I’m addicted to Trader Joe’s on the whole, but I recently picked something up at TJ’s and now there is a I-need-a-handful-every-time-I-pass-by-the-kitchen problem. Let me present to you the culprit:

They seem innocent enough – 15 cookies for 110 calories and low in fat. But, 15 cats (I mean cookies) can become 30 or 45 pretty easily and it seems pretty silly to waste that many calories on something that provides no nutritional value.

I think this is a common occurrence for snacks. The serving size just doesn’t equal the amount you need to be satisfied – think about pita chips, M&M’s, etc. Rather than throwing away the tub, I am controlling the behavior by:

  • No handfuls – take a small cup or plastic bag and count out 15 cookies
  • Limit myself to one serving size a day

Does anyone else have advice for a snack that is addicting? Or would you just throw the tub away?


A little pumpkin butter with my pumpkin pie muffins? Don’t mind if I do. I love all things fall, so when the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Muffins came up on Ellie in My Belly I was pretty stoked. This muffin recipe is extremely easy. I like that there’s no butter, a reasonable amount of sugar, its high in Vitamin A, and less than 200 calories per muffin (nutrition label after recipe). I don’t like that its low in fiber which guarantees I’ll be hungry in less than 2 hours. Next time I make these I’ll add ground flax or something else to boost the nutritional benefits. Overall though, they are delicious. After eating two muffins in one day, I had to distribute the muffins at the office (unanimously liked).  Thank you Oddball Oven Mitt for picking a yummy fall recipe and for hosting this week.

pumpkin pie


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-grain pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon – increased to 2 teaspoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg used 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsulphered molasses didn’t have so replaced with part maple syrup, part agave
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk used 3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds sprinkled with cranberries


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and 1 egg until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.

nutrition facts

People find it hard to eat healthy at the office. Here’s are some recent survey results released by Women’s Health Magazine:

  • 63% think eating healthily at work is a challenge
  • 35% say their company provides access to candy
  • 28% are satisfied with the healthy snack options at work

I don’t know the specifics of the survey, i.e. sample size, geography, age, etc. Even without seeing the details though, I do know that staying healthy at the office is a challenge because I see it everyday. There’s always baked goods and chocolate, its always someone’s birthday, meetings are catered with unhealthy options, and the cafeteria makes it unclear how much oil or heavy cream are at play. And, of course there is the 3pm slump that makes you head in the direction of the soda and vending machines that are readily available.

So, I am not here to preach, but rather to make recommendations of what I have found to be helpful for staying healthy at the office and avoiding all the tempting unhealthy stuff.

Desk Drawer

What you see here is my desk drawer! Needless to say I have no idea where the vending machine at my work is located. Why would I need it, when I have everything I could possibly want?

Healthy Office Snacks in my Desk Drawer

  • Agave Syrup (sweeter than honey and lower glycemic index)– add to my oatmeal or yogurt
  • Truvia – add to my coffee, I don’t know if this is the best alternative, but Splenda scares me
  • Wasa Rye Crackers (2 crackers 60 calories) – missed lunch? No problem: spread tuna and have hummus in fridge
  • Cocoa Powder – love to mix this in my oatmeal or granola for a dessert feel
  • Chopped Dates – running to meeting, grab a quick handful, 1/3 cup 120 calories, 0g fat
  • Canned Tuna – missed lunch? No problem: spread tuna and have hummus in fridge
  • Veggie Booty – afternoon salty craving, portioned perfectly to 130 calories
  • Chocolate covered espresso beans – sometimes you need chocolate and energy in one
  • Apple – perfect snack, I buy 4 on Monday and eat one a day
  • Pumpkin Butter – spread on Wasa
  • Low Fat Rocky Road Cookies – special treat with a cup of tea on a non-hectic afternoon
  • Mixed Nuts – handful if I’m working out right after work OR sprinkle in yogurt

It must look like a lot of food. I also keep a few things in the fridge – yogurt, hummus, salsa, cut up veggies. But, honest, I don’t sit around and eat all day. I have yogurt in the morning and I add whatever I have on hand. There’s always an apple, and usually one other snack. The key to eating healthy at the office though is being prepared. Sunday I cut up the veggies and on the way to work Monday I get apples, yogurt, and whatever gaps need to be filled.

