Our Favorite Non-GMO After-School Snacks

What does “back to school” mean to you? For me, it means less time with my precious kiddies, hectic mornings, and homework. It also means lots and lots of playdates.  Some days I come home from pickup with two kids, and other days I come home with as many as five.

I’ll give you one guess what they all want as soon as we walk through the front door.  If you said food, you guessed correctly.  They eat lunch pretty early in the day, so you can’t really blame them.  When it’s just my own kids, I offer them fruit and/or nuts, but other people’s kids aren’t always satisfied with those options.  So for playdate days, I try to have something that better resembles the snacks they’re used to having at home without serving them anything I wouldn’t want my own kids to eat.

Non-GMO After-School Snacks

Here are some of my top gmo-free picks for this back-to-school season.  Reach for these when you’re in the mood for something that’s both yummy and nutritious.  Each one has proven to be a hit with my kids and their friends!

The Little Kernel Mini Popcorn

The Little Kernel Mini Popcorn

Popcorn is my go-to snack when I’m not in the mood for fruit or nuts.  It’s a satisfying, whole grain treat that I feel good about eating.  Choose the wrong brand, however, and instead of a healthy snack, you end up with something that’s chemical-filled and not so good for you.  The Little Kernel is one of the brands you can depend on to give you the delicious popcorn you’re looking for but without any of the artificial ingredients.  It’s popped in 100% pure olive oil, and in addition to being non-gmo, it’s also dairy-free, gluten-free, and kosher.  The Little Kernel is described as featuring a hulless, miniature kernel, but I’d say it’s more like mostly hulless.  A little hull is okay with me, as that’s where most of the polyphenols are, but these are softer and easier on the gums while still retaining that popcorn crunch we all love.  My favorite Little Kernel variety is Naked–just popcorn and olive oil.  I like the taste of popcorn and don’t feel the need to mask it, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, it’s available in other great flavors too, like Butter, White Cheddar, Sweet and Salty, Truffle Sea Salt, and Pink Himalayan Salt.

KIND Fruit Bites

KIND Fruit Bites

I can’t say enough good things about KIND.  I’ve talked about how much I love their various bars, but they’ve really hit a home run with their new Fruit Bites.  The ingredients are super simple and written in large letters on the front of the package:  fruit.  Just fruit.  Seriously.  No juices, no purees, and definitely no extra sugar.  They’re deliciously chewy and naturally sweet, and I can’t stop eating them.  KIND Fruit bites are currently available in Mango Pineapple Apple, Strawberry Cherry Apple, and Cherry Apple flavors.

gimME Organic Seaweed Chips

gimME Organic Seaweed Chips

Did you know that seaweed is a vegetable?  It was news to me.  Seaweed is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and when you combine it with organic brown rice, organic lentils, organic sesame seeds, and organic millet, and you have what I call a “powerhouse snack”.  In this case, it’s a rather addictive one.  We’ve tried other seaweed-based snacks, but the gimME brand is our favorite, hands down.  Unlike others, these snacks aren’t fishy or too salty–two things I find very unappealing.  My son and I are especially fond of the sriracha flavor, and it’s also available in sea salt, teriyaki, and wasabi tamari.  gimME also offers Roasted Seaweed Snacks and Seaweed Thins.

Slammers Snacks

Slammers Superfood Snacks

This might look like just another pouch to you, but I assure you, there’s more to Slammers than that.  Slammers are superfood snacks made with organic fruits and vegetables, and some flavors have more protein than a tablespoon of peanut butter.  While my kids eat plenty of fruit, they’re diet lacks certain “superfood” fruits like acai and pomegranate.  One of these pouches fills in the deficit, and they’re a lot faster and less messy than trying to seed a pomegranate.  You already know we love fruit pouches for when were on-the-go, which is always, but I couldn’t be more excited to have an option that also has protein.  With flavors like Epic, Awesome, Chill’n, and Amped, my kids think these are as fun as they are delicious.

Good Health Eat Your Vegetables

Good Health Snacks

Take a look at my snack cabinet, and you’ll almost always find a giant bag of Good Health Avocado Oil Kettle Chips and another of their Veggie Straws.  They’re what I bring when we visit friends, because they’re delicious and made of simple, non-gmo ingredients.  I recently discovered that Good Health has lots of other options, and believe it or not, they’re even better.  Their Eat Your Vegetables Chips come in 5 different flavors, and each contains a blend of 8 amazing veggies, including carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, beets, and shiitake mushrooms.  And there’s more:  they’ve got pretzels and tortilla chips that are also full of vegetables!  Which ever option you pick, you’ll be amazed by how delicious healthy can be–and they’re all great for dipping too.  Unfortunately, my regular grocery store doesn’t carry these new options, but I’ve been able to get them from Vitacost.

