Bedtime Snacks for Muscle Making & Weight Management

The advice to not snack before bed is much more fiction than fact! The real story on noshing at night has a happy ending for those of us who are always hungry. Turns out it’s perfectly okay, if not a “good thing,” to eat a little something before bed, especially if you are trying to build or maintain muscle. However, before you start feeding your midnight munchies, there are exceptions and caveats – aren’t there always?!

Why You Should Eat Bedtime Snacks and Top Picks for Muscle Making And Weight Management. Casein powder before sleep is best.

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Overnight Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Pudding #SpoonsfulOfGoodness


 Grape-Nuts has been around forever, for almost 120 years! I’ve been eating it for decades and my parents grew up with it too – probably because their own moms and dads knew it was a great way to start the day.Overnight Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Pudding with Grape-Nuts

While snacking on Post® Grape-Nuts right out of the box or pouring it in a bowl and covering with milk is hearty, filling and exactly the way my mother served it to me (with raisins on top as a bonus), sometimes a girl wants a little more decadent flavor in her day – like, errr, chocolate-covered cherries. Nothing wrong with that, even if being mindful of New Year’s resolutions. I’m sharing right here and now that my New Year’s resolution is to start each day with a delicious, chocolate-inspired breakfast and thanks to my nutrient-dense recipe for Overnight Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Pudding, I’m prepared for sweet success!

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Slow Baked Raspberry Dill Salmon

Now that I have eaten #AllTheThings this past month leading up to Christmas, I’m planning a lighter menu for New Year’s Eve. A whole side of salmon is a showy (and amazingly simple) celebratory meal that will make waves with your family and friends ringing in 2017. Wow your crowd with my recipe for Slow-Baked Raspberry Dill Salmon, it’s just as delicious as it is dazzling. Slow is the way to go! Raspberry Dill Salmon Horiz

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Gluten-Free Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup

Weekends are for waffles, especially around the holiday season! I “leggo” the typical waffle a long time ago, they are so carb heavy and the straight-up sugariness would always leave me with the hangries an hour or two later. But, not so with my Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup when I pump up my waffles with a little protein powder, almonds and a little Greek yogurt on top, I get a morning meal that makes me feel fuller longer.

Gluten-Free Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup are a better way to fuel up in the morning -- also sugar free and dairy free (without Greek yogurt topping).

I’ve used a gluten-free flour blend to keep it friendly for those with intolerances and it’s also dairy-free if you choose not to dollop with Greek yogurt at the end. Depending on what type of preserves you choose at the store, the recipe can also be refined sugar free.

black-cherry-almond-protein-waffles

Feel free to make a double batch, let cool, and then stick in the freezer for a quick and easy breakfast later – they are so good sandwiched with nut butter in the middle (and convenient for car munching)!

breville-waffle-makerMy old-school, weary waffle maker is on it’s last legs and I’ve asked Santa to take me to the next-level of waffle making with the Smart Slice Waffle Iron from Breville. It has “Waffle IQ” — I need those smarts!

Also, please take a look-see at these other healthy waffle recipes that will start your morning off most magnificently – I have a sweet and a savory option for you!  Why not make some for your holiday guests?!

 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles perk up fall breakfast and brunch -- perfect for Thanksgiving an

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Waffles

 

 

 

 

Hatch Green Chile Cornbread Waffle with Egg - TheFitFork.comGreen Chili Cornbread Waffles with an egg on top!

