So Many Protein Bars To Choose From!

Okay, fine, I’ll help you out a little bit. It is a huge challenge to choose a good protein bar because there are way too many choices. The truth is that most protein bars have tons of processed ingredients that aren’t good for our health. The biggest problem that I have with protein bars is quality and quantity of sugar used to sweeten them. There are also usually way too many ingredients smooshed together in 1 bar.

While my preference is to eat real “whole foods,” I do understand that there are times where we have to make some exceptions. Protein bars and protein powder are to be used as a supplemental snack/meal in addition to an already existing whole foods diet.  They are not meant to be a replacement for a whole foods diet.

I just found my new favorite pre-workout bar and I am more than happy to share the secret. RISE protein bars! There are several flavors, however don’t be fooled– only 2 of the flavors are protein bars, the rest are “energy bars,” which contain much higher sugar levels and barely any protein. The two flavors that are on the ‘Nourished-Balance’ approved-list are:

  • Crunchy Carob Chip
  • Honey Almond

Rise

These tasty little bars have 17grams of protein. Both of these bars are gluten free as well. There are 13 grams of sugar in each of the bars, which is considered pretty high for a snack. In nutrition there is always a better & best option. These bars would be considered a “better” option because they use higher quality sugars than most of the other bars on the market.

The ingredient list for Crunchy Carob Chip includes: almonds, organic agave, whey protein isolate, carob powder and crisp rice.

The ingredient list for the Honey Almond Bar is: honey, almonds, whey protein isolate

The bars are available on Amazon or at Whole Foods (and if you buy the whole box you get 10% off). My local health food store, Jimbo’s…. Naturally, also carries these yummy snacks.

If you still don’t like either of these options, you can try my homemade protein bar recipe. (coming soon!)

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Spring Veggie Wrap

This Spring Veggie Wrap makes for a great light snack! You also have the option to load it up with additional veggies, tofu, or animal protein to make it a more substantial meal option.

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Nutrition Suggestion: Consume at least 1 salad, smoothie, or veggie wrap each day

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients
1 Tortilla*
1 Tablespoon of Pesto (Recipe: Kale & Almond Pesto)
4-5 leaves arugula or spinach
Broccoli sprouts
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
Radishes, thinly sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Optional: organic feta or goat cheese

* Whole wheat, organic corn, or gluten-free tortillas are widely available alternative to white flour. I like the Rudi’s Brand! If you’re looking for a lighter meal or snack, you can also try wrapping your ingredients in collard greens.

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Toasty & Nutty Snack-Bars

Nutrition fact- Always include some protein and fats when eating carbohydrates! This method helps to regulate blood sugar and will keep you full for longer.

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Sweet, salty, nutty, tasty… Couldn’t be more delicious! These bars also happen to be gluten-free, egg-free and dairy free. Oh Joy!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
Dry

  • 1 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Wet
  • 1/4 cup organic tea seed oil or organic grapeseed oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additions
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  2. Mix almond flour, baking soda, sea salt and oats together in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients together
  5. Add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and raisins to the mixture. Mix until well incorporated
  6. Oil an 8×8 inch baking dish with tea seed oil. Bake form 20 minutes. Let cool.
Makes 6-8 bars

Yogurt Parfait a Perfect Snack

Looking for a new healthy snack? This may just turn out to be your new energy booster.

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The most important part about choosing a snack is to make sure that it is going to provide you with energy. Snacks should be made up of whole foods rather than packaged foods. A yogurt parfait is a great grab-and-go snack. It is balanced and low in sugar. Even better, this one is safe for people with gluten sensitivities. Your kids will love this snack!

Let’s talk ingredients. Yogurt can be very deceiving. There are so many options to choose from yet most of them are loaded with artificial sugars. When you look at the nutrition labels most yogurts have 12-23 grams of sugar in 1 serving alone. You can do better than that! Go ahead and buy a plain greek yogurt which has much less sugar. It is also much higher in protein than regular yogurt. Don’t be scared of the fat content. Go for full fat or 2% fat. If you believed that eating fat will make you fat, it would be in your best interest to do a little research. In fact, a low-fat diet can actually make you gain weight! 

If dairy bothers your stomach, try “goat-milk” yogurt instead. It may be easier to digest.

Rather than buying yogurt with fruit already mixed in it, buy a plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit. Berries are very low on the glycemic index. They are a great choice for a natural sweetener.

Directions

  1. Place 1/2 cup of greek yogurt into a mason jar or container.
  2. Add a handful of nuts or homemade granola for some crunch.
  3. Add 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed for some fiber.
  4. You have just made yourself a delicious and nutrient dense snack in less than 5 minutes.

Now it is ready to grab-and-go.

Fall-Spiced Homemade Granola With Quinoa

Granola has the potential to become a healthy snack. By this I mean that there are healthy versions of granola and there are unhealthy versions of granola. Let’s start by describing what to look for when you purchase granola. As with any packaged product or any product you buy in the “bulk” section of your local health food store, you want to look at the ingredient list.

Ingredients to avoid

You also want to look for a nice variety of ingredients. Instead of choosing a granola that is primarily made up of carbohydrates (oats, sugar, dried fruit), you can choose a granola that has a nice mix of carbohydrates, protein and fats (grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit). This is an important differentiation because it drastically lowers the sugar content and increases the nutrient intake.

Fall-Spiced Homemade Granola With Quinoa

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3 cups

Ingredients

Dry

  •  2 Tablespoons Flaxseeds
  •  1 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Cashews, chopped in half
  • 1/2 cup Almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • pinch of Cloves (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 3 dried figs, chopped

Wet

  • 1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Directions

  1. Turn oven on to 375 degrees F. Cover a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Grind flaxseeds in a spice grinder, blender or coffee grinder.
  3. Combine ground flaxseeds and dried figs with the rest of the dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl.
  4. Heat a small saucepan, add the wet ingredients and whisk together. Pour the wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until fully incorporated.
  5. Spread mixture out evenly on baking tray. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven to flip granola then spread out evenly again. Place in oven for another 7-10 minutes or until toasted.

Note: Make sure to check the granola so that it does not burn! It will be fragrant and look lightly toasted.

7. Remove from oven to let cool. Add dried figs. Store in a glass jar for up to a week.

Tips for saving $$

  • Buy ingredients from the “bulk” section of your local health-food store. You can buy exactly the amount you need and it is WAY cheaper.
  • Buy a packet of mixed nuts instead of buying once packed of almonds and one packet of cashews. With mixed nuts you have to make sure they are raw, unsalted and that there is no cooking oil added.