Hope everyone is well! Up and on to a wonderful new year…
Happy Mother’s Day my Darlings!
Life has been pretty hectic…I have a senior in high school and the past year has zipped by with college apps, testing, travel to see schools and STRESS! Decision made…so my house is happy and stress free once again…for about 5 minutes?
But I am truly learning to take care of myself…FIRST! Finally. Don’t we all have that problem? Breathe, just Breathe.
1. I religiously use My Fitness Pal to journal my food every night….checking my calories (I staying at 1000 per day easily and losing weight) and protein.
2. Protein is my priority…..Numero Uno…Prima….if nothing else Protein!
Protein is a chief element of our muscles, tissues and organs. It is essential for almost every process that occurs in our bodies, including metabolism and digestion. It also produces antibodies, which fight against infection and illness. Want shiny hair, strong nails, glowing skin and healthy bones? Eat more protein!
Here’s some fun ideas on treats to add to your bottom line….not your bottom!!
At Whole Foods/Ralph’s/Costco stores, this gourmet take on jerky comes in exotic flavors like Chardonnay Thyme Turkey, Cabernet Rosemary Beef, and Honey Peach Barbecue Pork. They all have eight to 12 grams of protein and 90 calories per one-ounce serving. My favorite Lemon Garlic Turkey Jerky
This cheese has a consistency kind of like Greek yogurt, but it’s not sour—and it has no added sugar. You can get it in plain, strawberry, blueberry, peach, lemon, pineapple, cherry, vanilla bean, bananas foster, mint chocolate, or sea salt caramel. All of the flavors have about 80 calories and 14 grams of protein per serving. Available at Whole Foods and Gelsons
This tasty and wholesome snack contains a whopping 12 grams of protein per 130-calorie serving….at Whole Foods
These taste like dessert—you can get them in flavors like Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Pineapple, and Black Cherry—but contain 14-15 grams of protein per serving and less than 150 calories. As an added bonus, this yogurt’s also GMO-free.
Each bar packs 10 grams of protein in just 150 calories. What’s more, they also have five grams of fiber and out-of-the-ordinary flavors like Cinnamon Bun/ White Chocolate and Chocolate Almond Brownie and my new favorite flavors…Dark Chocolate and Creamy Peanut Butter.
Chances are, your parents packed string cheese in your lunchbox at one point or another when you were in school—but they’re still a great choice even after graduation. Sargento’s version has eight grams of protein and 20 percent of your daily recommended calcium intake—all for just 80 calories. I can’t seem to get enough cheese lately??
Since the very first batch of nuts entered Justin Gold’s food processor in his home kitchen in 2004, Justin’s innovations have transformed the conventional world of nut butters and confections by using the highest quality, most delicious ingredients and a proprietary grinding process. The portable squeeze packs have since become a staple for a wide set of consumers who have adapted them to a multitude of needs. Not only are they a portion-controlled and convenient source of protein to take cycling or put in a lunchbox, but they are also a great size for sampling different flavors.
We all lead crazy lives and getting that protein in is job one with a VSG….so here’s a few ideas to help….
Here are 20 of my favorite go to protein-packed snacks!
1. Cottage and Fruit cups
Top 1/2 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup of your favorite fruit. These are also available at the markets in ready to go packs….Try Mango!
A one-ounce serving (the size of most single-serve packs) contains about 9 grams of protein! This chewy snack is also super portable and keeps fresh for months when packed properly.
3. Protein Ice Cream…Who Knew?
4 bananas, just slightly overripe
2T creamy peanut butter
2 tsps cocoa powder (Dutch process) and
1 scoop of your favorite chocolate protein powder
***DO NOT FREEZE THE WHOLE BANANA, you’ll have a heck of a time blending that beast.
Peel the bananas and slice them up into 1/2 inch thick disks. Place the banana slices in the freezer for about an hour or until they are frozen solid. Put the frozen slices in a food processor and pulse. First they will resemble gravel, but keep going and the bananas will soon turn into a frozen mush – at this point, start scraping the sides down, keep scraping. Or add a dash of milk since the liquid will help the blending. The banana will begin to blend into a creamy texture. When the bananas look like whipped ice cream, you can add your mix-ins like peanut butter and/or cocoa powder, Protein powder, chocolate chips, toffee, raspberries, anything goes! Straight out of the food processor, the ice cream will be like soft serve.
