(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Food and nutrition bar makers have done a lot of work for you. With precision, they have balanced calories, fat, fiber, carbohydrates and other elements. Flavoring also has become sophisticated, with offerings that have covered everything from sweet to savory, such as those featuring international spices, like Kind bars Strong line of products.
As the A Brief History of Protein Bars post in The Bar Shack blog notes, there are now hundreds of brands and thousands of flavors.
You could make a meal with a protein bar, since they are often meal replacements. But why not consider easily upping the profile of some everyday dishes with the occasional shortcut inclusion of these powerhouses?
An additional benefit? Diet bars have been designed to quell cravings. Therefore, using them as ingredients can be a way to become satiated faster.
Following are a few innovative ideas. All ingredients are to taste.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for preparing homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
- CASSEROLES WITH CARE
In the last few minutes of baking, uncover casserole and crumble a spiced nutrition bar so that it gets crispy, being sure not to burn.
- YUMMIER YOGURT
Crumble nutrition bar and divide between layers of Greek yogurt for a parfait. Within each layer also include fresh fruit, such as blueberries, or even vegetables, like leftover honey-ginger carrots.
- TOAST THAT IS THE TOTAL PACKAGE
Mash avocado well and spread atop nutrition bar. Drizzle with tarragon and lemongrass and top with dried cherries. Heat slightly to warm it.
- SATISFY CREAM PIE CRAVINGS
Mix well low-fat cream cheese or soy-based cream cheese with small amounts of unsweetened cocoa powder and stevia. Gently fold in diced banana and unsweetened coconut flakes. Carefully spread atop iced nutrition bar.
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: If you have watched for decades as Patricia Heaton acted as though she had been cooking in her two television series, "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "The Middle," you know the results often have been laughable. That is appropriate for those hit sitcoms and befits Heaton's expert comic timing. What is more serious, though, is how she also managed to cook for her real-life husband and four sons during that time period with nutritious, delicious comfort food results. Somehow, the multitasking Heaton found time to put together 100 of her favorites in Patricia Heaton's Food for Family and Friends. In her cookbook's text, Heaton comes across as approachable and affable as on TV. Recipes always keep in mind that home cooks like her are busy, yet her talents mean you can emulate results like blackberry cream scones, garlic and roasted butternut squash dip and chicken cutlets with mushroom-sage sauce. Heaton also has hosted "Patricia Heaton Parties" on the Food Network and it is easy to see why one of her three Emmys was for her cooking show efforts.
Lisa Messinger at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.