 

 

 

So, whatcha doing this weekend? Making waffles? What is you favorite type of waffle and/or topping? Please share (so I can drool) in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Gluten-Free Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup
Print Recipe
Fill up your tank with these easy gluten-free waffles that are boosted with protein powder and sweetened with a healthier syrup if delicious dark cherries.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Gluten-Free Almond Protein Waffles with Dark Cherry Syrup
Print Recipe
Fill up your tank with these easy gluten-free waffles that are boosted with protein powder and sweetened with a healthier syrup if delicious dark cherries.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
For Waffles:
For Syrup:
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat waffle maker to medium heat.
  2. Place gluten-free flour blend, protein powder, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. In smaller bowl, whisk together legs, vanilla extract, butter and milk until frothy.
  4. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until combined; okay if a few lumps.
  5. Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, scoop mixture onto waffle maker. Spread evenly and close. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. To make syrup, add frozen cherries to medium sauce pot and pour in juice. Stir in cherry preserves and real maple syrup; bring to light boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat and let simmer until thickened and syrupy, approximately 20 minutes.
  7. To serve, pour syrup over waffles and top with a dollop of greek yogurt and toasted almonds.
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Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs for Holiday Brunch

The holiday season is imminent and busy shoppers are filling their baskets with hams, birds and beef roasts to deck out dinner table.  But, let’s not talk turkey, let’s talk eggs! With Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the other equally celebratory winter holidays that people hold near and dear, many of us will find ourselves hosting guests. And, in my experience, guests are always ready to eat from sun up to sun down.  I’m happy to  all my ravenous revelers, in fact I love cooking for company — I just don”t like to feel rushed in the morning.

Artichoke Blue Cheese EggsMy easy Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake comes to the rescue on so many levels – it’s simple to make, can be prepped the night before and kept in the fridge until next morning, can be make in individual servings or in one big family-style pan, and . . .most, it just tastes delicious!

Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake

Artichoke and Blue Cheese Egg Bake makes is a beautiful recipe for brunch or breakfast. Lovely for holiday entertaining.

Who wants a bland, boring breakfast when the flavors of blue cheese and artichokes are ready to add extra AMAZING to the day?! Also, there are tomatoes and a ton of spinach in this recipe, so it’s also kinda like eating a salad for breafast or brunch. This statement makes even more sense when I tell you that blue cheese dressing is one of the secret ingredients!  artichoke blue cheese egg bake prep

I actually posted this egg recipe in January 2104 after developing for Litehouse Foods using their award-wining Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles and OPA Blue Cheese Dressing (made with Greek yogurt). Because it has been so popular, I decided to refresh the photos — oh, and also it will be featured in an upcoming 2017 food calendar!   Ooh, I wonder if it will be the centerfold — keep you posted!

This is the perfect breakfast to power up for all that upcoming Black Friday shopping or as a simple, light dinner when you come home from the shop-a-thon and need quality protein and healthy veggies for recovery.

What do you like to serve holiday house guests for breakfast? Are you running in a Turkey Trot this week? What has your best shopping deal been so far (I know it’s early) — please share in the comments, XOXO – Jennifer 

Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs
Print Recipe
Wake up to bold and beautiful baked eggs featuring artichokes, blue cheese, spinach and tomatoes. Easy to prep night before and then just stick in the oven.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Artichoke Blue Cheese Baked Eggs
Print Recipe
Wake up to bold and beautiful baked eggs featuring artichokes, blue cheese, spinach and tomatoes. Easy to prep night before and then just stick in the oven.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Lightly spray 4 ramekins or small gratin dishes with baking spray. Coarsely chop spinach and divide evenly among dishes.
  3. Drizzle even portions of blue cheese salad dressing over spinach and sprinkle with red onion.
  4. Slice grape tomatoes in half and drain liquid from jar of artichoke hearts. Place tomatoes and artichokes around perimeter of dishes.
  5. Gently crack 2 eggs over top of spinach mixture, taking care not to break yolk. Repeat for remaining 3 personal-sized baking dishes. Sprinkle tops with chives. This may also be made in a 8” to 9” round baking dish with all the ingredients for “family style.”
  6. Place dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and place on center rack of oven. Back for approximately 20 minutes or until egg whites have set and yolk has achieved desired level of doneness.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle tops with an even portion of blue cheese crumbles. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
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Easy Seared Ahi Tuna with Rainbow Winter Veggie Toss

