Pre-made meals. Too good to be true?

Before I go away for an extended period (as in more than a weekend), I try to empty the house of all food that could spoil and wreck havoc. That means there are slim pickings the day before we leave and even less upon return. I’ve always thought about making a batch of chili or other freezer meal that I could thaw when I get back, but um, that hasn’t worked out thus far. It’s the thought that counts, right?

This time, though, I was proactive and started researching a few delivery services that specialize in pre-made meals. Because as much as I love my Plated boxes, I knew I wasn’t going to be in any shape to whip up a fancy dinner after 20 hours in the car. Unfortunately, 95% of said services don’t deliver to my area.

With persistence, I stumbled upon GoReadyMade, a company that lets you choose the meals you want while leaving them the dirty work. And, lucky for me – there was a Groupon* that came with a significant discount. This first box included eight meals for $35 (regular price $79.92).

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Milla was so excited to check things out

What I Loved

The Plan – There are several options to fit every need – anywhere from 4-10 meals per delivery.

The Schedule – Pick the delivery days that are best for you and skip the ones that aren’t.

The Options – Select different recipes or all of the same – there are so many choices. Dishes include yummy concoctions like cauliflower mac & cheese, smoky chicken fajitas (pictured below), and sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce.

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The Ease – Many of the meals take less than 5 minutes to heat in the microwave. Just dig in!

The Taste – The dishes were wonderfully seasoned and bursting with flavor. Also, not salty.

The Rewards – You can earn credits when you invite friends to join the service.

What I Didn’t Love

The Calories – Many of the meals are upwards of 700 calories. I try to keep my meals (especially dinner) around 400 calories, so I ended up splitting up several of the meals into two portions and adding a side salad or extra veggie to my plate.

The Size – The meals are advertised as enough for one adult or 1-2 children. The tortellini with tomato sauce was barely enough to keep a toddler full (even my husband remarked on this!), yet had a whopping 750 calories.

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#stillhungry

The Inconsistency – I ordered two portions of the cauliflower mac & cheese, and while one container was nearly full, the other one was only half full. It was disappointing that they weren’t evenly distributed.

The Price – Understandably, you’re going to pay more for convenience, but at this rate, I could pick up burgers and fries for around the same nutritional value and a lot less cash.

Bottom Line: I think there is huge potential for this service, but it just wasn’t for me. While I did like a lot of the features, the calories and price weighed heavily in my stomach. This purchase served as a trial for a long-term solution of incorporating healthy, cost-effective pre-made meals into a weekly rotation. Unfortunately, this service will not be “the one” and the search to give myself a cooking break continues.

 

*Groupon may not be available in all areas and may be subject to change after this posting. Check your local deals for more info!

Go GHOST

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored in part by GHOST. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker Successful. All opinions are my own. Links are not affiliate links, just links to specific pages on ghostlifestyle.com.

This year I began a search for the perfect workout supplements to complement my new intense workout schedule. I’ve been putting my body through the ringer with hours of cardio and resistance training each week, and there have been days when I feel as stiff as the Tin Man. I knew it was time to fuel my body with some good-for-you supplements.20180326_1609461346354529271089403.png

While there are many, many types to choose from, I decided to stick with pre- and post-workout energy and recovery. And so the search commenced for the best-tasting drinks that would also oil my joints.

Enter GHOST

GHOST supplements stand out on the shelves, and for good reason. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, judge away because the products taste as awesome and intriguing as the containers look.

Full Disclosure

GHOST prides themselves on their Full Disclosure label, which provides the dose and detail of each ingredient. You know what you’re getting every time, without the B.S. That’s something I can get behind.

