Sliced or Whole Fruit?

Not only are we saying “hello” to summer this month, but we are also welcoming hot, sunny days filled with time for friends, laughter, fresh fruit, and adventures.  I love filling my free time during school’s summer recess with lots of baking, reading about nutrition, and blogging!

During my reading this week, I came across a study done by the Food & Brand Lab at Cornell University which concluded that people, especially kids, reach for sliced or bite-sized fruit more than whole fruit.  

I certainly know this concept to be true for me, so I often pre-cut fruit to place in my fridge and munch on easily throughout the week.  I stock up on grapes and berries and kumquats then cut up watermelon and cantaloupe and store it at eye-level in my fridge, so fresh fruit is the first thing I see when I swing open the refrigerator to search for snacking options.

I have included in this post photos of my favorite ways to enjoy fruit, the most refreshing and healthy snack for hot summer days! Scroll down to see 🙂

Farmers’ markets are the perfect place to purchase the freshest organic berries!

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How awesome is this organic yellow watermelon I found at my local farmers’ market last summer?!

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Kumquats are easy to pop in your mouth for a sweet and sour snack!

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Making a pretty picture with your fruit makes it more enjoyable to devour! The “sand” is coconut sugar.

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Tangerines + kiwis + blackberries=yum!

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Sliced veggies are also better than whole veggies.  Chop up veggies for simple snacking along with your sliced fruit! Dip veggies in hummus (a homemade recipe coming soon!) for a midday snack!

Apples & Fluffy PB Dip

Here is a quick, easy, and healthy snack idea!  And did I mention delicious?!

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All you’ll need is…

  • slices of 1 organic apple
  • 1/2 individual container of almond (or other dairy-free) yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • cinnamon (to taste)

Mix the yogurt, peanut butter, and cinnamon together, then dip in the apples!

Fun Foodie Fact:  Apples contain phytonutrients which are excellent for regulating blood sugar!

Homemade Cinnamon Almond Butter

This recipe is so easy and yummy!  Plus it is much tastier and healthier than store-bought almond butters, which often contain unwanted added sugars and chemicals.  To make my version, you will only need 2 ingredients: Almonds and Cinnamon.

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Here’s how to make your own Cinnamon Almond Butter at home!

You’ll need….

  1. 4 cups roasted, unsalted almonds
  2. 2 shakes cinnamon

Place all 4 cups of the almonds in a food processor.  Process for about a minute, then scrape down the sides and continue processing for another 2 minutes or so.  Add the cinnamon and process until your almond butter reaches the desired consistency. Voila!  You have your own healthy, delicious almond butter to now enjoy!

I stored mine in the fridge in a mason jar in order to maintain its freshness for the longest time possible!

Eat in on a rice cake like me with cinnamon, organic strawberries, and naturally sweetened jelly or dip your celery in this almond butter for a great snack!  The options are endless.  You could even add vanilla extract, maple syrup, or honey to your almond butter for new, delicious flavors!

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I think my cat wanted some too haha! 🙂

Fun Foodie Fact:  Almonds are some of the only nuts that alkalize the body, which is important because it helps balance the pH levels in the body and avoid osteoporosis, poor immune function, and low energy.

Kale Chips

I tried making kale chips for the first time this week and after tasting them, I’m sad I didn’t start making them sooner!  I have two words: SOOOOO good.  I can’t even imagine eating any other type of chip now. These kale chips are super easy to make and are a perfect quick, on-the-go snack!  Plus you only need a few ingredients.

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  • 1 bunch leafy green kale
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Seasoning (salt and pepper, curry powder, cayenne pepper, red chili flakes, lime salt–a farmer’s market find, or anything else you want!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Wash the kale then de-rib by pulling off the leaves from each side of the stem.
  3. Put the kale leaves in a bowl and drizzle in olive oil.  It’s better to put too little then add more than to put too much.  Massage the olive oil into the leaves.
  4. Lay out the kale on a baking sheet and lightly season.
  5. Bake for about 3o minutes or until crispy.  (All ovens are different so it’s best to keep checking on your kale chips so they don’t burn.)
  6. Allow them to cool, then enjoy!

Fun Foodie Fact: Calorie to calorie, kale contains more iron the beef.  This is important because iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body, supports healthy liver function, and aids in the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes!

