Healthy Food Review: The Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps

Most pretzels are pretty innocent snacks in terms of calories and fat content (unless they're dipped in  Pretzel Crispschocolate or otherwise evily transformed).  What you have to watch is the sodium as it relates to your overall diet, and also keep in mind that unless you're having whole wheat pretzels (which are not so easily found), it's a white flour, high glycemic product.

Now The Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps also are not whole wheat, but in terms of a low-fat, low-calorie snack food, the give you a lot of flavor and varities that will satisfy your snack cravings.  Seriously, when you have plain pretzels, don't you feel like you really didn't eat anything, and you can easily overeat them if you don't count out a portion? 

With Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, the thin texture and great flavors, really make you feel like you're  eating something.  If I eat a portion of them (11 pretzel crisps, low fat or fat free, and just 110 calories), I'm happy and don't go looking for anything else.  And since I love cheese, a flavor sensation like their Tuscan Three Cheese which will still only set me back 1.5 grams of fat, none of it saturated, same 110 calories, is a big help in keeping me slim.

My husband is a fan of the Snack Factory Buffalo Wing Pretzel Crisps, although he felt they could use

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Emotional Eating: How I Kicked The Ice Cream Habit

There was a time when Baskin-Robbins, along with Ben and Jerry's were among my worst enemies.

And it wasn't even really their fault.  When it came to ice cream, I had no self control.  A scoop of ice  Ice creamcream was like a sample to me.  My portion sizes, I'm sad to say, consisted of pints. 

When the world got too complicated there was Pistachio Almond and Jamocha Almond Fudge from Baskin-Robbins.  When I was lonely there was Pistachio Pistachio and Mint Chocolate Cookie from Ben And Jerry's. 

I remember in the Billy Crystal - Debra Winger comedy movie Forget Paris, there are scenes where Debra Winger's character keeps eating ice cream every time she feels lonely when Billy Crystal's character was traveling as a basketball official, and she had given up her good job when they got married.  In one scene Billy Crystal's character says "why don't you bring along your two best friends Ben and Jerry's."  I could definitely relate.  My husband traveled often for work too.  Still does and that wasn't going to change, so I had to do something about this.

Some people might think it's strange that food can have that kind of grip on you, but if you've ever struggled with emotional eating like I have, it's not hard to understand at all.

I was lucky that I always did work out, so that I didn't turn into a total blimp from my ice cream emotional eating.  But it sure wasn't healthy--physically or emotionally--and kept my weight above where it should have been.  So how did I get out of using ice cream for comfort?

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Fitness Tips: How Not To Be Annoying When Working Out With Weights

My prior post Fitness Tips: How Not To Be Annoying In Gym Class was very popular, so after some recent experiences in the weight room for the umpteenth time, I figured it was time for this sequel--Fitness Tips: How Not To be Annoying When Working Out With Weights.

1.  There's No Need To Let The Entire Gym Know You Are Lifting A Weight   

Sorry, but this one's definitely a guy thing.  We know you're lifting weights.  In fact, the whole gym is well Weight rackaware that you're lifting weights.  We know you're lifting a dumbbell, but there's no need to be one.  Keep it to yourself.  The grunting and groaning is SO unnecessary.  Do you ever hear a woman make that much noise lifting weights?  We know you exist, and we'd prefer you existed much more quietly.

2.  It's Really Not Nice To Leave A Giant Sweat Spot On The Weight Bench When You Leave It

How many times have you finally spied a weight bench after a long wait (pun intended), and when you triumphantly went to rush over to capture it, found a big messy blob of sweat on the bench?  Eeww, right?  Obviously the person who used the bench before that person didn't leave it that way, or they wouldn't have used it.  So what could someone possibly be thinking about when leaving the bench in that condition?  "I hope they didn't see me?"  "I'm leaving my sweat for posterity?" 

Here's a memo for you.  The gym requires you to bring a towel--use it!  And those little paper towel stations with disinfectant spray are not a decoration either!

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Fitness Tips: What's Wrong With This Zumba Class Scene?

Update: 2/12: I'm now an official Zumba Instructor, just completed training with master instructor Jani Roberts!