What are your tips for staying healthy at the office?

You may have seen the Healthy BBQ Pizza last week, and this is a continuation to that healthy game day party you just might throw.  There’s no reason to leave a Game Day party feeling gross and if you’re hosting not only does everyone leave feeling good but you have a chance to show others how to “make-over” traditional bar food into a healthier version.

To make a healthy buffalo wing, we went through 4 different recipes and enlisted 8 tasters. We tried everything: grilling, light frying, baking, broiling, panko, cornflakes, wings, breasts, sauces. (This effort is part of a bigger project: A healthy lifestyle blog for sports fans).

4 types of wings

As shocking as it was – the simplest of the four recipes was best. 2 ingredients and a few steps is all you need.


  • 24 Wings (used non frozen)
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce – (buffalo wing sauce is different that just hot sauce. It already includes the butter flavoring so you don’t actually have to use butter.)
  • Total Cost:  $10.18 – and that is for 24 wings.  Most bars charge almost that for just 12…


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet, broiler pan, basically anything that can go in the oven with out blowing up by placing some aluminum foil over it.  Place this pan in the center of the oven.
  3. Take the NAKED wings (don’t add sauce), place them on the aluminum foil and BAKE them for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees measured with a meat thermometer, but really, as men you should be able to eyeball when chicken is done by now
  4. Move the baking sheet to the top rack of the oven.
  5. BROIL the wings for ~10 minutes, Flip the wings, and BROIL for about ~5 minutes. You are looking for the wings to start to crisp up — but don’t burn them.  This step is the key to getting the wings crispy and tasting like they do at the bar.
  6. Remove wings from oven, and throw into a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of buffalo wing sauce (just pour generously). Toss the wings around until they are thoroughly coated.

wings in bowl

Nutritional Information – about 100 calories per wing compared with the typical bar wing that is 180 calories.

If you’re smart, than by now you should be thinking what about the blue cheese? A blue cheese dunk adds an additional 90 calories to each bar wing, bringing a dozen wings (ordered at a bar) to a total of 3,240 calories.

To find a healthy dip we tried several low-fat and non-fat dressings, but the clear winner was a 2 ingredient homemade dip. (It was so good several tasters started eating it by the spoon full).


  • 1 container of non-fat Greek Yogurt (6 oz)
  • 1 small block of reduced fat Blue Cheese


  1. Using a grater, grate about 1/3 cup of blue cheese.
  2. Stir blue cheese into yogurt to give it a nice chunkiness.
  3. Store dip in fridge until ready to eat so it provides the coolness against the hot wings.

Nutritional Information – about 15 calories for a tablespoon. The traditional blue cheese dip at the bar is about 90 calories a tablespoon. Not bad, huh?

Do you have any healthy game day recipes you’d like to share?

Buffalo Chicken Wings on Foodista

pumpkin with border

Have you ever seen those books of “Eat This, Not That”? I’m pretty sure they put muffins on the Not list. Looking at these stats, I can see why:

Whole Foods – Banana Nut Muffin

  • Calories: 510, Fat: 21g, Carbs: 77g, Sugar: 34g

Panera Bread – Pumpkin Muffin

  • Calories: 530, Fat: 20g, Carbs: 81g, Sugar: 47g

Starbucks – Banana Nut Muffin

  • Calories: 460, Fat: 22g, Carbs: 61g, Sugar: 40g

But, I want Muffins! So lets make healthy pumpkin muffins. In fact, lets make them as nutritious as oatmeal and as delicious as a cookie. Butter is replaced with banana and pumpkin butter, and I’ve used whole-wheat flour, oats, and a mix of pecans and walnuts.


