Homemade Super-Seedy Granola Bars

Looking for a high fiber, protein filled snack? These homemade super-seedy granola bars are the perfect fit! These bars are filled with delicious peanut butter and super seeds! Make extra bars, freeze or refrigerate the rest for later! A fantastic grab and go snack.

granola bars

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats               1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds                             3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds                               1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt                                   1 cup unsalted peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey                                         1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Line a 9 by 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap with enough overhang for easy removal
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, almonds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cinnamon and salt
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract until very smooth.
  4. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and using a wooden spoon, stir until evenly  combined.
  5. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and firmly press the mixture evenly into the pan.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Gently lift the parchment paper to remove from pan and slice into 16 bars. Place in a freezer-safe bag to store in the fridge or freezer. Serves 16.

Nutrition Info: Serving 1 bar (45 grams) Calories: 209; Total fat: 13g; Sat fat: 2g; Sodium 77mg; Carbohydrate: 20g; Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 11g; Protein: 7g

Adapted from: Alexandra Caspero January/February 2016 Food and Nutrition Magazine

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a naturally sodium-free food. Every 2 tablespoon serving of hemp seeds contain about 90 calories. These seeds are a source of high quality protein containing 5 grams of total protein a serving. 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds also provide you with 3 grams of total carbohydrate including 2 grams of fiber– that’s impressive! Each serving contains 6 grams of fat (only 1 gram from saturated fat) with no cholesterol. This super food is also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin E and provide potassium and calcium as well.

You can sprinkle these seeds over yogurt or oatmeal or try them baked in breads or in soups or stews! Toss them in a salad or stir-fry. Hemp seed oil is best in salad dressings or over soup or vegetable dishes!

For more information: Food and Nutrition Magazine: November/December 2014 by Jessica Cording MS, RD, CDN

Photo credit: guysandgoodhealth.com

Eggs – A High Quality Protein

Eggs seem to have a bad reputation these days. There’s always new information coming out from health professionals stating eggs are great for your health one day and are extremely bad for your health the next day. I’m here to tell you that as of now, having an egg a day will not hurt your cholesterol and there are plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in one single egg!

Eggs make a great breakfast food. One egg contains at least 6 grams of protein. This is a high quality protein which helps you feel fuller longer. Eggs also contain Choline which aids in the body’s ability to transport nutrients in liver function and basic cell activity. Eggs have all nine essential amino acids and do not contain a long list of packaged ingredients because guess what… they’re all natural! Eggs are the least expensive form of high quality protein – 15 cents a serving! And they are only 70 calories per egg.

Are eggs a part of your daily meals? How do you like to eat your eggs? Please share below!

Photo credit: http://www.forbes.com

For more information: Health watch: Benefits of Eggs: http://www.blackhillsfox.com

The Scoop On Protein

Many people believe they’re struggling to meet their protein needs through food sources when weight lifting. However, this is not necessarily true! Relying on expensive protein powders and supplements may not always be the right answer.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that athletes who are weight training need more protein than the general population, roughly 0.54 to 0.77 grams per pound of body weight per day. That’s 81 to 116 grams of protein for a 150 pound person. And this amount can generally be met by eating food alone.
For example…
2 cups of 1% milk = 16 grams of protein
2 large eggs = 12 grams of protein
6 1/2 inch whole wheat pita = 6 grams of protein
2 oz. Swiss cheese = 16 grams of protein
3 oz. turkey breast = 26 grams of protein
7 oz. yogurt = 18 grams of protein
3 oz. lean steak = 23 grams protein
_________________________
Total = 116 grams of protein
Photo credit: www.medindia.net

Holiday Cooking

Here are some smart solutions by April Graff to making your holidays a little more healthier!

