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RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review

RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review

I'm a big fan of subscription boxes. I am 100% sure I enjoy the items in the box more than if I had bought the exact same items myself. It's partially the surprise factor, and partially the fact that these boxes usually contain products I wouldn't have ever thought to buy myself. I've tried meal kits (so overrated), doggie boxes (so cute), and now, a spice subscription box. RawSpiceBar kindly sent me their Oktoberfest flavor kit, and I'm just now getting around to writing about it due to a very persistent cold that left me out of the beer and pretzel festivities this year. The concept is simple - subscribe to receive 3 different spice mixes every month for 6 or 12 months. You won't find spices like these in your average supermarket; they a... (read more)

Healthy Halloween Candy: Alternatives to Fun-Size Candy Bars

Healthy Halloween Candy: Alternatives to Fun-Size Candy Bars

Halloween is coming up and Americans are predicted to spend $2.5 billion dollars on Halloween candy. That is a lot of sugar, folks. While most of us fondly recall eating too many fun-size candy bars, bouncing off the walls, and going to bed with a tummy ache, we also know we don't have the metabolism of our younger selves. This doesn't mean you shouldn't reward yourself with a little something from the trick-or-treat bowl or help yourself to a special seasonal treat. You just need to know what to pick! Parents, on the other hand, might not want to become the least popular house on the street by handing out Halloween pencils. With all that in mind, we've come up with some healthy Halloween candy alternatives to keep everybody happy come Oct... (read more)

The Best Hot Chocolate Mix for Cooler Weather

The Best Hot Chocolate Mix for Cooler Weather

Some people spend September clinging to the last bit of summer, eschewing pumpkin spice lattes and fall boots in favor of one last stroll in flipflops. I personally belong to the other camp—the people already wrapping themselves in scarves and eyeing the first squash appearing on the supermarket shelves. Whether you're ready for it now or in a few months, hot chocolate is the perfect cold weather drink. But if you like to start with a mix, it can be hard to find one that isn't sickeningly sweet or that doesn't contain corn syrup, vegetable oils, or artificial flavors. Who needs all those additives when hot chocolate, at its core, is just cocoa powder, sugar, and milk? As far as we're concerned, the best hot chocolate mix should use as... (read more)

Healthy Popcorn For Your Next Movie Night

Healthy Popcorn For Your Next Movie Night

There are plenty of reasons to have a movie night at home instead of going to the cinema. You won't drop $20 (or more) on two tickets just to sit in front of someone who insists on putting their shoes on the back of your seat (we can feel that!) and talking to their neighbor throughout the film (we can hear you!) Plus, if you're feeling snacky, you won't have to give in to ridiculously overpriced Milk Duds or super-salty, super-greasy movie popcorn that leaves you with as much guilt as it does oily napkins. Instead, you can save money and calories by making your own snacks and enjoying the home theatre experience. We wouldn't dream of suggesting you bypass popcorn altogether. Instead, we've found five healthy popcorn options to complete y... (read more)

The Healthiest Frozen Pizza: Gluten Free, Vegan, and Low Calorie Options

The Healthiest Frozen Pizza: Gluten Free, Vegan, and Low Calorie Options

There are undoubtedly people who would argue "healthy frozen pizza" is an oxymoron. These people may have a point; if your primary concern is eating healthy, there are much, much better choices than frozen pizza. But then again, who says people who eat healthfully most of the time can't fall back on a frozen pizza once in awhile? Whoever says that would probably also argue there's no place in your diet for Ben & Jerry's either. Forget that guy. That said, you don't have to pick the greasiest, goopiest, cardboard-crust-iest frozen pizza in the supermarket. There are tons of healthier options out there, even if you're following a gluten free, vegan, or low calorie diet. Healthiest Gluten Free Frozen Pizza Unfortunately our favorite c... (read more)

Our Favorite Organic Snacks: Healthy Treats For On the Go and Between Meals

Our Favorite Organic Snacks: Healthy Treats For On the Go and Between Meals

As a rule, I'm not a snacker. Though I've developed a lot of discipline since my cannot-even-have-cookies-in-the-house days, I still rely on not eating between meals to keep me disciplined. I've never tested myself, but I have a feeling regular snacking would put me on a slippery slope from fruit and nut bars to afternoon pastries. All this is not to say I don't see the value in a healthy snack. When traveling, working out especially hard, or tiding myself over to dinner with inconveniently-timed meetings, even I plan in a healthy treat. The organic snacks in this post are favorites of the spoonacular team. Whether you're a snack connoisseur or more of a reluctant snacker like myself, these options will satisfy and nourish you until your... (read more)

