Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Bites

I used to hate bananas. The texture, the taste, the way “banana” rolled off my tongue. “Ba-na-na.” Hmph. I just simply pretended bananas didn’t exist. I left them alone, they left me alone, and all was well in the world. There was only one problem with this relationship between bananas and I: bananas are incredibly good for you and so versatile in the kitchen. Well, I have been cramping a bit during my workouts lately, and I could use a little extra energy pre-workout anyway…UGH, fine. I’ll learn to like them. But how?

Well, I love chocolate. MMM…chocolate. Yes, chocolate is nice, especially with peanut butter. Especially with anything, really. But how does this relate to learning to love bananas? WELL, let me explain it to you by using this simple equation: Chocolate+nut butter+banana=NOM. It’s simple really. Eventually you may even be able to subtract the chocolate, divide by the nut butter, and…just get a banana. It’s a novel idea.

That is how I did it. I utilized this cutting-edge, break-through approach of just eating a lot of bananas until I liked them. And it worked. Bananas and I are now close friends, and I suggest you include more of them into your diet. Except I will never recommend eating a banana whilst taking a hot bath. I tested that one out for you all, and trust me, it just isn’t a good idea.

Chocolate, nut butter, and banana all together in delicious harmony, however, is always a good idea. And with that, I present to you: Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Bites.

image-1

Yeah, that just happened. And they were every bit as good as they sound. Did I mention that they are totally healthy? Yes, they are also that. So, what aren’t these little guys? Existent, because I ate them ALL.

Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Bites

Serving Size: 1 Banana Bite

Serves: as many people as you are willing (or not willing) to share with.

Calories per Serving: 105

Macros: Carbs: 4g

Fat: 10g

Protein: 2g

**Serving size, calories, and macros are approximate, not exact!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Banana
  • All Natural Nut Butter (I used homemade roasted almond butter)
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Cacao Powder
  • Stevia, to taste.* (see note under “My Tips.”)
  • 1.5 Tbsp Unsweetened Coconut Shavings

Directions:

Peel the banana and slice it into ½ inch thick segments. Top each segment with approximately 1 tsp nut butter. Place banana pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate coating. In a bowl, combine the coconut oil, cacao powder, and stevia (to taste). Mix thoroughly, making sure to break up any chunks of cacao powder. Set aside.

Remove banana slices from the freezer and carefully coat each one in the chocolate mixture. Place banana bite back on the cookie sheet to allow it to harden while you coat the others. Repeat this step, coating each banana bite twice. After the second coating, dip the top in unsweetened coconut shavings. Place cookie sheet with chocolate covered banana bites back into the freezer and freeze for another 30 minutes.

Enjoy these delectable little bites frozen, or let them thaw out in the fridge for a few minutes! The banana gets nice and oozy-gooey, and it is just too good to pass up.

BananaBites2

My Tips:

  • *There are many different kinds of stevia products out there on the market like liquid extract, powdered extracts, and stevia in the raw. Each varies in strength. Because of this, there is no exact measurement for the amount of stevia that you should use. Just sweeten the chocolate to your preferred level of sweetness using whichever product you have!
  • If you do not like stevia, or you do not have any, use a natural sweetener like honey or 100% pure maple syrup.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Chilled Cucumber Melon Summer Soup

In the heat of a hot summer day, I think we can all agree that we would give just about anything for a chilled refreshment. Ice water, iced tea, lemonade, you name it. All these things can be considered summer essentials. I like to try new things, so this summer I finally tried something new that used to throw me for a loop: chilled soup. Every hip and trendy restaurant in town was serving it, and I thought, “Hey, I’m cool too!.” So, in an effort to prove how hip and trendy I was, I gave it a little taste. Just a small bite at first to see what I was getting myself into. Then I face planted into my bowl.

It was so refreshing and crisp, simple and satisfying. Now I can’t imagine summertime without it. A summer without chilled soup is no summer at all!

