Recipe: A Teen-Approved Chocolate Snack

Recipe: A Teen-Approved Chocolate Snack

Here’s the truth – I love chocolate! It’s my go-to sweet snack. So, naturally, I wanted to create something chocolatey but delicious at the same time. I used this recipe in a nutrition workshop I taught to teens, and they loved it. So, if teens approve of this then we can all love it too.


Here’s what’s in the recipe:


Medjool dates are the perfect natural sweetener and also known as “nature’s candy.” Unlike their processed sweetener counterparts, they are rich in polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage and cancers.

Hemp seeds are a great vegan source of protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.

Rolled oats are a great source of fibre. In one cup, there is 9.6 grams of fibre, 39% of the recommended daily intake. It contains loads of iron, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Cacao powder is the raw form of chocolate and is not processed like cocoa powder. Cacao powder is rich in nutrients including magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Ceylon cinnamon is also known as true cinnamon. Most of the cinnamon in the supermarket available is cassia cinnamon. One of the biggest benefits of Ceylon cinnamon is its ability to regulate blood sugar.

Sea salt is not processed like table salt. Depending on the salt you have, it’ll have a different nutrient panel as well.


Raw Hemp Chocolate Energy Bites


1 cup (12-15) of packed, pitted Medjool dates
½ cup of hemp seeds
½ cup of rolled oats
⅓-½ cup of raw cacao powder
¼ teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon
Pinch of salt (optional)
Cacao powder for rolling (optional)

1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process on high speed until a dough forms.
2. Take the dough out of the food processor and place in freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
3. After 15 minutes, take the dough out of the freezer. Form into small one-inch balls and roll the energy bites in cacao powder if desired.
4. Put your energy bites in the fridge in an air-tight container. Enjoy 1-2 at a time!


Did you try the recipe? I’d love to hear your feedback. If you made any adjustments, please share as well!

The Anti-inflammatory Diet

The Anti-inflammatory Diet

Inflammation is a natural process that protects the body from an injury or exposure to a harmful substance. We all have experienced it – bruises that we see on our skin or dry blood formation from a cut. These types of inflammation are usually short term or also known as acute. When inflammation becomes chronic, lasting from weeks to years, it can lead to diseases that affect our immune system such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis), to name a few. People with chronic inflammation are also at greater risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer.

Why do people end up with chronic inflammation? There can be many contributing factors, including poor nutrition, stress, a bacterial or viral infection, aging, and long-term exposure to environmental toxins. While not all factors can be avoided, we can always work on how we eat, exercise, and manage our stress and sleep, in order to support a healthy immune system.

Let’s talk about how we can eat to boost our immune system! I call it the ‘Anti-Inflammatory diet’ but this really isn’t a diet that people usually refer to.  This diet is not about following a meal plan; it is about incorporating foods that contain potent nutrients that help reduce our body’s inflammation processes. Omega-3 fatty acids and phytonutrients (nutrients that are mainly found in plant sources) have been well recognized for their anti-inflammatory properties. Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, anchovies and rainbow trout, contain excellent sources of omega-3s. Ground flax seeds also contain good amounts of this fatty acid. You can easily sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto your salads or blend them with a smoothie. Supplement forms of omega-3s are not necessary if you consume enough through your diet. Only 2 servings (75 ounces each or size of a deck of playing cards per serving) of fatty fish a week can provide plenty of omega-3s to your diet!

As for phytonutrients, they actually contribute to the colours of vegetables and fruits that we see. Based on the Canada’s Food Guide recommendations, try to aim for 7 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits combined every day. Choose your fruits and vegetables in different colours every week, in order to ensure that you get the full spectrums of phytonutrients. Don’t like vegetables? Try adding them to casserole dishes or soups. Keep a bag or two frozen vegetables in your freezer as they are just as nutritious as the fresh ones.

Getting enough important nutrients into our body can be really simple – all we need is food! No matter what your goals are, whether that be adding a new vegetable every week or getting one more hour of sleep each day, just remember moderation is the key! Everyone likes to indulge a little. As long as we are eating healthy most of the time and making sure that we get enough varieties, we should not feel guilty about the dessert we want on the weekends. Happy eating!


If you would like more direct support, we are here to help. Alongside You can help you meeting your nutritional needs and achieve your health and nutrition goals. If you’d like more information, please give me a call at 604-283-7827 ext. 712!

Annie Tsang, Registered Dietitian

Nutrition Month News

nutrition month

Nutrition Month

An Introduction by Katie Huston, RD

Did you know that March is Nutrition Month? Every March, Registered Dietitians across Canada promote healthy eating during a fun, themed campaign to help Canadians make healthy food choices. This year’s theme is taking a “100 meal journey” and making small changes, one meal at a time. The Dietitians of Canada have organized a national nutrition month for many years and we are excited to be a part of it this year at Alongside You! Making changes in our eating habits and nutrition can be a challenge, and we’re hoping that this month we can help make it a little easier for you. What’s one of the biggest pitfalls of making changes?

Too often when we try to make changes, whether its changes to our eating habits or exercise routines, or something entirely different, we tend to set goals that are too high and ultimately unrealistic. If we set smaller more attainable goals and aim to make easier, smaller changes, these changes are more likely to stick! Sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking that some of the changes we want to make are too easy, too simple, or not signifiant. This is completely untrue! While it may take a little longer than you might want, smaller changes are much easier to make and are much more likely to happen and stay for the long haul. Think about it, any positive change that you make won’t be as beneficial to your health if you can’t stick with it!

This March at Alongside You we are celebrating Nutrition Month by sharing an inspirational tip and photo every day to give you some ideas of what these small, achievable changes towards healthier eating habits could look like.  Whether you want new healthy recipe ideas, help and guidance with portion sizes, or want to make healthier choices at restaurants, there is something for everyone this Nutrition Month.  This March, join us and take the pledge to take a 100 meal journey and let’s see where it leads us!

Catch our tips on our Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram, and follow us so you get all the updates and so we can share our successes!

Slow cooker minestrone soup recipe!

Slow Cooker Minstrone Soup


  • 6 cups (1500mL or 1.5L) no salt added chicken broth*
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes (796mL), no salt added
  • 1 large can (540 mL) of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed**
  • 1 large onion or 1 ½-2 smaller onions, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup green beans, cut in halves or thirds
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup cooked small spiral noodles (or other “shorter” noodles of your choice!)
  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Directions

    1. Sauté onions, celery and garlic in 2 teaspoons of canola oil over medium-high heat, until softened (about 4-5 minutes).
    2. Combine cooked onion mixture, broth, tomatoes, cannellini beans, carrots, green beans, zucchini, oregano, and thyme in a large slow cooker, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
    3. For the last 15 minutes of cooking, add spinach and already cooked noodles.
    4. Add salt and pepper to suit your taste buds and enjoy!

    5. * You can make this recipe vegetarian by replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth
      ** You can substitute red kidney beans for the cannellini beans if you prefer