Coconut Turkey Bacon

It may sound weird to some of you, but I promise that it is delicious. If you like Coconut and you like Turkey Bacon, then you will LOVE this recipe. I will admit right now, it is not the healthiest snack you can have, but can make for a nice treat once when you are really craving something both sweet and savory.

Coconut Turkey Bacon

Ingredients:
8 Turkey Bacon Strips
3 oz. of Shredded Coconut
2 tbsp. of Coconut Oil
1 egg

Directions:
1. Crack 1 egg in a bowl and stir with a whisk or fork.
2. Place the shredded coconut on a large plate and spread it out evenly.
3. Oil a frying pan using 2 tbsp. of coconut oil and put the frying pan on the stove top at low-medium heat.
4. Coat one strip of turkey bacon at a time with the egg that was mixed in the bowl. This can easily be done by dipping the entire turkey bacon strip in the bowl.
5. Place the coated turkey bacon strip on the plate with the shredded coconut. Coat the strip on both sides with shredded coconut.
6. Place the turkey bacon strip on the frying pan and let it sit for about 1 minute. After one minute, flip the turkey bacon strip and cook for an additional minute. The reason we do not fry the bacon for too long is because the coconut will easily blacken if cooked too long. We want the coconut to be golden brown.
7. Remove the strip from the frying pan and place it on a plate that is covered by a paper towel.
8. Continue the process from step 4-7 for the other 7 pieces of turkey bacon. Once you have finished cooking all of the pieces, you should have 8 coconut coated, turkey bacon strips on one plate.
9. Place a paper towel over the turkey bacon and put the plate in the microwave. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until the turkey bacon has a consistency you like.
10. Let the plate cool and ENJOY!

Do you like this recipe? Do you have any recipes you would like to share? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics.

LARA Bars

Lara Bar cherry pie

Lara Bar Cashew

lara bar apple pe
Just a few years ago, I was drinking Redbulls, Monsters, and other insane, high sugar, high caffeine energy drinks in order to get me through my day. It seemed like everyone around me was drinking these artificial drinks to find the extra boost they needed during the day as well. Today, it apprears that many people, including myself, are trying to find more “natural” ways to get their energy. So what are our choices?

One of my new favorite things to do is have a LARA bar. LARA bars are simply made with fruits and nuts. No extra sugars, preservatives, or additives! If you ever come across a LARA bar, look at the label of ingredients! No LARA bar contains any more than nine ingredients (most of them have much less). For example, the Banana Bread LARA bar consists of Almonds, Dates, and Unsweetened Bananas. The Peanut Butter Cookie LARA bar contains Dates, Peanuts, and Sea Salt. Very simple ingredients and very delicious flavors. To view all of the different flavors of LARA bars CLICK HERE. On this website it will show all of the different flavors, and when you click on one of the bars that you may be interested in, it tells you what ingredients are used, the nutritional facts, and also some beneficial vitamins and nutrients you get from the bar.

Another great thing about LARA bars is that people with all different diets can still have them. LARA bars are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and many flavors are Soy Free for people who may have allergies. LARA bars also are Vegan and Kosher for those people who follow strict diets. Every LARA bar consists of Dates and some sort of nut. Because of this, the bars have a good source of dietary fiber, and is high in natural sugars and carbs which give you the energy you need (23-32g of carbs per bar). The nuts give a good source of healthy fats and protein to feed your body, fight hunger, and also provide energy.

Next time you need a little pick me up, consider trying a LARA bar. They are easy, quick, and delicious!

What do you think about LARA bars? Have any other questions? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pudding

This is a snack that I decided to try the other night after seeing a few fitness gurus suggesting it on their social media sites. I was definitely skeptical because it is a really easy recipe, but sounds like it might not taste all that great. To my surprise, however, it was a lot better than I suspected. The best part about it is that it can really help curve your dessert cravings without actually having something that may be totally against your diet.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Pudding:

    2 scoops of Chocolate Whey Protein. (I used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein)
    2 Tbsp. of Organic Peanut Butter (I used Smuckers Organic Creamy Peanut Butter)
    Add water as needed (I used about 3-4 tbsp.)

Protein Pudding
Directions:
Prep time: 2-3 minutes.
Cooling time: 30 minutes
1. Place 2 scoops of Whey Protein Powder in a bowl
2. Add 2 tbsp. of Organic Peanut Butter
3. Add 1 tbsp. of water
4. Stir
5. Continue toaAdd 1 tbsp. of water at a time and stir until desired consistency is reached.
6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

That is it! It is very simple!



