Tag Archives: healthy snacks

School Vending Machines Getting a Government-Mandated Healthy Makeover

Your child’s food in school is changing for the better. Last year the USDA required new healthier guidelines for school lunches. The changes to school lunches were made to help stop the increasing rate of childhood obesity. As reported by USA Today, foods sold at schools’ a la carte and vending machines will have to be healthier than they were before.

Here is a proposed standard of what a la carte and vending machines could look like in the near future:

  • Foods cannot contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and saturated fat.
  • Reduced-fat cheese, nuts and nut butters (almond butter, peanut butter, pistachio butter) can contain trans fat, but no other alternative foods can have trans fat.
  • A la carte and vending machine foods must be either a fruit, vegetable, dairy produce, protein food, whole-grain-rich grains or a combination of foods that have 1/4 cup of fruit of vegetables.
  • 10% of calcium, potassium vitamin D or fiber must be present in the foods. (more…)

8 Healthier Dips For Your Game Day Spread

I don’t know about you but I’m getting pretty excited about the big NFL bowl game this Sunday as it holds a special place in my heart. Ironically enough, though my husband and I aren’t the biggest big sports fans we met at a bowl party several years ago where we became friends. Not more than one year later we were married, so every time the big game rolls around in February I think back on that special day.

Being the foodie that I am, the immediate second place my mind goes to when thinking about football is food. Lucky for me there will be no short supply of good eats come February 3, and we have you covered with some healthier options for your game day spread. Instead of filling your guests with queso and bacon-wrapped meat, serve up these eight healthier dips that any football fan would love.

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Raw Sunflower Butter Cookies Make a Healthy Take Along Snack

The first time I tried sunflower seed butter was at a farmers market in Portland, Oregon several years back. I had just passed by the third strawberry stand lining the market’s north side when I stumbled upon a tent with a middle-aged gentleman pedaling exotic-looking nut and seed butters. One of the butters was made of sunflower seeds. Despite my initial reservations I dipped my toothpick in, gave it a lick and walked away with a half pint.

That’s the kind of thing that happens when you visit a bustling farmers market. You try new exotic flavors and discover little gems of health like sunflower seed butter. Thanks Portland. I owe you my love of yet another nut butter for that one.

Since trying sunflower butter that first time I’ve experimented with making my own nut and seed butters at home in order to venture outside the peanut butter realm. Almond, cashew and chia seed nut butters are all delicious but I’d yet to try my hand at sunflower seeds. That is, until now. (more…)

Get Healthy Snacks from NatureBox for You, Give a Meal to Feeding America

I love snacks. I especially love when they are healthy and tasty. But have you ever, like me, gone into the kitchen for a snack, opened the cupboards and fridge, and turned away dejectedly, only to return and do the same thing in five minutes? Or, worse yet, grabbed whatever was closest to munch on no matter how unhealthy it was? Enter NatureBox here to help.

NatureBox is a service that sends a package of nutritious snacks to your door every month. No more trouble finding a snack when afternoon hunger strikes, you need to grab something on your way out the door, or dinner isn’t ready yet and you need a nibble to tide you over.

But as its name implies, NatureBox doesn’t send candies or brownies or anything of the sort, they pick five different, minimally processed foods each month to keep their subscribers guessing. Standard fare looks something like bags of dried fruit, interesting combinations of granola, and flavored nuts and seeds. Some of the snacks are unusual, but all look worth a try, like Garden Tomato Crunchies, Big Island Dried Pineapple, Roasted Umami Nuts, and Country Ranch Peas. Each box contains fifteen to twenty servings. (more…)

The Ultimate Sweet Potato Chip Taste Off Names Terra Chips and Kroger’s Simple Truth the Best

Chips are my biggest food vice. I like them salty, cheesy, with salsa, corn, potato, popped, fried, baked, and everything in between. And lately, I like the sweet potato version. In fact, because of these crunchy finds I’ve pretty much given up on any other chip (which I ate pretty sparingly anyway, to be honest). I’ve had a go-to favorite for a while, but every week at the store I keep noticing more and more new bags of sweet potato chips popping up. Of course, I decided to put them to the test.

I brought six bags of sweet potato chips back to the office for the ultimate sweet potato taste off. No one minded, of course!

It was a blind taste test and participants were asked to vote for the one they thought tasted the best. We ended up with a dead heat. Five votes a piece went to Terra Chips and Kroger’s new Simple Truth brand.

We found the sweet potato Terra Chips to be thin, light, and crisp – perfect for complementing a sandwich. Just a great snack that wasn’t too filling. The Simple Truth natural sweet potato chips are much thicker and sturdier with ridges. We believe these were made for scooping things like guacamole and our Guiltless Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Each had the big sweet potato flavor that we were after. (more…)

5 Ways to Fuel up for Exercise

By Team Best Life – TheBestLife.com

It may seem counterintuitive to take in calories before you head to the gym to burn them off, but eating a healthy bite beforehand can help you make the most of your workout. No matter what kind of activity you’re planning, you can use these tips to fuel up for fitness:


Eat when it feels best. Eating one hour before your workout is a good general rule, but everyone’s body is different. For instance, some people may feel uncomfortable or bloated trying to exercise after a snack or meal while others may be distracted by a rumbling tummy. Only you know exactly how much you can comfortably eat and how soon before your workout.

