Healthy Pecan Pie Bars Recipe for the Holidays

source: popsugar.com

Which flavors remind you of Fall? Pumpkin? Egg nog? How about pecans? Nothing is more reminiscent of what season you are in quite like a pecan pie. The trouble comes in the form of the calories that a traditional pecan pie can provide. When you want to have your pie and eat it too, try this delicious, easy-to-make, calorie-friendly treat. Best of all, it is allowed on many popular diets such as the Paleo diet. Even if you aren’t on a diet, you can enjoy a guilt-free treat this holiday season.

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

  • 1 ¾ cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • 1 egg (preferably organic)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (preferably organic)

For the filling:

  • 10 pitted dates (preferably organic)
  • 2 eggs (preferably organic)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped raw pecans

 

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Place parchment paper in a 10 x 15-inch glass oven safe dish.
  • In a food processor, combine the almond flour, arrowroot powder, and sea salt. Pulse it through for a few seconds before adding in the egg and coconut oil. Turn it back on until it begins to form a dough ball.
  • Press the dough evenly in the dish.
  • Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a clean food processor, blend the dates, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract on high until you have a smooth filling.
  • Remove the crust from the oven.
  • Pour the filling mixture over the crust.
  • Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top filling.
  • Bake the bars for another 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Allow the bars to cool for 15 minutes then cut them into even squares.

 

MAKE IT INTERESTING
Want to include a little vanilla flavor to your pecan pie bars while increasing your protein intake at the same time? Try adding in one or two tablespoons of BSN – IsoBurn into the batter, available from Nashua Nutrition. This popular protein powder contains an innovative fat burning formula that is ideal for any diet. Isoburn is a protein supplement that will turn these pie bars into the perfect post-workout snack.

Nashua Nutrition’s Planksgiving Challenge

Ladies and gentleman, we have a new challenge for you! Remember the June Slim-Down Challenge? This is similiar, but is a bit shorter and easier to follow. We are doing a 2 week Planksgiving Challenge! As a countdown for Thanksgiving we have a plank challenge that will engage your abs and help keep your core tight. How does it work? Everyday you have to do a plank for that days suggested time.

After this 2 week challenge you won’t feel as guilty for over-eating at Thanksgiving dinner. Tomorrow is the first day! So print it out and let’s get planking!

nashua nutrition planksgiving infographic

 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to plank:

  1. Start off on a yoga mat or on flat surface. Start in push-up position.
  2. Lower both your forearms to the ground so that both your elbows and fists are flat to the ground. Your palms should be balled up, and directly underneath your shoulders.
  3. Engage your abs by tilting your pelvis and pulling your belly button towards your spine.

    source: marksdailyapple.com
  4. Straighten your body but make sure to keep your neck and spine neutral.
  5. Hold the Plank for the Suggested time.

If you want to get creative, try some side planks:

5 Healthy Tips to Prepare for the Holidays

It’s that time of the year again! Fall is upon us and with it comes pumpkin pie, turkey, stuffing, family, and celebration. While the holidays are a time for joy, many people get caught up in the excitement and forget about the weight loss goals that were set in January. By following the following tips and tricks, you can ensure that you beat the bulge without becoming a holiday grump.

healthy thanksgiving
source: everydayhealth.com

SMALL PORTIONS
Don’t overload yourself with too much on your plate in one sitting. You’ll cause more harm than good as your blood sugar will spike then you’ll crash. Try eating small portions every 3 to 4 hours throughout the festivities.

GREENS FIRST
Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you should forget about your vegetables. Most holiday parties will have a party tray complete with vegetables and fruit. Every time you grab meat or poultry, we recommend you load up on your veggies. They are filled with much needed fiber, as well as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

LEAN TOWARDS LEAN
If you’re the host or you are able to make suggestions, try to go for leaner meats and poultry. If you’re making turkey, try to stick to white meat as it contains less fat. If you’re cooking ham, we recommend a quality brand that isn’t packed with artificial ingredients or fillers.

SUPPLEMENT TO FILL IN THE GAPScelebrate multivitamin ADEK
Let’s be honest, you might not always eat as healthy as you should, especially when the family is around. If you foresee a day of indulgence in your future, be sure to supplement to fill in those nutritional gaps. A great multi-vitamin supplement we recommend is the Celebrate Chewable Multi-ADEK, available from Nashua Nutrition.

DON’T FORGET YOUR WATER
Obviously, water should be something you are drinking regardless of the day. When holidays arrive, a lot of beverage options become available. If you are going to enjoy a coffee-based beverage, we recommend a skinny latte as it is lower in calories.

Alcohol might also be making quite the appearance. You’ll probably have beer, wine, and sugary cocktails to choose from. Out of those three options, you may want to try a craft beer. It doesn’t have as many calories and it contains the powerful free radical fighting, polyphenols. Clear liquor can be a better choice as long as you watch the mixers, which are loaded with empty calories. Opt for mixers like club soda or tonic water.

