Blog post by Beth Waisburd, our health coach.
It's almost here - the lazy days of summer! During the school year, life is so rushed. There is homework to be done, sports practices to attend and the unforgiving schedule of the typical school day. Healthy habits often get lost in the mix. Now, with a few more hours of daylight, we can relinquish a healthier lifestyle. Small changes can make a huge difference.
Here are a few ideas:
1.) Skip the microwave. It’s hard to imagine a life without the microwave but it is possible! The microwave depletes nutrients in our foods. Utilizing the stove or oven is a much gentler and potentially healthier method of cooking. Your food will heat more evenly and will likely taste better.
2.) Unwrap the package. Packaged foods may save time but “do-it-yourself” snacks are often a healthier choice. Instead of microwave popcorn, pop those kernels on your stovetop. In lieu of store bought granola bars, make your own. (See below for a delicious granola bar recipe) Let your kids choose the ingredients and be involved in the process. Or, eat foods with a natural package and indulge in the summer bounty of fruits and veggies.
3.) Get outside. It was a really tough winter. But with longer days and the return of the sun, soak up some vitamin D! Bike with your kids after work, walk EVERYWHERE, or just sit on a bench and breathe.
4.) Log off and look around. Technology often forces us to stare at a screen for a good majority of the day. Power off your devices and utilize the extra daylight hours to see, hear and smell the subtleties of summer.
The summer will be here fast. Choose to slow down, make healthy choices and make it last!
Homemade Granola Bars
1/3C chopped nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews) – if desired
1/3C raw sunflower seeds
1/2C dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries)
¼ C cacao nibs or mini dark chocolate chips (optional)
3 TBS flaxseed meal
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1/3C sunflower seed spread (or other nut butter)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread oats, nuts and sunflower seeds on a baking pan and bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool for 5 minutes. Line an 8” pan with aluminum foil and then brush the foil with oil. Combine the dried fruit, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add the cooked oat mixture to the bowl. Heat the honey in a small sauce pan over medium heat until is warm and easy to stir. Add the nut butter to the honey and continue to heat / stir for 1 more minute. Pour the heated mixture into the bowl with oats and stir to mix completely. Mix in the cacao nibs. Pour the mixture into the foil lined pan. Cover the mixture with wax paper and use your fingers to press the mixture firmly into the pan (the harder you press, the better they will stay together.). Remove the wax paper and place the pan in the oven for 22 minutes. Remove the bars from the oven and allow them to cool for 20 minutes. Use the foil to help lift the bars out of the pan and cut them into 12 pieces. Allow the bars to cool completely and enjoy!
Photo credits: https://www.dallasda.com/new-initiatives/psa/summer-safety-tips/