Date & Protein Chocolate Cookies – For Workouts, For the Win!

This post sponsored my Bard Valley Natural Delight Dates. However, all content, opinions and enthusiasm are my own!

Growing up, Dad had a joke in our house that cookies eaten outside of normal dessert consumption hours were called “Breakfast Circles,” or “Energy Rounds.”  This soon became my line of defense when Mom caught me with my hand in the cookie jar. Thank goodness, my Date & Protein Chocolate Cookies need no explaining away! Date Chocolate Protein Cookies

These little rounds of goodness are loaded with quality and sustaining energy my family needs to smash through the day’s goals – both physically and mentally. My youngest teenager and I are the athletes of the family and my older two boys are the “math-letes” – bodies and brains BOTH need healthy carbs (backed by a bit of protein) to optimize performance. My cookies, made with absolutely no refined sugar (only Medjool dates and a few other smart ingredients), make the perfect snack to fuel running, workouts, sports practice, and racing to the head of the class! Read on to get the recipe and all the delicious, body-boosting benefits: Continue reading

Run or Workout? Apples Core to Training Diet + Recipes

Why Apples are Core to a Runner's Diet - find out the health benefits and how they can improve your training.There’s truth to the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  This popular fruit has a bushel of benefits to keep the general population and athletes healthy and well. For example, apples are low in calories yet high in fiber, certain vitamins (like C), antioxidants and phytonutrients, making them a filling and snack that helps maintain weight and optimize health.

Avoid Apple Overload -- so just what IS considered a healthy serving of apple?

But, like everything else, you can over indulge. The suggested serving for an apple is about 1/3 pound, about 3″ in diameter (think of a tennis ball). However, most apples you see today at the market are not just large, the are super JUMBO! So, whether you run, swim, CrossFit or play team sports like basketball or lacrosse, there are even more reasons to add a healthy serving of apples to your training diet. Here are a few:

Healthy Carbs: Apples contain fructose, a natural fruit sugar that buts gas in the tank for your workouts. A medium apple has about 20 grams of carbohydrates.

Recovery: The healthy carbs in apples are also important for post-workout recovery, namely to replenish glycogen and fluids stores and help synthesis protein so that the body can repair taxed muscles. That’s why I always pair my apple with a Core Power High Protein Shake!

Hydration: Apples are about 84 percent water and another way to replace potassium and other electrolytes lost through sweat during exercise.

Gut Health: Pectin is found in apples, a prebiotic that promotes friendly gut bacteria. A healthy gut helps to “move things along” so that you won’t feel bloated and weighted down for your workout.

Endurance Booster:  Some studies suggest that quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples (especially the peel), may improve athletic endurance by affecting the oxidation process to muscles and increasing V02 Max.

Perfectly Portable: An apple comes packaged in its own wrapping will stay fresh for days (if not weeks) without any special treatment, making one an ideal snack to keep stowed in your purse or gym bag.

Versatile:  In addition to crunching an apple out of hand, there are plenty of easy and healthy ways to incorporate more apples into your diet including Apple “Nachos,” applesauce and baked apples.  It’s also easy to chop up apples and add them to protein pancake batter, stir frys and salads.


Cinnamon Super Oatmeal Stuffed ApplesBaked Cinnamon “Super Oats” Apples my just be the most comforting, homey breakfast ever made with a big apple and whole grain oats “superfied” with additional seeds and nuts.

caramel granola apple dessertCaramel Crunch Apple Nachos are are unique and healthy treat for parties, celebrations, fiestas and just plain ole everyday healthy snacking!

Apple Ring Protein PancakesApple Ring Protein Pancakes are a muscle-making spin off on my Grandma’s famous fritter recipe. Healthy carbs from the apples paired with a bit of protein powder are ideal for refueling after a hard run or workout.

Healthy raspberry apple snackRaspberry Chocolate Apple Rings simply require spreading a chocolate nut-butter over sliced apple and topping with raspberries.

