Snack Smart in New Year – #SimplyProtein Bars & Chips Giveaway

What do you eat when you’re having a snack attack?  I’ll be honest and say that I WANT and occasionally DO reach for candy-coated chocolates or buttery, salty popcorn when my tummy starts talking (sometimes explicatively). But this is not the way to feeling good for the remainder of the day, protein rich snacks are the way to go and I blog about this all the time – and try my best to walk (and eat) the talk at least 90% of the time.

Simply Protein Giveaway

One brand I loveee, love, love is Simply Protein – and I’m sharing this addiction (keep reading to the bottom of the post). Simply protein makes a flavorful array of bars and snacks that are packed with energy-sustaining, muscle-making protein – my energy level typically stays even without sugar rushes or crashes for about 3 hours.

The name Simply Protein just says it all. Well, almost ALL – with flavors like Banana-Caramel-Cashew, Cocoa-Raspberry and BBQ Tomato, maybe they should be renamed Simply Delicious Protein!  In addition to being high in protein, all products low sugar, gluten free and they contain no artificial sugars – most products are also non-GMO, high in fiber, high in iron. These are the perfect protein snacks for everyone including athletes, busy moms, children, diabetics and others with special dietary needs (some products vegan and kosher).

simply protein bars

Simply Protein makes lots of yummy protein bars in different flavors and formats – there is something for everyone, including Kid’s Bars! I have a special place in my heart (and gym bag) for the Lemon Coconut Protein Bar – it’s a zesty way to refuel with the protein my muscles need to mend after a workout or intense run.  Plus, the lemon and sweet coconut in a crunchy bar takes the edge off my sweet tooth. Each of these 150 calorie Lemon Coconut bars has only 1 gram of sugar, balanced by its 7 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein.

Here are the Lemon Coconut Protein Bar details so you can get an idea of the nutritional quality.  lemon coconut bar nutrition

Simply Protein ChipsAnother Simply Protein product I can’t resist is a bag of the Savory Protein Chips. Baked with real ingredients and 15g of protein, I stay fuller longer and my energy is sustained throughout the day – such a better choice than hitting the vending machine.  Four flavorful choices to choose from, but I must say I crave the Spicy Chile Protein Chips with their smoky, peppery profile. For just 150 calories per bag and 15 grams of protein and 20% of daily iron, these are a smart choice for snacking — I always pack a bag when travelling (so I don’t get the airplane hangries)! Also, they make excellent croutons!

Simply Protein Spicy Chile chips

You’ll want to enter the giveaway for a box of the Spicy Chile Chips (12 per box) and case of Lemon Coconut Protein Bars (15 per box) – but go ahead and stock up in the meantime. Right now, there is a New Year’s Special where you can save 10% on orders under $75, save 20% on orders over $150 and save 15% on orders between the two (details on the site).  Too many delicious sounding choices to choose from? Try a sample pack before you commit to a large order – you get to taste all of the best-sellers.
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SimplyProtein
I am a Wellness Ambassador for Simply Protein who is the sponsor of this giveaway, however all opinions and enthusiasm are my own.

Lunchspiration | Creative Lunch Ideas & #HarvestSnaps Giveaway

lunchspiration

It’s back-to-school time and my kids keep reminding me that brown-bagging can get a little boring! Turkey sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs have been overdone at our house. OVER. DONE. Not only are my guys getting older and more adventurous in their tastes, I personally prefer my mid-day meal to be something anticipate with excitement rather than aversion

I have three quick and easy ways to give your lunch a lift plus a giveaway for a stash of a yummy and healthy snack food to take on the go – Harvest Snaps. Read on!

Lunchspiration - Leftovers

Leftover #Lunchspiration: While some detest a repeated, reheated performance of last night’s dinner, I live for leftovers – in fact, I often plan to make extra, just so I’ll have an encore!  Sometimes, I repurpose dinner leftovers into new creations such as transforming fajita beef strips into baked sweet potato toppings, putting pasta, rice or grain remnants into a soup or chopping up leftover veggies to eat cold in a salad. But, not trying to brag, some of my dinners are so yummy (like this broccolini and tenderloin) that the second showing is just as wonderful as the first!

salad lunchspiration

Salad #Lunchspiration:  I may single-handedly eat more salad than anyone on the planet. It’s not because I’m trying to diet — I’m just a lettuce lover!  The kids always want me to buy Iceberg or Romaine lettuce, but I’m a huge fan of the Baby Spring Mix which features an assortment of darker greens – those darker lettuces are much more nutrient rich. But, eating a pile of lettuce day-in and day-out can get dull as a doorknob so I mix it up with a variety of unexpected toppings including any type of fresh or dried fruit (apples, oranges, blueberries, strawberries peaches or bananas). I dare you to put a banana on your salad – do it! Other creative ideas are leftover proteins (even scrambled eggs!), crushed up chips or Harvest Snaps in lieu of croutons, pan grilled or crisped cheese, and out-of-the-box dressings such as Sriracha mixed in plain yogurt, peanut butter mixed in orange juice or even cold spaghetti sauce. Seriously.

healthy yogurt toppings

Yogurt #Lunchspiration:  Some might think that yogurt is only for breakfast or maybe a healthy dessert. But, I think it also makes a great start to any lunch – I use Greek yogurt because it’s packed with so much protein.  The richness and creaminess of Greek yogurt is something I don’t tire of quickly, especially when flavored with a few healthy toppings from a nearly endless array of options. Here are a few of my healthy yogurt toppings:

fruit and nut combo for yogurt

snap pea bento boSo, every lunch needs a little “crunch” for munching and Harvest Snaps is a favorite brand I like to feed my family. Harvest Snaps are gluten-free, baked (not fried), high in protein because they are made from lentils and peas, and have 40 percent less fat than a traditional potato chips. Oh, and did I mention that every one of the six flavors is delicious?! My current favorite flavor is a tie between the subtle Lightly Salted Snapea Crisps and bam-pow Wasabi Snapea Crisps. The other four and also yummy flavors are Black Pepper Snapeas,  Caesar Snapeas, Tomato Basil Lentil Crisps, and Onion Thyme Lentil Crisps.

bento box snapea

I have two ways for you to win – first you can win a BIG PRIZE directly from Harvest Snaps. How? Well, right now, head over to Harvest Snaps and play the really fun mix and match game where you “make” a bento box – then share your creation on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter for a chance to win one of three prizes for school valued at up to $1,000!

