Overnight Pumpkin Oats


Well hello. I apologize for my lack of posting, but we got hit by the dreaded preschool initiation germs that landed poor Matthew and myself on our rear-ends. It is so tough when your baby is sick and you are barely able to stand up straight yourself. Very thankful for my husband, a.k.a super dad, and the miracle that is antibiotics.

Getting sick on the first day of Fall was irritating because I LOVE Fall and all things Fall, and the germs put a big damper on my enthusiasm. I am making up for it now, and it even feels more special because it is amazingly under 80 degrees outside today, unlike last week. My mom also made my pitiful self this amazing pumpkin bread too. Squee!

So I know this may come as a shock, but I’m kicking off my Fall posts with a pumpkin recipe. For my fellow pumpkin enthusiasts, there is more than one reason to love pumpkin. It is crammed packed with fiber–beneficial for heart health and weight loss, has beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that may play a role in cancer prevention, and 1 cup of it has more potassium than a banana. What’s not to love?

For those of you who adore pumpkin, but maybe also struggle with feeding yourself a nutritious breakfast before you blast out the door (like me), here is a solution that  I recently discovered and decided to play with. Overnight oats can be put together the night before, thrown in a mason jar and then conveniently eaten on the road the next morning if you are in a time crunch. The nice thing about oats is that they are so versatile, you can pretty much do anything to them your imagination allows to keep them from becoming boring. Throw some nuts in for a punch of protein, and you are much less likely to veer off track with snacks or treats later in the day. This is why a fiber and protein-rich breakfast can help shrink your waistline (it’s true).

Overnight Pumpkin Oats  (Single Serving)

You’ll need:
1 small mason jar
1/2 cup oats
1 cup low-fat or almond milk
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (be careful when reading labels, pumpkin pie filling is not the same thing)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons honey
Chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds

Directions:
1) Combine oats and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.
2) Remove from microwave, add rest of ingredients (except for nuts), mix well.
3) Pour mixture into small mason jar, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
4) When chilled, remove cover, layer the top with nuts, and enjoy.

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Easy-peasy. What’s your favorite oats recipe?

Until next time!

~Elissa

 

It’s Not Our Fault There’s So Much Salt


Well, even though it’s 94 degrees outside, I am still throwing myself into Autumn whimsy. I even got myself a pumpkin-spice latte from Starbucks last week. If that doesn’t make it Fall I just don’t know what does. Am I right?

Now that Fall routine is underway and Summer vacations have come to an end, I have many clients wanting to get back on track. As they settle into a new routine, they often are looking for ways to control stress and resulting higher blood pressures through diet. This often brings up their concerns on salt, and realizations that cutting down on salt in the American diet is HARD. The food industry adds looaddds of salt to many goods to help increase shelf-life and add flavor. Many tell me they don’t ever use the salt shaker, but after reviewing their diet history they discover lots of hidden sources of salt – the real culprit that can affect heart health. It’s pretty unfair and not our fault, but equipping ourselves with awareness and knowledge of label reading can help fix that.

First of all, we all need salt. We wouldn’t be here without it. It is responsible for muscle contraction, in the transmission of nerve impulses, and works with it’s pal, potassium, in regulating fluid volume in the body. We need it for electrolyte balance, especially in times of heavy sweating. Hyponatremia (salt is too low in the blood) is not uncommon in athletes and can be dangerous. It can cause nausea and headaches, and in worse cases, hallucinations, and even coma. Salt is good.

However, you know too much of a good thing can be bad. Some people are more salt sensitive than others, and how much fluid retention it can cause can vary from person to person. Your kidneys are responsible for regulating sodium, which is why a low sodium diet is important in those with kidney problems. On the other hand, when you have a diet high in sodium, you retain more fluid, increasing the volume that flows through your blood vessels. Since your blood vessels cannot accommodate this increased flow, your blood pressure increases. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to heart disease and stroke. It can also lead to kidney trouble, which regulates sodium, so isn’t that a vicious circle? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So how much salt should we have? That’s a good question, because it depends on the person, but general recommendations are anywhere from 1,500-2,300mg of sodium a day. To give you some perspective, 2,300mg of salt is equal to about 1 teaspoon, and most Americans eat around 3,400mg of salt a day if not more. There is still a lot of conflicting evidence out there about the benefits of severe sodium restriction (aside from it being extremely difficult to maintain), so it is not something I harp on. I do agree most of us are getting too much however, and reducing it down towards 2,300mg is a good start.

