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Sustaining Energy

To say I need energy to work and take care of kids (not that either one on their own isn’t exhausting) is an understatement. From interrupted sleep to demanding time commitments, I’m always looking for a new way to boost energy that doesn’t include caffeine (or a nap). I’ve found that energy bars and granola have a few things in common including protein and healthy fats for sustained fuel and carbs for an immediate energy boost. Fiber is key to satiety and curbing the hunger cravings later on. Granola and bars also provide the ability to be eaten anywhere, from sitting at your desk to taking a quick walk – which also helps boost energy. I’ve been looking for products that not only use nuts, but also use grains other than oatmeal to add variety in flavor, texture and nutrition. One day I would love to make granola or a bar for myself, but until then, I have no problem outsourcing.

 

Purely Elizabeth

Purely Elizabeth 1Thank you to the folks at Purely Elizabeth who were kind enough to volunteer some samples of their delicious granola! From nutty to sweet, to salty, to sweet and salty, there is something to satisfy every craving. Out of the ones I sampled, my favorites are the Chocolate Sea Salt and the Maple Brown Sugar, both of which carry a special probiotic blend for an extra boost towards healthy gut flora and overall health!  All of the Purely Elizabeth granola is made with non- GMO ingredients and are gluten free. With 130 calories, 3g of protein and 2g of fiber per 1/3 cup serving the pieces are perfect on yogurt, cereal or as I prefer, just by themselves.

Be sure to check out their grain-free granola line, especially the Original version.

Kashi

2114_PackShotThe Kashi brand is overall inspired by heath and their GOLEAN Plant-Powered bars don’t disappoint. I was lucky enough to receive samples of these bars containing various whole grains, seeds and nuts. With 8g of protein, 4g of fiber and 200 calories per bar, they are perfect for a pick me up that will keep me satisfied all afternoon. All of the bars are non-GMO and many are vegan. I can’t decide if my favorite is Salted Dark Chocolate and Nuts or Peanut Hemp Crunch. Or the Dark Chocolate Cashew Chia. Or the Pecan Baklava. My only complaint is that they aren’t sold closer to my apt.

(picture from Kashi website)

Nature’s Path

The Sunny Hemp bars are full of sunflower seeds, hemp and raisins and are a little sweeter than some bars, but me and my son are not complaining. The bar is soft which also makes it a good choice for younger kids. With ALA omega-3 fats, 3g of fiber, 3g of protein and 140 calories per bar, it’s a good choice any time of the day.

 

 

 

MadeGood

MadeGood Granola bars and minis are are perfect to pack with lunch and are made in a facility free of all the major allergens, including nuts, so they are safe to take to school. We haven’t tried all of the flavors yet, but the Chocolate Banana Granola Minis are a kid friendly 90 calories per pouch and a hit with family members of all ages!

Healthy Cooking: Steaming

If you’re looking for a fast, all-age friendly way to cook vegetables and proteins, look no further than the funny pot with all of the holes on the bottom that fits in your go-to sauce pan. Until I had kids I rarely steamed foods, but it’s now my default for making soft veggies for young eaters.

The beauty of steaming is that vegetables can be cooked to varying degrees of tenderness in under 10 minutes, which is just enough time to prepare the rest of your meal (especially when you have hungry mouths to feed). Steaming is also a quick way to cook greens such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard. I typically bake my chicken or fish, but both can be steamed, as can shrimp, which means you’re only a few minutes away from making pasta, salad, or your veggies and grains a bit more fancy.

IMG_0025Looking for more ways to eat healthy? Check out the Healthy Cooking category, complete with techniques and recipes.