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 ChrisKresser.com 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 

Love at First Bite! Nut Butter Crispies with Cacao Nibs Recipe

Valentines Day Healthy Treat Nut Butter Crispies

Who doesn’t love a crispy rice treat? I do, but not those prepackaged ones made with corn syrup, white puffed rice and a ton of other ingredients and preservatives I can’t pronounce.  Plus, there’s only a scant trace of protein in one of those gooey squares; that means I’ll be crashing lickity-split from my carbohydrate high. What’s a girl got to do to satisfy her sweet tooth and get a little snap, crackle and pop going on? Mix up her own healthier version of this favorite treat from childhood, that’s what! I have a hunch you are going to fall in love with this healthy snack recipe – package them up and give them to your favorite sweetie for Valentine’s Day!

Healthy Gym Snack Protein Nut Butter Bites

My version of crispy rice treats, Protein Nut Butter Crispies, features puffed brown rice, a 100% whole grain, that hasn’t been enriched or fortified with any weird stuff. A couple scoops of protein powder (you can use any brand or flavor) adds long-lasting energy that is perfect before a workout or to help build back up damaged muscle tissue afterward. Almond butter and honey helps hold everything together with delicious taste while cacao nibs lend an extra dose of crunchiness to this fun-to-eat treat.

cocoa_nibsYou may be wondering, “Just what are cacao nibs and why should I be eating them?” Cacao nibs are little pieces of cacao beans that been have roasted, hulled and prepped for the chocolate-making process. While I like to think of them as “nature’s chocolate chips,” cacao nibs don’t really add any sweetness to a recipe. In fact, they are a tad bitter (in a good way) and have a slightly nutty flavor with chocolate undertones. Here are some other good things to know about cacao nibs:

  • Cacao nibs are abundant with magnesium, a mineral needed for in excess of 300 biochemical reactions in the human body including muscle and nerve function and maintaining a steady heart rhythm.
  • Unlike chocolate bars, cacao nibs pack in a lot of fiber in a small serving – one ounce of cacao nibs has nine grams of fiber.
  • Cacao nibs are rich in iron, a necessity for the production of red blood cells  — and a good thing for women, runners and other athletes who need more iron (up to 30% more) than the average Joe.  One ounce of raw cacao nibs provides six percent of the daily recommended value.
  • Cacao nibs provide more antioxidant benefits than eating the darkest chocolate bar around. You’ve probably heard that the darker the chocolate, the better – experts suggest picking a bar with as much as 70% cacao (it can take a while to get used to the less sweet taste). Since cacao nibs are the basis for chocolate candy (after being ground into a paste and mixed with sugar and milk solids), you’re skipping all the unhealthy stuff and going straight to the unsullied source of nutrients..
  • Get creative with cacao nibs! You can eat cacao nibs straight out of the bag, mix them into oatmeal or sprinkle on Greek yogurt – or mix in cacao nibs into any of your recipes for baked goods.

healthy snack nut butter crispies

Protein Nut Butter Crispies with Cacao Nibs Recipe

  • 2 cups puffed whole grain brown rice cereal
  • 2/3 cup (2 standard scoops) chocolate protein powder
  • ¼ cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup honey (I like Wholesome Sweetener’s Fairtrade Organic Honey )
  • Optional:  2 Tbsp. chocolate candy-covered sunflower seeds

Place puffed rice, protein powder and cocoa nibs in a medium-sized bowl and toss together until combined.

Warm almond butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds so it’s more malleable. Spray spatula with baking spray and scoop out warmed nut butter on top of dry mixture. Drizzle honey on top of this and stir everything until combined. Mixture may be a bit crumbly, that’s okay.

Using hands, form mixture into approximate 1 ¼” diameter balls, packing tightly. Repeat process with remaining mixture.

If desired, lightly press tops of nuggets into candy-coated chocolate sunflower seeds or another topping of choice.

Makes 18.

Oat Yeah! Caramel Cashew Energy Bars & OatWorks Smoothie Giveaway

The holidays aren’t over just because December has come and gone. January is National Oatmeal Month and that’s 31 days of whole grain goodness to celebrate.  Now, before I get all mushy about oatmeal, I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the stuff porridge-style — except when it is dressed up with nuts and honey and fruit. Okay, okay, I love it! I also love to use oatmeal in many of my healthy recipes, everything from granola (oh, you know there will be a granola-palooza post next week) to grinding it up and using it as a “flour” in all sorts of baking and crusting.

Cashew Caramel Chewy Energy Granola Bars

I recently created this super easy, super yummy recipe for Tropical Caramel Cashew Energy Bars for Litehouse Food. Dried mango and pineapple along with cashews are tossed with a hearty pile of old-fashioned oatmeal (and shelled hemp seed for extra protein) and then coated with a packaged light caramel sauce.  Baked into chewy perfection, these bars have less than 190 calories per serving, 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of dietary fiber. Easy to wrap ‘em up and tuck into a lunch box or gym bag, ready to provide sensible, satisfying relief when hunger strikes.

oatmeal dried fruit nuts in bowl

So, what’s so great about oatmeal? There have been numerous research studies that link the consumption of oatmeal with a host of positive health benefits. You can read about these perks in detail at the Whole Grains Council, but here are the bullet points:

  • Oats may reduce asthma in children
  • Oats may boost nutrition profile of gluten-free diets
  • Oats increase appetite-control hormones.
  • Oat Beta Glucans improve immune system defenses.
  • Oats help cut the use of laxatives.
  • Oats may help reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Oats may improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Oats lower bad cholesterol.
  • Oats help control blood pressure.
  • Oats #3 overall, #1 for breakfast in overall satiety index.

did you drink your oatsDid you also know that you can drink your oats? Yup, just throw a handful (approx. ¼ cup) into the blender when making a smoothie. In order to keep your smoothie from being lumpy and clumpy; It works best to grind the oats in the blender before you add the liquid ingredients.

However, are if you are having a crazy morning or need a post-workout snack, OatWorks Oat-Powered Natural Smoothies are a fantastic, fitness-focused and flavorful option to a home-made smoothie. The company sent me some product to try out, tell you about, and share through a giveaway (read on to the bottom for entry instructions).


Made with natural oat fiber (the soluble fiber called beta glucan) and real fruit juices, these individually- bottled beverages are vegan friendly, gluten free, dairy free, cholesterol free, non-GMO and Kosher. There is also no added sugar, artificial sweeteners or artificial anything. So what DO these OatWorks drinks have? Well, each 12-ounce bottle of Oatworks is packed with as much soluble fiber as two bowls of oatmeal, has loads of vitamins and minerals, and is naturally sweet, smooth and delicious. You also get all those oatmeal benefits that I bullet-pointed earlier!

Choose from three not-at-all lumpy flavors —Strawberry-Banana , Pomegranate-Blueberry or Peach-Mango. If you can’t find these smoothie drinks at your market, you can stock up on Amazon. Or, you may be my lucky winner who will receive 6 bottles (3 each flavor) of OatWorks Oat-Powered Natural Smoothies.

To enter, just enter through the Rafflecopter app below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway