Tag Archives: healthy snacks

Resolve to Eat More Colorfully: Mango-Cherry Chia Pudding Parfaits


By Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of Eating in Color

I’m on a mission to get people to eat more colorfully. Why? Brightly hued fruits and vegetables are loaded with compounds that reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, some cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and obesity. You’d think that should be enough to convince anyone to throw some color on their plate! Unfortunately, the reality is that most of us are falling seriously short of getting enough fruits and vegetables.


That’s why I create fun and delicious ways for people to eat their colors, like the recipes in my cookbook Eating in Color. In my newest cookbook, I showcase just how vibrant and delicious real food can be. The book includes 90 family-friendly recipes that are fruit, vegetable, and grain focused that you’ll actually want to eat. With recipes like Caramelized Red Onion and Fig Pizza, Cran-Apple Tarte Tatin, and Roasted Tri-Color Carrots with Thyme, tasting the rainbow has never tasted so good, nor been so easy. (more…)

Are Your Kids Over-Fortified? Too Much of a Good Thing Puts Their Health at Risk


Millions of well-intentioned American parents, unbeknownst to them, are over-fortifying their kids with too many nutrients. That’s according to a report published earlier this year by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

EWG, an American-based health and research organization, analyzed the nutrition facts labels for 1,550 breakfast cereals and found that 114 cereals were fortified by the manufacturer with 30 percent or more of the adult Daily Value of vitamin A, zinc, and/or niacin. They also looked at 1,000 snack bars and found that 27 common brands were fortified with 50 percent or more of the Daily Value of at least one of those nutrients.

Among the most fortified cereals were:

  • General Mills’ Total line
  • Wheaties Fuel
  • Kellogg’s Product 19
  • Smart Start
  • All-Bran Complete
  • Cocoa Krispies
  • Krave

The most fortified snack bars included

  • Balance
  • Kind
  • Marathon

Food Awards: Best & Worst Breakfast Cereals

When foods are fortified, vitamins and minerals that aren’t originally in a food are added by the manufacturer. Classic examples include adding vitamin D to milk, iron to flour, fiber to cereal, and iodine to salt. Since 1998, folic acid has been added to breads, cereals, and other products that use enriched flour in an effort to reduce Spina Bifida and other serious birth defects. The idea of fortification was developed almost 100 years ago to treat common nutrition-deficiency diseases.
But it is possible to consume too many fortified foods, especially by children, because the Daily Values are set for the needs of adults not kids. Furthermore, the Daily Value standards were set in 1968 and so some are higher than levels currently deemed to be safe. (more…)

What Do Americans Eat? Kale, Gluten-Free, and Organics Top 2014 Food Trends

food statistics

Food trends come and food trends go. One year we’re all raving about Sriracha, the next we’re falling for the cronut. For the last 30 years, Parade has surveyed those trends and other American eating habits.

This year, foods like snack bars and frozen sandwiches have risen in popularity. As more people eat on the go, convenience foods are going to see a natural rise. According to Parade‘s survey:

  • 27 percent of main dishes made at home are frozen or ready-to-eat meals.
  • 80 percent of our meals are prepared at home, and over half of them are made from scratch or fresh ingredients.


Healthier Vending Machines are a Win-Win for All Hungry Consumers


You’re running late and you haven’t eaten all day. You’re starving, your blood sugar is tanking, and you need a snack now. But wait! The vending machine is your only option.

Americans have busy schedules. They have less time available to plan and prepare a meal. According to government research, half of all Americans eats three or more snacks per day. Two generations ago, snacking was reserved for working men, growing adolescents, and toddlers with small stomachs. Most Americans ate three square meals a day. Now, meal skipping is common place, especially at breakfast. For teens, snack foods eaten outside of a sit-down meal provide one-fourth to one-third of daily calorie intake.

