I have a busy life so I do not have the time to make every meal from scratch. Sound familiar? As a result I am constantly on the look-out for tasty healthy meal choices in prepared products.
So I was quite ecstatic to find a frozen breaded chicken breast product that received high marks from two of my favorite food critics:
my husband whose major criteria for food is that it taste good
my nephew who is very well-informed on food and is focused on a high protein low fat diet
Yay! With 200 calories per 113 g serving, I get real chicken breast (not some minced meat moulded to look like a chicken breast), that is juicy and crispy. This particular one has 15 g of protein with just 9 g of fat; this is pretty darn good. As I have come to expect in processed food, the sodium is medium-high at 720 mg in my books. I am not going to eat them every day so for myself this is acceptable. These particular ones I found at M&M Meat Shops in Canada. We have had both their Breaded Chicken Breasts – Original (PLU 272) and their Breaded Chicken Breasts – Spicy (PLU 273) a number of times and they have been consistently good.
What I also like is that I can do them in the oven or on the barbeque from frozen state. Perfect for cottage meals. 🙂
TRICK!A trick I do in the oven is put them on a roasting rack with a pan underneath rather than on a baking tray as the instructions suggest. This way I do not need to turn the breasts mid-way through. (As shown in the photo above.)
Toss together a favorite salad, buns, toppings and I can have a meal together in 30 minutes. Here is a photo of a meal we had: Monterey jack chipotle chicken breast on a thin bun with a side salad.
By the way, I noticed that M&M Meat Shops has a Gluten-free variety. If anyone has tried them, please comment below and let us all know how they were.
P.S. No, M&M Meat Shops are not a direct sponsor of Craving Life.
Protein bars are one of my go-to snack choices when I am on the go or need something in the middle of the day to help energize me and get rid of the munchies.
I am interested in maintaining as well as losing more weight, so I target roughly a 1200 to 1500 daily calorie range. I don’t go nuts counting the calories, however, I do try to be aware of what goes into my mouth. Protein bars are great — if you can find the one that meets your needs. There are so many out there that it can be both overwhelming and sometimes discouraging. I am amazed on how many supposedly “nutrition bars” are out there that seem to be sugar and carbs disguised as healthy bars. So when you find a winner it is truly an awesome thing.
Here is my criteria for choosing protein bars:
Tastes great! My favorite flavour is chocolate. I find that good quality chocolate protein bar make me feel like I am having a tasty treat, yet after eating the protein bar I feel happy and sated. Whereas with a chocolate bar, I just want more. Finding the protein bars that tingles your taste-buds may take time. Sort of like dating — you might have to kiss a lot of frogs.
In the 200 Calorie ballpark
Many of the high-quality protein bars have been designed for athletes and are in the 300 calorie range. For myself, 300 calories is more of a meal than a snack. There are bars out there at 200 calories; you just need to look a bit harder
Target is a minimum of 1 gram of Protein for every 10 Calories
This formula makes it simple, especially if I am picking one up at the spur of the moment. So for 200 calories I am looking for 20 grams of protein. Not always achievable but that is the target. If a bar is a protein / fiber combination, then I add the two numbers together.
My current favorite bars are called Pure Protein that I purchase at Costco. In-store you get 3 different flavours averaging at about $1.05 per bar. At Costco Canada I found them online averaging $1.25 per bar. Typically in stores I find protein bars range in price from $1.89 upwards to $3.
Now instead of reaching for a chocolate bar, I reach for a protein bar. I get the same WOW! for my taste buds, however the difference is that I feel sated after the protein bar and have more energy. After the chocolate bar all I want is more… more sugar, more fat, more carbs. And that is where the chocolate bar score high on. It isn’t really the calories that do me in. It is the carbs, sugar and fat that end up on my hips.
How do the Pure Protein Chocolate Deluxe bars score for me?
Taste Score = 9
Calories Score = 10
It has 180 calories which is less than 200 calorie target;
Protein/Fiber Score = 10
The bar has 21 g of Protein + 2 g of Fiber which = 23 g total. For a 180 calorie bar my target is 18 g so this bar definitely exceeds my target.
Overall Score = 10
No, I am not paid by either Pure Protein or Costco. I let my taste-buds do my typing. 😉
What is your favorite protein bar for satisfying the munchies monster? Please let me know in the Comment section at the bottom of this post.
Roasting or toasting flaxseeds not only adds a nutty flavor to the flaxseed, it helps break the hard outer shell, making the inner nutrients accessible for our bodies to absorb; otherwise the seeds pass though our digestive system as insoluble fiber. High in omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed may have a highly positive impact on helping to stave off cancer.
When I purchase flaxseed I only purchase it in seed form, not ground, as the omega-3 fatty acids are prone to degradation. If you are looking to benefit from the omega-3s, do not buy it pre-ground; grind the flaxseed at home and only just before you need it. I have a simple coffee grinder that I use. A mortar and pestle can work as effectively, giving the added advantage of a bit of an arm muscle workout. 🙂
Sometimes I am looking for both the healthy aspects of flaxseed as well as for presentation, as is the case for the Roasted Flaxseed and Sugar Snap Peas recipe. For this recipe I want some of the seeds whole, as well as some cracked and more grounded.
I suggest that this is not made too much ahead as the omega-3s are volatile; meaning that their nutritional properties can degrade. To get the highest possible benefit do as close to consumption time as possible. Sometimes this is not realistic. In that case, enjoy the crunchy texture, nutty flavor, and beautiful presentation and don't stress the rest.
Serves: 1 recipe
In a dry fry pan put in the quantity of flaxseed that you require for the recipe then put the fry pan over a medium heat.
Keep an eye on the pan and toss or stir the seeds every 30 seconds or when you start to hear cracking noises. If you are toasting a small amount in a large fry pan it could take as little as 3 minutes; if the fry pan has a complete single layer of flaxseeds it will take about 8 minutes.
When about two-thirds of the seeds are a darker hue, remove from the heat and let cool, tossing / stirring once more about 30 seconds after being removed from the heat (the pan is still hot so toasting is still occurring).
Coarsely grind the now-cooled flaxseeds in a mortar and pestle or a coffee mill until desired consistency is reached.
If you do not have kitchen scales, I strongly suggest that you run to the store and get them. And get the kind that you know will be easy to get access to so you will actually use them.
No, not like me. We have the large clunker kind that is stuffed in a cupboard. It may be pretty with all the chrome, a big dial, and a 6-inch chrome dish on top. But unless you are willing to leave it out sitting on the countertop (which we are not because both of us love having an empty countertop), then it is going to collect dust.
For myself I decided I wanted the real slim kitchen scale with the Tare feature (explained in a bit). After I had convinced my husband that I really did want new kitchen scales for Christmas (“We already have kitchen scales.” Sound familiar? 😉 ), I get the unexpected phone call:
Him: “I’m in the hardware store and they have an assortment of scales. There is a slim version has the Tare feature. You get to choose between purple or army green. On for half-price. What color do you want?”
Me: “Purple, please.” 😀
At this point he has just gained a ton of brownie points. He is shopping at Christmas time and he does NOT like shopping, to put it mildly; and I am getting what I want. Yippee!!
I just LOVE them. It has made cooking so much easier. I can weigh flours and other products that can compact instead of measuring, which gives me a 10% increase in accuracy. When making stews, accuracy goes out the window. When baking however, it is the tool I need to guarantee a consistently good result.
About the Tare feature. This allows me to use my own dishes on the scales. Rather than me doing all the math to subtract the weight of the dish, it does it for me. Putting my empty bowl on the scale and then pressing the Tare button (which is labeled ‘Zero’ on my scale) resets the displayed weight on the scale to zero and I can now measure out my ingredient. I can also measure multiple ingredients into the same bowl. Put my empty bowl on the scale, press Tare and reset to Zero, add my first ingredient, press Tare and reset to Zero, add next ingredient, and repeat.
I could rave endlessly about how priceless these kitchen scales are to me but there are certain things you need to find out for yourself. Just get the type you will use, not stuff into a cupboard.
My scales are made by Starfrit. I have had them for 2 years and so far the only thing that went was the battery which was an easy and inexpensive fix. The color doesn’t quite go with the kitchen colors, however, it is so slim that I have it tucked away in a close location and pull it out… daily.