Bold and Sweet Almonds + Trail Run Tabata

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond

A handful of almonds (about 23) makes a hunger-curbing, healthy  snack.

Almonds are little powerhouses of nutrition and one of my favorite snacks on the go. I love to use them in recipes (like for granola) too! A handful of these crunchable, munchable nuts are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and heart healthy fats.  Almonds are one of the most abundant sources of protein, fiber, calcium, niacin and vitamin E when it comes to tree nuts.  So, you’re nuts if you don’t eat this nut!

Blue Diamond Almonds - sweet and savory!

If you’re wondering what a handful serving is, it’s an ounce or about 23 nuts. This ounce of almonds has 163 calories, 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat – but, don’t worry about the fat.  The fat found in almonds is monounsaturated fat, the kind that is beneficial for your body – like olive oil.  This kind of fat has been linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and a myriad of other problems.

Almonds are ideal for entertaining!

A recent study from Spain suggests that eating almonds and other nuts can keep you from gaining weight. After 28 months of a diet with or without nuts, the test group who ate nuts at least two times per week was 31 percent less likely to put on pounds than the group who never or rarely ate nuts. One reason may be that the fats and protein in almonds and other nuts curb hunger longer that other food choices, leading to less mindless snacking throughout the day.

Honey Dijon and Honey Cinnamon Almonds from Blue DiamondWhile I never tire of almonds, sometimes it’s always fun to add a little extra flavor. But sweet or savory flavor, that’s hard to decide!  Blue Diamond Almonds has so many varieties of roasted almonds dusted with flavor – Honey Dijon and Honey Cinnamon are two of my newest favorites. One flavor is bold and the other is sweet as honey – sorta like me!

The six-ounce cans are perfect for popping open when friends drop by – or for dropping in your purse for nearly a week’s worth of snacking.  That’s one thing I love about almonds is that you can keep them on-hand for refueling in a gym bag, purse, desk drawer or glove box without worry of spoilage. Take almonds on vacation!  Another place I like to carry along my Blue Diamond Almonds is on a hike or trail run – perfect for nipping “hangries” in the bud!

Speaking of trail running, I have a fun/tough workout that combines running with a series of Tabatas.  Have fun and don’t forget to eat your almonds!

Try adding a series of Tabata exercises on your next trail run for a full-body workout!

 

Tell me your thoughts about almonds, trail running and Tabata training in the comments below.  

Tart Cherry Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes & Ab Workout #TryAboutTime

I have no regrets about living a (mostly) clean, healthy lifestyle and saying “no thank you” to a lot of temptations like margaritas, donuts or never-ending breadstick baskets. However, one of the most difficult break-ups in transitioning to a higher protein diet was with pancakes – big, fluffy stacks of carbo-overload yumminess covered in sugary syrup.  About Time Protein Pancakes - TheFitFork.com

So, you can only imagine how thrilled I was to discover About Time Protein Pancake Mix – it’s a hearty, healthy breakfast that offers 21 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber for about 290 calories. And, it still tastes like delicious comfort food! For me, this pancake mix offers an optimal serving size of protein – I try to take in between 20 – 30 grams during each meal (and snacks). Actually, I learned last year from nutrition researcher, Dr. Heather Leidy, that eating adequate protein in the morning can help curb unhealthy snacking later, even much later, in the day.

The Chocolate Chip Protein Pancake Mix (Cinnamon Spice also available) is so easy to make – even on busy mornings (or make ahead and freeze)!  Of course, being a fit foodie, I always have to put my spin on things, so I came up with this “recipe” for Tart Cherry & Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes. Super simple — I just swapped out cherry juice for some of the water called for on the package and defrosted frozen tart cherries, mashed them with a fork and mixed in stevia and unsweetened, plain Greek yogurt. YUM!

