Healthy Dessert: A Love Story

Let’s cut to the chase…have you tried Halo Top ice cream?  If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?  I had heard about this delectable, healthy dessert, but had never tried it.  I bought a pint last weekend and I am OBSESSED.

What makes Halo Top healthy???  See below direct from the Halo Top website.

HOW WE SWEETEN THE DEAL

so where’s the sugar?

In short, we use organic stevia. Stevia is a plant native to Paraguay that’s been used to sweeten foods and beverages for more than 200 years. And, because it’s so tasty, we use it as a sugar replacement. We also use Erythritol, which though it has a rather scientific-sounding name, is actually another all-natural sweetener found in fruits like pears and grapes. Though it’s technically a sugar alcohol, it’s unlike the others because erythritol doesn’t affect blood glucose or cause bloating.

This product is also a great source of protein…24 grams per pint for all flavors.  These are the nutrition facts from the mint chocolate chip flavor.

Flavors include vanilla bean, chocolate, lemon cake, mint chip, pistachio – all 240 calories per pint; strawberry, chocolate mocha chip, birthday cake, sea salt caramel, oatmeal cookie, chocolate almond crunch, black cherry – all 280 calories per pint; peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, s’mores – all 320 calories per pint; chocolate chip cookie dough, red velvet – both 360 calories per pint.

I have tried mint chip, birthday cake, and oatmeal cookie…LOVE them all.  The name of each flavor perfectly describes the taste and cannot wait to try the others.  I was also excited to try cookies and cream, but was disappointed.  It tasted NOTHING like cookies and cream:(

I am receiving no compensation or products for this post.  I reached out to the company and they said that there are occasional coupons if you sign up for their newsletter on their website.  You can all find giveaways on their Facebook page.

Healthy Dessert: A Love Stor Click To Tweet

The ONLY drawback that I found was that when I ate a whole pint of mint chip at one sitting (which is less calories than 1 cup of some full fat ice creams), I had some stomach distress.  I can be sensitive to milk protein so getting ALL that protein at once didn’t work for my digestion.  I then ate 1/2 of the container the next time I bought it and I was fine.  Just wanted everyone to know about that in case you too have milk protein sensitivity.

 

Protein…Get Your Protein Here!

I am in a constant struggle to get more protein each day.  I am a carb-a-holic so when I want a snack, I usually reach for or have a craving for something loaded with carbs and not protein.  Not the best choice.  I know that you should have a balance of protein, fat and carbs in whatever you eat so I decided to do a little research on protein bars.  I have been eating them for years.  I have searched high and low for a lower carb option of protein bars, but I haven’t found a low carb bar that tastes good to me.  Most of the bars in this taste test have quite a few carbs, but they are high in protein.  It’s a trade off.

MET-RX BIG 100 Colossal Brownie

MET-RX Colossal Brownie Nutrition Facts

These are my absolute favorite hands down.  They taste like a decadent, yummy brownie.  One bar is 390 calories…yikes…but I usually break it in half for a snack.  They are filling and have 20g of protein in half a bar.  The sugars are 18g, but they are equivalent to most protein bars I have tried.  Colossal Brownies are 3.52 oz.   I don’t think I’ve ever ate a whole one at once, but I assume they could be part of a meal replacement plan.

Balance Bars

Balance Bar Nutrition Facts2

These are a strong runner-up in my review.  I actually eat these more often than the Colossal Brownies because they are available in more mainstream stores.  Balance Bars have all sorts of flavor choices:  caramel nut blast, cookie dough, PB chocolate, chocolate mint and the list goes on.  I currently eat the peanut butter flavor and I love it.  These bars have 200 calories and 15g of protein.  They have 17g of sugar, which is on the high side too.  I have tried a lot of the flavors that they offer and have liked most of them.  Balance Bars are 1.76 oz.

Pure Protein

Pure Protein bar Nutrition Facts3

These bars are definitely my least favorite here.  They have a very protein powdery taste to them if you know what I mean.  I find that most protein powders, no matter the flavor, have a distinct odor and taste to them.  This bar also has that taste.  The sugars are extremely low…1g…but the taste, I feel, suffers because of that.  The protein is 19g and the calories are 190.  If the proteiny taste doesn’t bother you, these may be the bars for you.  I had the dark chocolate coconut for the taste test and didn’t really like it.  I have the double chocolate before and liked those a little better.  Pure Protein bars are 1.76 oz.

