Tag Archives: healthy snacks

Strawberry Banana Muffins with a Cashew Crumble {dairy free + gluten free}

Day-to-day eating habits can be very individualistic. For instance, some people stick to three square meals a day, while others prefer smaller meals and a few snacks throughout the day. Though I have a set of general eating “rules” that I recommend for everyone, when I get asked what’s best in terms of frequency of meals, my answer is whatever really feels best for your body.

Personally, I’m a smaller meals and snacks kind of girl. I feel best eating something every 3-4 hours, rather than having big meals. The latter leaves me feeling like I can’t digest my food easily. I’ve definitely mentioned this before on the blog, and it’s the reason why I’ve shared so many snack recipes!

As for my go-to snacks, I like whipping up a smoothie, or eating a yogurt or fruit with nut butter. I also have protein and granola bars in every possible place in case hunger strikes.

It’s also a regular thing in my kitchen for there to be either freshly made muffins or energy bites. I like to whip up one or the other every week, then have them around as a quick healthy snack all week long.

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Chocolate Chip Cherry Almond Muffins {vegan + gf}

Hello, hello!

How was your weekend? With temperatures in the 80s, mine was a summery few days! My outdoorsy weekend activities included a few hours relaxing at the beach, tennis workout with my hubs, long walk at the park with my pup and gardening work.

Snacking on a Zing bar & reading a travel magazine at the beach on Saturday

Indoors, I  did some blog and photography work, and the hubs and I watched a movie and a few episodes of our current TV obsessions, House of Cards and Westworld. Who else is into those? We just recently started watching both, so we have a lot of episodes to keep us entertained during low-key nights for awhile!

I also got some baking and recipe creation experimenting in, including the recipe I’m sharing today: chocolate chip cherry almond muffins. 

Actually, over the past week I’ve been a recipe creatin’ machine! It seems like I tend to go a week or two where I don’t come up with any new recipes – whether because I’m traveling, super busy, or just lacking ideas (oh, and also if I’m having recipe fails!) – and then all of a sudden I’m hit with recipe inspiration and come up with a bunch of new successful creations. I love that when that happens.

But anyways, let’s talk about these muffins!

In the past I’ve only used dried cherries in muffins, but I decided to give it a shot with fresh ones, and it came out great! Pitting and chopping the cherries is a little tedious, but a nice way to use up some sweet cherries that are in season (and delicious!) right now.

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Chocolate Pistachio Energy Bites [gluten free]

I’m such a sucker for any kind of place where high-quality food is the focus. Farmers’ markets. Gourmet food shops. Italian markets. Bakeries. I love it all. It’s no secret that I love experimenting in the kitchen, and finding new foods and ingredients gives me inspiration to try new recipes… plus I just love eating food, obviously.

A few weeks ago, I was walking to a Starbucks to work for awhile before meeting a friend for dinner, when I passed by a spice shop. I’ve seen it before when it was closed for the day, but this time it was open.

Naturally, I walked in the shop and moseyed around smelling and tasting things. I wound up leaving with some goodies – all that were new to me, with the exception of local cinnamon infused honey (I pretty much buy that whenever I see it!).

For San Diego area locals, the shop is called Savory Spice in Encinitas, and it’s super fun to pop into if you’re a spice nut like I am!

One new-to-me thing that I bought was pistachio extract. I’m a fan of pistachios, but for some reason they’re a forgotten nut to me sometimes. I’m constantly all about peanut butter, almonds + almond butter, cashews + cashew butter… but pistachios seem to fall by the wayside. Then I make something with them and am reminded that I dig em.

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PB & J Banana Muffins {vegan + gf}

As with most food bloggers & writers, I love to bake and cook for loved ones. Whenever we have guests in town, I enjoy feeding them well. A lot of the time when I meet up with girlfriends, I’ll bring them some of my latest kitchen creations to try. I show my love for people by making them nutritious, delicious food.

When I stay at my parents’ house in Jersey, it’s fun to make snacks, dinners, and desserts for everyone to enjoy. A few weeks ago when I was there, I was a little off of my Chef Nicole game because I was under the weather, but I still whipped up some yummy recipes for them.

One night I made creamy spring veggie & asparagus puree soup for dinner, because I knew my mom would dig it (She did!).

I also made my most recently published Shape recipe, blueberry banana Greek yogurt muffins.

Continuing with the blueberry theme, I also made bluebery oatmeal chia bars one morning – except when I took the baking dish out of the oven, I mistakenly placed it on a burner that was on low heat….and then left it there for hours. I was in the kitchen the whole time and didn’t even smell the bars and pan burning because my sinuses were all congested! It actually worked out well because my dad loves burnt things. They wound up being super dry, but he was a fan of them anyways…so it was only half a kitchen fail!

Another muffin recipe that I decided to make were peanut butter & jelly banana muffins. I first shared the recipe on here years ago when I was a newbie blogger, and I hadn’t made them in quite awhile. My dad loves PB & J (and so do I!) so I thought he’d like these. I always like having muffins, bars, or energy bites around as a healthy snack, and we all snacked on these muffins throughout the week.

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Blueberry Cashew Butter Energy Balls + 5 Of My Favorite Vegan, Gluten Free Energy Bite Recipes

When it comes to my eating patterns, I’m definitely more of small meals & snacks kinda girl. I like to eat every 3-4 hours, and feel like my body operates best this way.

If I eat a big meal, my belly feels heavy and too full, but when I eat smaller meals & snacks throughout the day, I feel great. Because of this, I always have lots of snacks around: in my purse, gym bag, car and obviously my pantry. Having healthy snacks around is the key to me not getting hangry!

One of my favorite kind of snacks is energy balls. I like to whip up a batch during the weekend to have on hand throughout the week. But since I get bored easily, I like to switch up my energy bite combos & am constantly coming up with new kinds. My latest energy ball creation are these Blueberry Cashew Energy Bites.

Made with rolled oats, cashew butter, raw cashews, hemp hearts, dried blueberries, and honey, they’re the perfect little snack full of healthy fats, carbs and protein.

{Note: Maple syrup, agave, or brown rice syrup can be substituted for honey to make them vegan.}

These blueberry cashew energy bites are my latest creation published on Shape. Get the recipe here!

And since I’m constantly making energy balls for my snacking pleasure, I’m also sharing 5 other kinds of energy bites that I love today. Check em out!

Chunky Monkey Protein Bites. Because banana + peanut butter + chocolate = the best combo ever!

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Peppermint Chocolate Chip Snack Bites {vegan + gluten free}

Earlier this week, I sent out a health coaching newsletter with tips to avoid holiday weight gain (you can subscribe via the signup form on the right sidebar! –>), and one of my guidelines is to implement an 80/20 diet balance.

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I’ve talked about this concept before, but it’s the idea that 80% of your calories are from nutritious, healthy choices, and for the other 20%, you enjoy whatever indulgences you’re in the mood for. I apply this to my diet not only during the holiday season but year-round, because I believe that moderation is what works in the long haul for a healthy, sustainable relationship with food… which brings me to today’s recipe!

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We all know that December is ripe with food and drink indulgences. I adore baking Christmas cookies and drinking seasonal drinks like spiked warm cider, but I also balance those treats out with healthy, light meals and a very active lifestyle.

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One way that I balance out my sweet tooth is whipping up recipes that are healthy and clean, but taste like dessert. I think that many of you frequent blog readers know that this is one of my specialties! Today’s recipe is a good example of this.

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Made with oats, dates, hemp hearts, and cocoa, these snack balls give you a taste of peppermint cookie goodness while being healthy, vegan and gluten + refined sugar free.   Continue reading

Chocolate Cake Batter Chia Energy Bites {vegan + gf}

Energy bites are a favorite snack in my household. I’ve even turned my immediate family on the east coast onto energy bites, because I’m always whipping them up when I visit as a healthy snack to have around.cake-batter-energy-bites-1

And as a big fan of keeping things interesting in the kitchen and in life in general, I’m always coming up with new energy bite combinations. Today I’ve got a new one to share: chocolate cake batter chia energy bites!  

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Made with oats, plant-based protein powder and chia seeds, these vegan, gluten free bites pack a nutritious punch. They get their cake batter flavor thanks to the combo of cashew butter, cinnamon, vanilla and cocoa, and are sweetened with dates and maple syrup.

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They’re the perfect little bite to hold you over until a meal or give you some quick on-the-go healthy fuel.

