This year, so far, I’ve tried to emphasize protein in my diet. Why am I trying to emphasize protein?
- I’m not a big meat eater, so I’m always looking for alternatives that actually have a significant amount of protein.
- Since I’m a gym rat, I know that eating protein will help support my workouts.
- I’ve realized that I physically feel better when my meals are protein focused rather than carb focused. I feel fuller, longer and I have more energy.
To supplement my real food sources of protein, I use protein powder and bars. Here are my go-tos:
My morning protein shake has Metabolic Nutrition Protizyme whey protein powder in the vanilla cake flavor. Something about metabolic protizyme screams delicious, right? It has 25 grams of protein per 122 calories which is one of the best ratios I’ve seen out there. And it only has 1 gram of sugar per serving. Plus the flavor and texture work well in my smoothie.
For my occasional post workout protein shake snack is Vega Protein & Greens in vanilla flavor. It’s a plant based protein powder that includes 2 servings of greens per scoop. The protein to calorie ratio is 20 grams per 110 calories. It’s not quite as delicious as my morning smoothie, but I think it really does the trick! Even just half a scoop helps out a lot! Pro tip- mix it with almond milk, never just water!
And lastly, when I’m traveling or on the go, I’m partial to thinkThin High Protein Bars. They are not extremely delicious, but very palatable and they do the job. They have 20 grams of protein for 240 calories which makes for a solid recovery snack or mid afternoon, I don’t know if I can make it to dinner, travel snack. It’s a real happy medium between the high calorie protein bars, and the dinky granola bars with 4 grams of protein and tons of sugar.
What are your creative, or not so creative, protein options?
I’ve been hatching a plan to replicate a KIND bar for a long time, and I finally followed through. I did a lot of snooping on the food blogs to find a feasible recipe. After looking at a few different versions, it was clear that there was a pretty consistent formula, which was a good sign.
KIND bars were a little bit of an investment because they’re basically all nuts. Also, they are mostly specialty ingredients that I don’t usually keep in my pantry. I found ground flax seed and millet pretty easily, but I had to hunt for the brown rice syrup. Is it a sugar? Is it a syrup? Is it a honey? Is it a gluten free or ethnic food? Turns out in Harris Teeter it’s none of the above. I had to go to Whole Foods and found it in the sugar and sugar alternative section.
I will caution you, the first time I made these they were a complete and expensive fail. I did not boil the syrup and honey mixture for long enough, it didn’t thicken properly, and the bars just fell apart. I can’t remember the last time I was that mad at everything in my kitchen. Even the second time around the bars were pretty sticky, so I recommend cutting them into bite size squares and storing them in your fridge for easy snacking. The taste, nutrition, and general texture are the redeeming factors.
Copy-Cat KIND Bars
Yields 10 bars, adapted from Eat Urself Skinny
- ½ cup unsalted roasted almonds, chopped
- ½ cup unsalted cashews, chopped
- ½ cup roasted walnuts, chopped
- ⅓ cup puffed millet
- 1 Tbs flaxseed meal
- ¼ cup brown rice syrup
- 2 Tbs honey
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper.
- Coat a mixing bowl with non-stick spray. Combine nuts, millet, and flax in the bowl and set aside.
- Put a small pot on the stove on medium heat. Add brown rice syrup, honey, vanilla, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and wish constantly at a boil for two full minutes.
- Pour the liquid over the nut mixture. Mix until ingredients are evenly coated and pour into the parchment lined pan. Flatten mixture firmly into the pan with no gaps.
- Allow to cool at room temperature for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 10 bars. Allow to cool completely.
- Melt chocolate chips in microwave (heat for 30 seconds at a time until melted). Drizzle over cooled bars.
- Store at room temp in sealed container, or skip the chocolate step and store in refrigerator (the chocolate might turn white in the fridge).
I am loving right now!
1.Synergy Organic Kombucha: Cosmic Cranberry. This is my grocery store treat. When I go to the grocery store, I get a fancy juice! I used to prefer the green or strawberry flavors, but right now I can’t get enough of the cranberry. Exhibit A:
2. Athleta Crux Capris. I got these a couple weeks ago, and nothing beats fresh workout clothes! These are the perfect mix of a basic black capri that go with anything, with some edgier mesh details. Plus they provide that mid thigh ventilation which is key!
3. Late Summer/ Early Fall Weather! I definitely like every season, and I love living somewhere that gets a relatively full range of seasons. But after a couple solid months of 90+ degree heat and humidity this summer, I could not be happier for cooler evenings and highs in the low 80’s and even 70’s. Plus, you know my coat game is on point!
4. Wheat germ. I know, my palate is random. I add some to my smoothie in the morning, in no-bake energy balls, or on top of cereal. It adds a really good, nutty flavor. Pro Tip: un-toasted wheat germ is not for the faint of heart!
5. Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser from Target. I’ve been using a few different face washes by St. Ives over the years. They did an ok job, and the price is right. This summer, however, I’ve had more acne than usual, I think because I’m using more sunscreen (if you can believe it). I heard good things about this face wash from Target, and the whole charcoal thing intrigued me. The verdict is that I like it a lot. It smells really good, and I think it’s doing the trick!
What are you loving right now?