It’s no secret that I’m a foods-first dietitian. Mostly because I believe nature intended for foods to provide us with all of the nutrients we need, but also because there could be safety risks associated with supplement intake, if they are purchased through an unknown distributer or manufacturer. In today’s post I’ll be delving into why supplements may be needed sometimes, and how to know when you can trust what’s on the shelf. Plus, after giving you plenty of pre-workout energy bar and bite recipes, I’m finally sharing an easy homemade post-workout protein bar!
Thanks to NOW® for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are my own.
However, while I advocate for everyone to get whatever they can from foods, we live very busy, fast-paced lives and sometimes need a bit of help. On top of that, I know a lot of you follow this blog because you live a more active lifestyle than the average population. Levels of activity higher and more intense than the recommended moderate 30 minutes, 5 days a week may have health benefits and be necessary for athletic performance, but they do ask more of your metabolic energy systems and put additional stress on the body.
For these reasons, it’s great to have a supplement brand that you can trust. Protein is a crucial nutrient for everyone – athletic or not – that may be low in breakfast and on-the-go snacks and meals. I like to have safe and pure plant-based protein options on hand to boost the nutrient content in recipes or, even every once in a while, just mix with some almond milk to get the nutrients in post-workout (this is a rarity, but I found this was my best option one day last week!). Other supplements may be warranted for female athletes especially, such as iron. I suffered from iron-deficiency anemia as an athlete and while in college eating in dining halls, it was hard to correct this deficiency with just food sources – a supplement was needed.* Other supplements, such as probiotics, omega-3 and vitamin D may be beneficial to a variety of individuals including those whose bodies need extra repair from intense exercise.*
One way to help ensure the supplement you purchase is free of banned substances is to choose one that is Informed Choice’s, Informed Sport Certified. Even if you aren’t participating in a sport with regulations and guidelines around anabolic substances, prescription drugs and other compounds, I think you should adhere to the same guidelines, ensuring those substances don’t wind up in your body!
I was lucky enough to take a trip to the NOW® headquarters last May and see how rigorous their standards were before deciding to get the Informed Choice seal. Honestly, even with how cautious I am with supplements, they could probably become their own 3rd party verification organization for other supplements if they wanted to! On top of strict tests for identity, purity, quality and safety of their sport supplements in their world class labs. In my opinion, NOW® also keeps their ingredient lists much more real than other companies, something Informed Sport doesn’t account for. Click to check out all of the ingredients you won’t find in a NOW® product.
Lots of plant-protein powders can be gritty or chalky in texture, so I’m thrilled to have found NOW® Sports Unflavored Pea Protein Powder that is smooth and versatile. I’ve whipped up these snickerdoodle bars half a dozen times already and not only are they a good snack post-workout on my mid-morning exercise days, but they’re great to hold me over to lunch on days I am teaching back to back classes at the college. Almost 10 grams of protein kick starts muscle repair and is satiating, too.*
I know a lot of you are just here for the delicious recipe, but I hope you learned something from this post, too! Now, grab your food processor, some dates, PB, maple, cinnamon and this protein powder and you’ll have snickerdoodles in no time!
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Update: Receive $10 off your nowfoods.com purchase of $40 or more (before taxes and shipping). Must use coupon code KELLYNOW10 in the Promotion Code field at checkout. Offer only available on nowfoods.com. Offer valid January 1, 2019 through 11:59 PM CT March 31, 2019. Some exclusions apply. Limit one coupon code per transaction. Offer cannot be used on previous purchases. NOW Health Group, Inc. has the right to end any promotion at any time.
Snickerdoodle Protein Bars
Vegan, gluten free
Makes 8 bars
- 1/2 cup pitted medjool dates
- 1/2 cup NOW® Sports Unflavored Organic Pea Protein
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (mixed well before measuring)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Add all ingredients to a food processor, and pulse until a fine, sand-like texture is formed.
- Pour the mixture into a loaf-pan and press down firmly until you have a hard, level surface. I use a flexible silicone spatula, then press with another loaf pan on top.
- Once it is firmly packed, cut into 8 bars.
- Store in the refrigerator up to one week.