A Family, Beauty, Health and Lifestyle Blog
March is National Nutrition Month, meaning there's no better time to stock up on healthy snacks (especially after indulging in last month's Valentine's Day candy)! I am so bad, I love chocolate!
I love my sweets, but I also enjoy healthful snacks, such as veggies and olives.
In honor of the month-long holiday, I wanted to introduce some vegan, low calorie snacks from authentic Greek brand, Gaea, that are the perfect for taking on-the-go. The Gaea Veggie Snacks and Olive Snacks were designed with convenience in mind and are made with all natural ingredients and zero preservatives.
Gaea Veggie Snacks: Gaea's line of Veggie Snacks are the first shelf-stable on-the-go vegetable snacks on the market. Building on the healthy snacking trend and popularity of Gaea's Olive Snack Packs, the Veggie Snacks are designed with convenience in mind and made with all natural ingredients and zero preservatives. All three varieties are also vegan and gluten free. The perfect choice for healthy snacking on-the-go, Gaea Veggie Snacks feature a handy re-sealable package, without liquid, allowing the convenience of snacking now and later.
Available in three varieties: Carrot, Cauliflower and Gherkin. $28/8 count, Buy on Amazon
Gaea Olive Snack Packs– These Olive Snack Packs are a savory, low-calorie and healthy snack to throw in your tote or take on-the-go. 100% natural, containing zero additives or preservatives and very low salinity, the olives are packed in a handy re-sealable package, without liquid, allowing the convenience of snacking now and later.
Three varieties are available: Pitted Green Olives Marinated with Chili and Black Pepper, Pitted Green Olives Marinated with Lemon and Oregano, and Pitted Kalamata Olives, 100% Natural and Sun Ripened. MSRP: $1.47 / 1 oz, Buy at Walmart stores
If you are like me, you are probably wondering what the secret ingredients are that will keep you healthy, strong, and vibrant. Is there a supplement to take? Tell me what to eat! When should I eat and how many calories should I be eating? The truth is, the "secret" is that all we need to do is to focus our attention on consuming a variety of plant-based, whole foods at least 80% of our time to keep us strong and healthy. These are foods that are found in nature. They are either grown on trees or in our earth. Plant-based whole foods are key to vital health and can help prevent and even reverse diseases by reducing inflammation in the body! Powerful stuff.
Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind has put together some of her favorite plant-based, whole foods that she makes sure to include in her eating routine that I thought I would share:
When nuts, such as pistachios, are eaten on a regular basis, they help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. Pistachios provide the winning combination of heart healthy fats, protein and fiber which are essential to good nutrition and health. One serving of pistachios has as much potassium as an orange making it a nutritious choice to add to your daily diet. My favorite pistachio snack is Setton Farms’ Pistachio + Plum Chewy Bites. They make it easy to get the daily benefits of pistachios on the go, plus the plums make them a tad sweet to satisfy my sweet tooth!
Leafy Greens such as collard greens, bok choy, swiss chard, kale and mustard greens are one of the most nutrient dense foods containing the least amount of calories. Whether you are looking to watch your weight, prevent or reverse disease, improve the strength of your bones and teeth or just get a natural healthy glow, eating leafy greens on a daily basis is a must. Leafy greens contain important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamins B1 and B2 and fiber. I like to put them in my salads, sandwiches, and even sautéed and served in healthy pasta dishes!
Whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, bulgur and millet offer a variety of health benefits, unlike refined grains which are processed and stripped of valuable nutrients. They contain whole grain kernels that consist of three parts: the germ, bran and endosperm; each part is essential containing fiber, B vitamins, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, phytochemicals, healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein. One of my dishes is a rice bowl, start with wild rice, and load up on the greens and plant-based proteins!
Not all fats are created equal! Healthy fats are those that contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, are found in plants, and actually do the body good. They are instrumental in keeping your weight under control, lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL), preventing stroke and heart disease, lowering your blood pressure and even boosting your mood. Healthy fats are found in nuts, seeds, avocados, cacao, olives, and plant based oils and are rich in omega 3s. Although these healthy fats are essential for the body, it’s important to keep your portions in control because they can also be calorie dense. Drizzle some olive or avocado oil on your salad to get a healthy dose of fats.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, folate, and an assortment of other vitamin and minerals. Beans are known to help keep the digestive track running smoothly because they contain soluble and insoluble fiber. First they slow down digestion to give you a full feeling and then they help to prevent constipation. Beans are a wonderful substitute for animal protein. They can help lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol and maintain a healthy gut. Look for chickpeas, lentils, peas and white beans and aim for ½ a cup daily. I love making zoodles and loading them with chickpeas and other greens for a healthy dinner option.
