When you just can’t ignore the sweet tooth
It’s been a rough couple of weeks in our house and through it all, I’ve fought to stay in my Healthy Solutions Box (aside from when I had Strep last week and could barely get down water, forget a veggie or entree!). I know it’s been rough because my fruit consumption has drastically increased over my veggies, as I’ve been choosing berries over broccoli in my emotion-clouded mood. Don’t get me wrong, I know fruit is awesome and it’s not a terrible choice. But I also recognize I just wanted something sweet because I associate sweet with happier times.
With one shake left to get in my minimum prescription tonight, I opted to have a special treat saved only for that rare moment when I need an extra kick to keep me in the box. And yes I call Benefit Bars “candy bars” – because it helps to remind me they are a “sometimes food” – a tool but more energy dense and addicting than other HMR foods.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bar Pudding
- HMR 70 chocolate shake packet
- 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tbsp PB2
- 1 tbsp Torani sugar-free salted caramel syrup
- 2-3 oz cold water
- HMR peanut butter Benefit bar
Mix the shake, cocoa and PB2 together in a bowl. Add syrup and slowly add cold water. The amount of water is a personal decision depending on how thick you want the pudding. Normal HMR pudding is 2oz but with the additional dry ingredients it can be more like a dough.
Place in freezer to expedite the thickening. While it chills, chopped up Benefit bar. Mix into pudding. I actually throw the bowl back into the freezer so I end up with a pretty solid pudding with frozen chunks of candy bar.
This is a more caloric way of enjoying your HMR foods – so I don’t have it often. However it is an easy and relatively quick way to prepare a sweet treat when you need something special.
Almond Joy Hot Chocolate
I have fallen into a morning routine. Every morning I turn the kettle on and fill a giant Contigo with a white herbal tea. I have a second Contigo where I pour a hot shake. And then I blend up a cold shake for my morning commute. Then throughout the day, regardless of how hectic it is, I have several warm drinks I can sip on. My cold morning shakes all week have been the Decision Free Butterfinger Shake (but made with the 120 Vanilla since I am in Healthy Solutions and only about 6 pumps of syrup because my sweet tooth has subsided).
And my hot shakes have been a take on an Almond Joy bar. I like mixing up the syrups and using the extract because the flavors build on each other. If you like it less sweet, I bet you could easily use coconut extract instead of syrup, but I haven’t tried it personally.
Please note that my ratios are for a large Contigo thermos that holds 24 ounces, adjust proportions accordingly if you need a small fit.
Almond Joy Decision Free Hot Chocolate
- One HMR chocolate shake
- 4 pumps Torani sugar-free Almond Roca syrup
- 3 pumps Torani sugar-free coconut syrup
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 20 ounces hot water
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy! I find blending super fast at smoothing it all together without lumps, although you can use whatever method you use to make hot shakes.
Toffee Apple Cider – a warming HMR shake on a cold day!
The weather has turned colder in sunny California and that means more hot HMR shakes to stay warm and full during the holiday season.
This one is easy and perfect to sip from a thermos while heading out in the evening to see holiday lights.
Toffee Apple Cider
- 1 ounce Torani Sugar-Free English Toffee syrup
- 1 packet Alpine-Spiced Sugar-Free Apple Cider mix
- 1 serving HMR Diet Vanilla Shake
- 15 ounces hot water
Put everything in the blender and blend on low to help everything dissolve and come together (always be careful blending hot liquids). Pour into a large mug or thermos for a warm and filling beverage!
HMR Diet Hack: Starbucks Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate
Let’s start with a confession. Outside of making lattes with my HMR Program shakes, I have had very few hot shakes. I would occasionally try a hot chocolate, but that was about it. However, as I have made it a goal to focus on losing my marathon weight gain, this means incorporating more shakes and entrees to off-set outside foods and one of the ways I was successful in Phase One, was playing with my HMR food to try new things, often trying to hack a food I might have eaten pre-HMR, in order to keep it interesting (while still staying safely “in the box”). So I am trying out a variety of hot shakes in an attempt to stay warm and full this winter.
During the holiday season, I had a chance to try a kid size Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate at Starbucks. It was super sweet and a fun treat, but the calories were insane! Even for the tiny thimble they call kid size. Well I loved the flavors so much, I asked if it could possibly be turned into a latte to amp up the volume. But I was told it was just made with milk, white chocolate syrup, and cinnamon dolce syrup, and that it wouldn’t translate well into a latte.