Pre-Workout

My first sip of the GHOST LEGEND x WARHEADS Watermelon pre-workout was a blast from the past. When I say that this tastes exactly like the sour candy, I mean it. And, there’s nothing like shocking your tastebuds (and body) into a 5 am workout. Pucker Up!20180326_1609222881165771260261167.png

The first time I tried it I was AWAKE for hours. I felt like what I can only imagine my 18-month-old Jack Russel feels when she’s excited. Burned over 700 calories dancing around my gym and could have worked out longer if I had time. Yes, it really was that good AND effective.20180321_063456469741297519503781.jpg

My stamina and energy levels soar after using this pre-workout, which is my new go-to liquid (rose) gold. I love that the flavor is so far out of the box than the typical lemon. You can mix a scoop into 6 or 8 oz of water, or 4 oz if you want more of a sour taste. I’ll let you guess how I roll.

Each serving has only five calories, and contains 4g L-Citrulline (for heart and blood vessel health), 2g Beta Alanine (for increased performance), and 202mg Caffeine (for an energy boost), among other good things.

Other flavors include fruit punch, blue raspberry, and WARHEADS Black Cherry, which will be next on my list.

Post-Workout

Post-workout recovery has become increasingly important to me. I’ve always shied away from whey protein because I’m lactose intolerant, but recently learned that whey is one of the best proteins for muscle recovery. So I did a little digging and realized that whey protein isolate contains less than 1% lactose, and can usually be tolerated by individuals with an intolerance.

Enter GHOST Whey

The product gets all 25+G of its protein from Whey Protein Isolate, Concentrate, and Hydrolysate. It also contains lactase, which is an enzyme that helps to break down lactose. I’ve been able to tolerate this blend and find it a lot easier to digest than pea or other plant-based proteins. It also tastes a hell of a lot better. One serving of the Cereal Milk flavor contains 130 calories, and only 4g carbs and 2g sugars. It’s also soy and gluten free.

The powder easily mixes with water or almond milk with just a few shakes. No ball needed. No clumps or residue. No B.S.

Whoever thought of putting the scoop on a little shelf at the top of the container was a genius! I hate digging for the scoop before that first use. And, somehow, it is ALWAYS at the bottom. This right here would give even a bad-tasting protein at least two stars. (This goes for the pre-workout as well.)

Cereal Milk

Fortunately, there’s nothing to worry about because I can honestly say I love the taste. Cereal Milk is vanilla ice cream meets Cap’n Crunch Cereal. I would know because I spent many a Saturday morning slurping the leftover milk from a big bowl of this golden deliciousness. Cap’n Crunch FTW – minus all the sugary crap, for sure.

It’s sweet, but after drinking in the morning, keeps any cravings at bay. The rich and creamy texture is perfect for sipping (or chugging) post workout. And it doesn’t get super frothy after shaking. Win, win, win.20180326_1609036110824171415482097.png

Fruity Cereal Milk

I went ahead and purchased Fruity Cereal Milk too because Fruity Pebbles just happens to be my one of my favorites. And, while I still use them as an occasional topping for donuts, I don’t usually indulge in a whole bowl. I have yet to try this one, but I have high hopes!

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Don’t they look delish?!

Other flavors include Milk Chocolate, Blueberry Toaster Pastry, and Peanut Butter Cereal Milk, which will be next on my list.

Rewards

I love loyalty programs because nothing shows customer appreciation more than free stuff!

Create a free account on GHOST’s site and earn points by sharing on social media, making purchases, referring friends, and more. Then choose between points or cash when making a purchase online.20180326_1612559191923736815319164.png

Super shoppers (Gold members) are rewarded with perks like free shipping on all purchases, birthday coupons, and VIP access to exclusive events.

What are you waiting for? Sign up today.

Buy in Store

Not into buying online? That’s okay. You can also purchase products at a GNC near you. Each item also comes with a unique code to enter on GHOST’s site and redeem loyalty point. I like this option because you can forgo shipping charges and leave the store with product in hand.

The Bottom Line: I recommend these supplements to everyone, especially the pre-workout. If you want results, GHOST will give you the boost you need. If you’re looking for a yummy shake that will hold you over for a few hours, here it is. Great tasting and effective. It doesn’t get more real than that.20180326_1608041424233641042396359.png

To purchase one of the above supplements or to check out GHOST’s entire line of supplements and gear, visit them online.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your doctor before trying any new supplement.

**GHOST’s warning label states that their products are only intended for healthy adults. Please take caution and I encourage you to research the company (like I did) prior to purchasing.

Thanks!

#chickswholift

If you love to workout, a monthly subscription from Miss Muscle Box is definitely for you. Each themed box comes with seven or more goodies to help you stay motivated and reach your fitness goals – expect a quality tank top, workout guide, and yummy snacks to help you power through or recover from the toughest of workouts. At just $22.99 plus shipping, it’s a great value for the money.

I was lucky enough to receive TWO recent boxes to try out and review. The themes were Dumbbell Damage and Strong is Sexy.

Dumbbell Damage

Treign ‘Squad 1’ Tank- $25
Dumbbell Damage Workout Guide – $10
FATE: CLA Softgels – $9.99
Protes Protein Chips – $4.99
Shanti Bar: Vitality – $3.50
Shanti Bar: Boost – $3.50
Shanti Mini: Recovery – $2.00

Retail Value – $58+

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Strong is Sexy

‘Strong is Sexy’ Limited Edition Singlet – $19.99
‘Strong is Sexy’ Limited Edition Hydracup – $12.99
Explosive Plyos Workout Guide – $10
3 Zoganic FruitZip – $7.50
OhYeah! Victory Bar – $3.00
2 NuGo Slim bars – $7.00

Retail Value – $60+

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My Favorite Items

HYDRACUP– The possibilities are endless with this dual section cup. The most obvious option is to carry your pre- and post-workout formulas in one shaker. But, you can get pretty creative and use one side for your drink and the other for ice, snacks, or storage. You get 28 oz of space on the inside and a motivational message on the outside. It’s also more spacious than a traditional shaker cup. What’s not to love?

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FATE CLA Softgels – Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is an omega-6 fatty acid naturally found in meat and dairy. Okay, that doesn’t sound so appetizing, but research indicates that it can help decrease body fat and improve lean muscle mass and strength. It may also curb appetite and improve metabolism. That’s great news for someone who is ALWAYS hungry!

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Tanks – You can never have enough workout tops. But at $20 a pop, who can afford to have a closetful? Thankfully, it’s no longer an issue.

Workout Guides – Each box comes with a fun workout guide tailored to that month’s theme. I love these because you can take them anywhere – even on vacation – and don’t need to find a TV, fiddle with a DVD player, or watch videos on a tiny cell phone screen.

Rewards

Get your friends to subscribe to Muscle Box, and you’ll earn $5 off your next box. Just share your unique link as many times as you wish. Your next box could be free!

More Options

Muscle Box – For men who are into fitness

Protein Muscle Box – For men and women looking to get healthy and build muscle.

The bottom line: I love subscription boxes because you get to try out so many different products – some you probably haven’t even heard of. This box is worth every penny. I suggest trying it out for a month or two to see what you think. It would even make a great gift for the fitness lover in your family or group of friends.

Visit Muscle Box for more information or to purchase.

 

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored by Muscle Box. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

On a roll!

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I first came across foam rolling on Pinterest when I was looking for a way to relieve my sore muscles. Once a little pain sets in, it can put a HUGE damper on motivation, and it’s easy to forego workouts altogether. In one respect, soreness means you’re doing something right. Too much, however, could indicate dehydration or the need for a good old-fashioned stretch.

Recently, a friend of mine posted a photo of her foam roller and said that it was one of her greatest investments. After that, rollers kept popping up everywhere – Instagram, Facebook, you name it! To be honest, that first one only caught my eye because it was bright pink, but after a little research, I knew I had to have one.

What is foam rolling, anyway?

Foam rolling is a soft massaging therapy that you can do on your own with a roller made of – you guessed it – foam! It’s also known as self-myofascial release and is a hell of a lot cheaper to do at home.

The “real” myofascial release that you would go to a licensed therapist for is a pretty expensive treatment that involves applying pressure to your connective tissue to reduce pain and increase motion. To get the best results, a series of 4 sessions are recommended. For a full treatment, including info session and diagnosis, you could pay upwards of $600. Yikes!

GRID Foam Roller

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The roller you choose makes all the difference. It may be painful to roll at first, but once you form a routine, you’ll start to experience great results. Some of the benefits include better sleep (kiss those restless legs goodbye!), increased flexibility, and reduced muscle pain. My recommendation is the GRID foam roller by TriggerPoint. For just $39.99 (plus shipping), you’ll be well on your way to feeling better. Compare that to what you’d pay for just one session at a wellness center!

The GRID is designed to replicate an actual massage, and as you roll, you can feel the different pressure points rubbing against all of your tight muscles. Unlike most rollers that have a foam core, this one has a hollow core that is wrapped in a thin layer of foam, making it firmer with the ability to withstand up to 500 pounds of static weight. At just over a foot long and less than six inches wide, you can literally take your GRID foam roller anywhere! And the best part? The product is backed by a 30-day guarantee and one-year warranty, so roll your heart out!

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As part of my cooldown after each workout, I roll my back, glutes, hamstrings, I.T. band, hip-flexors, and calves, for about 30 seconds on each body part. It feels so good. Plus, I’ve never slept better! Around nighttime, I was getting aches and odd sensations in my legs that would wake me up at odd hours, especially after a tough workout. Since I started rolling with the GRID, I haven’t had any trouble sleeping through the night. I’m seriously amazed.

Bottom Line

This is a must-have purchase for everyone who works out. If I could only choose one recovery tool, this would be it. The only decision you need to make is which of the five fun colors you want!

Check out TriggerPoint’s website for more information and to view the entire product line, including massage balls, DVDs, guidebooks, and more!

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by TriggerPoint. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise or fitness program (yes, even foam rolling!). Use this roller and all other fitness tools at your own risk.

Eat hole foods

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I debated whether or not to try The Dough Bar’s protein-packed doughnuts for far too long. They look delicious with all of the yummy toppings and flavor combinations, they’re a healthy alternative to my favorite Dunkin’ glazed, and there are only 150 calories and 16 carbs per (plain) doughnut. So, why the wait? Well, I just couldn’t be sure that they would taste as good as they looked.

The problem with “healthy alternatives” is that there are plenty of phonies out there. You know the food that claims to be healthy and good tasting, but really just resembles sugared cardboard? I didn’t want to waste my time or money on any more of that. But, I figured, if I didn’t like them, I would just leave a scathing review and be on my way – JUST KIDDING!

I can honestly tell you that when you try The Dough Bar’s doughnuts, you won’t be disappointed. At all. They were so good that I wanted to cry tears of joy. I finally found a good one!

The texture is similar to a moist cake doughnut – like something I’ve made in my Babycakes donut maker, not like the apple cider cake doughnuts you can find practically everywhere in the fall. They have a hint of vanilla and cinnamon (even though that’s not one of the ingredients – hmmm) and aren’t overwhelmingly sweet. They definitely don’t taste like cardboard.

Gimme all the doughnuts!

The Dough Bar designed their doughnuts to be eaten every day – you don’t have to, of course, but why wouldn’t you want to?

Froot Loops, PB Puppy Chow, and Carrot Cake are just some of the creative flavor combos. I’m ordering Froot Loops next because it comes with double the glaze and the classic cereal definitely takes me back to my childhood. (Did I mention double the glaze?)

 

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This is literally an everything doughnut!

If you aren’t very adventurous (or you prefer to make your own glaze and toppings), you can purchase a 4 or 8-pack of plain doughnuts.

I see a plain doughnut sliced in half with almond butter and banana topped with cacao nibs in my future! That would be a serious enhancement of my typical Tuesday night snack.

