balance, breakfast, brunch

Staying on track and in balance

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For many people, staying on track and achieving their goals means never, ever slipping up. That idea may work for some, but for me, I find that striving for balance in all areas of my life, including my nutrition is the best for me. And that includes eating at restaurants, and even enjoying a delicious brunch like the one above.
I had a lovely brunch with my beautiful sister-in-law this past weekend where we caught up on our lives, drank dark coffee and bright tea, shared an incredible cauliflower appetizer (jumpin’ on this brunch appetizer bandwagon- this should be a more common thing!) and allowed ourselves to slow down for a bit in the midst of our crazy ¬†busy lives.
Sharing a meal has long been a social experience, and many studies show that when we enjoy our meals with others, we show decreased signs of stress and often better digestion. We have to eat, so we might as well do it together right?
I believe that leading a healthy, vibrant and full life will often include eating at restaurants, and sometimes you can control this and sometimes you can’t. What you are always in control of however, is what appears on the plate in front of you and how you feel about it. It doesn’t do you or your body any good to feel guilty or like you’re ‘cheating’ by having something off your usual plan.
Swap the potatoes for fruit, add some veggies, put the dressing on the side, or… don’t!
Enjoy the company, enjoy yourself, slow down and really taste your food, experience the moment and the meal for what it is. Know that you are nourishing your body with not only good food, but good conversation and happiness and that it’s ok. Tomorrow you’ll have that fresh smoothie or that kale salad and everything will, as always, remain in balance.

 

balance, brunch, easy, gluten free, quick, recipe, snacks, vegan, vegetarian

Tropical Oat Bars

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Sometimes, you want to eat seasonally, like enjoying ice cream in the summer to beat the heat, or cozy up with a hot bowl of soup in the winter to warm up. And sometimes, it just gets so damn cold that you decide to protest the weather and fantasize about a dreamy tropical getaway and have to make some snacks that help you do just that.

I don’t really do new year’s resolutions, but I almost always go refined sugar free in January as a body refresh and reset. I do pretty well at resisting the baked goods during the holidays but even I occasionally find myself indulging in more than my fair share of homemade cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie and holiday cookies. I am a firm believer in enjoying your food always and embracing the treats of the season are a part of enjoying time with family and remembering traditions. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate a break from it all come January.

Going refined sugar free works really well for me, I work well with boundaries and telling myself that I am not having something is often easier than I will eat less of something.

I love snacking on whole foods when I’m running between school, work or just heading to a workout, but many bars you find in stores are loaded with extra sugar or just weird ingredients. That, and I can make my own bars in about 15 minutes for a lot less.

Here are some tropical banana, oat, toasted coconut and almond bars that are naturally sweetened, full of healthy fat and fiber to help get you through these long, dark winter days. You could always add some dried pineapple or mango for an extra tropical feel, just make sure your dried fruit doesn’t have any added sugar.


 

Tropical Oat Bars

Prep Time : 10 minutes | Total Time : 15 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 cups oats (I used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free)

1 cup roasted and unsalted almonds

1/2 pepitas

1 cup banana chips

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions :

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • In a small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup and honey over heat on low until simmering.
  • Spread oats and coconut flakes on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes (watch to make sure they don’t burn)
  • When oats and coconut flakes are done, mix in a ¬†bowl with almonds, pepitas and banana chips and cover with oil and syrup mixture.

 

 

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  • Mix to combine and pour into 9X9 baking pan.
  • Place in refrigerator until solid, slice and enjoy. Store in refrigerator.