Make Your Own Mix and Match Energy Bars

Get instant pep from these easy healthier homemade bars–for only $.19 per serving.

Make your own wholesome, on-the-go snack! Start with this recipe and mix and match to suit your taste using a combination of healthy ingredients in the chart below.

 Work Time: 10 Minutes / Total Time: 55 Minutes + Cooling Time / Servings: 18

 2 c cereal, coarsely chopped
3/4 c roasted unsalted nuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 c dried fruit, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 c second nut or fruit or an extra (see chart below for quantities), optional
1/3 c sugar, honey, or brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 lg egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract, optional

 1. Heat oven to 300°F. Line 9″ x 9″ baking pan with foil. Oil and flour the foil. (An 8″ x 8″ pan can be used. Just bake 5 to 10 additional minutes.)

 2. Mix cereal, nuts, fruit, flour, and an extra, if using, in large bowl.

 3. Combine sugar and salt in small bowl. Whisk in egg whites and extract, if using. Pour mixture into dry ingredients and stir to combine.

 4. Pat into the prepared pan with moist hands or plastic wrap.

 5. Bake until bars are dry to the touch, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on ingredients used. Cool completely.

 Need a little inspiration? Try these tempting combos for a healthy treat.

 Strawberry Fields: Granola, cashews, strawberries, poppy seeds

 Mango Tango: Wheat flakes, pistachios, mangoes, wheat germ

 Perfect Pear: Puffed rice, pistachios, pears, chocolate chips

 Big on Fig: Rice flakes, hazelnuts, figs, apricots

 Peachy Keen: Wheat flakes, almonds, peaches, raisins

 Classic: Granola, peanuts, raisins, chocolate chips

Prevention Magazine, December 2010

Eating Chinese food

Enjoy Chinese food?  I do! A yummy, sometimes cheaper meal that can be either delivered to your door or served in style at a restaurant (or made at home).  Chinese dishes can include many veggies, which could make the meal appear healthier, however salty sauces, fried rice and high fat meats can tip the scales quickly.

Tips when eating Chinese Food

  • Ask the chef to use less oil when preparing your dish.
  • Ask for soy sauce on the side or use low sodium soy sauce.
  • Chicken has lower calories and fat than duck meat. 
  • Order brown steamed rice over fried or white.
  • Order a dish with loads of veggies!
  • Look for MSG free sauces, foods, etc (many restaurants say it on the menu)
  • Eat in moderation! Just because a dish contains mostly veggies, if there is sauce or other ingredients, the calories can add up.

Watching your waist line…and health!  Dine on;

  • Steamed dumplings over fried egg rolls or crab rangoon.
  • Baked, broiled, lightly stir fried, or steamed dishes instead of fried.
  • Water chesnuts; a lower fat option to cashews and peanuts.
  • Steamed rice vs. fried.
  • Sweet and sour sauce, plum or duck sauce vs. soy, lobster or oyster.

Source: American Heart Association

All in a Day-Summer’s Best Finds

All in a Day:  Summer’s Best Finds

Chicago during the summer is something to behold.  The city has defrosted from the winter’s deep freeze which, as any native Chicagoan knows, lasts until approximately mid-June.  Ok, I may be exaggerating slightly, but the long winters we have here really mean that we milk everything we can from the summer months- am I right?

The only problem is that sometimes the activities that we’re bombarded with during the summer aren’t exactly the…healthiest.  Beer gardens, anyone?  10¢ buffalo wings?  Don’t mind if I do!  Chicago is a town that can, at times, revolve around drink specials and greasy pub fare for cheap.  For those of us on a budget (don’t lie to me, friends- I see you out there looking at me from across the interweb, nodding sheepishly) these deals are easy and tempting.  And they’re great to take advantage of- once and a while.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with the fact that during the past few years these temptations have become all too commonplace in my routine.  So I’ve set out to find things around town that are either cheap or free and won’t bust my waistline and- dare I say- make me feel good instead of hungover?

This Saturday, with the sun shining and my sneaks strapped on my feet I did just that.  First up was the Lincoln Park Farmers Market.

Lucky for me, the market is only about a mile from where I live.  So, I ran there!  Walking in the summer is definitely the way to go.  It’s free and you don’t have to worry about parking (which is scarce around the farmers market, let me tell you).  The farmers market is fun (there are bands) and you can always find something new and exciting to try!  I found these cool peaches:

And bought this bread:

That turned into pretty rockin’ French toast:

Later, I took advantage of the street festivals that are abundant around this time of the year.  I hit up Summer on Southport for some concerts and revelry.

Now,  street festivals can very quickly turn into indulgent ventures thanks to the plethora of beer tents and fried food, BUT- there are good options, too!  Here are my tips:

1.  Don’t go with the intention of eating and drinking. Think of street fests as a way to hear fun music and enjoy a nice day!

2. If there are games or free samples, take advantage. At Summer on Southport, there were tons of tents set up giving away free stuff- and most of it was health conscious!  There was a Kashi tent, an Ocean Spray tent:

And my favorite: a Clif Z bar booth!  These kid-sized versions of Clif bars in flavors like Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Brownie are totally organic and I love them.  I’m aware that I’m an adult and these are meant for kids, but they’re so good!  I beelined for the booth and the sweet girl working at it threw a ton of free samples in my bag!

She was officially my favorite person of the day.   After eating one of my samples, we listened to some bands play and enjoyed the great atmosphere and warm weather.

The grand total for the day:  $12! And it wasn’t difficult!

I had a great day, took advantage of the city, walked a lot (and even ran a little!) and my head hit the pillow that night knowing that I had made the most of my day without blowing a ton of cash.

Megan is a 20-something professional who lives in Chicago and blogs about her daily adventures in healthy living on her Blog Braise The Roof.  After graduating college in 2006, she moved back to the city and has been navigating the choppy waters of balancing having fun with friends, enjoying a beer (or two) and staying active ever since!  She hopes that through her blog other young people will see that it is possible to live well on a budget and still have fun.

YumUniverse-You are invited!

Healthy In Chicago readers-Join us at the Chicago Urban Art Society (2229 S. Halsted) Thursday, August 12 from 7-10pm for an evening filled with tasty raw and vegan treats, organic cocktails, sustainable wines, whiskeys, sake, free massage, DJ, giveaways, raffle and much more to celebrate the official launch of YumUniverse.com! Wahoo!

Join us August 12, 2010 from 7-10pm at the Chicago Urban Art Society
in Chicago’s hip Pilsen neighborhood for an evening of:

* Organic cocktails thanks to Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo and
* FAIR Fair Trade Certified Quinoa Vodka

* Vegan and raw treats from YumUniverse

* An organic/sustainable wine tasting thanks to Hahn Family Wines

* An organic whiskey tasting thanks to “Chicago’s First Boutique Distillery”
* KOVAL

* Acai Spirit tasting and Acai Mojito’s thanks to VEEV Acai Spirit

* Sparkling natural fruit beverages thanks to IZZE!

* Incredible raffle prizes like a 6-course meal prepared by Top Chef contestant
* (and YU Contributor) Valerie Bolon and personal chef Rachel Winpar and a free
* gym membership to LA Boxing

* Free massages thanks to the good folks at The Rub Hub

* DJ Samone Roberts (yup, she’s a vegan)

* Giveaways and more!

There will be plenty of free parking behind our venue in addition to street parking. Cabs will be plentiful and we will even make sure that rickshaws are out front to take you on a pre-or post-party tour of Pilsen. Stop by neighborhood favorite’s like Skylark, Nightwood or Simone’s for a cocktail after the party.

So stay tuned for developments—we have a lot of exciting additions in the works—but in the meantime, mark your calendar’s and RSVP for one of the sweetest parties of the summer!

Where: Chicago Urban Art Society, 2229 S. Halsted Street in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood
When:
Thursday, August 12, 2010 from 7-10pm

What is Healthy?-From a 1st Grader

Happy Monday Chicago! 

Healthy In Chicago enlisted some help from a few elementary school teachers to bring you insight (and maybe a few laughs) from the youth of the area on what they think healthy means.  When asked the questions below, the first graders responded with the following;

What does the word healthy mean?   

