Gnu Bar Giveaway Winner

And the winner is…Jennifer H. – Check your inbox for more details!  Thank you to everyone who entered.  I really appreciate all of your support.  Look forward to my next giveaway sometime next month.  There will be FOUR winners next time!

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Gnu bar review + Giveaway!

My friends over at Gnu foods have sent me a sampler box = 14 bars with 7 flavor varieties!  After trying a tiny nibble from each, I decided to share the rest.  Keep reading to find out how you can score your own variety pack of 7 gnu bars!

Gnu bars are known for combining “flavor and fiber at last” and I couldn’t agree more.  With 7 different flavors to choose from, you’re bound to fall in love with several of the flavors.  My favorite is peanut butter.  It tastes just like a chewy peanut butter granola bar- yum!  The other flavors are banana walnut, chocolate brownie, cinnamon raisin, espresso chip, lemon ginger, and orange cranberry (second place favorite).

Here are some facts about gnu bars:

  • 12 grams of fiber per bar
  • Low in fat and sodium
  • Only 130-140 calories each- other nutrition bars have over 200 calories and are loaded with sugar and fat
  • First ingredient is whole grains
  • Naturally sweetened with fruit juice
  • Fruit-flavored bars contains real fruit, no artificial flavors or fruit purees!
  • Kosher, OU dairy
  • Great for high fiber diets like IBS or Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn’s

To read more about the importance of fiber in your diet, read my post: All About Fiber

Giveaway Prize

And now onto the giveaway!  This is my first giveaway so I’m very excited.  I know it’s not a Kitchenaid or a $100 Visa Card but I’m just starting out so I want to start small.  It’s ok, I have another giveaway up me sleeve…
To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below and follow all instructions through it.  Make sure to leave a comment in the comment section of my blog below or your entry won’t count:

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Good luck! Thanks for all your support and love!
-Avital

All About Fiber

Fiber is important in a balanced diet because it helps keep us “regular”, may help prevent certain diseases (Diabetes, Heart, Cancer), and can aid in weight management by keeping us full longer.  For individuals with gastrointestinal issues (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis, Diverticulitis), fiber can help prevent flare-ups and control undesirable symptoms. 

Adults need a lot more fiber a day than most are getting.  Here are some guidelines:
  • Men, 50 years old and younger= 38 g/day
  • Men, 51 years old and older=30 g/day
  • Women, 50 years old and younger= 25 g/day
  • Women, 50 years old and older= 21 g/day
The general rule for children aged 3-18 years old is to add “5” to their age in years. For example, a 5 year old needs 10 g/day of fiber.
It’s essential to drink plenty of non-caloric fluids with a high fiber diet or else you may become constipated.  It’s also recommended to spread the fiber throughout the day or else you will feel uncomfortably full.  Once during my freshman year in college (before I knew any better), I ate a whole box of sun-dried tomato tortellini that contained a ridiculous amount of fiber and I literally couldn’t move for an hour.  I wouldn’t recommend doing that.
If you’re already taking in the recommended amount of daily fiber, awesome and keep up the good work!  If you aren’t but want to, start slowly or you will feel cramped and bloated.  Also, diversify your fiber sources by eating a variety of whole grains like oats, whole wheat bread, bran cereals, and some nutrition bars.

Here are some tips for increasing fiber in your diet:

  • Choose cereals with at least 5 g fiber/serving
  • Peels are high in fiber so wash your produce well and eat the peels (only the edible ones!)
  • Limit refined flours and grains- opt for brown rice and whole grains
  • Green leafy veggies are high in fiber like spinach, kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts (my favorite!)
  • Incorporate beans and lentils into 2-3 meals/week.  They’re high in fiber and a good source a protein. Check out my lentil soup recipe!
  • Fruits that are higher in fiber include plums, apricots, blueberries, apples, and raisins
Stay tuned for a giveaway later this week featuring a high fiber nutrition bar!