However this week I decided it would translate very well into an HMR shake! And while I haven’t had a Starbucks version to compare it to (nor do I plan on it) — this is a sweet and filling beverage that only has the calories from the shake. It’s in the box for both Decision Free and Healthy Solution folks while being the perfect cold weather pre-portioned meal for Phase Two folks too!
HMR Snickerdoodle Hot Chocolate
- 1 HMR Vanilla Shake (I used the 120)
- 1 tbsp Torani Sugar-free White Chocolate syrup
- 1 tbsp Torani Sugar-free Belgian Cookie syrup
- 10 oz. hot water
Mix hot water and syrup together. Slowly whisk shake powder into the liquid. I use an Aerolatte travel milk frother (it’s inexpensive, comes in a travel case, and prevents clumping!). Enjoy! You could even shake a little cinnamon on top for a pretty garnish.
HMR Healthy Solutions Chocolate Cherry Ginger Shake
This shake contains a secret ingredient. One I CANNOT believe I ever put in a shake. But I did it. And have done it a number of times with a variety of fun combinations I can’t wait to share!
When my Phase Two health educator suggested putting frozen cauliflower in a shake instead of ice, I thought she was crazy. She claimed you couldn’t taste it. “Ha!” I thought. “It seems just weird enough that it might be true!”
It took me several months before I dared to place a cup of frozen cauliflower into my Vitamix. But with a serving of frozen fruit in there and an HMR shake, she was right! Plus as it melted, it didn’t water down the shake like ice. And for only 25 extra calories I was getting another serving of veggies with all the fiberous nutritional goodness that comes with it.
So here’s one of my combos that isn’t overly sweet but is super refreshing after a workout.
Chocolate Cherry Ginger Shake
- 1 cup frozen cauliflower
- 1 cup frozen cherries (make sure there is nothing but cherries on the ingredient list!)
- 1/4 tsp fresh ginger
- 1 HMR chocolate shake
- 1.5 cups of water
Blend until smooth and enjoy! If you like it sweeter, I would suggest adding some Torani sugar free Black Cherry syrup.
HMR Decision Free Butterfinger Shake
Although I have transitioned from Decision Free through Healthy Solutions and from Phase One into Phase Two, I still find shakes to be an important part of my daily life. A blended shake with an HMR 500 packet is only 100 calories but is incredibly filling for a relatively long period of time. When I was in Decision Free, I couldn’t imagine that I would still enjoy and drink as many shakes as I do, but I am still playing with recipes and enjoying shakes and mousses!
This shake is inspired by two classmates who transitioned to Phase Two when I did. I can’t believe it took me this long to hear about their Butterfinger shake but with some easy alterations, I made my own. Their shake used SF FF pudding which I don’t keep in the house due to the sweetener used, so I needed to figure out my own version. They also add Molly McButter for some extra butter and salt but I didn’t for mine.
This ratio blends enough in my Vitamix to fill my venti double-insulated Starbucks cold cup to the top.
HMR Diet Butterfinger Shake
10 pumps of SF Butter Rum syrup from DaVinci
1 cup of cold water
1 packet of HMR 500 vanilla (you could probably sub in your favorite vanilla HMR shake)
1 tbsp PB2
12 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients except the ice on low to dissolve the powders. Add ice and blend on high under smooth and fluffy. Enjoy!
Almond Roca Mocha Frappe
I have been working out every morning since I started teaching at summer debate institute. I figure it will help transition me into the school year while allowing me to beat the heat. And when I run in my local neighborhood, I end the run with a special treat! I get a trenta (aka really big!) unsweetened passion iced tea from Starbucks to enjoy on the walk back to my apartment. While I am there, I also pick up a tall (aka small) black coffee.
After drinking the iced tea, I have a perfect vessel to carry a homemade blended coffee beverage to work, which I make right after I shower and get dressed for the day!
Today’s shake was so delicious I had to share right away!
- 1 HMR Diet Chocolate Shake (I use the 800)
- 12 oz black coffee chilled (I throw my cup in the freezer while I shower and get ready)
- 2 oz Torani SF Almond Roca syrup
- 8 ice cubes (or the amount you want for desired texture)
Blend away and enjoy! A perfect sweet treat to jump start your day!
Vanilla Rose Peach HMR Shake Recipe
Our health class this week was a party! No, it wasn’t just a fun class but an actual party. To be more specific, it was a condiment potluck where we all brought some of our favorite condiments to share with our classmates. I swapped some condiments as well as went out and bought some new ones — feeling totally inspired!