Recently I noticed a new class member in a couple of my Zumba(R) classes.  Great, the moreObjection lady   
the merrier.  The class member was obviously overweight, but so what?  I gave her mental kudos for making the effort to start doing some regular exercise. 

The Zumba class member must not have a babysitter, because I've seen a little boy on the sidelines each class, and a little girl at times.  That's not so much a problem in my book--when the kids stay on the sidelines that is--but here's what is.  Each class, these children are sitting with a big bag of chips and a bottle of soda.  And the kids are cute, but quite overweight.  Hmm, I wonder how they got that way?

The parent is overweight.  The children are overweight.

The parent is working out to try and improve.  The children are inactive, eating and drinking fattening junk and going downhill.

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Eating Out Healthy: Starbucks Breakfast Sandwich Reduced Fat Turkey Bacon With Egg Whites

The other day after dropping my husband off at the airport on one of those early morning runs that I dread (I am so NOT a morning person), I was at Starbucks to buy yet another Vivanno smoothie, when I realized I was craving something more substantial.  Breakfast sandwich

Starbucks' new Artisan Breakfast and English Muffin breakfast sandwiches had caught my eye the other day when I was in the store, as I noticed that some of them had reduced fat labels and egg whites.  I decided to give the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon with Egg Whites on an English Muffin breakfast sandwich a try. 

Now mind you, I was never a breakfast sandwich type.  When I crave eggs beyond the usual egg white sandwiches and added protein in salads, I like to treat myself to a good omelet out every now and then.  But today was the day to see if a sandwich-sized egg meal could be satisfying enough as well as healthy enough.

Fairly quickly after ordering, I was handed a hot paper bag that contained my Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon with Egg Whites on an English Muffin breakfast sandwich.  The heat held up while I drove

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The Healthy Food Review In Woman's World Magazine

Update:  5/23 We're featured again in another round-up piece on healthy hot dogs for "You Deserve The Best!"

The Healthy Food Review blog was included in a round-up piece for the You Deserve The Best column in the January 24th issue of popular weekly magazine Woman's World out now.Ww_logo

I was asked by the columnist for my opinions as author of Have Your Cheeseburger And Keep Your Health Too! and health blogger for this blog, The Healthy Food Review, on healthy soup choices and I'm so honored that I was included (I'm in the one for Progresso Lentil Soup--please see below).

WW Best of  Healthy Soups

Curious as to how I got this coverage in a major women's national magazine?  Check out the story SEO: The Super Simple Thing That Got Me Media Coverage In A Major Women's Magazine in my other blog What You Know Is Worth More Than You Know(TM) or listen to the story as a podcast episode--How Super Simple SEO Got Me Media Coverage In A Major Women's Magazine--on What You Know Is Worth More Than You Know(TM) The Podcast.

Check out the NEW The Healthy Food Review Facebook Page (and give us a like while you're there please).

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Healthy Food Review Extra Dessert Delights Gum

Update 7/11:  Well apparently my local Super Target is once again the Extra Dessert Delights testing ground as yesterday my husband and I spied a new brown gum package in the product line which is for Apple Pie flavored gum.  This one does live up to the expectation and tastes surprisingly realistic.  First you get a burst of apple, then that classic pie crust flavor kicks in, and then the cinnamon you'd expect.  Apple Pie for just 5 calories--good job!  Imagine the calories you can save at Thanksgiving!

Update 5/11: I recently came across a new flavor of Wrigley Extra Dessert Delights gum at Super Target that was Creamsicle, so more new flavors are on the way.  Regrettably though, my husband and I had to give Creamsicle the thumbs down.  It lost it's taste fast and had a nasty aftertaste after that. Hopefully other new flavors will be like the awesome ones that first came out.

Wrigley Extra Dessert Delights Gum as a healthy food?  I know you're all probably reading that title and are saying "gum?  Give us a break."

I wasn't chewing much gun myself--only when I was flying someplace--up until about a year ago.  And then I started chewing it daily.  What got me into this habit?  Watching The Biggest Loser.

