Snack Factory Fruit Sticks

Word of this newbie just came my way (and honestly, I suppose it was only a matter of time, given the popularity of veggie stix, right?!) I personally love fresh fruit because they are LOADED with fiber and good ol’ H2O, making for a filling snack.  But…sometimes you just want some crunch with your “sweet” and you don’t want to reach for a Nestle Crunch bar. . .

Enter these fry-shaped snacks, which come in three flavors:

  • Apple
  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Apple Strawberry

The stats for Snack Factory’s Fruit Sticks are as follows (for 0.75 oz. (about 2/3 cup)):

  • 80 calories
  • 0g total fat (0g sat fat)
  • 15mg sodium
  • 20g carbs
  • 3g fiber
  • 13 – 14g sugars, 0g protein
  • SmartPoints® value 4*

While they aren’t a sub for fresh fruit, they are – at least – a better option than grabbing some candy.  I am thrilled that companies are trying to be a little bit more health conscious these days, and offer more options for anyone wanting to proactively head off a craving. These are available in Walmart, Kroger, and Giant Eagle, among other retailers. You can also snag them on Amazon, which is always a great option when a product is new (and slowly making its way into stores!)

Six Pack Bags Sauces

I’m always looking for lower calorie condiment options (keeping in mind that I actually want to USE it, not just put a quarter teaspoon on my food!) 

I am not, let me say upfront, associated with Six Pack Bags, so no one put me up to sharing… But I did see their sauce profiles recently and though they sounded pretty snappy.  

I have a super sensitive system so even if I wanted to go crazy and try something different, I can’t really.  So I appreciate knowing what ingredients are being used, but also that there are options to spice up otherwise boring food.

The Mango Serrano sounds up my alley – sweet and spicy – and I bet it would work well on whatever protein you choose, frankly.

One of the best things about these is that they are very low calorie (zero calorie doesn’t mean there aren’t any – magically – in the bottle, by the way.  There ARE, but they are under 4 or 5 calories a serving, so using these mindfully certainly isn’t going to sabotage your diet.  With hot sauce, a little goes a long way also.)

These sauces are also gluten free, low in sodium, and free of MSG. I try to avoid sauces when I’m out because I never really know what’s going into them.  I also like that I can taste my food, as opposed to a heavy sauce.  BUT, I like flavor as much as anyone and love that there are some options with not a lot of “stuff” on the label, and a lower calorie profile (which means I can worry less about the sauce and more about the quantity and substance of my meal.) The idea shouldn’t be that we can’t enjoy our food, or that we can only have a little of it, right!?

 

Clean Eating For The New Year

I’ve seen a ton of posts lately about clean eating shopping lists, so I’ll share a few sites also (below.)  It’s a great tool to have on hand when at the grocery store (which is best to go to when you aren’t hungry – I make that mistake all the time!) so I love that so many people are sharing their own versions.

Clean eating seems a lot more daunting than it is – it has always been a top “new year’s resolution” for people, but also one that seems to fizzle out.  Healthy is a lifestyle so it takes commitment – but it is more than achievable, and if you want it, you can have it!  

One of the best parts of seeing someone stick to their goals is when they start to feel “GREAT” again.  Not only do they have more energy, and feel physically better…the “looking better” (whatever that means in their terms – more muscle, maybe more toned, fitting into a smaller size etc) gives them worlds more confidence, and often a smile to go with it.  It’s awesome to see people feeling great in their own skin – everyone deserves that. ❤

But it is tricky sometimes, especially when it isn’t habit yet.  In that case, it helps to remember a few things (no one should ever have to feel discouraged!):

  • Little tweaks can make a BIG difference.  You don’t have to overhaul everything!
  • One derailment won’t cost you everything. Really, it won’t
  • Not buying it / having it at home is one of THE best ways to stay clean!
  • Portion mindfulness, and allowing yourself to digest is huge (I focus on this a lot for myself)
  • Meal prep can be a lifesaver
  • Surrounding yourself with like-minded folks is incredibly helpful
  • Be realistic.  You don’t have to drop a crazy amount of weight quickly – slow and steady is healthier, and far more achievable
  • Day at a time.  Works no matter the problem!

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Nothing feels as wonderful as being healthy – the results of taking care of yourself truly manifest in every aspect of your life. You don’t have to climb Everest either – little steps can add up to a LOT of success. 

For a few helpful shopping lists:

Pop Sugar Week 1 Clean Eating Shopping List

Ambitious Kitchen Free (Printable) Clean Eating Grocery List

Clean Eating Grocery List For Beginners by The Gracious Pantry

Pinterest (there are a multitude here!)

Eat Clean Snacks! (look it up for even more…)

To a happy, and healthy New Year!

Weekend Meals

Weekends are my wind-down time – I do have two activities on Saturday (Ninjutsu Combat Simulation, and Aerial Yoga), but they aren’t as rigorous as my weekly workout routines (Brazilian JiuJitsu four times a week, cardio three times a week, lifting at least four times a week, Ninjutsu classes four times a week…, and some teaching with Martial Arts kids classes.)  I’m incredibly thankful I can schedule so many activities, as I’m energetic by nature and need to move around.

But for me, Saturday afternoon and Sunday I can give myself a little bit of a break physically, and sometimes as far as eating out.  During the week we usually eat at home, and my meals don’t vary hugely in terms of content… On the weekend, I’m still really clean, but I might have more yolks than I typically do in the mornings, or I might have more servings of fruit, or almonds.  None of it is unhealthy, but I’m less concerned with portions and timing – I sort of just have the clean foods I like with less stringency.  

I’m asked a lot whether or not I have “cheat meals” – I don’t really.  But again, the weekends, or when I travel, I loosen the reigns a bit, going with whatever the flow might be.  That’s enough “cheat” for me – I stick to healthy options, so I never get totally out of hand, or go so overboard that I’m beating myself up.  Just what works for me personally!

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This weekend we went to brunch and my fiancé – who’s always looking out for me! – ordered the eggs that came with HIS meal exactly the way I ordered my three.  😀  Normally I have a whole egg and egg whites in the morning, with a ton of vegetables – but when I’m out, I’m eating three whole eggs in a sitting…and in this case, a few more!  It isn’t something I do every day, so I’m not overly worried about having a few – I could definitely use the aminos, and the healthy fat…plus…PROTEIN! ❤ I always order fruit salad too, for some sweetness…AND extra vitamins!  

We had dinner at home – my favorite ground chicken recipe, and tons of roasted broccoli (he’s always makes it perfectly.) Filling, wonderful nutrients and solid macros…good stuff!

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What’s your weekend plan?

For more of what I munch…!

 

Thankful For Healthy Options

I feel like there was a time – somewhere back in my childhood and teen years – when you couldn’t find healthy food choices as easily as you can in 2016.  The availability of clean options is something I am incredibly thankful for because sometimes you just don’t have time to pack a snack (and I am the QUEEN of snack packing!) 

I recently found myself at the ER for a loved one, and again at the hospital twice more for follow ups.  I remember visiting my grandmother many, many moons ago in a hospital in my hometown – it was a wonderful facility but there wasn’t much in the way of healthy foods.  You had a cafeteria with food selections, of course – but the options weren’t exactly health conscious.  Let’s keep in mind, the food for visitors is not the focus, nor should it be!  At the time, it wouldn’t have mattered an ounce!  I was a figure skater who couldn’t’ have kept pounds on me if I tried!

But at almost 38, I do my best to fuel my body with healthy, nutritious foods, staying mindful of my overall caloric intake (and calorie makeup, equally if not more important) because it WILL stick.  Though we may schedule well and prepare accordingly, Life sometimes changes things up…and it ISN’T the end of the world!

So here I am in an inner City hospital, waiting until I am allowed to head back to the recovery room – for me, that was all I cared about!  I was told I HAD to wait 40 minutes at the minimum so, as I was feeling a bit peckish, I ran upstairs to a little coffee outpost.  I was delighted to find hard-boiled eggs, an item I doubt I’d have seen even five years ago.  I recall first seeing these (with a skeptical sneer, admittedly) in an airport – since then I have made the plunge and given them a whirl (hard boiled eggs vs gigantic bagel?  Clear winner for me!)  They aren’t made ten minutes prior, necessarily, but they are fresh…and they are a WONDERFUL option.  Full amino profile in the yolk, plenty of protein, and some healthy fat to keep me satisfied for a while – good choice!

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I was really thankful that there was something more than sugary muffins, and calorie-dense carbohydrates to choose from – when clean options are part of the the selection, it makes sticking to our goals and plan MUCH easier!

I wouldn’t necessarily have found myself seeking out a snack had I not be told I had to sit and wait…but since I didn’t have the choice, it was a treat to find some snacks I could enjoy.  They ALSO had soy milk – not in a carafe, but to buy – which I use for coffee.  That was pretty awesome too. 🙂

Healthy options EVERYwhere.

#thankful

For more of my goodies, click here!

Buona Pasqua!

I almost can’t believe Easter has come and gone already – wasn’t it just New Years!?

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I had the good fortune to visit my hometown, my family, and my love’s family for the weekend – we both have Italian heritage, and Easter was always a big hoopla growing up.  Nowadays, it’s more about being able to spend time together – the children (in my age range) are all grown, many with little ones of their own, and live in different states.  So having some quality time over a long weekend is a joy and a blessing.

I actually don’t recall precisely what our menu was comprised of when I was younger – the Christmas meals are clear in my mind for sure, but on Easter morning I think I was so gungho about the Easter Bunny baskets that I may have blocked everything else out! 

For lunch we ran to a wonderful little grocery store – I pickup up sliced turkey (I opt for the kind that doesn’t contain nitrates and other ugly preservatives!), and my hunnie found some broccoli spears to go with it.  Delicious!

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For dinner this year, we all decided on lobster, steamed shrimp, filets, and chicken breast, along with veggies – you might imagine I was thrilled! ❤  

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I will often hear people lament (half-heartedly, let’s be honest!) about holidays because they feel there is just so much temptation.  But the reality is that there are ALWAYS healthy options.  I’m very blessed – and thankful for it every day – that my family and friends consider what I will be having.  I am absolutely the most particular of the bunch, and I am so grateful that others care about what is being served, and if there are healthy options for me.  

In this case, though, it was a wonderfully healthy selection for everyone!  Yes, we had cakes and cookies too…but we also had children in the group! 😉  

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I had some fresh fruit salad from earlier in the day that I pulled out during dessert – sweet enough to keep me away from ingurgitating the cookies, and a nice end to the meal with my coffee (and coconut creamer. 🙂 ) 

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