Power Crunch Bar – Triple Chocolate


Cal: 205 | Fat: 13g | Carb: 10g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Protein: 16g

A friend gave me one of these Power Crunch Bars a while back and it took me a little while to get a chance to try it out. I’ve finally had an opportunity to give this a try and… O – M – G! This thing is GOOD! These remind me of one of my all time light crisp flavor cookies – any type of Wafer Cookies.I have always enjoyed the light thin wafer crunch surrounded by the nice chocolaty flavor. With the name “triple chocolate” it really does have a darker chocolate flavor, which is good. I give this bar a 9 out of 10 for me when it comes to dessert type bars. I would eat this even if I wasn’t on a journey to lean. I will without a doubt be trying the other flavors Power Crunch has to offer.

Discounted Gym Memberships


If you’re a Blue Cross Blue Shield member, you can get discounts to many local gyms. The cost is only $25 to join and $25 a month! You can use this link https://www.bcbsilforyourhealth.com/ for Blue Cross Blue Shield members. Also, I was asking the YMCA about it this morning and, while my local YMCA doesn’t participate with BCBS, they do have discounted memberships with other insurance providers. I would suggest checking your insurance website or calling a representative and asking if your plan might have gym benefits as well.

Carb Killa Grenade Bars


Cal: 220 | Fat: 8g | Carb: 21g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Protein: 22g
(white chocolate cookie flavor)

I saw someone mention that Carb Killa Grenade Bars were a key part of their journey to lean, so I have been searching high and low for them. I finally found them at a corporate GNC store. I would give these an 8 out of 10 for protein bars. They have decent stats and there are multiple flavors which are all very good. The Chocolate Cream flavor was a pretty smooth bar. It’s just as it says, chocolate with a slight cream flavor. I was hoping the White Chocolate Cookie would have more of a cookies and cream flavor than it did, but it was still good. I would say it was 90% white with 10% cookie crumb flavor. The Caramel Chaos was probably my favorite. It had a slight crunch and a slight caramel flavor to go with the chocolate outer coating. The Chocolate Crunch version was actually very similar to the Chocolate Cream flavor, with just a slightly richer cream undertone. It really didn’t have as much “crunch” as you might think a “crunch” titled bar would have. Every now and then I would get a little crunch, but not nearly what I had thought. Overall, I would suggest these to those on their journey to lean. The Pure Protein Bars was previously my top protein “candy bar”, but I would say these have taken over the top spot. The store I have to buy them from is not just around the corner. While I don’t know if I would go out of my way to get these, the next time I’m in the area of that store, I will be sure to grab a box full or so to stock up.

 

Ozeri ZK14-L Digital Food Scale


Ozeri ZK14-L Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale

This is the scale I bought for my home kitchen. It’s super easy to use right out of the box. It does use batteries, so you don’t have to plug it in, but eventually you will have to replace your batteries. It’s very light and very portable – if you needed it on the go. You place your plate/bowl on the scale, press the “tare” button to zero out the scale and then just add your ingredients. Or, if you want to use it in reverse, place your bowl full of ingredients on the scale, press tare to zero out the scale. Then, as you remove the ingredients, the negative number will be the weight of the ingredients you removed. Press tare after you add or remove each ingredient.

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?