Protein...Get Your Protein Here! A review of protein bars Click To Tweet

Gatorade Whey Protein Bars

Gatorade Whey Protein Bar Nutrition Facts
Sorry it's sideways

My son eats these and they are his favorite.  He says they taste just like a candy bar…so who wouldn’t love them, right?  They are 2.8 oz with 360 calories…20g of protein and 29g of sugars.  Those sugars and calories are REALLY high, I know.  I would say that this is more of a meal replacement bar OR for someone who is working out at a very high intensity many times a week.  Like I said, he LOVES them.  I had him try the Pure Protein chocolate flavor and he didn’t like those. (Sorry that the nutrition facts are sideways.  When I saved the graphic, it was left to right:(

**I wasn’t given products by any company.  I just wanted to share my nutritional experience with others.  The links that I included above connect to the cheapest prices I have seen for each type of bar.**

Have you found a low sugar, high protein bar that you love?  Please tell me about it:)


5 Healthy Muffin Recipes to Energize your Mornings

I LOVE muffins…there I said it.  Of course, one muffin can be more calories than some meals and contain a  lot of sugar.  For that reason, I make my own.  I make them and then freeze them and take one out each morning to have with my breakfast.  I have included 5 of my favorite muffin recipes that I have collected across numerous blogs.  I am NOT a cook and really don’t know how to write a recipe on my own so I have included yummy recipes that others have perfected:)

*Flourless Oatmeal Banana Muffins from A Hungry Soul

These are my favorite…I have one EVERY morning.

*Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes from Chocolate Covered Katie

A nutritionist told me about the Chocolate Covered Katie website.  She makes everything into a healthier version of itself and these “cupcakes” are included in that healthier version category…and who doesn’t want a cupcake for breakfast:)

*Zucchini Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins from Running With Spoons

I LOVE zucchini based breads and muffins.  I also love that there is a minimal amount of flour in this recipe.  Add some dark chocolate chips for a little more sweetness.

*Healthy Carrot Muffins from Cookie and Kate

When you can get a fruit, a veggie AND yogurt all in one muffin, I am all for it.

*Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Muffins from Running With Spoons

Chocolate in anything…need I say more…AND it’s healthy:)

What is your go-to breakfast staple?

Angie The Freckled Rose

Nutrition #5 – Foods to Help Beat Arthritis

Let’s just get this out of the way first…arthritis is NOT an old person’s disease.  I have had it for over 15+ years and was first diagnosed in my 30s.  When I was about 3 years old, I was diagnosed with a hip disorder.  I had to have physical therapy and I couldn’t walk for quite a while.  I did end up having full use of my hip and led a normal childhood playing soccer and other sports.  When I got into my late 20s and early 30s I noticed that I always seemed to have a groin issue and it got even worse when I was pregnant with my son because of the added weight.  When I finally went to the orthopedist and had an MRI, they diagnosed it as arthritis and he said that it was definitely initiated by the hip disorder that I had in childhood.
hip-illustration
I have had a lot of pain with this arthritis.  As I said, the pain is more towards the middle of my thigh than the outer hip and that is actually where true hip pain is located because it is where the socket of your hip meets your leg.  I didn’t want to take pain relievers multiple times a day because that is not healthy.  I have taken glucosamine, but it never really helped.  I decided to research what nutrients help with the inflammation of arthritis because I want to attack this nemesis in the healthiest way possible.  These are some of the yummy foods I found that help to relieve inflammation in the body AND they are all good for you:)

1 – Ginger – I have chosen to utilize ginger in tea form because there are so many great ginger teas out there.  Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, along with many other health benefits.

2 – Green Tea – Green tea works to stop the production of inflammatory chemicals that can break down cartilage.

3 – Fruits and Vegetables high in Beta Carotene – Cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and spinach are all high in beta carotene which is a powerful antioxidant…not to mention they are all delicious and have other health benefits.

4 – Fruits and Vegetable high in Beta Cryptoxanthin – Winter squash, pumpkin, papaya, tangerines, red peppers, corn, oranges and apricots are all high in beta cryptoxanthin, which can reduce the risk of inflammatory arthritis with just ONE serving a day:)

5 – Salmon – Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids which suppresses the production of enzymes that break down cartilage.

6 – Fruits and Vegetables high in Vitamin C – Bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, kidney beans and kiwi are all high in vitamin C which helps create healthy collagen, a major piece of cartilage.

7 – Fruits and Vegetables high in Anthocyanins  – Cherries, berries, eggplant, red grapes and plums contain anthocyanins  which are a type of antioxidant that suppresses the production of some inflammatory chemicals in the body.

As you can see, many of the foods I listed are foods you may be eating already or may be foods you love, but don’t always buy.  Not to mention, they ALL have multiple health perks aside from helping with arthritis pain.  I was inspired by Shawn Stevenson of the Model Health Show podcast.  I am reading a pre-release of his book  Sleep Smarter as part of his book launch team. In his preface, Shawn talked about having health problems when he was in college and he was basically told by doctors, he would always have the problems and he’d have to  deal with pain and a lower quality of life.  He researched foods and nutrients that would heal him and it WORKED.  I am now on my own journey to heal myself.   Quote-Six

What are your go-to foods and nutrients that help heal your body and soul?