Detox before the dinner.

Thanksgiving is upon us. Which has many wondering and thinking about how to enjoy the season and all of the flavors that accompany the yearly family feast around the table without guilt, added weight, or overindulgence.

Simply cut out the calories before the day. Do this NOW while we’re still over one week away.

I realize the thought of being hungry or missing out on the mid-day munch fest of candy and carbs sends pains through most people’s bodies.

I detox. A lot. At least three times a year for six weeks straight. Coffee, chocolate, meats, and cheese are all cut out. Tossed to the curb.

Here’s the snack that transitions my body and cravings from starvation and survival mode to, “Hey world! I’m feeling spectacular!”

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Take a large bowl and mix together the nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, rolled oats and lemon zest. The only work here is taking the seeds out of the Butternut Squash. But, I figured since most of us eat Spaghetti Squash anyway … might as well make use of those seeds. One Squash produces six tablespoons of seeds.

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I scraped the seeds out of both halves of the squash and tossed them in a colander mesh and continued to separate the seeds from the vegetable continuously until they were all laid out and drying on a dish cloth.

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You don’t have to do this. You can easily buy pumpkin and or sunflower seeds. I didn’t have any in the house and happened to be making Spaghetti Squash for dinner.

Zest the lemon. Approximately three-quarters of the peel of one lemon goes into this. If you don’t feel like zesting, squeeze and save the lemon juice and remove the insides and the pith then cut the peel up into tiny, tiny pieces. img_05911

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I save all lemon juice to add later to water. Melt the two tablespoons of coconut oil and mix separately in a bowl with the honey. Grease a glass pan with coconut oil. Mix the oil and honey into the bowl with the nuts and seeds before transferring to baking dish greased with coconut oil.

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Bake at 350 degrees, cool and refrigerate overnight. The following day remove from the fridge and cut into one by one inch cubes. Or, if you choose to use a rectangle glass baking dish you can cut these into bar form. Just look at the texture. The taste is thrilling.

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I scooped them out of the dish with a spoon and arranged on a snack tray.

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img_07761When I first started noshing on these bite sized snacks that pack a powerful punch of nutrition and flavor I purchased a tiny container of about fifteen pieces in the produce section at Cleveland’s downtown Heinen’s for $5.99. Wash down with an entire liter of San Pellegrino, Perrier, or lemon water for true benefits of feeling full and fresh. Play around with the nuts and added ingredients. If raisins are your rage stir them in. Crushin’ on cranberries? Add them in! The ingredient that gives this dish the zing is the lemon zest. Orange would add the same oompf to give these nutritious nut bites a citrus kick.

I thought about drizzling melted caramel into the pan to kick this up a notch, but I already went all-out with that sugary snack here and this is all about the once dreaded detox.

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Josie is an award-winning journalist and healthy eater enthusiast.


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