Optimum Nutrition No-Bake Almond Butter Protein Bars

By, Brett Bauer I love making homemade protein bars since there are so many different variations you can do. Try these out with a kick of Caramel Toffee Fudge! INGREDIENTS 1 cup Almond Butter 1/4 cup Honey 1/4 cup Agave 9 scoops Optimum Nutrition Caramel Toffee Fudge Whey 1 1/2 cups Quick cooking Oats 1 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder   DIRECTIONS 1. Mix Almond Butter, Honey and Agave in a microwaveable dish and heat for a minute 2. Mix well and stir in protein powder. 3. Add Oats and Cocoa Powder and mix gently. 4. Spread into an 8×8 baking dish 5. Slice into 16 squares 6. Refrigerate for 1 hour   NUTRITION FACTS (per square) Calories  210 Protein 17 Carbs  14 Fat - 9

“Pass” the Stuffing Please

By, Mallory Haldeman November and December tend to be the toughest part of the year for our bodies. There are too many delicious holidays and celebrations crammed into such a small period of time. The temperatures are cooler and the days are shorter which makes comfort food more appealing and gym trips seem much less appealing. This time of year I am usually moving from a building phase into my prep phase. Once I started competing, I found out pretty quickly that the holidays are no time to forget about healthy eating. Since its only the beginning of stricter eating for me, I have a few tips that always help me guide myself healthfully through the holidays while still being able to enjoy myself. I know many people that force themselves to tug along Tupperware to their family gatherings but there is nothing enjoyable in that. Clean eating and the fitness life should never be a drag. It should never keep you from spending time with your family and friends and it should definitely never make you feel like you have to "pass" on everything that you haven't prepped for yourself in your 6x6 inch gladware :) Nothing bothers me more this time of year than listening to people tell me how they "passed" on everything. I am a REAL person. I like chocolate and anything with cheese in it, and I have NEVER had stuffing that I did not LOVE! During December, I keep my meals fairly simple but never as strict. I focus on hitting 3 main meals a day and will have 2-3 snacks. I typically keep low carb year round but the biggest change is in my fat intake. Carbs only increase slightly. (usually based around training) Here is an example of what my day might look like: Breakfast : 3 whole eggs + 2-3oz of chicken prepped with a handful of green veggies Lunch: Bison patty with 1/2 avocado and a small salad Post training :2 scoops whey + 2 rice cakes with almond butter Dinner: 4-5 oz lean turkey + small yam Bedtime: egg white omelet made with 4-5 egg whites and spinach Keeping my meals clean and simple, and continuing to keep up with my 5-6 cardio sessions a week helps me stay lean while never really having to "pass" on anything that I really want to enjoy. If i have to go to my Grandmother's house on Christmas eve and not get to enjoy a serving of her famous stuffing and one of her lemon bars, I will be thoroughly upset. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. I don't over eat, and I don't opt for a cookie every time I am faced with one, but if you never give your body a rest and you can't relax enough to enjoy a nice meal with your family, then what is really that enjoyable about your "fitness" lifestyle? Don't pass on that delicious stuffing this holiday, and enjoy the gatherings with your friends and family.

Quinoa & Garbanzo

By, Charlotte Snow   Yields: 4 servings Cooking time: About 35 minutes   Ingredients: 1 cup quinoa 2 ¼  cups water or low sodium stock ½ cup garbanzo beans ½  cup slivered almonds or any nut ¼  cup chopped fresh parsley (pinch of sea salt optional)   Directions: 1. Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear. 2. Boil the water and add quinoa and salt, (optional) cover and reduce heat. 3. After 15 minutes add nuts and garbanzo beans to top; do not stir. 4. Cook 5 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed. 5. Remove from heat, add parsley, stir and fluff with fork, cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes and serve.

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