Why a Daily Treat Trumps a Weekly Cheat Day


Why a Daily Treat Trumps a Weekly Cheat DayTreats, desserts, goodies, nom noms, whatever name you longingly call a little something sweet after or between meals don’t have to be off limits or induce guilt. In fact, if you are craving something outside of your normal healthy-eating routine, it’s better to go ahead and satisfy the urge with a reasonable-sized portion rather than setting aside an entire day to pigging out on whatever “cheats” you want.

Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars perfect post workout.

Really, when you think about it, no food is a “cheat.” All food provides calories, which translate into energy to burn through the day. —  however, as most of us know, some food provides better quality energy than others!  Most experts would recommend keeping your treats to 200 calories or less and don’t feel obligated to indulge everyday if you don’t really want it!  If you calorie needs are in the range of 2,000 per day, then a 200 calorie treat makes up only 10 percent – just make sure your remaining diet is balanced with lean protein, healthy whole grains and lots and lots of veggies and some fruit.

Why a Daily Treat Trumps Weekly Cheat Day

1) Guilt- Free: Postponing a treat or small splurge and labeling it as “bad” also sets you up for an unhealthy relationship with food, it creates guilt.  A day set aside to “cheating,” how can that be a good thing?

2) More- Consistent: A daily treat is there every day if you want/need it!  Our bodies respond better to consistent behavior, rather that dieting and overindulging to the extremes.

3) Enjoyment: Enjoy your food, all of it. Being well, healthy and happy means living your life embracing food for what it can do for you and not obsessing over a specific diet, what is good or bad, or setting unrealistic expectations.

4) Extra Energy+: A daily treat can give you those extra calories and other important nutrients you need on days when especially active. You definitely need to consider your activity level when planning snacks!

4) Hormones Happier: Studies have shown that with calorie and carb restriction, Leptin (the hunger hormone) is altered, messing up its ability to tell your brain you are full and to stop eating. Similarly, T3  (the thyroid hormone) can be decreased by calorie restriction and extreme dieting, creating a backfiring situation where your metabolism slows down.

5) Sustainable for Life: With a daily treat, there are no feelings of abstinence,  meaning its easy to keep an overall healthy diet for life.   If you’re eating a variety of colorful, whole foods the majority of the time, a treat now and then or every single day has no harm!

Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars

You know, some days I slice myself a piece of chocolate cake and other times I’m completely satisfied with a healthy snack like these New Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars I found at Target*  – they totally take, errrr, the cake!  I really appreciate how Outshine® uses simple and honest ingredients  — 100% yogurt, blended with real fruit, that’s it!  These healthy treats contain no artificial colors or flavorings* and are not gunked up with high fructose corn syrup – with each lick and am treated to simply the bright, delightlful flavor as Mother Nature intended. *Check the Store Locator for other locations.

Outshine Fruit Bars I Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are available in seven creamy and yummy varieties including Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry, Pineapple, Lemon, Strawberry Banana, and Mango. Also good to know, each frozen bar contains live & active cultures, 5 grams of protein, and 10% of our daily requirement for calcium. The company also makes all fruit bars and fruit & veggie frozen bars!

Of course, Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars make a smart choice to eat after a workout – that little blast of protein helps speed muscle recovery.

Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars

And, because Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are so sensible, I like to occasionally dress these healthy frozen snacks up a little more with my favorite sundae toppings – like today I used the Blueberry bars and topped with whipped topping, fresh blueberries, granola and crushed dehydrated raspberries (those are the “healthy red sprinkles”).

You can find  Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars at Target, Safeway or other convenient locations.

Outshine Fruit Bars Instagram

Also, check out Outshine on Instagram — they have a very cute, vibrant and happy page!

What is your snacking philosophy? What is your favorite healthy dessert or yogurt flavor? Any big plans for these last days of warm weather? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Happy Trail Mix Day + Protein Rich Snack Ideas

The start of September signals crazy-season with my family. Mondays through Fridays have us all in the busy back-to-school routine and weekends are devoted to football games, family and friend birthday parties, and scrambling to finish home and extra-cirricular projects before the (gasp) holiday season sets in.  It’s easy to grab something less than healthy from the pantry or vending machine when this onslaught of obligations and stress sets in. Do your diet a favor and but together one of these protein-rich snacks instead – the little boost of protein will help keep you feeling full until your next mea!

