Tag Archives: protein

Stay Healthy On-the-Go with My 3 Favorite Snacks

Life can be really busy & sometimes things don’t go as planned. That is, if we have a plan. This is why I am always prepared with some sort of snack in my bag or my purse at all times.  You never know when you will get stuck in crazy traffic n the way home or be our longer than you expected. For me, the hanger is real so I am always prepared with one of my 3 favorite healthy snacks which I am sharing with you today. 

Continue reading Stay Healthy On-the-Go with My 3 Favorite Snacks

How to Make Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies

Since finding out about my gluten allergy, I don’t eat cookies all that often. I was puttering around Pinterest one day and saw a gluten free, grain free chocolate chip cookie recipe. I was intrigued and thought, “sounds easy enough”. Then I got the crazy idea to use some protein powder and make them into a protein cookie. The result: an amazingly delicious, gluten free cookie that is low in sugar. img_7176.jpg

You may have seen Lenny & Larry’s protein cookies. They have been all the rage, but they are NOT gluten free. I’m also not a huge fan of their nutrition. High sugar, high calorie and high carb. Not much better than a normal cookie. So I set out to make a gluten free, lower sugar, protein cookie. 

These gluten free protein cookies turned out much better than expected and did not last long. I gobbled them up quicker than I expected. I was looking for excuses to eat these! They are great as a snack or a dessert. img_7171

In this recipe, I used my favorite protein powder, Vanilla Milkshake from Quest. One thing to remember when cooking with protein powder is the kind of protein can really change the recipe. Feel free to substitute your protein powder of choice, just know that it may alter the recipe a bit. 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip
Protein Cookie Recipe

prep time: 20 mins
cook time: 15 mins
total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil (if your coconut oil is a little melty, put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes or until firmer, like softened butter. If you use melted coconut oil, the dough will be greasy)
3 scoops Vanilla Milkshake Quest Nutrition protein powder
6 tablespoons natural almond butter – make sure it has no added sugar!
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
A few Tsp of water, if needed

Directions:
1. In a mixing bowl, mix almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat together coconut oil and the protein powder until well combined. If you use coconut oil, it may not come together easily. If needed, use your hands to combine it and then beat another 20 seconds.
3. Beat in the almond butter and vanilla extract & mix until combined. Beat in the egg on low and mix well.
4. Stir in the flour mixture until well combined. Then stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. 5. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or until the dough is firm.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 Β°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
5. Roll the dough into approx 12 balls. Place on baking sheet.
6. Bake for 11-14 minutes or until browned and the center of the cookie is no longer raw.
7. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

NOTES:
1. You can also roll cookies into smaller balls but this will effect the bake time.
2. The bake time will also vary based on protein powder used & your oven. Start with 11 minutes and check cookies. With Quest protein, it took 15 minutes, however this does vary based on oven.
3. If you wish, flatten cookie ball slightly before baking for a more traditional cookie appearance πŸ™‚ 

Adapted from TexanErin

fullsizerenderimg_7178

Macro Nutrients: What are They & Why Should You Care?

You have probably heard the term ‘macro’ before. Many people are familiar with it from the IFFYM or the ‘if it fit’s your macros’ eating philosophy. Counting ‘macros’ or macro nutrients is like a fancy way of saying you are counting calories. It is more in depth than just counting calories though because it focuses on the three main nutrient groups that all foods fall into – protein, carbohydrates and fat. Today I am going to teach you why each of the macro nutrients is important, and how they shape your eating. 

I LOVE talking about nutrition, so I may geek out a little bit in this post. One of the main reasons I am so passionate about nutrition is because it is 80% of your results. Exercise is important, and so is sleep, but what you eat plays the biggest role. Once I paid more attention to what I was eating, the results started happening AND they were easier to maintain. The video below explains a LOT about macros. This video is an excerpt from a live Periscope broadcast that I did. I show you one of my favorite meals that I usually eat for breakfast or lunch and what macros I have on my plate. We discuss a few other things as well πŸ™‚ 

In case you either
a) don’t have time to watch the video
b) you are reading this at work or somewhere you can’t watch a video
OR
c) you would rather read than watch… 
I have included a lot of the same info typed out below the video. 

Like I mentioned up above & in the video, nutrition is one of my favorite things to talk about AND help people with. Do you want to unprocess your pantry or change what you eat? Do you need help with your nutrition? I would love to help you! With my step by step process I can help you unprocess what you eat and find a way of eating that you can sustain long term. Email me thesweetblondesfitlife (at) gmail (dot) com or CLICK HERE 

Let’s talk about macro nutrients! 

The meal I am eating in the video and use to explain is:
– 2 pieces of gluten free toast (because I am allergic) topped with avocado/hemp seeds & grass fed butter
– 2 eggs + 1/3 cup of egg whites + green salsa

Here is the breakdown of the macro nutrients. This may seem really basic but stay with me! 
carbs: bread
fat: avocado, grass fed butter, eggs
protein: eggs

Macro nutrients are important because each meal should have some carbs, fats and protein. The only meal that you should exclude fats from is your post workout meal. You body needs protein and carbs to recover and replenish muscles.

