healthy snacks http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11406/all en-US Cheaper and Healthier: 20 Tasty Energy Bars You Can Make at Home http://www.wisebread.com/cheaper-and-healthier-20-tasty-energy-bars-you-can-make-at-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cheaper-and-healthier-20-tasty-energy-bars-you-can-make-at-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-178468089.jpg" alt="energy bars" title="energy bars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're a health conscious person, an athlete, or just prefer eating whole foods, energy bars can be a convenient snacking option. Thing is, I used to spend so much money buying packaged energy bars to fuel my running (and fill my stomach). Then one day I decided to make my own, and I never turned back.</p> <p>Here are 20 fantastic energy bar recipes you can make in your own kitchen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options?ref=seealso">Delicious, Healthy, Frugal Snacks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Nutty Flavor</h2> <p>These <a href="http://lemonsandbasil.com/almond-date-and-hemp-energy-bars/">Almond, Date, and Hemp Bars</a> get great flavor from using dry roasted almonds. Honey is a great natural sweetener, but if you follow a vegan diet, I'm sure maple syrup would work well as a substitute. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-items-for-your-organic-vegan-grocery-list?ref=seealso">Frugal Items for Your Organic Vegan Grocery List</a>)</p> <h2>2. Plant Protein</h2> <p>Another great option: <a href="http://sweetgreen.tumblr.com/post/74725738180/vegan-hemp-bars">Cranberry-Apricot Hemp Bars</a>. If you're already seeing a common theme with ingredients, it might be interesting to point out that hemp is a great source of plant protein. All the nutrition without strange or hard-to-digest ingredients.</p> <h2>3. Crispy Crunch</h2> <p>For a bit of indulgence, these <a href="http://skinnyluscious.blogspot.com/2014/02/peanut-butter-chocolate-energy-bars.html">Peanut Butter and Chocolate Energy Bars</a> sure fit the bill. I love the inclusion of crispy rice cereal to give them some added crunch. This recipe is also gluten-free.</p> <h2>4. Kid-Pleaser</h2> <p>For a healthy treat your kids will love, try these <a href="http://boulderlocavore.com/2014/01/supersonic-peanut-butter-energy-bars-that-kids-and-adults-will-love.html">Supersonic Peanut Butter Energy Bars</a>. Again, crispy rice cereal is high on the ingredients list, but this recipe is rounded out by a wide variety of nuts and seeds.</p> <h2>5. Fancy Energy</h2> <p>This bar seems quite refined, if you ask me. Yeah, <a href="http://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/fig-walnut-energy-bars/">Fig and Walnut Energy Bars</a> sound like a culinary masterpiece &mdash; not just something to get you through a tough workout or 3 p.m. lull. The recipe calls for ⅓ cup brown sugar, but I'd experiment with lower glycemic alternatives like coconut sugar. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-clever-ways-to-dress-up-cheap-food?ref=seealso">Clever Ways to Dress Up Cheap Food</a>)</p> <h2>6. Sweet Indulgence</h2> <p>If you'd like to fool yourself into thinking you're eating dessert, these <a href="http://atastylovestory.com/energy-bars-for-everyone-paleo-lchf-raw-vegan-all-natural/">Banana-Almond Butter Layer Bars</a> should do the trick. Yet, they're Paleo, raw, vegan, low-carb, and &mdash; as the author writes &mdash; &quot;all-natural and amazing!&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fast-single-serving-fake-desserts?ref=seealso">Fast &quot;Fake&quot; Desserts</a>)</p> <h2>7. Unique Protein</h2> <p>These <a href="http://mayihavethatrecipe.com/2013/02/22/gluten-free-vegan-quinoa-protein-bars/">Quinoa Protein Balls</a> contain four different Super Foods: quinoa, dates, almonds, and dark chocolate. I absolutely love the inclusion of quinoa, as it's an ingredient I've never thought to add to an energy bar.</p> <h2>8. Sweet and Spicy</h2> <p>For something a little different, these <a href="http://shescookin.com/2013/03/05/sweet-spicy-energy-bars/">Sweet and Spicy Energy Bars</a> should strike your fancy. I love how they're coated in unsweetened coconut flakes, which gives them nice flavor and texture.</p> <h2>9. Just 3 Ingredients</h2> <p>Looking for a simple recipe that comes together in a flash? These <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-3-ingredient-energy-bars-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-184306">3-Ingredient Energy Bars</a> contain just 1 cup dried fruit, 1 cup nuts, and 1 cup pitted dates. So, they're super customizable to whatever you have on hand.</p> <h2>10. Sesame Goodness</h2> <p>I absolutely love the taste of sesame seeds, so when I came across this <a href="http://ifoodreal.com/roasted-sesame-peanut-butter-protein-bars/">Roasted Sesame and Peanut Butter Bar</a> recipe, I ran to my pantry to see if I had all the ingredients required. Of course, you can buy sesame seeds already roasted, but the author says to &quot;roast flax seeds in a stove top pan and grind in a food processor.&quot;</p> <h2>11. The Mouthful</h2> <p>Try saying this 10 times fast: <a href="http://dessertswithbenefits.com/cinnamon-raisin-peanut-butter-fudge-protein-bars/">Cinnamon-Raisin Peanut Butter Fudge Protein Bars</a>. Despite being a mouthful, they certainly look tasty. And their texture is very unique for homemade recipes I've encountered.</p> <h2>12. Chunky Monkey</h2> <p>If you'd rather snack on a smaller bite, these <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2013/12/automatic-healthy-eating-tip-4-recipe.html">Chocolate Almond Butter Energy Chunks</a> are for you! They contain just six ingredients and pulse together in minutes. Just scoop with a tablespoon and let set in the fridge &mdash; no baking required.</p> <h2>13. Double Chocolate</h2> <p>Beyond an energy boost, these <a href="http://www.eatgood4life.com/?blogger=http://eatgood4life.blogspot.com/2011/12/no-bake-double-chocolate-and-prune.html">Double Chocolate Prune Bars</a> claim to lower your cholesterol. The whole idea is that prunes are rich in soluble fiber, which is a key nutritional trick to lowering your numbers.</p> <h2>14. 6 Minutes to Make</h2> <p>Talk about fast! These <a href="http://www.inspirededibles.ca/2012/09/raw-vegan-energy-bars-with-walnut-chia.html">Walnut, Chia, Cherry and Pepita Energy Bars</a> apparently take just six minutes to make. They are also raw and vegan, and though it isn't explicitly mentioned, also gluten-free.</p> <h2>15. Packs Greens</h2> <p>Mighty greens enrich these&nbsp;<a href="http://ohalmonds.blogspot.fr/2013/01/green-energy.html">Spirulina-Vanilla Bars</a>. The author writes that this recipe is a copycat of a bar she used to stock up on at the store, but making them at home became a much less expensive option. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-restaurant-dishes-you-can-make-at-home?ref=seealso">Restaurant Dishes You Can Make at Home</a>)</p> <h2>16. Hidden Raisins</h2> <p>Here's another <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2013/03/chocolate-peanut-butter-energy-bars.html">Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bar</a> recipe. However, if you're not a fan of dates &mdash; this one's for you. It's made with raisins to help bind everything together with natural sweetness.</p> <h2>17. Protein-Packed</h2> <p>These <a href="http://www.ediblesoundbites.com/home/2014/2/5/no-bake-peanut-butter-energy-bars.html">Peanut Butter Energy Bars</a> boast an impressive 15 grams of protein per serving. The author writes that they are both soft and chewy, but also have some of that delicious crumbliness we all love.</p> <h2>18. Candy Imposter</h2> <p>Want to pretend you're eating candy? I was fooled by these <a href="http://dessertswithbenefits.com/chocolate-peanut-caramel-protein-bars/">Chocolate Peanut With Caramel Protein Bars</a>. They look like a popular brand of candy, but their ingredients list is healthy and a great option if you're weaning yourself off refined sugar fuel.</p> <h2>19. Brownie Imposter</h2> <p>The fun doesn't stop there, these <a href="http://askgeorgie.com/homemade-protein-bars/">Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Protein Bars</a> look just like my favorite batch of brownies. They contain a hefty 1/3 cup of whey protein powder, but I'm sure you could substitute whatever powder is already in your kitchen cabinet.