For years I’ve attempted to make my own home made protein bar that actually tasted good, travelled well and had healthy ingredients. I have failed many times. Finally, I thought what the heck I’m going to share my failures with the world and use it as a way of educating if I can.
Today I found a “Protein” Ball recipe that was made with nuts and Medjool dates. I’ve been hoping to include Medjool dates in my final product as it’s a natural sweeter that is also a pretty good binder. I’m sure there are tons of other health benefits since they are so popular these days but I am choosing not to digress into that bottomless pit (you know how nerdy I am about nutrition) and instead stick to the topic at hand. “Protein” balls.
Some of the more astute of you might be wondering…why the heck is she putting protein in “”? Here is why: IM SO TIRED OF EVERYONE CALLING THEM PROTEIN BALLS!!!! While this recipe is tasty and they do have some protein…THESE ARE NOT PROTEIN BALLS. These are healthy snack balls or some other similar name that doesn’t imply they are mostly protein.
The same mistake happens with KIND bars (which I love BTW). KIND bars are not protein bars! If you check the label you will notice they have 5-7 grams of protein and 8-12 grams of fat, depending on the type of bar. With fat being twice as dense as protein and allotting for twice the calories as protein, we should more accurately call them fat bars! Haha I have a feeling that wouldn’t go over to well.
My point is not for you to stop eating KIND bars or not to make these delicious homemade fat balls either. It’s just important – and here is that ever sought after teachable moment – that you know what the heck is in the foods you are eating. You wouldn’t eat pizza and say it was your daily vegetable would you? (Ok some people might – including Janet, Julie and probably Mike G who all might even read this). Just do me a favor and when you eat or cook something, take a moment to asses what the macro ratio’s (macronutrients : CHO, FAT, PRO) are so you know how to balance yours throughout the day and according to your training demand. In other words – pizza is not a vegetable guys!
All that being said, if you are looking for a healthy snack that is tasty, satiating, has some protein and mostly healthy fats, you should try this. It’s easy to make, stores well and has all healthy ingredients (recipe listed below). As previously mentioned, most of the calories in this snack come from fat – which is not a crime – it’s the lack of awareness of what is in the food you eat that can potentially sabotage your efforts.
- Medjool Dates (pitted) – 1 cup chopped
- Cashews – 1 1/2 cup
- Coconut oil – 1 Tbl
- Chia Seeds – 1 Tbl
- Cacao Powder – 1.5 Tbl
- Hemp Protein Powder – 2 Tbl
*You can also use other protein powders if you like.
- Fire up the food processor
- Add all ingredients to the food processor, probably should add the nuts first
- Process away until well mixed
- If too dry add like 1 Tbl of water
- Roll into balls and store for later 🙂
Here are the nutrition facts if you want them! Enjoy!
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hedvigs/
If you’ve worked with me personally or have been following me for any length of time, you know that I believe that no one should go through life without cookies, cake and brownies. Of course, I’m not saying head on over to your nearest drive-thru and binge ~ you’ve also heard me talk about successful, long-term results requiring balance! 😉 And even though it’s ok to have sweet treats, they are the exception not the rule.
That being said…I wanted to share one of the recipes I use that is very easy to make and is great balance between carbs and protein. Sometimes when I give out this recipe, I get the funniest reaction from clients…one of those faces that is a mix between confusion and the anticipation of something distasteful…but once they try this they all have loved it! I often have this for breakfast and when I do, I find that it reduces my sweet cravings during the day, especially when I follow up with well balanced meals and snacks later on. So without further delay, here’s the recipe I’ve been wanting you to see:
Cooking utensils needed: blender & small skillet
||Old fashioned oats
||Total Per Serving (1)
| -Agave syrup (light)
| -Butter (small amount)
Use a small amount of the coconut oil or Pam to grease the a small skillet. Add all ingredients to blender and mix on high until ingredients are blended together and smooth(ish). With skillet over medium heat, pour mixture into skillet and cook one side until brown, flip like a pancake and repeat. Remove from heat and serve, putting a small amount of butter and agave syrup on if you choose.
