Fitness, Date Night & Meal Plan {Update!}

by Sara on February 20, 2012

Happy Monday!

First, I want to thank you all for your encouraging pre-date comments and tweets on Valentine’s Day. The first date stories you shared in the comments section left a huge grin on my face. 😀

As for the date? Was it a success? A complete bust?

I’ll let you decide.


Mr. officially knows the way to this girl’s stomach. 😉

As for her heart, it remains to be seen. 😉 But culinary delights are a good start. Gentlemen, take note.

(And yes, I’m that girl who interrupts the conversation on a first date to take an Instagram photo. Oh, the risks and sacrifices we make as bloggers!) 😉

In exchange for the strawberries, I offered Mr. Match Reece’s peanut butter cup hearts. Who got the better deal?

Definitely him.

Just kidding! Those strawberries were delicious! I ate two, and shared the rest with my housemates when I got home. Thank you, Mr. Match. 😉


Keep thinking along the lines of chocolate and strawberries, because I’m about to discuss both…but in bar form

A few weeks ago, the generous folks at Kraft sent me two boxes of MilkBite, their new line of refrigerated granola bars.


I know what you’re thinking.

You think I’m selling out.

Well, before you jump to conclusions, let me remind you that I only review products on the blog that I truly enjoy. But more importantly, let me remind you that  I’m a child of the 90’s. The 90’s were the era when Kudos, Nutri-Grain and Quaker Chewy made big waves in the supermarkets. I, along with every kid at my elementary school, found  a granola bar at the bottom of my lunch box each day. Oh, and let’s not forget: granola bars were the post-game snack of choice amongst soccer moms.

Yeah,  I’m getting nostalgic about granola bars.

The sad news is that most bars are packed with artificial ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. I prefer to fuel my body with natural foods that I can contain ingredients I can pronounce.

The good news is that MilkBite Bars surprisingly fit that criteria!

And the best news is that they’re irresistibly delicious!

The Chocolate, which is by far my favorite of the two flavors I sampled, reminds me of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s soft, chewy and packed with chocolate morsels.

The Strawberry is what I’d imagine strawberry shortcake would taste like if you smashed the biscuit and fruit into a bar and then drizzled it with icing.

I’m not typically a fan of fruit-flavored packaged goods, but if you are, then this will be right up your alley!

A few MilkBite Bar facts:

  • No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
  • 140 calories
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 30% RDA Calcium (same as a glass of milk)
  • 10% RDA Vitamin D
  • Five flavors: Chocolate, Strawberry, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin & Mixed Berry

If you’re a nostalgic child of the 90’s granola bar lover like me, (or just a granola bar lover in general) definitely give MilkBite Bars a try. They’re a convenient snack option that offer a low glycemic energy boost when you’re on-the-go.



As you may or may not remember, I embarked on an unofficial Body For Life challenge in January. I say unofficial because I didn’t actually register on the website; however, in my mind the challenge was very official. I wrote an entire post about my commitment HERE.

You see, when I started BFL, I was excited.  I was excited to follow a structured plan. Excited to  experiment with my macronutrient ratios. Excited to not have to plan my workout each morning because it would already be planned for me.

The first week went off without a hitch. I felt great and had tons of energy.

However by the end of week two I was bored. The workouts were repetitive and I felt uninspired. It was also at this time that I spoke with a personal trainer about my goal of gaining eight pounds of muscle mass. He suggested that I abandon the thrice-weekly upper and lower body BFL workouts and instead focus on a 4 or 5-day split.

After doing a bit of research I settled on a new plan: Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer. Unlike BFL, Live Fit is divided into three phases which build on one another. Within each month-long phase, workouts are repeated only a maximum of two times.  (If you blog or read blogs frequently, you’re probably already well versed on Live Fit, so I’ll spare you the details. However if you’re unfamiliar with the plan, check it out HERE.)

So after two weeks of Live Fit, what are my thoughts?

I LOVE it! I’m excited to workout each day because I know I’ll be doing an entirely different routine than I did the day before. Keeping things fresh in the gym is the key to staying motivated.

I have, however, made a few modifications. Phase 1 calls for no cardio whatsoever, but after going just one week without running, I felt off. I longed to stretch my legs, and the inability to do so was driving me crazy!