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Cherry Pistachio Energy Balls [vegan, gf]

Hi friends! Today we’re talking about nuts and balls! 😉

Everyone has their go-to favorite foods that they’re constantly eating, and for me, one of those categories is nuts + nut butters. I usually eat a serving of one on the daily. Healthy fats like nuts keep my belly happy & satisfied.

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Almond butter and peanut butter are my all-time favorites, and I was pretty into cashews & cashew butter for awhile there. Somehow I tend to forget that I like pistachios too.

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Recently I was about to whip up a batch of energy balls, and instead of using my go-to nuts of choice, I decided to switch it up and break open a bag of pistachios.

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The Healthy Habits I Practice Daily

The following post is sponsored by Dandy®. health is wealth

If there’s something that every single health professional and enthusiast in the world can agree on, I think it’s that being healthy is not a destination, it’s a lifestyle. It’s something you have to put in the effort for each and every day.

Consistently making healthy decisions makes me feel strong, capable, and confident, and it transcends into every other area of my life. Today I wanted to share some of the healthy habits that are part of my everyday routine. They’re ways of life for me that make me feel vibrant and energized, and help me to be the healthiest, happiest person I can be. Let’s get to it!

Morning Stretches Collage

Stretch. Stretching is something that I not only do before and after my workouts, but also on my rest days too. I think it feels great to stretch my muscles, and I’m always working on my flexibility in my yoga practice. I also keep a foam roller, tiger tail, and trigger point bar in my living room so that I remember to use them while I’m watching TV.

Harley beach walk-May 16

Walk. I go on long walks with my dog every day. What started off as something I did to just get her puppy energy out has turned into a daily practice that we both enjoy. We typically go for at least a half-hour walk around my neighborhood, at the beach or a nearby park, and I usually take her hiking with me on a longer excursion once a week. The time in nature is calming and energizing, and we both come home happy!

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Eat a healthy dose of fruits & veggies. Scanning through my social media feed on Instagram and Twitter, you can easily see that I enjoy lots of real foods. I’m all about nourishing my body with food made by nature!

With having such a sweet tooth, I could easily eat a ton of fruit and not eat quite as many veggies. I never go a day without eating veggies, but there are times when I don’t eat them until dinnertime. That’s where my new favorite healthy munchies comes in: Dandy® portable snacks.

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In business for 90 years, Dandy® produces produce from their family farms in Florida and California. One thing I love about the company is that they’re committed to non-GMO farming practices. Another thing I love? Their new peanut butter + celery snack on-the-go snack packs!

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Dandy® has partnered with one of my favorite nut butter brands in the world for their snack packs, Peanut Butter & Co. I’m a huge fan of their Smooth Operator peanut butter paired with Dandy® celery.

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Currently Loving: My Top 5 Travel Snacks

Happy Friday!

What are your plans for the official first weekend of summer? In thinking about my summer season, the next month or so is going to hopefully include lots of local SoCal fun, and then the month after that will involves lots of travel and time away from home. When I’m on-the-go traveling, especially if there are long car rides and/or long flights involved, one of the things I make sure to do is bring healthy snacks.

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I just don’t think you can ever go wrong with bringing healthy food with you. It usually comes in handy at the times I prep for it – like at lunchtime on a plane – but I also find that it’s great to have snacks on hand for random times when hunger strikes. For instance, if I’m going out to dinner later than I normally eat, a snack packed in my bag comes in handy to hold me over.

So far this year, here are my 5 favorite (very portable) travel snacks!

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Chocolate peanut butter energy bites. I find energy balls to be the perfect little pick-me-up! I threw a bunch of them in a plastic bag and brought some to Cabo with me last month.

No Cow Bar at the beach

My beach snack last weekend

No Cow bars. I recently started eating these bars by D’s Naturals, and have quickly become a big fan. They’re dairy free, and are made with organic brown rice and pea proteins and sweetened with monk fruit and stevia. At 170 calories & 20 g of protein a pop, they pack a great protein punch – especially because when I’m traveling sometimes the protein in my diet can be lacking a bit. The bars also have a ton of fiber – which is great to keep your digestive system regular when you’re traveling and eating a diet that’s different from your norm (TMI?!).

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