Being in college can be challenging in more ways than one. As a result of going back to school to pursue my BS in Kinesiology at USC, I have found myself taxed on time; Personal Training work has taken a back seat to studying, and money has been replaced by grades as my primary extrinsic reward. Needless to say, things are a little tight.
Naturally, I have had to improvise a bit to keep myself and my budget in good shape. There is an apt saying, “crisis precipitates change” (I got that off of a Deltron track :), and the transgressions of arduous college life have inspired me to create something truly amazing! I call it… Power-meal.
Power-meal is a conglomeration of organic oatmeal, organic butter, organic half and half, unflavored whey protein (Now Foods makes a good one), organic raw honey, organic dried cherries, organic bananas, organic dried coconut shavings, and organic raw sliced almonds.
The oatmeal of athletes…
Not only is this Power-meal extraordinarily nutritious – packed with a balance of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats (all of which can be tweaked to accommodate metabolic needs), and full of vitamins and minerals – it is delicious, energy pumping, very affordable, and oh so satisfying! For those of you out there that are a bit squeamish about mixing protein powder with solid foods – you can’t even taste it!
Here is how to make it:
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of Oatmeal: 30-45 g carbs (1 g sugar), 5-7 g fiber, 7-10.5 g protein, 3-4.5 g fat.
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of butter: 4-7 g fat (2-4 g saturated)
- 1 – 2 oz of half and half: 2-3.5 g fat (1-2 g saturated), 1-2 g protein
- 1 – 2 teaspoons of raw honey: 6-11 g carbs (5-10 g sugar)
- 1/4 cup of dried cherries: 27 g carbs (20 g sugar), 1 g fiber, 1 g protein.
- 1/2 – 1 banana: 13.5-27 g carbs (7-14 g sugar), 1.5-3 g fiber, .5-1 g protein.
- 1/4 cup dried coconut shavings: 7 g carbs (2 g sugar), 5 g fiber, 2 g protein, 18 g fat (mostly as MCTs).
- 1/8 – 1/4 cup raw almond slices: 2.5-5 g carbs, 2-4 g fiber, 3.5-7 g protein, 7.5-15 g fat (1 g saturated).
- 1 scoop Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate (unflavored): 1 g carbs, 25 g protein.
In the recipe listed above, on the conservative side, Power-meal can provide: 87 grams of carbohydrates, of which 14.5 grams comes from indigestible fiber – which has no caloric value and no affect on insulin, and 35 grams comes from solid fruit sugars (fructose is low glycemic); 40 grams of protein, and 34 grams of fat (~16 grams as metabolism boosting MCTS – medium chain triglycerides). That’s a total of 756 calories!
This is NOT your grandma’s oatmeal… and since some of you reading this may not be athletes or high performance individuals, 828 calories might be a bit much for breakfast. But not to worry… proportions can be altered to accommodate EVERYTHING – be it by taste, total caloric content, or macronutrient ratios.
In the current proportions listed above, this Power-meal would most likely accommodate the needs of a mixed metabolic type (~38% carbs, ~21% protein, ~41% fat). And although I am a protein type, I find that it is very satisfying and provides a ton of energy!
For the typical protein metabolic type, oatmeal can be reduced to 1/3 cup, dried cherries can be reduced to 1/8 cup or skipped altogether, and add 1/2 scoop of protein to get closer to a 40/30/30 split (protein/carb/fat). Similarly, for a carbohydrate metabolic type (60/25/15 – carb/protein/fat), reducing the fat content will be a priority. I suggest drastically reducing or removing the butter/half & half.
Regardless of metabolic type, the possibilities are as abundant as your imagination and cravings, and are certainly not limited to the aforementioned recipe. Don’t like butter? Try organic coconut oil! Lactose intolerant? Half and half can be substituted with almond milk or rice milk (but not soy milk – stay away from soy! Check out my Soy Conspiracy blog for reasons why). Want to add more antioxidants and a satisfying crunchy consistency? Try adding organic raw cacao nibs (100% cacao – but I warn you, its quite bitter so don’t go overboard on this one)! Want a bit more spice or need help regulating blood sugar? Try adding organic cinnamon!
Health from the accountant’s perspective
In terms of cost, your local health food store should be able to shell out the organic ingredients at these prices:
- Oatmeal – .99-1.29 per lb.
- Butter – 1.99-2.99 per lb.
- Half and half – 2.69-3.99 per quart.
- Raw Honey – 5.99-8.99 per 16 oz. (largely depends on manufacturer and quality)
- Dried cherries – 3.99-5.99 per 16 oz.
- Bananas – .19-.29 each.
- Dried coconut shavings – 4.99-6.99 per lb.
- Raw sliced almonds – 4.99-6.99 per lb.
- Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate – 42.99-48.99 per 5 lbs (81 – 25 gram servings of protein – buy online for best price)
Now I know this seems like an expensive shopping list, but many of the aforementioned ingredients will last quite a while. For example, a pack of organic dried coconut shavings will provide about 16-20 servings of Power-meal – depending on usage of course, while butter will provide well over 40 servings of Power-meal. These items will be purchased less frequently. On the other hand, the limiting ingredients are: organic bananas, dried cherries, and raw sliced almonds – which will need to be purchased more frequently. The bananas are obvious, 1/2 to 1 banana per Power-meal. And in my experience with raw sliced almonds and dried cherries, I get about 8-10 Power-meals per pack of almonds, and 6-8 Power-meals per pack of dried cherries.
As a general guestimation, the cost per Power-meal is between $2.20 – $2.80. That’s pretty cheap considering its amazing nutrient content! Lastly, Power-meal takes ~10 minutes to make… so do your body, busy lifestyle, and budget a favor and make yourself some delicious Power-meal.