With summer nearly here, that means it’s time to hit the road, the beach, or the trail. Instead of stopping for fast food or a convenience store on the way to your summer destination, bring a healthy snack along, preferably one that doesn’t need refrigeration like homemade trail mix. This recipe can be made gluten free by omitting the Cheerios and adding two more cups of your favorite variety of Gluten Free Chex. (Note that Wheat Chex and Multi-Bran Chex are not gluten free.) If you or your children have nut allergies, omit the Planters Energy Mix and use pine nuts or sunflower seeds. Or you can add more dried fruit, raisins, or shredded coconut. Get the kids to help you make some Healthy Trail Mix, especially if they want custom blends without coconut or with more of their favorite dried fruit – or chocolate!
You can find coupons for Cheerios, Chex, Planter’s Energy Mix, and more at everydayhealthyvalues.com. You can also connect with Everyday Healthy Values on Twitter @Evrydyhealthval and Facebook at facebook.com/EverydayHealthyValues.
Healthy Trail Mix
This is a great snack for hiking, hanging out at the beach, taking to summer camp, or with you on family car trips.
- 2 cups Cheerios (any variety)
- 2 cups Gluten Free Honey Chex
- 2 cups Gluten Free Corn Chex
- 2 cups Gluten Free Rice Chex
- 2 cups raisins and/or dried fruit pieces
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 2 cup Planters Energy Mix Nut-Rition Mixed Nuts
- Combine ingredients together in large bowl.
- Store into plastic zipper bags or airtight containers.
The secret to a successful movie night is preparation. Seriously! Now I know what you’re thinking – just turn on a movie, sit on the couch, and watch it, right? Not at my house.
First, there’s the movie selection – do it beforehand! My husband is the type of guy who’ll sit there for half an hour with the remote going through the movie selections on our favorite movie streaming service. The kids and I inevitably get bored and we end up leaving the room or watching something on regular TV. So much for movie night! Instead, I put movies in my movie queue that I think we’ll all like. I even discuss movie choices with my husband way in advance. Anything to get him to make a decision!
Second, now that we’ve picked a movie, where will we watch it? Downstairs in our media room with the not-super-comfortable couches, awesome surround sound, and big HD TV? Or in our room, with the smaller TV, no surround sound, but the oh-so-comfy bed? Will the kids and dog be joining us? (Downstairs, probably.) Or is it just the two of us? (Our room!)
Third, start the movie early! My son literally passes out by 9 pm. So, there’s no point in starting a two hour movie at 8 pm. For us this means starting dinner early, too, or planning to eat dinner on trays while we’re watching that night’s movie selection.
Fourth, have your snacks and drinks prepared ahead of time. This is the true secret to movie night and means always keeping Pop Secret popcorn in the pantry! My favorite is the 94% Fat Free butter flavored variety since it tastes great and only has on 2 grams of fat per popped serving. We also like to nosh on slices of gourmet cheese and fruit. And don’t forget the napkins and the drink coasters before the movie starts!
Fifth, get comfy! My family prefers watching movies in our PJs, slippers and robes or in loungewear. Also, we make sure to bring several throws for us – and the dog – since it gets cold in the media room. Finally, a reminder to take a potty break before pressing play is a good idea, too.
What’s your secret to having a successful movie night?
Check out the Pop Secret Labs
At Pop Secret, we love movies as much as you love movies. So we’re on a mission to make movie watching and popcorn even more social and fun. We’re sharing a bunch of apps, tools, and fun partnerships with everyone over at our hub, Pop Secret Labs. Keep checking back to try ‘em all out and give us feedback. The more you get involved, the better all of our movie experiences will be. See you there!
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pop Secret via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pop Secret.
One of the biggest joys of becoming a mom was learning that my children make me laugh, especially my daughter, Lucie. Besides being artistic, cute and super smart, Lucie has a hidden talent – she’s a ham. She does a great Honey Boo Boo impersonation and can make her tummy roll like a belly dancer’s. She’s also good at making our dog, Nellie, leap high in the air to get a treat. (Leaping is Nellie’s hidden talent, along with sneaking chips.) She even dances with the dog, even though Nellie doesn’t like it all that much.
Her antics crack me up. I’m sure it’s only because I’m her mom, but I find great joy in these hidden talents of hers!