The Best Store Bought Lemonade for Hot Summers

The Best Store Bought Lemonade for Hot Summers

We had a stretch of 100+ degree weather this month, and only a few things appealed to us: iced coffee, popsicles, and the quintessential refreshing drink—lemonade. Of course, lemonade isn't hard to make at home, you just need water, lemon juice, sugar, and in our opinion, plenty of ice. But if you don't have air conditioning (yes, there are some of us left!) escaping to the cool grocery store is reason enough to go with store bought. Or maybe you just want to pick something up to take with you on your way to the beach or pool. Whatever your reasons, we've discovered the best store bought lemonade to keep your hydration up and your temperature down. Best Classic Lemonade As the brand name suggests, Simply Lemonade has one of the simples... (read more)

The Best and Healthiest Milk Alternatives For When You're Going Dairy Free

The Best and Healthiest Milk Alternatives For When You're Going Dairy Free

People choose to go dairy free for many reasons. Maybe you're going vegan for ethical reasons, cutting dairy from your diet because of lactose intolerance, or trying to avoid the antibiotics and hormones that may be found in cow's milk. Whatever your reasons, there is an unbelievable amount of dairy free milk in supermarkets today. Looking at all those cartons of soy, almond, coconut, rice, and other dairy free options can be overwhelming - how are you supposed to decide which product is right for you? To make your decision easier, we looked over all the dairy free milk substitutes in our product database to find the best and healthiest milk alternatives. Here are our picks: High Protein Soy Milk Full-fat cow's milk contains 8 grams of... (read more)

The Healthiest Noodles: The Best Pasta Brands for Your Diet Goals

The Healthiest Noodles: The Best Pasta Brands for Your Diet Goals

Most people would probably say that pasta and dieting do not go hand in hand. Regardless of whether you're trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply eat more nutritious meals, many would agree that you're better off eating other foods. This is probably true—pasta still isn't a substitute for vegetables—but there are actually several pasta brands offering noodles with uncommon ingredients that might just change the way we think about pasta and healthy eating. That said, we've done a bit of investigating and have come across some of the healthiest noodles you can find in stores and online. High Protein Noodles One of the problems with noodles is that they typically contain much more carbohydrate than protein and fat and, in some cas... (read more)

The Healthiest Breakfast Cereal to Start Your Day

The Healthiest Breakfast Cereal to Start Your Day

This may not come as a surprise to you, but cereal with marshmallows, cereal shaped like cookies, and cereal inspired by sprinkled donuts are not good for you and really make better dessert than breakfast. But you might not realize that a lot of "grown up" breakfast cereals aren't much healthier. Even if they advertise that they contain real fruit or that they are made of whole grains and are high in fiber, they often contain just as much sugar, preservatives, and other additives as the kids' cereal you know isn't healthy to eat. Since cereal can be such a quick and convenient breakfast, we took some time to peruse spoonacular's online cereal aisle to see what healthier alternatives we could find for you. Keeping numerous dietary criteria ... (read more)

The Healthiest Tortilla Chips for your Salsa, Guacamole, and Nachos

The Healthiest Tortilla Chips for your Salsa, Guacamole, and Nachos

Tortilla chips are undoubtedly one of the most popular dip-delivery vehicles out there, and they can be used in a variety of recipes too, from nachos to taco salad to tortilla soup. Unless you opt for the flavored Doritos variety, tortilla chips are even surprisingly "clean" as far as the ingredient list goes, even if you buy chips produced by major national brands. For example, Tostitos, the second best-selling brand of tortilla chips (behind Doritos), offers original, restaurant-style tortilla chips with just these ingredients: whole white corn, vegetable oil (corn, canola and/or sunflower oil), and salt For a junk food manufacturer, you'd expect much, much worse! But just because it is easy to find healthy tortilla chips (relatively s... (read more)

The Healthiest Dark Chocolate: 55% to 100% Cacao

The Healthiest Dark Chocolate: 55% to 100% Cacao

I've heard people ask "Why does everything that tastes so good have to be so bad for you?" These people are usually just craving the deep-fried Oreo taunting them at the county fair, momentarily forgetting summer's delicious and healthy offerings like refreshing watermelon and grilled corn on the cob. Nonetheless, it's nice to treat yourself, and it's especially nice when your treats don't derail your efforts to eat healthier. It's best of all when giving in to your sweet tooth might actually improve your health. That brings us to the topic of this post: dark chocolate. Now, to be fair, dark chocolate might not satisfy your desire for something sweet right at the beginning. At least not the dark chocolate brands we're considering for the ... (read more)

