Posted by: Hil | March 31, 2009

Lightening Up


I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to eat a bit more at breakfast and lunch so that I can get through my work day without too much snacking. Perhaps as a consequence, I haven’t been as hungry at dinner time for the last few days.  The temptation is always to pay less attention to meals when I’m less hungry, but I’m a big believer that the ritual of a thoughtful meal is still very important even when I’m not hungry for a big multi-course affair.  Tonight, I made a stirfry with shrimp, spinach, sugar snap peas, red bell pepper, cabbage, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil.  I served it with a bit of brown rice and had a big cara cara orange on the size.

I actually used my wok to make this rather than just a nonstick pan, and I really forgot how much better stir-fries come out with a real wok…it’s much easier to control the heat and there’s a lot more room to stir.  Although I love the taste of stirfries, I often find that a stirfry with rice doesn’t have enough protein or fat fill me up, but for tonight it was perfect.


The Lemonator made dinner last night, which was another of my favorite simple meals:  pan fried spiced chicken tenders with steamed sugar snap peas.  Dessert was strawberries.  I know that for many people, a meal isn’t complete without a starch, but a lot of the time, all I really need is meat, vegetables and a piece of fruit. 


In other news, I’ve tried a couple of new kinds of bars over the last couple weeks and I thought I would report back to all of you.  First, a bit about my standards:  when evaluating bars, I like to use what I call the trail mix test.  Trail mix is tasty, relatively inexpensive, compact and nutritious.  Given my general mistrust of processed foods, a bar must pass the trail mix test for me to consider it worth buying.  Keep in mind that I am a bar skeptic and my expectations are high. 🙂

First up:  Quaker Simple Harvest granola bars in trail mix flavor.  These are small, chewy granola bars with bits of nuts, dried, fruit and dark chocolate chunks.  Taste wise, these bars compare quite favorably to trail mix.  They aren’t overly sweet or salty, and they don’t taste of chemicals or cardboard.  The chocolate chunks actually taste like chocolate and not like processed chocolate substance.  They are 150 calories each.  These would be great to use as an emergency snack to stash in your purse, as they are very small and portable.  They aren’t terribly filling, so I would definitely use these when you need a small, tide-me-over kind of snack and not when you need serious hunger control.  I have a lot of these left from my gift box, and I expect that I will use them up quite happily, although I’m not sure I would buy them again.


Second, I bought myself a ProBar after they went on sample at Whole Foods.  These come in all kinds of flavors, but generally contain a mix of nuts, dried fruit and grains.  They are somewhat reminiscent of a Lara bar, but with more texture.  Pros:  these taste delicious and fresh, they are very nutritious, and they are very filling.  Cons:  they small, but very high in calories and they are quite expensive.  This bar is one of my all-time favorites in terms of flavor, but I’m rarely going to want to eat a 370 calorie bar.  They are also very expensive compared to most bars.  I do think, however, that this is one of the few bars I’ve ever tried that could really function as a meal replacement in a pinch.  I think that I may treat myself to one of these the next time I have to fly and can’t be guaranteed access to a real meal.  I would definitely recommend this bar to anyone who wants a lot of calories in a bar or who doesn’t mind eating half a bar at a time.




  1. Great review on the bars, I haven’t tried either of them yet.

  2. Love the stirfry, it looks so good!

  3. I ADORE stir-fry dishes!!

  4. Mmm stirfries. Haven’t had one in a while but they is tasty 🙂

    And jeez that’s a lot of calories for a bar. If I eat a bar it’s because I want to snack on something. Preferably not so that it’s super filling- just for the munchies hehe.

  5. Im looking forward to trying a probar! Thanks for the review!

  6. Sagan–if you like less filling, snack-ish bars, you would probably like the Quaker Simple Harvest bars quite a bit. I tend to like my bars to be a little bit more filling and substantial, but that is a matter of personal preference.

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