Review of Vega Protein+ Snack Bar Chocolate Peanut Butter flavored

I’m on a big no dairy/meat/eggs kick due to watching way too many documentaries involving conventional farming/ranching.  So, when I received a sample of this bar I was super excited.  The package claims “contains 11% more of the daily value for protein than Vega Snack Bar”.  Considering this bar has 11g (14% DV)  and the Snack Bar has 5g (3%).

I probably should have read the ingredients before I ate it, but that’s ok…too late now.  There are quite a bit of ingredients in the bar which are listed below.

“PROTEIN BLEND (PEA PROTEIN, BROWN RICE PROTEIN), ORGANIC BROWN RICE SYRUP, DARK CHOCOLATE (ORGANIC SUGAR, PALM KERNEL OIL, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOA POWDER, COCOA POWDER (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, NATURAL FLAVOR), ORGANIC TAPIOCA SYRUP, ALMONDS, ALMOND BUTTER, INULIN (FROM CHICORY ROOT), RICE STARCH, ORGANIC DATE PASTE, ORGANIC AGAVE SYRUP, VEGA SAVISEED (SACHA INCHI) OIL, CARROT JUICE POWDER, ORGANIC BUCKWHEAT, ORGANIC ALFALFA SPROUTS, NATURAL FLAVOR, BROWN RICE CRISPS, QUINOA SPROUTS, CHIA SEEDS, HEMP SEEDS, SEA SALT, MARINE ALGAE CALCIUM, ORGANIC ALFALFA GRASS, ACEROLA CHERRY EXTRACT, KALE, PALMYRA SUGAR, SUNFLOWER SEED OIL POWDER, DRIED FRUIT AND VEGETABLE BLEND (SPINACH, BROCCOLI, CARROT, BEET, TOMATO, APPLE, CRANBERRY, ORANGE PEEL, BLUEBERRY, STRAWBERRY), ORGANIC VANILLA EXTRACT, MUSHROOM EXTRACT, NIACINAMIDE [VITAMIN B3], PANTOTHENIC ACID [VITAMIN B5], PYRIDOXINE [VITAMIN B6], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], THIAMIN [VITAMIN B1], BIOTIN [VITAMIN B7], FOLATE [VITAMIN B9], PHYTOMENADIONE [VITAMIN K].”

The second ingredient is sugar, but it does contain chocolate so I’m not extremely surprised.  I do appreciate that there are no artificial sweeteners in this bar as they tend to leave a bad aftertaste in my mouth.

On the plus side, I really enjoyed the peanut taste along with the crunch.  It reminded me of eating Spanish peanuts or home made peanut brittle.  It contains unsaturated fats, potassium, vitamins A, C, D, K, B6, B12, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, and phosphorus. If you have Celiac’s disease this would be an appropriate bar because it doesn’t contain gluten. It does contain dark chocolate so it’s a tad bit better for you than milk chocolate due to the extra antioxidants.  I’d like to think that I’m doing my body a little good by eating this versus a milk chocolate bar.

It’s a bit chewy but not annoyingly so.  The protein to carbohydrate ratio isn’t perfect for a post workout snack, but it would work if I added a small fruit.

Not a bad bar, a tad bit on the pricey side at $6.99 for a pack of four on their website (myvega.com).  If these are on sale at my local store I’ll probably pick up a few to have on hand.  What do you think?

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Review of Clif Bar Nut butter filled Organic Chocolate Peanut Butter

I will be the first to admit that I love anything peanut butter…and I mean anything.  I would probably eat peanut butter crickets if the opportunity presented itself. Ok, well maybe not crickets.  I’ve had long been a fan of Clif bars because they’re delicious for the most part and tend to be pretty satisfying.  I remember picking up a Clif Nectar bar years ago and thinking I found heaven because it tasted so good!  Needless to say…this bar doesn’t disappoint.  There are more ingredients than the nectar bars, but that’s ok.  A 1.76 oz bar brings in 230 calories (which is pretty calorically dense if I do say so myself), 11g fat (and only contains 2.5g saturated fat), 26g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, and 7g protein.  Overall a really good snack or a light breakfast.  I ate this while watching one of my kiddo’s soccer games and it help me over for a couple of hours, and much less hassle (and probably less calories) than dipping my apple slices in peanut butter.  If you’re a huge PB fan like myself this bar may be right up your alley!

clif

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Quest Bar Cinnamon Roll review

I’ll have to admit, I was super excited to try this bar because I love cinnamon rolls and I need extra protein in my diet.  At only 110 calories, 4.5g fat, 7g fiber and 12g protein per bar it sounds awesome right?  Fairly low in calories and is equivalent to a banana this can be a great snack to add to your diet.  This bar also offers fiber which I love!  Fiber is great for your cholesterol, bowel movements, and helps with satiety.  Eating one of these bars will provide about 30% of your daily fiber intake (25-35g/day RDI), which is pretty easy to consume.  I really enjoy the protein aspect of this well.  Many bars that I’ve tried either have fiber or have protein, but many don’t have both.  There are various protein recommendations but I try to stay around 0.8-1.2g/kg body weight.  You could also base your protein intake off your calories consumed and shoot for 20% of calories (you can go a bit lower or higher if you choose, but I like 20%).  If I consumed 1500 calories/day I should aim for 75g/day.

 

Well, even though there are positives to this bar I really didn’t like it.  You can taste the sucralose (Splenda) and it leaves a less than desirable aftertaste in your mouth.  It also feels a little grainy and isn’t pleasing to consume.  At roughly  $2 per bar it’s a little pricey for me.

If you don’t mind any of the above negatives (grainy texture, artificial aftertaste, and pricey) eat up!  If you’re like me and still on the hunt…I’ll provide more reviews on bars that I actually enjoyed even though they were a bit higher in calories.

