It’s the time of year when kids head back to the classroom — and parents head back to the kitchen for another year of lunchbox anxiety. But there’s no need for packable meals to inspire stress. Here are simple lunches worth a spot in any brown bag, plus some time-saving packaged add-ins that parents can actually feel good about. Read more
Snacking throughout the day is good for your metabolism and helps to prevent dramatic spikes in hunger, but it’s still possible to go overboard. So check your snacking habits: Are you an over-snacker?
When I head to the Food Network offices for a meeting, I always pass by the cutest vending machines that dispense a handful of treats for a quarter (or two). Little did I know that the creator of these perfectly-portioned snacks, Matthew Wagner, lives down the street from me—and that I was friends with his charming wife! Over dinner one night I got the inside scoop on how Wagner Vending came to be. This inspirational story is one I had to share.
Q: The idea of Wagner Vending is to provide small portions of snack foods (like chocolate-covered almonds) without going overboard. How did you come up with the idea to create the company?
I’ve always been into fitness and staying in shape. Ever since I saw my older cousin lifting weights, I became hooked. When I was 12 years old, I decided I wanted to strive for a strong, powerful physique, but I’ve also always had a real sweet tooth. By the age of 26, I lived in New York City and was working as a broker for a large commercial real estate company. The compensation was pure commission and the job was high stress. I was full of energy and drive but I wasn’t happy with the direction of my career. My office had one of those large vending machines which I visited daily after lunch. One day, I bought a bag of M&Ms and as I sat there enjoying my snack I began to contemplate how I could get out of this stressful job — what else I could do? Before I knew it, I devoured the bag of M&Ms and calculated an additional ½ hour of cardio to burn those extra calories. I wished I only ate half the bag or a healthier snack instead. But it’s impossible just to eat ½ the bag once you start. I needed portion control!
And that’s the moment when the idea of my business came to me. My vision was the old-time gum ball machines that were in front of the supermarket—for a coin you’d receive a handful of candy. I wanted to purchase attractive machines and fill them with delicious gourmet and healthy upscale snacks (like dark chocolate almonds and trail mix) and place them in office pantries so people could enjoy a portioned-controlled, healthy treat. So I took a risk, scraped some money together and purchased 6 machines.
The first machines were placed in some of the offices where I’d made real estate deals. I’d swing by the offices daily hoping the machines would empty. In the meantime, I was still working at the real estate firm and would carry in a large suitcase with all of the candy to fill my new venture. I would tell co-workers who inquired that I was carrying workout clothes and my own weights. After two weeks of doing this, I returned to the machines to find them empty. Boy was I thrilled! Finally the day arrived when I said goodbye to commercial real estate and focused on my own vending company, Wagner Vending.
When the company began in 1996, I canvased the entire Empire State Building from the top floor to the bottom to secure accounts. Now in 2013, I have 1,500 machines in offices within New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Serving sizes are key when it comes to healthy snacking: How many times have you reached for a snack only to realize the serving size is far from filling? Curb between-meal cravings with an Earth Balance snack pack. Whether you’re a fan of cheese, peanut butter, popcorn or all three, this bunch has something for you. Each bag has moderate serving sizes (3.5 cups of popcorn comes out to only 140 calories) which are sure to satisfy.
You can buy your own Earth Balance snack pack or enter in the comments for a chance to win one. Just let us know, in the comments, whether you like cheesy, salty or sweet snacks. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, February 22 at 5 p.m. EST.
We’re giving away one snack pack with popcorn and P.B. Popps to three lucky, randomly-selected commenters. You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate with you if you’re a winner.
You may only comment once to be considered and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 to win. For the first day of the giveaway, all entries (answers) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. EST on February 20 and 5 p.m. EST on February 22, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: $20. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.
So tell us, what’s type of snack do you reach for: cheesy, salty or sweet?
Greek yogurt is all the rage lately–just ask Iron Chef Michael Symon who eats the stuff every day. But have you tried it in convenient granola bar form? Made with oats and a dash of honey plus various fruits and nuts, Rickland Orchards gives each bar a Greek yogurt coating to seal the deal.
You can buy your own Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Bars or enter in the comments for a chance to win one. Just let us know, in the comments, your favorite way to eat Greek yogurt. The contest starts at 10:00 a.m. EST today, and ends on Friday, January 25 at 5 p.m. EST.
We’re giving away one sleeve of Rickland Orchards Greek Yogurt Bars (that’s 40 bars!) to five lucky, randomly-selected commenters. You must include your email address in the “Email” field when submitting your comment so we can communicate with you if you’re a winner.
You may only comment once to be considered and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S. states, D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 to win. For the first day of the giveaway, all entries (answers) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. EST on January 23 and 5 p.m. EST on January 25, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of each prize: $55. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a Food Network, 9721 Sherrill Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37932.
So tell us, how do you eat your Greek yogurt?
If you have 5 minutes, then you have time to make a healthy snack (one of my personal favorites). Toast 1 slice of whole grain bread, rub with the cut-side of a halved garlic clove and then with a halved plum tomato. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with kosher or flaky sea salt. (Image courtesy of Food Network Magazine. Use whole-grain bread to amp up the healthfulness of this super-fast snack.)
Maybe you’ll even have enough time to make one for a friend!
What would you make if you only had 5 minutes?
My three kids go gaga over fruit snacks—and they’re not the only ones. You can find them at the movies (in the kids snack pack), in birthday party goodie bags and in school snack or lunch bags. But are these chewy goodies good for our kiddos or just too good to be true?
Fruit snacks run around 80-90 calories per small pouch—which is a reasonable amount of calories for a kids’ snack. They’re free of fat, cholesterol and are very low in sodium. Many also provide vitamins A and C.
A health halo has been placed on baked chips while fried chips have been getting a bad rap. But are you really making a healthy choice when you toss a bag of baked chips into your shopping cart? Let’s take a closer look.
One ounce (about 15 chips) of baked potato chips has 14% fewer calories (153 vs. 131), 50% less fat (10 grams vs. 5 grams) and 67% less saturated fat (3 grams vs. 1 gram) than traditional potato chips. If you’re looking at the calories and fat alone, then you would assume it was the healthier choice.
Some of the more popular brands of veggie chips are much lower in sodium than traditional varieties. One ounce of Original Terra Chips contains 50 milligrams of sodium while an ounce (about 15 chips) of traditional potato chips contains over three times that amount (180 milligrams). The amount of salt, however isn’t always lower in veggie chips. Some brands contain even more than potato chips and other snack foods.
Both potato and veggie chips usually contain 10 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C, but some varieties of veggie chips (like sweet potato) also contain 50 percent of your recommended amount of vitamin A.