Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Go. Make. These. Now…!

Such a healthy treat compared to the Reese’s candy bar cups!

Super high in protein, healthy fats, and completely satisfying 🙂

Ingredients: Makes 4 cups

  • 1 scoop protein powder (vanilla or chocolate)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-2 tbsp baking Stevia (I used two because the cocoa is pretty bitter)
  • 3-4 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk/water
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter

-Combine the first 4 ingredients and add the milk 1 Tbsp at a time until it turns into a thick brownie batter consistency.
-Pour about 1/2 of the batter into your silicone liners
-Place approx 1/2 Tbsp of Peanut Butter into each cup.
-Pour the remaining batter on top.

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Freeze for a GOOD 1-2 hours, until it is completely solid. Let it set at room temp for a min or two, and then ENJOY!!! It can get a little messy if you eat them with your hands, so feel free to eat them with a spoon out of the liner.

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Protein Soft Serve/ICE CREAM!

This is AMAZING! This not only satisfies my sweet tooth but it is LOW CARB and FULL of protein to keep you full and satisfied. The secret ingredient? Cottage cheese! Yes, I know what you’re thinking…but don’t worry, you won’t taste it! The cottage cheese makes it thick and creamy!

This is a great “treat” to have as an evening/night-time snack; the cottage cheese is full of casein protein. Casein is a very slow digested (milk) protein (versus whey protein, which is absorbed very rapidly). Consuming casein protein at night will help fuel and rebuild your muscles as you sleep…making you stronger, fitter, and healthier 🙂

If you really want/need to, you may substitute plain greek yogurt for the cottage cheese. I have tried it with both, and honestly prefer the creaminess and texture of the cottage cheese!

There are countless “flavors” that you could come up with; here is the “base” recipe, then you may add your fixings! 🙂

Protein Icecream Base: (One serving)

  • 1/2 cup non/low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (I use whey or casein)
  • 1 tbsp Stevia (this is up to you-you may use more or less)
  • Splash (about 1-2 tbsp?) of milk of choice (I only use unsweetened almond milk)
  • Optional (but highly recommended): 1/4 tsp guar gum (adds thickness and creaminess)

Step 1: Place ingredients into your blender/magic bullet as ordered above (cottage cheese first…) You may add your extra “flavors” after.

*Note: Add your liquid (almond milk) last! It is not really for taste; it is just for the ingredients to blend together. Start slow when pouring…you want to keep your batter as thick as possible. Use just enough to get the ingredients all mixed 🙂

Step 2: Blend…blend…blend!!! I throw everything in my magic bullet until it is a smooth consistency (no “chunks” from the cottage cheese).

Step 3: Transfer to a bowl/mug/anything you want. At this point it will be a “pudding” consistency. If you have NO patience or prefer pudding more than ice cream, feel free to indulge immediately!! If not, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4: Place your pudding/soon to be ice cream into the freezer…covered or uncovered (it doesn’t matter much to me)

Step 5: Test your patience! The longer you wait, the more your pudding will  turn to ice cream.

At about 30 minutes: Soft Serve consistency

60 minutes: Frozen and more “ice cream” like

The choice is yours!

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There are SO many mix-ins/flavors you could do…get creative and I will keep posting more that I come up with as well!

Some of my favorites so far:

  • Cocoa Powder
  • PB2/peanut flour
  • Peanut butter
  • Sugar free chocolate/caramel/strawberry syrup
  • Fresh/frozen berries
  • Sugar free banana/cheesecake dry pudding mix

In moderation with these:

  • Whipped cream
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate chips

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Lemon Garlic Greek Salad

Light, refreshing, totally clean and delicious! 🙂

Ingredients: (Makes 1 serving)

  • 1 cup (about 4-5 ounces) of shrimp OR chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp of kalamata (or black) olives, halved
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion (boo, I didn’t have any on hand)
  • 1 tbsp of (garlic herb) feta cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • Dash of dried oregano
  • 1-2 tbsp low calorie, low sugar Balsamic vinagrette

Optional:

  • 2 tbsp diced avocado
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo beans, rinsed (could sub for meat to make this vegetarian)

Mix all ingredients (except the salad dressing). Add the dressing one tablespoon at a time ( one was plenty for me). Enjoy immediately, or you may store this covered in the fridge for a few days as well!

Nutritional Info: (using 1 cup cooked shrimp and no optional ingredients)

210 calories   10g carbs (all from veggies)   9g (healthy) fats    24g protein (!)

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Flourless Banana Cinnamon Maple Bread

banana breadThis recipe is very similar to the Low Carb Pumpkin Bread, but with banana and maple instead! High in protein, healthy fats, healthy carbohydrates and nutrients from the banana, and overall moist deliciousness! Did I mention how SIMPLE it is as well ?!?

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder 
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp Stevia (could omit)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp sugar free maple syrup

Optional:

  • 1/2 tsp maple extract
  • 1/3 cup crushed/chopped walnuts

Blend dry ingredients, and then mix in wet until it is a smooth batter. Pour into your well-sprayed or silicone loaf pan. Bake at 350F for about 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy with breakfast, coffee, or as a snack. It tastes great with a little sugar free maple syrup and greek yogurt on top! 🙂

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Nutrition information (for 10 slices):

55 calories per slice   5g carbs   6g protein   1g fat

Portion Distortion: Learn Proper Serving Sizes

As we live in a “Super-Size” nation, we are bombarded with extremely large portion sizes from restaurants, fast food chains, and even grocery stores. What really is a proper serving size anymore? Do you really know how much you are eating? It might seem easy to “estimate”, but since our eyes (and stomachs) are accustomed to huge servings, they might not be the most accurate anymore.

This comparison shows that our food is not what it used to be. It is growing…literally…

Just because the sizes are getting larger, doesn’t mean you and your meals need to as well!

portionDistortionChart

Let’s go over some key points:

A “serving” is the amount of food recommended in consumer education materials such as MyPlate.

A “portion” is the amount of a food you choose to eat at any one time — which may be more or less than a serving.

When the amount we are served increases…our portion sizes tend to increase as well…

Here is a table that describes proper serving sizes of common foods:

Portion-Chart

Learning the right sizes first will help determine the correct portions. Remember, the portion (the number of servings you consume) will depend on your gender, weight, age, goals, etc.

Some foods we easily misjudge portion size:

  • Meat (chicken, fish, etc.)
  • Cereal
  • Pasta/Rice
  • Nuts/trail mix/dried fruit
  • peanut butter
  • cheese (all kinds)
  • Condiments like salad dressing, sauces, butter, oil ,etc.

Here is another chart that uses your hand to show proper serving sizes:

visual-portion-chart

 

We must also be cautious to read the nutrition labels carefully. Even though an item is sold as a single portion, there might be multiple servings within that one package. Be careful and take your time when choosing your foods and how much you will really be eating.

Take a look at this photo below…there are technically FOUR servings in this bag.

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Ok, so now that we know the correct serving sizes, how do we make the smartest choices and stick with it?

Helpful Hints:

  • Study the nutrition labels! Here you will find all the information you need to determine the serving size of that item. This will help you make better decisions on the portion you choose.
  • Keep a food diary. This might be tedious, but it can really help you stay accountable and focused on what, how much, and when you are eating. I highly recommend a diary if you are working towards weight/fat loss goal or a calorie controlled nutrition plan. You can look back and see what areas need improvement or what you struggle with. Measuring your food makes a food journal a lot easier and less time consuming.
  • Measure out your food. Having a general idea of a portion size ( ie tennis ball, deck of cards, etc) can be helpful when you are first learning the basics or when you are dining out. However, if you are keeping a food diary and/or tracking your daily calories, measuring/weighing your food is highly effective. There is no guessing or estimating! Whip out those measuring cups and spoons; you might realize you were actually consuming multiple servings worth!
  • Invest in a food scale. These can be found anywhere (Target, Walmart, online, etc.) for a reasonable price and are great for food that are easier to measure when weighed (meat, nuts, etc) than in a cup or spoon. Highly recommended!

