healthy snacks

KalorieBox: Product Review

Snack Attack Volume II will be centered around snacks in a box!  The first Snack Attack post focused on what you can find in the grocery store or put together on your own.  This time it’s a little different. There is a great company who offers to bring tasty, healthy snacks direct to your doorstep and donate a meal to a child in need for each box shipped out.  Here’s what it is:

KalorieBox = a great answer to the snack-attacker with little to no time on their hands—and you’ll be a do-gooder too!  For every KalorieBox shipped, a meal is donated to a less fortunate child in America.

I was very excited to receive my very own KalorieBox, and here’s what it contained:

KalorieBox, inner

Fit Frappe: Fit Frappe is a grab-and-go protein mixture that will provide 20+ grams of protein in addition to your morning cup of joe in a single pack!  If you’re pressed for time or need to fuel up during a long day out, this is an easy way to go—just add liquid (like almond milk!).

Simply Snackin’:  This is not your ordinary jerky!  Meat mixed with fruit?  Delightful!  I received one beef sirloin with pineapple and one chicken with mango and papaya.  I asked my best friend to do a taste test in front of me (since I don’t eat meat), and got the response I was hoping for: deliciousness!  The description: Tender and tasty.  The jerky is gluten free, low calorie (only 60 calories in 1 pack), and high in lean protein.

Plentils chips:  Plentils are made by the “Enjoy Life” brand—a brand I am very fond of that makes fantastic gluten free items.  If you need to have something crunchy and feel like you’re indulging in some chips but don’t want all the extra calories and oil, Plentils are a great go-to item.  There are four flavors they offer: Light Sea Salt, Dill & Sour Cream, Garlic & Parmesan, and Margherita Pizza which is what KalorieBox sent me.  They were YUMMY.  I have tried the light sea salt before and didn’t think much of them.  The Margherita Pizza flavor’s where it’s at!

Stubb’s BBQ sauce:  What a great way to make a simple, plain meal burst with flavor.  Add it to chicken, steak, tofu, or veggies for a healthy, low calorie, tasty meal.  The sauce is only 30 calories for 2 tablespoons.  This too is gluten free—and up until now I didn’t know there was gluten free BBQ sauce available.  I’ve been making my own now for 10 years—what a treat!

Hint Water:  This was right up my alley.  I tend to hint my own water with lemon, so this was such a nice change.  Not overpowering in flavor, no calories, no additives and fake sugars–just a ‘hint’ of flavor that made ordinary old water grand.  Trying to kick the soda habit?  Here’s your chance!

Thank you, Michael, at KalorieBox for asking me to review your service!  The snacks are great and affordable.

If you are interested in ordering a KalorieBox of your own, you can subscribe  to the service and have the snacks delivered directly to your home!  Just visit the KalorieBox website to learn more and get the Box for you: KalorieBox.com.

Happy, Healthy Snacking!

 

Granola: Healthy or Not?

Dear Leah Renee, 

I love granola and eat it almost every morning with some yogurt or sometimes as a snack to take with me to work or on the road.  Recently a friend told me it wasn’t as healthy as I thought, and I too noticed it’s not exactly assisting in my weight loss efforts.  Is it really bad?!  I thought granola was healthy!  Help.  Thanks.  –Kristy, AL

Today we are inundated with information on what is or is not good for us.  Eat this!  Don’t eat that!  Between television commercials, online posts, talk shows, articles, and what the actual food packages are telling us, sometimes we can get confused, frustrated, or give up all together on what a healthy option even is anymore.  Recently there’s been information telling us that we cannot even trust a label marked ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ because that can have various meanings as well.

So why is it debatable whether granola is healthy or not?  Granola IS healthy, right?!  Sure.  It is.  And it’s not.  It depends what you do to it.  I suppose it’s just like anything else; let’s take broccoli for example.  Broccoli is a picture perfect vegetable.  It’s tasty (OK, that’s for you to determine–I like it), a cancer fighter, low in calories, and versatile since it goes with so many dishes, or can be one of it’s own.  But what happens when you take this green picture of health and make a broccoli and cheese casserole out of it, drowning in cheese and cream?  Not so healthy.  Granola is the same.  The main ingredient, oats, are indeed healthy; wholegrain, high in fiber, and good for the heart.  It is all the additional items that can make it a sugar loaded, fat loaded, high calorie meal or snack.  Before you read any further, I want to secure that not all granola is bad.  Depending how you make it at home, or which store bought one you go with, it can be a tasty option to have on its own or a part of a balanced meal.

granola yogurt bowl

So why is this debatable again?  Let’s have a look at some items that can be, or are often added when making granola: brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, glucose syrup, molasses, oil (various types), fruit juice, cocoa, peanut butter, salt, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, flax seeds, and various other grains such as wheat germ, rye flakes, and barley.  When many of these items are combined together, that is how it results in a calorie fest.  This goes for granola bars as well.

