Food Friday – smoothie wheel

With the helpful advice from some of the trainers at my gym yesterday I figured I would attack the age old question of “what do I put in my smoothie?” Now personally I kind of just toss in whatever I have on hand and it doesn’t necessarily have to mix, this can be a hit or miss type of situation so to save you all some trouble, don’t use arugula, keep that for your salads. Anyways….most of the time my toss in what I have method works, but sometimes I figured it is nice to have a recipe or at least a general idea of what tastes good.

So I figured I would share with you some concoctions. They each pretty much stick to my pattern of 4 main ingredient categories leafy greens, fruits, liquids and proteins. After I make the base I often add in additional things normally for nutritional value over taste, but sometimes they amp up the delicious flavours too. 

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*please note that almond milk and various nut butters are obvious liquid and protein sources but personally I would never use them due to my allergy to tree nuts so I have omitted them. 

When making a smoothie my portions are generally 1 for leafy greens, 2-3 from the fruit, 1 liquid, and 1 protein and then whatever swayed me in the way of extras.  Here are some combos that I have found particularly delicious.

Green Monster:

1 small green apple (granny smith)
1 hand full of spinach
1 kiwi
1 tbsp flax
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup water

Tropical Blast:

1/4 cup pineapple pieces
1/4 of a mango diced
1 handful of spinach or swiss chard
1 cup soy milk
Shredded coconut
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla whey (you could sub this out for 1/4 cup greek yogurt)

Chocolate Dipped Berries:

1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raspberries
2-3 strawberries (chopped)
1 handful of spinach or kale
1 cup water
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp chia seeds

Breakfast in a Cup:

1/2 banana
3-4 Strawberries
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 tbsp all natural Peanut Butter
1 cup soy or rice milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon

For each of the above recipes put all the ingredients and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and enjoy. Personally I love smoothies for breakfast, but they are also great in the middle of the day or as a quick meal after the gym.

They are also so easy to make I find them a fun way to test out new flavour combinations, so give it a try, get creative and see if you can’t find something amazing! If you have a favourite smoothie combo share it below I am always looking for new flavour combinations.

Happy Friday Everyone!

*note: just so you aren’t shocked when it happens, the leafy greens will turn your smoothie a shade of green. Don’t be alarmed, it just means it will be even more delicious. 

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Food Fridays – PB Banana Protein Pancakes

I hope everyone is having a great day, it looks like the weather is working with us for the upcoming long weekend and I couldn’t be more excited.  I am not going anywhere for the long weekend, but it will be nice to have several consecutive days off and I am co-hosting a tea party so that should be pretty nice, I will be sure to snap a lot of photos for my weekend update on Monday.

Now for what Fridays are all about, sharing tasty tasty foods.  The other day I had an over load of bananas at home and I have been experimenting with various protein pancake combos so I figured this might just be a completely delicious mash up, and it was! It really turned out to be so delicious. So here it is:

PB Banana Protein Pancakes:

1 cup Oat Flour
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1 Egg
1 tsp Organic Peanut Butter
1/2 banana
1/2 cup – 1 cup Water

PB Banana Pancakes 2Method:

  1. In a small bowl combine oat flour and protein powder.
  2. In a separate medium size bowl, mash up ripe banana until smooth. Add in egg and peanut butter and stir.
  3. Once combined add dry ingredients to the wet and stir.  Mixture will become thick and hard to stir, begin adding water, and stir until you have reached a runny consistency.  I have made these twice and the amount of water I used was a bit different each time.  When adding water just make sure it doesn’t become soupy, but it is still runny enough to pass a fork through without much resistance.
  4. Using a 1/4 cup scoop out the mixture and place in a heated frying pan. When the pancake begins to bubble it is ready to be flipped. It should take about 3-5 minutes per side.
  5. Serve hot or package them for later, they go great with the jam that was mentioned last week. PB Banana Pancakes

These have made great breakfasts or a quick post work snack.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I am.

