Today I had the great honor of giving a presentation about healthy eating to a group of nearly 40 young local gymnasts.
These girls are on the competitive team at International Gymnastics and they train over 20 hours a week, including 4 hours after school every day. We talked about fueling their bodies for their high activity level, the importance of a substantial and healthy breakfast, snack options and much more.
I had the girls work together to answer a quiz aimed at youth about food and nutrition. Then we went over the answers as a group and discussed each questions. We covered how to make sure they were getting enough carbs, healthy fats, protein and calcium-rich foods in their daily nutrition while also staying hydrated and well rested.
The highlight of the presentation was, of course, the food. I brought them homemade granola bars and made green smoothies for them during the presentation.
I wanted to show them that it’s easy to make food that tastes good but features real foods with healthy, nutritious ingredients. I made one batch of granola bars that were almond butter based and another peanut butter based. They gobbled them up! Some of them were unsure about the green smoothie but everyone agreed they couldn’t taste the spinach and they finished their cups.
I sent them home with the recipes to make with their parents but I wanted to share the granola bar recipe with you guys too because it’s so simple and delicious. They are no bake and ready in under 5 minutes.
They’re full of good stuff like oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, dried fruit and more. I recommend making a big batch, slicing them and then storing them in the fridge or freezer for an on the go snack.
Easy & Healthy Homemade Granola Bars
(Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker)
2 cups pitted dates
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 cup roughly chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup almond or peanut butter (natural style)
1/2 cup honey
Place dates in a small bowl and cover with water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove dates from microwave and place in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
In a small saucepan, combine nut butter and honey and melt over low heat, stirring to combine.
In a large bowl, place oats, dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, salt and dates. Pour nut butter and honey mixture over the oats and stir to combine. Use your hands if you have to (coat them in cooking spray first) and really get everything mixed together. The oats will absorb the dates and nut butter mixture you just have to work it.
Spoon oat mixture into a parchment paper lined 13 x 9 dish and spread evenly. I like to use a piece of plastic wrap to press it down into the pan. Place in freezer until set, about 1 hour. Lift parchment out of the dish and slice into bars. Store in fridge or freezer.
Yield: about 20 bars