 

 

harvest snaps border

Second, you can enter my giveaway below to win one of three 6-pack assortments of Harvest Snap snacks that will come in really handy for packing those back-to-school or work-day lunches. Enter my giveaway in the Rafflecopter app below:

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Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Calibee Harvest Snaps, however all opinions are my own.

Headstands and Hot Dogs + Healthy Chip #Giveaway

headstand balance challengeFirst, let’s just get the headstand out of the way. This is not your ordinary inversion. It’s a headstand that will challenge you to the very core as you tighten every muscle trying to maintain balance – I’ve thrown in balance busting elements including WIND and WEIGHT! To try this, you’ll need a heavy-duty garage fan, 4 to 10 pound medicine ball and the ability to safely kick up and hold a headstand for at least a minute (you don’t want to crash into the fan). To add in the balance challenges, grab a medicine ball between your feet on the way up, fully extend legs upward, and then bend knees downward. Repeat as long as possible. To test your balance further, continue the upside down medicine ball leg presses, but have a friend turn the garage fan on full blast. Whoohoo!

Hot dogs are a staple of summer – I can’t imagine how many dogs the world has downed at ball parks, boardwalks, and backyard barbeques. Sure, some foodies might be too high faulting for a hotdog, while fitness-oriented folks may shy away assuming all frankfurters are loaded with fat, random animal parts, chemicals and other questionable stuff.  Okay, well maybe the most widely available hotdogs are not so “hot” in the nutrition department, but there are lots of healthier options around today including this round up of grass-fed, all-beef hotdogs from Health.com.

hotdog ingredients

It can be quite confusing to pick a healthy hot dog!

Definitely read labels; that’s your job as a consumer. For example, when the package rattles off ingredients such as “by-products” or “variety meats,” this means the hotdog may have as little as 15 percent muscle meat , the amount required by the USDA. Depending on your preference, make sure beef or grass-fed beef is the number one, first ingredient. Also, if you think you’re getting an uncured, chemical-free hot dog, think again because I don’t think it’s possible.  It’s common practice, even by “healthy” companies, to label products as “uncured” and “nitrate free”  . . . . .wait for it . . . “with the exception of nitrates naturally occurring in celery salt.”  It’s not like celery salt is innocently added to perk up a hot dog’s flavor. Instead, when this water-dense plant is grown in nitrate-rich water and then dried, ground and passed off as “salt,” it also passes on (you guessed it) a concentrated level of nitrates. Studies have shown that hot dogs labeled “nitrate free” contain between ½ to 10 times the amount of nitrates found in conventional hot dogs – WOW!  Check out this interesting article on What’s Inside the Bun from the New York Times.

Sonya Thomas competes in the 2012 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Eating Contest at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York

Champ Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas getting it done!

So, even with all of these questionable issues at hand, I’ll still eat an all-beef hot dog every now and then, especially in the summer.  Really it’s about moderation, I’m only eating one hot dog at a sitting, a couple times a year – and not trying to break the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. By the way, the men’s record is 67 hot dogs and the women’s is 45 – in ten minutes! Okay, so this is more than a little gross, but so morbidly fascinating – and it does sort of appeal to my competitive spirit. But, for now I will just weenie out and remain a spectator!

fit rank toppings

Another way to make your hot dogs “healthier” is to top them with fresh, nutritious ingredients. I recently shared my recipes for “Healthy Hot Dog Toppings” on Litehouse Foood’s Living Lighthouse blog. Instead of adding gut-busting chili and cheese, I used the new line of Opadipity Greek Yogurt Dips to create gourmet dogs. Head over to Litehouse Foods to check out my Greek God Hot Dog, Garlic Green Machine,  and Cha-Cha Chipotle Dog!

jennifer thefitfork food should taste good

Okay, you can’t have hot dogs without chips – and of course, I’m talking about healthier chips! Food Should Taste Good (aka FSTG) recently sent me a box full of their delicious, nutritious flavors to test out – and I also get to give some away! I’ve loved these tortilla chips for a long time . . . . but had only tried the Whole Grain flavor until recently . Holy guacamole . . . there is a Guacamole flavor .  . . and an Olive flavor . . . and a Jalapeno Cheddar flavor and a gazillion other creative flavors – too many to mention!

I love that these chips are made from real ingredients, have zero trans fats, and no cholesterol – plus, they are certified gluten free and Kosher, making them the perfect anytime snack for pretty much everyone!  My husband eats these healthy chips straight out of the bag while I like to crunch them up and use them as croutons on my salad. Or with dip, dips are good – especially my favorite Chipotle Ranch Dip made with Greek Yogurt. And with my new favorite FSTG chips – Jalapeno Cheddar. Chips, super double good. Dip, good. Got it? Good. Now get it! Or, win some good food (see Rafflecopter app below):

food should taste good jalapeno cheddar

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