The Primal Pantry Paleo Protein Bars

Yum!

I’ve tried bars from The Primal Pantry range before and really enjoyed them. I find them quite satisfying and filling, which is unusual because I often find myself reaching for the ‘snack box’ not long after eating the usual cereal bars. I was happy to be sent some of these to taste test and put them to very good use in the past few weeks, with my various epic events that needed both fuelling and refuelling (more on that in another post).

Paleo Bars

Paleo Bars

These two new protein bars in the range claim to be the ‘cleanest’ bars around (meaning they are made without any additives, preservatives, flavourings or colourants); they are also grain free, dairy free and gluten free. Even so, they are not short on flavour! I would say, having tried the other bars by The Primal Pantry, these are the tastiest yet, with the Cocoa Orange being a personal favourite, so orangey! I am hoping they might bring out a mint-choc flavour, now that would be delicious!

When should you use this bar in your training? I would say this is great post-activity, with both protein and carbohydrates to aid recovery. I have also used the bars (cut into neat little bite-size chunks) on a long bike ride though, finding they give a great energy-boost (and they gave me something to look forward to!). Try them for yourself, from health food shops and larger supermarkets, for £1.99.

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Powerbar Sports Protein Plus

I’m doing a lot of swimming at the moment and those of you who have read about my swim sessions before will know that I get terribly ‘swamished’. This was a word coined by my friend Hugh after last year’s Swimathon. There’s something about swimming, more than running or cycling, that gives me a huge appetite and, if I don’t carry something in my bag to snaffle as soon as I’m dry (or even whilst drying myself!), then I will end up mindlessly eating daft stuff.

Three flavours

Three flavours

I was recently sent some Powerbar Sports Protein Plus bars to try out, by the people at ProBikeKit. I’m always eager to try new fuel and refuel foods, so started carrying these in my kit bag to see if they did the trick in fighting a bout of swamishness. They did! I was sent three flavours to try: Blueberry Nuts, Lemon Cheesecake and Orange Jaffa Cake. A personal favourite is definitely the Orange Jaffa Cake bar and not just because it’s covered in dark chocolate, really.

Jaffa Cakey

Jaffa Cakey

This one and the Lemon Cheesecake bar have a very different texture to the Blueberry Nut bar, kind of like a deliciously orangey (or lemony) Milky Way. I liked the chewiness and the freshness of the flavour. They also really filled me up after a hard swim. Result! The Blueberry Nut bar is more of a cereal bar, more crunchy and crispy, with added dried fruits. It’s recommended that we eat a combination of protein and carbs after exercise, to help repair our muscles and replenish glycogen. You can do this in a number of ways, if you are going straight home to eat (or are super prepared), but it’s often easier to stash a bar in your bag if you are on the go and these seem to be a tasty option. You can find out more about the bars here and buy some if you fancy trying something new, post-swim/run/ride.

Dr Zak’s Powdered Peanut Butter

Yes, really, powdered peanut butter! I wasn’t so sure myself, but actually, it’s pretty good.

Powdered PB

Powdered PB

It comes in a 150g tub (for £4.49) and you can mix it with equal parts water to make a paste to butter your bagels, or simply add it in powdered form to make a nutty and protein-packed smoothie. So, why powdered PB? What’s the difference? If you are looking to put some extra protein into your diet, but don’t like that protein-powder taste (and all the added sweeteners, emulsifiers and so on), then this is a simple option. The butter has just three ingredients (peanut flour, a little sugar and a pinch of salt) and has 80% less fat than conventional peanut butter and has a whopping 45g of high quality protein per 100g.

I mixed some up with a bit of water to get a nice smooth paste (and licking the spoon proved that it tastes pretty good – though I prefer a crunchy peanut butter for spreading) and added it to some banana and almond milk to make a tasty post-swim smoothie.

Smooth(ie)

Smooth(ie)

If you want to pack some extra protein without really trying that hard, then it’s pretty easy to bulk up your smoothie after your run/ride/swim, or to make your breakfast work that little bit harder. Have a look here to find out more.

Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels

My post-run/swim/bike routine goes something like this:

get in, put kettle on, fill drinks bottle with High5 Zero, do a bit of core work, stretch a bit whilst rehydrating, shower, dress, check emails/get distracted by Twitter/sort out the washing, realise I’m really hungry, stand in kitchen eating cereal from the box. I’m pretty sure I’ve never read that in Runner’s World. I know I should ideally eat *something* within half an hour of finishing a workout, and I know that I should consume a combination of protein and carbs, but I kind of forget and I’m usually not terribly inspired by what’s on offer. Recently I was sent some Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels to try, so was determined to be a bit more ‘athlete’ about my post-workout refuel routine.

Dr Zak's Pak

Dr Zak’s Pak

It was good knowing I had something planned after my long swim (I do fantasise about what I will eat later whilst swimming, it makes me sooooo hungry!) and I decided to increase the protein levels even more by filling the bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese – that’s what you have on a bagel, right?

Grainy

Grainy

I must say, it was delicious and I felt full for ages afterwards, which is unusual for me following a swim. Each of these bagels has twice the amount of protein as a regular bagel (about the same as a piece of chicken breast), thus allowing you to up your levels of muscle repairing protein without resorting to powdered shakes and supplements. It’s the high levels of fibre that keep the hunger at bay, and I liked the nuttiness of the seeded topping, which gives the bagels a nice texture (and extra nutrients). The next day I toasted my bagel (I prefer them toasted) and added crunchy peanut butter (more protein!).

Yum

Yum

If you like to refuel and create a balance in your diet through ‘real’ food rather than supplements, then this is a great idea. Dr Zak’s bagels are available from health food shops, with a pack of four costing £3.50 – which might seem pricey, but they are big and really do fill you up (it works out at less than 90p for 24g of protein). It beats a handful of cereal anyway 😉