For that 3pm Slump…

Need some ideas for that afternoon pick me up other than going to the vending machine for some chips or candy?  Try this great, clean eating idea from Dietitian Chef, Michelle Dudash, RDN, author of “Clean Eating for Busy Families.”  I loved this bar, but did add in some dark chocolate chips for the kids.  I swapped the raisins out for some dried, tart cherries that I had on hand and they came out delicious!

I used these to fuel before a run as well as gave them to the kids as an afternoon snack :O)

Quick-Fix Trail Mix Snack Bars with California Raisins

A fraction of the cost of high-quality store-bought bars.

  • Prep Time : 10 min
  • Cook Time : 20 min
  • Ready Time : 30 min


  • Serves:
  • Serving Size: 1 bar each


  •  Expeller-pressed canola oil spray
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup California raisins
  • 1 cup toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 raw sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


This is a recipe I perfected while working as a private chef. I wrapped and stored the bars individually in the fridge for family members to “grab and go” for snacks between work, school, errands, and activities, and I encourage you to do the same. They’re a fraction of the cost of high-quality store-bought bars. –Michelle Dudash, RD

Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2) and coat a 9 x 9-inch (23 x 23 cm) pan with canola oil spray. Finely chop cashews and dried fruit in a food processor (or smash the nuts in a bag, and chop the fruit) and add to a large bowl. Add pepitas, sunflower and sesame seeds, flaxseed, and salt and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, microwave the honey for a few seconds until warm. Drizzle honey and vanilla into the nut mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Pour the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Spray a sheet of waxed paper with canola oil spray; place the waxed paper on top of the mixture, spray side down, and pack down gently with your hands. Bake until golden, 20 minutes; cool completely.

Place a cutting board on top of the pan. Lay one of your hands on top of the board and the other hand underneath the pan and firmly flip the pan upside down to release the cake from the pan. Cut into 12 bars. For maximum freshness, store bars individually in snack bags and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Reprinted with permission from Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love, by Michelle Dudash, RD (Fair Winds Press, December 2012). More info:

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories 260 Total Fat 18g (sat 3g, ); Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 10g; Carbohydrate 17g; (Dietary Fiber 3g; );

New Product Alert!

Don’t have the time to prepare Steel Cut Oats for breakfast? Well now you do! Quaker has come up with a quick 3-minute version that is cut smaller, so they take just 3 minutes in the microwave or 5 minutes on the stove.

Why eat Steel Cut Oats instead of regular? The benefits of steel cut oats exceed the benefits of rolled oats because of the way they are processed. Steel cut oats are dense and chewy as a result of being passed through sharp, steel blades that cut them into thin slices that helps retain more fiber and protein. They also raise blood sugar less than instant oatmeal because they take longer to break down. Raising blood sugar less = less blood sugar dips, less cravings, and less fat storage.

Steel cut oats are absolutely delicious! I just love their nutty, hearty texture. They could be considered a “power food” because they are an excellent source of protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, and select vitamins and minerals.

Each serving (about 1 cup cooked) has 170 calories, 6gms of protein, and 4gms of intact, unprocessed fiber (and it’s the kind that helps lower cholesterol).

Added sugar and salt are nowhere to be found! Flavor your oatmeal instead with healthy additions such as ground flaxseed meal (for added Omega 3 fats), fresh or dried fruit (chopped apples or dried dates), chopped walnuts or almonds, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Makes a high energy, pre-workout meal as well that will sustain you for awhile during activity.

Taco Thursday/Tuesday!

I get a lot of questions asking for ideas on quick, healthy meals.  Here is a go-to idea that will please the whole family.  It’s so easy as there is really nothing to prepare, and many of these items are probably already stocked in your kitchen pantry!

Products I love to make a complete meal:

Protein – Pacific brand organic refried pinto beans.  High fiber, low protein and BPA free!

Dairy – Sargento 2% reduced fat Mexican cheese. Always choose lower fat cheese as the only difference is that it is made with lower fat milk = lower fat, lower cholesterol and lower calories. Unlike with yogurt, the lower fat cheese does not contain additional sugar to make it taste better.

Grains – 100% whole wheat tortilla shells.  If you’re watching your carbs, you can just skip the shell and make a taco salad instead. Or you could use a lower carb, whole wheat wrap.

Veggies – Chopped tomatoes and shredded green leaf lettuce of course!

Healthy, Monounsaturated Fat – Sliced avocado

Toppings – Plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (lowfat/fat free, high protein and you won’t notice a difference!), Organic salsa and guacamole.  I love the 100 cal containers of Wholly Guacamole for portion control of this healthy, but calorie-dense food.

If you must have meat on your taco, here is what I recommend:

Making your own taco seasoning is a healthier alternative to buying packaged taco seasoning, and uses less sodium, no sugar, no preservatives and no msg. It also saves you money if you are on a budget. If you prefer to use the package seasoning, simply replace it with the spices listed here.  I love this recipe from, but if you’re in a pinch, just use the lower sodium version of the packet.


  • 1.3 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp bell pepper, minced
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 oz can tomato sauce


Brown turkey in a large skillet breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink add dry seasoning and mix well. Add the onion, pepper, water and tomato sauce and cover. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

And that’s the way dinner is done!  Enjoy!