These dark chocolate coconut bars taste like an even better version of Mounds candies. Only six ingredients and sweetened with maple syrup!
What was your favorite candy growing up? I always hoarded away Milky Ways, Snickers, and Mounds bars after trick or treating. I love coconut in desserts, so I wanted to make a less processed version of one of my favorite candies. Enter these dark chocolate coconut bars with sea salt!
This dark chocolate coconut bar recipe is super easy to make.
You’ll need just six simple, whole food ingredients and a food processor to get
these on the table. If you love coconut as much as I do, put these on your
Less processed than store bought candy. These bars are made with whole food ingredients, and just lightly sweetened with maple syrup. No processed sugar + lower in sugar than candy you’d buy at the store!
Easy to store. You can store these bars in the fridge for about a month, and in the freezer for even longer! I love having a stash of treats when I’m craving something sweet.
This overnight oatmeal recipe is super thick, creamy, and full of fresh peach flavor. You just need 10 minutes to make this delicious breakfast!
I’m soaking up every last bit of summer while I can, including my favorite summer produce. Fresh peaches are so amazing this time of year! These overnight oats are basically peach pie in a jar.
The best part of this overnight oatmeal recipe is you can have it all year round! The peach puree is made from frozen peaches, and you could easily sub the fresh peach for defrosted frozen ones. Frozen produce is actually super nutrient-rich! Fruits and vegetables are frozen at peak ripeness, and the freezing process preserves those vitamins and minerals.
Steps to make peaches and cream overnight oatmeal
First, you’ll combine the dry ingredients + fresh peach in a glass container or Tupperware.
Next, add wet ingredients and stir well to combine. Cover, and place this in the fridge overnight.
While the overnight oatmeal sets in the fridge, make some peach puree in your blender. You can store this in a separate container in the fridge.
In the morning, portion out the overnight oats into 3 bowls or containers. Top with peach puree + chopped fresh peach and shredded coconut, if desired.
Why you should start making overnight oatmeal
Overnight oats have become one of my absolute favorite breakfasts! As a Registered Dietitian, they check off all the boxes when it comes to healthy eating.
Nutritious and filling. Overnight oats are packed with nutrients, including fiber. The fiber from the oatmeal + chia seeds is incredibly filling, because fiber swells in our stomach and slows down digestion. Each serving of this recipe has over 6 grams of fiber, which is 25% of the daily recommendation for women!
Easy and foolproof to make. Overnight oats hardly need a recipe, because they are so easy to prepare. Just mix oats, chia seeds, your favorite milk, and other sweeteners/fruits/flavorings, and pop it in the fridge! Once you have the proper dry to wet ingredient ratio down, the possibilities are endless.
Totally customizable. Overnight oatmeal is incredibly easy to customize based on what flavors you love. My personal favorite flavors include cinnamon, peanut butter, chocolate, or fresh berries. Make a simple base, and add different flavorings for each day of the week to keep it interesting!
Perfect for busy schedules. I am a big supporter of eating a healthy breakfast to start your day. If you’re super busy, you might not have time to sit down for a meal before work. Overnight oats are perfect to grab and go in the morning, so you can eat it on the train or at your desk!
These key lime bars are a no-bake, vegan version of one of my favorite summertime desserts – key lime pie! They’re full of healthy fats and pastel green color thanks to avocado (nope, you can’t taste it). Grab a fork and dive into one of these creamy, dreamy treats!
While it might not be the most patriotic, key lime pie reminds me of the 4th of July. My mom, an excellent baker, has made one for the holiday for the past five years or so. When you really think about it, it truly is the perfect summer dessert! It’s served cool, full of fresh, zingy flavor, and feels light enough to eat after an afternoon of barbecued food.
As a Registered Dietitian who loves sweets and baking, I love to experiment with more nutritious versions of my favorite desserts. I view these recipes as additions to my diet, rather than substitutions to the the original. Creating a treat that tastes delicious, and provides me with important nutrients at the same time? Such a win! But, life is all about BALANCE and living in the moment, so I’ll never pass up a slice of my mom’s key lime pie on the 4th of July. (PS – this is the recipe she uses, if you’d like to try that)!
The avocado in these key lime bars may sound strange, but I promise, you can’t taste it! Avocado makes these bars thick, incredibly smooth, and creamy. Plus, it adds that beautiful green hue!
Why These Bars are the Perfect Summer Dessert
No oven required. These key lime bars are no-bake and no-cook, because they are raw and set in the freezer!
Easy to make. All you need to do is throw ingredients into a food processor and pour them into a baking pan.
They’re cool and creamy. These bars are served chilled, so they’re wonderful to serve after an afternoon in the sun. Plus, they’re super creamy – just like ice cream!
How to Make Key Lime Bars
Combine crust ingredients – dates, nuts, coconut, molasses, cinnamon, and salt – in a food processor and blend until crumbly.
Squish down crust ingredients into a pan in an even layer.
Clean out food processor and blend together lime filling layer ingredients – coconut milk, avocado, lime zest + juice, maple syrup, and vanilla.
