Three Healthy Snacks for Those Long Summer Days

When we eat too many refined sugars (high fructose corn syrup, white cane or beet sugar, cookies, candy bars, high sugar protein bars), our bodies are more susceptible to illness. There are even more long-term ramifications to the consumption of refined sweets.

White beet/cane sugar needs no digestion and rapidly enters the bloodstream. As such, refined sugar has a much greater impact upon our body’s blood sugar control mechanisms than maple syrup or honey.

It causes blood sugar to increase suddenly then you crash because insulin levels are now too high. At the same time, the adrenal glands work to raise blood sugar by releasing cortisol, a hormone that triggers the body to extract minerals from the body’s tissues, thus depleting the energy stores that allow the body to maintain strong immunity.

Eventually, one feels tired after eating concentrated sweets (candy, pastries, desserts) or refined carbohydrates (chips, sandwich bread, doughnuts, muffins) because the glands are no longer able to produce regulatory hormones due to the over-production that occurs to match heightened refined sugar intake. Chronic conditions may develop, such as obesity, hormonal disfunctions, diabetes, celiac disease, and autoimmune disorders.

Balance sugar consumption by eating more whole grains like rice, quinoa, millet, barley, and sourdough bread. Include root vegetables like carrots, beets, turnips, and sweet potatoes in your diet. Make sure to eat fat and protein when you consume sugar. For example, eat fresh dates (sugar) and almonds (fat + protein) together. Drink five tall glasses of water daily and take a walk or exercise as often as possible. When you feel tired, try to rest or drink water instead of reaching for sweets.

Try to make your own sweets and use honey or maple syrup instead of sugar. These simple sweeteners are rich in minerals and are minimally processed. Hence, the body does not need to rob vitamins and minerals from its muscles and bones – as it does with sugar – in order to metabolize them. A little sugar is okay on occasion. Over-consumption is what creates health problems.

During these long summer days, we can support ourselves and maintain balanced energy with healthy treats. Instead of grabbing something quick when you need energy, set aside time on a day off to make these snacks. Here are some recipes to get you started.

Protein Power Squares

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup nut butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 C chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder (if desired)

Mix everything together. Shape into squares. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Chocolate Nut Butter Snack Bars

You will need:

  • 1 cup almond or sunflower seed butter (no sugar, organic) 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 5 dates, chopped
  • 1 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the rice, dates, nut butter and hemp seeds.
  2. Press the mixture into a 9×13 pan.
  3. While the rice part is cooling, melt the chocolate, maple, cinnamon and vanilla over low heat. (I just use the same pan for this part to save on dish washing.)
  4. Spread the chocolate mixture over the rice base, put in the fridge to let cool and soften.

Energy Bars

You will need:

  • 1⁄4 cup dried, unsweetened apricots
  • 1⁄4 cup raisins
  • 1⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds (choose any combination of these), chopped 1 cup nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut butter or a combination of these) 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 Tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Boil 2 cups water.
  2. As water boils, coarsely chop dried fruit and place it in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Pour boiling water over fruit.
  4. Soak for 5 minutes and drain.
  5. Meanwhile, mix honey, nut butter, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  6. Chop walnuts/almonds and pumpkin seeds.
  7. Add to mixing bowl and mix.
  8. Add soaked dried fruit to the above ingredients.
  9. Oil a glass baking dish: 7×11′′ is a good size.
  10. While the mixture is still warm, press it flat into the dish with wax paper. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  11. Slice into squares.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap or store in baking dish in the fridge. These will keep for 2 weeks refrigerated.

Writer Lisa Mase is a culinary medicine coach, food writer, translator, and folk herbalist living in Vermont. For articles and recipes, visit Lisa at www.harmonizedcookery.com.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.

By |July 11th, 2017|Recipes|0 Comments

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