Tips:
Smuckers Organic Peanut Butter

    1. Make sure to use Organic Peanut Butter. Organic Peanut Butter IS NOT the same as Natural Peanut Butter. Look at the list of ingredients. You want a Peanut Butter that consists only of Peanuts and maybe 1% or less of salt (no added oils of sugars).
    2. When used with Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Protein and Organic Peanut Butter, this snack has 450 calories, 18g of fat (3g of saturated fat), 60mg of Cholesterol, 365mg of Sodium, 12g of carbs, 2g of fiber, 3g of sugar, and 55g of protein. The best thing about this snack is the very high protein content of 55g and although it is high in fat, most of the fat is unsaturated and considered good fat coming from the peanut oil.
    3. Due to the high amounts of fat, I would not suggest this snack to someone who is trying to seriously lose weight quickly, but rather to someone who is trying to maintain their weight or possibly gain more muscle mass. Don’t get me wrong, even when trying to lose weight you need good fats to feed your body; however people trying to gain muscle mass may benefit more from this than someone who is looking to loose inches off their waistline in a short amount of time.

Whey Protein

    4. There are other variations of this recipe that I have not tried, but if you are daring, I would love for you to let me know what you think of this recipe. One other variation of the recipe suggests microwaving the peanut butter for 20-30 seconds first, then stirring in a little water, then adding the protein. No cooling is involved for this one. This sounds pretty good too, so I hope to try this in the near future.
    5. I also would be interested trying this recipe with different flavors of protein. If you do get adventurous and try some out, please let me know what you think!
    6. One other thing to maybe consider if you would like a little less fat in your Protein Pudding would be possibly using one tbsp. of Organic Peanut Butter and more water, or possibly even skim milk. Or you could also try using 1 tbsp. of Organic Peanut Butter and 1-2 tbsp. of PB2 with water! Just a thought that may work. I have not tried either of these options, but if you are interested in getting a reduced fat Protein Pudding, this may be something to play around with and consider.

Hope the recipe helps you reach your fitness goals. Let me know what you think by emailing me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com!

Starbucks Breakfast Food

StarbucksLlogo Black
I will openly admit that I am a huge Starbucks fan. I am guilty of being a Gold Card Rewards Member and whenever I have a chance to stop at a Starbucks, I almost do! Because I may stop in a little too often, I knew I should make one of my first food reviews on Starbucks to not only educate myself about their food, but also help you make some healthier choices when you may need a quick bite to eat. This topic is specifically about the breakfast foods Starbucks has to offer. Another post about their snacks, lunches, and sweets will come in another post very soon… so keep an eye out.

Here are my suggestions for Starbucks Breakfast food:
Yes – Oatmeal with or without toppings, Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap, Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt Parfait, Peach Raspberry Yogurt Parfait
No – Sausage & Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, Greek Yogurt with Honey Parfait, Butter Croissant, Chocolate Croissant, Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, Danishes, Muffins, Scones

OATMEAL
Yes – The oatmeal offered at Starbucks is definitely a good choice when you need a little something in your stomach. It probably is not enough to fill you up as a meal, but it is a great quick snack or light breakfast. Starbucks offers a Classic Oatmeal and a Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal, both steel-cut with old-fashioned oats. Both oatmeals are only 150 calories without any additional toppings, 2.5g of unsaturated fat, 0g of sodium, 27g of carbs, 4g of fiber, and 5g of protein. The toppings offered for the Classic Oatmeal are Brown Sugar (+50 calories), Dried Fruit (+100 calories), and a Nut Medley (+100 calories), all of which I would still say are fine to add to your oatmeal. The toppings available for the Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal are Organic Agave Syrup (+40 calories), Fresh Blueberries (+20 calories), Dried Blueberries (+100 calories), and a Fruit, Nut & Seed Medley (+70 calories), all of which I would say are fine to add to your oatmeal as well.

Starbucks_Oatmeal

BREAKFAST SANDWICHES
Yes – Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap
No – Sausage & Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich

Starbucks offers a variety of Breakfast Sandwiches, and many people do not know that at participating locations, some of their breakfast sandwiches can be made with either egg or cage-free egg whites (usually only the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, and Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap can be made with egg whites). If possible, I highly recommend getting one of the cage-free egg white sandwiches, not only because they are lower in fat and cholesterol, but they honestly taste really good. The breakfast sandwich I would first suggest getting would be the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, followed by the Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, and then the Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap.