</p> <h2>20. Cake Imposter</h2> <p>Yup &mdash; I'm still running with the theme. Then there's these <a href="http://askgeorgie.com/lemon-poppy-protein-bars-plus-gluten-free-version/">Lemon Poppy Protein Bars</a> that look &mdash; and taste &mdash; just like cake. However, the author writes that 30% of this bar's calories come from protein. That's a great ratio. There's also a gluten-free option if you're looking for substitutions.</p> <p><em>Have you made protein or energy bars at home? What's your go-to recipe?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheaper-and-healthier-20-tasty-energy-bars-you-can-make-at-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options">12 Delicious, Healthy, and Inexpensive Snack Options</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-healthier-appetizers">20 Delicious, Healthier Appetizers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-snacks-that-will-keep-you-energized-through-the-day">20 Snacks That Will Keep You Energized Through the Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad">10 Smart Uses for Food That&#039;s About to Go Bad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-rice-cake-topping-ideas">40 Rice Cake Topping Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink energy bars healthy snacks snacks Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:48:16 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1132807 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Delicious, Healthier Appetizers http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-healthier-appetizers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-delicious-healthier-appetizers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-154197215.jpg" alt="appetizers" title="appetizers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My favorite type of party is the cocktail party. My parents threw quite a few of them in the '60s and '70s. To me, of course, it wasn't about the cocktails, but rather the dazzling array of interesting snacks. What a reprieve from ordinary dinner! Although I'd love to chow down on a cheese ball or hold down the couch with a bag of chips and some clam dip again, I am trying much harder to eat healthily. Fortunately, our good friends also love cocktail parties, and we have come up with some healthier snacks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tasty-two-ingredient-cocktails?ref=seealso">Tasty Two-Ingredient Cocktails</a>)</p> <h2>Soup to Nuts</h2> <p>Especially when it is chilly, a small cup of soup is welcome. This is also fun, because it is an unexpected &quot;party&quot; food.</p> <p><a href="https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/health-starts-here%C2%AE-butternut-squash-soup">Butternut squash soup</a> or <a href="http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/fresh-tomato-soup-10000001842368/">tomato soup</a> are good choices. If you serve the soup in small cups or bowls, there is no need to bother with spoons. Squash contains beta carotene, which our bodies convert to Vitamin A. Tomatoes give us a boost of vitamins A and C plus lycopene. It's nice to serve some whole-grain crackers on the side.</p> <p><a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635">Nuts are a very healthy snack</a>, especially almonds, walnuts, and cashews. To make them more party-friendly, here is what I do:</p> <h3>Marla's Party Nuts</h3> <p><em><strong>Ingredients</strong></em></p> <ul> <li>2 cups of shelled walnuts, cashews, almonds, or a mix of anything you like</li> <li>1 T olive oil</li> <li>1 t garlic salt</li> <li>1 t oregano</li> </ul> <p><em><strong>Method</strong></em></p> <p>Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine ingredients. Spread on a cookie sheet and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once halfway. Serve warm from the oven.</p> <h2>Spreads</h2> <p><a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/mushroom-toasts-235868">Mushroom toasts</a> are so hearty, you won't miss having dinner after cocktails. I'm cheap, so I just use plain old white mushrooms. To keep the calories down, I also use reduced-fat sour cream. These are nice to have if some of your guests are vegetarians, too. Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-nutrients-you-need-more-of?ref=seealso">Nutrients You Need More Of</a>)</p> <p>Lately, I have been experimenting with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes">eggplant recipes</a>. Eggplant has also been shown to be promising in lowering your risk of heart disease, as it is rich in phytochemicals. <a href="http://vegetarian.about.com/od/saucesdipsspreads/r/babaganoush.htm">Baba ghanoush</a> is not only fun to say but is also fun to eat with crispy toasts, crackers, or whole-grain chips.</p> <h2>Fish and Seafood</h2> <p><a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/maui-ahi-poke-90880">Poke</a> is one of my favorite foods. If you can get fresh ahi (yellowfin tuna), this is a great party dish filled with protein and low in carbohydrates.</p> <p>Let's not forget shrimp, though, which is similarly nutritious, and delicious in this <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Lemon-Ginger-Shrimp/Detail.aspx?evt19=1">Lemon Ginger Shrimp</a>. I buy frozen shrimp in large bags when on sale. If you clean and boil it yourself, there is a significant savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/70-scrumptious-shrimp-recipes?ref=seealso">70 Shrimp Recipes</a>)</p> <p>Also great for parties? <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bK6UXe7m1o">Smoked salmon</a>. Try making your own, and get those Omega-3 fatty acids for your &quot;good&quot; cholesterol.</p> <h2>Dips</h2> <p>I know I took you down memory lane when I referenced the clam dip, above. Good news: There is a <a href="http://www.kiana.com/recipe-low-fat-clam-dip/">low-fat clam dip</a> (gotta love Greek yogurt). Clams are a great source of iron, something I am always nagging my daughter to eat. Keep it low-fat by nixing the potato chips. Opt for toasted pita chips, instead.</p> <p><a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_guacamole/">Guacamole</a>, anyone? Look at all the <a href="http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/8-healthy-facts-about-avocados">health benefits of avocados</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>Avocados are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C,K, folate, and B6. Half an avocado has 160 calories, 15 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and only 2 grams saturated fat. One globe contains more than one-third daily value of vitamin C, and more than half the day's requirements of vitamin K.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/horseradish-cottage-cheese-dip">Cottage Cheese Dip</a> didn't sound all that exciting to me, but this one has horseradish in it, which really makes it zippy. I used low-fat cottage cheese, which is low in calories but high in protein. Pass the dip! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-beef-tasty-frugal-protein?ref=seealso">Tasty, Frugal, Non-Beef Protein</a>)</p> <h2>Fruits and Vegetables</h2> <p>At the most recent cocktail party we attended, the guest of honor, who was raised in Ecuador, was busily frying <a href="http://southamericanfood.about.com/od/appetizersfirstcourses/r/chifles.htm">plantain chips</a>. These are so wonderful! I could have eaten them all. Traditionally, they are fried in lard, but he used vegetable oil and drained them well. I was surprised to learn that plantains contain more vitamin A, C, and potassium than regular bananas. They were a very fun party food, and we ate them as quickly as Fernando fried them.</p> <p>Another interesting vegetable is kale. Kale is so &quot;hot&quot; right now in the veggie world. You see it in everything from smoothies to bagged, fresh salads. I like <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-Kale-Chips/Detail.aspx?evt19=1">Baked Kale Chip</a> for parties because they are high in Vitamins A, C, and K, so I feel like I am serving my guests something good for them. I think these baked chips are best when eaten right away. Watch them carefully so that they don't burn. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-with-kale-easy-recipes-for-real-people?ref=seealso">Easy Kale Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>Meats, Poultry, and Tofu</h2> <p>In keeping with my obsession with All Things Skewered, check out <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-chicken-satay/">Easy Chicken Satay</a>. We eat lots of chicken because it is high in protein, low in fat, and usually very affordable. I recommend a peanut sauce for dipping.