Keep track of carbs. Because glucose—a carbohydrate—is your muscles’ preferred source of fuel, you need to go into a workout with enough stored glucose (aka glycogen). If you eat a balanced diet, you should be all set. But if you’re hitting the gym hours after your last meal or snack, you might need a little carb boost; 15 grams should do the trick. (more…)

Portion Reality Check: Learn How to Enjoy Sweets, Beverages and Salty Snacks

By Janis Jibrin, R.D.,TheBestLife.com lead nutritionist

Portion size is directly related to pants size, especially when it comes to high-calorie treats like ice cream, alcohol and chips. Previously we’ve looked at proper sizes for starch servings. Now we’ll tackle sweets, beverages and salty snacks.  

Sure, none of these foods are necessarily nutritious, but they do make life more fun. That’s why on Bob Greene’s Best Life plan, we’ve set aside a portion of your total daily calories to spend on treats like these. The more daily calories you can consume while maintaining a healthy body weight (or getting down to one), the more “Anything Goes” treat calories you get. You gotta love exercise—it allows you to eat more (treat) calories.

Keep in mind that treat calories are included in the daily calories listed below—they’re not extra. So, if you’re trying to lose weight, and taking in 1,600 calories daily, 1,500 would be spent on fruits, lean protein and other nutritious foods, and 100 on treats. (more…)

McCormick’s Saigon Cinnamon Makes Over Homemade Microwave Popcorn

It finally felt like fall this weekend. I hope it did where you are, too! I spotted patches of red and orange in otherwise bright green trees. We lit a fire inside and even needed hoodies to go outside. For the first time since the official first day of fall, it felt crunchy. That’s my word to describe fall – crunchy. Which is appropriate, because one of my favorite fall snacks is popcorn.

My other favorite fall flavor is cinnamon. I don’t care if it’s on a cinnamon roll, toast, oatmeal, cookies, applesauce, topping my yogurt, or wafting from a candle, my nose simply cannot get enough of this scent. So on a recent trip to the McCormick spice headquarters, as part of the Fitbloggin’ conference, outside of Baltimore, Maryland, I found myself in cinnamon-loving heaven.

We went through some of their consumer research experiments, one of which had us tasting traditional ground cinnamon next to Saigon cinnamon. I would have said cinnamon is cinnamon before that afternoon. But the ground cinnamon that I add to French toast every Saturday morning suddenly tasted like red hots candies compared to the earthy, warm, woodsy flavor that came from the McCormick Saigon cinnamon. I fell in love with cinnamon all over again.

As soon as I returned home, making something with that cinnamon was all I could think about. With the fall season in full swing, and McCormick encouraging us to freshen up one of our recipes, the only logical choice was marrying cinnamon and popcorn. Maybe some raisins, too. Cinnamon Raisin Popcorn sounds like a pretty incredible fall snack, doesn’t it? (more…)

Bob Greene’s 5 Dangers of Nighttime Eating

By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com

When is a calorie not a calorie? Many experts argue whether you eat 300 calories in the morning or in the evening, it’s still 300 calories. This may be true in a physiological sense, but as you are no doubt aware, losing weight is about more than just calories in and calories out.

In my experience helping people lose weight, I’ve seen first-hand how dangerous nighttime calories can be. That’s why one of my Best Life guidelines (one that I’m a stickler about) is to stop eating at least two hours before bed. Here’s why I’m a strong supporter of a nighttime eating cutoff:

1. You miss the opportunity to burn off extra calories at night. If you overeat during the day, you have a chance to be more active in the ensuing hours (when you’re more likely to have the energy to do it) and burn off those extra calories. At night, as your body prepares for sleep, you don’t get this chance.

2. Evening hours are a danger zone for dieters. A lot of mindless eating happens at night. In front of the TV, after a long, stressful day at work, many of us just want to check out as we fill up. That’s a sure-fire recipe for disaster. One of our bloggers struggled with this problem, until she tried the eating cutoff. (more…)

Sweet and Nutty Trail Mix Makes the Perfect Fall Snack

If ever I’ve had a true food addiction, besides ice cream and frozen yogurt, it’s trail mix. The sweet-salty combination is enough to have me eating an entire jar without realizing what happened!

While trail mixes can be a bit of a temptation especially for those few among us who only pick out the chocolate bits (guilty), they can also be an incredibly health snack to fuel our most rigorous of activities.

This trail mix is a simple one to throw together, as are most. You’ll simply need even parts pecans, walnuts, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries and dark chocolate.

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