7 Easy Protein Snacks

  • Cracker + Nut Butter + Hemp Seeds
  • Hummus + Carrots (or other veggies)
  • Cashews + Dried Cranberries + Chocolate Chips
  • Popcorn + Almonds + Honey Drizzle
  • Beef, Chicken or Turkey Jerky
  • Baked Broad Beans or Roasted Chick Peas (store-bought)
  • Greek Yogurt + Granola

Almond Toffee Crunch Protein Bars

Protein bars can be another sensible snack option on-the-go – although it’s important to look for those that aren’t actually candy bars in disguise. I’ve been loving the Perfectly Simple Protein Bars by ZonePerfect  — the brand is very choosey about the simple ingredients they use to make such a nutritious and delicious snack.   Right now, if you visit ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple, you can get a $1 off  coupon for a box of these nutrition bars. #FeelGooder

Nut and Cereal party mix made in crock potFinally, just want to remind you that today is National Trail Mix Day! My recipe for “So Nutty” Slow Cooker Snack Mix is actually cooked in a crock pot – it tastes fantastic and is so easy to make! I’m sending a big bag full to my son who just left for college . . . . it’s my way of sending him a hug from home!

What is your favorite ingredient to put in a trail / snack mix? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Run Faster 800 Meter Workout + Protein Bar #FeelGooder

The start of the school year has always been the unofficial kick-off of my marathon training. Even though Austin is still in the dog days of summer, with temperatures over 100 degrees, I will start upping mileage and long speed intervals, be mindful of my hydration needs and stock up on one of my favorite protein bars as I ready up for the San Antonio Marathon on December 6th.

Perfectly Simple Protein Bars from ZonePerfect offer 10 - 11g protein to help me recover after a workout or run.

As I hinted, hydration is so important, but I also insist on eating a protein snack after a long run or intense effort workout, like running 800 meter or mile intervals.  Research study after research study has shown that consumeing a protein-rich snack after hard workouts is vital to protein syntheses, and a must-do if you want to repair taxed muscle tissue, increase strength and recover faster.

Perfectly Simple Protein Bars by ZonePerfect

Perfectly Simple protein bars by ZonePerfect are a great solution for me, each tasty on the go snack offers about 10 – 11 grams protein and around 200 calories or less, the perfect post-workout fuel  for me to #FeelGooder until I can follow up with a full-on clean meal. I love how these protein bars embrace the “less is more” approach to life – the company is super-picky about the ingredients they choose to ensure a simple yet tasty feel-good healthy snack.

ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple Bars are great fuel for running and workouts.

Even if you’re not working out, a protien-rich healthy snack, like a protein bar, helps you feel fuller, longer – which means you won’t be grabbing a handful of M&Ms every time you walk by the community candy jar (okay, I’m talking about myself here).

Roasted Cashew & Dark Chocolate protein bar from Perfectly Simple

Oh, Hello My Precious!

Right now, if you visit ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple, you can get a $1 off  coupon for a box of these nutrition bars. Right now, there are four delicious flavors (five protein bars per box) including Almond Toffee Crunch,  Bing Cherry & Almond ,  Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk, and Roasted Cashew & Dark Chocolate.

So, are you ready for the 800 meter workout – it’s a doozy. There is just no arguing that the muscle fatigue, lactic acid build up and special brand of pain that comes with knocking off a bunch of 800s sucks, but if you’re getting ready for a marathon, it’s time to embrace that suck. Am I right?  Plus, 800s can be used as a loose guideline to predicting your marathon time  — just google Bart Yasso’s Yasso 800s. Basically the gist is that you work your way up to 10 800s in a session, keeping them as close in time as possible (a second or two flux is okay). The resulting average 800 time can be extrapolated to be your marathon time – eg: average 3:00 minute 800s equals a 3 hour marathon,  3:30 minute 800s equals a 3:30 marathon, and so on. My workout is a little different, but still great for a marathon.

Try this 800 meter workout challenge to improve your speed and endurance for a maratho.

 

My 800 Meter Challenge workout won’t take you all the way up to the 10 full half-mile laps, but it will get you strong enough to eventually get there! Enjoy.

