Tag Archives: Wholefoods

Categories Recipes, Snacking

No-Bake Granola Bars

No-Bake Granola Bars

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
The shelves at the grocery store are packed with granola bars. Why bother making them at home? Because these seriously beat any granola bars I have ever had. They are incredibly delicious, satisfying and simple to make. When feeling like having something sweet and nutritious, these will become your favourite go-to granola bars.
Prep Time 30 mins
Refrigeration 4 hrs


  • Food processor
  • Small saucepan
  • Medium bowl
  • Baking pan, 9x9 inches
  • Parchment paper


  • 200gr pitted date fruits
  • 1.5 cups large oats
  • 1 cup almonds or hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
  • ½ cup sesame paste
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder optional
  • A pinch sea salt
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • Place dates in the food processor and pulse until small, sticky crumbs are formed. These may come together to a ball as you process. Move into a medium bowl and set aside. No need to clean the food processor yet.
  • Lightly toast the almonds or hazelnuts. Place in the food processor and pulse into medium-size pieces. Add the nuts to the bowl of dates.
  • Lightly toast the oats. Add to the bowl of dates and nuts.
  • Place the honey (or maple), sesame paste and cinnamon powder (if using)  in a small saucepan and warm up. Stir to combine. Do not boil or overheat.
  • Pour the warm mixture onto the dates, nuts and oats. Add a pinch of salt.
  • Mix well with a fork, ensuring the dates pieces are well spread in the mixture.
  • Allow mixture to cool a bit.
  • Add chocolate chips and mix in with a fork.
  • Line your 9x9 pan with parchment paper leaving enough paper edges for easy removal of the bars after cooling. Pour the mixture in, flattening and levelling it in the pan.
  • Cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Using the edges of the parchment paper, carefully remove the bar from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into 8-10 even bars. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight glass container for up to a week.


Nut-free version - Replace the nuts with sunflower seeds. 
Vegan version - Use maple syrup (instead of honey) and vegan chocolate chips.
Categories Recipes, Snacking

Chocolate-Hazelnut Energy Bites

Chocolate-Hazelnut Energy Bites

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
I love chocolate. So if I can have both a nourishing and chocolaty snack - now that’s a bonus! These little bites are definitely my go-to whenever I have these cravings. I keep them in the freezer in a container to grab as a pre- or post-workout snack. Sometimes they just call my name and I just have to answer. Wouldn’t you?
Prep Time 15 mins


  • Food processor or a powerful blender
  • 2 small bowls


  • 15 Medjool dates pitted
  • Some boiling water
  • 1.5 cup raw hazelnuts
  • ¾ desiccated coconut unsweetened
  • cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional


  • Place the dates in a heat-proof bowl and carefully cover with boiling water. Allow the dates to soak for about 20 minutes.
  • While the dates are soaking, place the raw hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake at 350 F or 180 C for 5 minutes or until hazelnuts are warm to the touch. Carefully remove from the oven and divide hazelnuts into 1 cup and 0.5 cups.
  • Place 0.5 cups of hazelnuts in the food processor and process to a meal texture. Place the hazelnut meal in a small bowl and set it aside. No need to clean the food processor container before the next step. Simply place it back on its engine.
  • Drain the softened dates discarding the water.
  • In the food processor place dates, the remaining whole hazelnuts (1 cup) and the desiccated coconut. Process until a crumbly mixture has formed.
  • Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon and vanilla extract (if using). Blend until a sticky dough-like texture has formed, and most of the mixture is coming together. Stop blending to scrape the sides if needed.
  • With a teaspoon, scoop enough mixture to create 1-1.5 inch size balls. Roll the balls in the hazelnut meal.
  • Keep bites refrigerated or place in a freezable container to enjoy later.


For additional coating options, roll the balls in a ⅓ cup cocoa powder or desiccated coconut.
Categories Free Resources, Health Boosters, How To’s, Wellness

How to Make Healthier Choices on a Budget

A common misconception is that a healthy lifestyle is expensive and only a minority can afford it. Often, when picturing a healthy lifestyle, images of expensive gym memberships, pricey organic produce and some high-cost environmentally-conscious products. While there is definitely a lot of money in the health industry, the wonderful news is that living a healthier lifestyle can be done with little financial investment. In fact, you will find the investment is more of a time & effort one, rather than financial.

