I don’t usually do a “5 for Friday” shoutout, but this week has been full of so many interesting, fun, amazing things that I though I should. Then, I realized I had excessively more than 5 things to share – so, you’re getting “15 for Friday!” I’m talking about everything from amazing eco-wellness products from Shiftcon, the lotions I put on my face, a really cool app-based, customized meal delivery service, my latest ambassadorships, the 3M Half Marathon, mystery excitement news, and more! You have to read on to find out all the deets!
Treats, desserts, goodies, nom noms, whatever name you longingly call a little something sweet after or between meals don’t have to be off limits or induce guilt. In fact, if you are craving something outside of your normal healthy-eating routine, it’s better to go ahead and satisfy the urge with a reasonable-sized portion rather than setting aside an entire day to pigging out on whatever “cheats” you want.
Really, when you think about it, no food is a “cheat.” All food provides calories, which translate into energy to burn through the day. — however, as most of us know, some food provides better quality energy than others! Most experts would recommend keeping your treats to 200 calories or less and don’t feel obligated to indulge everyday if you don’t really want it! If you calorie needs are in the range of 2,000 per day, then a 200 calorie treat makes up only 10 percent – just make sure your remaining diet is balanced with lean protein, healthy whole grains and lots and lots of veggies and some fruit.
1) Guilt- Free: Postponing a treat or small splurge and labeling it as “bad” also sets you up for an unhealthy relationship with food, it creates guilt. A day set aside to “cheating,” how can that be a good thing?
2) More- Consistent: A daily treat is there every day if you want/need it! Our bodies respond better to consistent behavior, rather that dieting and overindulging to the extremes.
3) Enjoyment: Enjoy your food, all of it. Being well, healthy and happy means living your life embracing food for what it can do for you and not obsessing over a specific diet, what is good or bad, or setting unrealistic expectations.
4) Extra Energy+: A daily treat can give you those extra calories and other important nutrients you need on days when especially active. You definitely need to consider your activity level when planning snacks!
4) Hormones Happier: Studies have shown that with calorie and carb restriction, Leptin (the hunger hormone) is altered, messing up its ability to tell your brain you are full and to stop eating. Similarly, T3 (the thyroid hormone) can be decreased by calorie restriction and extreme dieting, creating a backfiring situation where your metabolism slows down.
5) Sustainable for Life: With a daily treat, there are no feelings of abstinence, meaning its easy to keep an overall healthy diet for life. If you’re eating a variety of colorful, whole foods the majority of the time, a treat now and then or every single day has no harm!
You know, some days I slice myself a piece of chocolate cake and other times I’m completely satisfied with a healthy snack like these New Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars I found at Target* – they totally take, errrr, the cake! I really appreciate how Outshine® uses simple and honest ingredients — 100% yogurt, blended with real fruit, that’s it! These healthy treats contain no artificial colors or flavorings* and are not gunked up with high fructose corn syrup – with each lick and am treated to simply the bright, delightlful flavor as Mother Nature intended. *Check the Store Locator for other locations.
Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are available in seven creamy and yummy varieties including Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry, Pineapple, Lemon, Strawberry Banana, and Mango. Also good to know, each frozen bar contains live & active cultures, 5 grams of protein, and 10% of our daily requirement for calcium. The company also makes all fruit bars and fruit & veggie frozen bars!
Of course, Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars make a smart choice to eat after a workout – that little blast of protein helps speed muscle recovery.
And, because Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are so sensible, I like to occasionally dress these healthy frozen snacks up a little more with my favorite sundae toppings – like today I used the Blueberry bars and topped with whipped topping, fresh blueberries, granola and crushed dehydrated raspberries (those are the “healthy red sprinkles”).
Also, check out Outshine on Instagram — they have a very cute, vibrant and happy page!
What is your snacking philosophy? What is your favorite healthy dessert or yogurt flavor? Any big plans for these last days of warm weather? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
When it comes to feeding my family, I’m all about honesty and transparency. I never was that mom who tried to disguise cauliflower, peas or broccoli as something else – Instead, I just told the kids what they were getting, left it to them for sniffing, prodding and (hopefully) eating! If a certain food seemed to be less loved, I’d just strike up a dinner conversation about its particular powers, still telling the truth, but playing to the action hero infatuation of little boys.