Freeze, then slice and serve with (optional) coconut whipped cream.
Main Ingredients + Some Nutrition Notes
Avocado: One of my all time favorite healthy fat sources is avocado. It’s high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and potassium. Replacing saturated fat with mono- and polyunsaturated fats can lower cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Walnuts: Almonds get all the glory these days, but walnuts are where it’s at! They’re higher than any other nut in alpha-linolenic-acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. These anti-inflammatory compounds are mostly found in animal products (primarily fatty fish), and are essential for our diets, because our bodies do not produce them. Include walnuts in your diet for a good plant-based source of omega-3s!
Lime: Just like all citrus fruits, limes are an excellent source of Vitamin C! In fact, British Royal Navy sailors were called “limeys” in the 1800s because they were given lemon and lime juice to prevent scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) on the ships. Limes are also full of other antioxidants – plus they have such a zingy flavor!
1 can coconut cream (or full fat coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours)
1 ripe avocado, diced
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours
2 tsp powdered sugar
Combine all crust ingredients in a food processor. Blend until ingredients are crumbly and stick together easily, about 3-4 minutes.
Line a 9″x9″ baking pan with parchment paper, and pour crust “batter” into pan. Use your hands to press crust firmly into the pan, forming an even layer. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Rinse out the food processor (or use a high speed blender), and combine all filling ingredients. Blend until very smooth and creamy, until avocado is fully pureed.
Remove crust from freezer, and pour filling on top. Smooth into an even layer.
Place pan in freezer, and freeze for at least 1 hour, until filling is hardened enough for slicing.
Remove from freezer when ready to serve. You may need to let it sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing to soften a bit, depending on how long it was in the freezer.
If using, make coconut whipped cream right before serving bars.
Place metal mixing bowl in the freezer to chill.
Scoop the thick layer of coconut cream from your refrigerated can of coconut milk into the chilled bowl. Beat on low for 30 seconds, then increase speed and beat for 1-3 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Add powdered sugar in the final 30 seconds or so of beating.
Keeps well covered in the freezer for up to 1 month
Looking to step up your snack game? This post outlines how to choose a healthy snack, along with six easy, healthy snack ideas approved by a Registered Dietitian – me!
As an RD, people ask me all about snacks. Are they good for us? How often should we have them? What are some healthy snack ideas? Snacking is ingrained in American food culture – we are bombarded by snack advertisements in the media every single day. From fruit roll ups to 100 calorie packs, this post will help you weed through the media messages and give you nourishing, filling, and simple snack ideas.
Is Snacking Good or Bad?
Like most questions about nutrition, the answer to this one is not black and white. Snacking is neither inherently good nor bad, and it may benefit some people more than others. Remember that our nutrition needs are highly individualized, and what works for one person may not work for the next.
Snacking has been studied as it relates to weight status, blood sugar level, and hunger prevention. Overall, snacking is probably not necessary for the average person to maintain weight status OR maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. But, studies show that snacking may prevent hunger, and therefore prevent overeating at mealtimes later on.
Given this research, it is important to consider a few things when snacking. First, contemplate your motivation for snacking. Are you craving food because you are truly hungry, or does it relate to an emotion like boredom or stress? Second, snacking is highly individualized. A very active person will probably benefit from more frequent snacking, as they are naturally expending more calories than a sedentary person. Finally, it’s WHAT you snack on that really matters. Consuming balanced snacks, just like balanced meals, will have positive effects on weight, blood sugar level, and hunger prevention.
How to Make Healthy Snack Choices
Here are some of my tips for making mindful, balanced snack choices.
First and foremost, tune in to see if you are truly feeling hungry. Many of us, myself included, fall into emotional eating to satisfy a need that is not based on hunger! Take a step back before reaching for a snack to determine your motivating factor. If you find you’re not really hungry, do something to tackle the negative emotion you are feeling, such as taking a walk around the block.
Be mindful of portion size. Snacks are not meant to be as energy dense as meals. While I don’t count calories, a good size snack for most people is usually around 200 calories. This may vary based on age, gender, body composition, and health goals.
Start with fiber. Fiber is a nutrient many Americans don’t eat enough of. Since it slows digestion and absorption of nutrients, fiber helps keep us full. It also has a host of health benefits, which include promoting gut health, lowering cholesterol, and keeping our bowel movements regular. Use high fiber foods as your starting point for a balanced snack, such as whole fruit, whole grain products, or vegetables.
Add protein and/or healthy fats. Pairing your fiber-rich snack with some protein or healthy fats will further help slow down digestion and keep you fuller for longer. For those looking for snacks to help regulate blood sugar levels, choosing higher protein snacks seems to be best, based on research. Choose proteins like yogurt, egg, nuts/nut butter, and seeds, and healthy fats like avocado, olives or nuts/nut butter. The combination of fiber + protein/healthy fats makes us feel more satisfied, so we are less likely to keep reaching for more.