You can also freeze it for a firmer texture. I find it’s pretty hard (and therefore, brittle) when I scoop it immediately after removing it from the freezer. Just give it a minute or two to soften up. Makes a pint.
Top 2 slices of Deli meat (turkey, chicken, or roast beef work great) with 1 slice of cheese and a shake of pepper for a power protein kick… Add a slice of tomato or some lettuce for extra veggie points!
Ready for a taste of Mexico…and a little spice. I learned these at a great little restaurant in Vallarta called Asaderos, where they serve them as an appetizer before dinner . These high-protein treats are totally satisfying. Fold 1/2 cup beans (Black or Pinto), 1 tablespoon salsa, and 1 slice cheddar cheese in a small flour or corn tortilla. Cook in a dry nonstick pan until the cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly browned.
The possibilities are endless! One of my favorites…Creamsicle…1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, 1 cup orange juice, and 1 cup ice blended until smooth. Or for a jolt…1 cup iced coffee (with ice) and 1 scoop chocolate whey protein, blended….or a Chocolate Monkey Blend 1 medium banana, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and 1 cup of chocolate milk with 1 cup of ice for a protein-packed pick-me-up.
Milk is nearly a meal in itself… it is filling, has some fats in it, an honest quantity of protein, and likewise a good quantity of vitamins. Milk by itself does not have a TON of protein in it, however there’s a truthful quantity. Nonetheless, if you wish to enhance the protein content material, merely add some powdered milk… sure milk in milk. Use it straight or in a smoothie.
One serving of Edamame (one cup) offers about 17 grams of protein! An their fun to eat…Steam for about 6 minutes, or use the pre-cooked frozen variety and briefly microwave to defrost about 2 minutes…try them tossed in caramelized garlic, if you dare!
How’s this for an unconventional use of a travel coffee mug? Put 2 tablespoons of your favorite hummus in the bottom of the container, stick a handful of vegetable sticks (carrots, celery, and snow peas are a great mix) vertically in the hummus, screw on the top, and throw in a purse or gym bag for an easy, on-the-go, super-healthy snack. Or try 1 slice of whole-grain toast, and cut into ½-inch strips. Place 2 tablespoons of almond butter in the bottom of a container with a top, stick the toast sticks in vertically, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Screw on the top and head out the door!
There are so many variations on this one….The ultimate ready to go snack…in those cute 6 oz Mason jars. In a container with a secure lid, mix 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup non-dairy milk, 3 tablespoons Chocolate or Cinnabun protein powder, and a handful of walnuts until well combined. Let sit in fridge overnight (or up to a few days). Need some extra sweetness? Add 1/2 a banana, mashed!
Who doesn’t love a gorgeous cheese plate? Make yourself a mini plate with a cheese stick (or 2 slices of cheese), 2 whole-grain crackers, and a few roasted almonds. Trader Joe’s has a wonderful pack of pre-sliced Spanish cheeses, or mini Brie to try.
Few pairings are more comforting than a classic peanut butter with banana. Simply top a rice cake (brown rice for extra fiber points!) or whole-grain toast with 2 tablespoons of your favorite nut butter and half a sliced banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon for some extra healthy benefits!
Lentils are great protein-packed legumes that are easy to turn into super, shelf-stable salads. One cup has a whopping 22 grams of protein in just 300 calories! Go directly to Trader Joe’s and pick up their pre-cooked lentils and a jar of Bruschetta sauce…it’s the perfect protein packed snack or lunch.
Dice a half-inch thick slice of cheddar cheese into squares (you should end up with about 6 small pieces) and rinse 6 grapes. On 6 toothpicks, stack the grape and cheese, and enjoy! Just 1 ounce of sharp cheddar offers 8 grams of protein, and the contrast with sweet grapes is super sophisticated (and delicious).
