Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dancer's Nutrition: Good Morning Granola

Originally I wanted to name this post "A Dancer's Diet," however I didn't want my young dancers to think I was creating these recipes because I think they need to "diet."  What I do want for them, besides getting good technique, take more ballet classes, stretch not because I said so, pointe their toes, smile and have fun, is to take care of their body.  You really only get one shot at this dance thing or life thing, so why not make it worth while.  

As a dance teacher I get to spend a lot of time with other peoples children.  I consider myself sometimes not just the woman in the front of the room shouting out dance steps but also their leader and role model.  Being in this position I feel like while I can't personally feed each and every one of them, I can set a good example and share these recipes in hopes that I will see less processed junk food in their dance bags.  Also, I would like to point out that the studio I work for provides healthy snack options for our dancers, however they don't always take advantage.  So, for my students reading this, you know who you are with the Cheetos, french fries, rocky road ice cream (yes, this one is for real) and chips, chips and more chips, let's get healthy and fuel your body with the right nutrients it needs to make it through those long days at dance!

The next few posts I will be sharing are meant to be simple and easy enough for a family on the go to make and enjoy.  I'm starting off with breakfast.  Just like everyone says, this is the most important meal of the day.  If you are skipping it you are already setting yourself up for failure.  How can you function without fueling your body? Cars don't run without gas, you shouldn't run or dance without food.  So here is an easy way to get in a ton of protein to start your day off right.  

Good Morning Granola

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup almond slivers
1 cup unsweetened large coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons agave nectar (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, quinoa, pecans, almonds, coconut flakes, sea salt and cinnamon.  Pour in the coconut oil, honey and agave nectar.  Stir until all ingredients are well combined.  Pour the granola mixture onto a parchment paper lined large rimmed baking sheet.  Make sure the granola is spread evenly on the baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes stirring halfway through.  Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Remove the granola from the parchment paper and break into pieces.  The Granola can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Makes about 4 cups.

Note:  This granola can be eaten as a cereal, with yogurt and fruit, or plain and on the go.  It is also a great snack.

Almond Butter and Date Granola Bars

1-3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup almond slivers
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
8-10 medjool dates, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine the rolled oats, almonds, pecans, coconut, dates, cinnamon and sea salt.  Set aside.

In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, melt the coconut oil, almond butter and honey.  Pour the almond butter mixture over the oats mixture and stir until well combined.

Pour the granola mixture into a parchment paper lined 8x8 baking dish.  Using your hands or a wooden spoons press the granola evenly into the pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Once cooled place the granola, still inside the baking dish, into the refrigerator for 2 hours to form.  Once cold and formed remove the granola from the refrigerator and cut into bars.  The granola bars may crumble a bit and be more of irregular shaped bars like mine.  Store in an airtight container or in separate small snack baggies for on the go.  Makes about 16 bars.