5 Protein Packed Snacks + Enlightened #Giveaway

Giveaway for ENLIGHTENED Crisps and ENLIGHTENED Ice Cream at the end of post, read on!

Eating snacks with protein can help keep the "hangries" away.

Whether filling your tank before a gym session or taking a snack break to ward off the dreaded midday energy lull, small, protein-rich meals are tasty ways to keep on going—and going. You’ve been hearing me talk about the protein challenge and aiming for 20 – 30 grams of protein per meal or snack.  It’s not that fruit, whole grains, or even the occasional indulgent treat don’t have a place in the well-rounded diet, but, gram-for-gram and ounce-for-ounce, protein-packed snacks provide longer-lasting energy than their burn-and-crash high-carbohydrate counterparts.

protein challenge2

In addition to regulating blood sugar and moderating hunger, protein-rich snacks play a vital role in the recovery diet of an athlete. After an intense workout, race, or competition, it is imperative to top off taxed muscles with foods plentiful in protein. Well-timed protein intake employs amino acids to rebuild damaged muscle tissue while encouraging the hormone activity needed to stimulate muscle growth. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that 20 grams is the optimal amount of post-workout protein to maximize muscle growth.

Power of Protein InfographicThis focus on protein isn’t strictly for strength athletes. While runners, cyclists, and other endurance athletes have long known that eating carbohydrates during and immediately preceding hard efforts helps to replenish energy-providing glycogen stores, newer research shows that combining these carbohydrates with a wallop of protein nearly doubles the insulin response—meaning even more energy can be stored in the body along with all the muscle-making perks. The general wisdom from sports nutritionists is to consume a 1:3 to 1:4 protein-to-carbohydrate mini-meal within a 30-minute window of exercise.

So, to help you pump up your training diet, I’m sharing five of my favorite protein-packed snacks—one for every day of the workweek. Each option is easy to make, free of meat-based protein, and completely portable. Just toss one of these snacks into your gym bag, backpack, or mini-cooler and get after it. There’s a hearty, healthy, and protein-packed reward at the end of your efforts. Your taste buds will thank me while your muscles will thank you.

Eating snacks with protein can help keep the "hangries" away.Check out these protein-rich snacks I developed for a feature in Austin Fit Magazine last spring :

1) Garliky Chili Chickpeas

2) Lucky Lime Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

3) Greek Yogurt with Hemp Hearts & Berries

4) Blueberry Flax Microwave Mug Muffin

5) Chocolate Java Almond Truffles

Enlightened Ice Cream makes a sensible dessert - it's low in sugar , under 100 calories and has extra protein!

Often, there aren’t enough minutes in the day to make a homemade snack. That’s why I have a few go-to food brands that share my mindset for healthy, tasty and protein-rich snacking. One favorite is Enlightened from Beyond Better Foods – they don’t just make snacks that are better in a “less bad for you” way, but actually ARE better. Their ice cream bars found ME one day when I was walking down the frozen aisle – normally I eat Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia for dessert to get the extra protein and skip out on the sugar, but the creamy and delicious ENLIGHTENED Ice Cream makes a sensible treat – each flavor (think Fudge, Coffee, Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl) has under 100 calories and just 3 -5g sugar and 7 – 8g protein. I just finished off a box of Sea Salt Caramel bars and they were pure heaven.

Enlightened Crisps are made from broad beans for healthy protein.Just recently, the company put out a new snack item that I’m really excited about – ENLIGHTENED Crisps.  These savory, crunchy morsels are actually made from broad beans (aka – the fava bean which is actually a legume) and come in awesome flavors like Sriracha, Garlic Onion, Sea Salt, BBQ and more. Each bag has just 100 calories, lots of fiber and 7g protein – plus they are free of gluten and soy. You can’t go wrong eating beans (well, unless you go overboard)! Beans are loaded with fiber, folate and magnesium, and research has shown these legumes can actually help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

So, who’s ready for some ENLIGHTENED snacks?! Five of my lucky readers will win a sample pack of the ENLIGHTENED Crips as well as free product coupons to pick up ENLIGHTENED Ice Cream at your local market. Just enter in the Rafflecopter App below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did That Cheesecake Make My Butt Look Big? Healthy Dessert Recipes & Pole Dancing

cheesecake butt big

I woke up an hour early today – partly because I had a dream I was spinning around a pole (fully clothed, people) and got motion sick and and partly because I didn’t want to miss a minute of National Cheesecake Day. Yup, that’s right, I have no shame in saying I recently had a crash course in pole dancing (see below) nor that I like to celebrate a frivolous and, as some might assume fattening food holiday. Down at yonder Cheesecake Factory, (where you can get ½ price slices of cheesecake July 30 & July 31, if you dare), a single slice of their most indulgent cheese cake, the Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple, contains a muffin-top making 1,320 calories while a Splenda-sweetened version of their Original Cheesecake trims the treat down to 570 calories. Wow, it might be hard to hang onto a pole, run or do any CrossFit WODs with too many servings of either of these!