 

Zone Perfect Perfectly Simple Bars are Healthy SnacksDon’t forget to check out ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple Nutrition Bars to grab your $1 off  coupon for a box of these delicious protein bars.

Do you incorporate speed workouts into your trainjing? Do you have a go-to interval workout for marathon season? I like cashew and chocolate – what two flavors would make the best bar for you? Please share in the comments below – XOXO — Jennifer

DIY Popcorn Shakin’ Cups – Mess Free Mix-ins – Pop Secret Popcorn

Enjoy family movie night with Pop Secret popcorn and this genius container hack for serving up the snack!

The end of summer is especially bittersweet this year, not just because our leisure time is coming to an end (well, the kiddos’ respite anyway), but my oldest is heading off to college. Yup, that’s right – this mama bear is letting go of a cub and even with my stoic sensibilities, I’m getting a little choked up just typing out the words. With the Big Boy literally leaving the den in 10 days, our family movie nights seem even more special this summer.

Add your favorite ingredients to customize Pop Secret Popcorn flavors.

Movie night is a great excuse to hang out together (an increasing rarity in the teenage years), have some laughs, engage in some invaluable pre and post movie discussions – and, naturally, share some yummy Pop Secret popcorn and sensible snacks together!

Popcorn with Chocolate Chips and Almonds makes a healthy salty-sweet snack!

Now, over these last 18 years of watching movies with my kids, I’ve learned a several things. First, my lone female vote in a house with four male people means I don’t have a say in what we watch – we’ve made the natural boy progression from non-princess Disney productions to action and shoot-em-up flicks. Not a lot of romantic comedies and historical fiction in the DVR queue – of all the guy movies we watch, I like the superhero stuff best – that’s why I’m pretty pumped to have just watched the 2005 version of “Fantastic Four” in preparations for the reboot coming to theaters. By the way, if you Buy any 3 Pop-Secret items between 7/31 – 8/31 and get a Free ticket to the Fantastic Four movie (up to $5) while supplies last

Make these DIY Popcorn Shakin' Cups for your next party or family movie night.

The second important thing I’ve learned is that no matter the age, boys are just messy – and this includes my husband to a degree. Sharing one big bowl of popcorn means crushed kernels left all over the floor and greasy finger being wiped off on the couch. Hello, napkin? And, of course there will always be a bit of sibling squabbling over who gets to hold the bowl, who’s hogging all the food and exactly what toppings are put on the popcorn. To resolve these irritating movie-time issues, I came up with this a great popcorn-eating hack that will rock your socks off – Popcorn Shakin’ Cups!

These Popcorn Shakin’ Cups allow 1) everyone to have their own portion of popcorn, 2) customizable “mix ins” to be added and neatly shaken up to combine, and 3) the popcorn to be eaten straight from the lid opening to mouth (meaning no messy fingers)! Yes, I know – GENIUS!

Putting popcorn and custom mix-in ingredients into cups with domed lids is an easy and mess-free way to make and eat!

It’s easy to put together your own Popcorn Shakin’ Cups -purchase tall, clear plastic cups (mine are 20-ounce but I’ve seen them larger) and domed lids (usually found at an industry or party warehouse or sweet talk your convenience store for some shake/slurpee lids). Next fill with popcorn and your favorite mix-ins – I did almonds and chocolate chips, but Parmesan cheese and garlic salt, or cinnamon sugar and pecans are other yummy popcorn ideas. Add a cute label if you like –and that’s it! Eat, enjoy and toss – no clean up! Great for a party!Popcorn is perfect for family movie night -- you'll love these DIY popcorn cups.

I picked up my mom-of-teenage-boys-sized haul of Pop Secret at Walmart – I got the Sea Salt flavor for movie night plus an extra box of the Pop Secret 100 Calorie Pop 94% Fat Free Kettle Corn for me to keep on hand for sensible snacking in the afternoon. Also, note to self – perhaps I should buy Pop Secret popcorn flavors by the cart full because a variety of boxes would be great to slip into oldest son’s college care packages since he has a dorm microwave.

Have you seen any good movies this summer? What is your favorite popcorn flavor or mix-in?