 

If you’re interested in purchasing, you can go to http://www.questnutrition.com/beyond-cereal-bars/beyond-cinnamon-cereal-bar/, amazon, or your local supermarket.

 

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Review of MyoPlex Pre-Workout

One of the added benefits of AmazonPrime is to order sample boxes for a fee and then receive credit for the same amount when you order certain products.  Naturally I ordered samples right away because I love trying new things.  Two of the items that were sent in my box was MyoPlex Pre-Workout mixes (one lemonberry and one blood orange).   I’ve been looking for a pre-work to use in the morning to give me an extra boost without the added calories from my coffee creamer.  I know the perfect answer would be to drink black coffee but that’s not happening.  So, I set out to try a few things.  I mixed the lemonberry mix with 12 oz of water (even though it says 4-6 oz because I find they are always too strong for me) and OMG it isn’t tasty.  It mixed fairly well in my blender bottle but it tastes thick and bitter…kind of like the bitterness you might experience with accidentally eating a bit of orange rind or licking the adhesive on an envelope.  I know…appetizing, right?  You can also taste the supplements that have been added so you get the aftertaste of chalkiness.  I tried adding more water to it but no change!  On the plus side, it is a very beautiful cherry/redish-purple color…probably from the beets extract?  I wonder if I can talk the hubby into drinking it.  From a nutritional standpoint the supplements appear to be ok…a bit high on caffeine (300mg per serving) so if you’re sensitive to caffeine this may not be the product to you.  Generally I don’t recommend my patients consume anymore than 400-600mg caffeine per day.

 

Bottom line:  if you don’t care about taste and/or like bitter chalky drinks this might work for you!

Link to website for purchase if you choose to do so:

https://www.bodybuilding.com/store/eas/myoplex-pre-workout.html

 

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42nd annual Military culinary arts competitive training event

I am extremely impressed with the skill level of our military culinary specialists. As you can tell, this event has occurred for quite some time now and our Service Members aren’t strangers to hard work. This is my first year to judge the hot food nutritional challenge where competitors have to keep their three course meal under 850 calories while remaining within certain macronutrient ranges. Many teams worked with their Registered Dietitian for weeks to agree to a final product. Below are pictures from the hot food challenge as well as other events. Spectacular creations! 

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Getting better 

how do you know if you’re progressing? It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about; running, weight loss, or making an action a habit. The answer is simple…you notice change.

Last night I was running on the treadmill (yes I love it because I can watch tv while I run), and hadn’t planned on running too fast.  400m slow run, 400m fast x 5 or 6 times. I’ve done this speed work before and usually my slow is walking and my fast is 6/6.5.  Well, what do you know…I’m getting faster. My slow was actually a slow run (5mph) instead of a walk and my fast was 8 instead of 6.5. I’m definitely getting faster and my training is paying off. The little revelation was unexpected but much appreciated. I’m currently training for a half marathon and the long runs on the treadmill are getting a little boring. But, knowing that I’m getting faster is helping me endure the runs because I know they can be run a little faster. 

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New Years resolutions

This post is coming a bit late, but it’s not your traditional resolution post. 

When we start making resolutions we sometimes start thinking about what we should change. For example…I should probably save money this year, I should lose weight, I should go to the gym more, etc. BUT what if you don’t want to? What if you’re healthy but your BMI is 26? What if you are financially stable and you love spending money on yourself, family, or friends? What if you HATE going to the gym but like exercising at home? Should you make the resolutions that you know you won’t keep? Of course not. Decide what you want, what is realistic, and what has meaning to you. Resolutions are about personal growth and betterment. If you don’t like a frugal you and can afford to spend money then spend within your means. If you exercise at home and spend more time with your family, embrace it! If you are healthy and your BMI is slightly over 25 then exercise for your health. Stop focusing on what others say you should be doing and start focusing on yourself 🙂

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Omega 3s

I’m not a huge fan of chia seeds but came across this yogurt at the store last week.  

 
I actually bought it for my middle kiddo because he loves blood oranges, but he didn’t want it. It’s very tasty, sweet, full of protein and omega 3s, and pretty satisfying. The flavor isn’t overwhelming but very delicious. 

So, if you’re looking to mix up your yogurt and throw some omegas around, try it out! 

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The road to veganism

im not a huge fan of meat even though it offers a plethora of vitamins and minerals that are good for our bodies. You can get most everything from plants. 

Our little guy is now 8 months and my husband wasn’t very happy that I didn’t want to eat meat during the pregnancy. So, we compromised and I ate meat once a day. I’ve done this throughout the pregnancy and the duration of my breastfeeding which is still going. I’m happy with my decision and plan to go vegetarian and eventually vegan. Although the hubby isn’t happy with it he’s supportive. He and my kiddos still eat meat daily and that’s ok with me. It’s their decision. My 4.5 year old asked why we have to kill animals to eat yesterday and I took the opportunity to talk about different diets and how we can choose to eat meat or choose not to. He knows where his food comes from and I’m happy. 

My dinner today consisted of a hummus, grilled pineapple, and kale sandwich while the kiddos and hubby had BBQ beef and pork.  

 
The kids may see the hubby’s meaty diet and follow, but they also see mine full of vegetables!

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Baby food prep 

I saw a post on Facebook about freezing little pieces of puréed baby food to help with self feeding. Well, it works! Below I have puréed peas, curtesy of my ninja and steamer. 

  
I took a baby spoon and dropped little morsels of peas on parchment paper and then popped them into the freezer. It’s also really easy to transfer these into a jar and keep in the freezer u till you’re ready to use. 

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