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July 01, 2014 | Posted by: Gene & Joyce Daoust | Posted in: Recipes
Balancing Your Diet with Functional Foods

Functional foods are a hot topic these days and they can be incorporated into preparing 40-30-30 balanced meals.  Functional foods, also known as “foods with benefits”, are just that: foods that include additional health benefits beyond basic calories and nutrition.

Fruits and vegetables are some of the most researched of all functional foods.  They are not only rich sources of vitamins and minerals, but also provide a bounty of flavonoids, carotenoids, and other powerful antioxidants that have been found to play a role in supporting heart health, the immune system and various other aspects of wellness.

Other functional foods include cold-water fish, which are a quality source of protein and also contain high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to support healthy blood flow as well as brain function.  High-fiber whole grains and legumes have been shown to promote healthy cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar.  Yogurt gives us bone-protecting calcium along with beneficial bacteria for better digestive health.  Even foods like red wine, chocolate, and coffee contain healthy flavonoids that studies have shown can help promote better health.

Blueberries are one of my favorite functional foods and the list of their health benefits just seems to grow longer every day.  They are a true superfood, especially for your brain.  New research suggests that the anthocyanidins and flavonoids found in blueberries, which have powerful antioxidant properties, can help keep your brain smart and young in many ways.  Studies have shown that blueberries enhance memory and learning function in older adults while promoting healthy blood sugar and feelings of well-being.  But it doesn’t stop there.  The antioxidant activity in blueberries has also been linked to a wide range of health benefits including boosting brain power, helping to preserve brain function, protecting your heart, and improving immune function.  I’m beginning to see why I feel so good after drinking a breakfast blueberry smoothie.

Another powerhouse fruit is kiwi.  Packed with vitamins and minerals—including an impressive amount of potassium—kiwi has been shown to provide DNA and respiratory protection.  Kiwi is also a good source of fiber and phytonutrients which are antioxidant compounds that can help with heart and cholesterol health.

Nuts are yet another functional food shown to provide a multitude of health benefits.  Even just a small amount of nuts supply healthful vitamins, minerals and valuable antioxidant nutrients. Plus, they contain the essential fatty acids needed to help manage cholesterol and control blood sugar, and to improve heart health.

Finally, whey protein powder is a complete, high quality protein and easy to digest functional food containing all of the very important essential amino acids needed to build and repair all body proteins, delivered in a highly absorbable form.

One great thing about these functional foods: they all go great together in a smoothie! So if you’re looking for ways to support your nutritious eating goals, try one of my favorite smoothie recipes below. Packed with delicious functional foods like  blueberries, kiwi, walnuts and whey protein powder, it will provide the fuel your body needs to take on the day.


Blueberry-Kiwi Smoothie

2/3 cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries

1 medium size kiwi, peeled

1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and or ice (depending on desired thickness)

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh shelled walnuts

15 grams of pure whey protein powder

Directions:  Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Calories:  260;    Carbohydrates: 28 grams;  Protein: 21 grams;   Fat: 8 grams;

Joyce Daoust is a Certified Nutritionist, Balance Bar® spokesperson and national best-selling co-author of THE FORMULA, A Personalized 40-30-30 Weight Loss Program.

Tags: 40-30-30 Meal Recipes, 40-30-30 Nutrition, Drinks & Smoothies, Diet, Nutritious Snack Ideas.