Protein

Your body can only use 20-30g of protein for muscle synthesis at a time – meaning it can only use up to 30g of protein at a time to build muscle. IE: if you eat 80 grams of protein at one meal, 50g of protein is going to go to waste. You want your body to be able to use the nutrients, so space your protein out through out the day.
Protein also helps you feel satiated (feel full), another reason I always include protein with every meal and snack. 

I usually eat 3 main meals and 2 snacks. This is enough for me to fit my protein in. Some people eat 6-7 meals a day, some people eat less. You have to find what works best for you. Something different works for everyone. 

Carbs

Carbs are NOT bad. Your body AND your brain use carbohydrates for energy. This also does not mean #EATallTHEcarbs! You need to pay attention to how many carbs you are eating at each meal because we want to avoid huge blood sugar spikes.
This is one of the reasons I top my toast with a fat like avocado. When you eat carbs together with fat, it slows down the speed at which your body metabolizes the carbs. That is good thing because it does not spike your blood sugar. Carbs turn into sugar in your body, so the slower you metabolize the carbs, the less of an insulin spike you get. 

Fats

They are also good! Sometimes they get a bad rep, but fats help you stay full & satiated. When you eat fats in your diet, it helps reduce cravings and can also help reduce belly fat. 

Also make sure to include plenty of veggies and greens! I cannot get enough greens. In my opinion they should be their own macro nutrient group haha. I love greens because of the phytonutrients they supply our body with; they give you that radiant glow. As far as I’m concerned you can’t ever have too much glow!! 

Need help? I love educating people about this stuff! I can help you unprocess your pantry and fridge and make getting better nutrition much easier. Let’s chat! Drop me a line: thesweetblondesfitlife (at) gmail (dot) com

My All Time Favorite Protein Shake – Just 4 Ingredients

If you are anything like me, you love delicious food that is easy to make. The recipe I am sharing with you today is exactly that; it’s quick, easy and healthy! In fact, it’s my favorite protein shake recipe. I rotate through a few different recipes and combinations for my protein shakes, but in the end I always come back to this one as my favorite. The best part, it’s only 4 ingredients!IMG_2736

The reason this is one of my favorite protein shake recipes is probably because it features the best flavor combo – peanut butter and chocolate! This shake is extra creamy and really satisfying. It’s perfect for breakfast, as a snack or after a workout. If creamy shakes aren’t your thing, I’ll show you how to customize the recipe. 

The entire recipe, ingredients + instructions is listed below. First I want to take a moment to explain 3 of the 4 ingredients: protein powder, peanut butter powder, cacao powder and a banana.favorite protein shake

Protein Powder

My protein powder of choice is Quest. I love the different flavors they offer, they use really high quality whey protein and each scoop has anywhere from 20-23g of protein depending on the flavor. While I avoid dairy, the low levels of lactose in the Quest protein does not bother me. 

You can use any brand of chocolate flavored protein in this recipe. Not all protein powders are created equal, so be sure to buy the highest quality protein powder your budget allows. Remember, expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best. Pay attention to the ingredient list, what kind of protein they are using and watch for added sugar.

Peanut Butter Powder

Are you familiar with powdered peanut butter? It’s basically peanut butter that they have removed the fat from. I like to use powdered peanut butter mostly in smoothies and prefer regular peanut butter for other uses. 

My favorite powdered peanut butter is from Crazy Richard’s. Again, it is all about the ingredient list for me. As Crazy Richard’s likes to say “there is one ingredient, peanuts”. The Pure PB+ is peanut powder with added vitamins. You can use regular peanut butter instead. Just be sure that the only ingredient is peanuts! There is no need for oils or sugar in peanut butter. 

Cacao Powder

Cacao powder is NOT the same as cocoa powder. It’s confusing, I know. Cacao is raw chocolate, nothing else. It’s the purest form of chocolate you can consume & much less processed. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Cocoa has very similar health benefits as long as you get a cocoa powder that has no added sugars or oils. 

My favorite cacao powder is a local brand, Holy Kakow. You can find a huge selection of cacao powder on Amazon or at a health food store like Whole Foods.   This is an optional ingredient, I like to add it to make it extra chocolatey. You can use cocoa powder if you wish, just be sure it is unsweetened

favorite protein shakeChocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Ingredients
1 scoop Quest chocolate protein powder
1 tsp cacao powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup almond milk**
1/2 cup water**
1/2 cup ice**
1 T powdered peanut butter (set aside)

Instructions
1. Place all ingredients, except powdered peanut butter, in a blender.
2. Blend until reaches desired consistency.
3. Sprinkle powdered peanut butter on top. 
4. ENJOY!

**If you want the shake to have a thinner consistency, leave out the ice. If you wish, you can also increase the amount of liquid.

favorite protein shake

What is your favorite protein shake recipe?

