Whole food nutrition doesn’t have to be a whole lot of work (video) | VailDaily.com

Whole food nutrition doesn’t have to be a whole lot of work (video)

When grabbing a snack, we often want to grab whatever is quick and easy, but what price are we paying for that convenience? Those protein bars or other highly processed foods often have a nutrition profile that is not much different than a high calorie and sugar-packed candy bar.

Choosing whole food nutrition options doesn't have to be hard. In fact, Chef Ally Stephens, from Season to Taste, explains how we can make healthy snacks for the trail or an after school treat.

"When you take control of including super foods and nutrient dense options in your diet rather than fillers, preservatives, excessive amounts of sugars, you will feel more satisfied while reaping the benefits of each ingredient," said Stephens.

Stephens showed us how easy it was to make Banana Bites, which are great for the trail because they are easy to toss in your pack, they don’t require refrigeration if you eat them within a few days, there are no added sugars or flour or any ingredients that you can’t pronounce.

"The best part about incorporating healthier options is that they are much easier to make than many people think. The food is simple and you don’t need a ton of ingredients to make an energy dense, cohesive and nutritious meal," Stephens said. "Plus, kids love them and love helping to make them!"

Choosing whole foods offers a wide array of nutrition benefits, sustainable energy and keeps your body refueled so you can always perform at your best. For more information, contact Stephens at Season to Taste, which offers in-home meal preparation for families and people on the go at http://www.seasontotasteco.com.

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Banana Bites

Ingredients:

3 Ripe Bananas, mashed
Approx. 1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats/Oat Bran
3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds/Flax Seeds
1/2 Cup Nuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 Cup Dried Fruit, chopped
1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Start with the mashed bananas then add the oats, slowly as to not dry out the bites
Stir in the chia and/or flax seeds.
Incorporate nuts, dried fruit and chocolate
Form into balls and place on a silpat or parchment paper covered baking sheet
Bake for about 12-15 minutes or just before the bottoms are too browned
Enjoy on the trails or for everyday snacks!

Notes:

If you wanted to add protein powder or powered peanut butter do so before adding the oats. Be careful not to add too much protein powder as it will make the bites slightly chalky.
Flax seeds can be used whole or ground
Any nut is great – sliced almonds, pecans, pistachios, etc.
Choose a dark chocolate with a high cocoa content or cacao. 70% or higher is where you start seeing the health benefits
Play around with ingredients! Just keep the banana and oats