Seared Ahi Tuna with Riced Rainbow Winter VegetablesAhi Tuna, a fish so nice they named it twice!  Yup, “ahi” is simply the loosely translated name for “tuna” in Hawaiian. If you love fish, but aren’t familiar with Ahi, you need to make its acquaintance soon – and the Seared Ahi Tuna from the line of Bumble Bee SuperFresh® seafood is a quick, convenient way to make waves and earn raves at the dinner table. Bumble Bee SuperFresh Seared Ahi Tuna

With colder weather just around the corner, I tossed together some of my favorite hearty and vibrantly-hued veggies into a simple yet stunning side dish – Winter Rainbow Veggie Toss with Gingered Lemon Glaze. This healthy vegetable recipe of finely diced purple sweet potato, butternut squash and cauliflower makes a colorful sidekick to the beautiful pink center of seared Ahi but it would also be totally on fleek with other fish or lean proteins. In the summer, this no-cook tuna is the perfect protein to top a crisp, fresh salad and is sure to elevate any lunchbox and get co-worker’s tongues wagging! Bumble Bee SuperFresh Seared Ahi Tuna

Easy Seared Ahi Tuna with Rainbow Winter Veggie Toss makes a quick, convenient and healthy weeknight dinner.I really appreciate that Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna is wild caught and harvested from sources managed to promote healthy fish stocks for future generations – that’s important to the values held by me and my family. A more selfish benefit however is the lack of nasty fish smell. Thanks to prepping straight from the freezer, there is no off-putting “fishy smell” that sometimes comes with thawing and cooking fish and seafood at home – it’s amazingly fresh tasting and fresh smelling! None of my kids has ever walked in the house and said “ewwwwww”!

So, let’s get this Ahi party started! To “prepare” the Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna, simply remove from the finely sliced fish from the freezer and vacuum pack wrapping and allow to defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours. That’s it! The wild caught, premium grade fish is already encrusted with a garlic peppercorn rub and pre-seared to enhance taste and texture. That’s it, that’s all!

Riced Rainbow Winter Veggies with Gingered Lemon GlazeWhile the tuna is thawing, you can prep the veggies for the Winter Rainbow Veggies with Gingered Lemon Glaze. The recipe is super simple to heat up, but there is some elbow grease required to chop all the veggies. For speed, I suggest using an official potato ricer or even a spiralizer on the squash and purple potato, dicing down the spirals afterward. Head down to the recipe below for the full detail!

Find out where to buy Bumble Bee SuperFresh SeafoodAre you ready to impress your family and friends with Bumble Bee SuperFresh® products, they’ll naturally assume a lot of time and trouble went into preparing a such fine dining holiday experience. No need to mention that the Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna is simply “thaw and serve,” that will be our little secret. Head over to the Store Locator or Amazon Fresh to get your hands in this convenient, high quality product that is perfect for both special celebrations and everyday dining. If tuna isn’t your thing, the line of Bumble Bee SuperFresh® also includes Tilapia with Lemon, Pepper & Herbs, Tilapia with Garlic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salmon with Garlicky Black Pepper and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Salmon with Garden Pesto.

Are you a fish fan? How many times a month do you eat it at home? Favorite fish or recipe? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Seared Ahi Tuna with Riced Rainbow Winter Vegetables
Easy Seared Ahi Tuna with Rainbow Winter Veggie Toss
Print Recipe
Create a vibrant and very festive weeknight dinner this holiday season with convenient, frozen seared tuna and a simple diced medley of winter vegetables.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Seared Ahi Tuna with Riced Rainbow Winter Vegetables
Easy Seared Ahi Tuna with Rainbow Winter Veggie Toss
Print Recipe
Create a vibrant and very festive weeknight dinner this holiday season with convenient, frozen seared tuna and a simple diced medley of winter vegetables.
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Instructions
for Ahi Tuna
  1. To prepare fish, simply remove from the finely sliced fish from the freezer and vacuum pack wrapping and allow to defrost in the refrigerator for 3 hours.
For Rainbow Winter Veggis
  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet to medium-high heat.
  2. Add sweet potato, cauliflower, and squash and saute, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 minutes or until becoming tender.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 additional minute.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce and until heated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with lemon zest.
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Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch + More Healthy Candy Recipes