I firmly believe that working out should make us feel good both physically and emotionally. I also believe that no plan is perfect for everyone. We  live inside different bodies, so it only makes sense that our reactions to any given regimen will vary considerably. I am a runner. And I want to gain significant muscle mass. The two don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. :(

However, I’ve decided to not give up running because  I’ve realized that depriving myself of something I love has more negative ramifications than positive ramifications. SO… I’m going to fit in one weekly run during Phase 1, and  see how it goes. If it feels like too much, I’ll cut it out. :)


Even though I’ve dropped the fitness portion of Body For Life, I’m still (sort of) following the BFL-style of eating. However instead of focusing on macronutrient ratios (I was eating 40% carbs 40% protein and 20% fat on the BFL plan),  I’m now following a super flexible and personalized Jim White Fitness & Nutrition meal plan. The ratio’s have already been calculated, so all I have to do is think about dietary exchanges. It’s easy peasy to follow, and it’s done wonders for my energy levels. :-)

Why am I following a meal plan?

A few weeks ago, Jim White reached out to me and offered a free nutrition consultation. Since I love talking about nutrition, I happily accepted! Why not try something new? After explaining my fitness and nutrition goals to Sue, one of the dietitians on staff, she created a meal plan tailored just for me. Sue and I follow up with each other about once/week and make modifications, as needed.

If you’re looking for some structure in your fitness training, or if you’d like guidance with meal planning, definitely check out the services offered by Jim White Fitness & Nutrition!


Before I go…one more comment about those ratios: The 20% fat thing definitely didn’t work for me. Limiting my intake of avocado, peanut butter, olive oil, hummus, coconut oil  and chocolate—basically everything that is delicious in this world—made me sad and a bit cranky. I feel my best when I include lots of healthy fats in my diet, so healthy fats are back in abundance!

And that, friends, is a perfect segue to this.

Meet The Healthy Fat Muffin.

This recipe, which was originally featured on the Dr. Oz show, came recommended by Mr. himself!

A “muffin” that’s fast, easy and loaded with healthy fat and fiber! I top mine with melted coconut oil,  but I bet it would also be delicious drizzled with peanut or almond butter. :)

One Minute Flax-Coconut ‘Muffin’

1/4 cup ground flax

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp coconut oil

1/4 cup egg whites or egg beaters

1 packet stevia

1. Mix all ingredients together in a mug and microwave for 50 seconds. Allow to cool and enjoy!

*Drizzle with coconut oil, syrup or nut butters of choice. :)

Per muffin: Calories: 214; Fat: 13.8 grams Carbs: 14.8 grams; Fiber: 10.4 grams Protein: 12.7 grams


Sharing time!

What was your favorite granola bar as a child? Favorite now?

I loved chocolate-covered Kudos (peanut butter flavor)!

Are you a plan follower? Or do you prefer to do you ‘own thing’?

I tend to use plans as a baseline and make adjustments, if needed.

What is your favorite healthy fat?

I listed a few of mine above, but if I HAD to pick one, I’d go with peanut butter. :-)

Are you on Instagram?

Follow me at Sarabeara2!




  • Caroline

    Chocolate covered Kudos with M&Ms inside! And I got chocolate covered strawberries for vday too:) PS- I applied to grad school (decided to go the MPH route) and finally dove in and started my own blog! I might be emailing you again for more advice :)


    • Sara Stewart

      Congrats on both grad school and the blog! Email me anytime! I’m looking forward to reading. :-) xoxo

  • Sallypstew

    I’d love to try the MilkBite bars…if I they ever reach the wild west! The muffin recipe looks so easy…I have to try it! Great ‘update’ post! xo

    • Sara Stewart

      I’ll bring one to Boise! xoxo

  • Anna

    oh that muffins looks delicious..I’ve been enjoying a lot of ‘muffins’ with protein powder, a bit of pumpkin, egg whites, and wheat bran. I’ll try this out soon though! My favorite fat is avocado, or coconut oil, or peanut butter :) hard to choose!
    I couldn’t give up cardio in Phase 1 either and did minimal to start training for a 1/2 marathon…Glad your liking LiveFit though!

    • Sara Stewart

      I’d say avocado and coconut oil come in second and third place for me too. :-) Let me know what you think of the muffin!

  • Kristin STUFT mama

    I think modifying fitness plans to fit our likes, goals and bodies is always best…Most of these plans are created as a baseline; as you said, they’re not “one size fits all” by any means. Props to you for knowing your body and doing what’s best for YOU! I’m a runner too, and couldn’t imagine giving it up for a month. :)

    That flax muffin sounds awesome! I love that it contains so much fiber and healthy fat. Definitely going to try it, especially since it’s so easy (and quick!).

    There was a point in my life when I ate a Nutri-grain bar for breakfast every morning. It would hold me over for about…10 mins. Haha

    • Sara Stewart

      Oh I know–those Nutri-grain bars have no substance! Yet I used to love them!

  • Maya

    I love all the quick and healthy recipes you’ve been posting lately! The “muffin” looks delicious! I need to buy some coconut oil…I’ve never tried it! I’ve also never seen white oil! Does it taste like coconut?