Tart Cherry & Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes - TheFitFork.com

Tart Cherry & Chocolate Chip Protein Pancakes Recipe 

  • 1 cup dry About Time Chocolate Chip Protein Pancake Mix
  • 1/4 cup tart cherry juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1/3 cup frozen tart cherries, defrosted
  • 6 ounces unsweetened, plain Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid stevia (or, more or less to taste)
  • Garnish – mini chocolate chips
  1. Whisk together dry mix with cherry juice and water until just blended.
  2. Heat skillet to medium heat (about 325 F degrees).
  3. Cook pancakes until bubbles stop forming and edges are cooked, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown, about another 1 minute. Repeat for remaining pancakes (will make 6 – 8 pancakes, depending on size)
  4. While pancakes are cooking, add cherries to a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat on defrost in the microwave until thawed and just a bit warm.
  5. Coarsely mash cherries with back of fork, allow juices to remain in the bowl.
  6. Add Greek yogurt and stevia to cherries, mix to combine.
  7. To serve, arrange pancakes into two stacks. Top with ½ of cherry topping. Enjoy!
  8. Serves 2

About Time AUX Pre-Workout and Fruit & Nut Bars - TheFitFork.com

About Time has so many other great products that fit in with my lifestyle – just a few I’d like to point out are the Paleo-friendly Fruit, Nut and Protein Bars that are great for post-workout or satiating snack and the AUX Pre-Workout Drink (stevia-sweetened) designed to increase metabolic performance and promote rapid recovery. The company believes in complete ingredient transparency, there are no preservatives or yucky chemicals. You’ll be finding both of these products in my gym bag from now on!

And, what would talking about food that keeps athletes fit and looking fierce be without a special workout?!  Try out my About Time Abs Workout – you may not thank me while you’re doing it, but you’ll thank me later!

About Time Abs Workout - TheFitFork.com

 

Have you ever had protein pancakes, what did you think?!

What is your go-to ab or core exercise?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of About Time.

Chocolate Cherry Trail Cups + Workout to Flip For

Chocolate Cherry Protein Trail Cups - No Bake - TheFitFork.comSnacking, snacking, snacking – lots of snacking going down at my house because I am my three teen boys are always so hungry. I’ve been experimenting with some homemade energy bars and trail mixes and have come up with the perfect combo – Chocolate Cherry (Protein) Trail Cups.  My husband mentioned after gobbling one up that it reminded him of a Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte Lara Bar  — so, I made a Larabar copycat recipe without even realizing!

Nut Butter, Dried Cherries, Oats and More - TheFitFork.com

So many wholesome yet yummy ingredients in this recipe.

Food Processor - Cherry Chocolate Trail Cups - TheFitFork.comThese healthy snacks are super easy to whip up and using a food processor makes the task even less time consuming. The tip to making sure these treats hold up to any adventure is to make sure the crumbly mixture is moist enough to stick together when pressed between fingers. If it seems too dry, throw more nut butter or sugar-free chocolate syrup in 1 teaspoon at a time.

I’m taking my batch of trail cups for some long-lasting energy when the family heads out on a ski trip soon. I created this recipe with protein power as one of the ingredients to balance the dried fruit and chocolate.   I don’t want to hear ANY “I’m hungry mom” complaints when we’re dangling our skis and snowboards off a lift 10,000 feet up.

Chocolate & Cherry Energy Cups - TheFitFork.com

Chocolate Cherry (Protein) Trail Cups Recipe

  • 1 ¼ cup Love Grown Super Oats*
  • 1/3 cup chocolate protein powder (like Quest Nutrition Chocolate Milkshake)**
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup nut butter of choice (I used almond)
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 2 tablespoons Stevia-sweetened cocoa syrup***
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

*You may use regular rolled oats and add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. 
**If you don’t want to use protein powder, add an additional ¼ cup oats and 1 tablespoon nuts.
** I used NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup, but you can use any chocolate syrup

  1. Add oats, protein powder, cocoa powder, raisins and pecans in work bowl of food processor. Processes until ingredients are broken down but still fairly coarse
  2. Pulse in nut butter and syrup until mixture is moist and sticks together when pressed between fingers.
  3. Pulse in cherries and mini chocolate chips until just combined.
  4. Place approximately ¼ cup loosely scooped mixture into muffin tin that has been prepped with a paper liner. Press mixture down with back of spoon of fingers until compacted.
  5. May be stored in the refrigerator in airtight container for several weeks. Makes 15 :”cups.”

Oh, and I have a workout you’re going to flip for – if you don’t have a tire, a heavier med ball can be substituted.Tire Flip Full Body Workout = TheFitFork.com

 

What is on your workout and / or snacking schedule this week?  Have you ever flipped a tire?

