How to host a healthful summertime gathering
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(BPT) - As the sun starts to shine brighter and the warmer weather invites us to gather with friends and family, it’s important to continue prioritizing our health and wellness throughout the season. One way to do so? Serving good-for-you foods when spending time with loved ones. Registered dietitian Natalie Rizzo shares how she infuses wellness into her gatherings by creating a nutritious and delicious menu, so that you too can host with wellbeing in mind this summer.

One ingredient Natalie always includes in her dishes to pack a nutritious punch is almonds. In just one handful (1 ounce), almonds offer 6 grams of plant protein, 4 grams of fiber, 13 grams of unsaturated fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat. Almonds also contain 50% of your daily intake of antioxidant vitamin E and 20% of your daily intake of magnesium. When using almonds for healthful sides and entrees, Natalie suggests:

  1. Add almonds to your sweet and savory dishes. The buttery flavor complements both tastes.
  2. Use different forms of almonds – from whole or slivered almonds to almond butter or almond milk. You can get a lot of versatility out of this one nut!
  3. Pair almonds with your favorite seasonal fruit to get the most out of summertime. I love using summer berries with almond butter during this time of year because they go so well together.

“This summer is all about being a healthful host,” says Natalie. “When having family and friends over, I’ll be prioritizing our wellness through nutrition and the meals that I bring to the table, like my favorite No Bake Summer Berries and Almond Butter Bar.”

No Bake Summer Berries + Almond Butter Bar

Makes 16 servings (approx. 45 grams per serving)

For the Crust

1 cup dates pitted

1 cup raw unsalted almonds

2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons water

For the Filling

3/4 cup almond butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the Topping

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1/3 cup blueberries

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, add the dates, almonds, coconut flakes, vanilla, cinnamon and water. Blend until a well-combined mixture forms — this will be the crust. It should be sticky to the touch.
  2. Line an 8-by-8 pan with parchment paper. Press the mixture evenly into this pan. Place in the fridge while preparing the filling.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a food processor, blend the almond butter and maple syrup.
  4. Evenly distribute the filling onto the crust. Top with sliced strawberries and blueberries. Press the fruit down so it sticks. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
  5. When ready to eat, cut into 1-by-1 inch squares. Serve frozen or let them sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month.

During your next summertime gathering, keep wellness in mind when hosting this season by trying Natalie’s nutritious No Bake Summer Berries + Almond Butter Bar recipe, available at almonds.com.