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Posts Tagged ‘Protein’

Two salads and two sides of tofu, ready to be reheated/have some oil added for easy food preparation. The masking tape has the reheating and final prep instructions right on them.

Here’s my low-carb, good fat, protein snack collection for easy snacking while I recover from surgery. This is a collection of Kind STRONG bars, ThinkThin bars, Zing bars, and dried-salted chick peas.

6 servings (1 cup each) of Kraft 30-minute chili mac, in individual containers for easy re-heating (note: I don’t reheat in plastic, so those are thawed and heated in bowls).

I recently had PRK eye surgery, which meant that I was going to not feel great and not really be able to see (due to light sensitivity) for a few days.  This posed a challenge for me as a hypoglycemic, since I still needed to maintain my diet. And, since I wouldn’t be able to work-out for a whole week, I needed to really make sure I ate healthy to maintain my weight.

My boyfriend (now fiance!, who was amazing during this, thank you so much!) was in charge of taking care of me during my healing process, including my meals. I wanted to make it as easy as possible on him because I definitely know how frustrating it can be do figure out all of the correct portions, measurements, etc.

So, the night before the surgery, I prepared some of easy-to-finish/easy to reheat meals that he could give me when I was hungry. This included (see photos above):

The salads and chili mac had final preparation instructions on masking-tape for him.

This worked really well, so I will definitely do it again if I’m having surgery again.

 

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Note the black, matte packaging and “manly” flavors, clearly marketing to men. Three different flavors of the King STRONG bars: Hickory Smoked, Honey Mustard, and Thai Sweet Chili

Three different flavors of the King STRONG bars: Hickory Smoked, Honey Mustard, and Thai Sweet Chili

I’m not sure if you actually get more volume out of the Kind STRONG Honey Mustard bar or if the ingredients are more “smushed” so it looks more filled.

 

Note: I was not compensated for this post nor did KIND know about this post prior to me publishing it. 

One of the questions I took to my dietician was snack ideas that would be good for my hypoglycemia, good for me overall, and were reasonable in cost.  She highly recommends KIND bars. Originally, I was eating the KIND + protein bars, but these didn’t seem to fill me up. She figured-out that my snacks need to be at 230 calories, so she recommended the higher-calorie KIND & Strong bars.

As a marketer, these bars make me laugh. They are clearly marketed to men, with the “savory” flavors and the black matte packaging, so I’ve nicknamed them “Bro Bars.” And, I was really skeptical of the non-sweet flavors because, like everyone else, I’ve been conditioned by the “bar” market to expect energy/protein bars to be sweet.

But they keep me full, keep my blood sugar even, and are actually quite good (once you get over your sweet expectation). These have become a staple in our house and a regular healthy snack when I’m traveling.

I’m also a fan of the price, which is about $1.20 each compared to other protein bars at $2.50 each.

Final note: These are really hard to find at local grocery stores. I contacted KIND and they recommended a few stores, one of which was Target, so that’s where I grab mine.

 

 

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Nice try, Starbucks. Considering that 2.3g sugar = 1 sugar cube, there are the equivalent of almost 9 sugar cubes in this damn can of coffee. That cancels-out any benefits of the 20 grams of protein in my book.

Definitely not hypoglycemic-friendly or anyone-friendly.

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 ThinkThin Chocolate Raspberry bar on a halloween placemat 
Happy Halloween everyone! 
As you already know from previous posts, my current protein bar of choice is ThinkThin. They taste great, have ZERO sugar in them, and they are a hell of a lot cheaper than Quest Bars ($1.25 for ThinkThin, $2.50 for Quest, if you eat one a day, that’s about a $40 difference per month!).

So when I saw a new flavor at the grocery store, ThinkThin Chocolate Raspberry, I got excited and bought a bunch of them. 

Sadly, just like the caramel one, something is seriously off with the taste. It tastes like…chemicals. 

Damn, I was really looking forward to a new flavor. I guess I’ll stick with my usuals (Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Brownie, and Chocolate Espresso).

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Ok, so sometimes I have to get a little creative to maintain my diet, weight and blood sugar. It’s ok to laugh at these, I make fun of myself about them all the time. But you know what? They work:

  • Went to Valentine’s Day dinner with my boyfriend. They told us ahead of time that they were catering in fajitas. So, I took my own corn tortillas. Laugh all you want, but the two flour tortillas they were giving everyone equaled 300 calories and 50 g of carbohydrates. My three corn ones? 150 calories and 30 g of carbs. Plus, they taste better and I got more meat than everyone else. I didn’t need to eat from 7 pm that night until the next morning!
  • If I do allow myself a treat, such as a plain cake donut (one of my favorites!) I get one, immediately walk to the trash, and drop 1/2 of it in the trash. I know me too well, if it’s sitting there, I’ll eat it. But I won’t dig it out of the trash. Full plain cake donut, 210 calories, 22g of carbs. 1/2 of donut, 105 calories, 11 g of carbs.
  • If my friends are having a night of unhealthy food that I can’t have (ice cream night), I’ll still go, but I’ll take my own treat that I love and is somewhat equivalent (such as Cookies and Cream protein powder or a ThinkThin Cookies and Creme protein bar).
  • If sandwiches/wraps are provided for a meeting, I’ll take extra (no shame), dissect them, remove a lot of carbs and load all of the protein into one bun or wrap, and eat that.
  • Drive our admin assistant nuts by insisting that all of our work food comes with all the condiments on the side (see Stop pre-loading my food with condiments!).

