April 14, 2024

Homemade Chocolate Trail Mix by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Homemade Chocolate Trail Mix

Looking for a healthy and easy snack to serve your kids after-school?  A game day tailgate party?
This healthy trail mix is kid approved.  After mixing up a few different batches, this one scored big!  I received 5 smiles.  Everyone loved the sweet and slightly salty mix. The Chex cereal and bunny grahams are an all-natural source of whole grains.  The raisins contain antioxidants and fiber.  The peanuts complete this healthy well-rounded mix with their addition of protein, fiber, and “good” fat.

2 c  Chocolate Naturally Flavored Chex Cereal
1 c  Annie’s Bunny Grahams-Honey Flavored
1 c  Chocolate Covered Raisins (*dark chocolate is a healthier option)
1 c  Roasted Peanuts-Lightly Salted

Mix and enjoy!
*For kids – practice portion control by using small snack size bowls or baggies.


Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, R.D. Helen is a Registered Dietician with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children. For more nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on Twitter via @HelenAgresti. For more information, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com.

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Baked Krispy Kale Chips by Helen Agresti R.D.

Baked Krispy Kale Chips

Have a salt tooth?  This is the easiest and most nutrient dense chip recipe.  Kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family.  It’s relatives are broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.  Kale chips are a healthy alternative to store bought fried corn and potato chips.  They are packed with nutrients like vitamins C, K, and E.  Kale can help lower your LDL or “bad” cholesterol and raise your HDL or “good” cholesterol.

•      1 bunch of kale
•      1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
•      2 teaspoons sea salt
•      2 tablespoons balsamic glaze (optional)

1.  Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2.  With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and dry kale with paper towels or salad spinner.
3.  Place kale in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and combine well.
4.  Spread kale leaves out on cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.
5.  Bake until kale is krispy with lightly browned edges (approximately 15 minutes).
6.  Allow to cool on baking sheet.
7.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve!
1 cup < 50 calories


Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, RD. Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and recipes, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com

Blueberrry Biscuits by Shirley Plant

Looking for an energizing snack to fuel your daily activities? Try this easy recipe. Simple to make ahead of time and have on hand for a convenient and healthful treat during your day!


Blueberry Biscuits

3 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
zest of 1 lemon
pinch sea salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp honey
2 eggs
¾ cup blueberries

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk eggs, lemon juice and honey. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in blueberries. Drop large spoonfuls on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 325F for 15-20 minutes.

Recipe by Shirley Plant- Nutrition Coach and Author of Finally Food I Can Eat. Click here for more information on Shirley’s 21 day challenge,
and check out her website via www.deliciousalternatives.com. Follow her on Twitter via @sherrecipes

Raw Mint Brownies by Amanda Miarecki

Raw Mint Brownies

Many people consider eating chocolate a “guilty pleasure.” Unfortunately for chocolate, it’s gotten a pretty bad reputation due to its all-to-common over-processed and over-sugared form.

Chocolate, before it became a chocolate bar, was made from the cacao (cocoa) bean. Cacao beans in their natural, unprocessed, unaltered state are rich in nutrients and beneficial to health.

Raw chocolate or cacao powder contains many important vitamins and minerals including:
•               Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron,    copper, potassium, and manganese
•               Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
•               Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
•               Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
•               Protein
•               Fiber

Raw cacao has also been shown to lower blood pressure and improve circulation, promote cardiovascular function, neutralize free radicals, improve digestion, and enhance mental well-being. So skip the candy bars (or any milk chocolate for that matter) and mix up a batch of these delicious (and nutritious) raw brownies instead.

Recipe for Raw Mint Brownies

•      1 and 1/3 cups Dates, Pitted
•      1 tsp Vanilla
•      5 tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
•      A few drops Pure Peppermint Extract
•      1 cup Walnuts
•      Optional: For an extra energy kick, add 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder

Combine all ingredients, except the walnuts, through a food processor. Once the dates are mixed well with everything else, add the walnuts. Form into balls or bars. Store leftovers (if you have any!) in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Amanda is a Boulder-based Health Coach, fitness enthusiast, avid trail-runner, and aspiring physician with a passion for integrative health. Her goal is to motivate women to live inspiring and healthy lives and create a revolution in how people think about their health. Her passion is encouraging others to take care of their bodies with exercise, healthy behaviors, and nutritious foods. Get inspired to live fit and connect with Amanda on her blog. Visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

Cinnamon Chickpea Clusters by Shirley Plant

Busy, busy! Rushing here and there! Take a breather by preparing delicious food ahead of time. Check out this on-the-go healthy snack for the whole family!

Cinnamon Chickpea Clusters
•    1 cup Good Bean Chickpea Sweet Cinnamon
•    1/2 cup puffed quinoa
•    1/3 cup raw almonds
•    1/3 cup raw walnut pieces
•    1/2 cup chopped dates
•    1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
•    1/4 cup water
•    3 tsp agave nectar or honey

1.    Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well
2.    Line a cookie sheet with wax paper
3.    With wet hands take approximately 1/4 cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on cookie sheet
4.    Refrigerate overnight

Recipe by Shirley Plant- Nutrition Coach and Author of Finally Food I Can Eat
www.deliciousalternatives.com. Follow her on Twitter via @sherrecipes

Post-Workout Power Parfait by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Mango Pineapple Power Parfait

Replenishing after a workout with nutrient-rich complex carbohydrates is essential for building lean body mass.  The fruit and granola that are in this parfait recipe will do just that!  Timing is key when it comes to refueling after exercising.  Consuming a protein and carbohydrate rich snack within 40 minutes of a moderate to high intensity workout will replenish energy stores and prevent muscle mass from breaking down.  I topped this parfait with chia seeds for additional fiber and to promote a healthy balance in blood sugar levels.

