Recipe of The Week: Carrot Cake Protein Bars

22 05 2012

As I promised in my rant this morning about why most protein bars suck,  I’m here with a recipe to make your own bars with ingredients you can pronounce!

Now, many people have tried to make their own bars in the past.  I’ve tried their recipes and they all have their merits, but this happens to be my favorite since the final product dense enough to go with a cup of coffee in the morning for a mid-morning snack.  I chose the carrot cake version because my on-the-run bar is usually the Carrot Cake-flavored Cliff Bars, which have natural ingredients, but lack the protein content I look for in a small meal.

So without further ado:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of soy flour
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey protein (I used Dymatize Elite Gourmet, which has casein in it.  Helps keep me full longer)
  • 1/2 cup chopped & shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup stevia extract (Truvia is my sweetener of choice)
  • 8 oz. carrot baby food (Don’t be afraid to pick this up if you have no kids…but if anyone at Whole Foods asks, I have a 2 year old)
  • 4 oz. unsweetened soy milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl
  3. Mix the egg whites, stevia extract, baby food and soy milk in a separate bowl
  4. Combine the bowls until you have a consistent batter
  5. Spray a 10″ x 10″ pan with non-stick butter spray (Pam) and fill with batter.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes
  7. Let the bars cool for 5 minutes, then cut into six bars.

Goes great with your morning cup of joe!

Now, you can up the ante in the protein category by going with a higher-protein powder or 2% milk instead of soy.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can mix & match ingredients and have an entirely different bar each time.  I’ve actually made some banana bread protein bars with walnuts & berries in it using the bulk of this recipe (and it came out effing AMAZING).

So there you have it; a protein bar you can make at home with zero fillers and all good old-fashioned ingredients.  Happy baking!

Nutritional Info (per bar)
  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 7.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates:  18 grams
  • Protein: 22 grams




Welcome to “Tasty Tuesdays”

15 05 2012

Happy Tasty Tuesday, GymGeeks!

I thought this would be a good day of the week to formally start talking about nutrition.  On Tuesdays, we’ll be talking about a fat burning or muscle building food that you may (or may not) know about, as well as a recipe for the week.  I’m currently in talks with a few guest bloggers who know how to cook way better than I do (although I’m getting much better as I go) and also have a vast database to choose from.  Until then, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I’ll share.

Mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-day snack all ready to go!

I also wanted to take this “Letter from the Editor” moment to bring up a very important rule of fitness and health: WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU EAT!  This is something that goes neglected more often than not.  Sure, you can read a nutrition label on a box of something, but it doesn’t really sink in when you don’t step back and see how much of your daily intake that serving actually makes up.  A food journal is a great thing that I discovered a few years ago and it’s helped me on the journey to weight loss, as well as my current journey to put on 10 lbs. of muscle.  In fact, I’ll share with you my current meals during the day (I never go longer than 3 hours between meals) and the TOTAL intake of the important building blocks (calories, fat, protein and carbohydrates) I take in during the day:

Breakfast (4:00 AM)

  1. 1 whole extra large egg
  2. 4 egg whites
  3. 2 tablespoons of salsa
  4. 1 medium navel orange
  5. 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  6. 2 cups of coffee (black)

Post-Workout (6:30 AM)

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex

Mid-Morning Snack (9:15 AM)

  1. 1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
  2. 1/2 cup diced pineapple

Lunch (12:00 PM)

  1. 2 slices 7-grain Ezekiel Bread (no flour, all sprouts & grains)
  2. 3 oz. Boars Head Low Sodium Chicken Breast
  3. 1/3 cup Alfalfa Sprouts
  4. 1/2 cup spinach
  5. Handful (about 14-16) of almonds
  6. 4 oz. baby carrots
  7. 1 medium golden delicious apple

Mid-Afternoon Snack (2:30 PM)

  1. 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1 scoop Dymatize Elite Gourmet Protein Blend
  3. 1 large red delicious apple

Dinner (5:00 PM)

  1. 1/2 cup of salad
  2. 1 tilapia filet (roughly 4-5 oz.)
  3. 1 medium pear

1 hour before Bedtime (8:00 PM)

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 2 scoops GNC Beyond Raw “Re-Feed” Protein (Casein)
  3. 1 medium banana

Total Intake:  2050 calories, 31g Fat, 182g Protein, 257g Carbohydrates

A couple things to note about those numbers:

  • I always try to shoot for around 1.5g of protein per pound of body weight (which should be 240g for me), so I see that I need to up the intake in that department.  It allows me to re-adjust for next week (maybe use 2% milk with my protein shakes) to ensure gains!
  • I keep my starchy carbohydrate intake down after lunch.  Since the ones I use are slow-acting (oatmeal, Ezekiel bread), the body absorbs them slow enough to use as a source of energy throughout my day.  The rest come from fruits (in the form of fructose, a sugar) and vegetables.  Avoid sugars like high fructose corn syrup (and even chemically enhanced calorie-free sweeteners)!  Both have been linked to crashes in insulin levels and cancer.  Scary enough, right?
  • The fats in my diet come from my protein sources and nuts.  This means they are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, which are necessary for healthy cardiovascular health.  These are the OK types of fat!

So on that note, what are you guys eating today?  Make sure to write it down!  You’ll learn a lot and have piece of mind knowing what’s going into your body.

Jonathan.





Dymatize Elite Casein

7 05 2012

As I’ve always said, I only write about things I use or have tried, whether it’s nutritional, physical or supplemental.

I started using Dymatize Elite Casein back in 2010 and only stopped using it recently for the reason that it was lacking the relaxation blend of GNC’s RAW RE-FEED.

Casein protein is great for overnight prevention of muscle breakdown.  While you’re sleeping, your body goes into a catabolic state and goes after your muscles in starvation mode (assuming you’re eating small meals or shakes every 2-3 hours).  Dymatize, with its 24 grams of slow-digesting protein, helps counteract, while also being quite tasty!

As far as taste is concerned, it really depends on what you’re mixing it with.  With milk (a natural source of casein, might I add), it’s phenomenal.  With water?  I found the flavors I’ve tried (chocolate and vanilla) to be a bit chalky.

To put it simply; this is a great “last meal” of your day.  Pairing this shake with a banana and you’ll have a great night’s sleep without losing muscle.  It’s currently on sale over at Bodybuilding.com ($26.99 for a 2 lbs. tub), so the investment is well worth it!  Leave comments and let me know what you think!








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