The Best Store-Bought Lasagna: Quick Frozen Dinners for Every Diet

The Best Store-Bought Lasagna: Quick Frozen Dinners for Every Diet

Just like with alfredo sauce, you probably know store-bought lasagna isn't going to be quite as good as homemade. But when you've had a long week, popping a frozen lasagna in the oven and kicking back with a glass of wine is pretty tempting. Luckily, there are quite a few store-bought lasagnas that you can enjoy from time to time without totally diverting from your usual diet. So whether you're gluten free, dairy free, or vegetarian, or whether you're trying to get enough protein or to avoid too much sodium, we've got recommendations to make your life easier when you need something convenient. High Protein Lasagna Michael Angelo's Four Cheese Lasagna clean ingredient list 23 grams of protein 30% of your daily sodium all... (read more)

The Best Store Bought BBQ Sauce for Summer

The Best Store Bought BBQ Sauce for Summer

Summer and BBQ go hand in hand. Barbecue chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, a slab of barbecue ribs. Add a side of fresh corn on the cob and a slice of watermelon for dessert and you've probably got the most summery meal you could have. Even vegans and vegetarians can enjoy this essential summertime condiment with grilled BBQ tofu or veggie burgers with BBQ sauce. As we discovered with our posts about the best store bought salsa and alfredo sauce, the quality of store bought BBQ sauces varies considerably from brand to brand. Depending on whether the most important thing to you is taste, high quality ingredients, healthiness, or some combination, we have some recommendations for the best store bought BBQ sauce. Low Sugar BBQ Sauce If you're... (read more)

The Healthiest Instant Oatmeal: Fast and Satisfying Protein, Fiber, and Magnesium

The Healthiest Instant Oatmeal: Fast and Satisfying Protein, Fiber, and Magnesium

Oatmeal is an extremely popular and extremely versatile breakfast food. You can enjoy it sweetened with brown sugar and nuts, with fresh fruit and shredded coconut, or even with chocolate and peanut butter. If you don't have a sweet tooth, you can eat it savory with a fried egg or even bacon and cheese. Not only are the possible toppings endless, you aren't limited to making it on the stove top. Overnight oats have been all the rage in the food blogosphere, and baked oatmeal is no stranger to Pinterest fame. As little effort as some of those options require, cooking oats can still be too much effort when you spent the night tossing and turning, or if you are in such a rush you need to make your breakfast at the office. On these occasions,... (read more)

The Best Veggie Burgers: from the Healthiest Veggie Burgers to the Highest in Protein

The Best Veggie Burgers: from the Healthiest Veggie Burgers to the Highest in Protein

There are an insane number of veggie burgers on the market. Whether you're vegetarian, vegan, or just a Meatless Monday supporter, it's nice to have so many options. But not all veggie burgers are created equal. Some taste truly disgusting—not even a faint reminder of what a burger is. Others have a mile-long ingredient list full of unnecessary additives. The worst veggie burgers suffer from both. The best veggie burgers, and likely also the healthiest veggie burgers, will contain whole food ingredients and as few additives as possible. They should be high in protein without relying on extremely artificial or even potentially harmful protein sources. And of course, they should taste good, even if they don't try to imitate the taste of me... (read more)

The Healthiest Frozen Yogurt, from Plain Vanilla to Caramel Praline Crunch

The Healthiest Frozen Yogurt, from Plain Vanilla to Caramel Praline Crunch

We already covered some healthy options in our post about the best store bought ice creams, but there will enough hot summer days to justify another post about healthy frozen treats. This time we're looking at the favorite frozen dessert of the health conscious crowd: frozen yogurt. But made from yogurt or not, frozen yogurt isn't always as healthy as you'd expect. In fact, some of the worst choices contain as much as 26 grams of sugar for a 1/2 cup serving. Others contain artificial flavors and food colors, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and other less-than-desirable ingredients. Don't worry, though. Even if you don't want to make frozen yogurt yourself, there are some better choices at the supermarket. ... (read more)

The Best Store Bought Pie Crust: Traditional, Graham Cracker, and Cookie Crusts

The Best Store Bought Pie Crust: Traditional, Graham Cracker, and Cookie Crusts

There are so many occasions where you simply know you should bake a pie. With so much delicious produce coming into season year round, you have cause to bake rhubarb pie in the spring, berry pie in the summer, apple and pumpkin pie in the fall, and (meyer) lemon meringue in the winter. For many people, it seems like making the pie crust is the hardest part. The good news is, there are tons of store bought pie crusts available, even gluten free pie crusts if you're on a gluten free diet or have gluten free guests. We've taken a look at many brands to help you determine the best store bought pie crust based on your personal needs. However, I personally think if you're going to the trouble of making a homemade pie, you should go all the way.... (read more)