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all have a great weekend! 

If you haven’t already don’t forget to sign up for the Gingersneezes Giveaway it ends next Thursday!

Protein: What is your Deal?

Ever since completing my course on Nutrition and Wellness I have had some friends come to me with questions about what they are eating; is it enough? Is it too much? is there anything missing? Knowing that no one is perfect I think as humans we are always looking for where there is room for improvement and what types of things we can fix. One of the things I have seen the most frequently and something that I personally struggled with was eating enough protein.

What is a protein anyways? Well there are two different types of protein: complete and incomplete. A complete protein is a food that has all 9 essential amino acids in balanced proportions, an example of this is would be eggs, eggs are basically amazing. An incomplete protein, you guessed it, lacks one or more essential amino acids, an example of this would be nuts or seeds. For meat eaters getting all of your essential amino acids really isn’t an issue seeing they are all present in meat (poultry, beef, pork, etc), for vegetarians and vegans or the meat adverse it might just take a bit of extra finagling to make sure you are getting all essental amino acids. A non-meat eater can do this by combining two or more incomplete proteins (e.g. rice and beans) to create one complete protein. There are also foods such as quinoa and soy which are non-meat forms of complete proteins.

Protein CollageNow that we know what a protein is, what are they good for? Proteins are used by the body for just about everything, from tissue (muscle) repair, to helping transport vitamins and minerals all over your body. When you think of all the things that proteins do it makes sense that they should be an important part of your daily meal planning. I believe it is also important to note that protein is essential for all people (sedentary to bodybuilders and professional athletes) the levels of protein your body needs to consume in order to operate at its maximum capacity just change based on your activity levels. It is pretty reasonable to think that a bodybuilder or a professional runner would require more protein than someone that spends most of their day working in an office and rarely makes time for exercise…but this doesn’t mean those who are more sedentary need protein any less for daily functioning.

The average person requires 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight, so about 0.4g per pound, depending on how active you are this number can go up (1.3g per kg if you are active or pregnant and 1.8g per kg if you are an athlete or training). For example if you are a 150lbs woman who is active on a daily basis you should be aiming to consume about 88.7g of protein each day.

How are you supposed to track this? How do you make sure you are getting enough? To find out the quantity of protein in something the first place I look is normally the nutrition lable, they break down how much protein (among other things) per serving and it will give you an idea of what you are feeding your body. Other useful tools for tracking your protein intake are apps such as Lose It that help you to log everything you have eaten in a day and it keeps track of your calories, protein, sugars, and activity levels. Personally I journal, I like the act of writing out the food I eat and I don’t calorie count because well it makes me totally crazy and I find that the ownership behind writing out your meals is enough to keep me on target to meet my goals. That being said everyone is different so be sure to find something that works for you.

When adding or changing anything in your life it is always good to do a bit of research to get a general idea of what is out there. For ensuring you are getting adequate amounts of protein in your diet it shouldn’t be any different. Go out and find out what some of your favourite foods have to offer in the way of protein and maybe check out ways of increasing it. Knowing the average amounts of proteins in food will make it a bit easier for you to plan your meals.

Here are a couple examples of foods and their protein levels; 1 cup of milk has about 8 grams, 3 oz of meat has about 21 grams, and 1 cup of dried beans can have about 16 grams of protein. Now there are other things that contain protein, such as vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli, and peas), nuts, legumes, quinoa, chia seeds, sea food (most would consider this meat), any dairy product, dairy substitutes like fortified soy milk or almond milk, the list is pretty endless.

If protein is so essential why aren’t we more aware of it? I don’t think protein avoidance is something that anyone tries to do; I believe that it comes down to education. I think a lot of us, especially meat eaters take for granted that we are getting enough protein because we eat meat, and I think some non-meat eaters may not be aware of the plenitude of options out there. Before I was given guidelines for healthy living I really just assumed my muscles were supposed to be sore for a week after working them out, it hadn’t occurred to me that maybe they needed something more to help them heal.