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  • Determine your portion BEFORE eating. If you are eating from a package with multiple servings, avoid eating straight from the package. This will help you stay within the correct portion size and avoid mindless eating.
  • Prepare your own food. Serving sizes at restaurants and fast food joints are usually TRIPLE the correct serving size. Plus, restaurant/fast food is usually laden with extra calories, fat, sugar, and processed ingredients. Not what we want! The more you control your own food (yep….food prep!) the easier it will be to control your sizes, calories, and ultimately your progress.

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  • Use smaller dishes. This is an easy tip to help “trick” your mind if you are downsizing your portions. Swap out your large bowls and plates for small appetizer plates and dishes. Even try using appetizer spoons/forks to eat slower and enjoy the food and the (smaller) portion.

Most of all, listen to your body! Even though you might have a certain portion of food/meal in front of you, doesn’t mean you HAVE to eat it. Use your stomach to determine when you are done eating versus the notion ” I have to clean my plate”. This will help prevent overeating and help you learn your body’s signals of when you are satisfied and content…plus the right portions for your body! 🙂

 

 

 

Baked Maple Glazed Salmon

A clean and very easy recipe for fish! You are able to save calories, sugar, and salt by using sugar free syrup and Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce. I put the salmon in a shallow dish and “marinaded” it in the sauce for about 20 minutes before baking.

Ingredients:

  • 4-4oz salmon fillets (I like Atlantic or sometimes Sockeye)
  • 1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (find it at health food stores; it is a substitution for soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Blend the marinade ingredients all together in a small bowl. Place salmon fillets into a shallow (baking) dish. Optional: Cover and marinade the fish for 20-30 minutes in the fridge. Bake covered at 400F for 20 minutes, or until fillets are flaky. Enjoy with a side of veggies, brown rice, quinoa, etc. for a nutritious and satisfying meal!

 

Peanut Butter Bars

As you can probably tell…I have a slight (sick) obsession with PEANUT BUTTER!!! I love love love it. However, since eating it by the spoonful is not the best idea, a baked peanut butter bar is the next best option. Feel free to add cocoa powder to make this chocolate as well…?? 🙂

Ingredients: (makes 16 bars)

  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/8 cup coconut flour
  • 1.5 scoops (60g) (vanilla) whey/casein protein powder
  • 1/3 cup Baking Stevia
  • 1/2 cup PB2/peanut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (or 2) egg whites
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or can sub mashed banana)
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp (16g) all natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp (14g) mini chocolate chips

Substitutions: Use all applesauce or banana in place of yogurt to make dairy free (nutrition will change)

 

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Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Then add wet ingredients and blend well. Pour into a well sprayed baking dish (I used a 9×9 square Pyrex).

Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy as an on-the-go snack, and feel free to top with more PB if needed 🙂

Nutrition information: For 16 bars (made with ingredients listed)

65 calories:   4.5g carbs  (2g fiber & 1g sugar)  5.5g protein   2g fat

 

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Clean Chicken “Waldorf” Salad

IMG_2753This is a great and easy salad-perfect to make in a large batch and have several servings! It is convenient to throw in your cooler and eat it on the go. Using nonfat plain greek yogurt instead of mayo significantly lowers the fat content while adding protein!

Ingredients: (makes 1 serving…feel free to double, triple, etc.)

  • 4 oz grilled/baked chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 chopped apple (about 1/3 of an apple)
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • juice of 1/4 of a lemon

Substitutions/Optional:

  • Chopped walnuts instead of sliced almonds
  • Sliced grapes instead of raisins

Add all ingredients together and mix thoroughly with the yogurt until everything is evenly coated. Enjoy immediately or cover and store in the fridge for 2-3 days.

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Amazing. Moist. Rich. Healthy. Need I say more?

You may try these as (dessert) bars too…

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup oat flour
  • 3 scoops protein powder (vanilla or chocolate will work)
  • 1/3 cup Stevia
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • dash of milk of choice (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raspberries (I used frozen)

Blend all dry ingredients (except chocolate chips and raspberries). Mix in wet ingredients until it is a smooth batter. Pour into well sprayed muffin tins or silicone baking liners. Drop in chocolate chips and raspberries to each muffin tin.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

This is not the greatest picture, but please believe me that these are delicious!

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