Spicy thoughts? Try this easy snack fix. Heat 1/2 cup of black beans in the microwave with 1 tablespoon of salsa. Mash with a fork and fold it inside a small (4 to 6-inch) flour tortilla.
Make some hard boiled eggs and have a quick high protein snack on hand at anytime! Hard boiled eggs are an excellent source of protein, simple to prepare and each one only has about 76 calories and 6 grams of Protein. They don’t just contain fat (yolk) and protein (white). In fact, they contain a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals.
A: good for the skin and growth.
D: strengthens bones by raising calcium absorption.
E: protects cells from oxidation.
B1: helps properly release energy from carbohydrates.
B2: helps release energy from protein and fat.
B6: promotes the metabolism of protein.
B12: an essential vitamin in the formation of nerve fibers and blood cells.
Iron: essential in the creation of red blood cells.
Zinc: good for enzyme stability and essential in sexual maturation.
Calcium: most important mineral in the strengthening bones & teeth.
Iodine: controls thyroid hormones.
Selenium: like vitamin E, it protects cells from oxidation.
Not only do eggs contain the highest quality source of protein available but they also contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans. In fact, egg protein is of such high quality that it is used as the standard by which other proteins are compared. Eggs have a biological value (efficacy with which protein is used for growth) of 93.7%. Comparable values are 84.5% for milk, 76% for fish, and 74.3% for beef. Eggs really are the best protein money can buy, and it has all those other valuable vitamins and minerals too. Try this one out…This is a real game changer…Cook your eggs in the oven for perfect hard boiled eggs
Preheat your oven to 325. (between 325-350 is best). My eggs turned out perfect at 325. If you know your oven runs cooler, try out a higher temp. PLEASE DO A TEST RUN with a couple eggs until you figure out the correct cooking temp for your oven.
Place eggs in a muffin tin to prevent them from rolling around. Cook for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, remove eggs from the oven and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. I left them in there for about 10 minutes.
That’s it! Perfect eggs every time. I must have cooked about 4 dozen so far and have had success with EVERY batch. Now that’s the bomb!
Or Deviled? Try something a little different with Avocado Deviled Eggs…YUM!
3 hard boiled eggs, cut in half
1 large avocado
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp cilantro
Pinch of garlic powder, salt and pepper
Sprinkle with paprika, optional
Remove the cooked yolks from the hard boiled eggs into a bowl. Add the avocado to the bowl next. Then add the remaining ingredients and mash together well with a fork. Add the mixture to the egg halves and Sprinkle with paprika if desired. ENJOY!
This meaty swimmer delivers a boatload of easily digested, premium-quality protein at 25 g per 3 oz. serving. You’ll also benefit from the healthy amount of B vitamins and the potent antioxidant selenium in its flesh. So Sushi Up!
6 g per 1/2 cup serving…Tastes frosty and creamy just like ice cream, but with all the benefits of twice the high-quality protein. Try Stonyfield’s no fat frozen yogurt in great flavors like Honey, Chocolate, Blueberry and Vanilla.
These healthy no-bake cookies are high in protein at 4 grams each, vegan and gluten free. The perfect snack between meals and better yet…they only require one bowl and 5 minutes!
3 cups gluten free oat flour (rolled oats ground into a flour)
2 standard scoops vanilla protein powder (can sub for an extra 1/2 cup oat flour)
2 T granulated sweetener of choice (Optional)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup + 2 T nut butter of choice (I used peanut butter)
3/4 cup brown rice syrup (can sub for honey if not strict vegan)
1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk*
White chocolate chunks (make homemade version listed earlier if strictly vegan)
Dried Raspberries and cranberries
Line a large baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, vanilla protein powder, sweetener of choice and sea salt and mix well.
