Zucchini Bread Recipe

Finding easy to prepare, portable and nutritious snacks is challenging. Healthy food is not always easy to find on the go.  If you are on-the-go and trying to stay healthy, it’s important to pack healthy snacks that will help support your energy levels throughout a long or busy day. It’s when we get tired and are low on energy that we can fall into the temptation of not so healthy food choices and break with the routines and strategies we worked so hard to set in place for ourselves. Look no further than this empowered version of Zucchini Bread to help you stay motivated and on track with your healthy eating habits.

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The combination of fibre, protein and healthy fats in this recipe make this a snack that will give you sustainable energy to power you through any day. This is a great addition to back-to-school lunches to start the school year strong!

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Key featured ingredients that make this an “Empowering Eat” include zucchini, walnuts, and flax seeds.

Zucchini is the feature ingredient here, obviously. Like many fruits and vegetables contains nutrients and antioxidants which support good health. Zucchini is also a source of lutein and zeaxanthin which can protect our eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration.  While it is a bland tasting vegetable (so you won’t taste it in this recipe at all–I promise!) zucchini provides moisture to the recipe and a way to sneak an extra serving of veggies into your day!

Flax Seeds are a fabulous nutritional powerhouse. It always amazes me how there is so much goodness contained in so small a package! Flax seeds provide plenty of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids which may help reduce heart disease risk. The fibre in flax is responsible not only for supporting intestinal functions but may also lower blood-cholesterol. Flax seeds also have lignans which is a phytonutrient which may protect our bodies from certain cancers. Find out more about flax seeds here.

Walnuts are a source of heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Healthy sources of fat are essential in our diets for many reasons such as promoting healthy skin and hair, and supporting the integrity of cell membranes. Like other nuts walnuts also provide a source of plant-based protein and some fibre.

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I’ve used a variety of different flours to give variety and provide texture and contribute unique nutritional advantages to this recipe. All these flours are gluten-free. You could alternatively substitute other types of flours as long as the volume is 1 cup. Amaranth flour may be new to you. It’s available in most bulk food stores. Amaranth is an ancient grain growing in popularity for many reasons. It is higher in protein than other grains and is a source of fibre while not having an overly strong ‘healthy’ aftertaste, so it blends well into this recipe.

 

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Instead of a loaf pan you could also make this in an 8×8 glass baking dish and have zucchini bread squares.

Maple Macadamia Energy Bites

Put a little spring in your step with these energy bites! These snack balls are full of a mix of ingredients to give you a delicious and sustaining energy boost. These gluten-free and vegan treats are sure to help you get your day off to a successful start or give you that little pick-me-up to help you power through even the toughest afternoon slumps!

What’s even better is that this recipe is so fast and easy to make. They are really portable and make a great go-to snack when you are on the go!

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Macadamia nuts are a source of both protein and healthy fats. Protein helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. The healthy fats in Macadamia nuts are called mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which are important because of their effect of improving your cholesterol profile and lowering triglyceride levels which lowers  your risk for heart disease and stroke. Eating healthy fats is also important for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins in your diet. In addition, macadamia nuts contain trace amounts of magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, chromium, manganese and zinc.

Maca is a root that comes from South America. It is said to help balance hormones, increase energy, improve stamina and athletic performance and promote mental clarity. Maca powder is available from many bulk food stores or at health food stores. A little goes a long way that’s for sure!

Cashew butter (or any nut butter) is another great source of protein and healthy fats (more MUFAs!) for long lasting sustainable energy. I felt that peanut butter would have been to be overpowering so went with cashew butter instead. I also made a batch with peanut butter pecan butter which was very good too.

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener and contributes to the unique and distinct flavour combination in these bites. As well as energy it is also a source of antioxidants.

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maple maca energy bites

Roasted Beet Hummus

This hummus is striking! Both for its flavour and vibrant colour. Hummus is a popular dip found commonly found in Middle Eastern cuisines. Traditionally made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil lemon juice and garlic, there are many variations made by introducing additional flavouring and ingredients.

Beets are the key feature ingredient that give this hummus it’s rick colour and earthy flavour. Beets are a source of many antioxidants, rich in folacin and other nutrients. You can read more about the benefits of beets in this previous post.

Chickpeas are an important ingredient in hummus. They are a great source of protein and fibre which promotes satiety.

Olive oil is a source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy dietary fats that may have a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. Tahini provides protein and is a source of many minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are important for bone heath, as well as iron.

Garlic not only adds to the flavour of this hummus but also adds antioxidants that provide protection against free radical damage and have antibacterial properties. It may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer as well as lower cholesterol.

The spices in this recipe are cumin, coriander and allspice which intensify the earthy flavour of the hummus.