Sports Nutrition: Eating and Exercise (Part 2)

We established in Sports Nutrition Part 1that healthy living is a 2-sided coin. Part 1 discussed exercise tips so Part 2 will focus on eating in regardsto exercise.  Fueling your body isessential for a successful workout. When you start exercising, your body pulls energy from the carbs storedin your muscles and liver (glycogen) before it starts breaking down fatstores.  If you want to burn morefat, you have to do endurance exercise like jogging.  Depending on the intensity of your workout, you can exercisefor shorter or longer to burn more calories.  
What to eat prior toexercising:
You don’t want to eat immediately before youwork out as this can cause cramping or nausea but you definitely want to have anourished body.  For some morninggym-goers, a drink of water is adequate prior to working out since your body isusing stored energy from last night’s dinner anyways.  If you feel very hungry, than definitely eat a smallcarb-rich snack at least 30 minutes before.  If you exercise later in day, try to eat a large meal 3-4hours before exercising or a smaller snack 1-2 hours beforehand.  
The larger meal should include:
  • A carbohydrate-rich snack to load up glycogen stores
  • Small amounts of protein to help build and repair muscle
  • A meal that is low in fat and fiber- avoid fried foods
  • Drink ~2 cups of water during the 1-2 hours before you start your workout
  • Familiar foods that your body can tolerate- now is not the time to try that spicy Mexican dish you’ve been craving
  • Some examples include:
    • Low fat tuna melt + fruit cup + fat free yogurt
    • Oatmeal with honey and almonds + skim milk + banana
    • Low fat cottage cheese + crackers +peanut butter + grapes
    • Fruit and yogurt smoothie + low fat granola
The smaller snack should be high incarbs.  Some examples include:

  • A fruit
  • Bread with jam
  • Sports Bar
  • Water or Sports Drink (sports drinks should contain 15 grams of carbs per 8 ounces and 110mg of sodium)
What to eat postexercise:
Goals for recovery include:
  • Replenishing lost fluid and electrolytes (sodium and potassium): weigh yourself before and after exercise and drink 2 cups of fluid for each pound lost
  • Replace carbohydrates used from muscle stores (glycogen stores)
  • Consume protein to help repair damaged muscle tissue and to help build new muscle
One should eat a snack or a meal within15-60 minutes of working out. Sports drinks are good for replacing lost electrolytes. 
Some good recovery snack ideas include:
  • Sports drinks + sports bar
  • Yogurt and berry smoothie
  • Crackers with peanut butter + low fat chocolate milk
Smart recovery meal ideas are:
  • Turkey and tomato/lettuce on whole wheat bread + pretzels
  • Homemade Burrito- Whole wheat wrap filled with rice, beans, salsa, cheese, and avocado
  • Chicken stir fry with veggies served over brown rice
Keep these tips in mind the next time youwork out and hopefully you’ll be able to last longer and recover faster!

Holiday Layered Bean Dip: Recipe Redux

Bean Dip with Pita Chips

<!– /* Font Definitions */@font-face {font-family:"Times New Roman"; panose-1:0 2 2 6 3 5 4 5 2 3; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:50331648 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";}a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;}a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;}table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-parent:""; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";}@page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;}div.Section1 {page:SectiThe annual latke potluck party took place on the secondnight of Chanukah this year.  Thisis the third year we have done it but the first year I am hosting.  Debbie and Aaron brought the PotatoLatke ingredients, Yoni and Benjo were responsible for the salad and donuts (anabsolute must!), and Brad and I were on Entrée duty- we decided onLasagna.  Then I joined The RecipeRedux.

From the left: Brad, Benjo, Yoni, Lyla, and Debbie

Founded by Registered Dietitians, The Recipe Redux is arecipe challenge club focused on taking classic yummy dishes and enhancing thenutritional components while retaining the flavor a.k.a Recipe Makeover.  Every month there is a new theme thatthe group has to work with to create a delicious healthy dish.  This month’s theme is “Putting theP(ea) in Potluck” where we have to use legumes in a party-friendly dish.

