Heart-Smart Snack: No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

For those who know me well, you know that eating healthy and staying active is extremely important to me. I have been a runner since I was 16 and in love with anything related to health and nutrition since college. Over the past 20 years, my dad has had three heart attacks and open-heart surgeries, which has made me even more conscious of keeping my family fit and heart-healthy.

As you know, I’ve been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day campaign and have learned a lot! For example, cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease, stroke and diseases of the blood vessels, is the number one cause of death worldwide, accounting for more than 17 million lost lives every year. In the U.S. alone, more than 81 million people (37 percent of the population) have CVD, resulting in nearly 850,000 deaths a year. Research has also shown that obese children are at a high risk for being obese as adults, which is a risk factor for CVD. There is good news though – with healthy diet and exercise, CVD can be prevented up to 80 percent of the time!

I’ve tried to teach my three children (10, 12 and 14) the importance of a healthy lifestyle through examples I’ve set and it seems to be working! As a family, we like to ride bikes, take walks, play tennis – anything active that we can do together. I also urge them to join team sports every season and we discuss the importance of making healthy food choices. I include them in meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. I am always proud, impressed and grateful when I see them making wise decisions with healthy snacks and other foods. But kids are also, well kids, so I try to make heart-healthy foods fun like these No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars I developed for CanolaInfo’s “Home is Where the Heart is” Recipe Collection.

These easy and tasty granola bars are perfect for breakfast, a lunchbox dessert or afternoon snack. For more great kid-friendly recipes and information on living a heart-smart lifestyle, visit Canolainfo.org.

Cool and Fresh: Greek Chicken Salad and Ingredients, Inc. T-Shirt Give-Away

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We have been eating a lot of cold dishes lately since it is beyond hot here in Alabama. I love trying new versions of chicken salad, and this Greek Chicken Salad is so easy and so flavorful. I used rotisserie chicken to make this recipe even easier. Serve on lettuce leaves or in a pita for a really simple main-dish.

T-Shirt Giveaway:

Enter for a chance to win an Ingredients, Inc. T-shirt by leaving a comment below telling me what’s your favorite cold-main dish and/or your favorite grilled cheese sandwich. I will select a random winner on Wednesday August 4th.

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Healthy Baking for Kids at Your House: No-Bake Granola Bars

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When I was coming up with recipe ideas for my “Healthy Baking Cooking Class” for kids, I knew I needed to be creative and offer a few no-bake items since there was only going to be one large oven. These No-Bake Granola Bars were a huge hit! They have wonderful, kid-friendly and healthy ingredients, and adults as well as kids, love them. Feel free to use any of your favorite dried fruits, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, etc. Enjoy, but beware: they are very addictive!