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Recently, I was in Greece to check-out the sites and get in some much-needed relaxation.

Greek Yogurt is served over there, in some form, in breakfast (mostly in general yogurt format), lunch (Tzatziki sauce) and dinner (as a desert, with honey and chopped dried dates).  I have to say, the Greek Yogurt in Greece was WAY BETTER than what we have in the U.S. It was so rich and creamy.

Battle 1: Which Greek Yogurt, easily available in the U.S., is the closest to that in Greece?

This was a simple, easy battle. I walked into a typical Greek grocery store and looked at their yogurt section looking for any brands available in the U.S. Fage was the only one. In taste-testing the 0% and 2% versions of Fage, the 2% is the closest (still a touch too sour) to what we had in Greece. I’ve noticed that eating one of these for an afternoon snack keeps me full for hours, which is a miracle for me.

Battle 2: Lowest Added-Sugar Greek Yogurt

Milk naturally has sugar in it, about 7-8 grams naturally occur in an individual-size (7 oz.) Greek yogurt but that’s an ok amount, especially given the protein you are also getting at the same time. What’s not good, especially for hypoglycemics, but really everyone, is the ADDED sugar they put in them.

A sugar cube is 2.3 grams of sugar, so basically, for every 2 grams of additional sugar, you need to mentally picture another sugar cube.  Check out the sugar cube stacks for Yoplait yogurt as an example.

Obviously, plain Greek yogurt is going to have the least amount of added sugar (basically none), but most people want some flavor. What I’ve found is that the amount of sugar, even in just vanilla Greek yogurt, varies greatly depending on the brands. I had some fun at the grocery store and took photos of different brands and types, including one worst-case scenario. See the comments on each.

Baseline: Fage 2% no flavor is 7 oz. has 8 grams of lactose sugars and 20 grams of protein for 150 calories. This is without any added sugars (chocolate, honey, sugary granola, fruit, etc.). I recommend adding cinnamon vs. a sugar.


Yoplait Greek 100 Calorie Yogurt 4 pack vanilla 

Nutrition label for Yoplait 100 Greek Yogurt

Yes, it’s less calories and looks like a decent amount of sugar, but look at it closer; they messed with the serving size, it’s 5.23 ounces, so about 2 ounces less of yogurt. That explains why the sugars seem fine and the protein is low. I’m guessing this has about 1 sugar cube worth of sugar in it.

H-E-B Greek 100 Calories Vanilla Bean

My local store brand, also the cheapest.

H-E-B Greek 100 Calories Vanilla Bean

ALSO only 5.23 ounces, so much smaller. This has a lot less protein, but look at the sugar! There are at least 2 sugar cubs in this. Also, there are a lot of black dots in this yogurt, I’m thinking a lot of those aren’t vanilla bean seeds, vanilla bean seeds are pretty expensive.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek Vanilla

Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt Vanilla

Also 5.3 ounces, this one tasted the most sugary to me, and I see why. It’s only 80 calories, but only 13 grams of protein and 9 grams of sugar, so I’d guess 2.5-3 sugar cubs in each of these. And you won’t be full.

Chobani Flip Almond Coco Loco Greek Yogurt

Worst case scenario right here, Chobani Flip Almond Coco Loco Greek Yogurt. It’s the same amount of ounces as the others, but remember about 1/3 of that is the toppings, so you’re actually getting a lot less yogurt. The protein is at 12 grams, but the sugar! Oh my! It’s 21 grams, which will definitely counteract the protein. I’m estimating that there are 7 sugar cubes in this.

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My work wellness coach believes very heavily in the coaching part of her job, which means she doesn’t want to give you advice, just “coach” you and motivate you to come up with your own solutions. The following is a general idea (this is meant to be humorous) of what went down during our call.

Her: What’s your goal for our coaching sessions?

Me: I need help adjusting my food to higher-protein, lower-carb options, while still getting a lot of vegetables in. I especially need help with finding high protein snacks for on-the-go. I’m bored with my current set of snacks.

Her: Ok, how could you find help?

Me: I can call you and ask you.

Her: How ELSE could you find help? What could you do on your own?

Me: Calling you, an expert is helping myself.

Her: What could you do OTHER than call me?

Me: I know what you want me to say, you want me to come up with ways to research this on my own and I get it, “help people help themselves.” But the reality is, I’m a highly motivated person and I’ve already done everything else. I’ve read diabetic magazines, searched the web for recipes, gotten on bodybuilder forums thinking they’d have a lot of ideas, interviewed friends, and more. Logically speaking, considering my efforts thus far haven’t been very successful, the next most logical actionable step is to seek the help of someone more educated than I, which is you. So, while I appreciate what you are trying to do the best way for me to help myself at this point is to seek answers directly from you, my wellness coach.

Her: (exasperated, mumbled off a few names of some recipe books, told me to eat more beans and said we’d check back with each other in a couple of weeks…which didn’t happen).

Ah well, back to the drawing board :-). To be fair, I’ve had other wellness coaches that helped me immensely and her approach is correct for a majority of folks, just not me.

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