Banana Protein Power Bites

Ever get tired of the store bought protein bars? Some are good and some are really bad. I used to buy a few and store them in the glove department for when I was on the move; you know, just incase I got hungry mid-day and the only thing nearby was something that would probably take me an hour or more to work off later in the day. 

These days I prefer to see firsthand what is in the food I eat. I’ve noticed I am a lot less fatigued since I quit the fast meal, heavily processed stuff. These little protein bites are perfect to make if you need a quick recipe or just want something different than fruit/veggies for a snack. 

I’ve made some no bake protein balls before and they went pretty quick. This time I added banana to the mix to give a little more moisture for the oats. They weren’t as firm as the previous recipe without banana, but they held up just as well with taste. Banana, chocolate and peanut butter are a recipe match made in heaven if you ask me.

 

Banana Protein Power Bites
Yields 12
Pretty incredible little ball of protein for those who enjoy bananas, oats and peanut butter.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. ¼ cup natural creamy peanut butter
  2. ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  3. very ripe banana, mashed
  4. ½ teaspoon chia seeds
  5. ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mash your ripe banana in a small bowl using a whisk.
  2. Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl. Mix well, either with a wooden spatula or clean hands. Using a tablespoon to scoop, roll into individual ball shapes and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Add cookie sheet to fridge for at least an hour to firm. Replace protein balls into a plastic airtight container and store in fridge.
Notes
  1. This recipe can be doubled.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Yoga and YogDev Wheel Review

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Lately on my no cardio days (Tuesday and Thursday) I’ve been working on my balance and stance by doing an array of yoga exercises. Most are more geared towards helping amenorrhea (something I have been experiencing for some time now) but every now and then I’ll do a session that focuses on just balance. And since I’m not the most balanced person to begin with; I figure it’ll take some time before I feel 100% confident in taking my yoga “experience” outside my bedroom walls. In the meantime, test and try over and over, right?

So when Shaun from YogDev reached out to me about trying the YogDev Wheel, I couldn’t say no. I’ve seen yoga wheels being used on instagram photos by some individuals that I follow and I’ve always been intrigued. Not only can some of these girls and guys do these ridiculously awesome looking poses, but they’re doing them with a yoga wheel! You know – resorting back to the middle school, “she has that ability, I want that ability too!” mentality. 

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But the wheel is so much more than just a tool that helps you look awesome while working on both your core and ability to better balance yourself. There are many things that a yoga wheel can help improve including:

  • Release muscle tension
  • Build strength in both your core and back
  • Stretch key areas: chest, shoulders, back and hips
  • Tone mid-riffs, arms and buttocks
  • Drastically improve balance
  • Challenge basic yoga poses
  • Help to transition into a headstand or handstand

Those sound like things that everyone can benefit from. I’m all about toning my core so I was excited to try out the wheel once my YogDev package arrived. 

First off – I want to take a couple sentences to dedicate to how well designed this wheel is. The particular wheel I was sent was gray and white, which is perfect because my house is all neutral and I have OCD about things matching. Also, when positioned with the wheel, you don’t have the unfortunate skin pinches if you were to flinch slightly or feel like you have plastic squished between your legs or digging into your back arch – the padding material is so soft and comfortable. 

What else is awesome is that YogDev sends you a small pamphlet that gives you a variety of poses to use with the wheel – something anyone without yoga wheel experience needs! What I loved most about that was the listed poses too was that they didn’t seem too far-fetched for a beginner or someone who may not be super flexible.

I can’t wait to continuing using the yoga wheel in an abundance of ways and gaining the courage to actually video my experience – I need a little more practice first though! In the meantime, if you’re interested in having a YogDev Wheel for yourself – check them out here. Don’t forget to check out their mats and towels as well! 

 

Fit & Chic Over Summer Heats

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Everybody – especially ladies – do their best to transform their bodies and looks before summer into something that’s perfect for them so that they can show off their nice appearance, while the weather dictates more revealing clothes and spending time at the beach. Still, many people pay attention to their health and fitness few months before the summer season while they completely forget about balanced diet, proper skin care and fitness routine when the summer is finally there. This often results in poor skin and hair condition, and your figure starts changing (and not for the good) as the summer is near its end. If you want to keep your good looks and make sure that your previous hard work will be visible for many months and seasons to come, you can beat the summer heat and adjust your healthy habits to the weather.

Drink plenty of water

Let’s get the most annoying advice out of the way first. You’re probably tired of reading about benefits of water in every possible beauty article, but ask yourself the most important question – why is it always there? Proper intake of water during summer is essential if you want to keep your body energized and hydrated. There’s no skincare product that can transform your skin into smooth and moisturized canvas if you don’t hydrate it from the inside first. With lack of water, your skin can become dry and patchy. So, make sure you drink a lot of water while at home, and bring a bottle with you when you go out.