 Guidelines for Healthy Living

Armed with information I am able to make better choices for my body and I am sure my body and muscles thank me for making healthier choices. To help you make some healthier choices when it comes to protein intake I have included a list of protein packed foods for breakfasts and snacks. I am focusing on breakfast and snacks because I personally find that they can at times be the most difficult ones to figure out in terms of what to include to get your protein.

breakfast-egg

healthy-snacks-weightlossI hope these ideas help you in your own healthy meal planning, and I hope that despite the snow today you are having a great day!

Happy Tuesday!


References:

How Much Protein Should I Eat
Protein
Can You Get too Much Protein?
Vegetarian and Vegan Guide to Protein

Food Friday – Protein and Vegetables

Finally two Fridays in a row that I am able to bring you some delicious dishes! This one is completely delicious, it would be great served over some brown rice or quinoa, it is also completely delicious on it’s own if you are trying to cut down on your supper grains.

I think my favourit thing about the dish is that it is so simple and so quick to toss together after a hectic day of work, gym, cleaning and running around. I served mine with some roasted sweet potatoes and it definitely hit the spot on a colder winter evening.

Shrimp with Broccoli:

shrimp and broc

Cooking time = approx. 10 minutes
Total Prep = approx. 15-20 minutes
2 servings – 4 if served with rice/quinoa

1 pound Medium-large Shrimp
1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
2 heads of Broccoli, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp Sesame Oil
3 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
3 tbsp Braggs or Tamarind (soy sauce if you aren’t keeping it Gluten Free)

1. In a large bowl place chopped broccoli and onion. Add olive oil, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and 1/2 the amount of Braggs. Mix together and let sit for about 5 minutes. While heating a frying pan to medium high heat.

2. Once pan has been heated toss in the broccoli mix. Cover for about 3 minutes to get the broccoli and onions to start cooking. Uncover and stir. Repeat this one more time. Remove cover and continue to cook for another minute or two, until the onions begin to go translucent. Toss in the shrimp and stir in the remaining Braggs stir for for another 2 minutes or so, until the shrimp are heated but not over cooked.

3. Plate and serve. If you are having guests over or are feeling fancy I would recommend sprinkling the dish with some sesame seeds, it will give it extra texture and enhance the flavour of the sesame oil in the dish.

I hope everyone is as excited for today as I am! Happy Friday Everyone!!

I have also updated the EATS pages so if you are looking for some food ideas check it out.

Also just a heads up, there may be little to no posts next week as I will be on vacation. Stay warm everyone.

Grab and Go Breakfast

After a short, okay okay LONG hiatus from providing you guys and gals with delicious healthy recipes I am back, and I am back with what my husband called my “winning” granola bar recipe.  And if I do say so myself they are delicious. So I know I have shared a couple granola bar or protein bar recipes but this one is a little different. Why is it different you ask, well I recently found these shelled pumpkin and sunflower seeds online by GoRaw, they were gluten and most importantly NUT FREE!  For those of you out there with tree nut or peanut allergies you will understand how difficult it is to find a seed without the dread “processed in a plant that also processes tree nuts and peanuts” warning at the bottom of the ingredients list.

So having found these glorious seeds I went to work right away filling up my online shopping cart with as many bags as I could afford, only to find out for whatever reason they don’t distribute in Canada. I can’t get local stores to put them on their shelves, I can’t get them shipped from amazon.com and they wont send them over from their direct webpage. So Go Raw if you are out there in cyber space this is my plea to you, please do what you can so that us allergic folk can get in on your products in Canada!

Luckily for me my soul mate, sister, and forever friend lives in the states, so she just went on down to her local Whole Foods and scooped me up a couple bags of their seeds and their granola  for me…all of which is completely delicious by the way.