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Keepin’ it real, with a picture of my messy spice cabinet. As you can see, I own salt, but lots of herbs and spices too. I do need my mother to come and reorganize this for me…

Should I toss the salt shaker out the window? Not necessarily. I use a salt shaker/grinder on occasion. What you should do instead is focus on those heart-effecting hidden culprits, like processed meats (deli included), fast foods, condiments, relishes, dry and canned soups, gravies, etc. You can also check out some recipes for delicious no salt seasoning blends (some at the end of this post), or buy no salt blends at the store (like Mrs. Dash). Just because you cut down on salt doesn’t mean your food has to be blah.

Another perk of cutting down on salt that I have to mention is that your taste buds amazingly adapt. The natural flavor of foods (often masked by salt) will become sharper, and suddenly when you do have heavier salt it tastes TOO salty.  Isn’t it so awesome they do that? For those of you starting a lower salt diet give it about 3-4 weeks.

If you’re already on medication for blood pressure, keep in mind that reducing your sodium can make your blood pressure medications work better (keep an eye on your blood pressure for need of adjusments) or could even lessen your dependence on medications. Your doctor will be pleased and I know you will be too.

 

Eating too much salt? Don’t sweat it (or maybe you do…HAR HAR). Here are some tips to start cutting down right now.

1) Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. They are naturally low in sodium. Even canned or frozen fruits are low in sodium.

2) If you buy canned vegetables, choose “no added salt” varieties. HEB has a bunch:20160322_153201

3) When you cannot get low sodium canned goods, rinsing and draining can cut up to 40% their sodium.

4) Always shop for reduced sodium/low sodium soups and broths.

5) If buying frozen vegetables, buy “freshly frozen,” because that means no added sauces or seasonings.

6) Whenever possible, buy fresh meat rather than packaged. It is much lower in sodium. Any kind of meat that keeps well in the fridge for several days or weeks probably has a lot of sodium, like bacon or hot dogs.

7) When possible, use fresh meat leftovers for sandwiches. If you buy deli meat, buy low sodium.

8) Get familiar with label reading for sodium content. Even high sugar foods can sometimes have lots of hidden sodium.

9) Compare products to help choose ones that have lower sodium. Brands can vary.

10) Labels that read 500 mg or more of sodium are not good choices.

11) Buy seasonings that don’t have “salt” on the label. For example, garlic powder or onion powder instead of garlic salt or onion salt.

12) Watch your intake of cheeses, which can contain a lot of hidden salt.

13) Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter for dishes without salt, or do your research on sodium content before going to a restaurant. Ask for gravies on the side. Restaurant food can contain a lot more than what you would use at home.

14) When looking at restaurant menus, remember that terms like “pickled,” “brined,” “barbequed,” “cured,” “soy sauce,” “miso,” “au jus,” “teriyaki sauce,” “broths,” “gravy,” tend to have more sodium.

15) On menus, “baked,” “poached,” “grilled,” “steamed,” or “roasted,” are good choices.

16) Get creative with seasonings to keep your food flavorful. Garlic, lemon juice, spices, herbs, vinegar, black pepper, salt-free seasoning blends are all great substitutes for salt.

17) Watch for high sodium condiments such as pickles, soy sauce, barbeque sauce, jarred salsas, olives, mustards, and relishes. Look for lower sodium versions.

18) Avoid processed/pre-packaged foods when possible. The more you can cook from scratch, the better.

Here are some seasoning blend recipes to try out from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Mixed herb blend: Mix together ¼ cup dried parsley flakes, 2 tablespoons dried tarragon and 1 tablespoon each of dried oregano, dill weed and celery flakes.

