Banting Recipe: Low Carb Apple & Cinnamon Nutrition Bar

I love nutrition bars, or at least, I love the idea of them. I’ve always struggled to find one that genuinely has a low sugar and carb content. Most nutrition bars on the market cater to creating sugar-induced quick energy spikes pre- or post- training, and for someone who is insulin resistant this is less than ideal. As a result, I have very limited choice when selecting one from the supermarket or store to try.

Thus far, there have been only two brands of bar that have almost met my low sugar, low carb requirements: Kind bars and Fulfil bars. Kind bars are on the higher end of my ‘acceptable amount of sugar’ scale, averaging around 16g carb and 6g of sugar per bar. Fulfil bars are significantly lower, averaging around 11g of carbs and less than 3g of sugar.

I was convinced that Fulfil bars were the post-training snack of my dreams, especially with their high protein content. However, on closer inspection I was not fully happy with the ingredients list. In particular, I was suspicious of the presence of erithrytol in the bars as the main source of sweetness. At the time I hadn’t heard of erithrytol, but after some research I found that it has fuelled some contentious discussion in the health and fitness community.

Erithrytol politics aside, I just wanted a good nutrition bar that I could rely on, particularly after training. And then I had a light bulb moment – why don’t I just make my own? I could make a batch every Sunday and take one out with me every morning before work. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing since.

Ingredients:

  • 80g roasted hazelnuts
  • 80g almond flakes
  • 80g almond flour
  • 1 1/2 apples
  • 96g xylitol
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 130g salted butter
  • 1 cup of water

Serves 10 (60g per bar)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes – Oven setting: 180 degrees (gas mark 4)

Total time: 40 minutes

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4)
  2. Remove the skin of the apples with a peeler or knife, and cut them coarsely.
  3. Put the apples in a large pot with the cup of water and bring to the boil.
  4. Put the butter in with the apples and water and stir until melted.
  5. Put the lid on the pot and reduce to a medium-low heat to allow the apples to soften. If bubbles rise to the lid of the pot, you will need to reduce the flame.
  6. Pour the xylitol into the pot and stir in for a few minutes until dissolved.
  7. When the apples have softened, use a masher to mash the apples until it becomes a thick sauce. It doesn’t have to be smooth, I liked leaving mine with chunks of apple in it.
  8. Leave the apple sauce to cool in the pan.
  9. Use a pestle and mortar or grinder to grind the hazelnuts until it has a crumb-like consistency.
  10. Add the crumbled hazelnuts, almond flakes and almond flour to the apple sauce mixture.
  11. Add the cinnamon powder to the mixture and stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  12. Divide the mixture into measured portions and shape on a baking tray with baking parchment. Remember, the more accurate the weight of each bar, the better you can calculate the macros!
  13. Bake until golden for around 20 minutes. And then eat them. All of them (I’m joking, kind of).

Nutritional information per 60g serving:

Calories: 287

Fat (g): 25.3

Carbs (g): 14.8

Protein (g): 5.6

Sugars (g): 2.6

-If nutritional posts are something you’d like to see more of on I Hit Hard, leave a comment to let me know!-

Banting Recipe: Homemade Basil Pesto

If you’re at home with an injured knee, what do you do? Make pesto of course!

I want to use I Hit Hard to share with you all some of my favourite low-carb high-fat recipes, including this pesto. Nutrition is super important to me as a martial artist, and food has always been a big part of my life – for good or for bad.

Pesto goes with so many different things, and it’s the perfect thing to whip up if you’re stuck at home and need something to make quick and easy meals with. When I lived on the Isle of Wight, my mum used to make wild garlic pesto from the garlic in our garden. She brought me up to experiment with recipes, and what she has taught me plays a key role in how I’ve curated my diet to compliment my training.

My favourite pesto recipe is actually one that my dad created. He’s totally into doing things by hand, so there are no blenders involved in this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 90 grams (three 30g packets) fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 100g of parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 50g pine nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Atlantic sea salt

(I find coarseness of pesto to be a matter of taste, so if you would like to cut anything more finely or coarsely, go ahead, it’ll lend a different texture and taste to what you make.)

I’ve been on the “Banting” low-carb high-fat diet for around a year now, and it has turned my life around. This is the ideal diet to tackle my insulin resistance.

Going “Banting”, I’ve given up sugar, drinking alcohol, wheat, rice and all other major carbs (yep, that includes bread!). Since then, my energy levels have remained consistent, I no longer experience bouts of dizziness or bloating, and I’ve experienced a fantastic ability to train harder and more frequently without feeling too rundown.

Serves 20 (21g per serving)

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: none

Total time: 15 mins

Instructions:

  1. Wash the basil leaves with water and pat dry with a kitchen towel before you chop them.
  2. Chop the basil leaves finely and put into a large bowl.
  3. Use the fine grate on your grater to grate your parmesan, and add this to the basil when you’re done (how many times can I use the word ‘grate’ in a sentence?!).
  4. Pour the pine nuts onto your cutting board and chop using a large kitchen knife. I prefer them to be coarsely chopped, but you may want to cut them more finely depending on your preference. Stir the chopped pine nuts into the mixture.
  5. Finely chop the four cloves of garlic and add this to the bowl, too.
  6. Then measure your olive oil (I used a cup measure) and pour it into the pesto. Mix the olive oil into the pesto and adjust the amount depending on whether you prefer your pesto more “wet” or “dry”.
  7. Finally, sprinkle the sea salt into the pesto and mix thoroughly.
  8. To serve, use alongside any dish or use as a cooking sauce (the possibilities are endless…)!
  9. Best when fresh. Store in a sealed container in a dry place away from direct sunlight.

Nutritional information per 21g serving:

Calories: 178

Fat (g): 18.1

Carbs (g): 0.4

Protein (g): 2.2

Sugars (g): 0.1

-If nutritional posts are something you’d like to see more of on I Hit Hard, leave a comment letting me know!-