So all of this to say, my granola bar recipe this time around is more “well rounded” getting some of its protein from seeds instead of protein powder and I did everything I could to keep it as natural and delicious as possible. Also for this recipe I am going to do something I haven’t done in a while, I am going to post the nutritional information, mainly because they are super tasty and therefore they are easy to over indulge on them.   These little guys are packed with protein and flavour so I really hope you all enjoy them.

oatmeal bars preoven

Serving 20 – (Breakdown Per Serving: 331.2 calories – 17g total fat (5.3g Saturated Fat) – 36.3g carbs – 6.5g fiber – 11.6g sugar – 10.8g protein 

oatmeal bar ingredient CollageDry Ingredients:

3 cups Old Fashioned Large Oats
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed
1/4 cup Chia Seeds (whole)
1/2 cup Raisins or Craisins (just make sure no extra sugar was added)
1/2 cup Unsweetened Coconut

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup Natural Chunky Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Organic Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Organic Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 cup Soy Milk
2 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium sized bowl whisk together all wet ingredients, once combined fold wet ingredients into the try and thoroughly mix together.
  4. Line a large glass casserole dish with parchment/wax paper (don’t make the mistake I did and under estimate the size of the pan required, you will probably need at least an 12×8 or 3L dish).
  5. Press the granola bar mixture into the lined dish, the granola bars should be about 1 inch thick.  Place in oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Once cooked (should be a bit of a spongy texture when you press on them), allow to cool before cutting (at least 15 minutes of cooling before taking a knife to them).  Great for eating right away, or storing in the fridge for breakfast all week.   They will also freeze well for consumption later on.

Gingerbread Protein Bars

Earlier this week I tried to make some Gingersneezes gluten free, refined sugar free cookies, after them turning into more of a holiday fail cookie and being thoroughly disappointed in my attempt I decided that I would try my hand at another protein bar recipe with a holiday twist. They unlike the holiday Gingersneezes cookie turn out fabulous!

Gingerbread Protein Bars

GingerbreadServes: 9

2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 scoops Chocolate Protein Powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
3 tsp Ginger
½ tsp Nutmeg
¼ cup ground chia seed.
1 egg
½ cup unsweetened Organic Apple Sauce
¼ cup Dark Old Fashioned Molasses
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 11×7 casserole dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine oats, protein, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and chia seeds.
  3. In a medium bowl combine egg, apple sauce, molasses and vanilla, stir together.
  4. Fold liquid mixture into the oats. Stir until all the oats are completely covered in the molasses mixture.
  5. Transfer mixture into the casserole dish; ensure oats are spread evenly in the dish.
  6. Place in oven for 25-30minutes until they begin to harden, be careful not to overcook or the bars will become very hard.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15minutes, cut into bars before the dish has completely cooled, and ENJOY.

This snack is perfect to take with you as a post gym snack especially if you are pumping some iron these little guys are packed with protein. They are also great as a grab and go breakfast.

Hope everyone is having a great Friday!

Friday Food Time

Let’s get into it, the most important meal of the day, BREAKFAST!  Now I am a huge fan of breakfast, mostly because if I don’t eat it I feel like throwing up and passing out, but also because there are so many delicious options out there to choose from.  From a quick protein shake in the morning because I am running out of time to get ready, to an egg sandwich and oatmeal when I have a bit more time.   With the winter months coming (they have already arrived for some) I wanted to make a nice hardy style meal that would be easy to grab and go when you are in a hurry.

So here it is:
breakfast bar
PBB CollagePeanut Butter Blueberry Protein Oat Bars
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

3 cups Old-Fashioned Oats
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 Eggs
2 cups Plain Rice or Soy Milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
2 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
1 tsp Chia Seeds
1/2 cup Blue Berries
2 tbsp Organic Maple Syrup or agave

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine old-fashioned oats, cinnamon  and gluten free flour.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add plain rice milk, vanilla, natural peanut butter, chocolate protein powder, chia seeds, blue berries.
  5. Add to the oats, pour mixture into dish, and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Drizzle with maple syrup or agave.

Happy Friday Everyone!!! Have a wonderful weekend.