To reduce fat:

  • Substitute unsweetened applesauce,  mashed bananas or pureed prunes
  • Use egg substitute in place of whole eggs
  • Use non-fat or light dairy products rather than the original version

To reduce sugar:

  • Consider alternative sweeteners such as Splenda, Delecta or stevia
  • Cut one-third to one-half of the amount in the recipe

To reduce sodium:

  • Cut the amount by half or eliminate completely
  • Substitute salt with festive flavors of onion salt, garlic salt, celery salt and seasoning salt with onion flakes, garlic powder and herbs

Reduce portion sizes:

  • Limit the number of options available to limit the number of temptations
  • Serve smaller portions of dessert items by cutting into bite-sized pieces

Add fiber and protein to your diet during the holidays to keep you full longer:

  • Add flax seed, chia seed or oatmeal to your recipes
  • Use whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour in breads, bars, muffins, pie crusts, and cookies to turn tasty treats into satisfying sweets
  • Dried fruits add fiber and flavor to recipe favorites
  • Nuts are packed with nutrients, including heart-healthy fats, fiber and protein

stk21300wcgPhoto credit: preschooler.thebump.com

Foods For Weight Loss

According to Nicole Yorio Jurick from health.com, there are some foods that will help keep us feeling fuller for a successful weight loss.

  1. Baked Potato: Although sometimes baked potatoes are sometimes looked at as a “bad” food during weight loss, they are full of vitamins, fiber and other nutrients. They will fill you up with great energy.
  2. Eggs: this is one of a few foods that is a complete protein. About half of the protein is inside of the yolks, so it’s not always a good idea to throw away the yolks! Add some vegetables to your eggs and add extra fiber for just a few more calories!
  3. Bean soup: Soups have a high water content, which make you full faster. Broth-based bean soups are high in fiber and will have you feeling satisfied after consuming it. If you aren’t a fan of soup, add some beans to a salad!
  4. Greek yogurt: Consuming dairy proteins can increase satiety and keep blood sugar steady. Greek yogurt contains double the amount of protein and less sugar than regular yogurt.
  5. Apples: They contain pectin which naturally slows down digestion and promotes fullness.
  6. Popcorn: You can eat 3 cups of popcorn for the same amount of calories for a quarter cup of potato chips. Just make sure you are choosing a “smart” choice popcorn without the added butter to it.
  7. Oatmeal: Full of fiber and when cooked with skim milk or water, the oats thicken meaning you can last longer without eating.
  8. Smoothies: Watch out for fruit juices and flavored syrups which contain plenty of sugar and calories. Instead, opt for a smoothie with ice, skim milk or low fat yogurt, and fruit! Get creative!

oatmeal

Photo credit: http://www.grubgrade.com

Get The Energy You & Your Family Need

We all have heard that eating breakfast is the best way to start our days and get our metabolisms going. But what should our plates look like in the morning to give us the most energy and brain power? The answer is protein and fiber.

Protein and fiber helps us feel full longer, but remember it’s all about having a balanced plate. We all have different appetites and taste buds in the morning, so here are some great options to choose from!

Eggs are a great source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. And don’t forget to add some fiber-rich vegetables to your eggs as well! It’s helpful to add whole grains to our breakfasts such as whole grain toast, whole grain cereal, whole grain pancakes, etc. Low-fat dairy products (as well as soy based products) are also a plus in the morning. Using fresh fruit to put into plain low-fat yogurt is an excellent way to incorporate fruit (another excellent source of fiber) into the diet while getting protein from dairy products. Adding granola, nuts, or seeds to breakfast foods is also a way to get more protein and help us get the energy we need throughout the day! So let’s stop feeling sluggish, and feed our bodies the nutrients it needs!

**These are also great energy snacks to keep in mind for your work days/school days/everyday days!

Protein

Photo credit: nutrition.answers.com

What To Eat For Breakfast

People who skip breakfast tend to weigh more than those who eat breakfast. It’s important to eat a breakfast that is rich in protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Protein and fiber help slow digestion to keep you full until your next meal.