</p> <p>If you are looking for a kebab that is high in vitamin B12, check out these <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/recipes/spicy-beef-kebabs/rcp-20049622">Spicy Beef Kebabs</a>. The sauce is a keeper, too.</p> <p>I cannot leave out these <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/grilled-tofu-skewers-with-sriracha-sauce/">Grilled Tofu Skewers</a> because they have Sriracha sauce on them. Tofu is high in protein, calcium, and iron. Yum!</p> <h2>Pick-Up Nibbles</h2> <p>Edamame is the Japanese word for boiled soybeans. Edamame is chock-full of health benefits: Fiber, protein, and vitamins C and A. They are especially delicious when they are still warm. We like to toss ours with sea salt, after draining well. They are also easy to make. If you can boil water, you can make Edamame.</p> <p><a href="https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/spinach-stuffed-mushrooms">Stuffed mushrooms</a> are another popular party food. My mother would have made them with sausage, which is delicious, but they are a little healthier with spinach and feta (and equally tasty).</p> <p>Being a child of the '60s and '70s, I cannot leave out <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/healthy-party-snack-mix">Party Mix</a>. Lots of fiber and nuts, and less fat, are featured in this version.</p> <p>Lastly, who can leave a bowl of mixed olives alone? Many stores now have &quot;olive bars,&quot; but you can certainly make your own <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Marinated-Olives/Detail.aspx?evt19=1">marinated olives</a>. Olives are a great place to get fiber, vitamin E, and iron. Make sure you have little plates and toothpicks at the ready.</p> <p><em>What healthy appetizers do you enjoy making? Please pass them around in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-healthier-appetizers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-rice-cake-topping-ideas">40 Rice Cake Topping Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options">12 Delicious, Healthy, and Inexpensive Snack Options</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheaper-and-healthier-20-tasty-energy-bars-you-can-make-at-home">Cheaper and Healthier: 20 Tasty Energy Bars You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-mouth-watering-lentil-recipes">35 Mouth Watering Lentil Recipes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad">10 Smart Uses for Food That&#039;s About to Go Bad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink appetizers cheap recipes healthy snacks snacks Mon, 17 Feb 2014 11:24:20 +0000 Marla Walters 1125290 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Reasons You Should Eat More Chocolate http://www.wisebread.com/15-reasons-you-should-eat-more-chocolate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-reasons-you-should-eat-more-chocolate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/food-126525535.jpg" alt="chocolate" title="chocolate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thanks to Valentine's Day, I definitely find myself snacking on more chocolate than usual (thanks, sweetie!). Do you? It's OK to indulge from time to time. I've discovered that if I choose my desserts wisely, I can take advantage of a variety of little-known benefits that chocolate, particularly dark varieties, provides. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-valentine-s-day-desserts-that-hit-the-sweet-spot?ref=seealso">14 Valentine&rsquo;s Day Desserts</a>)</p> <p dir="ltr">Here are 15 reasons to eat chocolate for your health!</p> <h2>1. Chocolate Protects the Heart</h2> <p dir="ltr">Researchers became particularly interested in a group of individuals living on the San Blas islands of Panama because they had remarkably <a href="http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/eating-longevity">low incidence of high blood pressure</a> and heart disease. Through experimentation, the scientists discovered their cocoa consumption &mdash; increasing their intake of polyphenols &mdash; was to thank.</p> <h2>2. Chocolate Nurtures Pregnancy</h2> <p dir="ltr">Furthermore, snacking on <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ioc0zukLqOeatj7-oMX2AfHrW1Ow">chocolate could help pregnant women avoid preeclampsia</a> by as much as 69%. The &quot;density of theobromine&quot; (a chemical which lowers hypertension) is at play here, which is more concentrated in dark chocolates than in milk chocolates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-parenting-books?ref=seealso">5 Best Parenting Books</a>)</p> <h2>3. Chocolate Reduces Inflammation</h2> <p dir="ltr">Chocolates that are at least 70% or higher cacao <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/articles/2009/11/02/building-a-diet-that-lowers-inflammation">contain anti-inflammatory power</a> from chemicals like resveratrol. Less inflammation means a happier, healthier body and mind. (Pairing your treat with some red wine can help even more!)</p> <h2>4. Chocolate Lowers Cholesterol</h2> <p dir="ltr">The antioxidants in chocolate can help <a href="http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/food-choices/benefits-of-chocolate.aspx">lower &quot;bad&quot; cholesterol</a> say experts at Cleveland Clinic. However, cocoa in more processed and less concentrated forms often contains saturated fats, which could work against this advantage and actually <em>increase</em> cholesterol levels.</p> <h2>5. Chocolate Regulates Blood Sugar</h2> <p dir="ltr">A widespread myth is that eating chocolate leads to diabetes. While too much (of anything) might not be a good thing, chocolate and other anti-inflammatory foods can actually<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/compounds-found-berries-wine-prevent-diabetes-study-article-1.1586726"> increase resistance to insulin</a> and aid blood sugar regulation. In some cases these benefits can work to <em>prevent</em> type 2 diabetes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar?ref=seealso">Cheap Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a>)</p> <h2>6. Chocolate Focuses Concentration</h2> <p dir="ltr">Chocolate contains caffeine, which, in moderate amounts, can help with concentration. Experts suggest <a href="http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/slideshow-brain-foods-that-help-you-concentrate">pairing dark chocolate with nuts</a> rich in vitamin E &mdash; another brain-protector for long-term memory loss &mdash; to get the maximum benefit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter?ref=seealso">How to Improve Memory and Get Smarter</a>)</p> <h2>7. Chocolate Fights Depression</h2> <p dir="ltr">The jury is split on this one. Whereas some studies show that chocolate and depression go hand-in-hand, others claim that cocoa has a &quot;<a href="http://news.health.com/2012/08/29/chocolate-berries-fight-depression/">chemical similarity</a> to a widely used prescription mood-stabilizing drug.&quot; It's a good idea to speak with a professional before self-medicating in any form.</p> <h2>8. Chocolate Wards Off Dementia</h2> <p dir="ltr">Scientists are now thinking that chocolate, particularly hot cocoa, can <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/two-cups-of-hot-cocoa-a-day-sharpen-seniors-brains-study-suggests/">stimulate the brain by increasing blood flow</a>. In a month-long study, seniors who consumed two mugs of hot cocoa each day did &quot;better on thinking and memory tests than those who didn't.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Chocolate Improves Athletic Performance</h2> <p dir="ltr">According to researchers, darker chocolates contain a plant-based compound called epicatechin. This compound &quot;<a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2037556/How-dark-chocolate-boosts-fitness-exercise.html">stimulate[s] muscle growth</a> in a similar way to vigorous activity such as jogging.&quot; When combined with exercise, chocolate has shown to improve athletic performance by up to 50%.</p> <h2>10. Chocolate Lowers Cortisol</h2> <p dir="ltr">Feeling stressed? Swiss researches have discovered that <a href="http://www.nestle.com/media/newsandfeatures/dark_chocolate_low_stress">dark chocolate can lower those stress hormones</a> responsible for making you feel crappy. And you only need a moderate amount to do the trick. The chocolate used in the study contained 75 percent cocoa and participants only snacked on 40 grams (about 4 squares from a large bar) each day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress?ref=seealso">20 Free Ways to Relieve Stress</a>)</p> <h2>11. Chocolate Shields Skin</h2> <p dir="ltr">With all those flavonols, chocolate can even help your skin with nasty UV rays. In fact, regularly munching on dark chocolate (the kind richest in antioxidants) provides &quot;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19735513">significant photoprotection</a>&quot; &mdash; though, personally, I wouldn't toss the sunscreen just yet.