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Pop Secret, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pop4Fantastic4 http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Bird is the Word for Protein #SayYesToJerky

Chicken Jerky makes a great snack to fuel your workouts or mid-day office munchies.I chickened out!  How did the word chicken become associated with retreat caused by fear or cowardice? I surfed around on the web and found a couple etymological explanations, with the most plausible being based on a ritual performed by army officers in ancient times. Apparently, before heading off into battle, military leaders would offer sacred chickens grain. If the chickens ate the grain, the battle would commence – but if they refused, it was a sign to withdraw from the fight (example, Battle of Drepana 249 BC).

women more protein

Protein Infographic from WellWisdom.com

So, I imagine that over the last couple thousand years, other phrases like “Don’t be a chicken” and “He’s a chicken #@$!” evolved from this phrase, sort of giving chicken, in general, a bad rap. But, there is a ton of cool facts about chicken including the fact that mother hens show empathy for their chicks and that the birds also have complex communication systems with more than 30 different vocalizations.

And, well, to put it bluntly, chickens are also a great food source for athletes – high in protein for muscle management, a source of tryptophan (like turkey) that can aid with restorative sleep, as well as numerous  benefits from vitamins and minerals. Like other proteins, chicken curbs hunger and helps to control weight. Check out all these other benefits of protein (including chicken) from WellWisdom.com

Other perks of poultry? Chicken is inexpensive compared to many other protein sources and the sheer volume of delicious chicken recipes is enormous – I probably have enough chicken recipes pinned on Pinterest and torn from magazine pages to last a lifetime!

So, basically the bird is the word – I say, it’s GOOD to CHICKEN OUT every now and then!

jack links chicken photo

 

 

I’ve been fueling my workouts with a brand new product from Jack Link’s Jerky – Chicken Jerky. It’s dang tasty, packed with 11 grams of protein per serving and conveniently packaged to toss in my gym bag for immediate post-exercise muscle recovery. I typically workout over the lunch hour, so often jerky and a banana are all I have to appease my ginormous appetite until I can sit down to a proper meal.  So thank goodness for healthy, portable snacks!

You may already be familiar with Jack Link’s Jerky in turkey, pork or beef, but the chicken version is a recent addition to the line up. Jack Link’s Chicken Jerky is made from white-meat chicken seasoned and marinated with cracked black pepper and spices, is 98 percent fat-free and provides 11g protein for just 80 calories – that’s hard to beat!  Now we can all enjoy the nutritious benefits chicken offers on the go without the mess, inconvenience and craziness of whipping out a rotisserie chicken. My Paleo diet friends, you need this — really we all do!

jack links giveaway

One of my readers will win a Jack’s Link Jerky “Gift Pack” (similar to photo) which includes Jack Link’s Chicken Jerky, Jack Link’s Turkey Jerky, Jack Link’s Sweet Teriyaki Turkey Jerky, branded glass water bottle (really nice), headband, “cool” sweat towel and EOS lip balm. Just enter through the Rafflecopter App below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Jack Link’s.

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

Spring (Cookie) Break! Outrageously Delicious, Gluten-Free Treats

Spring Cookie Break - Organic Gluten Free GinnyBakes.comGluten-free baking, it can be a beast. If you’ve ever attempted your own gluten-free adventures in the kitchen, you know the oh-my-gawwwd-this-is-disgusting ogre of which I speak. This monster might eat dense bread, flat cakes and cookies that could double as hockey pucks, but none of my kiddos will come near the majority of my initial gluten-free experiments. Not that I’m trying dissuade you from doing your own gluten-free baking – it can be done up right if you have a reliable recipe and know the tips for success.  I have a couple tried-and-true gluten-free goodies in my repertoire, Baked Honey Pistachio Donuts and Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pumpkin Bread , but many other recipes (like gluten free cookies) are not at all luscious and, frankly, lackluster.  I’ve got a tough crowd to please with my three teen boy taste-testers – you’d think that they’d eat ANYTHING to fill up those hollow legs, put they’re surprisingly persnickety.

cookies from ginnybakes.com

So, I’ve decided there’s no shame in buying cookies, no shame at all. Especially if they are OUTRAGEOUSLY DELICIOUS cookies— enter GinnyBakes.com into my life! Ginny Bakes creates outrageously delicious and certified organic, certified gluten-free, non-gmo cookies, bars and goodies that the whole family can enjoy. Ginny puts a lot of love and mindful attention into her products– all ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms and ionizing radiation. I appreciate that she’s treating my family with the same care and concern that she gives to her own brood.