    Your new plans sound awesome! Go get ’em girl! xoxo

    • Sara Stewart

      Yes, coconut oil is very “coconutty!” It’s solid at room temperature, so if you want to drizzle it, heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute. Let me know what you think!

  • Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    I want to explain the whole ‘no cardio’ thing to you a bit clearer. I think everyone has their own opinion on what works, but ultimately it comes down to what is right for YOU. I didn’t do any cardio for six months when I was trying to gain muscle, but it was also because I had built up a very bad knee injury after running for years. I took the time to focus on my weight training and not worry about the cardio. I know women who have successfully gained muscle while doing HIIT cardio three times a week. Yet there are other hardgainers who simply must not do cardio if they want to gain muscle.

    The important thing to take note of is your mindset. Going for one run a week is not going to hurt your process at all, but promise me you won’t stress out about it or think you’re overtraining. The minute you start stressing about your workouts too much is when excess cortisol is released in the body, which has many negative consequences! On the days you go running, add extra carbs to your meals before and after you run, and never ever run on an empty stomach or you can wave bye-bye to those hard-earned muscles! Do what works for you, and listen to your body :)

    • Sara Stewart

      Oh Tara, I love you!! Thanks SO much for sharing your insight…You’ve been such an inspiration to me, and your tips are super helpful. I hope the moving planning is going well! xoxo

  • Jules

    That muffin looks awesome! I wonder if sexy Dr. Oz eats them for breakfast, haha! Your new plan sounds great. I think it’s fab that you’re doing what’s right for YOU! I couldn’t give up cardio either. Runner’s high? I need it at least 3x’s/week!

    My favorite granola bar was Kudos too! Do they even still sell them? The MilkBite sounds great as well!

    • Sara Stewart

      I’m not sure if Kudos are still available in stores! I’m going to check next time I’m there. :-) And you should definitely try MilkBite–they really are good!

  • jules

    omg yayyyyyyyy instagram!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! haha i’ll find you!

    omg so is there going to be a #2 date?!?!

    • Sara Stewart

      YES!! We’re going out for tapas and ice cream 😉 And get this: he wants me to blog the entire meal!

  • Gina

    Hey love! Sorry I’ve been away so long! I miss you like crazy! And I’m so excited to hear that you had a dateeee. How exciting :)
    Need more deets on mr match 😉
    Hope you’re well, doll xoxo

    • Sara Stewart

      I miss you like crazy too!! I hope you’re having a fabulous semester! I’m hoping to visit NYC again this spring, and this time I’m going to spend more time with you! xoxo

  • Hannah

    what could you sub for coconut oil in the muffin?

    • Sara Stewart

      You can use any oil (canola, would probably be best)! Or butter, if you prefer. And I bet it would be delicious (and lighter) made with applesauce or pumpkin (I’d use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon if you go that route though). Let me know if you try it!

  • Meg @ A Dash of Meg

    I am really happy that you love Live Fit, but I am even happier that you know fitness should be enjoyable and something that makes you happy. As much as I hate cardio, I am happy you are doing it :) You are doing what YOU want and that is utmost important :) I hate cardio, but you enjoy it 😀 So why deprive yourself!?

    So proud of you.

    These muffins look amazing and I love my fat :)


    • Sara Stewart

      Aww, thanks so much, Meg! Love you! xoxo

  • Gothextramileblog

    I really want to do livefit after my half marathon!!! I hope it goes well for you! And omg chocolate covered strawberries looks AMAZING. Glad you had a good first date 😀

  • Meg

    Oh my goodness! So much happening! I’m so glad you’re enjoying LiveFit. I really am too! Legs for week three left me sore for sure!

    Sigh… we never got chewy granola bars in our lunch, just the healthy non-chocolate chip Nature Valley granola bars. Which actually are quite good!

    Good luck with Mr. Match! (what a cute nickname!)

  • Life’s a Bowl

    I feel like a HUGE dork but I just clipped a coupon for those granola bars! I’m thinking I wanna try the chocolate or PB flavor… NutriGrain bars were def the go-to after games granola bar [along with oranges] but a Kudos bar was a treat! One of my students brings a Kudos bar in his lunch every day and eats it immediately when he gets to school- nothing like starting your day off with a few “Kudos” ;P

    P.S. Your Healthy Fat Muffin looks FAB! I’ve been meaning to try flax [and chia] seeds- need to remember to get some…

  • Shannon (Healthiful Balance)

    Yay! I’m glad your found a fitness plan that you like a lot better. I think its important to WANT to workout.. otherwise is just like a chore and then its no fun.
    I agree, fats are a must for me too! I get cranky when I dont eat enough fats as well.
    Those granola bars sounds pretty awesome!
    I’m not really a plan follower.. I rather do my own thing. :)
    My favorite healthy fat would have to be nut butter & nuts.

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