In a microwave safe bowl, add the nut butter of choice and brown rice syrup and heat until melted and mix to incorporate.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir until fully combined- Mixture should be crumbly. Slowly add almond milk, one tablespoon at a time, until a very thick dough is formed. Stir through the white chocolate chunks, dried raspberries and cranberries until fully incorporated.
Using your hands, form small balls and press down to a cookie shape on the baking tray. Using a fork, press down on it twice and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before consuming.
Depending on the protein powder and/or if you use all oat flour, you need to adjust your liquid mixture. These can be stored at room temperature. If refrigerated, thaw very slightly.
Thanks to the big man’s world http://thebigmansworld.com/ for this delicious one. Check out his blog for high protein yummies….
More then half the battle of weight is in our heads…..and VSG surgery for some reason cuts off that connection for a time. Some call the “Honeymoon” period of approximately a year, where you just aren’t hungry. Who knew???
But we all live with stress and need to learn to deal with it….here’s a few ideas on stress eating.
If you do eat under stress at least eat some of these…
Stress reducing foods:
Asparagus – This green veggie is high in folic acid, which can help stabilize your mood.
Beef – Beef contains high levels of zinc, iron, and B vitamins, which are also known to help stabilize your mood.
Spinach – The magnesium can help relieve migraines and reduce fatigue, alleviating stress and leaving you more relaxed.
Oatmeal – The carbs in oatmeal release serotonin the chemical messenger in the brain that makes you feel good and happy. And the fiber in it can help fill you up also a good feeling.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit – Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium. Foods with high protein content that aren’t loaded with sugar won’t cause a spike in blood sugar and will keep you satiated for a longer time.
Almonds – Looking for something you can really dig your teeth into when you’re stressed? Try crunching on almonds to get some aggression out. A good source of Vitamin B2 and E, as well as magnesium and zinc, almonds are high in fat, but most of the fat is unsaturated. Almonds have been shown to fight the free radicals associated with stress, and in particular, those free radicals that cause heart disease.
Blueberries – Very rich in antioxidants, blueberries offer a high-fiber, low-calorie fruit option that is also rich in stress-fighting vitamin C. Try them with cottage cheese or as a snack on their own.
Tuna – A great lunch option, tuna is high in stress-fighting vitamins B6 and B12. Tuna is also a good low-fat protein source.
If all else fails…My fall back:
Dark Chocolate – No messing with the milk stuff…go for the bold. Dark chocolate and other cocoa products have gained a lot of attention worldwide as dietary supplements to improve heath. These products are rich in flavanols. Flavanols are felt to mediate some of the heart healthy properties of chocolate. Flavanols are also found in many other food sources felt to be heart healthy such as grapes, apples, blackberries, legumes, red wine, and green tea. But of all of these food sources, the relative concentration of flavanols is highest in chocolate. As you may have guessed, dark chocolate contains much higher concentrations of flavanols compared to milk or white chocolate. In some chocolates the production process all but eliminates flavanols.
and then maybe this will cheer you up….When all else fails, pull out your Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty!
Here’s a couple more favorites I found that I love and so does my tummy…
Crispy Bean Snacks
They come in sweet and savory flavors (both great), and they’re more filling than most crunchy snack foods…Not to worry, one serving has as much protein as almonds, as much fiber as two cups of broccoli and as much folate as three cups of spinach! Check out the stellar lineup of Roasted Chickpea…Thai Coconut and Sweet Cinnamon! here and peruse the exotic offerings from Saffron Road…did someone say Korean BBQ here? Expect a 1-oz. serving to have around 120 calories and 3g fat, with 5g fiber and 5g protein.
So many flavors…so little time!