    1. Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich – 320 calories, 7g of fat, 2g of saturated fat, 20mg of cholesterol, 43g of carbs, 3g of fiber, 18g of protein
    2. Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap – 290 calories, 10g of fat, 3.5g of saturated fat, 20mg of cholesterol, 33g of carbs, 6g of fiber, 19g of protein
    3. Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap – 300 calories, 10g of fat, 3g of saturated fat, 30mg of cholesterol, 33g of carbs, 5g of fiber, 14g of protein

Be aware, just like most other restaurants, these foods have high sodium contents (700-830mg of sodium each), so for those very concerned with sodium consumption I would stay away from all of the breakfast sandwiches.

Although Starbucks offers a number of other breakfast sandwiches, the one to definitely stay away from would be the Sausage & Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich. This sandwich is 500 calories, 28g of fat, 9g of saturated fat, 165mg of cholesterol, 920mg of sodium, 41g of carbs, 1g of fiber, and 19g of protein. Although there is a high protein content, the amount of fat, cholesterol and sodium make this sandwich not worth consuming.

Starbucks Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

YOGURT PARFAITS
Yes – Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt Parfait, Peach Raspberry Yogurt Parfait
No – Greek Yogurt with Honey Parfait

In general, the Fruit Yogurt Parfaits make a pretty good snack. These yogurts have between 280-300 calories (not including the Seasonal Harvest Blend which is an additional 90 calories), a fat content of only 3.5g of fat, under 180mg of sodium, 8g of protein, and 3-4g of fiber. The only things I would be cautious of would be the carb content of around 55g and the 31g of sugar which both are not necessarily good when trying to trim down belly fat.
CAUTION: Now usually I am a HUGE advocate of Greek Yogurt because non-fat Greek Yogurt generally has more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt; however the Greek Yogurt at Starbucks is not! This yogurt has 12g of fat, 6g of saturated fat, 30mg of cholesterol, 44g of carbs, 1g of fiber, 32g of sugar, and only 8g of protein (the same amount of protein as the other yogurt parfaits). Because I find this product misleading and it actually has worse nutritional value than the other Yogurts at Starbucks, I do not suggest getting it.

CROISSANTS, BAGELS, & ROLLS
No – Butter Croissant, Chocolate Croissant
Now I would not strongly suggest getting any of the Croissants, Bagels or Rolls; however, there are some smarter choices you can make if you are in need of some fast carbs. Stay away from the Butter Croissant and the Chocolate Croissant because they are high in fat and have hardly any positive nutritional value. If you need to get your carb fix I would suggest going with one of the bagel choices. Starbucks offers the following Bagels:

    Plain Bagel – 280 calories, 1g of fat, 0g of saturated fat, 490mg of sodium, 59g of carbs, 2g of fiber, 9g of protein
    Multigrain Bagel – 300 calories, 3g of fat, 0g of saturated fat, 490mg of sodium, 60g of carbs, 6g of fiber, 15g of protein
    Everything Bagel – 280 calories, 2g of fat, 0.5g of saturated fat, 500mg of sodium, 56g of carbs, 2g of fiber, 10g of protein

Starbucks also offers a Reduced-Fat and a Regular Cream Cheese Spread if you are in need of Cream Cheese, but I would suggest staying away from it all together because Cream Cheese adds between 7-11g of fat (4.5-7g of saturated fat).

DOUGHNUTS, SWEET ROLLS, & DANISHES
No – Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, Danishes
I do not recommend having any of the Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, or Danishes because all of the options Starbucks has to offer are high in fat (13-27g), carbs (39-67g), and sugar (12-35g). There are much healthier choices to be had at Starbucks so steer as far away from the Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, and Danishes as possible.

MUFFINS & SCONES
No – Muffins, Scones
Similar to the Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, & Danishes, I do not recommend having any of the Muffins or Scones because all of the options are high in fat (12-28g), carbs (55-78g), and sugar (17-43g). Starbucks does offer a Petite Vanilla Scone that does have less fat, carbs, and sugar, but the serving size is so small, that I would still not recommend getting it.

Hope you enjoyed this post and feel a little more informed about what and what not to get at Starbucks! If you have any questions or concerns about this topic, or any of my other topics, please contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com