Quinoa Energy Balls (V)(GF)

Quinoa Energy Balls (V)(GF)

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I have been seriously struggling with a sweet tooth lately and have had a craving I cannot seem to satisfy with dates and nut butters alone. So if I cannot eat a big piece of chocolate cake at 3:00 pm everyday, I think these little snack nuggets will suffice.

You can whip these together in 10 minutes and enjoy them when you need your daily pick me up. I added chocolate chips to my balls but you can definitely omit them if you wish. I used the mini chips by Enjoy Life.

To make these you will need…

¼ Cup Organic Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)

1 Cup of Cooked Quinoa

2 teaspoons of Honey (Agave or Maple Syrup will work)

1 teaspoon of Molasses

1 teaspoon of Cinnamon

Optional: ¼ Cup mini dairy free chocolate chips

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl until well combine. Be sure to let the quinoa cool before you add everything else. Roll tablespoon size lumps into pretty little balls. You can put these in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to make them set or you can just put them in the fridge and allow them to harden slowly. I gobbled up all the bits that didn’t make it into a neat ball and clean up was a breeze with just one pot to clean. Store them in the refrigerator.

My balls have about 2 grams of protein and 50 calories each, incase you are counting.

I am about to go have one now with a big chai :0)

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Choco Coconut Protein Bars

When you spend most your mornings on the go like I do, it is hard to sit down and eat a balanced clean meal before the sunrises. I have been making gluten free breads, but this week I wanted something a little higher in protein and whole grains.

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Let me introduce you to my Choco Coconut Protein Bars. The ingredients are simple, clean and you most likely have everything you need sitting in your pantry! Here is what you will need:

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup gluten free oats
1 cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup chia seeds
1 cup dried fruit/nut blend of your choice
½ cup chocolate protein powder
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp raw honey
3 tbsp coconut butter or oil
¾ cup organic peanut or almond butter
¼ cup tahini

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degree. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread your oats and quinoa, then toast for about 10 minutes. While the grains are toasting line a 9X13 with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl combine coconut, dried fruit/nut blend, protein powder, chia seeds and the toasted oats and quinoa. Now combine the salt, raw honey, coconut butter (or oil), peanut butter (or almond butter) and tahini in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Pour the heated mixture into the dry ingredients. Move the combined mixture into the 9×13 pan, patting down firmly into the rectangle. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely, for about an hour. When cooled cut into individual servings and wrap each piece in plastic wrap or in mini plastic bags. Yum breakfast!

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I have posted picture of the raw honey, protein powder and coconut butter I used in this recipe. When buying coconut make sure you purchase the unsweet flakes. When it comes to quinoa I try and buy the unsprouted version. I used peanut butter in this recipe as well as jumbo raisins, raw almonds, raw walnuts and raw pecans.

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These bars are toasty, earthy and the perfect amount of sweetness.

Sleeping Late & Dessert for Breakfast

Monday sucks.  It’s painful for almost everyone.  Today I attempted to keep my bad mood under control by making two decisions last night. 

  1. I turned my 5:30 alarm off and I slept until 7:30
  2. I prepped a magically decadent breakfast

Monday Fuel

I typically wake up around 5:30-6:00 on Monday mornings to workout, but as I climbed into bed last night I realized how sore I felt from that morning’s weight lifting session.  It has been a crazy couple weeks with new clients and a new workout regimen so I am stepping out of my routine for some rest.  Wow, 9 hours of sleep has me feeling like a new woman.  Sleep is the new cardio. 

When I went to prep my breakfast last night I realized there was only about half a serving of yogurt left, so I improvised and made the most decadent breakfast of my life.  It was like eating peanut butter pie for breakfast, but better, because it was filling fuel not empty calories. 

I zoomed to the office this morning so excited to dig into my breakfast jar.  Catching up on emails is so much more fun when you are shoveling delicious food down your throat. 

Here is what went into my morning jar: 

I mix all the ingredients together and let the jar sit in the refrigerator over night.  This allows the flavors to really soak into the yogurt.  The chia seeds expand into gelatinous fibrous omega-3 fatty acid sprinkles. 

This recipe is full of healthy fats and 19 grams of protein to keep you full and satisfied until lunch! There is no added sugar (or artificial sugar), so you wont crash like you will with a bowl of cereal.  I even counted calories for all you number crunchers and with my portions it was 380 calories.  That is one gram of protein for every 20 calories.  Vegetarians rejoice!

Give it a whirl or make your own version, it will make your regimented morning a tad more exciting.  Report back!

Be Prepared Not Hungry

I love the ease of meal prepping.  It keeps me (and my clients) from eating out during the busy work week and and controls our portion sizes.

1/2 Banana, 1/4 cup blueberries, about 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 Tbsp raisins, 2 Tbsp KIND quinoa granola

1/2 Banana, 1/4 cup blueberries, about 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 Tbsp raisins, 2 Tbsp KIND quinoa granola

I don’t love eating the exact same breakfast, lunch and dinner for 5 days straight.  I also don’t like when food tastes/looks like leftovers.  Many meal preps are done on Sunday for the whole week, which I do on my super busy weeks. I prefer to break up my personal prepping, this keeps ingredients fresh and exciting. 

For example, I will prep my breakfast for Monday and Tuesday on Sunday night and repeat with slightly different ingredients on Wednesday night for Thursday and Friday.  On Wednesday I have enough time in the morning to make my breakfast at home, so I will cook up an egg scramble or something more labor intensive.  Eating healthy  and clean is satisfying when you are using fresh, flavorful and interesting ingredients. 