This journey of growing three little boys into strapping young men (almost 14, 17, and 19 years old) has been fueled by an enormous amount of food, I’ve found favor with a handful of companies who really listen to their consumers to create and deliver the food products that we really want – not just what’s easiest of most cost-effective to sell to us. While my boys may have been too young to care about exactly how and where their food was source, I sure did!
That’s why The Dannon Company, Inc. has been a brand I’ve trusted for years. We are definitely a family of dairy and yogurt lovers! I am happy to report the Dannon Pledge to transition some of their top-selling brands toward production with nonGMO ingredients along with removing additives and preservatives. In addition to this customer-driven change, the company is also creating nonGMO feed for cows in their diary supply chain, the first national company to so. As consumers, we’ll easily and clearly be able to determine which Dannon products are nonGMO by the label – this “transparent” labeling change will be complete by the end of 2017.
Dannon has built relationships with every farm they source milk from, providing us additional transparency in the nonGMO process. You see, Dannon knows what’s going with their dairy farmers from start to finish in the process, they care about the farmers and they care about us! Additionally, knowing who and where the milk comes from has helped Dannon implement and optimize animal welfare practices via the Validus Certification system. At this time, Dannon estimates that more than 90% of their direct milk supply comes from farms that are Validus certified.
I am a huge Greek yogurt fan and love the Okios Greek Yogurt — I get the unflavored plain variety so I can stir the sweeteners and toppings of my choosing. Hello beautiful things of Mother Nature, check out the Dragon Fruit, Mango, Blueberry “Flower” on top of Oikos. These are some other favorite flavor combos (not all pictured):
- Bananas & Walnuts with Honey
- Strawberries & Almonds with Vanilla Stevia
- Peaches & Pecans with Maple Syrup
- Raspberries, Chocolate Chips, Chocolate Power Os from Love Grown Foods
- Blackberries & Hemp Seeds with Lemon Stevia
- Madarin Oranges & Pistachios with Sugar-free Chocolate Sauce
- Apples, Granola & Peanut Butter
- Almond Butter & Chocolate Chips
So, are you familiar with The Dannon Company, Inc.? They make something for everyone, learn more about the top-selling brands and the Dannon Pledge at:
Sooooo, what is your stance on genetically modified foods? What are your favorite yogurt flavors or toppings? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
This post contains content sponsored by The Dannon Company, Inc. The opinions expressed in my post are my own. For more information on Dannon’s move toward sustainable agriculture, naturality and transparency,and nonGmo ingredients visit www.dannonpledge.com and www.dannon.com/ingredients .
I have a serious sweet tooth. It’s not a secret that I like to start (and end) my day with a little bit of chocolate goodness. Studies have shown that certain flavonoids in chocolate may decrease recovery time and improve endurance in athletes and, goodness, how I hope that is true! However, munching down on chocolate candy or ice cream isn’t really going to help me achieve my 2016 health and fitness goals – there’s a lot of extra sugar and fat I don’t need in those treats. When I eat less processed sugar, I have more room in my diet for protein, vegetables and healthy whole grains and that’s what keeps me fueled up to kick butt on a daily basis.
However, I’ve still been enjoying my daily chocolate but living life with less sugar thanks to Truvia® Natural Sweetener Spoonable. This zero-calorie, stevia-based sweetener is ideal for my healthy lifestyle and keeps me training smart for all my fitness goals – to get on the Spartan Race podium, to nail that next yoga pose, to bring my 5k road race time back down to freaking fast.
Aside from the great taste of Truvia® Natural Sweetener Spoonable and help it gives me to reduce the unnecessary sugar in my life, I also appreciate the product’s versatility. From a spoonful in my coffee or sprinkled on grapefruit, there are so many uses. Two favorite other uses revolve around my chocolate obsessions – the first is to stir right from the jar into unflavored, plain Greek yogurt (to avoid the added sugar that many brands have) and the second is to make a “better-for-you” chocolate syrup that can be poured on / into everything from hot almond milk, protein pancakes, fruit slices, and yogurt. When I stir this chocolate syrup into my Greek yogurt, it’s like eating ice cream – but with lots of protein and very few carbohydrates.
Today, I’m sharing the recipe for “Better-for-You” Chocolate Mint Syrup (which can easily be tweaked without the mint) and my favorite ideas for Greek Yogurt Parfaits. I could eat a chocolate Greet yogurt parfait at breakfast, post-lunch and as a bedtime snack . . . and sometimes have!
