Energy Bars

Craving a snack? Want breakfast-on-the go? I can’t say enough good things about these bars. No syrups, artificial ingredients, or colors. Minimal, clean and good-for-you ingredients, and takes less than 10 minutes to pull together. 

We have always been a physically active family and need snacks that are clean and healthy. This bar takes barely any time to make, is no-bake and is easy to take with you. They hold well in lunch-boxes, sports bags and school bags and easy for breakfast on the go.

I have 2 flavors of these and have included both. Less than 20 minutes for both and store them in the fridge for up to a week (that’s if they are not all eaten up before that!)

Ingredients for ChocoNut Date Bar

  • 1.5 cups Medjool pitted dates
  • 0.5 cup walnuts
  • 0.5 cup almonds
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp.chocolate powder

Ingredients for Cashew Date Bars

  • 1.5 cups Medjool pitted dates
  • 1 cup cashews

Method for both bars

  • If the dates are dry, sock in warm water for 5 minutes and then drain the water
  • Make sure dates are pitted i.e. no seeds, prior to use
  • Add the nuts to a chopper or food processor. Chop fine.
  • Add dates and other ingredients the recipe calls for
  • Grind all the ingredients together
  • It blends together within a minute or two. Take out the mixture and lay it on a sheet of wax paper
  • Form into rectangle shape using your hands or a knife to shape the edges
  • Slice into squares or small bars
  • Store in fridge or can also be eaten at room temperature
Cashew Date Bars
ChocoNut Date Bar

Blueberry pear smoothie

Smoothies are full of vitamins and minerals with a lot of flavor to jump-start your day. Not only is it nutrient-packed, it also keeps hunger pangs at bay, definitely a better alternative to snacking on calories. This fruit-only smoothie is a nice alternative to a green-smoothie, sweetened with a dash of honey!

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cold milk
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 cups sweet blueberries
  • 1 cup pear, seeded and chopped

Method:

Add ingredients to a blender in the order listed above. Blend, pour and enjoy!


Ginger, spinach and pear smoothie

How about a warming smoothie to get you through the winter?

Green smoothies are one of the best ways to start your morning. It’s nutrient dense and is an easy and quick way to get in a healthy meal, especially for those on-the-go. Get a good blender and mix in the right vegetables and fruits and your aversion to drinking a green smoothie will quickly dissipate. Spinach is low in calories, but high in folate, calcium, fiber and vitamins. It is rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants. Try this smoothie which couples spinach with ginger and pears. Pears support heart, brain and gut health and ginger has anti-cancer and anti-inflammation properties but also keeps the sore throat at bay.

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 ripe pears, diced
  • 1tbsp ginger, diced (or less if you are not a ginger fan)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 4 pitted dates (I use this for sweetness)
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 scoops flax

Method:

Blend all ingredients. And enjoy….this is a smoothie that can tide you through lunch.


Nana’s scrambled eggs – Bhurji

When we ask the kids if they want scrambled eggs, we have to be specific. Is it “milky-eggs” or “Indian-style”? The latter is how my mom made it for us – also known as bhurji in India. Scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions and mushrooms, is an antioxidant filled start to the day!

Servings: 4 Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 medium red onion, diced fined
  • 1 cup Baby Bella mushrooms, diced finely
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small green chili, de-seeded and chopped fine ( jalapeno works well)
  • 1/8th cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Pepper, to taste (I use 1/2 tsp)
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add pinions and fry on medium flame for 2-3 minutes until onions are soft and translucent
  • Add mushrooms and chili, give it a stir and let it cook for 3-4 minutes
  • Add tomatoes and cook on medium-low flame for 3-4 minutes until tomatoes are soft
  • Break the eggs into the pan. Let cook for a minute and then scramble it with a spoon. If you like, you can beat the eggs before putting it into the pan
  • Add the milk, stir it into the eggs and turn flame to low. Cover and let it cook it for 5 minutes. Remove lid and stir
  • Add in the cilantro, salt and pepper. Stir. Continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until the liquid dries off depending on how dry you like it
  • Turn off flame
  • Serve hot with toast or chapatis and a dash of ketchup
Fry onions in pan until translucent and soft
Fry mushrooms and green chili
Fry the tomatoes
Fry the eggs and at the end, add cilantro
Cook till liquid dries up
Serve with a dash of ketchup on toast or with chapatis/tortillas


Chocolate Oatmeal energy balls

Clean, healthy and simple! Set aside a bag of chips and keep this handy in your fridge for a snack. I usually struggle to stock healthy snacks because the kids are always hungry. This is a quick to prepare, grab & go snack with ingredients that are good for you.