  • “I think it kind of means you are feeling good and not sick.”
  • “It means that you eat good.”
  • “It means that you are not eating junk food and you are staying in good shape.”
  • “It means that you are eating apples and oranges.”
  • “It means that you’re eating oranges and bananas.”
  • “It means that you are working out.”
  • “It means that you are strong.”
  • “It means that your weight isn’t high.”
  • “It means when you don’t eat ice cream all of the time.”
  • “It means you eat a lot of vegetables and that makes you really good for your body.”
  • “Don’t eat junk because it will make you not healthy.”
  • “It means that you are brushing your teeth well.”
  • “It means that you sleep a lot.”
  • “It means you are feeling good and not having rabies.”
  • “It means that you are getting in shape.”
  • “It means that you’re healthy and you eat apples and fruit and vegetables.”
  • “It means that you’re eating a lot of green things.”
  • “It means that your lifting weights a lot.”
  • “You’re eating green beans and salad.”

Where did you learn about being healthy?

  • “If you see vegetables you will get healthy.”
  • “School, my teacher.”
  • “In kindergarten.”
  • “Sometimes the hospital.”
  • “The doctor.”
  • “At my home.”
  • “Your parents teach you.”
  • “The Nurse”
  • “Online.”
  • “The Biggest Loser Show.”
  • “The Doctor OZ show.”
  • “Dr. Seuss.”   (*my personal favorite because his name is doctor)

Chicago, what do you think Healthy is? Do you remember how you first learned how to be healthy?  Do you pass this knowledge on?

 

Eat, Act, Think… and Get Healthy Chicago!

We cannot deny the fact that America’s children are facing an avoidable health crisis. Physical inactivity coupled with increased consumption of easily accessible processed, sugar-laden foods, has led to frightening statistics: childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even low energy and self-esteem are some of the life-altering risks related to this reversible condition. Get Healthy Chicago believes that sitting back and watching the situation intensify is not an option and we are not alone! As you already know, Michelle Obama recently launched her national, “Let’s Move!” campaign. Get Healthy Chicago shares the first lady’s ambitious mission to solve the obesity epidemic, and is going about doing so in a very unique way.  

Get Healthy Chicago inspires area kids to live their healthiest lives through participation in a one of a kind program titled, Empowerment Yoga.  While participants bend, stretch, and move their bodies, GHC’s core principals- Eat, Act, and Think- are expertly woven through their lively and bright classes.   

Eat- Healthy bodies require healthy food.  During Empowerment Yoga, attention is placed on how different foods affect the way the children’s bodies move and feel.  Class ends with a shared healthy snack and a discussion on what healthy foods are available in their neighborhoods and how they can make small changes to reap big nutritional benefits. 

Act- Get Healthy Chicago introduces and educates area youth to the ancient mind-body practice of yoga.  Many of the young participants have not otherwise been exposed to yoga; the simple poses require no special equipment, making them easy to practice while watching TV, in their bedrooms, or even in between classes!  The yoga-certified volunteers teach Empowerment Yoga with such finesse, and children leave learning the benefits of yoga, and most importantly, how fun it can be!   

Think- Eating healthy foods and exercising everyday are two of the three parts to Get Healthy Chicago’s holistic approach. The third principle, Think, includes goal setting, mindfulness, and overall positive thinking which encourages healthy self-esteem.  Empowerment Yoga helps children to see the connection between having positive thoughts and feeling great!  By educating the children on the value of setting both short and long term goals, Get Healthy Chicago volunteers assist participants in taking the first step of turning dream into reality! When all is said and done, Get Healthy Chicago proves that together, fresh food, physical activity, and goal-oriented, positive thoughts, foster happy and healthy living!  For now, Get Healthy Chicago targets adolescents and young adults.  The 10-18 age range was strategically chosen, as this is when lifestyle habits are being formed that can last a lifetime.  GHC has already made great strides and connections in Chicago, and is looking forward to continue developing, expanding, and sharing their Empowerment Yoga with many, many more!   
 

If you are a fitness or nutrition expert, or just a healthy-minded individual motivated to inspire children to live healthy lives, we encourage all to join our cause! For more information about Get Healthy Chicago, or to learn how you can volunteer time or resources, please email our volunteer coordinator, Colleen, at Colleen@mygethealthy.org 

Click to Visit Get Healthy Chicago