Spring brings about more sun, rain, flowers, eggs, bunnies, and pastels. It also brings about an urgency to be on our best behavior so we can achieve the desired “summer bod”. Although I do not wait for summer to clean up my act and live a healthy lifestyle, I did just come off of a big weekend Easter feast. Yes, I know most of you celebrated Easter nearly a month ago, but my husband is Greek so we celebrate on the Eastern Orthodox calendar vs. the west. Thankfully, all of the festivities have now concluded and I’m ready to get back to my usual schedule.
Typically when one wants to get back on track or start living healthier, sweets are likely the first item on the chopping block. Thankfully, the joy of my approach is that you can live well without dieting. By choosing to prep my own foods with clean ingredients, my days are full of abundant energy, nutrients, and happiness. My approach to food is simple. Just eat real food. Fill your plates with a variety of colorful, clean food and you will notice a significant change in your health. What we eat literally provides our body the material it needs to create energy in our cells, therefore making food essential for energy. If we constantly fuel our body with highly processed foods like refined grains, high sugars, and crash-inducing stimulants, we miss out on key nutrients needed to properly fuel our body.
Although I love the comforting quick boost sugary foods provide, our body does not thrive on simple sugars. Sugar actually drains us of the key nutrients we need to balance blood sugar, and if we lose balance we end up with low energy. However, if we opt for nourishing foods, we get more energy and this creates a positive cycle that increases the odds of participating in other healthy activities, such as exercising. When I have a sweet craving (and I always do), you won’t see me reaching for a box of cookies or a tub of ice cream. Instead I will be grabbing the healthy snack I prepped in advance knowing I would have said sweet craving. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is beyond important to be prepared. Telling yourself you can fend off any cravings is just not sustainable. Instead, focus on preparing healthy snacks ahead of time and portioning them out. This way you always have options on hand that will keep you happy, energized, and able to smash any craving without interfering with your goals.
After coming off a week of cooking a bunch of sweets, I knew I would need a sweet snack to satisfy the lingering cravings. I opted to make these yummy cake bites that capture one of the most popular flavors of Easter, carrot cake. Shredded carrots and warm spices combine with dates, honey, and hemp seeds for a sweet treat that tastes just like traditional carrot cake minus the high calories, fat, and carbs. Additionally, since they are completely raw, they come together in a snap and will not heat up the house as the days grow warmer!
No-Bake Carrot Cake Bites
- ¾ cup Unsweetened Reduced-Fat Shredded Coconut
- 6 Medjool Dates
- ¾ cup Walnuts
- ½ cup Shredded Carrots
- ¼ cup shelled Hemp Seeds
- ¼ cup Raw Honey
- 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. Ground Cloves
- Place ¼ cup shredded coconut on a plate or in a shallow dish for rolling. Set aside.
- Place remaining ingredients in a high-powered food processor. Pulse until mixture is fully combined and no large pieces of carrot remain.
- Form mixture into 1-inch balls and roll in the reserved shredded coconut, coating the bites completely.
- Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Store chilled in an airtight container or freeze for 3 months. Enjoy 1 or 2 as a healthy snack or post-dinner dessert.
NutritionPer Serving (1 Bite): 76 Calories; 2 g Protein; 4 g Total Fat; 1 g Sat. Fat; 2 g Fiber; 2 mg Sodium; 8 g Sugar; 10 g Carbs; 0 mg Cholesterol.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: J. MCCARTHY
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
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