Tag Archives | challenge

Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

homemade granola bar recipe As part of the 30 Day Eat Less Processed Food Challenge, I knew I needed to find a way to make my own granola bars.

I love granola bars and quite honestly they are a good backup plan for breakfast when things get crazy.

This recipe is probably not the absolute healthiest in the world, but it is super easy and does contain some very good-for-you ingredients!  In fact, I had them mixed up and in the oven in 10 minutes flat!

Ingredients:

3 cups plain quick oats

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

2 tablespoons butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13 pan.

2. Mix the quick oats and sweetened condensed milk.

easy granola bars 2.  Melt the butter.  Add butter, chocolate chips, cranberries and almonds to the mixture.  Mix with hands or gently with a spoon.

homemade granola bars easy homemade granola bars 3. Press into the greased 9×13 pan.

4. Bake for 18-22 minutes.  Be careful to not over-bake by watching the edges.

chocolate chip granola bar recipe {Adapted from this recipe}

Divide into 20 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving: Calories: 175, Carbohydrate: 26 g, Fat: 7 g, Protein: 4 g

If you are careful to not over-bake, they will be very chewy and full of flavor.  This homemade granola bar recipe does have some sugar in it from the sweetened condensed milk, but at least you know everything that’s going in it!  So much less processed than a lot of the bars you would buy in the store.

almond granola bar recipe {Linking up to Life Made Lovely}

 

 

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Days 29 & 30!!!!

Congratulations!  You made it 30 days with no “sweets.”

This challenge was not meant to necessarily be anything extreme (unless you wanted it to be).  For me, I knew that cutting out desserts and “sweets” such as chocolate, cookies, etc. would benefit me tremendously.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

My cravings decreased to almost nothing.  I learned what my actual weaknesses are.  I gained control.

I hope this 30 Day No Sugar Challenge has benefited you as well!

The key now is to lose the ground you have gained.  If you went 30 days without sweets, you have cut out one of the biggest causes of weight gain.

Keys to Maintaining a Sugar-Less Lifestyle

  1. Save sweets for special occasions.  If you’re like me, I can find a “special occasion” to celebrate with sweets at least once a day.  The problem is, we slowly start eating more and more sweets until it’s just a part of our everyday lives.
  2. Don’t keep it around.   Unless you’re a super-self-controlled person, it’s probably best to not let it in the house.
  3. Eat more fruit.  Eating fruit may help to curb the appetite as it gives the natural sweetness.
  4. If you find yourself getting off-track, just start again.  You don’t have to do a 30-day challenge, but sometimes just avoiding it for a day or two might get you back on track.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this 30-day journey towards a healthier you!

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Days 26, 27 & 28

I know I haven’t been posting as frequently here lately, but I hope you are sticking with this 30 Day No Sugar Challenge all the way to the end with me.

We’re almost there!  Two more days and you’ll be able to say you went 30 whole days without any sweets.

Daily Recap (of the last few days)

  • Didn’t have much temptation the last few days
  • I am just finding myself not even giving most desserts a second thought.  Though I have had days where the temptation is strong, lately it has subsided (thank goodness)

Sugar Rehab

Are you finding yourself less addicted to sugar now?  I hope so!

It doesn’t mean you’ll never want it or even eat it again, but hopefully you have more control.  So many foods we eat that aren’t even “sweets” have added sugar in them, so we definitely do not need the sugar from desserts, candy, sodas, etc.

Start thinking about what your plan is for handling sugar and desserts once this challenge is over.  Do not think of it as “whew, now I’m done with that.  Now I can go binge on some chocolate!”

I wanted this challenge to be a lifestyle change for me…one that will help me more easily resist the many temptations that come my way.

{If you are new to this challenge, check out this post and watch the video!}

 

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Days 23, 24 & 25

Even though I haven’t posted in a few days, I am still hanging in there with you in this challenge!

I will say that this last week has been the hardest, probably because I have just been more tired than usual.

Daily Recap (of the last few days):

  • I had to indulge in no sugar added ice cream (which, by the way, is not low calorie!)
  • I have craved sweets pretty intensely the last few days

Sugar Rehab

One of the featured article on MSN today was this article on sugar and it’s scary effects on the body.  Most of these effects I have mentioned at one time or another throughout this challenge, but it was a thorough list with some backup found in studies.

Though the source of this article may not be the most reputable ever, it reiterates what we do know about sugar:

  • Provides added calories that usually contribute to weight gain
  • Excess weight can increase risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer
  • Eat a high-sugar diet, thereby having sugar highs and lows, can affect our moods

Even if you do go back to eating occasional sweets after this challenge, just keep in mind that we must keep our cravings under control in order to avoid these negative effects.

 

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Days 21 & 22

Hope you are still hanging in there with this 30 Day No Sugar Challenge!

I’ve had a challenging week so far, and I must admit, I’ve craved some sweets at time.

Daily Recap

  • The last two days, I have avoided sweets despite some added stress
  • I have seen over and over again, my “weaknesses” when it comes to sweets

Sugar Rehab

Take a step back and try to look at your life and eating objectively.  When do you crave sugar?

Is it every night while you watch TV?  Is it during the day when you’re stressed at work or have screaming kids running around your house?

If you’re a sugar-lover, you need to spend the next week (the last week of the challenge) looking at your lifestyle and determining your “weaknesses.”  By doing so, you can work hard at not going back to your old ways.

If you have to, keep a journal of how you feel throughout the day and when your cravings hit.  This will help you come up with some ways to push through those cravings.

Hope your last week of the 30 Day No Sugar Challenge is a strong one!