With options like these around, you’ll never need to resort to giving the kids empty calories.  Our better-for-you snacks will keep their bellies full and give them that little boost of energy they need to get through an afternoon of playing and homework.


prAna: Sustainable Clothing for Life’s Adventures + Coupon Code

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

This chaotic world of ours can sometimes leave us feeling powerless–like nothing we do makes a difference.  But that’s not true; the choices you make matter.  Maybe you carpool to work, turn off your lights when you’re not using them, or eat locally-produced food.  It might not seem like a big deal to do these things, but even small actions can have lasting effects on the planet.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens quote from Margaret Mead
While many of us are already taking simple steps toward reducing our environmental footprint, there’s one area we often forget to address:  clothing.  We all wear it (I hope!), but we don’t always think about the enormous impact our fashion choices can make.  Take conventional (non-organic) cotton for example.  For a long time now, I’ve made it a point to buy clothing made of natural materials instead of man-made.  As a result, I’ve got a lot of cotton in my closet, and I was feeling pretty good about it.  Little did I know how much more complicated the situation really is.

Did you know that many MILLIONS of pounds of pesticides are used on cotton crops in the US every year?  Or how about that it takes 11,000 liters of water to make a single pair of jeans?  I was floored by both of those stats, and they’ve definitely made me think twice about my wardrobe.

 

Thankfully, companies like prAna are making it easier to be a conscious consumer. Sustainability is at the heart of every decision they make, from the materials they use to how they package their products. Take a look at their web site, and you’ll find fabric options like organic cotton, recycled polyester, and hemp.  When you open your package, you’ll find that their tags are all made of 100% post consumer recycled paper, they use soy-based inks, and as part of their polybag reduction initiative, they tie the clothing with raffia fiber.  As if that weren’t enough, they were one of the first companies to offer Fair Trade Certified products.  Yeah.  They rock.

prAna

Not only are they committed to sustainable and ethical business practices, but they make some darn cute clothing–and it’s not all yoga pants.  Whether you’re looking for clothes for work, hanging out, or your next adventure, prAna has it covered.  Since it’s Fall, and that’s my favorite time to be out and about exploring the forests and mountains of NJ, I went with something that I thought would be perfect for hiking, and I’m absolutely thrilled with my choice.

prAna Aya Sweater

With the Aya Sweater, prAna has managed to create a wool top that doesn’t make me want to remove it the second it touches my skin.  The recycled wool blend is surprisingly not itchy, and I think the button detail on the sleeves is just adorable.  I love to feel warm and cozy, so this sweater is just the ticket for me.  I only wish they offered this (and other tops) in petite sizes, because the sleeves are a bit long for my short arms.

Their water-repellent, relaxed-fit  Halle Pants are exactly what I needed for our hiking trips.  They’re flexible and very easy to move around in, but they never get more baggy or lose their shape as the day goes on.  The pockets are sort of small, so they don’t add any unflattering bulk to the pants, and they have an additional zip stash pocket hidden on the right leg for larger items like your ID and keys.

prAna Halle Pants Zip Pocket

The zip pocket is definitely handy, but I love the roll up legs even more. [Read more…]


Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+ Giveaway

Have you ever taken protein supplements?  Protein powders have become very popular in recent years, and if you are among the many who have tried them, you might also be among the many who have experienced the bloating and gas they can often cause.  Let’s face it:  no one likes being gassy.  Not only is it uncomfortable (or worse), but it can often indicate that your food is not being digested properly.  Do you know what that means?  To put it as simply as possible, if you’re protein is not being properly digested, then you are not getting the full health benefits of taking it.

Genuine Health Fermented Proteins+

Luckily, the bloating and other digestive issues can be avoided by eating fermented protein products, like the ones from Genuine Health.  If you’re not familiar with the concept of fermentation, it’s a natural process that uses microorganisms to convert carbs into alcohol or organic acids.  During the fermentation process, bacteria break down the protein, effectively “pre-digesting” it and making it more easily utilized by the body.  In the end, the fermented protein is 40% better absorbed than unfermented, and because it’s so easy to digest, you don’t get that unpleasant bloating!