Italian blend: Mix together 2 tablespoons each of dried basil and dried marjoram, 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder and dried oregano and 2 teaspoons each of thyme, crushed dried rosemary and crushed red pepper.

Mexican blend: Mix together ¼ cup chili powder, 1 tablespoon each of ground cumin and onion powder, 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, garlic powder and ground red pepper and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.

If you want to learn more ways to cut down on salt when grocery shopping and you live in the New Braunfels/SA area, join us this Thursday at 6:30pm for my class, Grocery Shopping Smarts and Label Reading. Check out http://www.food4success.com for more details on location and how to sign up! 

Sources:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/5-ways-to-use-less-salt
http://www.heart.org
http://www.eatright.org

Until next time!

Elissa

Turkey Chili


I feel kind of in limbo right now. Kids are back in school, but Fall isn’t here yet, and it’s still beastly hot outside. Fall is my favorite, if I haven’t mentioned that before. So the sensible, responsible adult Elissa is starting to lose the fight with the pumpkin-crazy, Fall-food and cooler weather obsessed, play-in-the-leaves Elissa (she is much stronger..).

Well to throw my crazy self a bone, and maybe to throw you fellow crazy Fall fanatics out there one too, I’m going to share with you Turkey Chili. Why? Because it’s close enough to enjoy this healthy version of a comfort food favorite, and football is already on. And, it’s easy.

I was rummaging through my freezer the other day and found ground turkey in there, frozen, sad, and alone. My husband, like most manly farm boy men, prefers beef, but after I threw this together he didn’t sneer so much. I’m not opposed to beef by any means, but what science concludes time after time again, is that VARIETY is the secret to health, and we just had beef. You want a little bit of this and a little bit of that to truly have balanced nutrition, and the more you expand your palette, the better off you are (which brings me back to why I hate elimination diets.)

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Turkey Chili is hilarious, if you didn’t already know.

 

So without further ado, here is the recipe. It does have a bit of a kick to it, so if you are not a fan of spice you may want to cut down on the cumin, pepper, cayenne, and chili powder. Also, if your goal is to eat lean, know that all ground turkey is not equal. You need to search for lean, like 93% or leaner. Otherwise you could possibly end up eating more fat and calories than a package of leaner beef.

Turkey Chili (Serves about 5)
Prep and cook time : about 30-40 minutes

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium yellow onion (or 1 small), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1.5 lbs of lean ground turkey (My package was 1.25 lbs)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 14.5 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can no added salt diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen yellow corn or no added salt canned yellow corn
1 14.05 oz can low sodium chicken broth
1 6 oz can tomato paste
Optional toppings: Sour cream, shredded cheese, jalapeno slices (if you dare..)

Directions:
1) Heat olive oil in a large, deep pan over medium heat. Sauté diced onion and green pepper in heated oil.
2) Add minced garlic and let cook for a couple of minutes.
3) Add ground turkey, breaking it up until fine, cooking with vegetables until browned.
4) Add spices and seasonings, stir well.
5) Add kidney beans, diced tomatoes, corn, chicken broth, and tomato paste. Stir well.
6) Let simmer over medium heat for about 20-25 minutes.
7) Serve with desired toppings, and maybe with some corn bread.🙂

turkeychiliedit

Hopefully this will appease you Fall fanatic addicts for a few more weeks. Until next time!

Elissa

Back to School Pot Roast


I awoke this morning to faint celebratory screams of delight from parents around the neighborhood. Today for many, is the first day back to school. Although some kiddos out there may lack some of their parent’s enthusiasm, there is something wonderful about  new backpacks, freshly sharpened pencils, and a bright outlook on fresh beginnings.

Fresh beginnings. While many have this outlook on New Year’s, I think back to school is the perfect time to revamp your resolutions or even make new ones. You’re adjusting to a different schedule and having to getting reoriented and reorganized. Perfect time to start some healthy habits I’d say!