 

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Day 20

Hope you are staying strong on this “homestretch” of the challenge!

I found myself craving sweets today, but I was also tempted by some cupcakes at work that looked delicious.

Daily Recap

  • Craved sweets, but stayed strong!
  • Have learned that for me, stress = craving sweets, being happy = craving sweets, and boredom = craving sweets :)

Sugar Rehab

If you think you’re the only one who loves sugar, the statistics show that you’re not alone:

  • According to the USDA, in 2000 each American ate an average of 152 pounds of caloric sweeteners.
  • This means that the average American consumed 52 teaspoons of sugar per day

Sounds shocking when you actually hear the numbers, doesn’t it?

By doing this 30 Day No Sugar Challenge, you are cleansing your diet of these added empty calories!

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Days 18 & 19

One word to describe these last 2 days: crazy.

One word to describe the next 2 days: crazy.

So, needless to say, I didn’t get a post up last night about my no sugar day!

Daily Recap (yesterday and today)

  • I made homemade granola bars yesterday.  I PROMISE the recipe said “granola bars” but I do have to admit they had sugar in them and really were more “dessertish” (is that a word?!) than “granolaish.”  I felt like I was cheating and I probably was.  The good news: I only ate 1.5 pieces.
  • I went to my grandmother’s house today, and that usually means I ingested chocolate of some sort.  But not this time!  I saved a LOT of calories by not eating sweets.  She had peanut M&Ms, regular M&Ms and some other little cookie thing sitting on the counter.
  • Amazed how my clothes are fitting looser merely by cutting out sweets!

Sugar Rehab

If you are doing this 30 Day No Sugar Challenge, let me challenge you to not let the scale be the only measure of your success.

Here are benefits you may be seeing:

  • Healthier looking skin
  • Less “bloated”
  • More even energy levels (maybe you don’t experience the “sugar” highs, but you also don’t experience the sugar lows!)
  • Feel happier
  • More control over cravings/food choices
  • Weight loss
  • Spending less money on junk foods
  • Eating healthy foods

What benefits are you enjoying?

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Day 16

This post will be short and sweet.

In a nutshell: I wanted sweets today.

It was a dreary, cloudy day and much cooler than it has been.  I was around the house most of the day and I wanted sweets.

I went to the grocery store and I wanted sweets.

I looked around on other people’s food blogs and I wanted sweets.

But…I didn’t have sweets today.  That’s the beauty of doing this no sugar challenge.  Normally, I would’ve probably eat so many extra calories on a day like today, just because.  And not that it’s bad to have those kinds of days every now and then, but sometimes that sends me down the sweets road a little too far!

Hope your 16th day (first day of the 2nd half of this 30 Day No Sugar Challenge) went well and remember, when you have those days like I had today, you can resist and you will be glad later.

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Day 15

Congratulations!  You are half-way through this lifestyle-changing 30-day challenge!!!

Daily Recap

  • 2 different desserts were offered to me today at work.  I said “no” to both.
  • Got on the scale this morning and my weight was down a couple of pounds.  Haven’t been doing anything different other than cutting out the sweets!
  • I did eat pancakes with regular syrup tonight (*gasp*).  I know this is technically a “sweet” but somehow it just doesn’t have the same affect psychologically on me as eating pound cake or chocolate chip cookies.

Sugar Rehab

Today marks the halfway mark for the 30 Day No Sugar Challenge.  Hopefully you feel encouraged by that!

To be honest, I am feeling so much better than when I was eating a good bit of sugar.  I’m almost scared for the challenge to end.  Scared that I may fall back into “old” habits.

Here’s the thing about it, though: even if you start eating some sweets after this challenge is over, don’t make it a habit.  Habits are a way of life, and eating very little sugar should be our way of life.  Eating a dessert really should be a special occasional treat (not a daily treat).

Make this new way of eating a habit for you!

 

 

 

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30 Day No Sugar Challenge: Day 14

If you are new to this blog and are wondering “what in the world is a no sugar challenge and why in the world would anyone do that?” let me just say a few things to explain:

  1. I am NOT a believer in doing crazy dietary things.  For the most part, I believe in balance, moderation, and variety.
  2. A 30 Day No Sugar Challenge is just designed to help you be less dependent on sugar, for whatever reason you may be so.  (this includes drinking sugary beverages or eating sweets)
  3. This is one of the best things I have done for myself in a long time.  I’ve thought about giving up coffee completely, and I may do so one day.  But next to giving up caffeine, this is one of the hardest things for me to give up completely.
  4. Doing this 30 Day No Sugar Challenge has turned out to actually been much easier than I predicted.
  5. If you go through times where you eat sweets quite often and find yourself feeling like you need something sweet most days, this challenge if FOR YOU!  You will not regret doing this (once you get through the first few days!) Read this post and watch the video!

Daily Recap (how my day went without sugar)

  • Despite a rather hectic afternoon at work, I felt no propensity towards eating sweets
  • I’m getting to the point now where candy bars and cookies are just barely appealing at all (hooray!)
  • Looking forward to tomorrow, which marks the halfway point of the 30 Day No Sugar Challenge

Sugar Rehab

If you drink anything (besides milk) that has calories in it, you are probably drinking something with sugar.

Keep in mind that sports drinks (i.e. regular Gatorade, Powerade), mixed coffee beverages, and many “fruit” drinks have added sugar in them.

The downside to drinking sugary beverages: you don’t get full on them, yet you get a lot of calories from the sugar.

Stick to water or calorie-free drinks and get your calories from foods that will fill you up such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein.

 

 

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