My Staple "Must Have at All Times" Items (pt. 1)

I LOVE GREEK YOGURT. Maybe even obsessed with it. I have gone through tubs and tubs of this Fage 2%, and I must say, Fage really is my favorite brand when it comes to Greek yogurt. I find that the consistency is so much better than Chobani, and the taste is more welcoming as well. I like to put this in my smoothies, stir it in my oatmeal, use it as a dip for fruits, or as a substitute for sour cream when I’m baking.
Greek yogurt is great because it contains about half the sugar of normal yogurts, and is PACKED with calcium and probiotics. What differentiates Greek yogurt from regular yogurt is that Greek yogurt is strained to remove the whey, lactose and sugar, which contributes to its thick consistency. It is significantly thicker than normal yogurt, and it takes some time getting use to the flavor (taste a bit like sour cream.) Perhaps the most well-known fact about Greek yogurt is its protein content – a single serving size doubles the protein content of regular yogurts! In just one serving, you are receiving roughly 15-20 grams of protein – that is equivalent to about 3 ounces of lean meat (which is actually a serving size of meat). This should be extremely appealing to vegetarians, and women as well, who often do not receive the recommended protein intake.

Another thing that I love is peanut butter, but it’s no secret that peanut butter can be extremely fattening. This PB2 is one of my favorite food items ever. It has 85% LESS FAT AND CALORIES than regular peanut butter!!!!! Insane. This is actually a peanut butter powder, so you have to mix it with water to achieve the actual peanut butter, but the extra work is SO WORTH IT! Typically, regular peanut butter is about 210 calories and ~3g of saturated fat, and low-fat peanut butter is around 180 calories per serving size (2 tablespoons). BUT… this amazing pb2 is only….45 CALORIES PER SERVING SIZE!!!!!!  With 0g of saturated fat! Isn’t that crazy?! And you can even adjust the consistency to make the peanut butter as thick or creamy as you would like. I absolutely love, love, LOVE this product. The only downside is that it can be relatively difficult to find, and when you do, it is significantly more expensive than your traditional supermarket peanut butter. But…I love it and will continue to repurchase when I run out.

Bragg is one of the more well-known brands to health fanatics with their AMAZING apple cider vinegar and all the health benefits that it has (which I also keep in my pantry at all times). But another product of theirs that I love even more is their liquid aminos. It is used exactly like soy sauce; in fact, it is known to be a natural soy sauce alternative. It contains no added sodium or table salts, and has only naturally occurring sodium from soybeans. It contains 16 different amino acids, which are essentially the building blocks of organs, tissues, and protein. It’s also gluten-free, to those who are concerned about celiac disease. A downside to this product, however, is that it is pretttttty expensive for a seasoning…but a bottle should last you a good while.

Luna bars are great! I stock up on these pretty much every week. I’ve tried other energy and nutrition bars, but I just keep going back to Luna. Luna bars are known as “nutrition bars for women” because they focus mainly on four core nutrients – folic acid, iron, vitamin D, and calcium (which most women lack in). They are relatively low in calories for an energy bar, and offers additional nutrients, such as protein and fiber. Some days, I have class from 8am until 5:30pm, with very little time to eat lunch in between. So I’ll usually throw a Luna bar and an apple or some other fruit in my backpack for some healthy mid-day snacking. My favorite flavors are the Nutz Over Chocolate and Peanut Honey Pretzel.

Alright, honestly, I hate drinking milk. The only time I ever drink milk is when I’m eating cereal, or in my coffee. But, it’s no secret that women usually don’t receive enough calcium in their diets, and did you know that we only have until the age of 30 to store up calcium in our bodies? After that, we no longer have the ability to store up calcium, which is why many women suffer from weaker bones and osteoporosis as they get older. If you’re like me and you hate drinking milk, but you need to find a way to increase on your calcium intake, then give almond milk a shot. It contains half the calories as 2% milk, yet has twice the amount of calcium! And if you opt for the unsweetened vanilla flavor, it contains even less calories! (Roughly 30-40 calories a cup vs ~120 calories/cup in 2% milk). And, since it is dairy-free, it is a great alternative to those who are lactose intolerant or suffer from other dairy allergies. Another great thing about almond milk is how versatile it is, and how it functions much like regular milk in everything. I can’t even remember the last time I bought regular milk. I use almond milk for everything that I would use milk in – baking, cooking, coffee, etc. I usually switch between the original and the unsweetened vanilla varieties.

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