additional cups water
1 large can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup frozen corn
1.5 tablespoons chili powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp: oregano, cumin, black pepper

When I got home I added half a bag of frozen spinach, stirred and it was ready for dinner!

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If you don’t have one, a slow cooker is a great addition to your Christmas list… or something to treat yourself to while you are shopping for everyone else 🙂

Still nervous to try one? Here are 7 answers to common slow cooker questions from Real Simple Magazine!
http://www.realsimple.com/m/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/cooking/slow-cooker-tips

What are your favorite healthy recipes when your low on time and resources? I am always looking for new ideas!

Peanut Cocoa Energy Bars

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I adapted this recipe right from my cashew cookie hemp energy bars because I wanted to make a nut free alternative for those with nut allergies! My brother is sadly allergic to tree nuts, but not peanuts, and in trying to find convenience energy bars for him, I had hardly any luck. These can give you a less sweet Reese’s like taste and are great for anyone who loves a PB + chocolate combo food (who doesn’t?). Like my cashew hemp and date/almond bars, these are a good, clean, snack to have in between meals or before a workout. I really like to make a batch of bars every week so we can easily add one to our lunch bag that we take to work.

For those of you who are still getting on your food prep game and might have a nut allergy, I was able to find several Clif Brand bars that per their website, are tree nut free (but not peanut free). Please note that while they do use more natural sources of sugar than most bars, these types of bars are best for physically active individuals due to their sugar content.

  • Clif (original) Bars: Apricot, Chocolate Brownie, Coconut Chocolate Chip
  • CLif Mojo: Peanut butter pretzel
  • CLIF kid zbar protein: chocolate chip, chocolate mint

If you are concerned with any other allergies such as dairy, eggs, soy or wheat, use Clif’s allergen table to see what convenience snacks are safe for you. Now for the recipe!

Peanut Cocoa Energy Bars (Veg, DF, GF)
Makes 12 bars

Ingredients (use organic whenever possible):

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1 1/2 Cups raw or dry roasted unsalted peanuts (I use whole foods 365 organic)
1 Cup raw pitted dates*
1/4 Cup hemp protein powder
1/2 tsp sea salt (omit if using salted peanuts)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raw cacao (or even cocoa powder if that’s all you have)
Optional: 1 tablespoon maca root powder
Optional: 1 tablespoon raw hemp hearts

*Both Medjool and Deglet Noor work. When using Deglet you may need to add a tsp of water for more moisture
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Directions:

-Add all ingredients to your food processor, dry first and liquid last.

-Pulse until all ingredients are pretty finely ground like in this picture, approximately 1-2 minutes.
If the mixture does not seem sticky enough add another 1/2 tablespoon of honey or even water.

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-Next, pour whole mixture onto a large sheet of wax paper. Fold the paper over the mixture and begin to flatten our with your hands or a rolling pin. I roll mine out to about 1/2 inch thick. Once rolled out to desired thickness, flatten out the edges with hands.

-Cut the pieces evenly into 12 bars. You can obviously cut to larger or smaller if you want, but nutrition info below is for 12.

-Separate the bars and cut the large sheet of wax paper to wrap the bars. Throw one in your lunch bag or purse & store the rest in the fridge for up to 10 days.

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Real Ingredients with Real Benefits:

Dates, in my opinion, are natures candy! They are a source of natural sugar which can be helpful to athletes before and during exercise when they need a quick absorbing energy source. They provide fiber and minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and even some calcium. Instead of packaged products, I use dates as fuel during long outdoor workouts and even races.

Peanuts are a good source of most B vitamins, especially niacin. They also provide vitamin E, minerals like copper and selenium, and the phytochemical resveretrol (you may have heard of this because it is in red wine) They are known for their heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats.

Hemp protein is an excellent alternative to dairy proteins like whey and casein. Manitoba Harvest is my favorite brand for both protein powder and hemp hearts; they highlight amino acid content here. Other than its protein content, hemp also provides both soluble (great for your heart) and insoluble (excellent for your gut) fiber, potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium and lots of iron. In addition, hemp protein is a terrific vegan source of omega 3’s.

Maple Syrup is a source of added sugar but can have some benefits if it is 100% pure and is used in moderation. it actually provides teeny amounts of calcium, iron, mangnesium & zinc. One study in 2010 found Canadian Maple Syrup to contain over 26 antioxidant compounds (1)!

Cacao powder is different from cocoa powder in that it is not processed with alkali which can remove some antioxidants and nutrients. When using cacoa, you are getting minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium which help regulate metabolism and keep your blood system and bones healthy. You also get some fiber, and phytochemicals theobromine, phenylethylamine and anandamine which have been found to support brain health and promote well-being.

Maca root has small amounts of calcium, Vitamin C and iron as well as fiber, phytochemical antioxidants and plant sterols which are known to aid in reducing blood cholesterol levels. It is most sought due to claims to boost energy and endocrine function (particularly in females). Maca has been consumed in Peru for thousands of years for these reasons, but there is not a large body of conclusive scientific evidence for those claims. I tried Navitas Naturals brand mostly to see what the hype was about. I enjoy the taste and do feel it provides a small energy boost when I add it to my oatmeal and skip the morning coffee – but that is just my feedback, not a research study! Lot’s of studies related to endocrine function are linked to from a summaryhere and you can evaluate more research at examine.com.

References:

1. J Agric Food Chem 2011 Jul 27;59(14):7708-16. Further investigation into maple syrup yields 3 new lignans, a new phenylpropanoid, and 26 other phytochemicals. Li L, Seeram NP.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size: 1 Bar
Servings Per Recipe: 12

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Calories: 145
Total Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 17 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 10 g
Protein: 5.5 g
Sodium: 50 mg   5 %
Potassium: 220 mg 5%

Vitamin A: 2%      Thiamin: 10 %               Riboflavin: 5 %
Niacin: 3%              Vitamin B6: 6 %            Folate: 3 %
Vitamin C: 1%        Pantothenic Acid: 5 %
Vitamin E: 3 %       Calcium: 6 %                Iron: 12%
Zinc: 15%                 Copper: 35 %               Magnesium: 20 %
Phosphorus: 15 %  Manganese: 20%        Selenium: 6 %
Omega 3: 0.25 g  (12%)

**Vitamins & minerals are listed as % daily value; you may need more than 100% each day if you’re an athlete, have a deficiency disease, or other medical concerns

Ditch the fad supplements and find an RD!

Looking back, while I didn’t think anything of it then, as early as I can remember, I have been living in a world of nutrition fads. As a child, at friend’s houses and family parties I would see the reduced-fat and fat free processed foods along with diet sodas. Then in high school my dad and other family members stopped caring about the fat and started going low carb (at least it was with real whole foods, not the Atkins shakes of today). Continue reading