Genuine Health Fermented Proteins+ Bars

Genuine Health offers 100% complete fermented protein from 7 vegan sources, including organic spirulina, alfalfa, mung bean sprouts, organic quinoa sprouts, pea protein isolate, organic hemp, and brown rice.  Their powders and bars are also non-gmo, gluten-free, and soy-free.  Genuine Health was kind enough to send me a few things to try out, and I’ve really been enjoying the yummy fermented protein bars in flavors like peanut butter chocolate and dark chocolate almond. Surprisingly, I think I like the unflavored powder even more.

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

It doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, and it can be mixed into any beverage.  I just add mine to my water, but it would be perfect for a smoothie.  Whether you go with bars or powders, you’ll be impressed by how good you feel after.  You’ll never put up with bloating or gas again.

Sprouts is now offering Genuine Health‘s full line of fermented vegan proteins+ bars and a special edition of their fermented vegan proteins+ powders that features 20 grams of protein per scoop! If, like me, you don’t have a Sprouts near you, try Genuine Health’s Store Finder to find a local option or to purchase it from an online retailer.

You could be a lucky winner of an assortment of Genuine Health fermented vegan proteins+ bars and powders!  This giveaway is open to residents of the US who are 18 or older.  Enter via the Giveaway Tools form below by 10/26/17 at 11:59 PM ET.  Good luck!

Genuine Health Giveaway

[Read more…]


The Ultimate in Halloween Fun & a New VR Arena at iPlay America!

It’s Halloween all month long at iPlay America in Freehold, NJ!

iPlay America - Halloween

My kids always look forward to a trip to iPlay, but a visit in October is an extra treat.   All the normal rides and games are available for them to enjoy, but the whole park is trimmed in the most spooktacular Halloween decor, and a number of Halloween-themed activities await them.  You won’t be surprised when I tell you which activity they wanted to do first.

iPlay America - Trick or Treat Trail

Did someone say candy?  My kids remembered the Trick or Treat Trail from last year, so upon entering the building, they made a mad dash for the first candy-filled cauldron they could find.  There are six stations located throughout the park, and each one has a cauldron loaded with Halloween candy–and it’s the good stuff.  Complete the whole trail, and you can enter to win and iPlay America Birthday Party!  The Trick or Treat Trail is open on Sundays from 12-4.  Five dollars gets you a trick or treat bag, a map, plenty of candy, and whole lot of fun.

Next up was a visit to the iPlay Pumpkin Patch. [Read more…]


Field Station: Dinosaurs – Dinosaurs After Dark

If you thought dinosaurs were intimidating by daylight, just wait until you see them at night!  On Friday and Saturday nights in October, Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia, NJ is hosting Dinosaurs After Dark, where you are invited to see their 32 life-sized dinosaurs after hours–when things are at their spookiest.  Armed with a mini flashlight and a dauntless attitude, visitors explore the darkened trails in search of a missing T-Rex.

Field Station: Dinosaurs

You’ll hunt in a small group led by a knowledgeable and entertaining guide, and you’ll soon find that there’s more out there than just a Tyrannosaurs Rex.

Field Station: Dinosaurs - Dinosaurs After Dark - Dilophosaurus

Surprises lurk around every corner, but don’t worry–your guide will not only protect you from these ferocious beasts, he’ll tell you everything you might want to know about them.

Field Station: Dinosaurs - Raptor Maze

It wasn’t long before my kids were brave enough to do a little hunting on their own.  They were excited to go through the raptor maze and race against each other to be the first to find all three hidden raptors.  My daughter won!

There were a few other stops on the trail designed to help us prepare for an encounter with the rogue T-Rex.  We began with a lesson on how T-Rex’s senses of sight, smell, and hearing affected his nighttime hunting.  Then, the Director of Security and Safety showed us how to defend ourselves the same way dinosaurs like the Ankylosaurus did all those years ago.  The kids had their own senses put to some tests, used their tails to defeat inflatable dinosaurs, and there were even dinosaur-shaped water guns involved.  This opportunity to be actively involved in the instruction made it so much fun for them, and now they feel like dinosaur experts.  It was a good thing too, because before we knew it, our new skills came in handy.

Field Station: Dinsoaurs - T-Rex

We found the T-Rex!  No worries though.  Thanks to the Field Station: Dinosaurs experts, we were more than ready to handle a confrontation with the mighty dinosaur.

You might think that’s where the fun would end, but you’d be wrong. [Read more…]