Food

Recommendations

As most people that take health and fitness seriously, I’m pickier than the average cat with what I eat.

I stick mainly to organic foods (as they’re generally more nutritious than non-organic counterparts), I eat 3 to 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day, I make all my own meals, and I limit my intake of sugar or processed foods.

I don’t do these things just to be a food snob, though. A “clean” diet isn’t particularly necessary for losing weight or building muscle, but it does make a big difference in how you perform in the gym and how you feel.

By sticking mainly to nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods and exercising 4 to 6 hours per week, I’m able to make consistent gains in my training, maintain high energy levels all day with no crashes, and generally just feel alert and good.

That said, this type of lifestyle doesn’t mean I don’t get to enjoy foods I like or indulge now and then. I’m all about enjoying food, but just about it about “responsibly.”

In this section, you’ll find a variety of brands of food that I’ve come to love.

High-Protein Snacks

Next Section Treats

QuestBar Protein Bars

Healthy, delicious protein bars

A quick look at the ingredients list reveals what makes Quest Bars great.

All ingredients with the exception of sucralose, which not all flavors contains, are actual food: whey and milk protein isolate, soluble fiber, nuts, and natural sweeteners like stevia and erythritol.

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The Epic Bar

Paleo friendly, gluten free, and low in sugar.

I like what EPIC Bar is doing. Their protein bars are 100% grass-fed animal based, and are designed to be paleo friendly, gluten free, and low in sugar. Read More...

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Chomps Snack Sticks

Healthy, fast, and tasty protein snacks

Chomp Sticks are basically health Slim Jims. They’re made from grass-fed beef and free of antibiotics, hormones, nitrates, and other sketchy chemicals normally found in beef jerky products. Gotta love easy, fast, and tasty protein snacks! Read More...

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Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjack & Waffle Mix

Tastes great, relatively healthy, and cooks perfectly

Good ol’ pancakes are one of my favorite cheat meals. It’s just hard to beat. Accordingly, I’ve tried a LOT of recipes and mixes, and I keep coming back to the Kodiak Cakes Flapjack and Waffle mixes.

This one in particular–BUTTERMILK & HONEY–is my favorite. It tastes great, is relatively healthy (whole wheat and oat flour, and no artificial junk), and it cooks perfectly.

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Quinn Popcorn

Tasty, organic, and chemical-free

Microwaved popcorn truly is a delicious snack, but it’s not so hot in terms of healthiness.

Namely, there’s the toxic chemicals in the bags, the trans fatty acids in the oils, and the GMO issue .

Quinn Popcorn is different, though. The bag is chemical-free paper, the corn organic, and the oil not only free of trans fats, but containing omega-3 fatty acids.

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Mast Brothers Chocolate

Hand-crafted, and uses only cane sugar

I’ve tried at least 50 different brands of chocolate bars over the last couple of years, and Mast Brothers is my absolute favorite. Read More...

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Alter Eco Chocolate Bars

Organically grown, fairly traded, and delicious

I never get sick of good chocolate. It’s just one of my favorite tastes.

I’ve tried a lot of brands and am regularly impressed by Alter Eco’s products. They offer quite a few varieties of bars and while their flavor profiles aren’t too complex,  their dark chocolate base is really good. My favorites bars are the Dark QuinoaDark Almond, and Dark Cacao.

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SO Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla Sandwiches

100 calories, taste great, and dairy free

These make awesome little desserts.

They’re 100 calories each, taste great, and are dairy free (which matters to me–if I eat dairy too often I’ll get constipated). If you have issues with cravings, little treats like these can help. It’s very easy to fit them into your meal plan, and they taste quite good.

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Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

everyone's favorite hot sauce

If you like hot sauces and haven’t tried this sriracha yet, trust me…you’re missing out. There’s a reason why it’s usually in the top ten of most “best hot sauce lists”–it’s just delicious.