About Sara Siskind
Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature "toss it in" approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating.
Pistachio + Plum Chewy Bites are all-natural bite-sized bars packed with over 50% California grown pistachios, plums, date nectar and a touch of lemon. Each individually wrapped bite is loaded with protein, fiber, iron, potassium and antioxidants making them an ideal, on-the-go, heart healthy snack that is both delicious and nutrient dense.
Pricing: 6-Pack $5.99
About Setton Farms
Setton Farms is a family owned business based in California’s Central Valley and are the 2nd largest grower and processor of pistachios in the United States. The business started as a small bakery in Brooklyn in 1959 and expanded to growing pistachios in 1987. They are a vertically integrated company and are able to focus on every step of the pistachio process from harvesting, to processing, to shipping. The processing plant has a 1.7MW solar power system and their post-harvest operations is 100% solar powered. Their products range from plain pistachios to flavored pistachios to their iconic Pistachio Chewy Bites.
It is already May! The weather will hopefully be getting warmer (and staying that way!) It is time to star planning some seriously fun springtime activities for the kiddos. These outings would not be complete without the perfect kid-friendly snack options!
- Unroll the fun this spring with Welch's Fruit Rolls! Featuring fruit as its first ingredient, the Fruit Rolls are gluten free, preservative free and available in three mouthwatering flavors – Berry, Tropical and White Grape Strawberry.
- Welch's Fruit Snacks are available in a variety of delicious spring flavors, think Mixed Fruit, Berries n' Cherries, Fruit Punch and more, as well as a range of package options ideal for on-the-go snacking.
- Go Organically Fruit Snacks are USDA-certified organic, made with real fruit, GMO-free, gluten-free and preservative-free. Even better, these tasty and smart snacks are only 70 calories for each individual pack.
We were recently given the chance to try out several different types of fruit snacks, and my kids couldn’t get enough of them! The Welch’s Fruit Rolls were by far my four-year old son's favorite (because he enjoyed pulling them apart), as well as their fruit punch fruit snacks. He also LOVES Go Organically fruit snacks.
We liked the convenience of taking them to church or throwing them in his backpack for preschool. Since they’re made with real fruit and contain 100% vitamin C, I know that my children can get the sweet flavor they love but can still enjoy the benefits of fruit without compromise.
*Product received. All opinions are my own.
October is National Apple Month! I didn't know about that until recently. I love apples, especially apple cider, caramel apples and apple pie! To celebrate, I’ve included some delicious apple recipes below, perfect to indulge in for National Apple Month!
Apple Melon Juice
Recipe Credit: HUROM
- 1 and ¼ cup of melon cubes
- 2/3 cups of apple
- ½ cup of bok choy
- ½ cup of sliced celery
Using a peeler, peel the melon’s rind. Wash celery and bok choy and remove seeds from apple. Cut into appropriate sizes. Insert the ingredients into your juicer by alternating their order. Enjoy! Pour over ice if desired.
Apple Pie Fizz
Recipe Credit: Sparkling Ice
- 2 oz. Whiskey Bourbon
- Dash of Cinnamon
- Apple Slices for garnish
In a glass, mix bourbon and Sparkling Ice Crisp Apple with ice. Top it off with a dash of cinnamon and garnish with apple slices!
Baked Granola Apple
Recipe Credit: Viki’s Granola
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, diced
- 3 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 apples, washed and dried
- 1 cup of Viki’s Apple Cinnamon Granola
- Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 375°. In a bowl combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Take good care to mash everything together with a fork. Use a melon baller, apple corer or paring knife to remove apple cores; don’t go all the way through. Place apples in a small baking dish and fill with butter mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes. To serve top with Viki’s Apple Cinnamon Granola and a scoop of ice cream.
Apple & Flax Seed Muffins
Recipe Credit: Carrington Farms
- 1 and 1/4 cup Carrington Farms Organic Milled Flax Seed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar or sweetener
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 cup liquid (syrup or water)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 1 medium apple, chopped fairly finely
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 12-muffin tin very well. Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the rest of them. Let batter stand 10 minutes, then put into the muffin pan and bake for about 18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and muffins just barely start to pull away from the sides of the tin. *Makes 12 to 24 muffins depending on your preference.
I am a huge snacker! I try to make healthful choices, but sometimes my choices aren't always that praiseworthy. Thankfully Nonni's THINaddictives has created the perfect snack that satisfies my crunchy and my sweet cravings all while being good for me! I recently got to sample their two newest flavors, Banana Dark Chocolate and Blueberry Oat.