In a parfait glass layer…
1. fresh mango
2. plain greek yogurt
3. all natural granola
4. fresh pineapple
5. plain greek yogurt
6. fresh mango
7. all natural granola
8. Top with a dollop of greek yogurt and chia seeds.

Replenish, Rebuild, and Enjoy Eating Healthy!

Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, RD. Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and recipes, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com

Strawberry Banana Smoothie by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Strawberry Banana Almond Butter Smoothie

Enjoy the taste of this refreshing smoothie along with it’s many health benefits.

Strawberries have a high content of Vitamin C which helps ward off cancer and heart disease. They also contain folate which has been associated with reducing the risk of birth defects. Almond Butter is rich in protein and monounsaturated fat. This “good” fat decreases cholesterol levels and provides an added punch to help fight cardiovascular disease. In addition, this all natural smoothie stabilizes blood sugar levels and thus satisfies the appetite.

1 serving
In a blender add…

1 frozen banana
1 c frozen strawberries
1/2 c crushed ice
3/4 c almond milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon almond butter
1/2 teaspoon flax meal

Blend and enjoy the benefits of fueling your body healthy!

Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and recipes, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com

Pumpkin Oat Protein Muffins

Pumpkin Oat Protein Muffins
Serves 15

Calories: 160 kCal
Fat: 2.6g
Carbs: 28g
Protein: 7g


2 cups oat flour
1 can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling!)
6 tbsp honey
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup rolled oats (do not use instant oats)
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (I use soy, but whey or other plant based would work)
2 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat muffin tins with light spray oil or muffin wrappers. I used coconut oil spray, and it worked nicely.
2) Mix all ingredients except chocolate in a bowl until well blended. Batter will be very thick.
3) Add 1/3 cup of batter to each muffin cup. Should fill 15 cups. Add 2 chocolate chunks to the top of each muffin, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned and toothpick comes out clean.
4) Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers when cooled.

Recipe by Cyanne Demchak. Cyanne is a Philadelphia-based blogger, marathoner, and at-home cook. In between long days of conference calls and business travel, she shares her love affair with running, recipes and thoughts on healthy living on RunStretchGo.com. She can also be found on Twitter (@cldem), on and Pinterest (RunStretchGo).

An Apple a Day… Written by Laura Maydak

Apples: One of the Original Superfoods!

I’m going to assume that you have never heard the saying “An açaí berry a day keeps the doctor away.”  I know that I haven’t.  While the saying may be true, I don’t see it catching on very well.  Recently “superfoods” have been coming out of the woodwork, but what is it that makes them so much healthier than the standard fruits we have always eaten?  Personally, I love pomegranate-flavored yogurt, but I have never thought to buy a fresh pomegranate at the grocery store, no matter how much of a “superfood” it is.  I wouldn’t even know how to open it.  I like things simple, delicious, and nutrient-dense.  I like apples!

To me, apples are the perfect fruit.  They’re portable, versatile, sweet, and do wonders for your health.  Now lets look at the facts behind the phrase that I’m sure you have heard: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Nutrient Density
•    4 grams of fiber (per medium apple)
•    Excellent source of potassium
•    High in vitamin C
•    Fat-free

Weight Management and Healthy Diet
•    Help to satisfy hunger for few calories (95 calories per medium apple)
•    One medium apple counts as 1 cup of fruit

Heart Health & Chronic Disease Prevention
•    Soluble fiber in the flesh has been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
•    Antioxidants help reduce oxidation of LDL cholesterol and inhibit inflammation
•    Diets high in potassium are associated with lower blood pressure
•    Compounds found in the skin of apples have powerful inhibitory effects on cancer cells in the liver, colon, and breast
•    A flavanoid unique to apples may enhance bone density and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis

Dental Health
•    Apples have been referred to as “nature’s toothbrush”
•    Replacing sugar-sweetened snacks and desserts with fresh apples will stimulate saliva production and reduce the number of cavity-producing bacteria, reducing the risk of developing dental caries

Physical Activity Benefits
•    An antioxidant in the skin of apples has been show to make oxygen more available to the lungs, enhancing endurance during physical activity

I’ve been known to eat apples for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks in between.  Given their versatility, they can be used in sweet and savory recipes any time of the year.

No Bake Apple Crisp Bites

Prep time: 10 – 15 minutes
Yield: 12 balls

1 medium apple (I use Gala)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup honey
1 cup quick-cooking oats

Wash and chop apple, leaving skin on.  Put apple in medium sized bowl and add cinnamon.  Mix until apple pieces are evenly coated.

Mix peanut butter and honey in microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds, until slightly runny.  Add to apples and stir until evenly coated.

Add oats to mixture, ¼ cup at a time.  Stir after each addition.

Roll into small balls, about the size of a tablespoon (the mixture will be sticky.) Place balls on a plate or tray and transfer to the refrigerator to cool.  Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.


Follow me on Twitter (@lmaydak) for more nutrition and wellness tips!