There are 3 great ways to ensure you are getting the best granola in terms of nutritional content and calorie content: read labels, ingredient control (so choosing just a few ingredients to include rather than the kitchen sink), and portion control.  Reading labels is not so easy either if you’re not entirely sure what it is you’re looking out for!  Store bought granola is often portioned out and labeled per 1/4 cup (equating to about 30 grams), and can vary between 120 calories a serving up to 400+ calories.  It’s best to find one that’s 150 calories or less, and not more than 5 grams of sugar.  If it’s portioned per 1/2 cup, or 60 grams, just double that.

Now that you know around what you’re getting there, keep it in mind when pairing your granola of choice with a little yogurt or milk.  Your best bet, if you are having a half a cup granola and minding your calories, choose some unsweetened almond milk and sprinkle some cinnamon on top  for some extra flavor and antioxidants.  A cup of unsweetened almond milk is about 40 calories, and you can even choose an unsweetened vanilla variety for an extra kick.  If you want to go with a 1/4 cup of granola, go ahead and add that on top of your favorite yogurt; I like Fage Greek yogurt.

Store bought granola suggestions:

store bought granolaWant to make your own?  Try my simple two ingredient granola recipe.

So, the next time you are going to have some granola for breakfast or a snack on the road, you can make a conscious decision as to which one you will choose, or have fun making your own at home!  And remember, the more simple, the better!

Roasted Chickpea Snacks

Dear Leah Renee, 

I need a high protein snack that will fill me up and keep me going that’s NOT a protein bar!  I want real food.  Do you have any ideas?!  Thanks! ~Suzi, CA

Tasty, crunchy, healthy, protein & fiber filled!  Meet the chickpea (aka garbanzo beans).  Step aside hummus, there’s more ways to prepare these flavorsome beans.  This little snack packs some punch, and it’s super easy to make.  What’s even better is with just one herb or spice variation, you can change the overall flavor.  If it’s spicy you like, simply add some cayenne.  If it’s an Indian flavor you want, add a little curry powder to the mix.  The choice is yours, and the basics are easy!

chickpeas

ROASTED CHICKPEAS (Garbanzo Beans)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 15-oz container of pre-cooked garbanzo beans. My preference is the one above sold in Whole Foods.
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil **if you prefer, in place of oil, use 1 egg white–even more protein, no fat**
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of…..whatever herbs & spices you like! (some yummy options: Cumin, Italian blend, Cayenne if you like spicy, Curry powder, Mexican spice mixture)

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans in a strainer.  Pat dry.

3.  Toss the chickpeas in a medium sized bowl with the olive oil, sea salt, and spices.

4.  Arrange the chickpeas on a baking sheet (spread out, only one layer).

5.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until it’s nice and crispy!  Halfway during the process, shake the pan or stir the chickpeas to avoid them from burning.

All done!  Pour them into a bowl and dig in, or divide them into your BPA free snack containers  and take them on the go!

Chickpea pic birdeye

Nutrition facts per serving (rounded): 135 calories, 4g fat, 4g fiber, 4.5g protein.  About 110 calories per serving for the egg white version and 5g protein.

**If you would like a sweet rather than savory version of this snack, you can use 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin spice with one teaspoon of honey, stevia, or brown sugar (or both teaspoons of sweetness!)  Your choice!**

Inspired by: Steamykitchen.com

Health Benefits:

  • Garbanzo beans are a great source of folate, also referred to as folic acid, is a B-complex vitamin that allows our nerves to function properly and supports cell production, especially skin cells, and with circulation.
  • Chickpeas can help prevent anemia since it supports red blood cell production.
  • Promotes heart health.
  • An excellent source of manganese, a mineral that our bodies cannot produce ourselves, which helps to protect our cells from free radical damage, help keep bones strong and healthy, and maintain our blood sugar levels.
  • Chickpeas are a good source of iron.

Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods, George Mateljan