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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
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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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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

 

3 Smart Superbowl Snack Ideas

Written on January 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm , by

Pigs in a Blanket

Step away from these little piggies. Photo courtesy of Flickr user kalebdf.

You’re just one month out from the New Year’s Resolutions you set.  And if you’re like many people, fat loss was at the top of that resolution list.

But can you guess the average amount of calories an American consumes while snacking during the Superbowl?

About 1,200. This doesn’t include meals or drinks. (!)

So what can you do? Swear off all the wings, guac, chips, and beer while cheering for your favorite team?  That’s certainly not realistic…so let’s instead share some options that would be better. Try these snacks this year:

1. In-Shell Pistachios – Yes, pistachios are high in fat, but it’s super-healthy fat. With all the other food options around, in-shell pistachios can help you slow down because it takes time to remove that shell and you won’t be mindlessly munching. Adding to this snack strategy: Keep a bowl in sight that has the shells that were removed  – seeing how much you’ve already had might just curb how much you eat during the game. (FYI, we’re personal fans of the Wonderful Pistachio Sweet Chili flavor.)

2. Pizza! Kashi now makes frozen pizzas that are great (and less expensive than what you’d pay from a traditional pizza chain!).  The BBQ Recipe Chicken pizza is a really good, unique, and may very well appeal to those guests who would normally crave wings instead.

3. White Bean Dip – A strong-flavored dip is a great trick because it makes you feel satiated, it won’t break the bank in terms of calories, and you can pair it with heathier chips. (We’re partial to the Food Should Taste Good brand.) But back to the dip… here’s a recipe from Food Network’s Giada De Laurentilis that’s a big hit in our house.

Happy munching!

-Chris and Kara Mohr, mohrresults.com

Star Chef Aaron Sanchez Amps Up Your Football Snacks!

Written on October 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm , by

These snacks will have your taste buds screaming, “touchdown!” (Photo courtesy of Sara Jaye Weiss)

Written by Jennifer Fiorentino, editorial intern

If you’re looking to tackle your Monday night football snack lineup, we have just what you need (minus the shoulder pads). PopChips, along with Iron Chef America and Chopped star Aaron Sanchez, have teamed up to give you a new fall recipe perfect to pair with a crisp, fall beer. What could scream “football season” more?

“These cemita sandwiches are my version of the classic sub, full of flavor and healthy goodness,” Sanchez says. “By grilling the chicken and using nutrient-rich avocado instead of mayonnaise, we take out some of the unnecessary fats. Salsa Tortilla PopChips are the perfect complement – their sweet and salty flavors enhance the smoky heat of the sandwich.” We guarantee these won’t make it to half time.

Grilled Chicken Cemitas and Garlic-Chipotle Love Sauce with Salsa Tortilla PopChips

Serves 4

210 calories per sandwich

For the Cemitas:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4 Cemita rolls (or hamburger rolls with sesame seeds)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup refried beans, warmed
  • 8 oz. oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Thinly sliced lettuce
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

For the Garlic-Chipotle Love Sauce:

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbsp. canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

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Fit Links: Best Grocery Picks and How to Sculpt a Gaga-Worthy Backside

Written on January 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm , by

The grocery store can be a confusing place. (Photo by Michael David Adams)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Jillian Michaels’ Top 5 Snack Picks

Written on January 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm , by

Grab-and-go snacks are key for this busy TV trainer. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Southam)

Don’t you ever wish you could take a peek in the pantry or gym of the fitness and diet pros you see on TV to see if they really practice what they preach? We do too! That’s why we asked Jillian Michaels, celebrity personal trainer, author, motivational expert and soon-to-be mom(!), to share her top snack picks that keep her energy high on even the busiest of days.

“These snacks are quick, easy and they all taste good. Plus they’re preservative-free, contain no trans fats, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners,” Michaels says.

  1. Hummus and veggie sticks.“This is an incredibly healthy snack that’s filling and tasty,” she says. The protein from the chickpeas in the hummus and the fiber from the veggies will keep you satisfied.
  2. One hard-boiled egg and one piece of fruit. This combo offers an ideal proportion of healthy fat, protein and carbohydrates.
  3. Barbecue or sweet potato popchips. “A serving of popchips is packed with flavor and a great savory, salty crunch,” Michaels raves, and the 100-calorie bags are handy for on-the-go eating.
  4. Ciao Bella sorbet. Perfect “for when your sweet tooth kicks in,” she says, and it’s all-natural.
  5. 22 Days Protein Bars. “These bars taste amazing! Mocha Mantra is my favorite flavor,” Michaels explains. She loves that they use hemp protein, “which is great for you.”

More from FITNESS:

What We’re Snacking On Now: Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips

Written on December 27, 2011 at 11:27 am , by

A smart swap for a sports-viewing snack. (Photo courtesy of Food Should Taste Good)

Written by Theresa K. Brady, editorial intern

Football season is in full swing and the playoffs are just around the corner! Tailgating and mid-game snacks are a must at viewing parties, but it’s all too easy to grab handful after handful of greasy potato and tortilla chips (not too mention the high-calorie dips they often come with—onion, nacho cheese, etc.).

Luckily, we stumbled upon a new, more vitamin-packed option that will still cure your chip cravings. Food Should Taste Good’s kettle cooked sweet potato chips are 100 percent all natural and are gluten-free, so you can bust them out at a party and still accommodate people’s dietary restrictions. Bonus: One serving—15 original flavored chips at 150 calories—provides 175 percent of your daily value of vitamin A and three grams of fiber!

Besides original, three other varieties are available:

  • Salt & Pepper Sweet Potato
  • Barbeque Sweet Potato
  • Salt & Vinegar Sweet Potato

Since there’s no better combination than chips and (guilt-free) dip, so we asked Food Should Taste Good’s Chef Ryan for an easy, light and flavorful dip recipe. Here’s his recommended pairing for the original flavored chip:

Fig & Goat Cheese Puree

Yield: 6 cups
Serves 12 to 15

  • 10 ounces, dried Calimyrna figs
  • 22 ounces goat cheese
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • ½ cup honey
  1. Cut stems off figs and place in food processor, process until well chopped.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl. Serve chilled.

Now tell us: What’s your favorite game day snack?

Your Party Day—and Everyday—Seasonal Health Prescription

Written on December 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm , by

Roses, red wine and dark chocolate make for a heart-healthy gift. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

“Just like in store environments, the season is really busy for people,” says Dr. Josh Riff, Target’s chief medical director. So for that reason, he has cart loads of advice to share with shoppers and co-workers to stay healthy while still enjoying the fun that comes along only once a year. If you make smart choices during your everyday routine, you have more room to splurge when celebration time arrives, Riff adds.

Here are his three top prescriptions for everyday and party day, so when 2012 rolls around you’ll have little resolving to do!

Everyday Rx…

  • Rest up. “Get at least seven hours of sleep. It decreases levels of stress and cortisol, a stress hormone. You’ll feel so much better the next day if you make sleep a priority.”
  • Practice stealth health. “‘Moving’ is more important that ‘exercise.’ Host a walking meeting at work rather than sitting, or find fun family activities that are active, such as dancing or throwing a ball.”
  • Save your treats. “Pick one place, like at work or at the mall, and only eat food that you’ve made or brought. Pack snacks like apples, real fruit strips and granola bars to avoid grabbing a cookie every time you pass the platter at work or dessert shop at the mall. I also save calories by bringing my lunch to work Monday through Thursday, then treat myself to a cafeteria meal on Fridays.”

Party Day Rx…

  • Sneak in nutritious treats. “I make simple substitutions to transform typically indulgent recipes to more diet-friendly versions. For example, I add blueberries to chocolate cookies or muffins to add antioxidants and swap in sweet potatoes for white.
  • Share the gift of health. “The right gear can make fitness more fun. This year, I’m loving C9 athletic wear, Polar heart rate monitors and Gaiam yoga mats to motivate my loved ones. I also put together wellness-minded gift baskets, including freeze-dried fruit, a bottle of red wine and dark chocolate.”
  • Pick your pleasure. “There are no bad foods; there’s moderation. One piece of cake is great—six pieces, not so good. Fill one plate with the foods you will really enjoy and nurse that throughout the party.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Now tell us: When the ever-present cookies are calling your name for the fifth time today, how do you avoid temptation?