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!)

Nutrition Humor – Bored Is Bad

Don’t I know this dilemma!  

img_8577

Tactics to combat it?

  1. Get moving!  Do some kind of activity, even housework if you are cooped up – SOMEthing will put your mind on other things.
  2. Reach for something healthy first.  Sweeter whole fruits, for example, are a much better bet than sugary or fatty foods, and they are liable to fill you up with water and fiber, in addition to hitting your sweet tooth.
  3. Intellectualize.  You know what’s really going on – own up to it, and don’t give in.
  4. Know your portions.  If you have tried everything, and you are still feeling the overwhelming urge to snack, grab a pre-portioned package…not the full size.  I’ve seen more and more snacks coming out in individual bags or packs – a wonderful thing!  If your favorite crave-worthy item DOESN’T come that way…think ahead and make your own.  Small snack ziplock bags are your best friend in this case.  Not to mention, you can put those things higher up on a shelf, as an example, to make them more of a hassle to get to. Keep in mind the best defense is not buying those things in the first place but…again…if you feel like deprivation will make things worse, and trigger binge eating, try the above method.

 

Traveling Nutrition IV

I’m always amazed – and sincerely touched – by the support of social networks from like-minded but total strangers.  We all have different goals, needs, and circumstances…but it’s neat to see the general camaraderie surrounding the broader aim to stay healthy, and make good choices for ourselves.  I posted a few photos from a recent trip and was touched by how many folks even cared.

I’ve enumerated at length how utterly terrifying traveling used to be for me – the eating disorders that accompanied my PTSD made leaving my parents’ home, at the time, nigh impossible – forget getting in a car for hours, or – god forbid – getting on a plane.

I worried about what I would eat, if I could eat, who would be eating what types a foods around me. . . The prospect was enough to launch a generally debilitating panic attack, so to be able to travel at all now…and with some ease…is a gift I never take for granted.

What makes it a TON easier is to have the support of those closest to me – I’m not sure where I’d be without it, to be honest.

img_0886

The most recent – a rather last-minute – trip was to a car show out in California.  Long flight, several hours in the car on both sides, and lots of fast food (that my stomach couldn’t handle if I wanted it to!) When I travel I always pack a plethora of snacks, but in this case, I brought extra.

The great news beyond that, though, is that SO many places have options – they may not be main menu options, but they do exist, you need only ask. Yes, even on the plane!

Protein can be a little tricky to travel with but there are packaged options that don’t need a refrigerator, such as turkey and chicken jerky, nuts, and tuna, chicken, or salmon packs. I get a few looks sometimes but I feel my best when I eat as close to my “usual” as possible so it’s all good. 🙂 

Whole fruits like apples and freeze dried version are a sweet option to tote along, as are pre-portioned snacks like peanut butter crackers. When out to dinner, fish and chicken prepared as simply as possible are great choices, along with veggies to fill you up.  One of the restaurants had a “salsa” as cocktail sauce with their shrimp and I actually used it as a salad dressing because it was so good, and had very little in it (versus a heavier dressing whose ingredients I’d be unable to decipher.) 

img_0854

As for airports there are lots of options hiding out – turkey slices or chicken breasts are generally available where sandwiches are made, salads are always available, fruit cups are offered at coffee bars and meal establishments…even boiled eggs can be found in some places as well (sometimes they are even in pre-packaged salads too!) It may be a mix and match but you can definitely find options that work.

img_0929

So don’t lose heart if you have to be on the road or away from your usual meals at home.  It is definitely doable to eat clean and to be satisfied – a few snacks in your bag can help when cravings hit, and most of the time a restaurant is MORE than happy to prepare something more simple.  Don’t be afraid to ask!

More Deliciousness

ZenBunni

I of course took note of this dairy-free chocolate company, Zenbunni, as soon as I spotted the name – having been dubbed “Bunny” from an early age, I was lured in by the utter cuteness the moniker. And, of course…chocolate without dairy. ❤ 

Per the site, Zenibunni is. . .

ARTISANAL STONE GROUND BIODYNAMIC CACAO

EACH ZENBUNNI BAR IS HANDCRAFTED USING A WIDE OPEN RANGE OF CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC, ORGANIC, AND WILD FORAGED HEIRLOOM SPICES, HERBS, LEAVES, FLOWERS, NUTS, OILS, SALTS AND MINERALS TO SOOTHE, INSPIRE, AMAZE, DELIGHT, HEAL, AND NURTURE YOU, ALL GRACIOUSLY PROVIDED BY MOTHER NATURE.

The Company – who seems to have an overarching sense of “higher-vibration” going on – offers a variety of goodieseverything from chocolate bars, to coffees, to “coconache” (a blend of chocolate and coconut  butter…um, yes!) and drinking chocolate. Delicious, nature-loving, and energy-elevating? I like it. 🙂  

Locations are few and far between, sadly – while you can order online, bummer that you can’t just see sizing, and maybe snag one as a trial, in person. The bars seem to be pretty tiny, too, but at least the caloric profile isn’t outrageous…so it’s still a good option when a real craving hits. 

So while I wish I could just get one to see if I even liked it, I’m still psyched to see a yummy, dairy free option out there (available, at least, online), as cute and as creative as can be…

(PS, they have a Rabbit Report too, if you feel like signing up for updates!)

The Beauty Of Project 7’s Red Velvet Craving Buster

So when I first came across Project 7’s gum at Target I thought, with a disbelieving scowl, “yeah right… Gourmet?!” 

The flavors sounded WAY too delicious to be captured, a la Willy Wonka (don’t tell me you didn’t want to try that gum – full three course meal with only five calories?!  My waistline was jumping up and down FOR me!  Not sure about that blueberry effect though.)

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory film

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory film

I had tried other brands fancy-pants flavors like Confetti Cake Pop,” “Chocolate Chip Mint,” and “Apple Pie.”  I think Wrigley’s had a “Pumpkin Spice” too, come to think of it. *pausing* Yep…here it is…

Problem was, those lost flavor AND started to taste less-than-stellar with just a short time of chewing. (I’m probably going to get in trouble with family members because gum chewing is not the best habit. . .but. . .I have it, and it’s better than pigging out.  So, I’ll deal with the slack.  Come on, Violet, you can sit with me!)

Come to think of it I’m probably also on Wrigley’s bad list, but I’m afraid these have knocked them out of the gumboil machine for good.  

Anyway, enter Project 7 with a few innovative tastes. Finally. [ – It boggles my mind that no one came up with (or successfully created) these kinds of flavors sooner.  I mean…craving busters, BIG TIME, hellOOoooo!?– ]

The Red Velvet variety that I recently spotted?  I snatched it up pronto (knowing the taste bud party I’d be having.)  Was I correct?

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-7-04-06-pm

project7.com

Damn stuff tastes just LIKE it. No, I’m NOT kidding.  (And NO, they sure as hell didn’t put me up to it – wouldn’t that be nice!)

I’ve tried several varieties and, remarkably, the flavors are pretty right on.  Keep in mind, it is GUM…not and actual, soft-n-fluffy cupcake. Or birthday cake, apple pie, or s’mores.  BUT I find them downright amazing, and PERFECT if I have a sweet tooth!  

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-7-08-43-pm

project7.com

If I don’t feel like fresh fruit (grapes, pineapple, watermelon, fuji apples…) this is worth a quick chew to help me stave off something I’ll regret later.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-7-08-57-pm

project7.com

Truly, they’re brilliant. (They apparently have Gummies too.)

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-7-08-49-pm

project7.com

Some may say that mint is the only flavor gum ought to be.  Well…I like that Project 7 thought outside of the box, tapping into not just a gum market, but one much broader.  While gum has its share of unpronounceable chemicals (I feel like 95% of edibles do these days!), it’s till a better option than downing two doughnuts!  

I dunno… Call it a strategic move, gum chewing.  Or, maybe I should say, 7-Velvet chewing…?

 

 

 

Everything Changes, And That’s Okay

I definitely am not in the shape I was in when I was competitive figure skating as a child and teen… Nor am I in the shape I was in during college (when I hardly worked out, and ate like a horse!) Nor, again, am I the “fit” I maintained while competitive dancing…

But at 38 (and a half!), I feel really thankful, and incredibly healthy.  My muscle tone fluctuates, and I don’t necessarily look the way I did when I was training full-bore (“cut” is generally softer these days)…but my schedule and training load has also changed, and doing too much is more of a bad idea than a good one.

I woke up this morning feeling under the weather – not “sick” per se, but like I’ve done too much and need a break. (This happens more frequently in my 30’s than it did in the past.) I skipped my cardio, went to physical therapy, and I’m going easy.  Part of me plays that “I’m being lazy”game – the holidays are coming up and I won’t be able to necessarily get in as much exercise as I’d like to.  But sometimes that’s what we need most – REST.

My nutrition stays clean all year round – I stick to the foods that make me feel good, not only what keeps weight off.  Protein and veggies always help me feel full, and keep me from going haywire when I’m craving something less healthy.  High quality foods also help balance the days that I am not as “peak” and can’t do as hard a workout (if one at all.)

img_8739

I also try to get in some cardio, or lifting when I can – it isn’t as frequent as it once was, and (as with today) I  sometimes have to take the day off…and NOT beat myself up about it.  It is easy to forget that when we make healthy living a priority (it is a “lifestyle,” after all) there is room for taking the breaks we need.  

img_8696

So do what you can, and allow yourself a little room for when your body is saying “hello!?  I’d like a day off…or a few, please?!”  

You are perfect the way you are – a little fluctuation is not only normal, but healthy AND okay. ❤

Nutrition – Sweet (Healthy) Snacks

There’s really no need to reach for candy – I know it’s delicious BUT…when you haven’t had it in a while, it truly becomes TOO sweet.  It tastes unnatural and overboard, and never as good as it sounds.  That said, cravings are notorious for overriding your best efforts and willpower from time to time… A great option?  Nature’ sugar…!

img_7669

Eating TONS of grapes or mounds of fresh fruit isn’t necessarily recommended…but generally you don’t need nearly that much to satisfy a sweet tooth.  A small amount, a snack here or there…that WILL do it. Fresh fruit is also best (as opposed to dried, in which your sugar concentration is much higher) because it’s VOLUME – you get to eat a good amount of it.  The water and fiber content will help to fill you up, and it will be more than a spoonful of the other stuff.  

My favorite options are a couple of sweet grapes – I LOVE Grapery! Cotton Candy grapes, Moon Drops grapes – organic Fuji apples, or pineapple.

img_7680

Give your body a healthy option first – you might be pleasantly surprised that the craving for something that will derail you actually disappears.

Other in the world of DELICIOUSness…