Southwestern Shrimp & Guacamole Starters + Avocados & Athletes

Southwestern Shrimp & Avocado Starters - TheFitFork.com

Avocado Superfood

Head over to Core Power to check out my post on Guacasuperfood! Five Reasons Avocados are a Super-Fuel for Athletes.  Of course, I adore guacamole, but this nutrient-dense fruit also makes a rich and creamy addition to smoothies or spread on sammies – it’s also a heart-healthy swap for some of the fats used in baking!   Avocados are also a good source of fiber and protein and pack an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – find out exactly how they can help you as a runner, triathlete, CrossFitter, mountain climber, yogi, gymnast or other active person at CorePower.com.

Meanwhile, dig into my recipe for these super easy, super yummy Southwestern Shrimp & Avocado Starters –they are “starters” because once you start eating, you won’t be able to stop. That’s okay – they’re good for you!  These amazing appetizers will be the hit of your holiday party spread — you could also present them in disposable condiment cups if you don’t have enough tiny bowls or would prefer to avoid clean-up.

Southwestern Shrimp & Avocado Starters - TheFitFork.com

Southwestern Shrimp & Avocado Starters Recipe

  •  1 large avocado
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1/3 cup mixture of roasted corn with red peppers*
  • 18 roasted or grilled shrimp*
  • 18 unbroken tortilla chips
  • Garnish: cilantro sprigs

In small bowl, mash together avocado, lime juice and garlic salt. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon of this guacamole mash into 1 ounce condiment cups. Sprinkle a bit of the corn mixture to top of avocado and then top with one shrimp, tail side up. Set a single tortilla chip behind this for scooping out the remaining guacamole once the shrimp is eaten. Repeat steps for remaining appetizers. Makes 18 appetizers.

*I used thawed Green Giant Honey Roasted Corn in the steamer bag and grilled shrimp from the take-away food section of the market for convenience.  

If you’re looking for other small bites for your soiree, these Holiday Appetizers from Cooking Light make a statement and are sure to keep the conversation going!

Holiday Appetizers from Cooking Light

Snack Nation Box - TheFitFork.comI also want to let you know about a great service that delivers healthy snacks to your home or office – Snack Nation.  My box couldn’t have arrived at a more perfect time, as I was about to gnaw my arm off in hunger desperation. I tore into the box and it was brimming with sensible snacks including long-time loves (Quest Bars, Krave Jerky and Pirate Booty) and some new favorites (Bare Fruit and Rip Van Waffles).  Perhaps what I appreciated more than the snacks, was the fact that this company gives back to end world hunger through their HUMAN donation program – each delivery is matched by a one month’s supply of nutrient packs delivered globally to people facing malnutrition.  If you’re looking for a unique holiday gift (and one that’s also healthy, tasteful and socially conscious), you really need to check out this fantastic home snack delivery service – plans start out at just under $30 a month and you can sign up for a free trial.

So, tell me, how many AVOCADOS do you eat per week?

What is your favorite healthy packaged snack food?

Great Grapes! An Awesome Fall Fruit for Running & Recipes

benefits of grapes for runners edit

We all know grapes taste great and are a healthy snack; it only makes sense that they can be the perfect little pick-me-up in a running nutrition plan. While there is a growing contingent of people trying to avoid carbohydrates all together, foods that provide both simple and complex carbs are needed to optimize athletic performance and recovery. Most (but not all) carbs in your diet should be “complex” to provide a steady state of energy. Basically, because of the starchy cell structure in complex carbs (like whole grains and potatoes), your body takes longer to break them down and, therefore, sends the glucose through your bloodstream at a slower pace – less chance of a  sugar high and subsequent crash. But sometimes you need a quick source of energy, especially if you’re a runner, athlete or need some quick brain power – this is where the simple carbohydrates come in. Simple carbohydrates can be refined (like table sugars, candy, syrups and processed foods) or natural – always go for the natural because you also get the added benefit of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in the food!