Reminder – while this recipe is really well balanced, too much agave and butter will add both carbs and fat the the overall count of the pancake. Remember to keep it in balance with your ideal cals for that meal and the amount of each macro you’ve already eaten that day. Not only is this a great recipe a great choice for breakfast, it is also a perfect post-workout meal. The balance between macro’s is great for replenish depleted glycogen stores and delivers enough protein to facilitate protein synthesis after a strength training session.
For most of us, making time for a quality workout requires planning, re-arranging schedules and figuring out how and when to get to the gym each day. And that’s just getting to the gym. Once you’re at the gym you put maximum effort into your workout so you can achieve your goals. But did you know that what you do after the workout for a post-workout meal and recovery could be as or more important to your result than your actual workout?
Today I want to share what I recommend eating after a weight training and or weights/cardio combination workout so you can get maximum benefits from your hard work. Here’s an example of one of my recent strength training workouts:
1000 Meter Row easy
Set 1: High Reps
Wide Grip Pull-up (assisted)
Set 2: 10 Reps
Wide Cable Row with split stance
Dumbbell Shoulder Press on Stability Ball – single arm
Stability Ball Crunches
Stability Ball Tucks
Set 3: 8 Reps
Single Arm Sots Press w/kettlebell
Personally, after a workout like this I typically have a meal that combines protein, high glycemic carbs, and a small amount of healthy fat (ratios of 45-45-10 OR 40-40-20). I started having this type of post-workout meal years back when I learned how to balance my nutrition, workouts and lifestyle from a few trusted sources. My rationale for eating a post-workout meal like this is to facilitate two crucial parts of workout recovery and performance:
1) Replenish depleted muscle glycogen stores. Glycogen is the fuel stored in and used by muscles during workouts and replenishing this fuel is important for recovery and future performance. The high glycemic version of carbohydrates digest more easily, stimulates insulin and facilitates protein synthesis.
2) Facilitate protein synthesis – the rebuilding and repair of muscle tissues damaged (micro traumas from training) during workouts. Muscle cell proteins are broken down due to high intensity or prolonged exercise and protein synthesis is the recovery process on a microscopic level.
I’ve gotten great results using the rations I described but recently I’ve been doing some reading that indicates I might need to adjust my post workout meal ratios. Various articles I’ve read suggest that using a 2:1 or even 3:1 carb to protein ratio instead of my 1:1 carb to protein ratio are the ideal for post workout meals. From Breaking Muscle: “Research in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism has shown that ingesting protein (0.2-0.4g/kg) and a smaller amount of carbohydrates together (around 0.8g/kg) can”…stimulate an endogenous insulin release that actually replenishes glycogen stores. And in a separate study it was found that “at present, there is no evidence to support the claim that post-workout carbs in any ratio are needed for protein synthesis. Protein seems to be enough on its own.”
Based on this research and a few other articles I’ve read, an increase in carb to protein ration makes sense for replenishing muscle glycogen in a post-workout meal but is not necessary when it comes to protein synthesis.
But wait…I’m now telling you to add carbs to your diet when one of the most common things you’ll hear in the fitness industry is that carbs make you fat? Well, it’s true – they CAN…if your eating is out of balance. But when you consume healthy carbs, like non-processed starches and whole fruits the right way (and even “cheat” foods), you don’t have to worry about storing them as excess fat.
Eating in balance requires you to have general knowledge of how much of which type of nutrients you’ve eaten throughout the day. If you’ve overloaded on carbs all morning, you shouldn’t eat a high carb post-workout meal and if you plan to go eat a high carb dinner, stick with the 1:1 ratio after your workout. When you use this strategy, not only does it make your plan “sustainable” — it makes being lean so much easier. Good luck!
Did this article help you? If so, leave a comment and let me know!