What makes it great is it’s the perfect balance of heat and flavor–it’s not so hot that it completely overpowers your taste buds nor is it boring, watery, vinegary junk. Its base of pureed red jalapenos give it just enough heat as well as a very distinct flavor.

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Weber's Brand Original Horseradish Mustard

The perfect mild mustard

Weber’s mustard is the perfect blend of a piquant mustard seed mildly accented with (not overpowered by) a bit of sweetness and spiciness. I don’t like a strong horseradish taste and this is just right for me.

If you generally like mustard, I think you’ll love this stuff.

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Cholula Hot Sauce

zesty, balanced authentic mexican hot sauce

Cholula is a great mild hot sauce that goes particularly well with chicken, turkey, pork, and grains.

Like sriracha, don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s readily available–it’s a regular in the top ten lists of the big-time “chili heads.” It’s extremely tasty.

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Dairy & Dairy Alternati...

Next Section Miscellaneous

Fage Greek Yogurt

High protein, low carb, no fat, and actually tastes creamy

I’m not a big dairy person, but I love Fage’s yogurt.

A cup of the 0% yogurt is 120 calories, and 23 grams protein, 4 grams carbs, and 0 grams fat. And it actually tastes creamy. The 2% is a nice treat, and Total with some fruit is like a dessert.

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Rice Dream Enriched Vanilla Rice Milk

Tastes good, and high on glycemic index

While milk makes tasty protein shakes, most people are lactose intolerant (whether they realize it or not). On top of that, the quality of most dairy products here in the U.S. is just horrible.

I use rice milk instead in my pre- and post-workout shakes because it tastes good and it’s fairly high on the glycemic index (it falls somewhere between 70 – 80).

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Organic Valley Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Sweet, milky, and low in calories

I normally don’t like cottage cheese, but Organic Valley Low-Fat Cottage Cheese is delicious.

It’s sweet and milky, low in calories, and packed full of protein (1/2 of a cup has 100 calories, 15 g of protein, 4 g of carbs, and 2 g of fat).

This is a great protein snack if you want something other than a shake. Makes a good pre-sleep protein as well due to the slow-burning casein.

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Miscellaneous

Stevita Stevia Powder

Sweet, reduces blood glucose levels, and increases insulin sensitivity

Stevia is a plant with sweet leaves, and research has shown that it increases insulin sensitivity, helps regulate blood glucose levels, has anti-carcinogenic properties, decreases oxidative stress associated with eating large amounts of carbohydrates, reduces blood pressure and inflammation in the body, lowers bad cholesterol levels, and protects the kidneys.

In addition, very little is actually needed because steviol glycosides are 300 times sweeter than sugar, making them a 0-calorie sweetener. Their effects on insulin (and thus blood sugar levels) are also negligible (one study showed that stevia eaten with a meal resulted in lower insulin levels than aspartame or sucrose).

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Bell Plantation PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

Peanut butter-like paste, and very low calorie

PB2 is such a great find that it feels like a life hack.

It’s a powdered form of peanut butter that has almost all of the fat removed. You mix it with a little bit of water and it turns back into a peanut butter-like paste, which is quite tasty, and very low calorie (45 calories per tablespoon–yup, you read that right).

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Justin's Nut Butter Natural Classic Almond Butter

Tasty, nutritious, and multiple other health benefits

Almond butter is incredibly tasty and nutritious, with about 9 grams of healthy fat per tablespoon along with 4 grams of protein and3 grams of carbs.

While I prefer freshly ground almond butter the most, Justin’s Classic Almond Butter is the best-tasting packaged product I’ve found. It’s quite good. If you like almonds or peanut butter, pick some up–you won’t be disappointed.

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Jiva Coffee Cubes

Tasty, fast, and great for traveling

I don’t like coffee but if I did, I would definitely give these suckers a go.

Drop a square in warm water or milk, stir, and voila, you’ve got a cup of Columbian Arabica java to go. Seems perfect for when you’re traveling, running late, or entertaining guests.

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