</p> <h2>12. Chocolate Enhances Libido</h2> <p dir="ltr">Better sex may be in your kitchen cabinet! Dark chocolate &quot;contains a compound called phenylethylamine that releases the <a href="http://www.menshealth.com/sex-md/better-sex-diet">same endorphins triggered by sex</a>.&quot; Even a 100 calorie serving can help get things going in the bedroom.</p> <h2>13. Chocolate Prevents Cancer</h2> <p dir="ltr">Chocolate also <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/01/26/chocolate-could-cut-bowel-cancer-risk_n_1233761.html">packs a dose of cancer-fighting polyphenols</a>. Researchers studied bowel cancer in mice and found notable differences in the extent of the disease with mice fed a diet rich in cocoa. However, experts recommend sticking to modest portions to avoid excess fat and calories, which can actually <em>increase</em> cancer risks.</p> <h2>14. Chocolate Aids Weight Loss</h2> <p dir="ltr">French nutritionist Jean-Michel Cohen says snacking on small bits of <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/5-energy-boosting-snacks-weight-loss-article-1.1600766">chocolate can help dieters achieve better weight loss</a> results, all while consuming those healthy flavonoids. In order for this method to work, individuals are encouraged to eat small portions of dark chocolate (10 grams at most &mdash; only a couple pieces) with a bit of bread. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-foods-that-help-you-fight-fat?ref=seealso">Foods That Help You Fight Fat</a>)</p> <h2>15. Increases Longevity</h2> <p dir="ltr">With all these benefits at play &mdash; lessened inflammation, cancer prevention, weight loss, lowered blood pressure, insulin resistance, and more &mdash; chocolate, especially the dark stuff, has been shown to increase life-span overall. So, eat up and live long!</p> <p><em>What's your favorite healthy reason to nibble on chocolate?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-reasons-you-should-eat-more-chocolate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-the-best-reason-to-eat-more-chocolate">Here&#039;s the Best Reason to Eat More Chocolate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/imagine-eating-to-lose-weight-and-save-money">Imagine Eating to Lose Weight (and Save Money)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pre-workout-snacks-to-keep-you-moving">6 Pre-Workout Snacks to Keep You Moving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Healthy Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food">The High Cost of Cheap Food</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty chocolate dark chocolate healthy snacks Fri, 14 Feb 2014 10:48:38 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1125542 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Delicious, Healthy, and Inexpensive Snack Options http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/eating-80402821.jpg" alt="snacks" title="snacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Eating a balanced, whole foods diet can, at times, seem expensive and inconvenient. However, it's worthwhile to eat well for better energy levels, mental clarity, and general health &mdash; and this involves actual meals <em>plus</em> smart snacking. It's true that many of the packaged snacks on the shelves in your local health food store cost more than their conventional counterparts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fresh-ideas-for-healthy-road-trip-snacks?ref=seealso">Healthy Road Trip Snacks</a>)</p> <p>Here are some ideas that are a little, well, out of the box.</p> <h2>1. Fruits and Veggies</h2> <p>It doesn't get easier or less expensive than simple fruits and vegetables. To save on spending, try to pick up produce at your local farmers market or buy seasonal fruit and vegetables at the store. Some varieties, as you know, even come with their own natural packaging, like bananas, oranges, avocados, and apples. For the rest, just wash, chop, and portion ahead of time for a quick, grab-n-go snacking experience. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month?ref=seealso">Fruits and Vegetables By the Month</a>)</p> <h2>2. Homemade Energy Bars/Chunks</h2> <p>Store-bought snack bars can really add up week after week. Making them at home is far more simple than you'd think. All you need to do is fill your grocery bag with some key ingredients and get the master recipe down. Once you're more comfortable, the customizing part is up to you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheaper-and-healthier-20-tasty-energy-bars-you-can-make-at-home">20 Tasty Energy Bars You Can Make At Home</a>)</p> <h2>3. Hummus</h2> <p>Hummus is packed with protein and a healthy snack that can be combined with vegetables for some extra crunch. Of course, you can always pick up a tub in your grocer's refrigerated section, but I challenge you to save your pennies by making your own. To make this <a href="http://www.inspiredtaste.net/15938/easy-and-smooth-hummus-recipe/">basic spread</a>, all you need is a can of chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, water and some salt and pepper to taste. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tasty-and-frugal-chickpea-recipes?ref=seealso">Tasty, Frugal Chickpea Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>4. Peanut Butter</h2> <p>The healthy fats and protein in peanut butter make it a popular choice for dunking fruits and vegetables, spreading between two slices of bread, and topping crackers. If you've checked out the nut butter aisle lately, you might have some sticker shock. Consider making your own satisfying spread. It's as simple as <a href="http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2010/9/16/biking-with-bread-flour.html">pulsing together dry roasted peanuts and salt</a>. Not convinced?</p> <h2>5. Applesauce</h2> <p>Another way to get a heaping helping of fruit in for the day is via applesauce. Store varieties come packaged for individual use, but that convenience factor comes with a price (and negative environmental impact). Good news! You can <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/homemade-applesauce/">make fresh applesauce</a> on your stovetop.</p> <h2>6. DIY Trail Mix</h2> <p>Delicious dried fruit and nut combinations, aka trail mix, are some of the most satisfying, yet wildly expensive snack options on the market. To lessen the blow, head to the bulk foods section and stock up on raisins, dried cranberries, dried apples, pretzels, chocolate chips, cashews, peanuts, coconut flakes, almonds, and whatever else sounds delicious and mix up a batch of your own. Your stomach &mdash; and wallet &mdash; will thank you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bulk-buying-basics-what-to-buy-how-to-store-and-money-saving-tips?ref=seealso">Bulk Buying Basics</a>)</p> <h2>7. Smoothies</h2> <p>It's tempting to grab a smoothie at the local hut. Often, though, those tall cups come with more than ice, juice, and fruit. Added sugar can be sneaky. With a little foresight, you can save big on this popular snack. Provided you have freezer space, it's simple to buy some frozen fruit in bulk. Search online, there are a number (OK, millions) of <a href="http://ohsheglows.com/categories/recipes-2/beverages/smoothies-beverages/">healthy smoothie recipes</a> (from simple to complex) you can try out.</p> <h2>8. Cereal</h2> <p>If a crunch is all you're after, a small bowl of cereal made with whole grains might do the trick. Watch for sugar content even if the label promises wholesome ingredients and be sure to shop for deals and use coupons whenever possible. And if you're into DIY, you actually can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy">experiment with making your own cereal</a> &mdash; but the savings doesn't always justify the effort.