So, are YOU an apple fan? Do you eat an apple a day . . . or an apple a week? What is your favorite way to eat an apple? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 


Tart Cranberry Grape Protein Bites Recipe #BehindTheMuscle

This post is sponsored by Isopure, but recipe, editorial remarks & enthusiasm are all mine!Tart Cranberry Grape Protein Bites TitleI was looking for a snack to take on a trail run the other day and just wasn’t happy with the packaged options available. I wanted something that would offer me enough quality carbohydrates to keep my body moving, but also protein for sustained energy and muscle recovery. It was going to be a long day – I also had a big workout planned later in the day. I needed to avoid nuts, wanted a snack that was good for my guts, and was in the mood for tart and tangy, something completely different that the normal chocolate and caramel concoctions. A big order!

Tart Cranberry Grape Protein Bites using Isopure AminosI ended up making my own concoction, Tangy Cranberry Grape Protein Bites — perfection and just what I “ordered”!  Made with a whey protein isolate and Isopure Amino Acids, I knew my workout snack was going to give me quality nutrition for muscle recover and building – especially with those BCAAs.

Drinking Isopure Aminos right after my workout has been really helping with muscle recovery! I’ve blogged about the Isopure Amino Acids before, I love this product – not only does it taste great, it features everything I need for head-to-toe recovery including all the branch chain amino acids ( BCAAs) to help me make more of my muscles, but also tart cherry to ward off inflammation and L-theanine for a calm and relaxed mind.

Other nutrition perks of these on-the-go energy protein bites? Lots of vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin C) and quality carbs to keep the engine revved on high. Not only are the unsweetened cranberries and drizzle of honey a good, dense source of carbs for any high-energy sport, the unmodified protein powder used serves the dual purpose of binder and beneficial resistant starch.

So, what am I talking about when I say unmodified potato starch is a “resistant starch”? It’s a type of prebiotic starch that “resists” digestion and prevents spikes in blood glucose and insulin.  As a type of prebiotic (aka, and digestible carb), it helps to establish and support good gut health – the right environment for gut bacteria. Studies are also suggesting that resistant starches may also help contribute to weight loss through lowered blood sugar spikes, decreased appetite, lessened fat storage in fat cells and preservation of lean muscle mass. There are many kids of resistant starches, but unmodified (aka, raw) potato starch is a reliable and easy-to use option (the Bob’s Red Mill brand is sold at most stores). Anyway, all the science is a little over my head, but I thought this article How Resistant Starch Will Help to Make You Healthier and Thinner  at was very helpful in understanding.

Tart Cranberry Grape Protein Bites using Isopure Aminos

Tangy Cranberry Grape Protein Bites

  1. Add cranberries, honey and water to work bowl of food processor and process for 1 -2 minutes, or until cranberries very, very finely chopped up and sticky.
  2. In large bowl, mix together protein powder, amino powder and potato starch until combined.
  3. Add dry mixture to cranberry mixture about ½ cups at a time, processing each time until incorporated. Dough should be forming up into a big ball with some crumbling back down. If mixture still looks too sticky, process in 1 tablespoon of potato starch at a time until desired results are achieved.
  4. Roll into 24 bite-sized balls approximately 1-inch in diameter. May be left out in gym bag, but store in refrigerator overnight for best freshness.

Quick Macros Per Bite: 50 calories, 7g protein, 18g total carb (0.3g sugar), 0.125g fat, 12% DV Vitamin C,


Hope you get a chance to make this easy protein bite recipe for your next run or workout. They pack really well in a little zip top bag that you can take wherever you go, they don’t melt or fall apart or “go bad” sitting out all day. Stash a handful of these recovery treats in a fuel belt, pocket or gym bag and then feel free to KILL that workout knowing all your post exercise nutrition needs will be met in a few little “bites”. Also, check out Isopure BCAAs and all the other clean, lean quality protein products they offer.

Do you have a homemade workout snack? Have you ever heard of resistant starches? Did you run a race, have a fitness competition, do something else fabulous this weekend? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer