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healthy snacks

How One Granola Bar Brand Is Saving Lives—Literally!

Written on June 10, 2014 at 10:46 am , by

Severe acute malnutrition claims the lives of 2.6 million children each year (that’s one child every 12 seconds), but what if you could put a stop to that…by simply munching on your own afternoon snack? Now you can. This Bar Saves Lives has taken a bite out of Toms, Warby Parker and the like’s humanitarian business models to turn grub proceeds into good.

“The solution exists,” co-founder Ravi Patel told us during a recent FITNESS office pow-wow. “There’s just not enough of the life-saving food, Plumpy’Nut®, to go around.” So after returning from a trip to Africa where they witnessed childhood hunger first-hand, founders (and actors) Patel, Ryan Devlin and Todd Grinnell pledged to put an end to childhood hunger and started a movement with tasty treats of their own. And they started out by taste testing in their own kitchens. Don’t you just love that!?

For each purchased bar, This Bar Saves Lives’ non-profit partner makes one portion of Plumpy’Nut®, which is then sent to areas in the world where it’s needed most (primarily Africa, India and Haiti). And not only are you giving others the nutrition they need, you’re also receiving quality energy with natural, locally-sourced and non-GMO ingredients. Double-whammy! The clover honey in my fave Madagascar Vanilla Almond & Honey comes from Wisconsin, for example. And the roasted pistachios in the Wild Blueberry Pistachio? Californian, born and raised. Everything from the ingredients to the packaging (the pattern on the wrappers are from African textiles, which also have a feel-good, giving-back tie) is mission-based, something we at FITNESS truly stand by.

So what are you waiting for? Fuel up to put an end to childhood hunger. Place your order on their site and be sure to keep an eye out for new varieties in select stores and boutique gyms nationwide (another reason to hit up Whole Foods? See you never, paycheck). They’ll also be offering some pretty cool initiatives in 2015, so follow their social media platforms ASAP for the skinny!

Photo courtesy of This Bar Saves Lives

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How You Can Run One Million Miles to Fight Childhood Cancer
Yankees’ Relief Pitcher David Robertson Talks Baseball, Charity Work and What He Loves Most About Fit Women
Trade Miles for Moneyand Help Beat Homelessnesswith Mizuno

Start Your OITNB Marathon, We Have the Healthy Snack to Hold You Over

Written on June 6, 2014 at 6:40 pm , by

Orange is the New Black is officially back for season two and I could not be more excited. And since I know I’m not the only one who will be glued to their television this weekend (because let’s be real, you can’t watch just one episode at a time), I knew we’d need a little sustenance to get us through Piper’s latest escapades. Enter celeb trainer Harley Pasternak, FITNESS’ go-to guy for healthy smoothie recipes. He’s whipped up an OITNB smoothie in honor of this momentous day, so we can quench our thirst and curb our appetites without diving straight into a bag of chips—while hopefully watching Red reclaim her kitchen. Bust your blender out, press play and happily sip away, friends.

OITNB Smoothie 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 large orange, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 medium frozen banana, chopped
  • 1/2 serving unsweetened protein powder
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubes

Place ingredients in a blender in the order listed; add ice if preferred. Blend until desired consistency, adding water to thin out if necessary.

Oh, and if working out while you watch is more your thing, you’re in luck—you could win a trip to LA to workout with Harley! Simply snap a photo of you working out during your fave show, and send it to us on Twitter or Instagram using #tvworkout to enter. Check out the rules here, and get more details in our June issue, on newsstands now!

More from FITNESS: 

The Best Subscription Snack Boxes 

6 Ways to Snack Smarter

How To Resist Those Junk Food Cravings

 

Snack Girl’s Secret to Winning Between Meals

Written on April 29, 2014 at 9:50 am , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

Control is key, says Cain. That’s why she always has almonds or a chocolate square in her purse. (Photo courtesy of Beth Wallace)

It’s no secret, snacking throughout the day revs up your metabolism. But successfully satisfying the mid-day munchies without undoing your workout can be a challenge. In fact, a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average number of snacks consumed per day has doubled over the past 30 years, contributing to a quarter of our daily caloric intake. Here to help fight the between-meal pig outs is self-proclaimed “Snack Girl” Lisa Cain, author of Snack Girl to the Rescueon sale now. Ready, set, snack—smart!

Identify what you want. Is your sweet tooth calling? Or are you in need of something salty? Before lunging for that chocolate bar and bag of chips, narrow in on exactly what it is you’re looking for, suggests Cain. That way, you kick cravings for less calories. Win, win.

Smart swapping. “Try to find something in the same flavor profile that’s a healthier alternative,” says Cain. Say you’re fixin’ for nachos, for example. It isn’t just about the flavor, but the overall finger-licking experience. Trade in the high-calorie snack for something a bit more forgiving, like a serving of Monterey Jack cheese with whole grain crackers, suggests Cain. “It has calcium and protein and is a lot better for you!

Check the clock. Are you really hungry? “A lot of people are afternoon snackers,” says Cain. “They’ve got a low in the middle of the day and sometimes it’s just because you’re bored or you’re tired.” Find a replacement activity instead, like taking a walk, to see if food is really what you’re after or just a change of pace.

Run low. “Snacks should be around 150 calories,” says Cain. “If you’re going up to 300 or 400, we’re looking at more of a meal and you’re going to ruin your appetite.” Check out our recipe collection for smart, waist-friendly options.

Snack pack. Cain always has a little bag of almonds or a square of chocolate in her purse to prevent a surprising urge to splurge. “If I’m in a café and I want a cookie, what stops me is having that little square of chocolate.” Control cravings—and portions—by being prepared on-the-go.

Want more tips and tricks? Pop by Cain’s site for waist-friendly treats (Chili Lime Popcorn, Rosemary Roasted Walnuts and No-Bake Brownie Balls, to name a few) to eat day and night.

More from FITNESS:

3 Tasty New Takes on Kale Chips

Written on April 1, 2014 at 12:39 pm , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

Do you ever tire of the same old snacks, day after day? I know I do. I mean, don’t get me wrong, a drizzle of olive oil and dash of sea salt over crispy kale can really hit the spot (and help me skip the vending machine), but sometimes a girl’s got to shake it up without packing on calories.

But first, let’s clear up some confusion. Kale is the superfood of the season, or at least it was until earlier this year, when talk of its relationship to hypothyroidism had the media abuzz thanks to a New York Times opinion piece titled “Kale? Juicing? Trouble Ahead.” But fear not! Kale is still king, albeit in moderation. “Only extremely high intakes of cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, may have a connection to hypothyroidism,” says culinary nutritionist and author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook Jackie Newgent, RDN. “As long as you’re eating kale within a balanced eating plan, there’s absolutely no need to worry about thyroid issues by way of veggies.” Phew! Kale is naturally rich in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, glucosinolates and flavonoids, making it an excellent pick for reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and chronic inflammation, explains Newgent. In fact, kale is so nutrient-rich she suggests eating at least two to three servings (about one cup per serving) a week, especially if you’re not getting other cruciferous veggies. So go ahead, munch away!

Never made your own batch? No sweat—here’s your how-to video on whipping up the classic variety. Ready to kick it up a notch? Check out the recipes below. Happy snacking!

Carrot Curry Kale Chips

Calories: 100

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces cut kale leaves (stems and stalks removed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tea bags Numi Organics Carrot Curry Savory Tea
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Wash kale leaves and air dry (for best results leaves need to be completely dry.) Combine kale, olive oil, salt, pepper and contents of tea bags in a large bowl; mix well. Evenly spread kale on a baking sheet. Bake at 325° for 10 min (or until chips are toasted).

Recipe and photo courtesy of Numi Organic Tea

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Four Gourmet Snacks That Transform Your Typical Tailgate

Written on September 27, 2013 at 10:30 am , by

Fancy up your tailgate. (Photo courtesy of Harry & David)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

Football season is in full force, and so is our tailgating practice. Who doesn’t like good friends, great food and tasty brews on a cool, autumn day before filing into those stadium seats? And while we’ve indulged in our fair share of the classic beer-and-brats pre-game fare, these football favorites can feel overplayed week after week. So why not mix it up a little? Add a gourmet twist to your tailgate this weekend with these snack swaps:

Swap: Stadium Peanuts. This cute mini keg is chock-full of mixed nuts. Roasted and seasoned with a praline coating, the sweet and savory Mixed Nut Keg from Harry & David will have everyone reaching for a handful!

Swap: Potato Chips. Lose the greasy bag and try these Bagel Chips and Cheese Spreads from Figi’s instead. Light and crispy, these baked snacks pack a fresh bagel flavor and pair perfectly with their accompanying  spreads.

Swap: Cheddar Cheese and Crackers Plate. Your classier friends will love this elegant Antipasti Platter from Williams-Sonoma. The Alle-Pia Finnochiona salame, Pedrozo Dairy Northern Gold cheese, Guilio Bulloni Pane Carasatu crackers and olive assortment create a plate that looks almost as good as it tastes.

Swap: Nachos. Trade fat-laden chips and stringy cheese for fresh Bruschetta Toppings loaded with flavor! From roasted tomato, raisin and onion to sesame, cilantro and white bean, Dean & Deluca transforms slices of Italian baguette into indulgent appetizers with this artisanal set of toast toppings.

More from FITNESS:

The FITNESS Guide to Healthy Tailgating

Get Tailgate Ready with Celeb Trainer Mike Ryan

Ditch the Parking Lot: How to Bring Tailgating Into Your Home!

Fit Blogger We Love: Knead to Cook

Written on September 5, 2013 at 10:43 am , by

Robin and her hubby after the speedster pounded the Maine pavement for the Beach to Beacon 10K in August.

Need to stir up your go-to healthy eats? Robin over at Knead to Cook has what you crave—muffins, cookies, pies, you name it—without the guilt. And whoa, it shows! The fit mom who sticks to an impressive six-day workout regimen (three days running, the other three hitting the gym for cardio and lifting) cut down on sugar and recently lost over 30 pounds, making major PR strides. We’ll have what she’s having! From lightened-up, homestyle Italian dishes to perfect pre- and post-workout fuel (check out her addictive No-Bake Energy Balls below), this gal cozies you up to her table like you’re a part of the family and proves that nutritious cuisine can taste good, too.

My favorite way to workout: Running, especially in the fall and winter. I’m definitely a cold-weather runner.

My biggest motivators: My two daughters. I want them to look at me as an inspiration for what is possible. They shouldn’t use age as an excuse—ever!

My favorite fit snack: Non-fat Cabot cottage cheese. It’s packed with protein and I mix it with Justin’s almond butter; it’s such a treat! I cannot get enough of it.

Motivational mantra: “No one ever drowned in his own sweat,” by Ann Landers. I actually have it written on the chalkboard wall in my kitchen and I look at it every single day.

My “I did it” moment: Even after running a marathon, my biggest “I did it” moment was recently, at the Beach to Beacon 10K, when I ran it in 49:01. That’s my fastest race time yet, thanks to my recent 31-pound weight loss.

These little protein-packed nuggets are highly sought after at Robin’s daughter’s swim meets—and for good reason. Sweet, tasty and filling!

 

No-Bake Energy Balls

  • 1 c old-fashioned oats
  • 1 c toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c almond butter (or whatever nut butter you have in your pantry)
  • 1/2 c flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 c + 1 /4 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

 

Mix together in a bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Remove and roll into balls. (Robin uses a small scooper!) Place in an airtight container to refrigerate for 5-7 days, although they will most likely be long gone before that!

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

LUNA Wants to Feed Your Strength—And Your Office!

Written on June 13, 2013 at 11:13 am , by

3pm snack time never looked so sweet. (Photo courtesy of LUNA)

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

Let’s face it—breakroom vending machines are notorious fat traps. Between the sugar-laden granola bars and bags of not-so-innocent trail mix, seemingly healthy snacks can derail your diet before noon. But LUNA, the makers of some of our fave nutrition bars, wants to revamp mid-day munchies with their new “Feed Your Strength…at Work!” contest.

For the past year, LUNA has been striving to debunk common diet misconceptions and those crazy health fads we’ve all seen floating around Facebook. Now they’re tackling workplace wellness—which, we’ll admit, can get pretty inconsistent as schedules get more hectic—through healthy eating campaigns, FAQ webisodes, and, of course, contests!

The “Feed Your Strength…at Work!” prize is pretty sweet—a vending machine stocked with six-months worth of LUNA bars for your office, and six consultations with expert dieticians. (Truth: we’re kind of jealous we can’t partake.) To enter, head over to LUNA’s Facebook page and post a photo of you and your coworkers making healthy changes in your workplace. (Our FITNESS staffers recently rocked a 10k together!) The contest ends June30th, so bust out those get-fit photos stat!

Now You Tell Us: What healthy snacks do you have on hand in the office?

Get Heart Healthy with Subway’s Savvy Dietician

Written on June 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm , by

Heart-healthy options are poppin’ up all over the Subway menu. (Photo courtesy of Subway.com)

Written by Chloe Metzger, editorial intern

It’s no secret that Subway is known for being one of the healthiest fast-food options in the industry (who could forget Jared’s larger-than-life weight loss?). But as of last year, it’s also the first of its kind to receive the stamp of approval by the American Heart Association. So what does that mean for you? More nutritious (and tasty!) bang for your buck.

In fact, Subway recently got 16 AHA-approved meals on its menu. To bring you expert nutritional know-how for your crazy-busy summer, we chatted with Subway’s Corporate Dietician of 13 years, Lanette Kovachi, RD. She knows it can get difficult to stay on track while on-the-go, and facing a variety of fast-food choices is no joke. “When it comes to eating out, people get overly hungry and end up choosing a restaurant where they’re not going to get good options,” Kovachi explains. “They’re in dire-hunger mode, and they just go for that indulgent sandwich or meal, or they eat too many portions.” The trick, she says, is not letting yourself become too ravenous. When that happens, “your body takes over and craves more calories and fat.”

But when you’re on the brink of an I’ll-eat-absolutely-anything-right-now-level of hunger, limiting portions and staying satisfied is easier said than done. To keep from succumbing to the pitfalls of dining out, curb your cravings by eating fresh fruit right before chowing down. Kovachi recommends snacking on apples: “They fill you up and take off the edge.” It’s no surprise, then, that apple slices are a staple item on Subway’s menu. “It’s not exciting,” she admits, “but they’re quick to grab and cost-friendly.”

Of course, we can’t always find a Subway when we’re on the road and hunger pangs strike. Then, it’s all about moderation: “When you order out, just try to think about what’s a sensible portion,” Kovachi suggests. “Even if you’re feeling really hungry, know that ordering half of what you really want is still going to satisfy your cravings.”

More From FITNESS:

Size Matters: Your Guide to Healthy Portions

Healthy Travel Diet: The Best Food to Eat on the Road

The Flat-Belly Foods Diet

Study Shows That Snacking Is the Key to Your Happy Weight

Written on April 22, 2013 at 11:08 am , by

Plan out your snacks in advance to stop seeing the scale bounce back and forth. (Photo courtesy of Claire Benoist)

There should be no shame in your snacking game. That’s because a recent study by The NPD Group found that 83 percent of Americans snack, and those with the healthiest lifestyles are also the ones who snack most frequently. Score! Below, we chatted with Jessica Levinson, MS, RD, CDN and founder of Nutritioulicious, a nutrition consulting and counseling practice in New York about the benefits of snacking, especially when it comes to managing your weight.

Why is snacking so important?
This is something I’ve talked to clients for years about. Snacking is what really keeps your metabolism going. Think of the analogy of wood in a fire—the more you put in, the more you burn. The same is true with eating. Skipping meals or waiting too long causes your metabolism to slow down, while also putting you at risk for overeating the next time you do sit down to eat.

Does it matter when you snack?
It is a big nutrition myth that the time of day that you eat impacts your weight. If you have a 1,600 calorie allotment for your diet and lifestyle, then what matters more is if you’ve taken in that many calories or not. Let’s say you’ve consumed 1,400 calories by the time 6:00 p.m. rolls around. Now you only have 200 calories to get you through the rest of the day (taking exercise out of the equation here, which of course gives you some of those calories back). But if you’ve only eaten 1,000 calories by 6:00 p.m. then it doesn’t matter what time you’re eating or having a late-night snack, as long as you don’t go past your daily allotment.

How can you keep your snacking portions controlled?
This is a big issue for most people, because it’s hard to stop once you start! My biggest tip is to portion out in advance at home. For example, if you like almonds portion out an ounce (23 almonds) into 5 brown bags at the beginning of the week. Then you can grab a bag for your snack every day as you walk out the door. Just bring one bag at a time; if you take the whole stash you’ll be more tempted to dig into multiple bags. There are also a ton of companies who make portion controlled snack packs. Justin’s Nut Butter is great for baby carrots or a banana or a bag of 100-calorie air popped popcorn is perfect for salt lovers. And of course, fruit! You can’t really ever overdo it on fruits and veggies. Fruit especially is a good sweet tooth fix while also quenching your thirst and filling you up since so many have a high water content.

Now tell us: What’s your healthy snack go-to?

More from FITNESS: Healthy Food Awards: The Best Snacks from the Store

 

Celeb Chef Rocco Dispirito Talks Spring Cleaning In the Kitchen, Plus One Party-Friendly Recipe!

Written on April 17, 2013 at 10:09 am , by

DiSpirito launches us into spring with tasty dishes ready for snacking.

Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern

Listen up, ladies: Triscuit’s new brown rice crackers aren’t your mother’s snack. The brand has developed delicious spins on its classic namesake snack—like sweet potato and sea salt and black pepper—that get two nutritional thumbs up from celeb chef and FITNESS advisory board member Rocco DiSpirito. The bestselling author developed three healthy, easy-to-make recipes centered around the cracker, and after sampling his culinary creations in Times Square (the turkey chili recipe below is OMG good), we chatted with DiSpirito about his cooking inspiration, eating for the season and saving calories with simple ingredient swaps.

Your Triscuit-inspired recipes were delicious! Why did you partner with the brand?

When an established food company like Triscuit/Nabisco decides they’re going to put a lot of money, time and effort to make something better for you, I’m a big fan of that decision. It’s brave because most food companies are like, “Why change it? It’s perfect, we sell a ton of food, we make a gazillion dollars, we have big homes in the Hamptons, we don’t need to do anything.” But this shows recognition that America needs healthier choices, including their snacks, and I’m proud to associate with a company that feels that way because that’s what I do every day: I try to convince Americans to make healthier choices.

What’s your main goal when developing a recipe?

My priority is to make a recipe that people can reproduce at home very easily. So I work backward from what I find in grocery stores. Every time I start a book, I go to the grocery stores and research what’s available, and that changes all the time. From the time I wrote Now Eat This to now, a lot has changed. There are a lot more healthy ingredients available, so that makes my job a little easier and more exciting. The point is to get people to try it and understand that when they cook, they’re in control, and cooking is better than buying from a restaurant. So those are my priorities: to make it super easy for people to make it at home.

How do you “healthify” a recipe?

You want to swap fats, dairy and sugar: those are the ones that are the most calorically dense.  One ounce of any of those has more calories than one ounce of vegetables, for example. For dairy, fat-free Greek yogurt is a great swap. For fats, using something like xanthan gum. So let’s say you want to make an ice-cream smoothie, but you don’t want to use any ice cream. Skim milk and xanthan gum is a great way to create that texture that you’d get from cream. And for sugar, my favorite new sweetener is monk fruit extract. It’s an amazing calorie- and sugar-free sweetener.

What are some of your go-to spring produce?

It’s ridiculous what happens in spring! I start with asparagus, which is fresh in early spring. White asparagus is one of my favorite things on the planet. I plant a garden, so I grow several kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, squash, watermelon, cucumbers—I look forward to all of those things. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like cucumbers, you’ve never had a home-grown one. Sometimes I pick off the leaves of squash blossoms and fry the blossoms, or make a squash blossom omelet. There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Click for the mouthwatering chili recipe we sampled, then recreate at home – it’s perfect for a party!

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