&nbsp;</p> <h2>9. Oatmeal</h2> <p>Another idea often overlooked is lining your office shelf or kitchen cabinets with oatmeal mix. You can buy store-brand varieties relatively inexpensively that are either plain or full of all sorts of extras. For the most cash back in your pocket &mdash; you guessed it! &mdash; you can make your own. Here's a fantastic tutorial on <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/breakfast-travel-tips-make-your-own-on-the-go-oats-185732">DIY oatmeal packets</a>, for breakfast <em>or</em> snacks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-eat-oats-when-you-hate-oatmeal?ref=seealso">11 Ways to Eat Oats</a>)</p> <h2>10. Yogurt</h2> <p>This dairy (or non-dairy) product comes in quite a few varieties from Greek to Balkan-style to coconut-cultured. Navigating your way through all the different types can be daunting, but once you find your favorite, you'll be filling your belly with healthy probiotics, among other things. To save, consider buying a larger tub &mdash; which 9.9 times out of 10 boasts a lower unit price than individual cups &mdash; and scoop into snack containers. You can purchase whatever flavor you like, but be sure to mix in whatever fruit or sweetener that strikes your fancy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-healthy-homemade-yogurt-recipes">6 Healthy Homemade Yogurt Recipes</a>)</p> <h2>11. Crackers</h2> <p>Crackers make a smart partner for many of these snack items (hummus, peanut butter, and even yogurt), as well as on their own. Shop around for sales, coupons, or bulk buys for your best bet money-wise. You can also make anything you desire at home from copycat <a href="http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/03/do-it-yourself-homemade-wheat-thins.html">Wheat Thins</a> to <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2011/03/whole-wheat-goldfish-crackers/">Whole Wheat Goldfish</a> crackers.</p> <h2>12. Hard-Boiled Eggs</h2> <p>At the beginning of each week, I like to hard-boil a carton of eggs to store in the fridge. We use these eggs mashed up in sandwiches, atop green leafy salads, and even on their own. It's no secret that eggs are one of those awesome budget buys, but if you check around, you might even find a neighbor of friendly farmer selling local, cage-free choices for less. As for preparation, <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/354061/perfect-hard-boiled-eggs">Martha Stewart's method</a> is my favorite. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-perfectly-cooked-eggs?ref=seealso">How to Make Perfectly Cooked Eggs</a>)</p> <p><em>What healthy, inexpensive foods do you snack on? Anything we missed? Share your ideas below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-popcorn">How to Make Your Own Popcorn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheaper-and-healthier-20-tasty-energy-bars-you-can-make-at-home">Cheaper and Healthier: 20 Tasty Energy Bars You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fresh-ideas-for-healthy-road-trip-snacks">7 Fresh Ideas for Healthy Road Trip Snacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-delicious-healthier-appetizers">20 Delicious, Healthier Appetizers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-uses-for-food-thats-about-to-go-bad">10 Smart Uses for Food That&#039;s About to Go Bad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap snacks healthy snacks snacks Thu, 30 Jan 2014 19:15:33 +0000 Ashley Marcin 3738 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Fresh Ideas for Healthy Road Trip Snacks http://www.wisebread.com/7-fresh-ideas-for-healthy-road-trip-snacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-fresh-ideas-for-healthy-road-trip-snacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_in_car.jpg" alt="Kids in a car" title="Kids in a car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&rsquo;re going on a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fun-and-frugal-ideas-for-family-road-trips">family road trip</a>, you really can&rsquo;t escape the need to pack some food. Even if you&rsquo;re planning on eating out or preparing food in the kitchen at your destination, packing a few healthy road trip snacks is still a necessity. Traffic delays, vehicle troubles, and other travel snafus are common enough that at some point you will indeed be dining in your car. Here&rsquo;s how to stay prepared. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meals-on-wheels-four-simple-tips-for-dining-in-your-car">Meals on Wheels: Four Simple Tips for Dining in Your Car</a>)</p> <h3>Roasted Chickpeas</h3> <p>Typically I&rsquo;d use these more for family movie night than for road trip snacks. That being said, there&rsquo;s no reason you can&rsquo;t take a batch of roasted <a href="http://webesharin.com/2011/07/26/the-curious-cook%E2%80%99s-guide-to-chick-peas/">chickpeas</a> in the car with you. Season them with a flavor blend the whole family likes and store them in kid-friendly airtight containers for the road trip. They&rsquo;re crunchy, packed with protein, and perfect for families dealing with peanut allergies.</p> <h3>Canning Jar Anti-Trail Mix</h3> <p>Before all of the world&rsquo;s backpackers descend and accuse me of sacrilege, let me just say that I am indeed a trail mix fan. That being said, when it comes to healthy road trip snacks, I&rsquo;ve found we get more meal mileage by keeping certain items separate. By filling quart-sized <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sanity-saving-ideas-for-canning-jars">canning jars</a> with various items such as <a href="http://webesharin.com/2011/07/19/creative-uses-for-sunflower-seed-kernels/">sunflower seed kernels</a>, walnuts, and dried fruit, we have the items we need to mix up trail mix if we desire. However, we also have individual items that can be used for hotel oatmeal toppings, salads, and other simple travel meals.</p> <p>The jars are easy to keep organized in sectioned, fabric wine bags. Remember those ones I pick up for free while <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bargain-shopping-at-whole-foods-12-strategies-for-success">bargain shopping at Whole Foods</a>? I can easily slip canning jars into the sections designed for individual wine bottles and stand the whole thing upright in a milk crate or clear tub. If we run out of something a few days into the trip, the jars are easy enough to fill up again from the bulk bins at the grocery store.</p> <h3>Sun Tea</h3> <p>Hey, it&rsquo;s not just for your back porch anymore. Using large canning jars filled with water, slip an organic green or white tea bag in and hang the string and paper tag outside of the jar before putting the cover on. If you do this in the morning and store it in a clear tub or milk crate near the back window, you&rsquo;ll have fresh sun tea to pour into your travel mugs by your mid-day stop. Just be sure to pack something soft behind the jar so it doesn&rsquo;t accidentally get cracked. If you use a half-gallon sized canning jar, you&rsquo;ll have enough for several people. Plus, you can start another batch after you distribute the tea from the morning. How cool is that?</p> <h3>Whole Fruit</h3> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t get more low prep than this. Simple, whole fruits like <a href="http://webesharin.com/2011/07/31/banana-recipes-for-every-occasion/">bananas</a>, apples, and even seedless grapes make perfect healthy road trip snacks. Keep a container to hold the peels and cores and compost them when you arrive at your destination. It&rsquo;s an easy, zero-waste solution that keeps road food fun and nutritious.</p> <h3>Crudités</h3> <p>They are selling large bags of pre-cut crudités mix now at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-that-are-worth-buying-at-costco">warehouse stores</a> for a song. Pack a jar of homemade <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/perfect-peanut-sauce">peanut sauce</a>, or purchase large bulk jars of salad dressings that can also be used as dips. Ranch, honey-mustard, or Vidalia onion flavors all work well, as does the sweet Thai chili sauce in the quart-sized bottle. If you decide to go with the dipping option, then these are more of a snack to enjoy at the rest area. Otherwise, you&rsquo;re going to have sauce all over the car. (Tip: A nice middle-of-the-road option here is to use plain <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peanut-butter-the-poor-man-s-protein">peanut butter</a> on the crudités. The kids will dig it, and you&rsquo;ll have less mess than with a thinner sauce.)</p> <h3>Grab and Takes</h3> <p>While you can certainly find a power bar on the market to suit any dietary requirement (halal, vegan, kosher, gluten free), finding an affordable and easy option to make yourself is a great way to control nutrition, cost, and calories. For me, that option is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-cooking-breakfast-cookies-for-the-life-hacker-on-the-go">breakfast cookies</a>. Easily customized to suit your family&rsquo;s tastes and budget, breakfast cookies can be prepared with chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/raisin-the-bar-cool-ideas-for-the-mother-of-all-bargain-fruits">raisins</a>, and even dates.</p> <h3>Spiced Almonds</h3> <p>With all the health benefits associated with almonds, finding ways to incorporate them into your diet more often just seems to make good sense. Normally, I make <a href="http://webesharin.com/2010/11/22/spiced-roasted-almonds/">spiced almonds</a> for holiday treats and hostess gifts. But if we have a long road trip ahead of us, I&rsquo;m not above whipping up a batch for those extra-long days in the vehicle. They taste great, travel well, and provide a serious protein hit precisely when we need it.</p> <p>Whatever road trip snacks you choose, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keep-these-things-in-your-car-save-money">keeping food in your car</a> does more than save you money. It saves your sanity when travel difficulties arise. So how about it, readers? Do you have any additional ideas for healthy road trip snacks?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/staff">Staff</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fresh-ideas-for-healthy-road-trip-snacks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options">12 Delicious, Healthy, and Inexpensive Snack Options</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-popcorn">How to Make Your Own Popcorn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-compact-airplane-snacks-for-frequent-fliers">6 Compact Airplane Snacks for Frequent Fliers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year">How to Save an Extra $1,094.86 a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-recipes-perfect-for-the-traveling-chef">5 Easy Recipes Perfect for the Traveling Chef</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Travel cheap snacks healthy snacks road trips Wed, 24 Aug 2011 09:48:20 +0000 Staff 675801 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Eat Healthy(ish) From Vending Machines http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-eat-healthyish-from-vending-machines <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-eat-healthyish-from-vending-machines" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/vending_machine2.jpg" alt="Man at a vending machine" title="Man at a vending machine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They&rsquo;re omnipresent. And typically omni-unhealthy.</p> <p>Vending machines are everywhere, clustered especially in spots where you'll find students, office workers, and other on-the-go types. To be sure, more nutritious-conscious contraptions are starting to appear in workplaces and community spots (our company has an amazing fresh fruit vending option in the main office). But these remain few and far between.</p> <p>The vending machine business takes in a staggering $110 million per day in the U.S. according to <a href="http://www.1800vending.com/why_vending.html">1.800.VENDING</a>. The vast majority of those purchases aren't waistline friendly. But for healthy-minded folks stuck in a pinch, there are some semi-healthy options.</p> <p>Check out some of these tips so you know what buttons to push next time you&rsquo;re face-to-face with a vending machine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-frugal-eating">Healthy, Frugal Eating</a>)</p> <h2>Go Nuts...and Seeds</h2> <p>No snack hunter will have problems finding peanuts and sunflower seeds in vending machines. In fact, different flavors of each are common. For those hankering for a sweet snack, honey-roasted peanuts or even peanut M&amp;Ms fare better than sugar-laden candy bars. Mixed nuts are the ideal snack in the late afternoon when you&rsquo;re running on empty until dinner. Since the human body slowly digests monounsaturated fat, which is found in nuts and seeds, this path provides longer-lasting energy and an extended &ldquo;full&rdquo; feeling.</p> <h2>Choose Salty Snacks Wisely</h2> <p>Bagged goodies can hit the spot for those looking for a salty snack. The key is avoiding potato chips packed with simple carbohydrates. Too many simple carbs cause a short-lived energy boost and then a crash. However, Lays&rsquo; line of baked potato chips, Sun Chips, and reduced-fat popcorn serve as healthy alternatives. Generally low in calories and fat, these snacks have some fiber. Pretzels are a safe alternative, too, although they have little nutritious value. Whole-wheat cracker sandwiches with either cheese or peanut butter come with complex carbohydrates, the good kind. Not only do good carbs keep us full and more energized, but they also keep us alert for a longer period of time.</p> <h2>Use Fruits to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth</h2> <p>Candy bars, breakfast bars, and baked goods get us salivating. But like fatty potato chips, these overly sweetened indulgences contain tons of simple carbohydrates. Again, we get an abbreviated energy boost and then crash. Instead, look for fruit or fruit-based nibbles to satiate a dessert craving. Fig Newtons are exemplary in this role as they&rsquo;re low in fat and calories.</p> <h2>Hydrate</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s important to drink plenty of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-water-can-save-you-977-a-year">water</a> even if you&rsquo;re not doing anything that&rsquo;s physically tasking. Dehydration may be masked as hunger, so try satisfying that hungry feeling with water. Avoid sodas, as they&rsquo;re overloaded with sugar, empty calories, and simple carbohydrates. Energy drinks are seldom nutritiously different than soda. Water is the best choice, followed by sweet tea or flavored water.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-eat-healthyish-from-vending-machines">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-starbucks-savings-hacks-that-actually-work">7 Starbucks Savings Hacks That Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-cheap-food">The High Cost of Cheap Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/curing-warts-removing-splinters-and-19-other-bizarre-uses-for-banana-peels">Curing Warts, Removing Splinters, and 19 Other Bizarre Uses for Banana Peels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-office-potluck-dishes-everyone-loves">20 Office Potluck Dishes Everyone Loves</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink General Tips eat healthy Fast Food healthy snacks Tue, 28 Jun 2011 10:00:35 +0000 Chris Birk 592330 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Make Your Own Popcorn http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-popcorn <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-your-own-popcorn" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016090863Small.jpg" alt="woman eating popcorn" title="woman eating popcorn" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Addictive, fluffy, and crunchy, popcorn is, dare I say it...? The perfect snack.</p> <p>We already know that it makes for great movie noshing. But popcorn can also be one of the healthiest snacks you can make, with three cups of air-popped popcorn coming in at around 90 calories. And humble popcorn can easily satisfy cravings for salty, sweet, and crunchy foods all at once. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-healthy-snacks-that-wont-break-the-bank">6 Healthy&nbsp;Snacks That Won't Break the Bank</a>)</p> <p>Of course, we also know that some of the more popular forms of popcorn &mdash; the movie theater fare and microwave-at-home bags &mdash; and not very healthy. Heck, there's even a lung disease nicknamed &quot;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=3565670&amp;page=1">popcorn lung</a>&quot; that employees at microwave popcorn factories have developed.</p> <p>Thankfully, healthy popcorn is both easy and inexpensive to make at home. Here are a few methods you can try.</p> <h2>On the Stovetop</h2> <p>This is how I usually make popcorn. I add 3 tbsp of olive or vegetable oil to a large pot and start to heat it over medium-high heat. Then I add a 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels and cover. As soon as it starts to pop, I put on oven mitts and shake the pot, still over the heat. The kernels will begin popping rapidly. When the popping slows down, remove the pot from the heat. Don't wait until you don't hear any kernels popping; there's a good chance that keeping it on the heat that long will burn the kernels on the bottom.</p> <p>Remove the lid. Be careful &mdash; there might be a lot of steam.</p> <p>If you'd like to make kettle corn, follow the same basic steps, but add 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 cup sugar at the beginning. Feel free to experiment with more or less sugar and oil to taste.</p> <h2>In the Microwave</h2> <p>You don't need Mr. Redenbacher all up in your business in order to make microwave popcorn. Simply take a brown paper lunch bag, add 1/4 cup of kernels, fold the top of the bag down a few times, and microwave it until the popping stops. You can add oil or butter to the bag before popping, or simply add it after.</p> <h2>Other Methods</h2> <p>If you really love popcorn and plan to make it regularly, there are some tools you can buy specifically for popping it, including <a href="http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&amp;node=1090764#/ref=sr_nr_p_n_feature_browse-b_5?rh=n%3A1055398%2Cn%3A!1063498%2Cn%3A284507%2Cn%3A289913%2Cn%3A289941%2Cn%3A1090764%2Cp_n_feature_browse-bin%3A2447634011&amp;bbn=1090764&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1305068586&amp;rnid=2447616011">hot air poppers</a>, the stovetop <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wabash-Valley-Farms-25008-Whirley-Pop/dp/B00004SU35/ref=sr_1_2?s=kitchen&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1305068586&amp;sr=1-2">Whirley-Pop</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Presto-04830-PowerPop-Microwave-Multi-Popper/dp/B00005IBXK/ref=sr_1_3?s=kitchen&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1305068682&amp;sr=1-3">microwave bowls</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_n_9?rh=n%3A1055398%2Cn%3A!1063498%2Cn%3A284507%2Cn%3A289913%2Cn%3A289941%2Cn%3A1090764&amp;bbn=289941&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1305068737&amp;rnid=289941#/ref=sr_nr_p_n_feature_browse-b_2?rh=n%3A1055398%2Cn%3A!1063498%2Cn%3A284507%2Cn%3A289913%2Cn%3A289941%2Cn%3A1090764%2Cp_n_feature_browse-bin%3A2447638011&amp;bbn=1090764&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1305068741&amp;rnid=2447616011">old-fashioned/theater-style popcorn poppers</a>. If you're seriously considering getting one of those last ones, though, you might also want to reconsider just how much popcorn you're eating.</p> <p>And of course, once the popcorn is popped, you can top it with whatever you want (in fact, some of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/29-alternative-pizza-sauce-ideas">alternative pizza sauces</a> might be quite excellent). If you know of any other particularly delicious topping combinations, please share them in the comments!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-popcorn">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-healthy-and-inexpensive-snack-options">12 Delicious, Healthy, and Inexpensive Snack Options</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fresh-ideas-for-healthy-road-trip-snacks">7 Fresh Ideas for Healthy Road Trip Snacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-pantry-snacks-for-unexpected-guests">Quick Pantry Snacks for Unexpected Guests</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throwing-awesome-parties-on-a-budget">Throwing Awesome Parties on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheaper-and-healthier-20-tasty-energy-bars-you-can-make-at-home">Cheaper and Healthier: 20 Tasty Energy Bars You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink cheap snacks healthy snacks popcorn Wed, 11 May 2011 10:24:09 +0000 Meg Favreau 541083 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Pre-Workout Snacks to Keep You Moving http://www.wisebread.com/6-pre-workout-snacks-to-keep-you-moving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-pre-workout-snacks-to-keep-you-moving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/weight_lifting.jpg" alt="LEGO man lifting a weight" title="LEGO man lifting a weight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For most of us, a balanced meal 4-6 hours ahead of a workout provides enough energy to get through a 30-45 minute routine. But once we start adding intensity and duration, we need a bit more than breakfast or lunch to sustain the workload. That's because after about 60 minutes, we will have burned through the ready stores of glycogen stockpiled in our muscles and livers and begun to burn other sources &mdash; fat and protein.</p> <p>Burning fat during a workout may sound like a good thing (and <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37492881/ns/health-fitness/">some researchers think it can be</a>, occasionally), but it's inefficient. We run out of steam, intensity suffers, and fitness improvements come more slowly. As for protein, our bodies have much better things to do with such an essential ingredient than breaking it down and converting it to energy.</p> <p>A small snack of 200 calories or fewer, 30-60 minutes ahead of a workout can give us just what we need to make the most of every rep. The <a href="http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/7">International Society of Sports Nutritionists</a> suggests a snack that has a ratio of 4-1 or 5-1 carbohydrates to protein. The carbs should come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or other complex carbs that take a while to break down. The protein helps replace some of the protein burned during intense exercise.</p> <p>Lots of small bites fit the bill. Here are six to get you inspired &mdash; and keep your workout motivated.</p> <p>(All nutrient data are from the <a href="http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/">USDA database</a>. cal = Calories, CHO = Carbohydrate, PRO = Protein, F = Fat, in grams.)</p> <h3>1. Banana and Peanut Butter</h3> <p>(1 medium banana: 105 cal, 27CHO, 1PRO, .5F; 1 TBS chunky peanut butter: 94 cal, 3CHO, 4PRO, 8F)</p> <p>Take away the bread, and Elvis's favorite sandwich makes a pretty good pre-workout treat. There are plenty of carbs to avoid a late workout slowdown, plus potassium to keep electrolytes balanced and help prevent cramps. If peanut butter is impractical, a handful of almonds is a good substitute for the protein (but not the Elvis impersonation).</p> <h3>2. Protein/Energy Bars (in the Correct Ratio)</h3> <p>It's hard to beat the convenience of these, but watch out for sugar, which will give you the wrong kind of boost too soon in the workout. The goal is to have carbohydrates available at the end of the workout, not to replace glycogen at the beginning. Protein bars will be a little light on carbohydrates, but the energy bars such as those offered by sports drink manufacturers are usually at 4-1 or 5-1.</p> <h3>3. Oatmeal</h3> <p>(1 cup, cooked: 166 cal, 28CHO, 6PRO, 3F)</p> <p>Who knew oatmeal had so much protein? <a href="http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/stella4.htm">Bodybuilders</a>! Plus it's got lots of good, slow-to-digest carbohydrates and fiber, and little fat. Cook your own to avoid the sugary pre-packaged kind.</p> <h3>4. Nonfat Yogurt with Fruit</h3> <p>(1 cup, plain: 137 cal, 18CHO, 14PRO, .5F)</p> <p>Not everyone's stomach can tolerate dairy during a tough workout, but it's hard to beat yogurt as a convenient source of protein. Add some fruit &mdash; perhaps a banana or an apple (95 cal, 28CHO, .5 PRO, .5F) &mdash; to boost the carbs.</p> <h3>5. Trail Mix</h3> <p>(1/2 cup: 346 cal, 34CHO, 10PRO, 22F)</p> <p>Look for a good-quality trail mix with lots of dried fruit, and avoid the chocolaty chunks. Nuts pack a lot of protein &mdash; and a lot of fat. Fortunately, those fats are the <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fat/NU00262">&quot;good&quot; unsaturated fats that lower cholesterol</a> and blood lipid levels. If your trail mix includes flax seeds and walnuts, you're getting Omega-3 fats that can improve heart health, too.</p> <h3>6. Half a Turkey Sandwich</h3> <p>(2-3 oz. turkey: 60 cal, CHO1, 13PRO, .5F; whole wheat bread, 1 slice: 69 cal, 12CHO, 4PRO, 1F)</p> <p>Pack this ahead of time with your lunch, and it's almost as convenient as an energy bar. Packaged sliced turkey is usually higher in sodium and fat (the &quot;bad&quot; fat) than freshly sliced turkey from the deli or meat counter. A slice of tomato and a dab of mustard make this more delicious and won't slow you down.