Lucy stole our Ginny Minis!

Lucy stole our Ginny Minis!

Cookies fanatics are going to appreciate the wide variety of flavors available, included are Chocolate Chip Love, Chocolate chip Macadamia Love, Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bill, Coconut Oatmeal Bliss, Double Chocolate Happiness, Buttercrisp Love, Dreamy Vegan Delight and “Ginny Minis,” little bags of bite-sized cookies that are perfect for lunchboxes or purses.

chocolate macadamia nut cookie ginny bakes

gluten free organic brownie mixOh, and if you do have the time to bake but are worried about getting “gluten-free” right or just want to make sure you have quality ingredients, GinnyBakes.com also makes several unbelievable baking mixes.  I tried Lovely Brownie Bliss Baking Mix – let me just say between the organic dark chocolate chips, coconut oil and rich cacao powder, these decadent gluten-free brownie had to HIDDEN from the family for my own personal enjoyment.

I have a couple fun ideas for using the cookies – other than eating straight out of the  box. Crumble them up on Greek yogurt, sandwich two around ice cream or decorate the buttercrisp cookies for whatever reason or season is at hand.

Ginny Bakes Crumbled on Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt, my homemade chia seed and strawberry sauce, and Ginny Bakes Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie crumbled on top!

Ginny Bakes products are available online at GinnyBakes.com or at many of your favorite retailers like Target, Whole Foods and Natural Grocers – you can even print off a coupon. Time saved, better tasting, nutritious ingredients, kids happier, mindful munching –you MUST join me at winning at this healthy mom thing!

What is your favorite flavor of cookie?

This post was sponsored by GinnyBakes.com and Sverve

Keep Calm and Eat Brownies #SpecialKBrownies

Chocolate is awesome in so many ways! It tastes divine; it smells heavenly and is actually quite good for the mind and body (in moderation, of course). Scientists and nutritionist have spent years researching the positive health benefits of chocolate (tough job) and I’m happy to report that I’ve collected my fair share of anecdotal evidence! Chocolate is a winner!

Sitting around eating chocolate all day probably wouldn’t be a good thing though – I like to reserve chocolate-eating for a treat. I will admit that I do start my day off with a few dark chocolate chips alongside my hot chai or coffee – this ritual that gets me in a good mood to tackle even the craziest days. The kids always request my Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies, but brownies are actually my favorite feel-good, chocolaty comfort foods – but it can be quite dangerous to have a whole, homemade pan sitting out! Oh, the temptation to eat the whole pan of my Mom’s decadent recipe that features entire big toffee-chocolate candy bars baked into the middle.

I was excited when Kellogg’s recently sent me a couple boxes of Special K Brownies to try out – Divine Fudge and Heavenly Caramel. What I noticed right away when sampling these brownies is that they taste like REAL brownies, not like some weird diet food “brownie.” That’s because Special K Brownies are REAL brownies made with real ingredients like cocoa, chocolate or caramel chips and topped with a drizzle of chocolate fudge. The other thing I appreciate about the Special K Brownies is that these convenient brownies are pre-portioned to be just an 80-calorie treat. The brownies aren’t huge, but just the right size to enjoy the indulgence and not end up feeling deprived later in the day (and eating that whole pan of Mom’s candy bar brownies I just mentioned). Sure, I COULD open up all the brownie packages in the box and eat them at one sitting, but I probably wouldn’t since they are wrapped as single servings – a great visual cue on portion-size awareness.

I stashed a few of these brownies in my gym bag for a reward after my 10 mile run and CrossFitWOD – washed down with a carton of milk, it was a totally on target recovery snack. Also, since February is sneaking up, I started experimenting with ways to incorporate Special K Brownies into a Valentine’s Day celebration. It so easy to use a cookie cutter to make a simple heart shaped – serve as a little chocolaty pick-me-up or sandwich two brownie hearts with frozen yogurt in the middle.

Visit www.specialk.com for more information on the new Special K Brownies in Divine Fudge and Heavenly Caramel, available now at grocery and mass retail stores nationwide.

What is your favorite chocolate treat?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Special K Brownies.