Roasted Beet Hummus with Veggies

 

Hummus is a great portable snack to have with chopped up vegetables or crackers. It would make a very appealing appetizer (especially for holiday entertaining!).  You can also use hummus as a spread for sandwiches or in wraps.

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Sunbutter Crunch Cookies

It always seems that summer comes to a close far too soon! More and more there are signs that remind us daily that fall is on the way but then the sun comes back and it’s like summer never left! I love sunflowers (and sunflower seeds – but we’ll get to that later!). They are a joyous reminder of the long slow golden sunsets of late August and truly are one of the most radiant and resplendent of flowers.

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Sunflowers are a plant native to North America. Their cultivation and consumption have traveled an interesting and rather circuitous route from North America to touch Europe and Russia and back to the Americas again! You can read more about that here.

Now for the interesting part – why sunflower seeds are so spectacular!

One of the most important nutrients you will find in high amounts in sunflower seeds is Vitamin E – a tremendously powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E may help reduce the inflammatory processes which can lead to certain chronic diseases. In it’s role as an antioxidant, it has also been found to protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, decreasing the buildup of up plaque in artery walls, which can lower the risk for coronary artery disease.

You will also get folate, a B-vitamin involved in functions with preventative effects for disorders, birth defects and heart disease, and Vitamin B6, needed for a lot of essential reactions in the body, many of which relate to energy production and metabolism.

Sunflower seeds are a nutrient dense source of some important minerals such as iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc.

  • Iron is an integral part of hemoglobin – the protein that carries oxygen in the blood. The iron in sunflower seeds is called “non-heme” (from non-animal sources) iron which is not as well absorbed and utilized as “heme” (from animal sources) but remember every little bit counts!
  • Magnesium works with calcium to help maintain healthy strong bones. It’s also important in several other functions such as the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and protein to energy and functioning of nerves and muscles.
  • Selenium is a trace mineral which may work as antioxidant with Vitamin E to protect the body from oxidative damage. Selenium is also needed for the functioning of the thyroid gland.
  • Zinc is involved in enzymatic reactions throughout the body, supporting the immune system by preventing colds as well as preventing the macular degeneration.

Sunflower seeds also provide good amounts of protein and fibre which help with satiety and weight management among many other important functions!

Linoleic acid, found in sunflower seeds, is an essential poly-unsaturated fatty acid. “Essential” means the body cannot create the compound on its own and therefore it must be consumed in the foods we eat. Linoleic acid is also important because as a precursor it is involved with blood clotting and blood pressure.

Clearly sunflower seeds are a force to be reckoned with!

I’ve had this idea for this recipe playing around in my head almost all summer. Now that craziness of July and August have subsided, with the international travel and world fitness expo convention over,  I’ve finally found time to bring this creation to life!

There’s a warmth and depth to these cookies – just like the sun. With these cookies you get a double dose of the goodness of sunflower seeds because the recipe has both sunflower seed butter and real sunflower seeds!

They are a great grab and go snack or perfect to stick into anyone’s packed lunch for nourishment any time of day. They would also go well with a hot cup of tea or a tea latte – perfect for a crisp autumn day!

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All-Canadian Energy Bites

Oh Canada! We’re celebrating 150 years today. In honour of Canada and for Canada Day I created this recipe, drawing inspiration from several traditional Canadian sourced ingredients to celebrate the “tastes of Canada”.

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Being a natural source of energy and providing many important nutrients make these little treats the perfect little snack any time of day. However, I particularly enjoy having them to refuel after a good workout.

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Maple Syrup is one of the most classically Canadian ingredients ever! Canada is the world’s foremost producer of maple syrup and most of that comes from Quebec. The process of making maple syrup is quite intensive which is why it is rather expensive and should be valued even more. Maple syrup is a natural source of energy and sweetener. In addition to its unique flavour, it is also a source of antioxidants which contribute to overall health. A little goes a long way though that’s for sure!

Flax Seeds are a great source of anti-inflammatory Omega 3s as well as fibre.

Sunflower Seeds are grown on the Canadian prairies. They have many nutrients such as magnesium, iron, copper and zinc and they are one of the best sources of Vitamin E, one of the most powerful antioxidants.

Walnuts are found throughout Ontario and there are many different varieties of nut trees grown in Ontario. Walnuts are a source of protein and healthy fats including important anti-inflammatory omega 3s.

Dates are an exception to the theme here, as they aren’t native to Canada, but they are another great natural source of energy as well as a good source of fibre and minerals like potassium and iron which are important for both general health and exercise performance like potassium and iron.

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Enjoy the flavours of Canada and have a Happy Canada Day!

All Canadian Energy Bites