The Best and Healthiest Frozen Waffles: Our Picks

The Best and Healthiest Frozen Waffles: Our Picks

Unless it's the weekend, you probably don't spend that much time making breakfast. Many of us feel lucky if we have time to eat breakfast at all. Still, having something substantial in the morning can help us resist other temptations before lunch rolls around. Break room donuts? We're looking at you. But not eating you, because we already had breakfast, thank you very much. If you're often in a hurry in the morning, you might be someone who reaches for a box of waffles in the freezer. You don't have to throw in the towel and settle for Eggo chocolate chip though - you can turn frozen waffles into a healthy, delicious breakfast instead of just sugary, empty carbs. If that sounds good to you, read on to find the best frozen waffles for your... (read more)

The Best Store Bought Ice Cream: from Healthiest Ice Cream Brand to Most Delicious

The Best Store Bought Ice Cream: from Healthiest Ice Cream Brand to Most Delicious

Doesn't it seem a little cruel that ice cream season is also bathing suit season? I guess we can just be glad that the warm weather is perfect for swimming too, so we can burn off those unneeded-but-so-worth-it calories. If you own an ice cream maker, you can create any flavor of homemade ice cream your heart desires and control exactly what ingredients go into your ice cream—two big pluses—but it remains a time consuming process. Considering the extra equipment and time commitment, it's not surprising that many people want to know what the best store bought ice cream is instead. We decided to have a look at our product database to determine the healthiest ice cream brand, the most allergy-friendly ice cream brand, and, simply, the be... (read more)

The Healthiest Protein Bars: Convenient, Muscle-Building Snacks

The Healthiest Protein Bars: Convenient, Muscle-Building Snacks

Protein is quite trendy these days. We've all figured out by now that protein is important for feeling full and satisfied, and of course for building muscle. Food manufacturers are using our desire to eat more protein to their advantage - high protein snacks, smoothies, cereals, and other products are flooding the market. On the one hand, that's awesome. As much as I love my favorite protein cookie recipe, I eat them so quickly that sometimes I run out before I have time to bake another batch. When that happens, I'm definitely down for a convenient snack that supports my fitness goals. On the other hand, these protein-rich foods might be high in protein, but they might also be high in sugar, highly processed, etc. We decided to have a look... (read more)

Best Store Bought Salsa, with Spicy and Mild Options

Best Store Bought Salsa, with Spicy and Mild Options

Chips and salsa are a quintessential appetizer and party food. Get invited last minute to a party? You bring chips and salsa. Going out for Mexican food? You definitely get chips and salsa. Okay, maybe that's just how I function, but I always have a jar of store bought salsa in my cupboard for when friends unexpectedly drop by. As with most things in life, everybody has different requirements when it comes to what constitutes a good salsa. For this post, we decided to look for a few key characteristics: 1. Is it gluten free? There is no need for a salsa to contain gluten, and if you want to bring salsa to a party, it is not unlikely that someone there will looking for gluten free options. If you bring a bag of gluten free tortilla chips ... (read more)

The Best Smoothies: From Your Blender and Bottled Smoothies

The Best Smoothies: From Your Blender and Bottled Smoothies

Smoothies are the ultimate breakfast food. Fast, hydrating, and requiring minimal cleanup (especially if you have one of these awesome blenders where you blend the smoothie directly in your cup.) There's really no need for a recipe, since you can throw in just about anything you want, as Blendtec's "Will It Blend?" campaign has already proven time and again. Still, some bloggers and brands just know how to make a mean smoothie, and we've compiled a list of some of the best smoothies you can make at home and the best bottled smoothies from the store. Protein Smoothies For me, a major consideration when it comes to choosing the best breakfast smoothie is how much protein it contains. If it's not much more than fruit and water, I'll be raven... (read more)

The Best Store Bought Alfredo Sauce: Classic, Low Calorie, and Vegan Options

The Best Store Bought Alfredo Sauce: Classic, Low Calorie, and Vegan Options

There are some things you know you should make from scratch. Creamy, cheesy alfredo sauce is probably one of those things. In fact, you can find easy alfredo sauce recipes with just four or five ingredients. Still, sometimes you just don't have the time or energy to whip something up yourself. When that happens, you want to know: what is the best store bought alfredo sauce? That answer to that question, however, depends on what's most important to you. Do you want the richest, most decadent alfredo sauce money can buy, or rather a waistline-friendly option? Do you need a gluten free alfredo sauce, or are you avoiding artificial preservatives? With some of these criteria in mind, here are a few products to consider: Best Store... (read more)