 

Grapes are all-natural, simple carbohydrates that are easy for runners to consume for quick energy. Eat a handful before you go out for a run or recover from your workout with a smoothie made with grapes and a little protein powder. One thing I love about using grapes in my running diet is that they can be frozen and packed in a zip-top bag for a mid-workout snack on long run days or marathon races – so much healthier that a refined sugar goo!  And, when you consider that grapes are about 80 percent water, they’re a good food source for hydration. How very thoughtful of Mother Nature to have individually “wrapped” each grape for less mess – you couldn’t take slices of banana along like this!

There is a “bunch” of health research that athletes will appreciate knowing about grapes. For example, a study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that compounds in red grapes (and blueberries) may boost the immune system when combined with vitamin D. Also, according to the California Table Grape Commission, all grapes (whether green, red, purple or black) are an abundant source of antioxidants and other polyphenols that can help neutralize harmful free radicals responsible for cell inflammation but also helps lessen the chance of being afflicted with one of many harmful health conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.

grapes and running shoes

I also love to use grapes as an ingredient in my recipes – that is if I can keep them away from my kids who have been known to devour five pounds in a single day. I recently developed this fall fruit salad recipe for the Litehouse Food’s Living Litehouse BlogGrape Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad Recipe! Oh, the combination of sweet grapes with the pungent cheese and crunchy nuts is divine!

fall fruit salad with grapes

 

Grape Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad Recipe

  • 2 lbs grapes (any variety or assorted)
  • 6 oz. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 cup raw walnut halves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Wash grapes and pat dry. Add to bowl, sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles and walnut halves. Drizzle on olive and and vinegar; toss. May be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator.  Serves 8. 

grilled citrus chicken and grapesAnother favorite way to creatively use grapes is to skewer them up like little tomatoes when grilling, like I did in the recipe from the summer – Lemon Lime Chicken with Grilled Grapes Recipe! If it’s already too chilly to grill outdoors, you can still grill grapes (which are at their peak in the fall season) inside on an indoor grill or stove top grill pan.

 

 

 

And, check out my makeover on an all-time, all-generation pleaser – the Purple Cow! But, instead of ice cream, I’ve turned this purple treat into a healthy smoothie made with a Core Power High Protein Shake! Or, you could substitute your favorite type of milk instead in this recipe for Purple Cow Protein Smoothie.

creamy grape smoothie

Purple Cow Protein Smoothie: Blend together 6 ounces Concord grape juice, 6 ounces Vanilla Core Power (or milk of your choice) and 3/4 cup frozen grapes. Top with whipped cream and acai berry powder, if desired. Serves 1.

What is your favorite way to eat grapes (wine doesn’t count)?

What is your go-to snack to pack for a long run?

Lunchspiration | Creative Lunch Ideas & #HarvestSnaps Giveaway

lunchspiration

It’s back-to-school time and my kids keep reminding me that brown-bagging can get a little boring! Turkey sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs have been overdone at our house. OVER. DONE. Not only are my guys getting older and more adventurous in their tastes, I personally prefer my mid-day meal to be something anticipate with excitement rather than aversion

I have three quick and easy ways to give your lunch a lift plus a giveaway for a stash of a yummy and healthy snack food to take on the go – Harvest Snaps. Read on!

Lunchspiration - Leftovers

Leftover #Lunchspiration: While some detest a repeated, reheated performance of last night’s dinner, I live for leftovers – in fact, I often plan to make extra, just so I’ll have an encore!  Sometimes, I repurpose dinner leftovers into new creations such as transforming fajita beef strips into baked sweet potato toppings, putting pasta, rice or grain remnants into a soup or chopping up leftover veggies to eat cold in a salad. But, not trying to brag, some of my dinners are so yummy (like this broccolini and tenderloin) that the second showing is just as wonderful as the first!

salad lunchspiration

Salad #Lunchspiration:  I may single-handedly eat more salad than anyone on the planet. It’s not because I’m trying to diet — I’m just a lettuce lover!  The kids always want me to buy Iceberg or Romaine lettuce, but I’m a huge fan of the Baby Spring Mix which features an assortment of darker greens – those darker lettuces are much more nutrient rich. But, eating a pile of lettuce day-in and day-out can get dull as a doorknob so I mix it up with a variety of unexpected toppings including any type of fresh or dried fruit (apples, oranges, blueberries, strawberries peaches or bananas). I dare you to put a banana on your salad – do it! Other creative ideas are leftover proteins (even scrambled eggs!), crushed up chips or Harvest Snaps in lieu of croutons, pan grilled or crisped cheese, and out-of-the-box dressings such as Sriracha mixed in plain yogurt, peanut butter mixed in orange juice or even cold spaghetti sauce. Seriously.