Apple Walnut Quinoa CrunchReady for a curiously crunchy treat? My recipe for Apple, Walnut & Quinoa Crunch will satisfy sweet crispy cravings while filling you up longer thanks to an unexpected punch of protein from the quinoa and black walnuts– it’s a balanced candy for your “healthy tooth”!

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch is a healthy alternative to peanut brittle candy -- it packs a bit of protein from the ancient grain Quinoa and is dairy-free, gluten-free and made without traditional corn syrup (only a touch of coconut sugar and 100 percent apple cider)I like to eat it straight off the baking sheet or break up into shards of sweetness to top my Greek yogurt.

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch on Greek Yogurt

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch made with apple ciderI almost hesitate to even call this easy-to-make recipe “candy,” although it is a take on old-fashioned “nut brittle.” However, the typical peanut brittle or nut brittle uses a boatload of butter, table sugar and corn syrup – gasp! Instead, my healthy candy recipe is packed with wholesome ingredients like 100 percent juice apple cider, ancient grains, dried fruit and nuts, and just a touch of coconut sugar.

I also choose to use Black Walnuts instead of standard english walnuts. Why? The black walnut has the most protien of any tree nut and imparts a more intense, earthy, nutty flavor to recipes. I discovered this news I can definitely use at the Produce Marketing Associations recent Fresh Summit in Orlando when, I auspiciouslly bumped into Hammon Black Walnuts on my way out the door to fly home.

As far as sugars go, coconut sugar (derived from Palm) is a much healthier sweetener in moderation as it doesn’t spike blood sugar as dramatically as traditional sugars. Also, if a concern for you are a loved one, this recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.

I originally made this recipe for Litehouse Foods and used the Honey Crisp Apple Cider, you can find it in the produce section this time of year. This Cold Pressed, 100 percent pure apple juice has a unique tart taste that is wonderfully balanced with sweet. It’s perfect poured straight from the container, served hot or cold, and also makes a great ingredient in recipes where you would prefer natural sweetness.

Some things to note when making this recipe — you need to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, your oven temperature may vary affecting the overall cook time. Also, it will be soft when removed from oven — give it plenty of time to set up and harden, stick in the fridge to expidite. If it still doesn’t seem crispy, then you can put it back in the oven for several minutes at a time until done.

jennifer fisher - thefitfork.com - chocolate date candy barsAnother healthier “candy” I’m pulling from the archives to share with you today is my recipe for Sweet Date Chocolate Candy Bar Bites. These are so yummy and I love how the dates provide extra iron in my diet.

Hazelnut Pecan Protein FudgeI also like to make a batch of my Hazlenut Fudge Protein Balls to stash in the freezer and thaw out one at a time to quell my dessert cravings. These no-bake energy bits are ideal for a healthy little dessert or as pre and post workout fuel.

now-foods-ingredients-for-quinoa-crunch-candyIn addition to the Honey Crisp Apple Cider from Litehouse Foods, which you can conveniently find in your market’s produce section this time of year, here are some other ingredients used in my Quinoa Crunch.a