A new variety of the month 8-pack appears every month, so be on the lookout!

What’s included?

When you order a standard 4-pack (not plain), you get four individually wrapped plain doughnuts with their doughnut holes, four cups of glaze, and four cups of toppings. The fun is in how you decorate them. Check out Instagram for ideas.

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JunkBanter Pack

I really couldn’t decide which flavor I wanted to try first, so I went with the JunkBanter Pack because it included four different ones: Cinnamon Glaze & Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Cookie Butter Glaze & Crushed Oreos and Chips Ahoy, Nutella Glaze & Kit Kat Crumbles, and Reese’s PB Glaze & Mini PB Cups. Plus, a portion of each sale was donated to the National MS Society. Double win!

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I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch!

The bottom line: I would recommend these to a friend. The doughnuts taste great, and they make a nice “cheat” treat. The only downside is the shipping cost – $9.00 for those of us on the East Coast. Ouch! But, I’ll allow it every so often. While the company only ships out each Monday, you do get your items quickly after.

Happy Snacking!

 

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by The Dough Bar. All opinions are my own.

Get your chocolate fix

Looking for a chocolate fix? Go Dr. No.

I (virtually) met Amale, the woman behind this amazing chocolate, last year. We chatted via email a bit and I learned that she wants to help people suffering from cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses live happier lives. She really wants to make a difference in our world and has a heart of gold. And really, what better way to spread the happiness than with good-for-you chocolate?

What makes it different?

How cute is this stamp?

Dr. No Chocolate is 75% cocoa and organic with a rich and smooth taste. It makes a perfect treat for diabetics or those eating low carb because it’s sugar-free and void of artificial sweeteners. It’s also gluten free and doesn’t contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

The chocolate comes in three delicious flavors: Dark Chocolate, Pumpkin Seed & Sea Salt (my favorite!), and Almonds. I love the salty-savory combination that the pumpkin seeds and sea salt add to the sweet chocolate – such a unique and delicious treat! If you have a HUGE sweet tooth, I recommend the variety pack so you can try one of each and pick your favorite!

Great for gifts, baking, or snacking when you’re craving something sweet. You won’t believe it’s sugar-free!

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Dr. No Chocolate. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Grab ’em and go

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What do you grab when you’re in a hurry? If you’re like most people, it’s junk. I can remember walking to the corner store armed with a pocket full of change and a desire to check off everything on my list – Laffy Taffy, Hot Fries, Slim Jims, and Blow Pops. My 10-year-old self was shining in the glory of it. Why? Because it tasted good, was convenient, and the packaging screamed: “EAT ME, NOW!”

Flash forward almost two decades, and I still revel in all things easy and convenient, but I pride myself on making better food choices.

That’s why I love Bricks Bars. The ingredients are clean and sustainable, and the on-the-go packaging suits my busy – at times, hectic – lifestyle.  Great for hiking, biking, traveling. Just throw them in your bag, and you’re good to go.

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Bricks organic meal bars are paleo and soy, gluten, and antibiotic free. The company uses grass-fed meats, and sustainably sourced GMO-free veggies, fruit, and seeds. Now, that’s something I can stand behind.

My favorite is the organic beef, uncured bacon, cranberry, and sunflower seed bar. Such a unique combination of flavors that makes your senses go wild with adventure. There’s something about the salty-sweet blend that gets me every time.

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Runner up is the organic turkey, sweet potato, cranberry, and pumpkin seed bar reminds me of Thanksgiving. Actually, if I’m honest, it reminds me of Willy Wonka’s factory. Anyone remember the 3-course meal in a stick of chewing gum? I always wondered what that would be like. You get the yummy, savory main course, the side dishes, and pie at the close. What nostalgia attached to this!

Don’t just take my word for it. To taste just how delicious these bars really are, head over to bricksbars.com. You can get a variety sample 3-pack of Bricks Bars for $8.99 and FREE shipping.

Happy Snacking!

 

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Bricks. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.