Almond-cranberry energy bites!

I’m sure you’ve seen aisles full of protein bars and yoga bars and similar “health bars” in supermarkets. Many of these bars are actually filled with extra sugar and fillers (inexpensive and low nutrition ingredients that form large part of the bar). Why buy them when you can make one at home in under 20 minutes!

Once you make your first batch the next time around you can play around with other ingredients like walnuts, peanut butter, dried coconut etc. If you are looking for an extra dose of protein then feel free to replace the cacao powder in this recipe with a scoop of your favorite flavor of protein supplement.

This is a super quick and simple recipe that requires little or no cooking (the roasting bit is optional but gives a nicer flavor) Its my go-to food when:
1. I need a quick energy pick-me-up between classes or meals
2. I’m craving something sweet after a meal
3. I’m on the move and I know its going to be a long gap between meals and I don’t want to starve and then binge

DIY energy barOne caveat though- this is a fairly high calorie food but packed with nutrients so its all good stuff just don’t go overboard 🙂
Some of the benefits of the main ingredients are mentioned below.
Almonds:
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.

Pumpkin seeds:
A 28g (1oz) serving of pumpkin seeds contain 7 grams protein, 13 grams of fat (of which 6g are omega 6’s), magnesium, Vit K, copper, zinc, phosphorus and fiber in significant quantities. Enough said!

Chia seeds:
These little seeds are currently every health freak’s favorite super food and with good reason! Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micro-nutrients.

Gluten free Rolled oats:
Oats are technically gluten free however most regular supermarket brands are grown and processed along side wheat and cross contamination is always a possibility and thus are not considered gluten free. Online several brans of certified gluten free oats are available they are whole grain and taste and smell much better than regular oats. My go to brand in India is from Sattvic foods However if you are not gluten sensitive I guess regular oats will also do in the recipe. here are some of the benefits of oats:
Help Lower Cholesterol, Provide Filling Fiber, Help Improve Digestion, Increase Immunity, Have a Low Glycemic Score Compared to Refined Grains,Provide Trace Minerals like Manganese and Phosphorus, Higher Source of Protein Compared to Most Grains.

Dates:
Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of energy, sugar and fiber. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in dates. They also contains vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.

Dried Cranberries:
Many of these phytonutrients offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer health benefits. Cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese, as well as a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and pantothenic acid. However the commercial drying process reduces the amount of vitamins compared to fresh cranberries and adds sugar, so in this recipe I have used this ingredient sparingly.

Cacao powder:
Cacao can improve your memory, reduce heart disease, shed fat, boost immunity, and increase energy levels. Raw cacao contains nearly four times the antioxidant content of regular processed dark chocolate, 20 times more than blueberries, and 119 times more than bananas. Again my preferred brand is Sattvic Foods but you can buy your wherever you get it!
Cacao is not to be confused with cocoa powder! Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. Though cocoa may seem inferior to raw cacao, it’s actually very good for you (and less expensive) if you choose a variety without added sugars and milk fats or oils (i.e the unsweetened variety).

 

Source for information on ingredients from:
mercola.com
authoritynutrition.com
dailysuperfoodlove.net
organicfacts,net

 

Easy ideas to on how to include healthy foods to your diet

Flaxseeds
flax-seed-1Unless you’re living under a rock you’ve probably ready enough about flax seeds and how they are a healthy source of omega 3’s for vegetarians. Consuming whole flax seeds is a bit pointless since it just passes through your body without giving you much benefit, freshly ground flax seeds is what you want to consume. Flax seed oil is good too provided it is not heated and fresh (it tends to turn rancid pretty fast).
Add flax seeds the next time you make Chutney powder (molaga podi/chutney pudi)
Sprinkle freshly ground flax seeds on your oatmeal porridge, smoothie, yogurt, raita

 

Karipatta/ Curry leaveskaripatta
Now this ingredient is commonly used across Indian cuisine however I mostly end up picking it out of my sabzi or curry and placing it aside to be thrown later (which defeats the any nutritional purpose of adding it to the dish).
Karipatta is known to help in
-Lowering cholesterol
-Controlling blood sugar levels
-Preventing graying of hair, helps treat damaged hair
-Treating skin infections because it has anti fungal properties and has strong anti-oxidants that leave your skin looking healthier
-It’s good for digestion
-Cures diarrhea and,
-Is a great source of both iron and folate (folic acid helps your body absorb the iron in your food)

When you buy a fresh bunch of karipatta wash it and let it dry out for a day or two. it will start to look crispy as it dries out. Once it dries out remove the leaves from the stalk and pop it in a spice grinder and blitz it till it to form a powder. (how fine you grind the leaves is up to you)
Now you can bottle this powder and sprinkle it over your dals, sabzi, sambar, butter milk etc. you will consume it without having to chew through the leaves. Now you can include this wonder food in your diet and enjoy its many benefits.

Karipatta Chutney

This is my MIL’s recipe which I love but there are lots of different recipes for the same on the internet, just google it!

Ingredients:KadiPattaChutney

One small bunch of karipatta

2 tsp oil

1 tbsp urad dal,

1 tsp channa dal,

4 to 5 dry red chillies

1/2 tsp whole black pepper

tsp jaggery powder

2 pieces Hing OR 1/2 tsp if using powder. (I like to use the crystal hing (brand SSP) rather than the powder for this recipe

1 small lime size ball of tamarind (can replace with amchur powder)

Salt to taste

Method:
Fry urad dal, channa dal, karipatta, red chilli, black pepper in oil till light brown.
Put all of the above ingredients in a grinder along with salt, jaggery, tamarind/amchur and grind into into a fine paste. Add water to adjust the consistency to a thick paste.

Talk to me! Do you like this post? Let me know if you have any other healthy ingredients that you are trying to add to your current diet…do you have any special karipatta or flax seed recipes? Would you like me to feature any particular food ingredient in a future post?