healthy yogurt toppings

Yogurt #Lunchspiration:  Some might think that yogurt is only for breakfast or maybe a healthy dessert. But, I think it also makes a great start to any lunch – I use Greek yogurt because it’s packed with so much protein.  The richness and creaminess of Greek yogurt is something I don’t tire of quickly, especially when flavored with a few healthy toppings from a nearly endless array of options. Here are a few of my healthy yogurt toppings:

fruit and nut combo for yogurt

snap pea bento boSo, every lunch needs a little “crunch” for munching and Harvest Snaps is a favorite brand I like to feed my family. Harvest Snaps are gluten-free, baked (not fried), high in protein because they are made from lentils and peas, and have 40 percent less fat than a traditional potato chips. Oh, and did I mention that every one of the six flavors is delicious?! My current favorite flavor is a tie between the subtle Lightly Salted Snapea Crisps and bam-pow Wasabi Snapea Crisps. The other four and also yummy flavors are Black Pepper Snapeas,  Caesar Snapeas, Tomato Basil Lentil Crisps, and Onion Thyme Lentil Crisps.

bento box snapea

I have two ways for you to win – first you can win a BIG PRIZE directly from Harvest Snaps. How? Well, right now, head over to Harvest Snaps and play the really fun mix and match game where you “make” a bento box – then share your creation on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter for a chance to win one of three prizes for school valued at up to $1,000!

 

 

harvest snaps border

Second, you can enter my giveaway below to win one of three 6-pack assortments of Harvest Snap snacks that will come in really handy for packing those back-to-school or work-day lunches. Enter my giveaway in the Rafflecopter app below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Calibee Harvest Snaps, however all opinions are my own.

Headstands and Hot Dogs + Healthy Chip #Giveaway

headstand balance challengeFirst, let’s just get the headstand out of the way. This is not your ordinary inversion. It’s a headstand that will challenge you to the very core as you tighten every muscle trying to maintain balance – I’ve thrown in balance busting elements including WIND and WEIGHT! To try this, you’ll need a heavy-duty garage fan, 4 to 10 pound medicine ball and the ability to safely kick up and hold a headstand for at least a minute (you don’t want to crash into the fan). To add in the balance challenges, grab a medicine ball between your feet on the way up, fully extend legs upward, and then bend knees downward. Repeat as long as possible. To test your balance further, continue the upside down medicine ball leg presses, but have a friend turn the garage fan on full blast. Whoohoo!

Hot dogs are a staple of summer – I can’t imagine how many dogs the world has downed at ball parks, boardwalks, and backyard barbeques. Sure, some foodies might be too high faulting for a hotdog, while fitness-oriented folks may shy away assuming all frankfurters are loaded with fat, random animal parts, chemicals and other questionable stuff.  Okay, well maybe the most widely available hotdogs are not so “hot” in the nutrition department, but there are lots of healthier options around today including this round up of grass-fed, all-beef hotdogs from Health.com.

hotdog ingredients

It can be quite confusing to pick a healthy hot dog!

Definitely read labels; that’s your job as a consumer. For example, when the package rattles off ingredients such as “by-products” or “variety meats,” this means the hotdog may have as little as 15 percent muscle meat , the amount required by the USDA. Depending on your preference, make sure beef or grass-fed beef is the number one, first ingredient. Also, if you think you’re getting an uncured, chemical-free hot dog, think again because I don’t think it’s possible.  It’s common practice, even by “healthy” companies, to label products as “uncured” and “nitrate free”  . . . . .wait for it . . . “with the exception of nitrates naturally occurring in celery salt.”  It’s not like celery salt is innocently added to perk up a hot dog’s flavor. Instead, when this water-dense plant is grown in nitrate-rich water and then dried, ground and passed off as “salt,” it also passes on (you guessed it) a concentrated level of nitrates. Studies have shown that hot dogs labeled “nitrate free” contain between ½ to 10 times the amount of nitrates found in conventional hot dogs – WOW!  Check out this interesting article on What’s Inside the Bun from the New York Times.

