Category: Snacks

The Best Tasting Protein Bars

Let’s face it, when we are trying to be healthy it can be a difficult balance so I do indulge in the protein bar/snack bar on a fairly regular basis.  I know that eating whole foods – fruits and veggies is best, but being a mom, working and blogging I just don’t have the discipline to always have fruits and veggies with me.  Plus, truth be told, sometimes I just don’t feel like eating a fruit or a veggie and want something with some chocolate in it!

A few things I look for in my bars is that it be tasty , healthy, have a decent amount of fiber, some protein (the more, the better) and be under or right around 200 calories.   So here are my favorites:

1. Kind Bars: These bars are all natural, gluten free,  wheat free and have a low glycemic index.   While all flavors are tasty, my absolute favorites are:
Dark Chocolate and Cherry with Cashews + Protein: 180 calories, 9 g. fat, 4 g. protein, 22 g. carbs and 3 g. fiber
Almond and Coconut (if you aren’t a coconut lover, you will HATE these): 190 calories, 14 g. fat, 4 g. protein, 14 g. carbs and 4 g. fiber

2. Cliff Bar Kidz: These are as the name implies designed for kids, but I love the brownie flavor and so do my boys.
Chocolate Brownie: 120 calories, 3 g. fat, 3 g. protein, 22 g. carbs and 3 g. fiber

3. thinkThin Bites 100 Calorie Bars: These are the perfect little snack when you are trying to lose weight and are craving something sweet to hold you over.   Sugar and gluten free, these are the perfect little bar to keep in your desk drawer or purse.
Toffee Nut: 100 calories, 4 g. fat, 6 g. protein, 12 g. carbs and 1 g. fiber

4. Lara Bar: This bar is all natural and when I am trying to eat clean this one is my go to.  Unlike the other bars, the ingredient list on this one is minimal.  My favorite flavor, peanut butter & chocolate chip only has 4 ingredients – dates, peanuts, chocolate chips (ok, there is more ingredient in here) and salt.  The taste is delicious, although not like a peanut butter and chocolate cookie you will be extremely satisfied after eating this one.
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip: 230 calories, 12 g. fat, 5 g. protein, 26 g. carbs and 4 g. fiber

I hope you enjoy this, please share your favorites with me – I am always on the hunt for something yummy!

Take care!
Catherine

Healthy Protein Shake

I have to start this post by stating that this shake is NOT as delicious as a chocolate shake that will make you forget that amazing, smooth flavor that only sugar and fat can bring.  However, I will say that this shake is a pretty darn good alternative when you are trying to shed a few pounds and will definitely feel you up for many hours.  Definitely a go to in my arsenal of healthy recipes when I am trying to shed a few lbs.

Healthy Protein Shake
serves 1

Ingredients

  • One scoop protein powder (for this recipe, the protein powder I use is 100 calories per scoop – I also used chocolate for this recipe, but any flavor would work)
  • 1/2 frozen, ripe banana (if you don’t have a frozen one, no worries a fresh one will work also :))
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice
  • 1 T. light peanut butter (I used a brand called Better N Peanut Butter that I found at Trader Joe’s.  I should also add that this should be called, “Better N No Peanut Butter At All” because it has 50% fewer calories, but isn’t as dynamite as the real thing)

Directions
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth & frothy.

200 calories, 2 grams fat & 15 grams protein*

*Please note that protein comes from my protein powder that I used, which was the GNC Be Buff brand.  I used chocolate, but couldn’t find that variety online.  Click here for the link to the vanilla bean.

Weight Watchers Two Ingredient Cake Mix & Pumpkin Muffins

The new year is approaching and I am so excited for 2013!  All the possibilities and the chance for a fresh start.   As I began writing this I was thinking about why there are new years resolutions and promises for fresh starts?  After all, we could start fresh any day – what makes January 1st (or 2nd :)) that different?

I can only speak for myself, but I have had an awesomely gluttonous November and December.  It started off with my over the top, rich, decadent Thanksgiving stuffing and I have been indulging (heavily) every since.  Parties, cocktails, cookie exchanges, wine, big dinners, little dinners – everything has been awesome and abundant.  I am beginning to feel the tightness in my jeans, not to mention my protruding muffin top.  Something has to give and I decided to make this year more about healthy recipes.  Starting  now….
You may have heard of these already, I initially found the recipe on Pinterest and have fallen in love with them.  It is super basic, just two ingredients, but soooooo delicious.  I also have to add the caveat that I don’t even like pumpkin.  So here it is:
Weight Watchers Two Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins (calorie information below)
 
Ingredients
  • One 18.25 box of cake mix, any flavor (for the variety in the photographs I used Devil’s Food, but have made them with yellow cake mix and they are dynamite)
  • One 15 oz. can of 100% pumpkin puree
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Sift the cake mix in the bowl, this is very important – do not skip this step. See how chunky the cake mix is….
Next, add the pumpkin and mix until completely combined.
Spoon into muffin tins and bake.  For my oven, the mini muffins take 13 minutes and the larger muffins take about 21 minutes.  It really depends on the oven though.
These muffins are so yummy and delicious and really resemble the taste of a brownie.   Let’s also not forget how good pumpkin is for you either.
If you have any yummy, healthy recipes I would love to know what they are.  Please leave a comment or email me and let me know.
Calorie Content: This really depends on how big your muffins are.  For my batch, I calculated the total amount of calories for the entire recipe to be 2060 calories and a total of 18 grams of fat. I made 24 mini muffins and 8 large muffins.  Based on this, I calculated each mini muffin to be about 40 calories and each large muffin to be 150 calories. 

and my two sidekicks…

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Chilly fall mornings – I hate them. I really should move to Arizona where the heat is too much so I could appreciate the Seattle mornings I have lived with my entire life. Alas, that will have to wait another ten years until my little tykes have left home and I am free to do whatever I please.

In the meantime, this Double Chocolate Banana Bread will act as a “hug” for your tummy. Moist and delicious, this is the perfect treat to enjoy with your morning or afternoon cup of coffee.

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch processed or regular)
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark or milk chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

 In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large food processor, combine the bananas, eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla.  Process until smooth.   With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients until just combined and batter is thick and chunky. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes.

Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be covered and stored for a few days, or frozen for longer storage.

Makes 1 – 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.

Easiest Brownies Ever

I love the pitter patter of little feet.  As my boys have gotten older (they are now nine and eight), the tiny pitter patter has become louder stomps, but I still love hearing it.  We live in a neighborhood with lots of kids.  There are times when I will have 6-10 little boys running around and I just love it.  Given that there are so many of them, they are not always at my home, but it makes me appreciate them so much when they are here.  They are sweet, endearing, thoughtful, smart and say the funniest things I have ever heard.

Sometimes I have nothing yummy to feed them and these brownies have become my fool-proof recipe for simple, delicious, decadent and fudgy brownies.  My favorite thing about these brownies is that I don’t have to whip out my mixer and I always have all the ingredients on hand.

Easiest Brownies Ever
adapted from Ghiradelli

Ingredients
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
1 c. firmly packed lighted brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
3/4 c. + 2 T all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate chips and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch squares. Makes approximately 16 squares – depending on how much batter you eat. 🙂