By Melanie Albert, Guest Blogger
March is National Nutrition Month, a month dedicated to nutrition and education. National Nutrition Month was created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and healthy eating habits. So the perfect way to kick off this month is with some fun, healthy snacks!
This is a great time to add three delicious healthy snacks, primarily inspired by a vegan and raw food way of eating, to your life. Have fun this week trying superfoods including raw cocoa and goji berries, and make your own almond butter.
Take a Look at Some favorite Childhood Snacks
“As a kid one of my very favorite snacks was red licorice. I think one of the reasons I love goji berries is because they are red and chewy, just like the licorice I used to love as a kid.”
– Melanie Albert
Think about snacks that children love to eat. Often, they tend to be high in sugar and do not contain much nutritional value. Now, reflect on your favorite snacks, and ask yourself the following questions:
- What snacks did you love the most when you were a kid?
- What snacks do you now eat as an adult?
- Describe the similarities in these snacks.
Take a Look at Three Great Snacks
Goji Berries (Wolfberries) have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Traditionally known as a strength-building, longevity and immune system super food, Goji berries grow in South America and the Himalayas. Some benefits of goji berries are they are rich in antioxidants, high in protein (with 18 amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids!), they contain more than 20 trace minerals as well as a high level of polysaccharides, and they are a good source of dietary fiber.
Enjoy Goji berried as a snack, in smoothies, as part of a veggie stir-fry, or brewed as a tea.
Four Ways to Enjoy Chocolate
Dark chocolate is distinguished by the percentage of cocoa solids in the bar. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the sugar.
- Dark chocolate bar: Made with 70% cocoa. If the bitter taste of dark chocolate isn’t appealing, start with a 55% cocoa chocolate and eat bars with higher levels to enjoy the flavor.
- Raw Chocolate: Raw cocoa is either extracted from fermented cocoa beans which are dried without roasting, or roasted at lower temperature.
- Cocoa Nibs: Cocoa bean crushed into little pieces. Try a few.
- Cocoa Bean: The actual bean or seed. Definitely an acquired taste!
Simple Steps to Make Almond Butter
- Put about a cup of raw organic almonds into a food processor
- Turn on food processor
- Check the almonds every 4-5 minutes
- Push the almonds down into the blade, as needed
- Blend until smooth and you see the oil from the almonds
- Enjoy with an apple
Whole Food S.O.U.L. Food Wednesday Action: Eat a healthy snack and share your experience with us.
With our Whole Food S.O.U.L. blog we invite you to take action with your whole foods eating habits. The goal is to incorporate new whole foods eating into your way of eating step-by-step. Our Challenge for you this week is to try a new-to-you healthy snack and share it with us on Facebook.
Share your creations with us on Facebook:
About the Author, Melanie Albert
Melanie Albert, nutrition and food expert, author and speaker, has been active in the integrative medicine and nutrition fields for over a decade. She is the founder; CEO of Experience Nutrition Group, LLC, whose mission is to improve the lives health and nutrition of the sports community, kids and corporations through food and lifestyle education.
Melanie is an instructor in Whole Foods Cooking, Holistic Nutrition (Conscious Eating) and Entrepreneurship at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) in Tempe, AZ. She also teaches Intuitive Eating at Spirit of Yoga in Tempe, AZ. Melanie walks her talk and you can always find her at farmers’ markets, in the kitchen experimenting, and practicing yoga.
You can get more recipes, nutrition and food tips from Melanie.
Visit her blog: www.9Ways90Days.wordpress.com
Visit her Facebook: www.facebook.com/9Ways90Days