Banana Dark Chocolate Almond Thins – Crunchy banana chips layered with semi-sweet chocolate chips baked into an almond thin makes for a chocolate lover’s delight.
Blueberry Oat Almond Thins – Luscious, whole blueberries and hearty oats rolled into an almond thin for a satisfying sweet.
Nonni's THINaddictives are made with real, wholesome ingredients, like California almonds and fruit baked into every bite. Created for those seeking a healthy indulgence, THINaddictives are:
- Low in sugar (5 grams or less per serving)
- Low in carbohydrates (14 grams or less per serving)
- Low calorie (100 calories per serving)
Available in five delicious flavors, including Cranberry, Cinnamon Raisin, Pistachio, NEW Banana Dark Chocolate and NEW Blueberry Oat.
My Experience: I first opened up my box of Banana Dark Chocolate THINsddictives and quickly devoured about three of the individually wrapped portions. My daughter, Myelie came along and tasted them as well. She loved them! We both then tried the Blueberry Oat flavor and were equally smitten. Myelie is in tennis and always needs to bring healthful snacks to keep up her energy. She has found that keeping Nonni's THINaddictives in her tennis bag is the perfect way to grab something healthy on the go. They are delicious!
To learn more about Nonni's THINaddictives go to: http://nonnis.com/
Disclaimer: I received samples of these products to review and to keep. All opinions are my own.
As the weather warms up, it's time to ditch the sweaters and tights and show a little more skin. This bare-all, sizzling season makes it even more important to focus on looking and feeling good! Nonni’s THINaddictives wants to help with the delicious NEW, twice-baked almond thins.
Nonni’s THINaddictives are a unique, tasty treat made with wholesome, antioxidant-rich ingredients like crunchy California almonds, savory pistachios, succulent cranberries and delicate cinnamon swirls. Conveniently packaged with six pre-portioned, 100-calorie packs per box at a suggested retail price of $3.29, they’re perfect for the health conscious person on-the-go.
I received samples of each of Nonni’s THINaddictives flavors: Pistachio, Cranberry and Cinnamon Raisin to review. I had never quite tried any snack like Nonni's before. They are crispy, sweet and delicious, like a yummy cookie. I can see why they are called 'addictive' because I did not want to stop at just one pack. In fact, while sitting at my computer the other day, I had to stop myself at my third pack. I was eating the Pistachio flavor, which is my favorite because I love pistachios. I also love the Cinnamon Raisin. I did not get to try the Cranberry flavor however. My sister-in-law stole them from me! She did, however report back that they are delicious. I believe her!
With Nonni’s THINaddictives, you get a low calorie and highly satisfying snack. They are crunchy, and so that takes care of my 'chip' craving. They are also just sweet enough that my sweet tooth is also satisfied. At just 100 calories per pack, you do not have to feel guilty if you limit yourself to a pack or two. (Not three or four, like I ate in one sitting) but still, at least you can get an idea of how many calories you are taking in. I love how they are loaded with nuts! Yum!
Win: One winner will receive one box each of Nonni’s THINaddictives in the following flavors: Pistachio, Cranberry and Cinnamon Raisin. (ARV: $ 10.00)
Disclaimer: I received samples of this product to review and to keep. The opinions are my own.
I received no compensation for this posting.
Whenever I cook dinner for my family, I am always trying to come up with creative, tasty and healthful side dishes to compliment the meal. What is out there besides just plain rolls? Alexia has some great ideas!
We tried Alexia's House-Cut Fries one night and their Multi-Grain Onion Rings another. I had made my famous sloppy joes for dinner, and the House-Cut Fries were a hit! My husband and my children loved them. They do not taste like frozen french fries at all. They taste like they are fresh served, restaurant style, and they are very crunchy. (And seasoned with sea salt) Perfect addition to a fun dinnertime.
The next night I served grilled cheese sandwiches. We were in a hurry to get out the door to youth group, and I served Alexia's Multi-Grain Onion Rings. Those were mouth-watering and scrumtious. I think my kids were more interested in the onion rings than they were in their sandwiches, but that is okay. The onion rings were made with multi-grain, so I know that they were nutritious as well as delicious.
Thank you, Alexia for helping me to create successful meals that my family approved of!
Check out Alexia All-Natural Foods entire selection of palate-pleasing side dishes at: http://www.alexiafoods.com
You can purchase Alexia Foods at your local Safeway, Albertson's, and New Season's grocery stores.
Disclaimer; I received a sample of the product to review and to keep. The opinions are my own.