Lemon Protein Cake: Cake For Breakfast? Hell yes.

lemon protein cake

Usually I don’t like “healthified” desserts. I’d rather have a really glorious, calorie-filled treat once in awhile than a steady stream of fake-out desserts. I’m looking at you, Paleo brownies. (I won’t even go into the issues I have with the Paleo movement but I’m pretty sure cavemen weren’t eating brownies. Also, thankfully, we’re not cavemen.)

On a side note, let me take a moment to rant about “guilt free” treats. Are we really that hung up on food that we can’t enjoy some yummy things even if they aren’t stuffed with kale, quinoa, and (insert the current nutrient darling of the month). Nutrient dense foods are great. Eating foods for pleasure is also great. Depending on what our goals are, we eat more or less of certain foods. Lose the guilt!

As for me, I’m trying to get more protein into my diet. Protein helps retain the muscle I’ve worked so hard to build and helps me build some more. It’s also a macronutrient that is pretty important in my body’s overall function. For my own goals, I need to eat a good bit of it and I’ve been burning out on my typical go-to breakfasts and snacks.

I can only eat so many eggs, chicken breasts, and cartons of Greek yogurt before I get a little antsy for something new. Right now I’m cutting some body fat and I don’t have a ton of calories to spare each day. I’m stingy with my carbs, fats, and proteins, and mostly spend them on things that fuel me. If I eat a snack, I want it to fit into my goals and also be super tasty. I saw a recipe for a lemon protein mug cake and the picture looked alluring. Still, I was skeptical. My friend Emily reminded me of the empty promises delivered by a cake batter protein shake. Oh, protein shakes, you cannot trick us so easily. Tasty yes; cake substitute, no.

So anyway, the cake. I immediately tossed out the microwave option. Those are usually a rubbery mess. Blech. But what about a cake that was made up mostly of the things that I usually already eat? AND THEN MAGIC CAKE? COULD IT BE?

Verdict: It was pretty damn good. Dude, it tastes like cake. Lemon cake. I had it for breakfast. Sometimes you need cake for breakfast. Enjoy!

Lemon Protein Mug Cake
Adapted from Rx for Healthy Living

Serves 1

Coat a mug with cooking spray. Add the dry ingredients first and mix. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F. Boom.  You can eat it right in the mug or put it on a plate and sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar like I did. It’ll make you feel fancy.


  • 3 Tbsp flour (the original recipe calls for oat flour. I didn’t have it, so I used evil white flour.)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla protein powder (I used NSN vanilla whey).
  • 1/2 Tsp baking powder
  • 2 Packets Stevia (or to taste)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Zest
  • 3 Tbsp Plain, Non Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Egg White (or equivalent egg substitute)

Nutrient Info:
Calories: 242
Carbs: 31g
Fat: 3g
Protein: 21g



Making SMART Goals Work For You



As promised, we’re going to move from taking our New Year’s resolutions from pie in the sky dreams to actual habit change. SMART goals are popular not only in the fitness world but in business too. The SMART goal system is a framework that allows us to work on our behavior change instead of focusing solely on the outcome.

I learned about SMART while studying wellness coaching through the YMCA, and I think it’s a valuable tool, as long as it’s coupled with some other work.

First of all, as described in the first post of my New Year’s Healthy Habits series, it’s important to spend some time thinking about why you want to make a change and if it’s something that you really feel motivated and passionate about tackling. If not, you’re likely going to scrap the whole thing when the going gets tough.

Also, crafting a useful SMART goal requires creating a habit change that is actually a single habit instead of a string of changes that have to be made. A goal of losing 10% body fat might necessitate the following habit changes:

  • tracking food intake
  • creating an exercise plan
  • actually getting to the gym a number of days per week
  • getting more sleep
  • changing the kinds of foods that you buy at the store
  • making a shopping list and menu plan each week to prep
  • learning how to strength train

Holy buckets, that list looks intimidating! No wonder so many people never even make it past the first week. However, each one of those habits is actually a great starting place for a SMART goal when attempting to pursue that larger goal of losing 10% body fat. That’s really the outcome, not the behavioral goal that gets us there. So let’s take one of those and use the SMART concept to make it work even better.