The important thing is to be willing to make small changes, start making them and keep consistent. With time, these can help you improve your current situation. It is the little changes we do that slowly and gradually impact our own lives for the better, our community and if we are patient enough, the environment we live in.

I came up with a list for you to have. You are more than welcome to adopt one or multiple suggestions. Please share this with people you think could benefit from it.

1. Cook more at home.

This will save you a lot of money and will provide you with more control over what goes into your food. Eating out or ordering take-out can add up in both money and less healthy choices.

2. Buy seasonal produce.

No one has to have grapes in the winter or oranges in the summer. Imported produce can be pricier and sometimes less nutritious due to longer storage and travel time. Someone has to pay the price of travel and storage and that would be you.

3. Make your own protein/granola/energy bars.

Most recipes available online are easy to follow and most bars freeze well. Most recipes use products that are available at home or can be found in any superstore. Keep a stash in the freezer for you to grab & go.

4. Try frozen veggies & fruits.

There are times throughout the year where the variety of fresh produce is small, or what is available is pricey. Frozen options can often be as nutritious as fresh, and it is better to choose frozen than to not have any fruits and veggies at all.

5. Go for daily walks.

Whether it is a long stroll or a short fast walk, with or without added weights, the benefits of walking are frequently underestimated. It is a great exercise, can be adjusted to any fitness level and can be done by most people year-round.

6. Reduce intake of expensive meats.

Instead of having beef, chicken, turkey or fish daily, consider replacing a few meals per week with a vegetarian option such as lentils and beans dishes, eggs or tofu.

7. At-home cosmetics.

Consider using good quality olive oil or coconut oil to replace some cosmetic products such as hair masks, makeup removers, lip balm and lotions. Often these oils are available at home and are a much cheaper and healthier option than chemically-heavy cosmetics.

8. Double up on your favourite dishes.

When cooking your own meal, consider doubling a recipe to freeze and enjoy later. It will save you time and effort and maybe even help you refrain from ordering take-out.

9. Online exercises library.

Search online for some safe, at-home exercises that require no special equipment or conditions, and use body weight and a small space. There are many completely free options out there that can fit any style and fitness level.

10. Relax for free.

Instead of going to an expensive spa or for pricey massages, try relaxation methods at home, such as meditation, listening to calming music, stretching and/or breathing techniques.

Categories Recipes, Sipping - Warm

Naturally sweetened hot chocolate with spices

Naturally sweetened hot chocolate with spices

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
Hot chocolate goes together with cold nights, a cozy blanket and a good book, Christmas time etc. The store-bought version may be full of sugars and additives, so here is a healthier, nourishing and satisfying version.
The spices listed can be omitted or personalized based on your preferences. The use of dates to sweeten this hot chocolate provides many benefits. Dates are a good source of iron, magnesium, fibre, vitamin B6 and potassium.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 mins


  • A small pot
  • Blender with a lid
  • Your favourite mug


  • 1 cup of preferred milk (dairy or plant-based)
  • 3-4 Medjool dates pitted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder unsweetened
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • A pinch of ginger powder and grated nutmeg optional


  • Whipped cream dairy or plant-based
  • Grated dark chocolate regular or vegan
  • 1 cinnamon stick for garnish


  • Place the pitted dates in a small bowl and top with about ½ cup of boiling water. Set aside.
  • In a small pot, place your milk of choice and heat until small bubbles form on the surface. Remove from heat and carefully pour into your blender.
  • Drain the dates and add to the blender. Add the cocoa and spices.
  • Start blending on a low and carefully increase speed to allow all ingredients to blend and for the mixture to be smooth.
  • Carefully pour into a mug.
  • To serve, garnish with whipping cream and a cinnamon stick, top with grated dark chocolate, sprinkle some cinnamon powder.