Do you have a “healthy” candy recipe? What is your go-to when you are craving something sweet? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Print Recipe
This healthier alternative to candy is easy to make and packs a bit of protein thanks to the ancient grain Quinoa.
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Apple Walnut Quinoa Crunch
Print Recipe
This healthier alternative to candy is easy to make and packs a bit of protein thanks to the ancient grain Quinoa.
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servubgs 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servubgs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking liner as I did)
  2. Using a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa well under cold running water and spread out on a paper towel to dry. This will prevent bitterness.
  3. Add quinoa, walnuts, oats, crumbled dehydrated apples, and salt to small mixing bowl, stirring to combine.
  4. To a small saucepan, 1 ½ cups apple cider and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, until volume has been reduced to ½ cup liquid. Add coconut oil, coconut sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and simmer for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Pour apple cider “syrup” over the dry ingredients and stir to thoroughly coat. Arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into a uniform layer with a metal spoon. Uniformity in thickness will promote even cooking and keep edges from burning.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan around on the oven rack at the halfway point. When removing from oven, color should be deep golden brown in color. Allow to cool completely so that it hardens up before breaking into bite-sized pieces.
  7. If you realize, after cooling that still soft in the center, you can return it to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a close eye.
  8. Store leftovers in a sealed bag or container at room temperature up to one week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
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Smile at Breakfast with Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pockets – Win a Year’s Worth!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sandwich Bros. The opinions and text are all mine.

Sandwhich Bros. Egg White & Sausage Flatbread Pocket Sandwich Life is to short.  I want to wake up and seize the day immediately, but I also want to eat a good breakfast.  This could explain why I’m often fashionably late. My morning meal is often the reason I am running a bit behind, I’m a stickler on eating a protein-rich, balanced breakfast and often the preparation takes more time than anticipated.

TheFitFork.com loves Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pockets in Breakfast Flavors!I’d say about half the month, my meal prep game is strong – I’ve got meats pre-portioned in the freezer and waiting to be tossed into egg scrambles or I’ve made master mixes of my protein mug cakes.  But there are admittedly weeks when the frenetic pace of managing work, training and crazy-busy family schedule has me falling off pace. But, thank goodness to one of my new favorite finds for the freezer – Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches in their breakfast flavors.

 

Packaged individually, family members can grab a Pocket out of the freezer and make a protein-rich breakfast in less than 2 minutes with absolutely no stress or thinking. I don’t think too well before a couple cups of coffee!  Another plus, they are “ Really…Really Tasty!”

sandwich-bros-sams

I love the Egg White & Turkey Sausage variety, this flatbread pocket is filled with a fluffy egg white cheddar omelet and lean Jones® sausage patty. If counting calories, you’ll be happy to learn this breakfast item has only has 150 calories per serving and 4 weight watchers points. The only macro I track is protein, with a goal of 25 – 30 grams per meal. Getting enough protein in the morning helps you start the day right, providing longer-lasting energy, promotes satiety, aids in muscle management, and can prevent unhealthy snacking later in the day.

This yummy Egg White & Turkey Sausage has 11 grams of protein, that’s really good considering only 150 calories! I’ll typically pair this low-cal breakfast entree with a small sugar-free Greek yogurt topped with fruit for another 18 grams of protein. I’m totally winning breakfast, and I only opened a few wrappers!

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When I’m feeling fancy, I pull open my produce drawer to see what veggies I have to stuff in my flatbread pocket to add even more nutrition. Today I found spinach and tomatoes! Mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and onions make yummy stuffers too. Add the veggies to the pocket before or after microwaving, depending on the texture you prefer! It’s so easy!

dsc_0359There are other Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches for breakfast including Egg & Cheese, Sausage & Cheese, and Turkey Sausage and Cheese. They also make other flatbread sandwiches that work for a quick lunch, dinner or snak.  Get a COUPON and try them yourself – you can find them at Walgreens, Walmart and Sam’s Club along with other locations. Start the day off right and get that #SandwichBrosSmile

Win a YEAR supply of Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches - enter at thefitfork.com

In addition to the COUPON, here’s a deal you don’t want to miss! I’m hosting a giveaway and one lucky entrant will win an entire year’s supply of Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches – 52 free product coupons (to use on 4-ct or 6-ct boxes)!  Whoohooo, if you win, breakfast problems will be solved for a good long while! Enter via the Rafflecopter app below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway