healthy snacks

GoMacro: Fuel On-the-Go

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MACROBAR SAMPLER PACK

Need an on-the-go snack to fuel you on busy day?

Do you hit the ground running after an early morning workout or rush to return to work after a lunch run or WOD?

Working full-time with a young son, trying to blog and maintain consistent workouts, I've realized the value of a healthy, hearty snack I can grab and eat on the go -- especially one that doesn't leave me feeling guilty for eating something out of a wrapper!

I experimented a lot this past year with high protein, low-calorie bars and snacks trying to shortcut my way to weight loss, but found that ulimately, they didn't provide the substance or nutrition my body needed to also hit the gym hard.

Now, more than ever I'm realizing how important that pre-and-post workout meal is and the impact of the macros I choose, if I choose wisely! Thus the reason I was pumped to work with GoMacro and have the opportunity to try the MacroBar Sampler Pack, and share with you what I've come to love about this brand and its products.

First things first: They taste good! My favorite flavor is the peanut butter chocolate chip, but I also loved the banana + almond butter and the apple + walnut bar. They're chewy and sweet, but not too sweet and have just the right amount of nutty flavor.

These bars have been a life-saver, too on particularly busy days when we're rushing around town. We've had so many events this summer: birthday parties and cookouts, plus the usual doctor's appointments and therapies. I can eat one of these bars on our way out the door and then forget to eat until the evening (not good, I know, but they're pretty satisfying and it's great to not feel hungry and stranded, and tempted by fast food).

What others have said: My mom wasn't a fan of the cashew flavor she tried (even though she typically loves caramel and she had the Cashew Caramel) and Aaron commented that they were a bit "dense" and "chewy" but both agreed that the bar was satisfying and left them feeling full for a long time after eating it.

What does it mean? GoMacro? While there are still a lot of paleo goers out there, a lot of athletes are leaning toward IIFYM these days; IIFM stands for "if it fits your macros," a breakdown and healthy balance of the carbs, protein, and healthy fat for each meal with desired total of each for the day, depending on your workout routine. It sounds complex, but what's most important is that the approach evaluates every ingredient and doesn't discount something if it's a carb or fat, long as it's the healthy kind, which is what you'll find in these bars: made from wholesome nuts, berries, fruits, and nut butters!

What to watch out for: Well, the bars aren't cheap but most high quality foods aren't these days. You pay for what you get! They also have sugar in them, but it's not added sugar -- it's mostly from fruit! Also, be advised of the latest recall -- scary, I know! However, it appears it was a very limited quantity of GoMacro products involved; their recall stemmed from one issued by their almond supplier. With fresh, locally sourced products, this is always a concern and I was at least glad to see the company air on the side of caution.

Where can you find GoMacro bars? Here's what I love: they're in 7-11! They're also sold in most WholeFoods and at TraderJoes.

Not every flavor is going to be your favorite, so I suggest picking up the sampler pack give all the varieties a try: each tray contains one of the 10 flavors with an additional best-selling peanut butter chocolate chip bar (my personal fav), and sunflower butter + chocolate bar.

Other flavors include peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter + carob, banana + almond butter, granola + coconut, cherries + berries, cashew caramel, and apple + walnuts! If you're looking for high-protein, make sure to snag one with the "HIGH PROTEIN" marker on the top right of the package.

The bottom line --  if you're an athlete living a busy life, like so many of us, give GoMacro a try!

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GoMacroBar 1
GoMacroBar 1
GoMacro Bar
GoMacro Bar

Oh, an PS: you can't see the actual ingredients in the photo below but you can see the commitment to "feeling good about what we eat" -- something I'm certainly embracing on my journey to getting fit again! I also love that these bars are "vegan, wholesome, sourced sustainably" and "give back."

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GoMacro Healthy Snack
GoMacro Healthy Snack

What's your favorite healthy snack/bar for on-the-go?

What are your favorite on-the-go snacks?

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Peanut Butter Bites

Need to satisfy your sweet tooth for some pumpkin-y goodness this season?

I got you covered!

Healthy Peanut Butter Bites
Healthy Peanut Butter Bites

Let me repeat: dark chocolate... pumpkin... peanut butter!

How can you go wrong with these flavors? You can't! PLUS, these are easy to make, easy to transport, and, they're made up of mostly healthy (ish) ingredients! Your welcome. :)

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bites

This recipe was made possible because of this Jif Whipped Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Pie Spice spread I stumbled on at Target the other day! I went in to buy almond butter, but it was like $6 and the pumpkin spread was on sale for $3! Hmm, pumpkin? YES, PLEASE.

Jif Whips
Jif Whips

I scooped up a container and my 100th bag of dark chocolate chips... I buy dark chocolate chips ALL THE TIME with the intention of making this recipe and you know what happens? I eat them by the fistful first! Well, I *finally* resisted long enough to make this recipe and I'm so glad I did; these things are good! Here it is!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup of honey 1/3 cup of Jif Whipped Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Pie Spice 1 cup of dry rolled oats 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips 1 tbsp on chia seeds

I would have added flaxseed if I had some...

Also, I think raisins would be AMAZING added to this recipe!

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Pumpkin-Pie-Peanut-Butter-Bites-Pinterest

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

The mixture should be dough-y and sticky now. Using your hands to pull out a tablespoon at a time, and roll into little balls! (I've totally just eaten the mixture from the bowl... feel free to do that, too!)

Store these snacks in the refrigerator and, try not to eat them all at once! :)

What else should I make with this awesome pumpkin peanut butter? 

When Fall hits, do you crave all things pumpkin? 

Also, PS: In hindsight, I would have made these more bite size...