When it comes to my yogurt jars I have a couple staple ingredients: plain Greek yogurt (I like FAGE) & half a banana.  I rotate the other add ins to avoid meal boredom.  I will usually pick two from the following list to spice up my breakfast jar: 

  • Chia seeds
  • KIND’s quinoa granola
  • Gluten free rolled oats
  • Berries
  • Raisins
  • Apple slices
  • Coconut flakes
  • Cinnamon
  • Raw unsalted almonds
  • Raw unsalted walnuts
  • Almond Butter (Raw Unsalted Chunky)
  • Peanut Butter Powder
  • Whatever fun fruit I receive in my farm basket 🙂

This week my farm basket included blueberries, so into the jar they go! The photo above is from my Wednesday night meal prep.  The size of my breakfast jars vary slightly to accommodate my appetite.  If I know I have a later lunch or I am particularly starving, I will grab a larger portion. 

I like to fill my morning with healthy fats and protein like yogurt, nuts, chia and quinoa granola.  The fruit adds antioxidants, fiber and flavor. On Wednesdays and weekends I do eggs with lots of greens because I have the time.  Breakfast sets the tempo for your day, so start your day with something clean and satisfying.

I share this with you all because I am very passionate about making healthy food appealing to my clients.  I love taking over kitchens to prove how easy healthy eating can be.  Losing weight is not just about what you eat, but when you eat! Going hungry is no way to treat your metabolism.  If you are interested in a meal prep lesson feel free to contact me directly or through the Storm Fitness website.  Just mention Broke Girl Fitness or me (Gen) in your online contact. 

If you are wondering about my lunch and dinner meal preps, stay tuned for a post in the future 🙂

What To Eat Pre-Workout

One of my clients recently asked me what and when she should been eating before our sessions to keep her from feeling exhausted and/or nauseous. So hear I am, singing the praise of carbs carbs and more carbs.  You cannot efficiently burn fat and build muscle without adequate carbohydrate intake.

One of my favorite quotes actually came from my NASM text book.  I memorized it when studying but find myself using it as a reminder in my own nutrition choices.  It goes like this: “Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame”

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Basically, maximal fat will not be utilized without enough carbohydrate.  Carbohydrates serve as our most vital source of energy for all bodily functions and muscular endurance.  This is because our bodies depend on muscle glycogen during exercise.  But enough with the scientific blabber, what you need to know is that without sufficient glycogen stores available, you may hit a wall during your workout, burn less fat and build less muscle.  As an athlete, you want to save your protein for building muscle, rather than use it for energy.

2-4 hours prior to working out, you want to consume a carbohydrate rich meal with some protein as well.  A common carbohydrate to protein ratio is 2:1 when exercising for an hour or less.  If you are an endurance athlete you can up your carbohydrates to a 3:1 ratio.  If you workout in the mornings, just get something in your system that will cause little distress on your belly and will digest easily.  Read this short article highlighting the importance of pre and post workout nutrition  from Equinox’s blog.

In order to recover and replenish those glycogen stores after a workout you need to eat at minimum a small snack within 30 minutes of completion.  If you are able to consume a full meal within 30 minutes of working out, you can do so with a carbohydrate and protein rich meal.

Now this does not mean you should eat pasta for every meal.  Sometimes we forget that fruits and vegetables are also carbohydrates.  Also stick to whole grains like quinoa, brown rice or oats.

Here is what I suggest my clients consume before a heart thumping session to avoid early exhaustion:

  • Banana or apple with nut butter ( I prefer Raw Unsalted Almond Butter)
  • Steel cut oats with half a banana, some blueberries or raisins (get creative and use what you have)
  • A hard boiled egg with a piece of fruit
  • Whole wheat crackers with hummus (I love Mary’s Gone Crackers)
  • Carrots and Hummus
  • A bowl of quinoa (Ideas here: I’m dying to try the “bagel bowl”)
  • Brown rice cake(s) with avocado (I need more than one, but I have a lot of body to fuel so keep your personal needs in mind)
  • Baked Potato with salsa and a sprinkle of black beans (so good and such a great endurance carbohydrate)
  • Baked Sweet Potato with a sprinkle of cinnamon and some ghee or coconut oil

Post Workout I usually grab a banana and a handful of nuts or make a protein shake if it is not meal time. If I am running around I also really like Zone’s Perfectly Simple line.  You can find them at most large grocers and target too. They are not as pricey as some other brands on the market, and they are gluten free!

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GF oatmeal with blueberries, half a banana and half a handful of almonds

Most days I time my workouts to come before a balanced meal.  If it’s breakfast time, try an egg and vegetable hash or a bowl of breakfast quinoa with Greek yogurt (which when combined is a complete protein). If you want some egg and vegetable ideas, check out my blog post Green Lunches.  When it’s dinner time, have nutrient dense veggies, whole grains and proteins.  I am not a big meat eater, so I combine foods to create whole proteins and incorporate eggs into meals.  For example, rice and beans when combined create a whole protein and provide you with adequate carbohydrate replenishment!  Above is my post workout breakfast from this morning, this is also a great pre-workout meal, especially for those long runs during spring training.

Just keep in mind I am not a nutritionist and everyone has slightly different needs depending on their body, exercise habits and dietary restrictions.