Not sure where to start? Start with family dinner. If you have kids, you might get a bit dizzy when you flash back to past hectic schedules and those demanding ravenous mouths who will wreak havoc until they are appeased. I can’t say all nights will be smooth sailing and your cup of tea, BUT you can help yourself out with some easy and nutritious meals you can plop at the table with and unwind. One such recipe is pot roast in the crock pot. By setting aside about 15-20 minutes in the morning you can prep it all, throw it in the pot, turn it on low and let the rest take care of itself. Best of all, when you come home, all you have to worry about is keeping its heavenly aroma from making you drool everywhere until you can get it on a plate.

This is how I prepare roast at home, and it is a hit every time. No bouillon cubes, no store-bought seasoning packets with questionable ingredients. If you’re wondering what type of roast to get, know that sirloin beef roasts  or round roasts are among the leanest. I actually used a shoulder roast the other night because it was in our freezer, and it has a little higher fat content. I really like this to see how they all compare. You can use beef broth or red wine in this recipe to really get the juices flowing. I used beef broth the other night, but looking back on my week, I probably should have gone for the wine….

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Frantically thrown together with a toddler hanging on my leg. As long as it all makes it in the pot, it tastes amazing 8 hours later!

 

Back to School Pot Roast (slow cooker recipe)                                               Serves about 6
Prep time: ~20 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2.5 -3 lb beef roast (I used a shoulder roast, but can use loin or round cuts if trying to go leaner)
1 14.5 oz can low sodium beef broth or 1 cup of red wine
10-12 Carrots, peeled
Golden or red potatoes ( about a 1.5 lb bag)
1 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, lightly sprinkle roast with salt and pepper on each side.
  2. Brown each side of roast in pan, transfer to crock pot. Return pan to heat.
  3. Carefully pour beef broth or red wine into pan, gently scraping the bottom with a spatula to mix all that beefy goodness left behind. Heat for about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour pan mixture into crock pot, over browned roast.
  5. Layer carrots, onions, potatoes, and garlic over the top.
  6. Add thyme, bay leaves, and a little more salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Cover crock pot and cook on low for about 8-10 hours.
  8. Let that amazing smell hit your face when you walk in the door and enjoy!

Turn the TV off, put on some music, and enjoy this meal over some good ol’ family conversation. There’s usually lots to talk about in the first days of back to school!🙂 Let me know how it turns out for you.

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Plotting his next move…

Until next time!

Why I hate Dr. Oz and a list of actual credible web sites for health information


For today’s post, I’m going to go on a bit of a rant. Bear with me. The media Is. Full. Of. Garbage. You are well aware of this already, I know. What gets to me, as many health professionals can relate, is that the web, TV, radio, and some popular books/magazines are FULL of bogus health advice driven by ignorance, marketing schemes, personal opinions, and a lack of scientific data that misguides the public, who are only looking for answers. I, myself, will often do internet searches on a health topic on a site that I think is legit then have to do a double take at what I’m reading and question their sources (if they even have any).

Let me beat up on Dr. Oz. Ask any dietitian, we are not fond of Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz is not a dietitian. He is a doctor, yes. A cardiac surgeon. So of course, he knows EVERYTHING about nutrition and weight loss, right? Dr. Oz makes a fortune using these formulaic, flowery sales pitches. He picks a cool sounding ingredient, then sells it as a miracle cure for this and that, without any scientific backing, or evidence-based guidelines supporting it. Health professionals are angry. Consumers are angry. He actually got in trouble not too long ago for these claims and total disregard for evidence-based medicine and nutrition. He scares me.

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Don’t turn to Dr. Oz for nutrition advice. My husband made a good point the other day on the topic, remarking, “Would you go to a podiatrist to operate on your brain?” Well, I would hope not. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told, “but Dr. Oz said….” then I have to do damage control (no, I don’t slap them in the face, but I may or may not be batman in my spare time). It is not fair to you, and it is definitely not fair to dietitians, doctors, and other health professionals who work so hard in getting credible information to the public.  YOUR primary care physician (who knows your medical history) or a registered dietitian (RD) is your best bet, I promise. We RD’s require at least a bachelors of science degree in dietetics, followed by an extensive, supervised post-graduate internship, followed by a huge registration exam, then obtaining national registration by the Commission of Dietetics, and obtaining licensure by the state as well.

