Spending time in nature is an important pillar of self-care. Whether you’re going on a hike or simply enjoying a warm spring afternoon in the backyard with your children or grandchildren, these delicious and healthy recipes are easy to pack, full of wholesome nutrients that fuel your time outdoors, and bolster your immune system.
Blueberry Power Bars
These power bars are simple to make ahead of time, and so easy to pack when going for a walk, a bike ride, or a hike. They’re also easy enough to toss into a backpack or a to-go container.
Each bite is full of plant-based protein, which keeps you satisfied all morning. Plus, the healthy fats from the flax, almonds and sunflower seeds help boost energy, reduce inflammation, and enhance cognition, so you can truly embrace all the benefits of spending time in nature.
1 ¼ cups quick rolled oats
½ cup almonds, sliced
¼ cup flax seeds
¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds, roasted
¼ cup wheat germ
1 cup dried blueberries
½ cup almond butter or other nut butters
⅓ cup honey
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
Heat and combine the nut butter, oil, vanilla, honey and pinch of salt in a saucepan and simmer for a minute or two. Then, add in the oats, seeds, flax and almonds. Mix well.
Scrape the gooey oat mixture into a lined or greased 8-inch baking pan. Refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, but ideally overnight for perfect firmness. Remove from the pan and cut into bars or convenient squares. Enjoy!
Deconstructed Spinach-and-Chickpea Buddha Bowl
This quick-to-make vegan Buddha bowl is a feast for the eyes, and the tastebuds! Not only is this iron-rich meal very, very high in iron due to the chickpeas (more than 12 mg in a cup of chickpeas) and spinach (approximately 3 mg of iron in a few ounces of fresh spinach leaves), but it’s also bursting with protein, fiber, and essential antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and niacin.
The dressing holds a few tantalizing surprises, catching your attention with layers of sweetness and spiciness that bring out the textures of this delicious meal.
Assemble the salad in a big Mason jar for an easy-to-pack lunch that’s perfect for taking to work or bringing on a nature adventure.
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh spinach
3.5 oz feta cheese (or your favorite plant-based alternative)
1/2 cup organic raisins
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tsp honey (ideally organic, local and raw)
4 tbsp olive oil (or your favorite plant oil)
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
Whisk together the honey, oil, lemon juice, rains, cumin, salt pepper and chili flakes and set aside.
Combine the spinach, chickpeas and cheese in a bowl or Mason jar. Drizzle all of the dressing on top. Enjoy!
This high-protein, high-fiber treat is a great way to start your day, and also serves as a sinfully delicious “dessert” after a day of adventures out in nature. These baked delights are made with coconut oil (which studies have shown has powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant properties). It’s also high in immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin A, thanks to the seasonal flavors of fresh pumpkin puree.
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup honey, ideally local, raw and organic
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup oat milk
2 tsp pumpkin spice blend
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While your oven is heating up, grease a muffin tin with coconut oil.
In a bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, honey, eggs, pumpkin, milk, pumpkin spices, baking soda, sea salt, and vanilla. Once well-mixed stir in the oats and flour.
Pour the muffin batter into the muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked (test by inserting a toothpick to ensure it’s baked thoroughly). Enjoy!