BREAKFAST

Natural Solutions - - Food Matters -

On Sun­day night, make smooth­ies for the whole week. If you only have 45 min­utes af­ter wak­ing to leave the house for a com­mute or early morn­ing meet­ing, the smoothie can save you. Most peo­ple get into their own smoothie in­gre­di­ent bliss, but the base batch can be sim­ple and only takes 5 min­utes to make. My fa­vorite mix con­tains or­ganic soy yogurt, soymilk, frozen berries (of­ten straw­ber­ries and rasp­ber­ries), and hemp seed pro­tein pow­der. Like any­thing re­lated to your diet, the key is to find what you en­joy and what works with your body and make it hap­pen. I usu­ally blend three morn­ing smooth­ies in one big batch, mak­ing my morn­ings less stress­ful.

If a smoothie isn’t fill­ing enough, make a batch of pro­tein bars on the last day or night of your week­end. While store-bought pro­tein bars are avail­able in most com­mu­ni­ties, many of th­ese prod­ucts are loaded with sugar, ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied in­gre­di­ents, or preser­va­tives. The fol­low­ing two gluten- and dairy-free bars con­tain a healthy mix of pro­tein, fat, car­bo­hy­drates, and an­tiox­i­dants, and de­liver a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of your re­quired daily fiber. For each recipe, variations are easy to de­velop based on your health re­quire­ments, taste, and in­gre­di­ent pref­er­ences. Pre­heat oven to 320 de­grees. In a food pro­ces­sor, place the ba­nanas, peanut but­ter, shred­ded co­conut, cran­ber­ries, lemon zest, cin­na­mon, ginger, salt, honey, and vanilla. Blend un­til rel­a­tively smooth, about 1 to 2 min­utes. There will still be some cran­berry pieces, but every­thing else should be blended to­gether. Place the mix­ture in a bowl, add the chopped al­monds, and stir un­til in­cor­po­rated. Work­ing in batches, place ½ cup of amaranth in the bowl and stir the mix­ture un­til all of the grain is ab­sorbed. Re­peat this process un­til the en­tire ¾ cup of amaranth is ab­sorbed. Gen­tly fold in the frozen blue­ber­ries and choco­late. Lightly grease a large glass bak­ing dish with olive oil. Scoop the mix­ture into the bak­ing dish, and evenly spread it out over the dish’s sur­face. The mix­ture should be about 1¼ inches thick once it’s spread out. Bake for 55 to 60 min­utes, or un­til a fork placed in the mid­dle of the dish comes out clean. Cool, cut, and gen­tly lift the bars from the bak­ing dish. Store th­ese punches of pro­tein in the re­frig­er­a­tor and con­sume them within a week. I en­joy th­ese bars for breakfast or as a mid-day snack. MAKES 15 BARS ¾ cup un­cooked amaranth, washed

and dried 3 large, ripe ba­nanas 1-2 ta­ble­spoons honey (op­tional) 1 tea­spoon vanilla ex­tract 1 cup peanut but­ter ¼ cup shred­ded co­conut 1 lemon, zested (no juice) ½ cup dried cran­ber­ries (unsweet­ened, if pos­si­ble. If sweet­ened, add 1 ta­ble­spoon honey in­stead of 2) 1 tea­spoon ground cin­na­mon 1 tea­spoon ground ginger Salt, to taste 1 cup roasted al­monds, roughly chopped ½ cup dark choco­late, chopped (dairy-free) 1 cup frozen blue­ber­ries

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