As a college student, I don’t always have time to cook a meal between classes, so I’ll typically grab a bar as a snack or meal replacement.
For so long I’ve searched for a bar that is not only clean, but also high in protein. By clean, I mean a bar that is grain free, soy free, gluten free, and has no added sugars or preservatives.
There’s an endless variety of bars on the market that sound healthy but are filled with unhealthy ingredients or are healthy but taste bland.
Well, the search is over, I found the perfect bar! Brie’s Protein Bars are both nutritious and delicious.
What I like most about these bars is that they’re filling. While most bars leave me feeling un-satiated, Brie’s bars are packed with high quality protein and fiber.
In addition, they look and sound like sweet treats, yet have no added sugar and are low in carbs and sugar.
From Peanut Butter Cookie Dough and White Chocolate Strawberry to Sea Turtle and Peppermint Sunset, Brie's offers 21 different mouthwatering flavors to satisfy all your cravings, guilt-free!
Brie's also offers healthy cookies. It sounds too good to be true, but it's not! My favorite is the All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie.
All of their products are handmade and are to be enjoyed within 10 days of receiving, or can be frozen to preserve them— which, just shows that these bars are natural and filled with quality ingredients—other bars can sit on the shelf for months!
I prefer to freeze my bars and microwave them for about 15 seconds—they taste like dessert.
We all know the benefits of drinking water:
…. And these are just a few of the many benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated. Though these benefits should be motivating to drink the recommended eight 8-ounces of water everyday, I still found that I had a hard time making sure I was drinking enough water. This summer I have committed myself to drinking more water, and this post is about some tips I have learned to help me do just that!
TIPS FOR DRINKING MORE WATER:
RISE & SIP
Every morning when I wake up, I drink a bottle full of water before my feet touch the ground. I love drinking from my Swell water bottle because it keeps the water cold for 24 hours! It’s so refreshing!
I love adding fresh fruit to my water to add some flavor; not only does it taste more exciting, it also offers other benefits for my body.
HAVE WATER AS AN APPETIZER
Drinking a glass of water before each meal assures you drink at least 3 glasses of water a day guaranteed.
USE RUBBER BANDS
Put 8 rubber bands on a reusable water bottle. Everytime you finish a bottle of water, remove a rubber band.
TRACK WITH AN APP
Water apps make it easier to track water intake. They also send reminders to keep chugging throughout the day. Here are some apps that I have found:
I typically try to not eat out for a few reasons: when I eat at home I save myself calories and I know exactly what I’m eating. However, when I do go out, I follow these tips to make healthy decisions and save some calories.
Eat a small snack before.
I don’t like to arrive to a restaurant extremely hungry; otherwise I’ll eat whatever is in front of me! I’ll usually eat an apple before I go out. They’re a great option because they are filled with fiber, which keeps you satiated.
Before I go out to eat, I look up the restaurant menu online and decide on something healthy. That way I avoid ordering a last minute craving.
Typically anything you order at a restaurant will be high in calories & sodium (even salads and vegetables). By carefully reading the menu and knowing what words to look for, you can reduce the damage.
Avoid foods described with the following words on a menu:
Salads are a great option. However, the calories can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Swap the sugary and fattening dressing with lemon juice or olive oil- or just order it on the side and dip your fork in it instead of pouring it on.
Many restaurants offer gluten free bread and buns, however they’re not any better for you. Whenever I go to a burger joint, I love getting my burger wrapped in lettuce. It looks funny, but tastes so good!
Choose an entrée packed with protein such as chicken, steak, or salmon.
Skip the dessert.
If you have a sweet tooth like me, it’s hard to ignore the dessert menu. I never regret my decision to say no to dessert when I wake up the next morning. If you can’t battle, a sorbet is a healthier choice than a heap of ice-cream drenched in “calorie sauce” (hot fudge). It’s also a good idea to split a dessert with someone.
DURING THE MEAL
I don’t like to drink my calories so I avoid ordering pop, juices, or alcoholic beverages. I also try to drink a glass of water before I eat, which helps me feel more full.