*This beverage can be made dairy or plant-based. You can increase or decrease the number of dates used to adjust the sweetness to your preference.
Categories Dining, Recipes, Snacking

High-Protein Oat Pancakes

High-Protein Oat Pancakes

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
As a mother to two athletic boys and as an active person myself, I had to find creative ways to incorporate more protein in each meal. Here is an easy way to turn a breakfast favourite into a high-protein meal that will keep anyone feeling fuller for longer. You can make these pancakes gluten-free if you ensure the ingredients provided are GF such as the oats and the baking powder.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 39 mins


  • Food processor or blender
  • Frying pan
  • Small ladle
  • Spatula


  • 2 cups large oats (GF if preferred)
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup water or milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder (GF if preferred)
  • Coconut oil for frying


  • Place oats in a food processor or blender and process until the texture resembles sand.
  • Peel the bananas and chop them into bite-size pieces. Add to the processed oats.
  • Add the eggs, yogurt, water or milk, honey or maple, and salt and blend until smooth.
  • Add the baking powder and blend for another 20 seconds. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Mixture should be slightly runny and not too thick. Add more liquid if necessary.
  • Heat a large flat frying pan or a pancake pan on medium-high heat. Place a teaspoon of coconut oil in the pan and let it melt. With a heat-proof baking brush, spread the oil to cover the cooking surface of the pan.
  • With the ladle, place the desired amount of pancake mixture and fry until a few small bubbles form at the top of the pancake, and the bottom is golden-brown. Flip the pancake and fry for another minute on the other side.
  • Place the cooked pancakes on a dish and cover them with tin foil to keep warm while the other pancakes are being cooked.
  • Repeat the frying process with the rest of the mixture.


These pancakes are more on the neutral side - not sweet or salty, so any toppings of your choice would work well. Here are some options:
Maple syrup, honey, Blueberry sauce, whipped ricotta, nut butter, chocolate sauce, cocoa nibs, chopped nuts, desiccated coconut or coconut flakes.
Categories Dining, Recipes

Epic & Colourful Summer Salad

Epic & Colourful Summer Salad

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
I hereby give you your new go-to summer salad. Seriously, it doesn’t get better than this. This salad truly has it all - it’s filling, crunchy, satisfying and colourful. For lunch or as a side for dinner, you pick!
This vegetarian salad provides a nice balance between healthy carbs, fats and protein. It is high in fibre, good nutrients, and the whole family can enjoy it.
Bonus: If you don’t have a certain vegetable, just swap it with whatever you have in the fridge.
Prep Time 20 mins


  • Sharp knife
  • Mixing bowl


  • 1 cup chilled, cooked grain of choice: quinoa, whole-wheat couscous or bulgur
  • ½ can pre-cooked chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cubed
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 2 Roma tomatoes cubed
  • ½ cup fresh peas
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • Black olives pitted and halved, optional
  • Dried cranberries or raisins optional for some sweetness


  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon liquid honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
  • ½ teaspoon teaspoon garlic powder


  • Begin with preparing the dressing: Place all dressing ingredients in a jar, close with a lid and shake until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, place the chilled grain of choice, chickpeas, bell peppers, carrot, tomatoes, fresh peas and parsley.
  • With a tablespoon, mix all ingredients. If adding black olives, cranberries or raisins, add them now and mix.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  • Refrigerate for an hour before serving to allow the flavours to set.
Categories Free Resources, Health Boosters, How To’s

Smoothies – Why, what and how

You may have tried a smoothie in the past. Maybe smoothies are a big part of your food intake. You may have experienced the texture, the variety of flavours, colours and even gone further and bought a blender to prepare these at home. Whether you enjoy these frequently or once in a while – let’s chat about smoothies – Should we have smoothies? How often? Why? And what should they be made of to maximize their benefits?
A smoothie is a blended drink that normally contains a combination of fruits, vegetables, a preferred liquid (such as milk, water, etc.) and sometimes other ingredients.
To clarify, in this blog I will be referring to the smoothies that are made of wholesome products, as opposed to smoothies made of ice cream, or the ones containing high amounts of processed sugars or even alcohol.