Also check out our Planksgiving Challenge.

5 Fat-Burning Tips

Pay attention to your numbers: A crucial component of fat loss. It’s amazing how caloric balance is overlooked. You should consider a creating a caloric deficit to burn fat.

fat burning tips - nashua nutrition
source: healthcoachpenny.com

Pass on the carbs: Once you’ve moved past caloric intake, macronutrient balance comes into focus: favor protein over carbs. When you consume more protein and less carbohydrate, your body uses stored carbohydrate and fat for energy. Try cutting some carbs and replacing it with veggies and lean meat.

Cue the heavy breathing: There’s a reason runners are so lean. Cardio burns more calories per unit of time than strength exercises. Cardio burns more calories, while resistance/weight training has the upper hand in building muscle.

Speed it up: Slow and steady doesn’t necessarily win the race.

You don’t need to sprint, but setting your treadmill on “the fat burning zone” probably isn’t doing what you think it is: at low intensity, and at rest, our bodies burn a higher percentage of calories from fat than stored carbohydrate.

However, we’re also burning less calories overall during those low-intensity periods.

Let’s make this simple: if you work out in the fat burning zone, and burn 100 calories, 60% from fat and 40% from carbohydrate, you’ll have burned 60 calories worth of stored fat, correct?

But if you work out more intensely, outside of the fat burning zone, and burn 150 calories, with 40% from fat and 60% from carbohydrate, you’ll have burned 60 calories from fat, and more calories overall.

See how that works? Essentially, if you’re trying to lose fat, you want to burn as many total calories as possible- the actual breakdown of those calories is less important. Your body will burn through both as you create a caloric deficit.

Kick booze to the curb: When you consume alcohol, your body prioritizes its metabolism over stored fat and stored carbohydrate.

Alcohol also tends to contribute to harmful fat accumulation around the internal organs, visceral fat, or what is commonly referred to as “belly fat”.

Excercise Video Fails

In modern gyms there are knowledgeable regulars and amateur athletes. It’s only a matter of time before something goes horribly awry, and while we’d never laugh at a truly gruesome accident, some of these bloopers are just plain funny.

Regardless of whether the amateur athletes in the following videos set up for success or were doomed from the start, they all have one thing in common: complete and utter failure, immortalized on video.

1. This first video is really just incredible. Is it real? It seems quite possible. One moment, he’s stepping on what appears to be a perfectly innocent treadmill, and the next, well let’s say he’s just paid off his plastic surgeon’s student loans.

 
  
2. This one could have proven dangerous if he’d been alone, but as it were, this poor fellow failed in plain sight, at a weightlifting competition.  Yes, he gets the bar up, to the polite support of the audience. However, we have a feeling his recollection of the incident is a little fuzzy after that point.

 

3. Ever notice how no story that starts with a self-installed pull up bar never ends well? This home-gym genius receives a near perfect 10 for sheer execution points. Not only does he manage to completely tear down his newly installed supergym, he manages to knock the wind out of himself, and a recycling bin. Well done, sir.


4. Not only did this gentleman inadvertently turn himself into a human pretzel, but he had to then be rescued from his predicament by his fellow exercisers. They are both in for a major fall!

 

5. Social media has made team exercising a hot trend. Doing sit-ups on your friends back sounds like a cool workout, but what if your friend can’t hold you up?

 

6. Good Job! We know how much people like showing off with how much weight they can squat with. However, you should never try to squat with more than you can carry. This guy learned the lesson the hard way.

High Protein Carrot Cake Recipe

In a season filled with opportunity for overindulgence and weight gain, carrot cake seems like a healthy (and even innocent) option. It may come as a disappointment when you find that carrot cake is actually one of the highest calorie cake options available.

Since carrot cake incorporates fibrous shreds of vegetable matter, recipes use more oil, butter, or other fat source to give the cake a fine crumb and soft texture. Add in chopped nuts, raisins, and cream cheese frosting, and even a small carrot cupcake can easily pack 500 calories.

Take a look at these ridiculously high-calorie carrot cake variations and their Hershey’s Bar equivalents, and prepare to be spooked:

  • Panera Carrot Cupcake- 650 calories, the equivalent of 2.95 Hershey’s bars
  • Ruby Tuesday Carrot Cupcake- 325 calories, the equivalent of 1.47 Hershey’s bars
  • Red Lobster Carrot Cake- 600 calories, the equivalent of 2.72 Hershey’s bars
  • The Cheesecake Factory’s Carrot Cake Cheesecake- 990 calories, the equivalent of 4.5 Hershey’s bars

Sure, you could spend your time making substitutions on your aunt’s “famous” carrot cake recipe, devoting precious hours to googling oil substitutes and butter-free frosting, or you could try these brilliant, no-bake Carrot Cake Balls.

carrot cake balls recipe - nashua nutrition
source: popsugar.com

A hybrid mix between a carrot cake and a donut hole. This awesome recipe, courtesy of the lovely folks at PopSugar fitness, clocks in at a mere 88 calories per serving.