Check out Fit & Fruity Cheesecake Ideas for Summer Dessert

by The Fit Fork at Foodie.com

I’m not knocking Cheesecake Factory in particular; most cheesecakes have an abundance of calories, carbs and fat. But I have rounded up some HEALTHIER cheesecakes and inspired-by-cheesecake treats (like smoothies and froyo) for Foodie.com that feature less sugar, less fat and more wholesome goodness. Some of the cheesecake inspiration recipes are nutritious enough to eat for breakfast!

Included in the collection of Fit & Fruit Cheesecake Ideas for Summer Dessert, is my super simple but simply sublime recipe for Cheesecake Protein “Ice Cream” – the perfect frozen base for your favorite fresh fruits of summer, such as blueberries, strawberries, pineapple and more. Crumble up a crushed graham cracker or sprinkle some granola on top for an authentic New York cheese cake taste!

frozen cheese cake treat with protein powder

Cheesecake Protein Ice Cream Recipe

  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • Stevia, to taste
  • Optional garnish – fresh fruit and graham cracker crumbles

Puree all ingredients together in blender. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions until done (mine takes about 20 – 30 minutes). Serve with desired toppings and immediately freeze leftovers. Makes four 1-cup servings.

pole fitness jennifer fisher

photo credit: ATXfoto.com

And, finally, I have more cheesecake for you –pole dancing. Yes, I tried my hand at the “sport” at the Naturally Fit Games in Austin this past weekend. Actually, it was fun – except for the crowd that gathered at the Straight Up Pole Fitness  Expo booth caught me off guard as I learned a few tricks of the trade. Actually, I really liked the challenge of “pole fitness,” as I’ll call it – requires a lot of strength and self-confidence, of which I have both!

jackie and jen at beef booth naturally fit 2014

Jackie and I were the fueled-by-beef babes manning the Texas Beef Council booth – if you didn’t know, I am a fan of all the lean beef cuts (there are now 38 lean cuts!!) and eat beef at least every other day as a way to recover from my workouts and remain a lean, mean , running machine!

any way beef jar salad 250This summer, my Any Day, Any Way Beef Salad (in a jar) made with top sirloin steak has been my go-to meal.

Answer me this:

  • What would you put on top of plain cheesecake?
  • Have you ever tried pole dancing? If not, would you?
  • What’s your go-to summer meal?

 

This post is sponsored by Foodie.com. However, all opinions are my own. 

Blueberry Froyo + More Frozen Desserts for Fit Girls

This post is sponsored by Foodie.com, but the featured recipe and opinions are all my own!

Check out Frozen Desserts for Fit Girls

by The Fit Fork at Foodie.com

Cool off with a scoop, slice or slurp of sweet, creamy goodness without any regrets – in fact, these healthy dessert recipes are GOOD for you, filled with wholesome ingredients including fresh fruits, Greek yogurt and hydrating coconut water. I’ve put together a collection of frozen summertime treats for Foodie.com that will satisfy cravings for sweet flavor and frosty refreshment without making you slow on your feet. A fit girl needs to fuel up right to tackle all her favorite warm weather recreation, many of these recipes feature extra protein to help with muscle-making after an intense outdoor workout.

light blueberry frozen yogurt

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe

  • 3 cups milk of choice (I used cow milk, but almond, soy, coconut milks are other options)
  • 12 ounce plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ – 1 teaspoons liquid Stevia, to taste

Add all ingredients to a blender; blend until smooth. Place in electric ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions (typically about 20 minutes).  Serves 4.

frozen blueberry yogurt desesrt

 

Yeah, that's right -- Dean still can't believe I got these abs from healthy desserts -- that and a zillion 'floor sweepers" and crunches.

Yeah, that’s right — Dean still can’t believe I got these abs from healthy desserts — that and a zillion ‘floor sweepers” and crunches.

I love snorkeling at the beach, paddle boating on the lake, and trail running under the shady trees. I’d also never say “no” to a river tubing trip,kayaking, water skiing, or hiking the canyon. How about you, what are your favorite fun ways to stay fit in the summer? Please share in the comments below!