7 Wackiest Vending Machines: Automated Caviar, Lobster, and Burritos

Enter Healthy Vending Machines

At work, school, and in public places, vending machines are often the only source of food for sale. But food and beverages typically found in vending machines are a problem: high in calories, low in nutrients, and full of unwanted ingredients. Vending machines are seen as a major contributor to the poor food choices that lead to overweight and obesity. Improved access to healthy food is a key strategy in obesity prevention, a matter of great interest to anyone concerned about medical costs. (more…)

Eat Like the Royals: 7 Ballpark Recipes Celebrating the Kansas City Royals’ World Series Run

Last night, my social channels bled blue as the Kansas City Royals clenched their first playoff bid since 1985. Chants of going all the way were deafening and will no doubt silence any time soon. It’s a moment these Midwest baseball fans have waited, in some cases, all their lives for. There are a lot of long games ahead for these fans, as many as seven if things go their way, which means a lot of tailgate-inspired eating is on the horizon.

How does one eat like a Royal? There’s no pinkies out around here like those other royals. This is both KC Missouri and Kansas — around here, it’s all about the meat!

Here’s how to eat like a Royals fan — we’ll even show you a few ways to trim down these ballgame faves so you don’t need to up-size your new champions T-shirt!


clean caramel corn laurenslatestimage credit laurenslatest.com

No ballgame is complete without Cracker Jacks, but they’re kind of terrible for you. We love this recipe from LaurensLatest.com that uses coconut oil, maple syrup, sea salt, and vanilla to craft a treat as indulgent as the classic. Popcorn is naturally gluten-free, if that’s your thing. This recipe is also vegan and without adding processed sugars.

beef meatball kabobsimage credit Kacy Meinecke/DietsInReview.com


Grilling a batch of big, juicy burgers  these parts. But there are ways to teach these old dogs new tricks! Treat the burger as a side or appetizer with this tiny meatball kabobs. They’ve got big flavor, as we stuffed all-natural beef with jalapeno and cheddar cheese. (more…)

Treat Your Workout with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Protein Balls

chocolate pretzel protein balls

Three words for you… Treat. Yo. Self. If you know Parks and Rec, you know the reference. Only we believe in treating yourself all the time, not just one day a year. Especially after a workout!

When you’re on a run, crushing the weights, or sweating through a cycling class it’s easy to get tunnel vision and feel like there is no light at the end. These little Chocolate Covered Pretzel Protein Balls are that light. Finish the grind, then treat. yo. self.

chocolate protein ball

We love making these because they’re ridiculously easy. We also love making these because they’re ridiculously delicious. Just five ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your well-stocked pantry, and five minutes of prep is all you need for yummy, indulgent, homemade copycat Larabars. (more…)

Your Grades are What You Eat! 10 Smart Back to School Foods to Boost Kids’ Grades

As the school year kicks off, it’s safe to say that good grades are at the top of many people’s school wishlists. While you can’t deny that paying attention in class and doing the assigned work makes up a major part of the grade, there are other, usually overlooked, ways to earn fridge-worthy grade cards.

We spoke with with our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD, and nutritionist and author Dr. Keith Kantor about which healthy habits may boost grades and improve performance in school.

judah rainbow smoothie


Eat Healthy Foods

Mary shared that getting the right nutrients can boost the speed at which the brain works. “So many nutrients have a role in cognition, including cholesterol from egg yolks and dairy products, essential fatty acids from fatty fish, nuts and olive oil, and carotenoids and flavonoids found in colorful fruits and vegetables.”

Back to School Food: Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Donut Sandwiches

Get Your Vitamins and Minerals

“A host of micronutrients also play key roles in processes that run the brain, including iron, zinc, choline, selenium, iodine, magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamins A and C,” Mary added.

Back to School Food: Rainbow Smoothie


Back to School Clean Eating Cookies Made Just About Any Way You Like!

allergy cookies

It’s that time of year again for brown bag lunches and busy fall schedules. To keep the kids healthy AND keep their sweet tooth happy, try these super simple, super clean cookies. What we love about these cookies is that they are very forgiving and flexible in terms of the goodies you add in at the end.