Stay fit with continuous exercise

If you think that having to work out constantly in order to stay fit is bad news, wait till you hear the good news. Once you put a lot of effort into reaching your desired fitness skill and body shape, you don’t have to keep exercising like crazy in order to stay fit. Fifteen minutes per day is more than enough if you want to keep things the way they are, as long as you do it regularly. Since summer heat can pose a lot of problems when running, or even going to the gym, you can exercise at home instead. There are many tutorials that can help you. Also, you can make great use of summer fun and engage in some water sports that will keep you fit and healthy.

Lead a balanced diet

We all know how fun it is to drink one or two cocktails at beach parties and grab a bite at fast food restaurants after long summer nights. Therefore, make sure to keep your diet balanced. For example, smoothies are a great way to start your day and get enough nutrients and energy. You can also make them for dinner. Getting your fill of vitamins is especially important if you are exercising, or if you have to spend a lot of time in the sun. Therefore, be smart with your smoothie ingredients and add some organic pea protein powder in order to get the most benefits out of this tasty meal.

Keep protecting your skin and hair with products

If you think it’s enough to use sunscreen when you go out and completely neglect any other skin and hair care routine, you’ll face a lot of problems. While sunscreen is absolutely necessary, you still have to make time to clean your face in the morning and before bed, use restoring and moisturizing creams and give your hair some special rich treatments from time to time. Also, don’t forget your skin. Because of the heat, it’s more prone to dryness, so applying some body lotion after a shower will keep it healthy and moisturized. If summer weather makes it unbearable for you to have any product on your body, use in-shower lotions.

Staying fit and chic during summer heat is more than possible if you start looking at the whole process as a new lifestyle, instead of a troublesome effort for a short-term effect. Embrace the habit of looking and feeling great!

 

Week 1 of FitGirlsGuide’s #28DayJumpStart Food Recap

I’m sure you’ve noticed a slow-down as far as posts go. I have a good reason! You see I’m currently doing the 28 Day Jumpstart program by FitGirlsGuide. That means for the next few weeks, I will not be posting recipes unless they are ones I’ve cooked up for my family. And if I do post something that centers around me individually, it will mostly consist of notes regarding my health journey and the food experiences I’ve encountered while participating in this challenge.

If you like anything you see, by all means go check FitGirlsGuide out for yourself! Not only do they put together a wonderful meal-plan for you with daily exercises, but there’s a community of supportive individuals who are doing the same challenges as your with similar goals – and best of all, they’re SUPER encouraging. Sometimes that’s what we need most.

I’m only mid-week but since I’ve already experienced each meal that is scheduled for the entire week, I’m going to do a little recap on each entree today. Usually it helps to hear others experiences with food before you know for sure if you want to try something out for yourself. 

Week 1 Food Recap:

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Cherry Pie Fridge Oats

I always look forward to breakfast during week 1 of this challenge because I love Cherry Pie Fridge Oats. They’re delicious, extremely healthy and easy-as-pie to assemble the night before; perfect for those who are on the go super early! I eat mine cold and with a hot cup of coffee after finishing a session on the elliptical. 

Roasted Veggie Power Bowl
Roasted Veggie Power Bowl

For lunch, you’re given the freedom to pick and choose your vegetables. I like to sample a variety of ways of preparing the Roasted Veggie Power Bowl and in the past have came up with dishes similar to a burrito bowl at Chipotle or chicken fried rice (above)… However, if you like to just follow the ingredients and instructions to ensure you’re doing the challenge just as it’s been laid out for you; the main recipe is still fantastic! 

Little suggestion – make your own homemade hummus. While store bought hummus is the quick way to go, there’s nothing like the taste of freshly grounded chickpeas and tahini sauce. 

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Sweet Potato Street Tacos

I remember the first time I scanned the Week 1 Menu, I was hesitant at first on if I was going to like the Sweet Potato Street Tacos. Before FitGirlsGuide, I didn’t really eat sweet potatoes. I guess you could say I was a regular stuck up Russet potato kinda-gal. There is truth that you don’t know what you’re missing out on if you don’t actually “get out there” – and the same goes for food tasting. These tacos are delicious! 

So I guess that means sweet potatoes are pretty special; you can’t throw just any ingredient in a corn tortilla and pass it off as a “taco.” 

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Pita Pizza

Truth be told, I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like pizza. So I have a hard time believing that someone is going to read “Pita Pizza” and think “Ew, there is no way I am going to like that.” Think of them as individual pizzas on a flat piece of round pita bread that you get to add healthy ingredients to and then cook in the oven for a few minutes. Sound good? No. It sounds GREAT.