Skip the breadbasket.
I would rather fill up on my actual meal than on a bunch of carbs.
Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes to realize that you’re full. Put your fork down and take sips of water in-between bites. Also try holding a conversation. I’ve been trying to focus more on enjoying my mealtime, rather than just my food.
Control your portions. Most restaurants serve portions that actually feed two or more people. To avoid the extra calories, ask your server to box half of your plate even before your food is served.
Don’t eat past 7 PM.
If timing is tight, just keep in mind that you shouldn’t eat 3 hours before bed.
Avoid eating in front of a television or in a movie theater; you're bound to consume more calories when distracted.
When you’re with 1 other person you’ll eat 35% more, with a group of 4 it’s 75% more, and with 7 or more it’s 96% more!
It’s okay to splurge every once in a while. Just remember that when you do go out to eat with friends, plan ahead and choose wisely!
I hope this post was helpful!
I’ve noticed that there are a lot of misleading labels on food products. Just because a food’s packaging claims it is “healthy" does not mean that it actually is.
Let’s take Welch’s Fruit Snacks for example. Looking at the wrapper, there are two “healthy” signs: “Fruit” and “Fat free.”
You'd think that this might be a "healthy" snack, however if we take a look at the food label you will see that it is actually not “so healthy.”
Ingredients: Juice from Concentrates (Grape, Pear, Peach, And Pineapple), Corn Syrup, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Fruit Purees (Strawberry, Raspberry, Orange, And Grape), Gelatin, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Vitamin A...
After reading the ingredients, this sounds more like a candy bar.
Below are some foods I have found that are hiding as junk food:
I’m always shocked after reading the nutrition label and ingredients of yogurt. Most yogurts are high in sugar and contain questionable ingredients such as corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
Greek yogurt is a great replacement and there are several options on the market that are high in protein and low in sugar. I’ve come to love FAGE Plain Greek Yogurt 2%. I always get plain so I can add fresh mixed berries instead of eating the fruity syrup that comes in some.
Many brands aren’t any better than a Snickers Bar! Not only are many high in calories and sodium, they also contain more sugar than protein. Beware of protein powders as well…
Gluten Free Replacements
I’m gluten free, however I don’t choose to replace gluten with gluten free products.
From reading labels, I’ve found that most processed gluten free foods have more sugar, sodium, and other additives in them just to make them taste like the “real thing."
Fast Food Salads
When you go to a fast food restaurant and think that choosing a salad is a healthy choice, think again. Many salads have more calories and higher sodium levels than the fried burgers…I’d choose a burger over salad any day (just skip the ketchup, which has lots of added sugar).
Salads don’t taste that great on their own, but using a dressing or sauce with a lot of sugar kind of defeats the purpose of eating a salad in the first place. As a substitute I use olive oil (often mixed with minced garlic), a mashed avocado, or lemon juice! That way I avoid the additives, sugar, and trans fats contained in processed dressings.
I ate this consistently during my first semester at college. I thought I was eating healthy until I stepped on the scale...I figured out that the cause of my weight gain was due to granola. As good as it tastes, it’s not worth the excessive amounts of sugar (usually from high fructose corn syrup) as well as calories. Lesson learned the hard way!
If you enjoy eating granola with yogurt, try adding sliced almonds and/or fresh fruit instead!
I love trail mix so I was extremely upset when I found out that only 3 tablespoons was about 200 calories…not even ¼ cup…depressing, I know. I don’t think I’d feel satiated if I consumed ½ cup of trail mix, yet that’s about 500 calories! From my experience, if you’re looking to gain weight this is a great option.
No more sushi dates:/ As small as sushi rolls are, they’re packed with calories and often fried or marinated in both sugary and high sodium sauces. Then there is the white rice…many people don’t know that this grain is actually awful for you; it is highly processed and spikes blood sugar levels.
In conclusion, I just want to emphasize the importance of reading food labels. I have found that not everything is how it appears...and what I put in my body shows up on the outside too.
Thanks for reading! I plan on posting every Wednesday...and hopefully more.