WIAW: Secret Nutrition Edition

I like eating healthy, but I also like to enjoy what I’m eating. If I’m not liking what I’m putting in my mouth, then what’s the point? Luckily, I’ve trained my taste buds to love nutritious things, like kale salads and raw seeds, but I still like to have fun with my food. That  being said, this week’s WIAW features a few of the meals I’ve been enjoying lately, with the ‘secret’ (or not so secret) nutrition aspect of the food too!

Breakfast: banana softserve ‘sundae’ topped with peanut flour paste, cacao nibs and PB Puffins.

Secret: Cacao nibs. These tiny dark brown bits are raw and packed with magnesium, which helps with muscle function and bone strength. They also have more antioxidants than blueberries, green tea and red wine! Cacao nibs pack a powerful healthy fat punch and can boost your energy.

Lunch: Qdoba naked taco salad with romaine, black beans, habanero salsa and guacamole.

Secret: habanero peppers and guacamole. Habaneros are one of the spiciest peppers (between 100,000-500,000 Scoville units) because of their high concentration of capsaicin. Capsaicin can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and can even increase the body’s metabolism while consuming it. Guacamole is made from avocados, which can increase absorption of lycopene and beta carotene when combined with lettuce or spinach. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, and their oleic acid can increase absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.

Snackplate: organic kettle corn, Way Better Snacks Simply So Sweet Chili multigrain chips, fresh pineapple, baby carrots, tamari pumpkin seeds, Chocolove peppermint dark chocolate.

Secret: pumpkin seeds and multigrain chips. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and protein. Their phytosterols can help lower cholesterol, and the seeds have anti-inflammatory benefits. This brand of multigrain chips is probably the healthiest I’ve found. All of the ingredients are real foods, and the chips are full of healthy fats in the form of sprouted flax seeds and sprouted chia seeds. The chips are also made with sprouted quinoa, stone ground corn and sprouted broccoli seeds, and are low in sodium.

Dinner: spicy mac ‘n cheez (quinoa pasta, Field Roast Mexican chipotle vegan grain meat sausage, spicy nacho cheez sauce, nooch).

Secret: nooch, spicy cheez sauce, quinoa pasta. Nooch, aka nutritional yeast, is a vegan staple for a reason. It’s a complete protein source (the brand I used has 8 grams per serving) and is full of necessary vitamins including B12. The spicy cheez sauce recipe can be found here and it’s made with simple, whole ingredients including raw cashews. Cashews provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and magnesium which helps with bone health. They also can prevent gallstones. Quinoa pasta is made from two simple ingredients, quinoa and corn, so it’s perfect for a gluten-free diet. It’s full of fiber and protein, so it can fill you up faster than traditional white pasta, plus it has all the benefits of quinoa.

Unsweetened brewed iced coffee from Panera.

Secret: coffee. This tropical bean is full of antioxidants, helps prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and protects against some forms of cancer. Without any milk/cream or sugar added, it’s a very low calorie drink. To boost your iced coffee, add in unsweetened almond milk and stevia for minimal calories.

What’s something you enjoy eating that also has a ‘secret’ benefit? Do you like iced coffee?

Foodie Newbie

I love love love trying out new products! I’m the girl who sees the label New! on a product and instantly drops said product into the cart. I’m such a sucker for anything I’ve never tried before. I usually have high expectations for the item, and sometimes they are met, other times not so much. But I rarely regret trying something new. It’s just…exciting!

I’ve gotten a lot of new-to-me products lately, and I wanted to share my (unbiased) reviews of them here. I was not given these products to try by the companies themselves (I wish they would have, though!)–I bought them all myself my parents bought them for me.

Kaia Foods Sprouted Sunflower Seeds (Cocoa Molé)

I’m not a huge fan of sunflower seeds, but when I saw these on a random solo trip to Whole Foods, I decided to try them. The flavor combo really grabbed me, and the nutritional stats weren’t too shabby (7 grams of healthy fat, 80 calories per serving, some Vitamin E). I was a little thrown off by the soft texture, but these were pretty decent. Not quite cocoa-y or spicy enough (one of the ingredients is organic cayenne pepper) but not bad at all. I would probably try a different flavor (like sweet curry or teriyaki) in the future.

I'm really getting into raw foods like these!

Oikos 0% Peach Mango and Honey Fig Greek Yogurts

Oikos is my Greek yogurt brand of choice, and these new flavors did not disappoint! The peach mango was reaaaaaaally sweet, but definitely tasted like peach and mango. There were even real chunks of fruit in the bottom 😀  The honey fig is super-creamy and not watered down at all by the real organic honey and fig juice (the fig juice is actually the 3rd ingredient!) I love that this brand is always organic, and in general, I love Greek yogurt for its creaminess and amazing protein stats.

I'm always drawn to colorful packaging


PB Puffins+new Oikos flavor? Yes please!

Whole Foods Hot/Cold Bars

My fam went on an impromptu picnic this weekend, and we stopped at (where else?) Whole Foods to grab lunch. I’ve always wanted to try the hot and cold food bars they have there and I’ve gotta say, I can see why so many bloggers love to eat there. They have such a good selection of stuff, and it’s so. good. I got curried tofu salad, curried quinoa salad (lots of curry-lovin’ for this girl), Asian kale salad and roasted sweet tater chunks. Even though it all ended up mixing together in the box, it was all still amazing! Definitely gonna go back ASAP!

I definitely got my "rainbow of produce" in with this lunch!

Barbara’s Bakery Peanut Butter Puffins

After seeing this pop up on so many blogs, I decided to hop on the bandwagon. Best decision ever! I’m not the biggest PB fan, but I love the slightly soft, slightly crunchy texture of these babies, and their strong peanut taste. I love them as an overnighters topper (coffee maple oats topped with these are my new go-to combo) and in Greek yogurt. Mmmmmm…

There's so many ways to eat Puffins, but this is my favorite--as an overnight oats topper! Crunchy and creamy...

Whole Foods 365 Individual Vegan Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust

I miss their larger onion-sauce based vegan pizza, but this is also good. It’s topped with tons of roasted veggies, and the sauce is very flavorful. It’s tiny, but I don’t have a big appetite anyway 😛

Tons of veggies and NO cheese make for one happy Ashley 🙂

Late July Mild Green Mojo Multigrain Chips

On my recent vacay, I brought along a new-to-me product, Late July Sea Salt by the Seashore Multigrain chips, and I loved their simple salty flava. I liked them better than regular tortilla chips. Then I saw this flavor, and I just knew I had to get them. However–I didn’t realize until I brought them home that they had cheese as an ingredient. Yikes! I was a tad upset, but I decided to try them anyway and…well, they were so so good! They honestly don’t taste cheesy to me at all (more like these ranch-flavored soy crisps I’ve had before) and have a little bit of kick to them. I tried them as a crunchy topper on a black bean salad and lets just say that I’m gonna be having this salad for lunch for awhile 😉


It's easy being green if you're also super-delish!


What is the best new thing you’ve tried lately?