Okay parents, if you’re like me, you may be trying to get your kids to eat healthier by packing more whole food options for their snacks and meals during a school week. It’s difficult when they’re surrounded by so many processed and artificially sweetened foods (not to mention, processed foods are stripped of essential nutrients). School lunches – we do make and pack them practically every day. My girls do try to maintain a well balanced diet each and every day. However, if there’s one thing they’re not too fond of eating, it’s raw organic nuts such as almonds and cashews (they’re allergic to pecans, walnuts, pistachios) and seeds. Almonds are full of healthy fats and omega 3s (in addition to protein). Cashews are high in mineral content, and seeds – high in unsaturated fats (the good fats). Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds… they just don’t find these “fun” to eat or as tasty as I do.
My youngest daughter is a vegetarian who has chosen to include fish and eggs in her diet. My oldest daughter is a non-vegetarian (hoping to be a vegetarian someday). As to myself, I’m a vegetarian who does not eat fish nor eggs. I do very little dairy if any at all. And when I do do dairy (and cheese), it comes from the Indian food I devout at the temples (believe me, you would understand). I also eat a lot of whole, raw foods such as veggies, fruits, and nuts such as cashews and almonds as well as seeds. Raw soups, smoothies, shakes, and just one solid meal a day (mostly clean). And of course Kombucha. 😉 My snacks are usually veggie sticks with tahini or a bagful – I mean a handful – of cashews, almonds and/or seeds.
Moderation is key to any healthy diet. It’s so difficult sometimes to eat moderate portions of snacks and meals, especially when they taste so good! As I tell my girls, it doesn’t matter which diet they choose, as long as they practice eating a healthy balanced nutritious diet. Educating them, well at least they can grow up with this knowledge. Implementing it regularly, maybe that’s something they may grow accustomed to in good time. After all, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy, balanced and clean diet when visiting the grandparents or relatives (sigh).
Now here’s a recipe I came across and couldn’t wait to make! It includes a variety of nuts, seeds, some cacao and other ingredients, which is combined into an “energy” bar. It is a fantastic snack to add to lunch boxes or something the kids can enjoy as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. I made two batches of this last weekend and when my girls tried it, they loved it!
All you need is a food processor to make this one happen. It did last us an entire week (although I admit, moderation was tough for all of us!).
- 1 1/2 cups of almonds
- 1 1/2 cups of cashews
- 20 dates (I put them in some boiling water for a few minutes to soften them first, then strained the water prior to adding them to mixture)
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/2 cup hemp hearts (I used 1 tbsp of hemp hearts and the rest, I used pumpkin seeds instead)
- 1/4 cup honey (preferably raw local honey which is great to combat seasonal allergies)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons of shredded coconut
- Add the nuts to the food processor and blend until they are in tiny pieces.
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the mixture is well combined.
- Use parchment paper to cover a baking dish (an 8×8 square is a suggestion).
- Refrigerate for about a half an hour (unless you want to have a taste before putting it in the fridge of course).
- Remove and use a big knife to cut up into desired size pieces.
- Store pieces in container in the refrigerator and enjoy whenever you want them!
Source: This recipe is a modified version from the following recipe on The Vibrant Family’s website: http://thevibrantfamily.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/raw-energy-bars/