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NuGo Stronger Bar – Peanut Cluster and Caramel Pretzel

Cal: 155* | Fat: 6g* | Carb: 18g* | Fiber: 5g* | Sugar: 6g* | Protein: 13*

* = booooooo (1/2 bar)

I picked these up yesterday thinking, caramel pretzel and peanut cluster… YUM! I was in kind of a hurry off-loading trucks at work, so I quickly ran in, grabbed the caramel pretzel, took a few pictures, then I ran back out to get back to work. As I was heading back out, already eating on the bar, I started looking closer at the nutrition label and quickly zoomed in on the “1/2” column. Why is there a “1/2” column? … “servings per container: 2″… WHAT?! Who in the world would call 1/2 a bar a “serving”?! That’s terrible! I mean, come on, if you’re going to call 1/2 the PACKAGE a serving, then at least package it as 2 bars. You tout 145 calories in nice big bold letters on the packaging, so you (probably) know you’re targeting a health conscious crowd and yet you’re going to slyly put “servings 2” on the back of the package?! Sheesh. Well, enough with the rant (I guess). On to the bars. Honestly – not even because I’m not happy with what I feel is deceptive marketing – I would rate these a 5 out of 10. Right in the middle of road. The weren’t wonderful, but they weren’t gross. They were somewhat flavorless. Kind of a cardboard texture. And not much of a strong flavor anywhere in the bar. I went ahead and finished off the first bar (caramel pretzel) as my “lunch”. Then, I had a bite out of the second bar (peanut cluster), just to trial it and then I pitched it. Being that it too was a 5 out of 10 like the caramel pretzel, I didn’t see a need in wasting my calorie “allowance” on it in the future. If it’s a choice between these or a snickers… I guess I’d go with these simply due to the protein content. Otherwise, I’d look for something else at the store.








Smackers – Peanut Butter

Cal: 180 | Fat: 9g | Carb: 21g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Protein: 5g

I was honestly wondering if I would even review this bar since I liked the caramel peanut flavor so much, I thought it would basically handle the review for both. I was wrong. This is definitely not my favorite bar. It has a much more “diety” sweet flavor to it compared to the caramel peanut bar. I can eat just about anything, but even I could only finish 1/4 of this bar before I tossed it. The stats of this bar are worse than the caramel version as well. The only reason I finished the 1/4 of the bar, honestly, was so it was easier to enter into my calorie tracker (FatSecret). This bar may be good for someone out there, but it’s not for me.


Harvest Snaps

Cal: 120 | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 85mg | Potassium: 180 | Carbs: 15g | Sugar: 1g | Protein: 5g

All products vary, so I have provided stats for the Tomato Basil for example only.


I gave these Harvest Snaps a try today. Apparently they have more than the 4 flavors I pictured here, but these were the flavors available at the store I visited. I would definitely purchase the Tomato Basil and the Caesar again. They both had nice full flavors. The Tomato Basil, for a lack of a better description had a slight pizza flavor to it. The Caesar snaps tasted like a very light crouton from a Caesar salad. The Lightly Salted crisps were not bad, they just had little flavor. So, if you’re not a fan of strong flavors, this may be the snap for you. Onion Thyme… apparently I’m not a fan of Thyme. If you like Thyme, you may like these. Personally…. not my favorite.



Smackers – Carmel Peanut

Cal: 170 | Fat: 8g | Carb: 19g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Protein: 8g

Well, you might be able to tell from the picture, but I couldn’t even get out of the parking lot before I broke this thing open. And, it.was.good! Kind of a low protein return for the amount of sugar, so I would eat this all the time, but man-o-man, I would have no problem eating this now and then as a protein treat for sure! It was pretty darn close to a Snickers bar. I would buy a case of these, but I’d have to leave them somewhere away from home or I’d probably eat the entire box in a week. If you get a chance, and you like Snickers, I’d say to give this a go.

Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) / Keto / CICO

As you notice above, I push carbs and sugar out of my (personal) diet, and bring in protein. There is a diet out there call Keto. See here for a Keto support community. Keto is about getting your body into a state of ketosis, which is supposed to turn your body into a fat burning machine. There are many, MANY different views in regards to the keto diet, and you will want to consult your physician to make sure it is safe for you.

(In short) a calorie is a unit of energy and our bodies burn energy JUST TO LIVE, not even including exercise. Your body will burn quiet a few calories simply to keep you breathing and moving around throughout the day. TDEE provides an approximate number of calories it takes to keep you alive (not including excess exercise). So, really Calories In Calories Out (CICO) is the primary number you need to monitor every day. However, it’s good to figure out what keeps you full and reduces cravings in order to help reduce your CICO needs. Here’s a great support community for those who really like to follow just CICO.

I personally don’t fully follow the Keto diet, but I do find it easier to push carbs and sugars out and bring in protein simply because protein fills me up and helps me manage my CICO easier.