I knew I would want to feature my Redux dish at the partybut where do legumes fit into a Latke party?  Then it hit me- appetizer!  Part of the fun of a Latke party is making the latkestogether.  Between peeling potatoes,cracking eggs, grating, and frying, there is a lot to do and it takestime.  Everyone is so hungry whilethe latkes are being made – wouldn’t it make sense to have something deliciousto snack on while we were working?

Layered bean dips are a classic party food and since they’retypically overloaded with added fat and calories, they have a lot of potentialto be Redux’d.  Here is myrendition of a classic party favorite:

Layered Black Bean Dip

Ingredients:

Black bean dip (see recipe below)

16 oz salsa

2 c guacamole (I used pre-made)

15 oz light sour cream

4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1 small tomato, diced

Layering Directions:

Layer in a clear medium-sized bowl or trifle dish.  Make sure to spread each layer againstthe side of the bowl so the layered look comes through.

Layer 1: BlackBean Dip

(adapted from Pinch My Salt)
Ingredients:

15 oz can black beans, no salt added

2 T liquid from can of beans

2 T lime juice

¼ t onion powder, paprika, garlic powder. salt

Directions:

Drain and rinse beans, reserving 2 T of liquid

Place beans, liquid, lime juice, and spices into foodprocessor and process until smooth

The bean dip looks like chocolate!

Layer 2: Salsa

Layer 3: Guacamole

Layer 4: Sour cream

Layer 5: Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Layer 6: Diced Tomatoes

Have guests scoop out from the bottom with a big spoon tomake sure they get all 6 layers. Serve with pita or baked tortilla chips!  Happy Chanukah!And for another Legume recipe, check out my lentil soup recipe.

Check out my fellow Reduxers:

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Sports Nutrition: Working Out Without a Gym (Part 1)

Healthy living is most definitely atwo-sided coin.  Normally I focusprimarily on the eating component of a healthy lifestyle but I want to discussthe undeniable importance of the other side: exercise.  A nutritious diet is great but it willonly get you so far in your journey for overall health.  Regular physical activity helps controlweight, reduce the symptoms or risk of disease, and boosts our energy.  The U.S. Government ‘s PhysicalActivity Guidelines for Americans sayswe need 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (i.e. brisk walking).  That’s typically divided into 30 minutes of exercise for 5days a week.  We also need to domuscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.  For those of you who exercise more intensely (i.e. running), you only require 75 minutes a weekplus muscle-strengthening workouts at least twice a week. 
Thisseems like a lofty goal but keep in mind that you can divide it up into smallersegments as long as each is at least 10 minutes long.  For those of you who can afford gymmemberships, make sure you actually go! For the rest of you  (myselfincluded) who can’t find room in their budget for this luxury, here are sometips for fitting more physical activity into your busy schedules.

  • Try to take the stairs at work (unless you work on the 100th floor!)  Seven flights is a good goal
  • Get your hands on workout DVDs (i.e. P90, Hip Hop Abs, Zumba) and do a 30-45 minute segment a few times a week.  Don’t worry if you can’t stick to their 90 day schedules- just get moving and do what you can!
  • If feasible, walk to work
  • Cleaning your house can be quite the workout.  Put on some music and mop to the rhythm
  • Kids can literally give you a RUN for your money.  Their endless energy will force you to burn calories by chasing them around.  If you don’t have kids, ask to borrow your niece or nephew for the day and take them somewhere where there’s lots of room to roam
  • You don’t need fancy equipment to do jumping jacks, pushups, walking, squats, free weights, stairs, or crunches.  A makeshift home gym is easy to put together
  • And my favorite…Dance party!!!  Dancing is a fun, easy way to workout and it doesn’t even feel like you’re exercising
Try to implement one of these free ways to get moving this week.  What other non-gym exercises do you already do?
Stay tuned for Sports Nutrition: Part 2which will focus on what to eat before and after the gym and if sports drinksare beneficial.
For more info on exerciseguidelines visit here.