  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
  • ½ cup pumpkin
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup pecans and walnut mix


  1. Preheat oven to 400 and spray muffin pan with cooking spray
  2. Mix all wet ingredients in one bowl.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients in another. Create a hole in the middle and pour wet ingredient mix into the space.
  4. Fold ingredients together with as few stirs as possible. This will prevent to much air from getting in.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Nutritional Info: One muffin come in at 180 calories, Fat 8g, Carbs 25g, Fiber 2g, 4g protein

To-go: They freeze easily so just stick in the freezer and grab with you to pop in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.

Cost:  $.40 a muffin!

After my rant of 5 things I hate, I’d like to share 3 of my favorite snacks. These are sooo easy to put together, nutritious, and tasty.blueberry and yogurt

Morning light + Photos = Success

  • Blueberries
  • Organic Non Fat Plain Yogurt
  • Squirt of Honey or Agave to sweeten

Combine 1 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup berries. Mix it all up.

~180 calories, 0 g fat, 15 g protein

apples and almond butter

  • 1 Apple
  • 1 tbsp of nut butter – I heart almond butter and honey roasted peanut butter

Slice up apple and smear with peanut butter. Delish!

~170 calories, 4 g fiber, 4 g protein

hummus and veggies

  • Cut up veggies
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • Crackers

Make a spread, and fill up.

~200 calories, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein

You’re probably thinking, yeah, this looks nice, but its much easier to grab something that’s packaged. I find that if I just set aside a little time on Sunday this is pretty easy too. Not to mention healthier, cheaper, and tastier. I keep a big container of yogurt, hummus, and almond butter in the fridge at home and work, cut up veggies on Sunday for the week, and keep whole grain crackers and apples in my desk drawer.

What are your favorite snacks?

granola bar with frame002It seems like many of the people I am surrounded by are running marathons or half-marathons. There’s talk of training schedules, group meet-ups, and knee and hip pain. Seeing as I have no interest of running long distances, instead of training with my friends, I am offering:

Marathon Training Granola Bars.

Did you know:

  • Your body can store enough “fuel” for only 2 hours of exercise?
  • Honey and Gatorade are great for after exercise, but not pre-run?
  • If you eat the correct foods pre-run, you can postpone hunger?

Many of the energy bars on the market are “glued” together by a sticky sweetener, like honey. Because honey is a high-glycemic carb it provides energy in one burst rather than fueling for the entire training session. To avoid this burn out, my granola bars are held together by mashed banana and applesauce. That’s right – this bar has no added sweetener, no eggs, its just whole grains, nuts, dried fruit, and fresh fruit. So, yes, its vegan. Its ideal fuel to power through a tough work-out.


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups Kamut
  • 3 small bananas (about 2 cups, as ripe as possible)
  • ¼ cup organic unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup cherries
  • 1 cup mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts)
  • ¼  cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ coconut
  • ¼ flax seeds
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Special thanks to Stephanie for the base of the recipe, and especially for the ratio of banana and applesauce to dry ingredients.


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mash bananas to get them as creamy as possible. Mix in applesauce and vanilla extract and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Use 2 cups of some sort of oats, 2 cups kamut (low in calorie and acts as good filler), and 3 cups of any combination of nuts, dried fruit, and seeds
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet mix
  5. Spray down a cooking pan and spread mixture across. About ½ inch thick. This made 18 bars for me so I needed to pans.
  6. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Allow tray to cool for at least an hour in the refrigerator before cutting bars.
  8. Once cooled, and cut, wrap bars up individually.

Cost –$0.50 cents per bar. Most energy bars are $1.50 – $2.00 so you are saving about $20-$30 and fueling your body exactly how you want.