Yoga Tuesday

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I’m convinced that everyone could use a little yoga in their life, be it for meditation reasons, to tone up, or to help cope with minor illnesses. If you research enough, you’ll find there’s a yoga pose for everything and the health benefits are a few pages long.

For my Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays I will be doing yoga sessions either early in the morning or later in the evening depending on at what point I do my 45 minute session on the elliptical. These are my off HIIT days and I would like to use those to concentrate more on tone and balance; something I desperately need.

Now I am by no means a yoga expert. Everything is always a learning experience, especially when it comes to our own physical bodies and the extent of what they can do. For the first week of summer sweat sessions, these are the following poses I will be doing. Feel free to jot them down if you’d like to give them a try – all of them are beginners poses and fairly easy to do!

Yoga Exercises: Session 1
Child’s Pose – Example, Example 2
Cat Pose – Example 
Cow Pose – Example
Downward Dog – Example
Halfway Lift – Example 
Mountain Pose – Example

Yoga Exercises: Session 2
Forward Bend – Example 
Halfway Lift – Example, Example 2
Chaturanga – Example
Up Dog – Example
Downward Dog 
Halfway Lift 
Forward Bend
Mountain Pose 

Chunky Monkey Post-Workout Shake

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I have to buy a gallon of chocolate milk each week because the kids drink half a gallon and I use the other half for these delicious chocolate milk, banana and peanut butter shakes that I drink post-workout for a refuel. 

Chocolate milk is known to help replenish after a hard workout, or strenuous activity because it contains double the amount of carbohydrates and protein that you’ll find in regular milk or sugary drinks like Gatorade. It also has a high water content to recover hydration. Add that with your feel-good banana fruit and a tablespoon of peanut butter for additional protein and you’ll bounce back from that exhausting run in no time!

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Chunky Monkey Post-Workout Shake
Serves 1
Good combination if you like chocolate milk and peanut butter.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk
  2. 1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
  3. 1 medium size banana
  4. 5 ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender for 60 seconds max. Serve chilled.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

The Importance of Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” I often wonder if the individual who thought it up was trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy is not easy. There’s several components that go into the equation when it comes to trying to reroute your daily diet into something that your body will appreciate more than those greasy drive-through french fries. The most important components? Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep. Lets face it though. Not everyone loves meal-planning and not everyone loves cooking. I think you have to enjoy both in order to have a deep and committed relationship with planning a menu and looking forward to prepping food. And while meal planning can be time-consuming and meal-prep, a process (think 2-4 hours spent in your kitchen on a Sunday morning) they’re also the key to a successful healthy lifestyle.
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When I started out on my journey towards becoming more fit and healthy one year ago, I actually looked forward to the process of meal-prep. I was following an e-guide program that lasted 28 days and came with an already scheduled meal-plan for the week, grocery list to check off, which foods I was prepping on what day and what my workout was. Everything is easier when simply laid out for you. But doing so, this taught me how to continue making healthy choices when the program was over. I just had to follow two rules

1. Allow yourself 5 meals a day. That’s right. FIVE!:

Now before you get all bug-eyed, hear me out. I understand you’re either looking to lose weight or maintain. Eating 5 meals a day isn’t going to contribute to weight gain if you’re eating correctly and not just anything and everything in the fridge or pantry – in fact, 5 meals allows your body to use energy stores and burn more fat.

The easiest and most foul-proof way to do it is to fit one small snack in after breakfast and another after lunch. This leaves less need to over-indulge at dinner and less chance of finding your hand in the chip bag. That’s right – no more Doritos fingers!

2. Prep twice a week.

Yes, my friends. When I say twice a week, I mean you will be eating left-overs. I’m sure when you were younger the thought of eating last night’s dinner again for dinner tonight gave you the hebeegeebees. Not anymore! Left-overs are now your body’s best friend. Please don’t imagine microwaving frozen pizza. That’s not the kind of left-overs I meant.

It’s a lot more easier for you to schedule repetitive meals for a few days. This calls for less overall prepping and saves you some cash at the grocery store. It also rids you of that “what should I cook for dinner tonight?” headache. I, personally, meal-prep on Sunday and Wednesday. That means Monday-Wednesday I eat the same breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Thursday-Saturday, same thing. Sunday is my exception day. I try to maintain healthy choices, but don’t have a set plan.

Seems easy enough, right? Everything is as enjoyable as you allow it to be. Prep and dice your vegetables while listening to music or use Pinterest to find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. And don’t forget the tupperware! Not only are you going to need plenty of it, but you get to pick some out in all shapes and sizes. The cute little dressing ones are my favorite!

 

(Pictured above is ingredients for Chorizo Breakfast Burrito)