</p> <p>After you've finished at the gym, your pre-workout bite helps your body rebuild its glycogen stores for tomorrow's workout. You can accelerate that process by drinking something that's in the same 4-1 or 5-1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio. There are lots of options here, including sports and recovery drinks, but none are simpler or more effective than an old favorite &mdash; a glass of <a href="http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20100604/chocolate-milk-refuels-muscles-after-workout">nonfat chocolate milk</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a post by Lars Peterson from our sister blog, <a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/">Healthy Theory</a>. Visit Healthy Theory for more health tips and news.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/10-minute-vegetarian-it-s-ok-to-just-go-part-time">10-Minute Vegetarian: It's OK To Just Go Part-Time</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/how-to-avoid-injuring-yourself-shoveling-snow">How To Avoid Injuring Yourself Shoveling Snow</a><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/a-good-night-s-sleep-is-a-weapon-against-childhood-obesity"><br /> </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/organic-milk-consistently-better-quality">Organic Milk Consistently Better Quality</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/acai-berry-a-beginners-guide">Acai Berry: A Beginner's Guide </a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-theory">Healthy Theory</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pre-workout-snacks-to-keep-you-moving">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-ultimate-green-workout">The Ultimate &quot;Green&quot; Workout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-in-defense-of-food">Book review: In Defense of Food</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fitness-for-people-who-hate-exercise">Fitness For People Who Hate Exercise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-foods-scientifically-proven-to-increase-your-lifespan">6 Foods Scientifically Proven to Increase Your Lifespan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-steps-to-weight-loss">Small, Cheap Steps to Weight Loss</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Health and Beauty exercise healthy snacks nutrition workout Mon, 31 Jan 2011 15:00:46 +0000 Healthy Theory 486490 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Healthy PTO Fundraising Ideas for the New School Year http://www.wisebread.com/4-healthy-pto-fundraising-ideas-for-the-new-school-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-healthy-pto-fundraising-ideas-for-the-new-school-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3397791868_9748d7fa9f.jpg" alt="boxed fruit" title="boxed fruit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many school programs, such as band, cheerleading and Parent Teacher Organizations rely on fundraising activities to pay for equipment, activities, field trips and supplies. A study conducted in 2000 found that 80 percent of schools nationwide participate in some form of fundraising. However, most of those catalog sales and events tend to focus on unhealthy foods.</p> <p>The most popular fundraising programs sell candy bars and high-fat baked goods, according to an educational report called &quot;<a href="http://www.cspinet.org/schoolfundraising.pdf">Sweet Deals: School Fundraising Can Be Healthy and Profitable</a>&quot; by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Just Googling &quot;School Fundraisers&quot; will lead someone to one of the most commonly conducted catalog fundraiser: the sale of cookie dough.</p> <p>In school cafeterias, food service departments are under increased pressure to provide more healthful foods due to the dramatic increase in childhood obesity over the past 20 years. Studies also show that healthy kids learn better &mdash; good nutrition is linked to better behavior and academic performance. So why are the fundraisers promoting junk food? You can have a profitable fundraiser offering more healthful options.</p> <h2>Fresh Fruit</h2> <p>The most obvious healthy fundraiser is the sale of fresh fruit. The website <a href="http://www.800apples2.com">www.800apples2.com</a> offers navel oranges, red grapefruit, apples (red, golden and granny smith), and tangelos. They also have variety gift boxes and gift baskets of fruit. According to the organizations, even a small group of 15 people selling an average of 20 boxes each can make a profit of $2100. <a href="http://www.floridaindianrivergroves.com/firg_welcome.asp">Florida Indian River Groves</a> is another fruit fundraising option. The company suggests navel oranges and red grapefruit, because they are most popular.</p> <h2>Coffee</h2> <p>Why not try some gourmet coffee? Recently, many studies have found that the once-restricted beverage actually has many healthy benefits, such as lowering the risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease and colon cancer. <a href="http://www.school-fundraisers.com/coffee/index.html">The Ultimate Beverage Collection</a> includes coffee, hot cocoa, cappuccino, chai, iced tea, smoothies, and gift sets/beverage mugs. Prices range from $10 to $18 and the PTO can get a 40-50% profit on sales.</p> <h2>Nuts</h2> <p>Try some gourmet nuts instead of candy bars this year. <a href="http://www.school-fundraisers.com/gourmetnuts/index.html">Mascot Pecan Shelling Company</a> offers pecans, peanuts, and cashews among its more healthy offerings (just watch out for the ones marked &quot;glazed&quot; as these are much higher in sugar and calories). While nuts can be high in calories, they are also full of beneficial nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants including vitamin E and selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Just remember to keep portion sizes around one to two ounces per day.</p> <h2>Events and Activities</h2> <p>Instead of a fundraiser around food, plan an event for learning (such as a book fair) or physical activity (a walk-a-thon or fun run). <a href="http://www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/">Scholastic book fairs</a> are among the most popular for schools because they also offer the option of using some of the proceeds toward improving the school library.</p> <p>Hosting a <a href="http://www.ptotoday.com/pto-today-articles/article/615-organizing-a-fun-run">fun run</a> can be a challenge, especially the first time, but it is a great way to promote physical activity. After determining the date, time and location, other factors to consider are distance (for children, the best is between two and four miles), how the money will be raised (flat rate or donation per mile; you can also ask local businesses for sponsorships), and whether or not you will offer concessions and t-shirts (which can also bring in money).</p> <p>Creating healthful after school activities and fundraising events reaps its rewards in healthy, happy kids &mdash; and isn't that what it's all about?</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Denise Reynolds from our sister blog, <a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/">Healthy Theory</a>. Visit Healthy Theory for more health tips and news.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/beat-bad-breath">Beat Bad Breath</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/too-much-exercise-too-much-of-a-good-thing">Too Much Exercise = Too Much of a Good Thing?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/tips-for-eating-healthy-while-on-vacation">Tips for Eating Healthy while on Vacation</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.healthytheory.com/exercises-for-the-office">Exercises for the Office</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-theory">Healthy Theory</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-healthy-pto-fundraising-ideas-for-the-new-school-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-signs-you-were-raised-by-healthy-parents">30 Signs You Were Raised by Healthy Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-reasons-you-should-eat-more-chocolate">15 Reasons You Should Eat More Chocolate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/train-now-for-a-summertime-family-cycling-trip">Train Now for a Summertime Family Cycling Trip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Health and Beauty fundraising healthy snacks school Mon, 02 Aug 2010 17:09:29 +0000 Healthy Theory 192144 at http://www.wisebread.com