Unfortunately, it’s true, evidence-based nutrition recommendations don’t sound as exciting. Eating your fruits and vegetables, varying your diet with whole foods, and exercising probably wouldn’t make a very popular TV show (I at least try to make this blog entertaining…). This is what science supports however, and does not support these quick fixes or miracles in a bottle that cost $$$.  The American Association of Nutrition and Dietetics advocates a healthy overall diet pattern, and to not focus on any single ingredient for health or to prevent disease. This is why I hate fad diets, which tend to eliminate certain food groups and don’t focus on variety. Nutritional deficiencies, weight regain after they’re over, and health complications are too often the result.

Dr. Oz is just one of the many culprits out there. Internet searches for health/nutrition info are not much better. I notice a lot of misinformation is often right at the top of the search, and more legit sites are at the bottom, if at all. There is a lot of unnecessary fear mongering in finding nutrition info as well, which ties me back to my post on that.

 Two major things to remember. First, any fad diet that advocates an elimination of a food group is not backed by science and could have detrimental consequences to your health. Second, always check with your health care provider before introducing any dietary supplement. Just because it is advertised as “natural,” doesn’t always mean it’s safe for you, especially if you have medical conditions or are on other medications that could potentially interact.

Ok. Rant over. The good news is there are ethical, legitimate health and nutrition resources out there for you. You just have to be careful. Even websites written by doctors can sometimes be part of a marketing scheme and not backed by sound science. Save yourself from poor dietary advice by only going to trusted sources that use nothing but scientific evidence-based guidelines to support their claims. Websites that end in .edu, .org, or .gov are more likely to be better sources. Or, you can always come see me!🙂 Here are a few to check out.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics www.eatright.org

American Diabetes Association www.diabetes.org

Office of Dietary Supplements – by NIH https://ods.od.nih.gov/ (this is a great site to check if you are thinking of taking a supplement..)

National Institutes of Health (NIH) https://www.nih.gov/health-information

Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/nutrition.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/index.html

The Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle

The American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/GettingHealthy_UCM_001078_SubHomePage.jsp

Health.gov – contains 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/

Choose My Plate – USDA http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Until next time! Check out http://www.food4success.com for more information on how to make an appointment to come see me or for my class schedule!

Lemon Rosemary Chicken


And just like that, it’s August. Where did July go? Where did June go? Every year seems to go by faster and faster. I look at my baby who I’m still in disbelief is 2 and I try to freeze the image of his little face in my mind before he grows up a second more. All this makes me realize we need to stop and smell the roses (or maybe some lemon rosemary chicken) once in a while. Enjoying delicious, nourishing food is such a gift, and we all deserve it once in awhile, no matter how busy you are. Lemon rosemary chicken is a way to indulge without a big hassle.

 I’ve had friends tell me they don’t like to mess with whole chickens, but boy they sure are economical, and with this recipe, pretty easy to cook. While I like cooking with chicken breasts for many of my recipes, they often cost $8-$10 a package. A whole freakin’ chicken I can get actually cheaper for $6-$7, plus you have dark and white meat. You also have way more leftover possibilities as well, stretching your dollar even more. I think the toughest part for me cooking a whole chicken is ironically just remembering to take it out to thaw in enough time. 

If raw chicken makes you squeamish, check out my post on kitchen sanitation. There’s a few tips there on how to prevent the spread of salmonella or other unpleasant germs. If you are new to cooking whole chicken, make sure to remove the giblets while prepping, The good news here is some brands already have the giblets removed, saving you the trouble. I’m all about one pot/pan meals, so this is another easy clean-up recipe. I throw peeled carrots and golden potatoes in with mine to soak up the amazing flavors from the chicken and it’s wholesome, nutrient packed broth

So slow down, relax, and munch on this amazing chicken. It’s a guiltless way to be nice to yourself.

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Fresh rosemary clipped from the garden, and lemon = smells heaven

 

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, with giblets removed.

