Review | Low Carb, High Protein Bars

Without a doubt, my favorite bars are “The Simply Bar“.  They have a 1:1 ration of protein to carbs, they range from 150-160 caloires.  Perfect for a snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

Becuase i’m based in the west coast, I have to order them online and have to pay for shipping ($14…ouch!).  This means I have to be more organized than I often am and that I have to be at the tipping point of frustration wiht my locally available options.  As I’m not yet at that tipping point, I thought I’d try a few other protein bar options.

My criteria:

  • Less than 200 calories
  • Close to 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs
  • Not too many ingredients i can’t pronounce
  • No aspartame
  • More fiber is preferable to less

Here’s what I’ve tried out so far:

  • NuGO Slim – Brownie Crunch
    • OK.  Innoffensive, didn’t taste like a brownie, or chocolate…. but also didn’t taste like chemicals (a frequent complaint)
    • 190 calories (bit on the high side); 16g protein (good, not great), 19g carbs… higher than i’d like, but the 7g fiber but this into ‘ok’ territory for me
    • Added bonus — Gluten free
  • Atkins — any flavour
    • Couldn’t do it… the ingredient list was too chemically oriented for me.  What’s the deal with all the sugar alcohol?

I have a stockpile of options in my suitcase for the week… stay tuned for other otpions.

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Seattle Tourist

Alki Beach:  West Seattle; Flat surface for biking, walking, roller blading, Pegasus Pizza is reputedly worth a visit

Newport Beach:  Sandy beach for kids with safe water access, shade for parents to sit; on the east side

Olympia:  1.5 hrs drive; state capital, nice buildings and landscaped parks

Ok… so it’s freezing here

Officially, Bytown Mom is not quite so Bytown anymore.  We moved to Seatle, Washington about a month ago.  I figured this would be a good time to get back and running with the blog.  Not becuase I don’t have enough to do with the new job, new house, move, etc, but rather becuase there have been many, many observations running through my head and I haven’t been able to share them with our friends and family (just got internet and phone running today).

So here’s the thing, it really is freezing here today.  At home in June I would either have the AC running, or I’d have the fan on in the house to get the cold air from the basement to the 2nd story.  Here the fan is running to get the warm air from upstairns down here to the main floor — where I am sitting in slippers and a sweater.  I refuse to turn on my furnace in June.

It is summy outside and looks gorgeous, but it is most decidedly chilly.  I need to adapt to this quickly as the boys are not dressed properly for school — I need to ship them in pants, shirts and sweaters.  Yesterday, Finn wore his fall coat inside all day, becuase I had put him in a t-shirt and shorts.  Oops.

Family Dinners?

Do you have them? Do you have them every day? Every week?

Here’s an episode of The Current on the topic from last week. The interviewee is Laurie David (Larry David’s wife) and she’s a huge advocate of family dinners and how to get your family back to the table, and why you should want to put forward the effort. No surprise she’s on the show to promote her new book: The Family Dinner: Great ways to connect with your kids one meal at a time. Laurie’s discourse on the radio reminded me of an episode of Oprah from a season or two ago in which she spent time with families to reform their dinner times. Oprah saw families that were ordering takeout and each taking their food to a separate part of the house to eat on their own with their digital device of choice (texting, TV, laptop, whatever). The Oprah episode horrified me, but even Laurie’s interview seemed to indicate that the family dinner is a challenge.

More nights than note, we have dinner as a family. My kids are 2 and 5… so I can’t really imagine how they would get fed if we didn’t sit down with them. That said, we have friends whose nanny feed the kids before the parents get home from work, or whose kids get a big snack at daycare and don’t eat dinner, or who simply don’t enjoy the toddler meal and have a husband/wife dinner after the kids go to bed. I’m inclined to think that the latter is a great idea for us to try, at least once or twice a week.

But for now, we’re still the old fashioned four of us sitting down for dinner. It might not be fancy – in fact it’s definitely not fancy, but we’re there. I’ve been warned that this will get harder and harder to do as the kids get older. We’ll see. For now, Monday’s are definitely a challenge, as both boys have classes as 6pm. So we usually have eggs and crudités at 5:15. When the boys are older, I expect they’ll have more activities, but I’m also hoping we can push our dinner time back to 6:30 or so. Now if we have dinner at 6:30 the boys are falling asleep by the time we finish at 7pm.

I would love to hear success stories of how you’ve managed family dinners? Who’s able to get their 7/9 or teenage kids to the table for dinner more nights that not and how did you do it?

Planning for 2011

And here I thought maybe my blogging days were over. When I went back to work after mat-leave there was quite a hiatus from my wonderings and ponderings. But I’m still an Ottawa based mom who’s trying to raise her family of boys to be healthy, happy, well-adjusted boys and eventually men.

A friend sent me a note a while back asking if it was her. Was she the only mom who found that there was no ‘me’ time? She’s resorted to getting up at 5am to have a moment of piece and is quickly finding the kids hear her rustling in the house and are now getting up even earlier. It’s not her, it’s moms. Regardless of the age of your children or whether you’re at home or in the office – it’s busy, and the list of things to do is way too long. As soon as you cross 2 or 3 things off your list, another 4 or 5 seem to get added.

Last year I decided there were too many things to keep track of – aerobic exercise, weight training, yoga, family hiking, core strengthening, eat veggies, eat fruit, get enough fibre, don’t get too much saturated fat, get enough protein, no whites, take your multi-vitamin, and your vitamin D. Wait isn’t using a sauna supposed to be good for you? The list of do/don’ts was too long, and this was just the health oriented stuff. I divided my good intentions into a series of monthly ‘to-do’s. My premise was that if I did something for a month, there was a chance that I’d be able to a carry the habit forward So January was take your vitamin every day month, and February was daily exercise (as opposed to a couple of times a week), etc. Well I had fun making the list, but I don’t think I got very far with it. I found the schedule while cleaning up some office paperwork the other day, and am now working on the revised 2011 version.

This version I’ll share with you, my family and friends. I’m also trying to make it less serious: incorporating new activities– perhaps kickboxing or latin dancing, or date night ideas into the mix. Let me know if you have any suggestions.