Tip: there are 4 calories in 1 gram of carbs, 4 calories in 1 gram of protein, and 9 calories in 1 gram of fat.

Tip 2: There are 3500 calories in a pound.There are 7 days in a week. So, if you reduce your TDEE number by 500 calories daily, you should be able to lose 1 pound per week. If your TDEE is 2000/day and you consume 1500/day, you should (in theory) lose 1 pound that week.

How have you adjust your diet or lifestyle to help with your lean journey?

The Protein Aisle

Don’t be afraid of the protein aisle – I used to think the protein aisle was for body builders, but I’ve learned it’s also for body slimmers.

Try to find a store with individual serving sizes so you can try multiple bars/shakes/powder before you buy in larger quantities.

Try pre-mixed drinks first. I feel the premixed drinks are the manufacturer’s best attempt at their drink. However, powders can be cheaper… much cheaper in some cases. When you try powders, try them with water, milk, soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk. Each of these will provide a different flavor and consistency.

Protein bars are NOT candy bars. They are for nutrition. If they happen to taste like a “treat” that’s just a bonus. Many protein bars dress up like a candy bar, but please don’t expect them to taste like candy bars – although some can actually come pretty darn close.

Check the nutrition on the protein items – it’s like any other part of the store. Some items will help  your journey, some might not. Some protein items are made for body builders trying to bulk, so they will have many more calories, carbs and sugars than you will want.

When I’m shopping the protein aisle, I’m looking for items with 300 calories or less, 20 grams of protein or more, 3 grams of sugar or less, 20 grams (net) carbs or less.

What tips/tricks do you have for protein and getting lean?

My Start

If you follow Calories In Calories Out (CICO), then you can pretty much eat whatever you want. However, when I first began, there were some very easy “no” foods and “yes” foods that helped me with my journey. I found these rules kept me full most of the time and helped keep the cravings down, and in some cases, got rid of some of my cravings altogether.  I no longer have carbs cravings. It took about 2 – 3 weeks to break my soda cravings. And, I’m still waiting to break my sugar cravings.

  • Veggies: Yes
  • Fruits: No
  • Cheese: Very little (calories)
  • Avacado: Yes! (watch calories)
  • Eggs: Yes
  • Meat/Protein: Yes
  • Sweets/Treats: No
  • Bread/Tortillas: No
  • Only drink water, protein drinks or (low sodium) V-8. This is really a rule for me. For me, I can see any other drink(s) becoming a “gateway” drink, so I just stick to water.

Above are some general guidelines I used. However, I would also add, don’t look at meals or food in “conventional” ways either. Part of what got me to my overweight life, was being full and thinking I still needed to eat a big dinner, or that I must finish everything on my plate. There are many times now that 3 pieces of hard salami is dinner. Or, 4 ounces of ham may be dinner. If I’m satisfied, it’s OK to stop eating and save the rest for later. Or, if I’ve eaten part of a cookie, it’s “OK” to throw the rest away. And, I’ve also tried to start looking at food in a different way as well. I try to look at food as nourishment now instead of entertainment.

To sum it up: “No” carb, “No” sugar. Eat less than your daily maintenance calories (see next step below).

Click START at the top of the site (or, HERE) if you want to learn how you can get started as well.

Look just below this post to click to the next blog post(s) for more information. Or click the “Reviews” link at the top of the page to look through all my posts.

What are some tips you can share from the beginning of your journey to lean?

Pro-Lean / Weight Loss Shorthand

Around the Pro-Lean site and around the web, you may see some of these short-hand acronyms being used. Please feel free to comment below with any other short-hand translations you see frequently that I should add to the list.

Shorthand translations:
CICO = Calories In Calories Out
LCHF = Low Carb High Fat
Keto = Ketogenic Diet
SV = Scale Victory
NSV = Non-Scale Victory

Cauliflower Veggie Tots


Cal: 110 | Fat: 4.5g | Sodium: 370mg | Carbs: 15g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Protein: 2g

If you haven’t tried these yet, you really should! They are pretty darn good. They are made by Green Giant and they have 3 flavors, cauliflower, broccoli, and broccoli cheese. So far I have only been able to find the cauliflower, when it’s not sold out. Everything else has been sold out! As soon as I can get my hands on the broccoli versions, I will definitely be trying those as well. The cauliflower version is plenty fine to be eaten by itself with no garnishment. However, I have tried them with bacon and cheese, as well as just a brisket rub as seasoning.

Quest Protein Chips

Cal: 130 | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 50mg | Carbs: 4g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0g | Protein: 21g  (Chedder & Sour Cream Flavor)

I’ve seen these on the shelf, but have avoided them simply because I don’t want to find a “snack” and go back to eating willy nilly. However, my daughter wanted to try them, so we picked them up. If you need a crunch and are watching your carbs, this may be a solution for you. I probably won’t buy them again, I’m not a fan personally. The cheese version was “OK”, but the onion chips are VERY oniony, possibly too much so.