Green Giant’s hidden talent
The folks at Green Giant have a hidden talent, too! Their giant surprise is that they’ve brought the goodness of vegetables into their new Veggie Snack Chips!
Green Giant sent me their two new chip varieties to try out – Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips and Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips. Both are tasty and a snack you shouldn’t feel too guilty about indulging in (in moderation, of course.) Unfortunately, some of the ingredients of the tortilla chips were things I avoid, like whey due to my food sensitivities, and hydrogenated soybean oil, which I feel isn’t all that healthy even if there’s 2% or less of it in the snack. (You can see the nutritional information on Green Giant's Facebook page on the Veggie Snack Chips tab.)
However, I was really excited when I looked over the ingredient list on the bag of Green Giant’s Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips. Even though they’re not certified to be gluten free, the ingredients seem to be free of the stuff. (If you’re very sensitive to gluten or have celiacs, you should assume that the chips are manufactured on machinery that is exposed to gluten-containing foods. Better to be safe than sorry!)
Green Giant’s Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips contain: whole grain corn flour, sunflower oil, dried sweet potatoes, rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, whole grain buckwheat flour and 2% or less of refiner’s syrup, maltodextrin, sugar, salt, buckwheat fiber, dried honey, and two ingredients to preserve freshness – sodium acid pyrophosaphate and tetra sodium pyrophosphate. Sure some of the ingredients aren’t what you’d use in your kitchen, but it’s a SNACK CHIP, not a salad! If you want a super healthy snack, have some fruit or a green monster smoothie instead.
In addition, Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips (6g fat per 28g serving) have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips (10g fat per 28g serving). So, if you’re jonesing for chips or want to serve a healthier chip at your next party, Green Giant’s Veggie Snack Chips are a good alternative.
What are your hidden talents?
Disclaimer: Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent at www.facebook.com/greengiant.
The folks at Welch’s recently conducted a survey looking at family meal time, which they compiled in the Welch’s Kitchen Table Report. They found that 71 percent of respondents say their families eat dinner together as often as or more than their families did when they were kids.
Over 70 percent of American families use the kitchen table as a place for catching up as a family, playing games, doing homework, or arts and crafts. In fact, 84 percent said that one of their favorite parts of the day is when their family eats together. Nearly 80 percent of respondents say they use their kitchen table for at least eight separate activities together as a family with 94 percent enjoying a family dinner at the table.
Family mealtime serves as the hub of family life with the kitchen table at its core. According to the Kitchen Table Report:
- 75 percent of families eat most meals and snacks in the kitchen.
- 18 percent of parents saying they eat at the couch.
- 3 percent of families say they eat in the car on the go.
- 3 percent of families say they eat in a restaurant or fast food chain.
Families still face challenges
Despite all this good news, families still face challenges since 40 percent of the survey respondents cited the lack of time to cook meals, especially healthy meals, as a top barrier to family mealtimes. The same number cites busy schedules as another reason it is difficult to eat meals together as a family.
That’s why Welch’s put together a Family Mealtime Moments Toolkit that includes family-friendly meal plans, tips on how to help create more family mealtime moments, heart-healthy recipes featuring Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes, and meal makeovers. To learn more about it and Welch’s Kitchen Table Report, visit Welchs.com/KitchenTableReport.
Win $50 worth of Welch’s juice coupons!
To help make family meal time a little easier, Welch’s has given me $50 worth of Welch’s juice coupons to give away to one lucky This Mama Cooks! On a Diet reader.
ONE winner will be chosen at random. You must be willing to send me your full name and mailing address so I can mail out your Welch’s juice coupons via USPS. I’ll announce the winner on this blog. I won't share your mailing info with the public, just your name.
The giveaway is valued at $50 and is only open to legal residents of the United States, 18 years of age and older. No purchase required. Odds of winning based on number of entries. Up to EIGHT entries per person. ONE set of Welch’s juice coupons will be given away. Void where prohibited by law.
Disclosure: I was provided with two packs of coupons – one to facilitate this review and another to give away. All opinions and experiences are my own.
Lucie and I took my mom for English tea at the Madison Tea Room & Garden while she was visiting during Thanksgiving. I highly recommend it as a terrific girls’ day out for lunch. Lucie and her mémé loved it. And any excuse to wear funny hats, drink tea, and eat little sandwiches and desserts is A-OK with me, too!