Quantity – 18 bars

Nutritional Information – most bars that have this much goodness (nuts, chocolate, dried fruit)  are 180-230 calories. This bar comes in at about 130 calories. That’s what happens when you take out the gooey sticky stuff and replace with fruit. I promise you, this bar is sweet and you will miss nothing.

marathon granola bars

Veggies are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, and they are low in calories. However, its hard to get veggies on the go. They aren’t in vending machines, you can’t grab like an apple, and its not as easy as a handful of almonds.

omelet try 2

Here’s one solution: frittata. A frittata is an omelet that you add veggies, meats, and cheeses to, and cook on stovetop until its almost ready, but finish it up in the broiler. (125 Calories, more than 15 grams of protein, and 89% of your daily Vitamin C)

You might be wondering what’s “on-the-go” about that. Well you make it, divide it up, put in Tupperware and bring anywhere. Super Easy! Look below for proof.


  • 8 to 10 cups of any veggies your heart desires (I bought 3 cups broccoli, 2 cups spinach, 2 cups tomatoes, 3 cups mushrooms)
  • 6 egg whites, 2 eggs (yolk and white)
  • 1/3 cup low fat sharp cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like)
  • Spices- Italian medley, pepper, salt


1. On medium heat, in a skillet, add all vegetables and spices and cook until they almost done. You should be able to get away with cooking spray and a few splashes of water rather than using oil.

step 1 2. Add beaten eggs and beaten egg whites. I like to beat the egg whites separately to get more fluff.

3. Add cheese.

4. Break up mixture and stir until some eggs are cooked but there is still liquid remaining.

step 2 5. Place in broiler until the top gets golden brown (5-10 minutes).

step 3

Break it up into portions. I made this into 6 meals, but you could make them smaller. You can throw into the freezer and nuke it, or just keep in the fridge and grab with you on the go for a morning (or anytime) fix. I keep a few in the fridge at work…much healthier, satisfying fix in the afternoon than vending machine crap.

step 5Just waiting in my fridge to be grabbed. Nutrition information above is per portion (I made 6 portions).

Homemade granola is my constant…I add it into my yogurt, grab handfuls, bring it on hikes, and share it with friends. So, whats in my granola? Once I started to go through the ingredients, I began to doubt that what I make is really called granola, yet its not trail mix, maybe its a glorified cereal? However, the definition of granola is: A mixture of grains, dried fruits, nuts, and/or seeds, toasted and eaten as cereal or snack. Its granola after all!

lovely granola redo

The short of it: buy what you like from bulk bins at a natural food store and mix it all up.

granola label

Makes about ten 1 cup servings, ~200 calories per serving.

The long of it: Most grains, seeds, nuts, and dried fruit are packed with nutrients so as long as you get  a variety there’s no wrong way to mix it. Here’s a look at the nutrients I get every single day:

Organic Kamut Puffs (kah-moot)- The puffs are light (duh) and slightly sweet, almost caramel-ly but with no added sugar or salt. kamutThe kamut kernel is several times larger than the more commonly used wheat kernel and is nutritionally superior with 20–40% more protein, higher in lipids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

Organic Multigrain Cereal – made with a blend of wheat, barley, quinoa, spelt and just lightly sweetened with honey. Contains 5 grams of fiber per serving and most importantly adds a crunch to the mix.natures path cereal

Almonds – high in monounsaturated fats which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Good dose of magnesium (improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body) and potassium (mineral that is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function)

Cashews – lower in fat that other nuts, promotes good cardiovascular health (see almonds)

Walnuts – Excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids (a fat that the body cannot make), which promotes cardiovascular healthy, better cognitive function, and anti-inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and eczema. Wow. mixed nuts

Rolled Oats – remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream

Dried Cherries – high level of antioxidants, which may prevent cancer, aging, and heart disease

Apricot -Contains antioxidants, particularly good source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene to promote good vision

Dates – Its nature’s candy…need I say more? I will because dates contain oil, calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium. They are a powerhouse all on their own. A date a day for all…

apricotsGinger – Effective digestive aid

Sunflower Seeds – Contains antioxidants, particularly good source of Vitamin E which neutralizes free radicals

Pumpkin Seeds – good source of the minerals including magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus 

So get to your natural food store and make the bins your adult version of a candy store. Its cheaper, healthier, and made for you, by you.