How to Make Protein Fudge {my favorite healthy treat}

Ever struggle with nighttime snacking or after dinner ‘treats’? You just want ‘something sweet’ and then somehow it gets out of control?  I came up with this because after dinner I struggle with the same thing. When you are craving a treat, reach for this protein fudge! The best part is, it is ready in minutes!

Unlike traditional fudge that is full of sugar, this protein fudge has less than 1g of sugar, 20 grams of protein, healthy fats and can also be made dairy free! 

Healthy Protein FudgeIMG_1465

Here is what you need:

Ingredients
2T coconut oil 
1 scoop (or packet) of protein powder

I used the newest flavor of Quest protein powder, Cookies and Cream. It has little cookie chunks in the powder + it’s gluten free! This means you get actual cookie chunks in this fudge. It is SO good! (insert heart eyed emoji) 

Instructions
  1. Place 2T of coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Microwave the oil in 30 second increments until melted.
  3. Carefully remove bowl from microwave. 
  4. Stir protein powder into the coconut oil. The consistency should be thick but spreadable*IMG_1462

5. Pour protein-coconut oil mixture into small baking dish or into molds. I used a small 2×4 glass dish. 
**Recommended: line dish with parchment paper! Makes it much easier to remove fudge**IMG_1463

6. Place in freezer for 10 minutes**
7. Remove, break into small pieces & enjoy!IMG_1466

*If needed, add 1/2T more of coconut oil – consistency will vary depending on protein powder used
**You can also chill in fridge. This is only necessary to get coconut oil solid again. 

You can use any kind of protein in this recipe. I did not list this recipe as dairy free because the Quest protein powder is a mixture of whey protein and casein protein. While whey protein is technically not diary free, Quest uses very high quality protein so the amount of lactose in it is very small. Dairy doesn’t make my body happy, but I can eat Quest protein and I do not get a reaction. πŸ™‚

Enjoy!
XOXO
Sarah

How to Make My Favorite Post Workout Smoothie

Post Workout Nutrition

You have probably heard that what you eat post-workout is important. In someways it is the most important meal because it affects how your body recovers from the workout. By eating the right things, you can bounce back quicker from a hard workout &  This is the most optimal time for protein synthesis and replenishing glycogen in the muscles. The macro nutrients that our body needs to do this post workout are protein and carbs.  

As you can see, what you eat or drink after a workout is really important! This smoothie gives you carbs and protein in a very delicious way. When I am wrapping up a workout or a run, I am already looking forward to this smoothie. It’s super creamy and the perfect blend of chocolate and peanut butter. Good nutrition doesn’t have to taste bad!IMG_7530

Chocolate & PB Protein Smoothie

serves 1

Ingredients
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup ice
2T Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter + a little extra to sprinkle on top!

Directions
1. add all ingredients to a blender
2. blend for a few minutes so it gets creamy & all ice is blended
3. serve in a glass and top with powdered peanut butter

**You can sub almond milk with any other kind of milk. You can also sub powdered PB for other nut butter if you wish. IMG_7554

*Please note: This post is sponsored by Sweat Pink on behalf of Mighty Nut/Peanut Butter Co. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting my sponsors!

Tell me: 
What is your favorite post-workout meal or snack?

XOXO
Stay Sweet!
Sarah

Cinnamon Apple Crisp Overnight Oats [Easy & Gluten Free]

As my regular readers know, I really enjoy breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the whole day. I have tried almost every breakfast out there but had yet to try overnight oats because the idea of cold oatmeal just did not appeal to me. Let me tell you, overnight oats are NOTHING like cold oatmeal. They are so much better than I ever imagined and I’m kinda obsessed. This recipe is the perfect autumn breakfast!gluten free overnight oats

 Recently I was feeling creative in the kitchen and thinking up new things to try for breakfast. I wanted something easy that I could carry with me because I had a few early mornings followed by very busy days. I decided to throw together some overnight oats and give them a whirl and I am SO glad I did. I have been having this for breakfast everyday since last week! 

 

These overnight oats have a boost of protein which combined with the complex carbs of the oats will keep you full and fueled for hours! The chia keeps is creamy and gives it a great texture. The best part is, you whip it up in less than 5 mins the night before, and in the morning you just grab it out of the fridge and go! gluten free overnight oats

Cinnamon Apple Crisp Overnight Oats

serves 1

1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
1 T chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 small honey crisp apple, diced

Combine all DRY ingredients in a jar (I used a wide mouthed mason jar) and mix together. Then add in almond milk and apple pieces. You can add all the fruit or save half to top the oats with in the morning. Place in the fridge overnight. Enjoy in the morning with a spoon! 

p.s. if you don’t like almond milk, you can use any milk of choice. Regular milk, soy milk, cashew milk… whichever milk you want! 

Calories: 350
Fat: 8 grams
Carbs: 49 grams
Protein: 20 grams
***The nutrition facts will vary depending on what kind of protein powder and milk you use. IMG_7246

Enjoy!!
XOXO
Stay Sweet!
Sarah