Let’s talk about Snacks
Here’s a handy little list of 100 calorie snacks to put in your arsenal when the snack monster grabs you….this is a lifetime list, after your new tummy has adjusted. And, of course, everyone is different….so take it easy and see what that new baby will tolerate. For me, nuts are no problem and solve a protein/snack dilemma. Blue Diamond make a 100 calorie snack pack, which will keep you reigned in…in really Bold delicious flavors on Amazon here and the Emerald Almonds Fun Flavors here. Who can resist:
Here are a few 100 Calorie Snack Pack Ideas
Gastric sleeve surgery works by removing a large portion of the stomach, leaving a banana-shaped “sleeve” that connects the esophagus to the small intestines. Here’s the definition:
Sleeve gastrectomy. A sleeve gastrectomy, also called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, is a newer type of weight-loss surgery. The sleeve gastrectomy portion of surgery may be all that’s needed to lose sufficient weight. With sleeve gastrectomy, the structure of your stomach is changed to be shaped like a “banana”, which restricts the amount of calories your body absorbs. Unlike the more invasive gastric bypass and duodenal switch, gastric sleeve surgery does not rearrange the digestive system. This results in a lower complication rate, fewer mal-absorption problems and a quicker recovery.
I found a great video on YouTube that explains the Sleeve surgery in detail…check it out here:
Beware: You will not be able to eat as you have in the past….your body will rebel to the point of being sick if you push too much food down. Learning to eat slowly and chew completely will be key….plus no drinking of any fluids a half hour on each side of the meal. Why you ask? There is a great reason that was explained to me: Basically the food is flushed out of your new tummy before you can absorb the nutrients. NO Drinking with meals!
This will also:
Welcome…..There you have the intro to your new Banana Belly!
View from the deck…..I couldn’t resist this one. I was up early and caught the sunrise….so amazing.
Another travel weekend looking at colleges with my Senior…this time to Indianapolis to see Wabash and Purdue. So I don’t have to tell you that a five hour flight requires planning, especially with my new tummy. I checked TSA and found that you could get away with yogurts on-board, so I packed up my backpack and was ready to roll. I happened on to a few new goodies I wanted to share.
First: P3 packs by Oscar Mayer
Super handy…especially on the flight and yummy too. 13 Grams of Protein
Second: Yoplait Greek 100 Whips
Light, airy and only 100 calories, and 9 grams of protein..this goes down really well.
Third: Sabra Hummus cups with pretzels
(I bagged up some sliced cucumber). Loved the taste of the Roasted Red pepper. Super convenient.
The last thing I want to share was an emergency meal….I was on my own one night and had to improvise. You’ll find that eating out is a waste on your own, especially on the road….too many left overs. So I stopped at McDonald’s and got a grilled chicken sandwich…took it back to the hotel…took off the bun and mayo and enjoyed a chicken breast with tomato slice. 26 grams of Protein….Wow. Life is about “Making it work” . Thanks Tim Gunn.
Have a great time and go have some fun!!
Spring has Sprung here in LA and my azaleas are gorgeous!
I can’t believe time is flying by so fast….over one month past surgery. I just met with my new internist in Playa Vista, a Bariatric specialist, who I will be seeing for the next six months. We spent about 45 minutes and went over nutrition, vitamins and vitals. That was my biggest surprise. My blood pressure has always been in the 140/90 range with medication (Hydrochlorothiazide) now that’s a mouth full. Anyway, two weeks after surgery it was way down without meds and at this last visit I was 121/70….that is huge and makes this all worth it. I can’t believe that 19 pounds (YES…that’s my first month’s total) could make sure a huge difference. SO WORTH IT!
I wanted to share two yummy things that are working really well…
First: Deviled Eggs….make the perfect breakfast, snack or whatever. Trader Joe’s sells pre-cooked hard boiled eggs, if you are really lazy. Here’s my yummies this morning. Basic with just a touch of lo-fat mayo, Dijon and a sprinkle of smoked paprika on top. I am going to try some variations this week and will report back.
Second: Power Crunch Protein Bars in Triple Chocolate
A little high on calories for the 13 grams of protein, but they really hit the crunchy spot…very tasty
You can find them here. They also have a French Vanilla Créme, Peanut Butter Créme, Peanut Butter Fudge, Cookies & Créme, Wildberry Créme and a stroke of genius, Chocolate Mint. Gotta try them all! Here’s a variety pack to try.
FYI: They have the chocolate and peanut butter at Trader Joe’s