Full flavor, hold the cost

The creation he shared with Franklin participants was "Almond and Apricot Energy Balls." With the help of the kids present, he used dried fruits, nuts and orange juice to mold the tasty treats, though he was quick to note that you can be creative when choosing ingredients for your own energy balls.

"It's a healthy alternative to a chocolate bar or candy," said Roberts. A big part of consistent healthy eating is breaking away from quick fast food solutions, which are often loaded with sugar and white flour products. "There are ways to incorporate food that's fast and healthy as well," he said.

The Franklin Community Center, located on Franklin Street in Saratoga Springs, is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of life for Saratogians through a variety of programs.

Jennifer Loeffler, coordinator of development at Franklin, said that Roberts' tips and recipe should come in handy for those who attended. "Everything in our food pantry is non-perishable, and everything in his recipe was non-perishable," she noted.

Key Bank representatives presented all the moms at the Hilton with $50 gift cards to Price Chopper.

Roberts has traveled the country as part of Key Bank trips and also to make guest appearances on cooking segments on shows such as "Good Morning America" and the "Wayne Brady Show." He was named Apprentice of the Year by the East Sydney Technical Institute in 1993, and was executive chef at the renowned Bistro Moncur. He is the author of two books.

Despite formal culinary training, Roberts still looks at food in terms of how it improves life.

"Food is a great source of fun," he said. "Food is the place we come together. It's a medium of conversation, and it's a great opportunity to chat."

Almond and Apricot Energy Balls

Makes 30 balls

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