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Wed Dec 19, 2018

5 rounds

12 KB snatch (24/16kg) - 6 left/6 right

18 Box Jump Over (24/20")

24 Sit ups


Taste Satisfaction and Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

by Coach Courtney, RD

Last week, I posted a blog with three tips to thrive during the holiday season. Tip #2 was to only eat your holiday favorites that are special to the season. It might be the homemade butter tart your grandma makes, the stuffing that you only have at Christmas dinner, or a buttery shortbread cookie while decorating the Christmas tree. Whatever this treat is for you, consider trying the exercise highlighted in the blog post to understand taste satisfaction. By listening to your taste buds, you may realize that the treat isn’t as tasty as your memories are leading you to believe or that you need to eat less of it to feel satisfied. Continue reading for more understanding!

Some foods taste better than other foods. We all know this! We also know that our preference for certain foods may be different from other people’s preferences. As an example, in a CrossFit class I coached, each participant shared their favorite Christmas treat. I found myself nodding in agreement at some of the treats shared (eg. Butterscotch Marshmallow Squares) and feel baffled at how someone could describe fruit cake as their absolute favorite! Taste satisfaction is the word used to describe how good a food taste in general or even in the moment. Taste satisfaction is unique to the person and the memories associated with different foods.

Foods taste better when we are hungry and in need of calories because our taste buds light up brighter and bring their message strongly to our brains. As we continue eating taste buds tire. Taste buds tire rapidly if we are less hungry and more slowly is we are very hungry. This means food tastes better towards the beginning of a meal compared to the end.

Our taste buds detect fives types of signals - sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and Umami (the Japanese word for savory, protein-type tastes). Different flavours will awaken different tastes responses and our taste buds are capable of experiencing and registering flavours fully for only a short period of time. Once taste buds tire, eating more of the same signal won’t re-stimulate them. This is called taste satiety. If you carefully pay attention you may be surprised to find how quickly taste satiety begins to set in and taste satisfaction begins to drop. Paying attention to taste satisfaction is powerful. When we don’t pay attention, we may chase the flavour to recapture the pleasure of the first few bites - but this isn't possible. You may also find yourself continuing to eat to chase a memory of a flavour. For example, the store-bought chocolate chip cookie that remind you of the homemade chocolate chip cookie you ate at your grandma’s house as a child. Are the cookies really delicious? Or is it a memory that you are chasing? If you tune into taste satisfaction, you can differentiate memories from your taste experience to determine if the food is worth eating.

Try this exercise with your favorite treat The next time you have your favorite treat (there are many to choose from this time of year!) take some time to pay attention to taste satisfaction.

  1. Rank the taste of the first bite. You may notice the taste is amazing or maybe not so good. Rank the taste on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being “yum!” and 1 being “yuck”.

  2. Continue with a second bite. If the first bite is an 8, continue eating and rank the second bite. How is the taste changing? Is your enjoyment going up or down. Perhaps the second bite is a 9 or maybe taste satisaction is down to a 6.

  3. Continue to evaluate for the third, fourth, and even fifth bite. You can keep on eating it, of course, but notice how the taste continues to change. Are your taste buds tiring of the flavour?

  4. Tune into your experience to compare this moment to other times you had the treat. Many people find that it takes only 5 small bites to feel satisfied and for taste receptors to fatigue. Once the taste receptors are fatigure - you need to switch to a different flavour. As an example, if your treat was "sweet" you will need to switch to a flavour like Umami, bitter, salty, or sour to brighten new taste receptors. Some people even realize that the taste of their "favorite" treat wasn't actually good at all. They may have been building up the memory of the food but when turning into taste buds realize the treat didn't rank high on the taste scale.

One of my favorite quotes to go along with this exercise is by Andie Mitchell: “Another plate wouldn’t have brought me any greater satisfaction, because contentment doesn’t double by the serving”

On the topic of treats and taste satisfaction, I had a few people mention that they had made a recipe I had posted last year for a lighter version of the Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bars using a recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste. See the original post here for a nutritional comparison to the Starbucks version and a video on how to make them. If you make the recipe, I hope you take on the taste satisfaction challenge to tune into your sweet taste receptors. You may find that one of these bars is enough to satisfy. A second bar may bring no greater satisfaction. In the words of Andie Mitchell, contentment doesn’t double by the serving.


Cookie base

  • 2 cups (240g) flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup (56g) butter, melted

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup Truvia

  • 2 egg whites (63g)

  • 1/2 cup applesauce

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 100g white chocolate chips (1/3 cup)

  • 1/4 cup (40g) dried cranberries

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 454g (2 spreadable containers) 95% fat free cream cheese

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 tablespoon Truvia (or more if you want it sweeter)


  • 50g (~ 3 tablespoons) white chocolate chips, melted

  • 1/4 cup (40g) dried cranberries, chopped


Part 1: Cookie Base

  1. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

  2. In a seperate bowl, combine the melted butter, egg whites, apple sauce, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until light and fluffy.

  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

  4. Fold in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

  5. Spread the cookie mixture on a baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. Let the cookie base cool completely.

Part 2: Frosting

  1. Soften the cream cheese and mix it with vanilla and Truvia. You can add more or less Truvia depending on your preference.

  2. Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the cooled cookie base.

Part 3: Assembly

  1. Sprinkle the dried craisins evenly on the bars. Drizzle the melted white chocolate.

  2. Cut into 15 squares and then cut each square in half for a total of 30 triangles.

*Search "Vitality Nutrition Cranberry Bliss Bars" to find the bars in the MyFitnessPal database

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