Yesterday morning I rushed to a class at Exhale in the Flatiron district, only to discover that they didn’t have my name down. Tuns out I had booked the class in the Meatpacking district! I wish I could say this was the first time I made this mistake :/ But the people at Exhale were so nice and let me take class there anyway. I jumped in expecting a barre class and instead got a class called Core Fusion Extreme. Holy crap, it was extreme! The class consisted of plyo moves and intervals at different stations around the room and the only rest we got was 10 seconds to get to the next station. The teacher was the perfect mix of no bullshit and inspiration that I really appreciated. She wouldn’t let us quit and I’m feeling the effects EVERYWHERE today.
Moral of the story: Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you have to be ready, and more important than that, willing to go with it. You’re not always going to get what you want, but you will always get what you need. And sometimes what you get is better than what you wanted in the first place 😉
I thought today would be a good day to do another Good~Better~Best segment. And this one includes a recipe!
Today I want to talk about bars. Bars are a great, convenient way to refuel after a workout or get a snack in when you are on the go, but a lot of bars on grocery store shelves are no better than candy bars. Sugar content is in the double digits and the ingredient list may as well be in Swahili, what with all the artificial ingredients and additives. So I’ve picked out my Good~Better~Best options that I personally reach for when I’m in need of a quick, nutritious bar.
Good~Think Thin High Fiber + Protein Bars
Full disclosure-These bars are delicious, they have a good mix of protein and fiber (13g/5 g) and are low in sugar (2 g). They are also gluten-free. If it was only about nutrition stats and taste, these bars would win a gold star, BUT-and this is a big but (see what I did there? :b) the ingredient list is what keeps this bar in the Good category. It’s not as bad as reading Swahili. It’s closer to reading Spanish. All of the ingredients are pronounceable, but I don’t like that a lot of them are isolated from their whole food sources (whey protein isolate, malitol, calcium calceinate). I have to admit that I reach for them from time to time, which is why they land in the Good category, but I don’t recommend them if you have the option of one of the next featured bars.
These bars are having a moment right now. I’m seeing them everywhere and it’s no surprise why. Kind bars are gluten free, non-GMO and all natural. You will never find an artificial anything or word you can’t pronounce in their ingredients. Well, except maybe quinoa (“KEEN-wah”) I was saying “Kwi-NO-uh” for years haha!
Anyway, these bars are packed with nutritional superstars-nuts, coconut, dark chocolate, spices and just a touch of honey to bind it all together. The protein and fiber content is great (around 7g for each) and the sugar content is low (around 5 g) as long as you stick to the nut and chocolate based bars. Most of the fruit based bars have anywhere from 12 to 16 grams of sugar, which isn’t terrible if you’re refueling after a workout, but is still a little high for my liking.
My favorite flavors include Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Chili Almond and Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond. We buy the Costco-sized box of Kind bars because we go through them so quickly.
Best~Homemade Protein Bars!
The only bars that trump Kind Bars are the ones you make yourself! Making your own protein bars is a lot easier than you may think. You control what you put into them, how you want them to taste and what good-for-you ingredients you want to add. No oven needed and they freeze well too. They are also easy to adjust to your specific needs. I’ll make a lemon ginger cherry version to combat workout soreness and speed recovery, a maca coconut caramel if I’m exhausted and suffering from adrenal fatigue, or a chocolate coconut almond version when I’m having an It’s-my-day-off-and-I-want-something-indulgent-and-I’m-not-sharing-with-anyone kind of day ;D
Chocolate Coconut Almond Protein Bars
Makes 12 bars
1/2 cup protein powder (I use vanilla sunwarrior)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp almond milk
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp coconut oil
3 tbsp shredded coconut (optional)
Lay parchment paper in a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with edges hanging over the sides. Mix first four (dry) ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Add in next five (wet) ingredients and stir until incorporated. The batter should be the consistency of raw cookie dough. If too dry add a few more tablespoons of milk. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan and press down until even. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave at 10 second increments until completely melted and smooth. Spread chocolate in an even layer over the dough and, if desired, top with shredded coconut. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Lift out of the baking dish by parchment edges and cut into 12 bars. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.
Ever go to a class expecting one thing and got something completely different? What did you do!?
If you give the recipe a try let me know what you think in the comments! I always get a kick out of people trying the recipes I share 😀
Enjoy the rest of your week!