Protein bars are great convenience for those on the go, but a lot of brands at the store these days are JUNK. Be your own detective and watch for sugar overload in every form... sucrose, brown rice syrup, and high fructose corn syrup to name a few. Yuck! To avoid this all together, consider making your own at home! Keep one of these bars in your bag for a hunger crash emergency or pre/post workout snack.
1 cup medjol dates (about 10-12)
1 cup cashews
3 tbsp 100% whey protein powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Place dates and cashews in a food processor. Process until a crumbly consistency. Add cinnamon, whey protein powder, and vanilla extract and pulse until combine. Line a bread/loaf pan with plastic wrap. Press mixture tightly into pan. Cover and place in the freezer for 15 minutes or until firm for cutting. Cut into 6 bars or 12 for smaller bites.
Nutrition Analysis: 200 Calories, 9g Protein, 28g Carbohydrate, 10g Fat
Tip: Customize your bars! Add chia seeds, puffed quinoa, almond extract, or other spices to switch things up.
I was exposed to the acai bowl at a recent trip to Hawaii and now OBSESSED and determined to make my own. The antioxidant-rich acai berry comes from the acai palm tree, which is native to Central and South America. Açai bowls are simply frozen açai pulp topped with anything your heart desires, and eaten like a big bowl of ice cream… but with health benefits. You can find acai pulp at Whole Foods- the brand I prefer is SAMBAZON. With the recipe below, you can pump up the protein with almonds, walnuts, or chia seeds.
1 acai pulp packet
1/2 cup almond milk
Toppings- blueberries, strawberries, unsweetened coconut, sliced bananas, and granola
Honey drizzle (optional)
Combine frozen acai pulp, banana, and almond milk in a blender. Blend until smooth and pour into a bowl. Top with your favorite toppings and honey drizzle.
TIP: Blend spinach into your acai bowl for a veggie boost!
Smoothies are a popular grab-and-go option for those on the run. Since there are a million different smoothie options out there, here are a couple of tips for getting the most from your morning shake.
* Skip the added sugar! This includes honey, maple syrup, and fruit juice. A high carbohydrate smoothie will only make you hungry later and add unnecessary calories. Add flavor in other ways with spices, fresh ginger, herbs, or unsweetened coconut.
* Add protein! Protein promotes satiety and slows down the digestion process, allowing your smoothie to fuel your morning well. Protein options include nuts, seeds, nut butters, yogurt, or protein powders.
* Add veggies! Use this opportunity to add non-starchy vegetables to your breakfast! Spinach and kale blend surprisingly well with minimal flavor adjustment to your smoothie.
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 ice cubes
Blend really well until smooth. Makes 1 serving.
Nutritional Analysis: 230 calories; 23g carbohydrate; 7g protein; 6g fiber