Best yet? Unlike junky, processed 100 calorie packs and other “diet treats”, these carrot cake bites are naturally healthy to boot! Free of any added sugars and chock-full of heart-healthy poly and monounsaturated fats, these fall treats are even dairy-free and gluten-free (if you care to use gluten-free oats).

Protein-Packed Carrot Cake Balls

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dates
4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
1 serving vanilla protein powder (about 35 grams)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts)
1/3 cup rolled in unsweetened coconut

Directions

  1. Add the cashews, oats, dates, applesauce, protein powder, and spices to the food processor. Turn on for several minutes until a choppy dough forms.
  2. Add the grated carrot and pecans until thoroughly mixed. The dough will appear slightly sticky.
  3. Pour the unsweetened shredded coconut into a bowl.
  4. Roll dough into balls, roll each one in the coconut, and place on a clean cookie sheet.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set. Store uneaten balls in an airtight container in the fridge.

No Tricks Just Treats!

Halloween is a holiday centered on indulgence. Overindulgence, that is: in buckets, literal buckets filled with sugar, just tempting your kids to ruin their dinner.

Surely, adults wouldn’t be tempted by something so glaringly unhealthy, right? Let’s not kid ourselves, we’ve all helped ourselves to (perhaps more than) our fair share of Halloween candy.

Sure, most neighbors aren’t handing out king-size Hershey’s bars, but that doesn’t mean that an entire bucket of miniatures isn’t equally tempting.

Luckily, there are smart ways to indulge in the trick or treating bounty without sabotaging your diet. Remember, as with any type of sugar, portion size is key: it’s easy to blow through three or four mini bars without stopping to really taste them. Always check nutritional labels, and take the time to enjoy your treat.  Savor the texture, taste, scent, and nostalgia of your traditional halloween goodies, or get creative and find a new way to enjoy some old favorites.

We’ve included a few recipes below. In this case, you can have your treat and eat it too: the following treats all clocks in at 150 calories or less.

Frightfully Fruity

chocolate drizzled strawberries - low calorie
source: liveanddiet.com
  • 1 cup fresh sliced apple, drizzled with 1 tbsp. of caramel topping
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries, dipped fondue-style in 3 melted Hershey’s kisses
  • ½ cup banana, mashed and topped with 1 crushed Butterfinger mini

Shockingly Sane Sweets

m&m funsize
source: walmartimages.com
  • 1 fun-size package M&M’s
  • 1 fun-size candy bar or peanut butter cup
  • 3 Tootsie Rolls

 

The New Ghouls in Town

source: homeiswheretheboatis.com

Stock Up on Fall Superfoods

Fall is here! The change of the leaves and the seasonal chill brings some of our favorite tasting produce. Change up your normal diet and spice up your cuisine with the flavors of the season. Best of all, you’ll be building up your immune system to prepare for the cold season that awaits.

10 Fall Superfoods

fall superfoods - nashua nutrition
source:healththroughawareness.com

1.) Pumpkin
The orange flesh of a pumpkin is a tell-tale sign of the high amounts of beta-carotene that it contains. Make it a part of your breakfast smoothie or Fall-themed dessert.

2.) Brussels Sprouts
One of the top super greens, Brussels sprouts are high in fiber and have been shown to help reduce high cholesterol.

3.) Apples
They say an apple a day… Apples are a great super fruit containing high levels of vitamin C, which can help to boost your immunity just in time for the cold season.

4.) Broccoli
A classic power vegetable, broccoli is high in folate, antioxidants, and essential cold-fighting vitamins. When eaten raw, it’s been shown to contain cancer-fighting compounds!

sweet potatoes - fall superfoods - nashua nutrition
source: grapplergourmet.com

5.) Sweet Potato
Try roasting these delicious and healthier alternative to white-potatoes – they’ll taste delicious. Vitamin A, C, iron, and potassium are just some of the benefits of sweet potato.

6.) Citrus Fruits
As strange as it may seem, the peak months for citrus are in the cooler months! Prepare for the cold season by eating some citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C. Some of our favorites are grapefruits and oranges.

7.) Garlic
While you might see garlic in the store year round, the best time to buy fresh garlic is the Fall. Garlic is a natural anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal herb that never loses potency no matter how much you take. A true cold fighter!

8.) Swiss Chard
Considered a super leafy green vegetable, swiss chard is high in vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as calcium and iron.

9.) Ginger
Its powerful taste is the best clue to the many health benefits it contains. Ginger, like garlic, is a natural anti-inflammatory as well as a digestive aid. It helps to promote circulation as well, ensuring your body gets the nutrients it needs.

pomegranate- fall superfood - nashua nutrition
upmcmyheathmatters.com

10.) Pomegranates
Ranked in the super antioxidant group along with blueberries and acai berries, pomegranates help to fortify the immune system by removing harmful waste products.