Why - the reasons to have a smoothie

1. Convenience

You may have found yourself on a hot summer day wanting a cold slushy beverage while nurturing your body with some good nutrients, so you proceed to the next smoothie establishment and in minutes you have a cold, creamy, satisfying drink in your hand that you can take along with you on your walk, errands or while waiting for your child to finish their sports event.

2. Fibre

Fibre is a very important part of a healthy food intake. We need enough fibre daily for healthy bowel movement, nutrient absorption and to feel fuller and satisfied. While juicing has many great benefits, it removes the fibre content of the produce we are using. Smoothies keep the fibre intact and can help us reach our daily fibre intake goal.

3. Nutrition in a cup

Not everyone meets the minimum recommended number of fruits and veggies we should consume daily. Throw into your blender your favourite combo of fruits, veggies and greens, and you just got yourself closer to the daily quota.

4. Grab & go

Busy schedule? No time to sit down and have a proper meal? A smoothie to the rescue! A few pieces of frozen fruits, maybe a handful of greens, a scoop of protein powder and you basically have a meal in a cup.

5. A healthier alternative

Can you really compare a sweet & slushy, artificially coloured and full of chemicals drink from a fast food or convenience store to a homemade smoothie? And maybe there are times for the not-so-good-for-us option. However, depending on the ingredients, you can make your own smoothie that can satisfy any sweet tooth. Kids and adults alike can enjoy a cup full a slushy drink made entirely of fruits! Better? Absolutely.

6. Versatile

Chocolate? Vanilla? Fruity? Peanut butter? What is your favourite flavour? Smoothies can be made to fit our craving while nourishing and feeding our growling belly.

What - What makes a good, nourishing smoothie?

Smoothies are so versatile, we can make them taste however we want, or have them serve a different purpose each time. Need extra protein for the day? Add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie. Didn’t have enough healthy fats today? Throw into your smoothie ½ an avocado, maybe a couple of walnuts or a teaspoon of coconut oil. No time for greens today? Toss a handful of spinach into your banana-pineapple mix and you’re good to go. The choices are endless.
While fruit smoothies are great, I personally see smoothies as an opportunity to give our body extra nutrients and maybe even add in some extra veggies to our daily intake.
We can easily make a smoothie extra nutritious by decreasing the number of fruits and replacing part of them with vegetables or leafy greens. The reason behind it is to allow our taste buds a break from overly sweet stimulation and to provide our body with extra nutrients from other ingredients than fruit.

How - should we incorporate more veggies into our smoothie?

There are a few ways to introduce more veggies and/or leafy greens into your smoothie:

1. Start small

There is no need to add 2 big handfuls of spinach to your smoothie and never have it again because it did not taste good. We should allow enough time for our taste buds to adjust to the new flavours. After all, we want to maintain a positive experience when drinking a smoothie. Start with a few leafy greens, ½ a cucumber or 1 stalk of celery and slowly increase the quantity when you feel ready.

2. Experiment

You may not be a fan of some veggies but when they are “hidden” in a smoothie, you may not know they are there. For example, you will not be able to tell the difference if you add 1-2 frozen florets of cauliflower to your smoothie.

3. An acquired taste

Sometimes you can do everything right and you still do not like the taste. Give it a couple more times and see if you can tolerate the new flavours as you have that smoothie again and again.

4. Think positive

by adding more veggies or leafy greens to your smoothies, you are adding tons of great benefits and nutrients too. Remember that as you sip.

Ready to experiment? Click here for some delicious and nutritious smoothies ideas.
Want to learn how to create your own smoothie from scratch? Click here for my blog ‘The 7 Pillars of a Healthy & Nourishing Smoothie’

Categories Free PDFs, Free Resources, Health Boosters, How To’s

The 7 Pillars of Smoothie Making

7 Pillars of Smoothie Making

Overwhelmed with what to put in your smoothie? I get it. With so many options, where do you begin? Get your copy to learn the basic pillars of smoothie making. Save time & hassle when you are looking for a healthy choice on the go.

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