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Carrots are jammed with a wealth of nutrients, and medium-sized ones are only 25 calories. Standard orange carrots contain vitamin A, and the other hued carrots are equally healthy. Here’s a brief break-down:

* Orange: Beta and alpha carotene pigment. This promotes vitamin A production by the body, which is essential for healthy eyes.
* Purple: Anthocyanin, beta and alpha carotene pigment. Purple carrots typically have an orange core, and their pigment-related nutrients may provide additional vitamin A and prevent heart disease.
* Red: Lycopene and beta-carotene pigment. Lycopene is the same red pigment that gives tomatoes their deep color and is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer.
* Yellow: Xanthophykks and lutein. Both are linked to cancer prevention and better eye health.
* White: The nutrients don’t come from the pigment but from the fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

Another plus — kids tend to be a bit more adventurous than their parents and willing to give purple carrots a try, and anything that helps children to enjoy vegetables more shouldn’t be ignored. Provide a side of vegan (since it’s #meatlessmonday) ranch for dipping and they’ll disappear faster than you can make em!

#eattherainbow #veggiesandfruits #meatlessmondays #healthykids #healthyworld #thenoblepathfoundation

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Melissa A. Mathes, MPH, RDN, CSSD is the Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN) for The Noble Path Foundation and those other letters behind her name represent a Masters Degree in Public Health (MPH) and a Certification Specialization in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). The CCSD certification is highly regarded by the United States Olympic Committee and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. It requires five years of experience working as an RDN, as well as 2,000 hours of documented dietetic practice with athletes. As recently as 2012 only 1% of all the active RDNs in California had earned this qualification. In addition to specializing in sports nutrition, she has a Level II Certificate in Obesity and Weight Management in conjunction with medical nutrition therapy counseling.

If it sounds like we're bragging... guilty as charged! We are so lucky to have her unique blend of expertise to help guide our nutrition policies and on top of all that knowledge, she also happens to be a super duper wife, mother, friend and all-around lovely human!

For some great nutrition tips and recipe ideas, follow her here on Fb at Total Nutrition Counseling or on her website totalnutritioncounseling.org. Thanks Melissa!!!

#eatrealfood #nourishtoflourish #forkdisease #healthykids #healthyworld #TheNoblePathFoundation #TotalNutritionCounseling

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I’ve been experimenting with different recipes for vegan banana bread and I think I’ve hit the jackpot! Moist, flavorful and decadent enough to make you want to stop at one... ha! Preparing them as muffins also helps with portion control and the silicone baking cups make clean up a breeze!

Here's the recipe I adapted from Alissa Saenz with my new name for em: The Srsly Best Banana Bread Muffins Ever - Vegan or Otherwise!

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare muffins tins with either paper/foil liners or silicone cups.

Mash up 4 LARGE super ripe bananas in a large bowl and mix together with 1/3 c. sugar, 1/3 packed dark brown sugar, 1/3 c. vegetable oil and 1 T. high quality vanilla extract.

Add in 2 c. flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. good cinnamon and 1 tsp. salt. Mix everything together just until combined. If you beat it to death, it will make the muffins really weird. Kind of spongey and not in a good way. Fold in 3/4 c. chopped walnuts and 1/2 c. mini, dairy-free choc chips. If you skip the chocolate, you can increase the walnuts to about a cup if you'd like.

Mound the muffin cups all the way to the top so you get a nice big toasty head when they're baked. You can sprinkle some shredded coconut or even a little more brown sugar on top before putting them in the oven if you're feeling fancy...

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until they look gorgeous and a toothpick comes out without any goop on it. Transfer them to a cooling rack and try to let them sit for at least 15 minutes before you remove them from the silicone cups. It'll be hard, cuz your whole kitchen is going to smell sooooo good! If they're in paper, you can leave them as is, obvi.

This recipes makes about 14-16 muffins, depending on how big you make 'em. Enjoy!!!

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