4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
1-2 lemons halves (1 for inside of chicken, 1 optional for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Potatoes, chopped (golden, red, or peeled russets all work well)
Carrots, peeled (I used about 8)
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil (I use extra virgin)
Poultry seasoning
Sea Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Pull out a large roasting pan.
  2. Prepare chicken by seasoning cavity with salt and pepper, place in pan.
  3. Warn the chicken by exclaiming, “pardon me,” then stuff rosemary, one lemon half, and garlic into its cavity.
  4. Arrange peeled carrots and chopped potatoes around chicken, as many as you desire.
  5. Drizzle entire thing with olive oil, make sure chicken is coated well (I give mine a little massage…hey, it’s the least I could do at after what I just did to it)
  6. Sprinkle poultry seasoning over chicken, carrots and potatoes until lightly coated. Season with salt and black pepper to your preference.
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  7. Cover with chicken with lid and throw in the oven. Roast for 1 1/2 hours. If you want to it to come out truly juicy, baste chicken with drippings about every half hour. Chicken is done when internal temp reads 165 degrees or higher.
  8. Let chicken rest just for a few minutes then carve and enjoy. Garnish with leftover lemon if you wish. Make sure you spoon up some of that nourishing broth all over it!

Let me know how it works out for you!

Remember, if you are in need of nutritional counseling, this dietitian is here to help! Check out http://www.food4success.com for more info on my services. Want to learn how to properly portion carbs? Join us Thursday, August 18th at 6:30pm for my class, Carb Counting Made Easy, held at the office. Contact me for more info!

Until next time!

Homemade Power Bars


This summer heat is awful. Right now my temperature gauge reads 102 outside, and says it “feels like” 110. That’s not a typo. 110 degrees!! Anything we can do with the tot outside is pretty much first thing in the morning, or around 7-8pm in the evening before he passes out. Blah, I’m ready for Fall.

The heat unfortunately forces my sluggish, sweaty self to put on my thinking cap and get creative with things to do in one of God’s greatest creations – AC. Museums, malls (if Matthew will allow it), whatever. When we play at home, I try to keep things interesting, including the snacks we have in the afternoon. A friend of mine brought some of these delicious granola bars she had made and shared the recipe with me. I made them myself last week, and did a little bit of tweaking to make it work with what I had on hand. These nutrient-packed bars made for a delicious, energy packed snack, giving our sluggish selves just the energy boost we needed, while satisfying our sweet tooths (teeth?). So, I’m calling them Power Bars, or to humor my 2 year old, Super Power Bars (hey, they are packed with fiber, omega 3 from the flax seed, and protein that any super hero would need to do their super hero thang).

Want to know one more perk of these easy bars? They are no bake! Just refrigerate for at least an hour, then cut them up and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. They are perfect for snacks, throwing in school lunches (that’s coming up ya know..), or a wholesome source of nutrition on the go.

Allergy Alert: These bars contain peanuts and tree nuts

Homemade Power Bars (adapted from Super Healthy Kids.com’s recipe)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup oats, dry
1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped cashews (depending on how cashew-y you like it)
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/3 cup ground flax seed (make sure you get ground..)
1/2 cup chocolate chips or mini chocolate chips
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup peanut butter, melted in the microwave
1/2 cup honey

Directions:
1) Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper. You can also use a 9 x 13 pan for thinner bars. Make sure you leave excess paper on the sides so you can easily lift it up from the pan once you pack your mixture in. Set aside.

2) Combine oats, finely chopped nuts, ground flax seed, chocolate chips, and sea salt in a large bowl.
3) Melt peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl, I put mine in for about 1 minute and that did the trick.
4) Add honey to peanut butter and mix well.
5) Pour honey/peanut butter mixture into large bowl with rest of ingredients, stirring into completely mixed.
6) Pack mixture into the parchment-paper lined pan and refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour. 20160720_143626
7) When chilled, lift parchment paper from pan with mixture, slice into bars, and store in an airtight container. You can store at room temp for up to 10 days, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks (I personally enjoy them cold…especially in this face-melting heat).

If you have a few minutes one day, give them a try! Just a few minutes will set you up with a nutritious treat for anytime hunger sets in during the week.  Let me know how they work for you!

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Check out http://www.food4success.com for a list of my services as a registered dietitian, and check out my class schedule if you live in the area!

Until next time!