Sonya Thomas competes in the 2012 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Eating Contest at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York

Champ Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas getting it done!

So, even with all of these questionable issues at hand, I’ll still eat an all-beef hot dog every now and then, especially in the summer.  Really it’s about moderation, I’m only eating one hot dog at a sitting, a couple times a year – and not trying to break the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. By the way, the men’s record is 67 hot dogs and the women’s is 45 – in ten minutes! Okay, so this is more than a little gross, but so morbidly fascinating – and it does sort of appeal to my competitive spirit. But, for now I will just weenie out and remain a spectator!

fit rank toppings

Another way to make your hot dogs “healthier” is to top them with fresh, nutritious ingredients. I recently shared my recipes for “Healthy Hot Dog Toppings” on Litehouse Foood’s Living Lighthouse blog. Instead of adding gut-busting chili and cheese, I used the new line of Opadipity Greek Yogurt Dips to create gourmet dogs. Head over to Litehouse Foods to check out my Greek God Hot Dog, Garlic Green Machine,  and Cha-Cha Chipotle Dog!

jennifer thefitfork food should taste good

Okay, you can’t have hot dogs without chips – and of course, I’m talking about healthier chips! Food Should Taste Good (aka FSTG) recently sent me a box full of their delicious, nutritious flavors to test out – and I also get to give some away! I’ve loved these tortilla chips for a long time . . . . but had only tried the Whole Grain flavor until recently . Holy guacamole . . . there is a Guacamole flavor .  . . and an Olive flavor . . . and a Jalapeno Cheddar flavor and a gazillion other creative flavors – too many to mention!

I love that these chips are made from real ingredients, have zero trans fats, and no cholesterol – plus, they are certified gluten free and Kosher, making them the perfect anytime snack for pretty much everyone!  My husband eats these healthy chips straight out of the bag while I like to crunch them up and use them as croutons on my salad. Or with dip, dips are good – especially my favorite Chipotle Ranch Dip made with Greek Yogurt. And with my new favorite FSTG chips – Jalapeno Cheddar. Chips, super double good. Dip, good. Got it? Good. Now get it! Or, win some good food (see Rafflecopter app below):

food should taste good jalapeno cheddar

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nutritious Apricot + Almond Snack Ideas!

Frozen apricot almond milk smoothie

Smoothie-making season is in full swing at my house now that the weather is warm (pushing the 90s) and here to stay! My family thinks I’m crazy, but I love the hot weather and the way the sun feels on my skin – I just have to remember to wear my sunscreen and hydrate!

One of my favorite smoothies for May (when fresh apricots start coming into season), is my Apricot Almond Smoothie. While it’s made with fresh slices of apricot that have been flash frozen, dried apricots can be substituted. For best results, soak the dried apricots in water for about 30 minutes before blending to make them plumper and easier to incorporate. Almond Apricot Smoothie

Apricot Almond Smoothie Recipe 

Blend 1 cup almond milk. 2 tablespoons ground almonds, and ½ cup frozen apricot slices (about 3 – 4 whole apricots). Add ice as needed to achieve desired consistency. If fresh apricots are not available, substitute 8 dried apricot halves that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes.

While fresh apricot season is really short, it’s easy to enjoy dried apricot year-round. Due to their dehydrated nature, dried apricots are concentrated in vitamins, minerals and other healthy nutrients – especially iron, vitamins A and C, and dietary fiber.  Stick a zip-top bag of dried apricots in your purse or gym bag to stave off candy bar cravings – toss in some almonds and dark chocolate chips and you can whip up one of these sensible snacks! By the way, one of these apricot, almond and chocolate chip “bites” has just 20 calories! healthy apricot chocolate snacks

Check out CookingLight.com, they’ve got some great ideas on how to enjoy fresh apricots for the few short, glorious weeks they are in season.  I especially like the idea of grilling apricots to intensify the sweet-tart flavor and totally give a thumbs up to putting these caramelized, grate-marked apricots on a salad or alongside beef, shellfish or poultry.

I love this Cooking Light idea for grilled apricots on my salad!

I love this Cooking Light idea for grilled apricots on my salad!

Talking about healthy snacks — don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a month’s supply of Harvest Snaps  —- just click through to enter NOW!

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