Next thing I knew, I was dreaming up ideas and combining flavors in my head that made my mouth water with anticipation.

lemonmint

First up in the batting order we have a simple Chilled Cucumber Melon Summer Soup, a sweet combination of cucumber, watermelon, and tangy lemon that is crisp and delightful during the afternoon heat! This one quickly found itself a permanent home on my summer essentials list.

Chilled Cucumber Melon Summer Soup

Serving Size: 1 ½ Cups

Serves: 4

Calories per Serving: 35

Macros: 2g Carbs

0g Fat

2g Protein

**Serving sizes, calories, and macros are approximate!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and sliced.
  • ½ a small Watermelon, cubed.
  • Juice of half of a Lemon
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt

Garnishes:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Fresh Mint
  • Fresh Cilantro

Directions:

Combine the cucumber slices, watermelon cubes, lemon juice, and salt in your food processor and blend until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with a tablespoon of greek yogurt and chopped mint and cilantro.

Enjoy!

gazpacho

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

“Diet” is a Dirty Word

With just a click of your trusty mouse, you can read weight-loss column after diet column, but leave yourself feeling confused, frustrated, and unmotivated. Are they telling you the truth, or is this just a plug for the “next-best” gimmicky product? There are so many conflicting ideas out there, and it can be difficult to navigate the waterways to find an approach that is suitable for you and your weight loss goals.

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one person may not be the most effective and enjoyable for you. We are not clones, and we sure as heck are not birds and therefore do not need to eat like one.

Most of these columns fail to mention that it is not just the foods that we are consuming, but more importantly our lifestyle. Simply put, if it doesn’t stick, it doesn’t last. Nobody tells you that once you finish the “miracle diet,” the chances of you gaining the weight back are incredibly high. The cause of this is really quite simple. Crash diets help you lose weight quickly in the short term, but it takes a change in lifestyle for permanent, long term results.

Whenever I hear the word “diet,” I cringe. It evokes feelings of restriction, starvation, and dissatisfaction. You “can’t” have this, you “can’t” have that. The women in commercials that are selling these “diet” products with a huge smile on their faces as they jump into crystal clear water in their itty-bitty bikinis forget to mention that they are also starving and nutrient depleted. They twirl around in their bright-colored sundresses, hair down with not a care in the world, selling the idea that “eating less is a beautiful thing.” There is something wrong with this picture.

The best bit of advice that I can throw into the mix is to throw the word “diet” out the door! Forget the word ever existed. It brings nothing but heartache. “Diet” is a dirty, dirty word ranked right on up there with the b-word and f-word. It should never cross your mind, let alone your lips. It should be replaced with a much more pleasant, holistic word: nutrition.

There is no magic pill, no revolutionary diet bar, and no gimmick that can do for you what proper nutrition and regular exercise can.

This means that reaching your weight loss goals is easier than you think. It isn’t as complicated as these companies want you to believe. It is as simple as finding fresh, whole foods that you enjoy, and consuming them regularly to your heart’s content. Dive into the realm of natural food with the knowledge that your body is benefitting from each bite. Shift from the concept of “restriction” to the idea of “exploration” of fresh cuisine. Treat yourself every once and awhile, because restriction never boasted long term fulfillment. Find that balance between fresh food and indulgence that works best for you and keeps you feeling satisfied. Be happy. In the end, it is the development and establishment of healthy habits that determines the longterm results.

As much as exercise can appear to be monotonous and boring to the untrained eye, it can be quite the opposite. Try something new and switch up your exercise routine to keep yourself interested and your body guessing. Maybe you train for a half marathon or take a Zumba class one week and Pilates the next. Get involved in activities that build your confidence. Focus on improvement, not perfection. Everyone starts somewhere, so just know that with each attempt and every drop of sweat, you are changing your life, and therefore your body, for the better.

Above all, do what makes you happy. A healthy mind is a healthy body.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta