a healthy snacks review: can I just have chocolate instead?

As part of my #letskissgoodbyetoMS campaign this May [2017], I have given up the luxury of all chocolatey goods. Side note: I can’t believe that I’ve already reached 85% of my fundraising goal!  ❤ ~ https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/GEORGETTA-EVANS

As I’m also starting my fitness journey to be a gym bunny (haha I can’t believe I just called myself that… #dontjudgeme) and am trying to eat healthier! So, I recently purchased three different types of healthy snacks to see whether any tickle my fancy and have the best health benefits possible from a little snack bar.

My reviews work like this, I mark the Flavour, Appearance and Texture a score out of 10 and talk about each one. Let’s get started! (I am not ordering them in terms of best on but the chronological order).

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Trek Cocoa Oat Flapjack – review!

#1 ~ Trek Cocoa Oat Protein Flapjack

F: 9 out of 10
A: 8 out of 10
T: 10 out of 10

Maybe I loved this because I was starving having just done a workout but I am happy to say I do recommend this bar, not only is it healthy, but it does have 9g of protein which gives an extra boost to anyone who is exercising regularly or need an extra boost with what they eat. The texture was soft but not sticky like a squares bar (which I know is made with marshmallow but I hate it when stuff sticks to my teeth) and the layer of cocoa dark chocolate is not thick and only covers one side. It isn’t too sweet either as the flavour of the dark chocolate balances with the sugar but also compliments the wholesome oats to satisfy your need for a snack. I could eat more, but I think one a day is perfect as I think two could be overkill. So, pretty happy to buy this one again!

Other flavours: banana bread, cocoa coconut, morning berry.

Price: in local supermarkets average £0.90 per bar, so bulk buying on amazon or other online retailers is usually a little cheaper.

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#2 ~ The Primal Pantry Hazelnut & Cocoa Raw Paleo Bar

F: 4 out of 10
A: 6.5 out of 10
T: 6 out of 10

As I am also testing out being paleo, this is one of the key paleo bars in the UK market that has good reviews! The flavour is not very strong and sweet without a strong taste of hazelnut or cocoa so unfortunately, I found it rather bland. It is a little chewy and, this sounds weird, but satisfying to eat but I wish there were bolder flavours coming through. The appearance of the bar isn’t exactly inspiring but it wasn’t sticky or melting as I ate it. All in all, it is a good find, and I have higher hope for the protein bar flavours (listed below) as they excite my tastebuds a little more! It also is a great snack to have pre- or post-workout. Paleo bars are definitely worth a try if you’re wanting to swap your snacks, especially regarding the sugar content, as I find the “healthy” snacks provided by nature valley, alpen etc. have lots of artificial sugar. These bars may still contain sugar but it is natural and better for your body! 😀

Other flavours: Coconut & Macadamia, Brazil Nut & Cherry. Apple & Pecan
Also, protein bar flavours: Cocoa Brownie, Mixed Berries, Cocoa Orange

Price: in local supermarkets and Holland & Barrett they average £0.89 per bar, in Tesco a pack of 4 is £2.99 so bulk buying is definitely a better option and there are available on amazon and other online retailers

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#3 ~ Deliciously Ella Cocoa and Almond Energy Ball

F: 6 out of 10
A: 5 out of 10
T: 7 out of 10

I heard of this lovely lady through my mum at the beginning of the year as she also does recipes for meals and healthier options that we can cook at home! One of the dishes, which I have made since is the apple crumble. This isn’t the normal dessert you expect, in fact, it’s a breakfast option that you can make at the beginning of the week and just devour for breakfast with any yoghurt or milk of your choice! Recipe here!

Anyway, back to the protein ball… The appearance wasn’t anything spectacular or something that I wanted to gobble up upon sight of it, nevertheless, don’t just a book by its cover. The texture is quite chewy and somewhat moist because it is made with dates and roasted nut butter (as well as other ingredients) to bind it. The flavour isn’t as inspiring or as yummy to the taste buds as I’d hoped as I can be quite picky about wanting a dominant flavour. It is a great snack for those who don’t like sweet and sugary things as it is definitely a perfect size to satisfy your snacking needs and hunger!

Other flavours available include almond and blueberry protein ball, hazelnut and raisin energy ball, coconut and oat energy ball.

Price: £1.79 at Waitrose or Holland & Barrett. [which is pretty pricey in my opinion but if it tickles your taste buds, then it could definitely be a top snack for you]

Ella herself has uploaded a video on youtube on how to make these at home:

Any recommendations of other healthy snacks, energy bars or other healthy foods are most welcome as I love tasting the food and blogging about it is double the fun!

It’s definitely more affordable to make the energy balls at home, as well as various other healthy snacks. If you fancy sate-ing your sweet tooth, using honey or other natural sweet ingredients are better than milk chocolate or sugar! Alternatively, as my godmother has suggested, throw together some nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate and you’re good to go! Hehe!

GL xxx

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#BBG pre-training: getting in the “zone”

Monday is now known to me as legs & cardio’ day.

Wednesday is ‘arms & abs’ day.

&

Friday is ‘full body workout’ day.

The days in-between are for more low-intensity workouts which I’m using to start to train my body to like and even I dare to hope, enjoy running.

I have seen soooooo many posts on instagram about Kayla Itsines ‘bikini body guide’ and even though it seems that the true results only show after at least a year of maintaining this routine… the transformation is just fantastic. Other fitness ladies I follow are @carlyrowena, @sarahsday and @gains4girls [all on insta] just to get inspiration and tips on how to eat well, do some fun exercises and even get some general advice about skin care ideas or just daily bits and bobs. They have also released or are about to release fitness guides so stay tuned if you’re interested but want to have comparisons to Kayla’s!

So here I go, with my printed workouts, ready to go to the gym, or even at home if it’s a better use of time or when I’m out of town.

The Monday week 1 session started just like that

I had stayed at my grandparents’ house over the weekend as it was a bank holiday and even when I returned to Sheffield, the gym wasn’t going to be open. Fortunately, as I’m doing the pre-12 weeks training guide workouts (which is four weeks) and I feel that it is pretty tame at the moment and no weights or equipment was desperately needed.  The house has a large set of steps running up to it so I was able to do step ups using those. I probably looked funny but I trekked across the large driveway completely my set of walking lunges, I went around the cars and created my own little pattern… ya gotta make it fun, right?

I definitely had a sugar crash at about 5pm once I returned to my house in Sheffield. I think it was partly due to being really busy up until I sat down on my bed, but also because I had had no chocolate or diet coke for about 3 days (I was trying to start early so it wouldn’t be such a shock come May…). I’ve added ‘no diet coke’ to my list of things I’m giving up for my month of #letskissgoodbyetoMS fundraising.

Tuesday: I headed to the gym for a 3km workout on the cross trainer and watched Girlboss on Netflix to entertain myself. [Side note: I do recommend the show on the grounds that it’s about perseverance, doing something different but also it being your passion. However, don’t watch if you’re sensitive to crude language…]  The cross-trainer machine did have an option for the screen to show a circular track and has a little marker representing the user that moves as if you’re going around it, quite satisfying to watch. I also used the Stairmaster machine and the rowing machine, doing intervals of 500m and 30 seconds rest 4 times. After stretching, it was time to get on with my day!

Wednesday: “errrrggggggggggggghh push ups are the worst…. I’m not even doing the hard ones as I have my knees on the flooooor. just. two. more.” <– I have typed it exactly mirroring what I was thinking at 9:34am because there is no other way to explain it. I did say this blog was going, to be honest. 😀 😉

 I started my day with going to a one-hour session of yoga at 8:15am. I found the instructor is really good at combining so many poses to stretch out our entire bodies. I have never been able to touch my toes or the floor and I totally blame my genetics for it [even though my mother likes to show off how flexible she is]. Yet I’m hoping to do this once a week, maybe more if I can squeeze it in on the weekend, will really help my aching muscles recover and get stronger and stretch-ier. #motivation woo! I then did the Wednesday arms and abs workout… hence my groaning at the push ups!

However, I did make the mistake of spending waaaay too much time in a coffee shop revamping my blog. I’ve been wanting to freshen it up for a while, and only now have I found the name that’s stuck and completely 100% me. I love it and spent too much time on the banner and creating other bits for future posts… but, it looks good! [if I can say so myself ❤ ] This left me having only eaten a banana since my workout until about 3pm. Bad move. I had a mocha so the caffeine was starting to make me feel jittery as I swung my bag onto my back and headed for one of the university libraries to eat my packed lunch. Only at 4:30pm did I start to feel normal again. Definitely not repeating that mistake again!

** small skip to week 3 of the pre-training as I was a plonker and forgot to update this blog! **

Thursday: 7:04am. People say getting up early is good for you… changes your daily life for the better, and all I want to do is go back to sleep for another two hours 😭

7:06am. It’s all in the planning – don’t go to sleep past midnight if you know you’re getting up early… shot myself in the foot, didn’t I?

7:37am. I should really get out of bed now.

A quote on the wall of the gym… #motivationmonday

I think that week three is definitely a step up with now weighted exercises and the dreaded jump squats. However, with perseverance and constantly talking to myself to get through – which probably made me look rather crazy – I made it. To warm up I use the cross trainer for 5 minutes and the running machine for 5 to build up my stamina. I really don’t know how I’m going to do 3km on the 10th June… Now, to devour my lunch and focus on the mounting work of coursework, exams and a dissertation to prepare for. Oh, the life of a postgraduate! 😀

Finally, Friday arrived with the last HIIT exercise session of the #BBG program. Phew. Despite my grumblings during the workout when I’m sweaty and bothered, I’ve really enjoyed doing it so far and love being able to tick ‘go to the gym’ off my daily to-do list. By just knowing that I’m working towards being actively healthier is really rewarding… although I am daunted by the next few weeks to come! If any of you follow exercise programs or have any handy tips about exercises or anything related, I’d love to hear ’em.

I don’t yet know if I’m in the “zone” yet, whatever that “zone” may be, but here’s to the weekend, I hope you have a great one no matter where you are ❤

GL xxx