Servings: 20 balls

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 20 soft dates (pitted) – see note below, if hard (alternatively, 1/2 cup honey)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • In a food processor fitted with an s-blade, process half the oatmeal and half of the chocolate chips into a powder
  • Add the dates and grind until a paste starts to form (If using honey instead of dates, add the honey here)
  • Add in the nut butter to continue to form a thick paste
  • Remove the paste from processor into a bowl and mix with remaining oats and chocolate chips
  • Roll into 1-2 inch balls
  • Serve cold or at room temperature
  • The balls can be stored covered in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for much longer

Notes

  • Place dates into a small heat-safe bowl. Pour hot water over the dates and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes to soften the dates. Once dates have softened, drain the liquid off the dates. The dates are now ready to be added to the food processor
  • Once the dates have soaked, drain the liquid off the dates, reserving the liquid to use if needed.
  • If your oatmeal balls are not sticking together well, add something sticky. If they are too dry, add more nut butter , one teaspoon at a time
  • If the mixture is too sticky, add in a little more oatmeal, one tablespoon at a time
  • If the mixture is sticking too much too much to your hands, wet your hands lightly with water! The water helps to be able to work the dough into a ball without sticking

Chai (Tea)

Chai….a staple of Indian homes. I didn’t really drink tea while growing up. Unlike Nilesh, who comes from a family that doesn’t get moving until they’ve had at least two cups of tea. So, I’ve learnt that the best way to get Nilesh moving is to have that cup of chai ready for when he wakes up, and woah, that honey-do-list gets moving in earnest! Kidding aside, we both swear that this ginger, cardamom combination not only is a great start to the day but the ginger keeps those sore throats away! On weekends, grab a cup of chai and the newspaper and it’s the perfect start to the weekend.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp tea leaves (typically, 1 per cup of tea)
  • Sugar to taste
  • For Ginger-Cardamom tea
    • 1/2 tsp finely minced /grated ginger
    • 3 green cardamom pods with seeds – crushed

Instructions:

  • In a pan on stovetop, mix water and milk
  • When mixture starts to bubble, add in the ginger and cardamom
  • Bring mixture to boil, and add tea leaves and switch off stove
  • Cover and let the tea steep for 3-4 minutes
  • Filter into a cup with a small sieve and serve

Peach oatmeal

Peaches are an excellent low-calorie snack that combined with oatmeal and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, makes a delicious healthy breakfast. And why a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg? Cinnamon has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties while nutmeg has lots of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory effects.

Servings: 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey or other sweetener – you can add more based on your taste preferences)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 cup Peach slices
  • 1/4 cup Granola for toppings

Instructions:

  • Boil water and milk
  • When boiling, stir oats briskly into the water/milk mix
  • Reduce heat
  • Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Turn off the stove, cover and let stand for 5 minutes
  • Fold in 1/4 cup of the peaches, reserve 1/4 cup for serving
  • Serve the oatmeal in two bowls, drizzled with maple syrup and topped with reserved peach slices, and granola

Apple-pie oatmeal

Oatmeal – one of the best choices for breakfast! It is supposed to help with weight loss, manage your cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower blood sugar levels. Combine that with apples and cinnamon, and you’ve got a trifecta for breakfast that is sooo healthy and good for you and helps you stay full for a couple of hours! While Nilesh and I’ve had oatmeal for breakfast for a while, I’m trying some combinations to entice the kids with a healthy breakfast as they rush out of the door at 6:45am!

The sweet aroma of apples with cinnamon baking wafts through the air as the kids wake up and get ready for school. If that doesn’t tempt them with breakfast, nothing else will.

SERVINGS: 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sweet apples -cores and evenly sliced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp honey (alternative is 2 tsp maple or agave syrup)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (GF for gluten-free eaters)
  • 2 cups water ( or 1 cup water and 1 cup regular milk or unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds, or walnuts
  • 4 whole dates (finely chopped)
  • Optional: Flax seeds, chia seeds, brown sugar

METHOD:

  1. If using the oven:
    1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
    2. Toss the apples with cinnamon powder, 1 tsp honey and lemon juice
    3. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and lay apples flat on the pan
    4. When oven is ready, put pan in the oven, bake the apples for 5 minutes
    5. When 5 minutes is up, remove pan from oven, roll over parchment paper to create a box so the apples are in a sort of “pocket” to trap in moisture. Place pan back in oven and cook for 15 minutes more until soft.
  2. If using the stove-top:
    1. Add the apples, honey, and sprinkle in the cinnamon and lemon juice. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the apples are softened
  3. Making the oatmeal:
    1. In a small saucepan over high heat, add oats, and water(or water/milk or milk only). When it comes to a boil, reduce to low-medium heat and cook until thick and creamy to a desirable consistency
    2. Once think, remove from stove top
  4. Serving:
    1. When oatmeal has cooled slightly, arrange 4-5 slices of baked apples in bottom of a serving bowl. Top with oats. Add 1/3 cup of the apple slices as topping to the oatmeal along with 1/2 the nuts and a drizzle of the honey
    2. Other toppings may include flaxseed, chia seed, brown sugar

Acai-Blueberry Bowl

Acai berry bowls continue to be the Instagram rage and I just had to check it out when I saw a Acai Puree packet at Trader Joe’s. The acai (ah-sigh-EE) berry is a grapelike fruit harvested from acai palm trees, which are native to the rainforests of South America. Like other berries, acai berries contain antioxidants and fiber. Widely touted as a super fruit, it’s a very healthy way to start your day or even have as a mid-day snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Organic Acai Puree – 3.52 oz packet
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 medium Banana (keep aside a couple of slices for topping)
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Honey or 2 Medjool dates (or more, depending on sweetness desired)

Method

  1. In a blender (I use a Vitamix), add the unsweetened almond milk, acai puree, blueberries, protein powder, chia seeds, honey/dates and Greek yogurt.
  2. Blend until smooth (adjust almond milk and honey/dates, if needed)
  3. Scrape mixture into bowl
  4. Top with remaining banana slides
  5. Grab a spoon and dig in