PPS: I owe this recipe to my friend Stephanie who made a version of it (with almond butter and raisins) for our trip to Austin last year...

PPPS: ACTUALLY, this recipe is modeled after these energy balls from Gimme Some Oven. Go check out all the variations!


How to Peel a Pomegranate

It's the week of love and well, I love this fruit! Pomegranates pack an antioxidant punch and tons of other health benefits, and they're delicious! They have a unique flavor that works with everything from chocolate to salad to pizza. The only problem? They can be expensive. I saw a package of peeled pomegranates at Whole Foods the other day for $10 - $10! Take my advice and pass-up the packaged stuff! You can find whole pomegranates for about $3 in the produce section of most grocery stores.

You might be wondering how to peel a pomegranate! It might seem intimidating at first, but it's really quite simple! The hardest part is not staining your fingers, clothes, and counter bright red! :)

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Step 1: To begin, I suggest cutting a cone around the root of the pomegranate and pulling it out. Then cut slits into the ridges of the hole (or "score the ridges").

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Step 2: Pull the pomegranate in half and then begin breaking off chunks, using your scores as a guide.

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Step 3: As you pull off small chunks, submerge each piece into a bowl of water while simultaneously using your fingers to massage the pomegranate seeds away from the membrane and rind. You can completely discard the rind when you've extracted all the seeds (they're actually called arils - read more about these gems here).

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Step 4: You'll notice a lot of excess webs floating in the water, but that's fine! In fact, that's the point. The water separates the membrane from the seeds, which then floats to the top, making it easy for you to pick out and discard.

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Step 5: After you've pulled out the excess membrane (that sounds gross! Haha), rinse and strain the seeds.

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Store the pomegranates in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week! If you're not sure what to do with these beauties, consider throwing them on top of yogurt (I've been obsessed with doing this recently) or, if you want to get a little fancier, try any of these fun pomegranate recipes!

Pomegranate-Recipes

Pomegranate Recipe Round-up: 

And for easy retrieving, here's a how-to you can pin to Pinterest for quick reference!

How-to-Peel-a-Pomegranate

Do you like pomegranates? Have you ever had them? 

How do you peel a pomegranate? 

6 Tips for Surviving Roadtrips

Greetings again friends! By the time you read this, I'll be on my way to Tennessee for the National Storytelling Festival. My husband proposed at the festival four years ago and for that reason (and many others) we look forward to this trip every year. (You can read about his proposal here; our one year anniversary here; and the Storytelling Center did a write-up about us here.) As much as I'm looking forward to this trip, it's hard to eat healthy on the road when there's a 7-11 and McDonalds at every exit along the way. Here are my methods for staying strict, and surviving a 7+ hour drive to Tennessee.

Road-trip

1. Get a Cooler. It might seem a little ridiculous to drive around with a cooler in the backseat, but having a cooler will give you a lot more options of things to eat on the go. You can pack more fruit and vegetables, and even frozen items to heat and eat when you arrive at your destination.

2. Shop with your trip in mind. When I went grocery shopping this week, I bought things that were roadtrip friendly like Larabars (they're such a treat)! I also picked up raisins, almonds, carrots, and pears, all of which will be easy to eat in the car. Another great buy is pellegrino! I've been addicted to it lately! Sure beats plain ole' water.

3. Pack for the Road. Obviously it's not easy to eat a kale salad and drive, but if you pack smart, you can enjoy some delicious snacks will driving. Recently, I've been making ants on a log for work. Simply cut up your celery, smear on your almond butter, place the raisins, and store them in Tupperware. They make a great snack and are easy to eat on the go!

4. Say no to fast food. Decide before you go that you won't stop for fast food under any circumstances! If you can't say for sure whether you can keep that promise, look at the menu ahead of time and chose some things you can enjoy without the guilt! (Personally, I love McDonald's Sante Fe Salad!)

5. Rest stops are your friend. Rest stops are a great way to stretch your legs and use the bathroom without being bombarded with fast food options. If you have to stop, look for a rest area!

6. Warn your co-pilot. I'm traveling with my husband who has absolutely no qualms with stopping along the way for some Burger King and Redbull, but, I've already asked him to refrain for my sake. I'm packing a few things he likes to eat, too, of course; and in the end, this approach not only saves our waistline, but our wallet as well!

What are your tips for surviving long roadtrips?

What are your favorite on-the-go snacks?

*Also, a quick thanks for bearing with me as I continue to work on the website. If you catch things looking wonky, my apologies! I'm trying to get the new template (and all the links and photos) squared away! I appreciate your patience!

Recipe: Greek Yogurt, Walnut & Honey Banana Pops

Good morning + happy Tuesday. For those of you following the National news, you might be wondering if the Government shutdown affects me... Well, it does! I'm on furlough until further notice, but, for now, that just means free time to experiment with recipes like these delicious Greek yogurt + walnut banana pops smothered with honey! Mmm. Banana-Pops

These pops were far easier to make than the chocolate-covered banana bites because we didn't have to mess with a double broiler and melted chocolate! Instead, we simply cut the end off the banana, stuck a popsicle stick in it, and then started slathering Greek yogurt on top!

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Then, depending on whether you want a little crunch or a lot, sprinkle on your walnuts, and drizzle with honey!

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I'll be honest and tell you I wasn't sure how these would taste, but I absolutely LOVE them. They're the best, most filling, delicious snack and because of their sweetness, feel like a total cheat!

The original recipe did say to freeze the bananas before adding the Greek yogurt, but we opted not to; yet they still turned out great.

It's the end of September and the end of our Bananas series - I'd love to know what you thought! Did you make ice cream or banana bites yet?