Consider adding almond butter, cocoa powder, protein powder, chopped almonds, canned pumpkin, extra cinnamon…the sky’s the limit!

healthy cookie ingredients

The mashed bananas as the base is a great way to keep the cookies moist while providing a stable base packed with nutrition and energy. Adding oats provides essential fiber to keep little bellies full. (more…)

Cupcake Ban in Schools Inspires Healthier Classroom Party Treat Ideas

birthday party

“Mom, what are we bringing to school tomorrow for my birthday?”

If you’re like most busy parents, your child’s innocent question may send you into panic-stricken stammering. 
“Um…well…it’s a surprise. A surprise! Yes, that’s it. You just wait until tomorrow and you’ll see.”

No, you didn’t forget your child’s birthday, it’s just that darn societal expectation that you’ll bring enough goodies to feed every kid in your child’s class. So, what’s it going to be? Stay up late and scour Pinterest for something, anything, that you can throw together, or sneak out to the store and eliminate some of the hassle?

For parents at some schools in Washington, Michigan, Colorado, Kentucky, and Minnesota, sugary sweets are no longer an option. This so-called “cupcake ban,” as reported by Shape Magazine, means that schools are requiring non-edible treats like pencils, stickers, and other trinkets be given.

Is this a good idea? Perhaps, if parents just aren’t complying with school recommendations to bring healthier treats. But in general, we as parents shouldn’t wait to be policed by the schools. Let’s take it upon ourselves to share healthier treats in classroom celebrations.

Here are a few homemade options that are wholesome and kid-approved! (more…)

Travel Tips from Eli Sapharti, Author of “From Fat Boy to Fit Man”

eli sapharti

After conquering obesity, losing over 100 lbs, and getting in the best shape of my life, I have learned that when I am taken out of my regular daily routine and environment I can easily fall prey to old eating habits. One of the most challenging situations for me has been while traveling.

This reminds me of a particular airplane trip that I took a few years ago. One that I would soon like to forget if it weren’t for the lessons that I learned.

As I prepared to leave on a three-day business trip, I made sure I had everything I needed. Or so I thought. I had the right clothing, toothbrush, shaving blades, deodorant, and all the necessary toiletries. (I even packed extra undies.) What I didn’t prepare for were my meals that I was so used to  having ready during my regular weekly routine at home.

My first challenge was when my flight was delayed and I found myself at the airport for an unexpected extra 2 hours. I was starving. (Well, not literally, but I WAS very hungry.) Since I didn’t want to sit at a restaurant and order grilled chicken and veggies (which would have been the best choice), I grabbed what I THOUGHT was the next best choice. A prepackaged turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread. Healthy, right? WRONG! I later learned that this sandwich had more fat, more sugar and more carbs than if I had ordered a burger a a sit down restaurant. Big oops.

My next challenge was while in the air.  I don’t know about you, but I get especially hungry while traveling. Perhaps its not “real” hunger, but it seems these instances awakens my inner “snack monster”. So, I snacked. The problem was that the only snacks available were potato chips, cookies, or honey roasted peanuts. So of course I chose the peanuts—they were obviously the best option, right? Probably, but the issue was that one little bag (ok FOUR little bags) of peanuts didn’t satisfy me. So since eating FIVE bags of peanuts would have been excessive, I had a bag of chips instead. After all that saltiness I got a major sweet craving, which made me reach for a bag of chocolate chip cookies! Talk about a binge!

Luckily, after this binge I fell asleep and when I woke up, we were ready to land. Thank goodness for that or I may have been charged an extra fee for excessive snacking on-board!

The good thing about this trip was that it forced me to think and prepare before embarking on any trip, whether on a plane, a road trip with the kids, or even my honeymoon cruise which I cannot wait to go on!

Here are some rules I learned from this experience, which you too can use to avoid a travel binge:

1) Calculate how many hours you will be traveling and pack adequate meals for that time frame. For instance, pack a healthy sandwich or two that you can take with you on a plane, train, or automobile. By eating real meals you’ll reduce your in-between meal cravings. (more…)