National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that reminds us to be cognizant of our food choices and establish healthy eating habits. Sounds simple enough, until you ask yourself, “what’s healthy?”
No carb, high fat? Low carb, high protein? High carb, low fat?
We live in an age of extreme, restrictive, and contradictory diet fads. The breadth and depth of clashing information can be confusing for anyone looking to form long-term healthy eating habits. Despite what the internet may tell you, there isn’t a single (or secret) approach to achieving optimal nutrition. For most people, the key is to eat a balanced diet day after day, week after week.
As foodservice providers in K–12 schools and universities, the HandCut Foods team has the opportunity—and responsibility—to help our customers make healthy and sustainable (and delicious!) food choices. We serve a variety of nutrient-dense foods each day, shunning highly processed options in favor of housemade, dietitian-approved recipes. We don’t eliminate sweets and snacks; rather, we make them count by crafting them from whole ingredients that maintain their nutritional integrity.
For an energizing snack that also satisfies your sweet tooth, try making a batch of HandCut’s no-bake energy bars. These bars are loaded with whole and minimally processed ingredients, and perfect for a pre-workout boost or late-night nosh.
No-Bake Energy Bars
Courtesy of Chef Brendan McDermott
- 1 1/3 cups oat flour
- 2 tbs flaxseed
- 2 tbs chia seeds
- 2 tbs cinnamon
- 1 cups rolled oats
- 1 1⁄2 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 1⁄2 cup raisins
- 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
- 1⁄4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Use approximately 1/2 cup of any mix-ins that you like, such as dried fruit, seeds, nuts, or more chocolate chips.
- In a food processor, blend all "Base" dry ingredients and set aside.
- In the same food processor (no need to clean first), blend together all "Binder" ingredients.
- Combine both mixes on a low–medium speed until a dough forms.
- Fold in your mix-ins until they are evenly distributed.
- Wrap the mixture in plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Roll the chilled dough into 2" balls, or press it into pan and cut it into bars.
These can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temp.