Make it simple and tasty. Snacks shouldn’t take you tons of time or energy to prepare – you’ve got other things to get done during the day! Keep it simple, and make sure your snack is enjoyable 🙂
Six Healthy Snack Ideas
Cut a small apple into wedges. Drizzle with 1-2 tsp nut butter, add 1 tbsp granola, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve with ¼ cup low fat yogurt for dipping.
Mini Protein Box
This is a totally customizable snack. Mix and match different sources of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Some examples include a hard boiled egg + small handful of nuts + 3-5 strawberries, or ½ cup grapes + 1 string cheese + 5 whole grain crackers.
Popcorn Trail Mix
2 cups air popped popcorn + ¼ cup of your favorite trail mix makes for a voluminous, portable snack that is great for munching.
1 cup of steamed and lightly salted edamame is the perfect snack, as it contains fiber, protein, and healthy fats!
Bell Pepper + Quick Guacamole
A refreshing snack to much on in warmer months. To make quick guacamole, mash ½ of ripe avocado with a squeeze of lime juice + a dash of both salt and garlic powder. Top bell pepper slices with guacamole and enjoy.
Chocolate Coconut Balls
These little bites are delicious, easy to make, and portable for on-the-go snacking. Filled with nuts, dates, coconut, and cacao powder, they only take 10 minutes to whip up. They taste incredibly decadent and dessert-like, so if you’ve got a sweet tooth, this is the snack for you!
What makes these balls a healthy snack? They’ve got fiber from the dates and oats. Healthy fats and protein come from cashews and coconut. Plus, they’ve got a boost of antioxidants from the cacao powder! One or two of these little guys will tide you over until your next meal.
The dreamy smell of this coconut almond granola baking will transport you to a tropical island! Learn how to make granola with the biggest CLUSTERS here – because we all know clusters are the best part!
Granola is one of those things I almost always buy instead of make from scratch. There are some wonderful brands on the market today that are lower in sugar and use minimal ingredients that I love. However, there is something truly special about a freshly baked batch of homemade granola! I remember working as a waitress over the summers through high school and college. The restaurant I worked at made homemade granola every couple of days for their yogurt parfaits. I loved sneaking a handful from the fresh batch when passing through the kitchen. The cooks were always able to make the BIGGEST clusters, sometimes so big they were practically the size of a granola bar!
After creating this recipe, I now know the secret to those giant clusters – and it’s really quite simple! It involves minimal effort and just a little patience. Instead of mixing the granola around while it’s baking, don’t touch it! Just rotate the baking sheet once or twice to allow for even cooking. Here’s where the patience comes in – wait until the granola has cooled before attempting to break it into clusters. This allows for everything to set and harden up before you handle it. I also find that “stacking” your granola clusters in a shallow container keeps the clusters intact better than using a narrow container or a bag.
This granola will make your stomach growl as it bakes, because it smells incredible! The rich coconut, fragrant vanilla and sweet oats is seriously a dreamy combination. It takes less than one hour from start to finish, and will last you all week for healthy breakfast and snacking!
Raw desserts sound intimidating and expensive. Sometimes, there is a laundry list of obscure ingredients involving multiple layers and complicated steps. But, they can actually be surprisingly easy to make, and man, are they satisfying! I secretly dread dragging out my food processor and the ensuing clean-up to make them, but these cashew coconut snickerdoodle truffles took no time at all. I could easily devour the entire recipe in one sitting because they taste incredible.
If you told me these truffles were made from less than 10 simple ingredients, I wouldn’t believe you. I also wouldn’t believe that they are nut based and full of healthy ingredients! No expensive, hard-to-find add-ins here. In fact, I bet you actually have most of what you need to make these on hand already. Free from refined sugar, flour, dairy and eggs, these truffles would be a perfect addition to your holiday dessert line up. I guarantee they’ll be a hit, and will suit the dietary needs your guests may have (vegan, gluten free, and paleo).
Cashews are one of my favorite nuts. Their neutral and mild flavor lends itself nicely to a variety of recipes. Compared to other nuts, they become particularly creamy when blended, making for a great cream replacement. Cashews are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that is essential for energy production in our bodies, but one that many of us may fall short of in meeting our daily requirements. One serving of cashews provides about 20% of our daily magnesium needs! Reach for a handful of cashews for a protein packed snack that is also rich in minerals and healthy fats.
FlavaNaturals chocolate bars are one of my recent favorite products. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic with a huge sweet tooth, so I was thrilled to create this recipe. These bars come in creative flavors like blueberry matcha, so they are delicious eaten on their own. What separates FlavaNaturals chocolate bars from others on the market is their flavanol content. Flavanols are the reason we consider dark chocolate to be a healthy treat. These powerful antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and may promote good heart heath. Unfortunately, many of the flavanols in chocolate are lost during processing. FlavaNaturals takes painstaking steps to ensure the flavanol content of their chocolate is preserved as much as possible, so you reap all the health benefits!
Now, on to the recipe! You’ll be able to whip these babies up in 20 minutes with minimal cleanup. No baking required, too! Raw desserts really are a beautiful thing 🙂