“Better For You” Mint Chocolate Syrup (Stevia)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, or freeze-dried mint
- 1 cup water
- 6 tablespoons Truvia® Natural Sweetener Spoonable
- 1 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add mint to teaball / tea infuser and drop in small saucepan with water. Bring water to a rolling boil over medium high heat for 1 minute; turn off heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove and discard mint.
- Mix in Truvia Spoonable into hot water, stir until dissolved. Turn burner back on to medium low, whisk in cocoa powder until incorporated and smooth, cooking for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. If needed whisk in a tiny bit more water to achieve desired consistency if too thick.
- To make “regular” non-mint chocolate stevia syrup, simply bring water to boil in first step – but omit mint.
- May store in refrigerator for up to a month. Makes about 12 ounces.
As I mentioned, “Better For You” Mint Chocolate Syrup is the bomb drizzled over Greek yogurt, but even better STIRRED in! Check out these yummy ways, I used the chocolate syrup made with Truvia Spoonable Natural Sweetener:
As Chocolate Ombre Greek Yogurt Shooters — they are so tastefully trendy and good for you. Start with a big dollop of syrup in the bottom of glass and then spoon in yogurt that has been mixed with varying amounts of chocolate syrup to achieve gradient shades of chocolate brown.
It’s easy to find Truvia® Natural Sweetener Spoonable on the baking aisle at Walmart – it comes in a 9.8 ounce container, so there are plenty of scoops for your beverages, snacks and recipe ideas. Save SAVE $1.50 on any ONE (1) package of Truvía Natural Sweetener (excluding 7 ct.), Truvía Baking Blend or Truvía Brown Sugar blend – get the coupon HERE.
Do you have a health or fitness goal to share? OR, what would you drizzle chocolate syrup on? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer
I rarely, if ever, miss my morning meal. I just love food too much and usually wake up hungry, thinking about what I’m making or grabbing (like Plenti) long before my feet even hit the ground.
Back in the day, skipping breakfast was a way to “cut calories” in an effort to lose or maintain weight – and it still is with some friends today. This “intermittent fasting” idea seems to be trending again today, based on some diets and nutritional plans I have seen floating around. However, missing meals can have quite the opposite effect, eventually adding on pounds in places you don’t want. And, for runners and other athletes, bypassing breakfast can quickly bring quality training (and recovery) in its tracks.
Lose Muscle – While skipping breakfast and other meals cuts calories and create weight loss, research shows that these dropped pounds come more from muscle tissue than fat stores.
Gain Belly Fat: Ohio State University scientists suggest skipping meals may invite any weight lost to come back eventually as dangerous belly fat.
Energy Drop: Avoiding breakfast keeps the body from important nutrients like quality complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids needed for optimal functioning and general get-up-and-go.
Disease Risk: Harvard School of Public Health researchers report that women who regularly missed breakfast where 20% more likely to get type 2 diabetes and men were at increased risk of heart disease. Insulin resistance and blood pressure issues arise when the body’s blood lipids get out of whack – something that can be kept in check with a healthy, balanced breakfast.
Unhealthy Snacking: Saying “no” no to a sustaining breakfast very often translates into saying “yes” to unhealthy processed snack foods, fast food and other sugary and bad-fat foods. Blood sugar drops and the resulting “hangry” feeling causes people to make poor food choices.
Whether you are an athlete or not, your body needs “gas in the tank” to get going in the morning — Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt is a quick and convenient way to fill up! Plentí, a wholesome yogurt already packed with fruit, seeds and other yumminess, kicks up its morning game by adding oatmeal to the mix.
Found in the yogurt aisle, Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt, comes in six tasty flavors including Apple Cinnamon, Maple Brown Sugar, Peach, Blueberry, Strawberry, and Vanilla. I love the thick and creamy Greek yogurt goodness mixed with the texture and nutritional benefits of oatmeal. Unlike oatmeal, no messy cookin – just grab a spoon and enjoy cold.
Each cup has 16 grams of whole grain and 11 grams of protein – I aim to get 25 to 30 grams of protein four times a day, so I would make my morning meal by supplementing a cup of Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt with two scrambled (or hard-boiled eggs if in a hurry) and a piece of fruit.
Try Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt for yourself! Print a coupon good for $.35 off one cup.
Are you an oatmeal fan, a Greek yogurt fan or both? What is your favorite “quick grab” for breakfast? Please share in the comments below, – XOXO, Jennifer
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!
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: 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.
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:
So, 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.
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!
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:
Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Calibee Harvest Snaps, however all opinions are my own.