Getting more sleep
This is one that I need to do better at. It’s important to me because I know that a good night’s sleep lowers my stress, improves my performance in my workouts, and helps me eat better all day. Let’s apply SMART.

S- Specific
We don’t want to be vague here. I’m going to get at least 7 hours a night of sleep instead of “I’m going to get more sleep”.

M – Measurable. This is a bit redundant, but I’m setting my measurement at 7 hours per night. 8 would be a gold star for me.

A – Attainable. Is this a doable goal for me? 8 is pushing it, though 7.5 is my sweet spot. I know that 7 is doable if I make it a priority. If it’s not realistic, scale back here and rework the goal.

R – Relevant. Is this really important for my life? If it’s not something that’s actually important to me, I’m not likely to stick with it. For me, it is because it affects the way my body functions and for my life, it’s a biggie.

T – Time frame. Setting a behavior goal for indefinitely can feel like a huge proposition. If I say “I’m going to do this forever” in the back of my head I’m not very confident that that’s the case. But for the next 2 weeks, I can make a commitment to trying this new habit. If I succeed and feel better, I’m more likely to keep it going. If I fail, I can take a step back and reassess what worked and what needs changing.

Try applying these parameters to a habit that you want to implement into your life. You’ll be one step closer to success! Have a SMART goal that you want to share? Leave a comment below!



5 Secrets for Keeping a New Year’s Resolution


Today’s the big day. January 1. Many of us have made the annual New Year’s Resolution. Why do so many New Year’s Resolutions fizzle? If you read my last post, you may have been mulling around some ideas for a change you’d like to make. Are you ready to get going on something new for the New Year? Sweet! Use these tips to make a change that sticks.

1. Focus on what you want to change, not what you should change. The word should comes with a lot of baggage. Often it’s attached to ideas that come from what we think others expect from us instead of what’s really important for our own lives. We can rattle off a big list of things that we feel like we should do, but only when we feel that  making a change is really worth it to us do we start moving toward doing something about it. The benefit of change has to be large enough that it’s motivating enough to make it happen.

2. Start small, grasshopper. Focusing on one small habit will lead to more success than vague goals that require changing many habits at once. Deciding to eat a piece of fruit each day is way less overwhelming than making a resolution to lose 50 pounds.

3. Avoid all or nothing thinking. Around this time of year we see lots of bullshit 30 day challenges and detoxes that involve a lot of restriction and high demands for perfection. What happens when we mess up for a day? For a lot of us, we feel failure and then scrap the whole thing. FYI you don’t need a detox. You have a liver for that. I haven’t met a whole lot of people who have had long term success from following highly restrictive diet and exercise plans. The ones who make it have learned to create habits that fit into their lives.

4. Make a plan. We’re going to break this down next week so stay tuned for that. But the plan is hugely important. Do you drive to Idaho without a road map? OK, it’s 2015 now, so GPS. But you know what I mean. Here’s where it goes sideways for most people. They have a goal that excites them but they haven’t spent much time figuring out what exactly they’ll do to get to their destination. Laying out the specifics will set you up for success.

5. Expect detours. We all have the clean slate today. It feels so good to start over. Once we miss the mark on our behavior goals a few times we can get discouraged and scrap the whole endeavor. But if we’re creating a new habit that will last a life time, isn’t it normal to have some bumps in the road? Get back in the seat and lose the judgment. Do you see all my driving and road metaphors? I’m on a roll today. In any case, be kind to yourself. Go back to why you wanted to make the change and regroup. This is for the long haul. Remember why you want to make choices and then decide on your choice the next time.

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Mine is to finally start printing and organizing my family pictures. They’re a mess. My first step is to find an online service to consolidate them all and then make a habit of immediately sharing them when I take new photos. Wish me luck on this very unsexy but necessary goal! Share your resolution in a comment below so we can cheer you on. Happy 2015!