Tuesday, April 25, 2017

No-Bake Banana Ultra Energy Bites

Not topping of your tank before a workout is like driving a car on empty!  When it comes to preparing for workouts, it's all about easily digested carbohydrates! Carbohydrates are one of your body's best fuel sources due to the efficient way they use oxygen.  Carbohydrates are the main macronutrient found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.  However, before a workout, it's best to minimize fiber to decrease the possibility of creating extra gas during your workout.  That's why grains are often a perfect fuel for those wishing to maintain their energy throughout a workout.  My sports nutrition guidelines including having a small meal or a snack about 1.5 hours before your workout to allow for a nice blood sugar surge to power you to the best possible performance.  You'll also want to hydrate with 18-20 ounces of water during this time frame as well so you are ready to have the best possible experience.  Your body will feel better and so will your mind, as your brain only runs on carbohydrates.  

Don’t miss an opportunity to fuel up for your workout with the “No-Bake Banana Ultra Energy Bites” recipe made with Ultragrain.  It’s the perfect “topping off the tank” with carbohydrates that are easily digested and give you quick energy before you go out to swim, bike, run or strength train!

No-Bake Banana Ultra Energy Bites
·         3/4 cup quick oats
·         1/4 cup Ultragrain® Whole Wheat Flour
·         Pinch of salt
·         1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
·         1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter (or any nut butter of your choice)
·         1/4 cup honey (can adjust if desired)
·         1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
·         3 tablespoons chopped walnuts (can also use pecans or almonds)

1.       In a small bowl, mix together the oats, flour, cinnamon, and the salt and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, almond butter, agave, and the coconut oil. Add the dry ingredients. Stir in the chia seeds, flax, and the nuts.

2.       Cover and refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes.

3.       Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls about 1-1 1/2-inch in diameter.

4.       Place the bites into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

These are best eaten cold as they can lose their shape and texture if they get too warm.

Amount Per Serving
·         Calories 57.6
·         Total Fat 2.5 g
·         Saturated Fat 0.8 g
·         Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
·         Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
·         Cholesterol 0.0 mg
·         Sodium 13.7 mg
·         Potassium 44.1 mg
·         Total Carbohydrate 8.3 g
·         Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
·         Sugars 4.1 g
·         Protein 1.2 g

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

National Flour Month - Ultragrain Energy Bars Recipe

March is "National Flour Month"!  I know what you’re thinking, it’s the LAST week in March, Kim.   Well, most of March got away from me with the usual whirlwind of life and an added trip that Emma and I took to my mother’s in Florida for a few days.  We had a fabulous time, even though the weather wasn’t much better than PA (pictures below!).  Back to flour month!  I like to think out of the box, or bag in this case, when it comes to conventional uses for flour.  Sure, you can bake dessert items with flour, but there are so many things beyond just cookies, muffins and cakes.  In addition, baking doesn’t have to be considered “unhealthy” with the addition of high-calorie or high-fat ingredients.  Just like life, you have to put your own spin on it based on what fits YOUR lifestyle and makes YOU happy.

I decided to use this opportunity to make “energy bars” made with Ultragrain White Whole Wheat Flour!  This recipe uses applesauce as a fat substitute, and includes a long list of wonderful ingredients, including good-fats from nut butter, flax seeds, walnuts and of course whole grains from Ultragrain flour. 

These soft bars are perfect for pre- or post-workout and will give you ample energy to fuel your workout or re-fuel those muscles after a bout of exercise.  They were incredibly easy to make.  I baked them at the end of a long week (Friday night to be exact).  I’ll be honest, I was dreading it at first, but I had every ingredient already in the cupboard and they took less than ten minutes to put together.  Of course, chocolate chips improve everything, so use as much or as little of those as desired!  They came out beautifully and I raced a half marathon on Saturday (and won – yippee), so who knows, maybe there was something special in the bars!  I had two that Friday evening!!

I hope you’ll give this recipe with Ultragrain a try during National Flour Month, or any time of year! 

Ultra Energy Bars – Made with Ultragrain!

Makes: 9 bars
·         1 cup Ultragrain White Whole Wheat flour
·         ¼ tsp salt
·         ½ tsp baking powder
·         ¼ cup apple sauce
·         ½ cup nut butter, almond or peanut
·         ¼ cup + 1 tbsp honey
·         ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
·         ½ cup mini chocolate chips
·         2 tbsp flax seeds
·         Mini chocolate chips
·         Sweetened shredded coconut

1.      Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
2.      Line a 8X8 square pan with parchment paper or spray it with a non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
3.      Mix almond/peanut butter, honey, apple sauce and salt in a bowl.
4.      Add flour, baking powder, chopped pecans, flax seeds and mini chocolate chips to the wet ingredients and mix.
5.      Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan (you can only use half if you want them to be thicker or spread them the whole way if you want them to be thinner). 
6.      Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and sweetened shredded coconut. Press them lightly with a spoon or use your hands.
7.      Bake at 350 F degrees for 20-25 minutes, till edges are golden brown in color.
8.      Cool completely before cutting into bars.  Bars will be very soft initially, but will harden over time.

We decided we had to get into the heated pool at least once, so we made it about 45 minutes before everyone was too cold and we had to get out!  It reached a high of about 58 that day!  Brr!

Emma sat in her first booster seat at a restaurant by herself!  This is a win in my book! 

Nana Donna loved pushing Emma (who looks like she is wearing a snow suit) in the stroller around the neighborhood.  It's not every day you get that bundled up and wear a beach hat! 

It was great to be out racing at "Just a Short Run" half marathon.  

I haven't done this race in years, so it was fun to be back and many Fuel Your Passion athlete competed, including Kathy, Cheyenne, Adam, Lauren and Carey! Also pictured, DJ and Witek! 

Bringing home a little hardware!  It was perfect running weather!  Thanks to all who cheered and supported and thanks to Ultragrain for their support for 2017! 

Ultragrain is a client that I work with to develop recipes and materials.  The views expressed in this blog are my own!  Thank you for reading and for supporting the companies that help athletes like me achieve their dreams!