And just in time for a really hot weekend!
This shake uses rose water which adds floral notes and a level of complexity to the shake that I can’t explain but it really does elevate the meal. Play around with the amount you use as I tend to enjoy strong flavors but rose water, like the lavender extract, can be overpowering. So if you like more subtle flavors, start with half the rose water.
Vanilla Rose Peach Shake
1 HMR 800 Vanilla
2 ounces Torani SF Peach syrup
2 tbsp rose water
1 cup water
8 ice cubes
Blend liquids and shake mix together. Add ice and blend until smooth and fluffy.
HMR Diet: Spiced Rum Muffins Recipe
As I have worked to increase my physical activity, I have found myself needing to fuel on-the-go. This combined with the travel demands of the job have left me playing with ways to increase the portability of the HMR shakes and cereals. This is one of my go-to recipes. It’s important to remember that these would be a low volume food — I make sure to have at least 8 ounces of water with each serving in order to help with the volume of the meal.
Spiced Rum Muffins
3 HMR Oatmeal packets
3 HMR 70 shakes – vanilla
1/4 cup DaVinci Sugar-Free Chai syrup
1/2 cup DaVinci Sugar-Free Butter Rum syrup
1 and 1/2 cups water
2 tsp baking power
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Use nonstick cooking spray quickly over mini muffin tins (I find the silicone mini muffin tins to be the easiest).
Begin by mixing the oatmeal, syrups and water in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat for two minutes. Stir and let cool for about five minutes. At this point the oatmeal will have cooked and soaked up much of the liquid but will still be warm. Add the shakes and baking powder by folding them in. The heat from the oatmeal will begin to activate the rising agents and over stirring will deflate the batter. You want those air bubbles being created in order to have fluffier muffins!
Gently spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven calibration – you want a nice brown color on top and a slight firmness to the muffin when you gently touch the top. After removing the pan from the oven, you will want to work to release the muffins from the pan relatively soon after baking or you risk the temperature issues between the heat of the pan and the cool air above causing the muffins to collapse. I like to use a butter knife if I have trouble just popping them out and then I put them on a rack to cool.
After muffins have cooled, I divide the muffins into 9 equal servings. Depending on which pan I use, I either get three or four mini-muffins per serving. I am on HMR Decision Free 3/2 with the 180 shakes, so 1/9 of this recipe counts as half of a shake for me (1/9 of the recipe is like a half an oatmeal or one 70 shake calorically). I then put the servings into snack bags and put them in either the fridge or freezer depending on when I plan on consuming them.
HMR Mocha: On the Go and In the Box!
If you haven’t read my blog before, you may be unaware that I am always on the go. Which means I don’t always have the luxury to make shakes in the comfort of my kitchen.
That said, I love fancy coffees and giving up those special treats was difficult. Luckily, with the help of my travel milk frother, I have been coming up with some on-the-go specialties!
This one is the easiest and is a favorite staple in my current rotation. Order a medium black coffee in a large coffee cup (in Sbux speak that’s a grande in an venti cup!). That gives you room to add an HMR chocolate shake packet and optional sweetener (none for me). Then froth that baby up! The travel milk frother breaks down the shake powder and blends inside the coffee cup while adding a light froth on top. Enjoy!
HMR Decision Free Pumpkin Pie Shake
I love to cook. I love to consume a variety of flavors and textures. And one of my biggest fears of starting the HMR Diet was that I would not be able to cook.
This is my third week of the diet and I am happy to say that I have been playing in the kitchen!
The first week of the diet I started looking up recipes online. Many of the HMR recipes appeared to be for Healthy Solutions or involved major manipulations that made me uncomfortable as I didn’t want to veer too far off from the basics until I knew the program and myself.
However after ordering a number of sugar free syrups, zero calories extracts, and spices galore — I have been amassing a number of recipes I want to record to use down the road.
I have a Vitamix blender. I got it before I started HMR but it has been a total lifesaver. It is the easiest to clean ever and makes my smoothies amazingly fluffy and smooth. I say this as a preface because results may vary if you try this with a different blender at home.
Pumpkin Pie Decision Free Smoothie
1 packet HMR Vanilla 800
3/4 to 1 cup of water
6 pumps Torani Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie syrup
7 to 9 ice cubes
Pumpkin Pie spice
1. Blend water, syrup, and powder on low for 20-30 seconds.
2. Add ice cubes and 2-3 dashes of spice to the blender.
3. Blend on high for 20-40 seconds (the longer I blend, the fluffier it gets!)