Essential snacks for your next writer's retreat

Many people may not know this about me, but I'm kinda known as the Queen of Snacks. Probably because I like to graze (i.e. eat constantly) and I like my food to be healthy and nutritious. This all started about five years ago when I suffered from debilitating migraines. The headaches were becoming so intense and so frequent that I decided they must have been caused by something I was eating. I decided to take my health into my own hands by eliminating just about everything from my diet and slowly bringing only the good foods back into it, one at a time, and measuring their affect on my head. I not only cured my migraines, but I also learned how to cook in the process!

Now I can say with all sincerity that you truly are what you eat. Food can make you feel energized and alert, or it can drain you, leaving you feeling tired and lethargic. So for your next weekend writer's retreat, here are two superpower snacks that will keep you going all day long.

Kitchen Sink Granola

This snack is so powerfully delicious it's like a punch in the face. It's a great afternoon pick-me-up, full of healthy berries and proteins, and you can even eat it with rice milk for a different flavor and consistency. This recipe also works well with substitute ingredients--just use whatever you have in your cupboard! Note: This recipe is a slightly modified version of 'Mom's Granola' from the book The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.  

6 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup maple sugar
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup shredded coconut 
1/2 cup sesame or sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped nuts or raisins
1 bar of dark chocolate, cut into small bits
1/3 cup of goji berries
1/4 cup of golden berries
1/2 cup safflower oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract 

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. 

Spread the oats on a rimmed baking pan, and bake for 10 minutes. Transfer the oats to a large mixing bowl, and add the sugar, wheat germ, coconut, seeds, berries, and nuts or raisins. Stir to mix well, then add the oil, syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix until everything is moistened. Spread half of the mixture on each of the 2 rimmed baking sheets (or bake in 2 batches), and bake for 10 minutes. Stir after 5 minutes to brown evenly. Let the baked granola cool on the pans then add the chocolate bits. Transfer to a bowl and stir until crumbly. Store in airtight container. 

Coconut Popcorn

This recipe is ridiculously easy to prepare and is super healthy. It offers a nice light snack at the end of a long day--not too heavy before bedtime.

3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1/2 cup of popcorn kernels

(Optional: sprinkle with cayenne pepper and sugar)

Add oil and kernels to a large pot on the stove and heat on high. Shake the pot every 30 seconds to make sure the kernels don't stick and burn on the bottom. As the kernels begin to pop, reduce heat slightly, but still keeping the temperature near high. When popping begins to slow down, remove the pot from the heat. Pour popcorn into a bowl and sprinkle with salt.   

And lastly, don't forget to hydrate! Drink lots and lots of water with a slice of lemon or lime through out the day. 

If you haven't already made plans for your next writing session, here is a great article from BookBaby to get you started: 6 Essential Tips for Your Own Stay-At-Home Writer's Retreat.

Stacey D. Atkinson is finishing up work on her debut novel Stuck, due for release in September 2013 through Mirror Image Publishing. 

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