It was during one of those annoyingly obvious product placement segments during the show.  If you watch The Biggest Loser, you know these spots.  Trainers Bob Harper or Jillian Michaels will "stumble upon" a contestant in the kitchen, and start talking about a healthy food that low and behold just happens to be handy, and just happens to be one whose brand name they say over and over.  Wouldn't you just love to see the outtakes where a contestant tastes the food item and says "Gee Bob, that tastes like crap!"  Not going to happen of course.  Dessert

Well, I hate to admit it, but the one for Extra Gum actually worked on me because the suggestion to chew on sugarless gum when you were looking for something to eat either as a treat or because you're  stressed, instead of something with a lot more calories, made sense.  Plus, in theory, this brand of gum supposedly had flavor that lasted longer so you might actually want to chew it for awhile.  So I gave it a try, and yes I quickly became hooked on it, and statred eagerly trying all their different flavors.  My favorites were the Tropical, Watermelon and Berry Smoothie.

Then a few weeks ago when I was traveling with my husband in Chicagoland, I was in a store looking for a pack of gum and I noticed spots for the Extra gum brand were mostly empty, but I could swear one said "chocolate chip." 

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Yes I Do Mean To Be Walking

Today was the first day in months that the stifling heat and humidity finally eased up here while I'm visiting in Florida.  Plus, this past weekend, I had bought a brand new pair of walking Reeboks that were just begging to be laced up and tested out.  The urge was too irresistible, so I put my home office behind me and decided that yes, a walk was in order.

That's when the well-meaning family got in the way.   Walking

First, my lovable husband.  "I have to drop my parents off at the shopping center do you want a lift?"  No, thank you, I'm trying to take a walk.

"OK, but why are you going out of the back of the house instead of the front?"  Because it gets me outside 30 steps sooner, and I can't wait.

Outside.  Peace, finally, so I thought.  I am able to get a bit lost in my reflections as I take in the fresh air, and avoid a bunch of dragon flies that are trying to keep pace with me.  Suddenly a car

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Eating Out Healthy McDonald's Smoothies

Update: There's now Mango Pineapple to choose from as well. I thought a citrus based flavor was missing.  My new fave!

A new healthy smoothie recently appeared on the scene, and it's actually from none other than McDonald's--home of The Big Mac and famous fries. 

McDonald's smoothies are now available as part of its McCafe beverage line in two flavors--there's a  Mcdonalds smoothie   Strawberry Banana McDonald's smoothie and a Wild Berry McDonald's smoothie to choose from.  Both contain low fat yogurt and real fruit.

My tester and I gave them a go one 100 degree plus day in Vegas recently and overall our verdict was that the McDonald's smoothies are refreshing, fairly sweet and despite the fact that they are supposed to be different flavors, it is really hard to distinguish between the two.

The consistency and flavor most closely resembles the Berry Smoothie that Costco sells for about $.75 less a pop (not including the $50 per year membership).

Both McDonald's McCafe smoothies in the small 12 oz. size are 210 calories, half a gram of fat, 2 grams of protein and the Strawberry Banana flavors have 2 grams of fiber, while the Berry Smoothie has 3 grams.

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Food Packaging Labels Hide Portion Sizes Even In Healthy Food Products

You've really got to read the fine print when it comes to food packaging labels!  Question mannequin   

Food manufacturers are getting sneakier and sneakier about hiding the portion sizes to which their nutrition information applies!  Even healthy food labels are not innocent.  

Now I'm usually quite vigilent when it comes to reading food labels. I scan those ingredients for any trace of partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat), high fructose corn syrup, acesulfame potassium, too much saturated fat, and too little fiber and protein.  But what I missed recently was what I felt was a deceptive food package label for a new Clif Bar product.

I decided to give the new Clif Crunch Granola Bar (peanut butter flavor), a try after seeing them on display at a Whole Foods Market during my visit to Chicagoland.  I thought they tasted great, but the way the bar had a separation line in the middle with peanut butter in-between made it more challenging to eat.  I figured, I was used to traditional Clif Bars that are soft and chewy, so I guess I just wasn't used to the hard Clif Crunch Granola Bar.

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