Eggs, milk, yogurt, nut butters, and seeds are all good examples of protein filled foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds are loaded with fibers. Eating a breakfast burrito with eggs, cheese and veggies is an excellent choice. Also, eating at least one serving of fruit or vegetables at breakfast is a good way to start the day!

Remember to keep in mind that sugary cereals and sweet rolls will leave you feeling hungry by mid-morning.. so aim for a protein-fiber packed meal to keep you going!

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Health Food Fakes

Some foods are labeled very well to make us think that what we are eating is healthy for us! However, sometimes you wouldn’t believe how much sugar, calories, carbohydrates etc. you might actually be taking in without even knowing it! Here are some tricky foods to look out for thanks to Molly Kimball, Registered Dietitian in New Orleans:

  • Pretzels: You might as well call  them white bread. The main ingredients in Rold Gold pretzels, for example, are enriched wheat flour (translation: white flour). The stats of a single 1-ounce handful of pretzels (110 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber) are nearly identical to two slices of plain old white bread. And don’t be fooled by pretzels that appear to be whole grain; most really aren’t.
  • Post Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Honey Crunch: Whole grain flakes may be the first ingredient, but sugar in some form (e.g. honey, corn syrup, brown sugar) shows up on the ingredient list 11 different times.
  • Flavored Yogurt: flavored yogurt can easily pack in the equivalent of as much as seven sugar packets!! Instead, buy plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit to it!
  • Granola: They may provide us with some whole grains, but most types of granola and granola bars are filled with added sugar – and a half-cup serving of some types of granola can pack in 300-plus calories – more than a McDonald’s hamburger or a Hershey Bar.
  • Fiber bars:  The bulk of the fiber is from chicory root (also referred to as inulin, is a fiber isolated from the chicory root plant that hasn’t been shown to have the same health benefits that we’ve come to expect from fiber-rich foods like beans and oats.)
  • Protein bars: There are tons of protein bars that, while they may be high in protein, also have just as much sugar, if not more! Be sure to read your labels!

For more information: http://www.nola.com/health/index.ssf/2013/07/8_health_food_fake_outs.htmlkashi labels

 

Don’t Reach For A Sports Drink, You Most Likely Don’t Need It

Most sports drinks are loaded with sugar and are not necessary for consumption before, during, or after exercising, unless you are an athlete who does high-intensity workouts over an hour. Here are a list of beverages to keep in mind to skip the high sugary sports drinks the next time you exercise..

  • Best drink for hydration: Coconut water–  coconut water is low on the glycemic index, so it won’t dramatically affect your blood sugar, this drink may also promote heart health.

Vita Coco 100% Pure Coconut Water (1 bottle, 17 fl oz) 90 calories, 0 g fat, 22 g sugar

  • Best drink for enhanced performance: Coffee– scientific research has linked caffeine consumption with increased endurance and reaction times. The problem is, most caffeine-enhanced energy drinks are loaded with added sugars.

Coffee (8 fl. oz) = 2 calories, 0g fat, 0g sugars [without milk/cream or sugar of course!]

  • EBoost: A great way to get green tea on the go: EBoost. Unlike most green-tea based energy beverages, it’s sweetened with natural, zero-calorie Stevia, and it has an impressive antioxidant profile.

EBoost (1 packet): 5 calories, 0g fat, 0g sugars

  • Chocolate Milk: Drinking a combination of carbohydrates and protein after a hard workout can help restore your energy and aid in building lean, metabolism-boosting muscle

Low Fat Chocolate Milk (8 fl oz): 158 calories, 2.5g fat, 25g sugars, 8g protein

  • WATER!: Nature’s beverage is calorie-free, cost-free, and unless you’re an elite athlete who does high-intensity exercise for more than an hour at a time, it’ll take care of all your workout hydration needs.

Water: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g sugars

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For more information: http://eatthis.menshealth.com/blog/5-sports-drinks-actually-work-0