Saturday Morning Smoothie Bowl

I love Saturday mornings because I don’t have to set an alarm to wake up early for school like I do during the week, and I am not rushing to get out the door!  I really enjoyed leisurely waking up this morning and taking my time to make breakfast and snap pictures for my blog.  I made a delicious Berry Smoothie Bowl that I am so excited to share with you!

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Here is what you’ll need to recreate it:

  • 1 Cup Almond Milk (Or any type of milk you prefer)
  • 1/3 Cup Frozen Raspberries
  • 1/3 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Scoop (Half-Serving) Vanilla Protein Powder
  • Splash of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 shakes of Cinnamon

Blend and pour into a bowl.  Add whichever toppings you enjoy!  I topped mine off with organic blueberries, raspberries, and unsweetened coconut shreds.  The beautiful thing, though, about smoothie bowls is that there are endless opportunities and combinations.  Add a banana to thicken, switch the berries out for a different fruit, add almond butter, or anything you desire!

Fun Foodie Fact: Blueberries are full of phytochemicals called pterostilbenes, which have antioxidants that protect the body from harmful, damaging molecules called free-radicals.

Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice! Smoothie Time

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This pumpkin spice smoothie is one of my fall favorites!  It tastes just like pumpkin pie, but in smoothie form 🙂

Here’s what you need…

  • 1 cup almond milk (or whichever milk you choose)
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 to 4 tbsp pumpkin puree (depending on how strong you want the pumpkin flavor to be!)
  • Vanilla protein powder-optional (I usually add half a serving to my smoothies)

Blend!

Fun Foodie Fact: Nutmeg cleans out built-up toxins in the kidney and liver.  It also decreases the deterioration of pathways and functions in the brain!

Pumpkin Snack Bites

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I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween!  Even though Halloween is past, we still have Thanksgiving and the rest of fall to enjoy pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavors! Y-U-M. Today I want to share with you pumpkin snack bites!  They are so easy to grab on-the-go or pop in your mouth for a yummy treat.

Here’s what you’ll need for 8 snack bites:

  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free oats
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 date paste (pitted medjool dates)
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Just grind up in a food processor, roll the mixture into balls, refrigerate, and enjoy!

Fun Foodie Fact: 1 cup pumpkin has more potassium than a banana, so it serves as a great post-workout food to refuel and keep muscles functioning properly!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Candied Pecans

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Some of my favorite parts of fall are…Pumpkin & pumpkin pie spice-flavored EVERYTHING!  They’re definitely my must-haves in this beautiful season, so I’ve decided to do a segment of pumpkin-inspired recipes! Halloween is notorious for sugary candies and sweet treats, but I believe these goodies can be detrimental to our bodies. I love these candied pecans because they satisfy cravings for something sweet, yet are refined sugar-free since they are sweetened with organic natural maple syrup. Also, the pecans get their delectable taste from the pumpkin pie spice, which is a lovely, aromatic blend of cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom!

All you need to make these pumpkin pie spice candied pecans is…

  •  1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup raw pecan halves
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • a pinch of sea salt
  •  2 Tbsp organic natural maple syrup.

Directions:  Put the olive oil and pecans in a saucepan and toast on low-medium heat for about 4 minutes.  Make sure to stir them around so the nuts don’t burn.  Now add the maple syrup, pumpkin spice, and sea salt.  Mix everything in the pan together by continuously stirring until the maple syrup caramelizes on the pecans.  Remove them from the pan and allow the nuts to cool. I love enjoying these pecans in salads, in a handful as a snack, or as toppings for some of the recipes I’ll share later with you in this segment! Fun Foodie Fact: Cinnamon, a main ingredient in pumpkin pie spice, and pecans themselves both reduce the amount of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in the body.

Gluten, Dairy, Soy-Free Blueberry Muffins

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups your choice of gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond milk
  •  1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup blueberries.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients. Mix in blueberries and pour into muffin tins lightly greased with olive oil spray. Bake 15-20 minutes then cool 🙂

Being gluten/dairy/soy free, I do not often find muffins suitable for me to eat. Also, I prefer to eat little to no added sugar,  so I  love to make my own muffins instead!