Sweet Day in ChestnutHillSq with Boston Brunchers

This summer has been kind of lame for me as far as spending time outdoors. Yes- I’ve done a day trip to Maine and spent a lovely vacation in Newport, but I live in freaken South Boston, which should equate to multiple weekends, if not every weekend, at the beach. However, I think I have made it to the beach only a handful of times, let alone outside to relax. So, when I was offered the opportunity to take part in a Boston Bruncher day out in Chestnut Hill, you bet I jumped at the opportunity.

There is no better way to spend a Sunday than brunching, with some additional exercise beforehand. As a Personal Trainer and Dietitian, you can bet I was super excited to attend this event because not only were we working out, but lunch would be provided by the delicious and healthy Sweetgreen followed by not-so-healthy and sinful Sweet bakery cupcakes. But, I am a HUGE cupcake fan and that is just something I have come to accept. I have a sweet tooth and will indulge it frequently.
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To my surprise, New Balance was there to equip us with their new 880’s for our hike AND Tom Tom provided us with their GPS Sports watch to track our caloric burn and heart rate. Super cool and how generous!
I liked how “techy” the watch was but we all got different calorie readings, and miles walked, which was definitely an error.

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Anyways, after our 3 mile hike, our tummies were ready for some Sweetgreen gazpacho, salad, and their refreshing basil blueberry lemonade. Having worked in CNH (chestnut hill), I’ve been to Sweetgreen a handful of times, but I always look forward to trying something new. Their options are nearly endless and they serve up some pretty delicious and healthy salads. We were greeted with a variety of options to try, and if we didn’t get the salad we desired or had an allergy, they were quick to whip us up exactly what we wanted. I tried the Spicy Sabzi, which is quite spicy, but I loved it! Packed full of fresh veggies, with a little kick, it satisfied my taste buds and left my belly more than happy :). Now off to Sweet Cupcake!

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Sweet Cupcake originated in Boston, where they bake 20 varieties of cupcakes daily! When we walked in we were greeted with 3 different varieties of cupcakes, but the fun didn’t stop there. We were encouraged to try their range of flavors, and trying and savoring we did! We enjoyed a strawberry shortcake cupcake, which was my absolute favorite, along with what I think was a mocha or cappuccino cupcake. The strawberry shortcake one was perfectly light and fluffy. I must say that I appreciated that each cupcake had a distinct texture, color, and flavor. For example, the chocolate cupcakes were more dense and rich, while the fruiter ones consisted of a lighter cupcake. Not many “cupcakeries” or cupcake shops will match the cake and frosting texture and richness to the type of cupcake. It’s clear Sweet pays attention to all of the intricacies of cupcake making, ensuring a delectable experience. Plus, Sweet Cupcakes even sells pup cakes for your pooch! I must admit I bought a few for my own pup 🙂 This was a perfect ending to our sweet day.

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I was so impressed with everyone’s generosity and hospitality, and I must admit, this was by far my best Bruncher experience (even though brunch was moreso lunch). Regardless, I walked away having had a wonderful and fun-filled day with the Brunchers! I look forward to my next trip to ChestnutHill Square!

Disclaimer: This event was provided free of charge to me as a member of the Boston Brunchers, although all opinions are my own.

B/Spoke Launches New Spin Studio in Boston

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Not too long ago I was invited to check out Boston’s latest spin studio, known as B/Spoke. Started by two friends, looking for an escape from the stresses of life and injuries from other fitness forms, B/Spoke opened its doors in the financial district. Having tried out The Handle Bar as well as Soul Cycle (you can read my review here), I was psyched to have the opportunity to try yet another indoor cycling class.

Mark, B/Spoke’s cofounder, puts it perfectly when he says ” when you work in a stressful environment, fitness becomes a form of meditation.” Being in the studio, I realized that fitness to me really is a time that I can dedicate solely to myself, helping relieve the stresses of daily life. Yes- Mark admits it is quite strange to find inner peace amidst this crazy loud spin session, but it’s possible.

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What I loved most about this studio was not only the NYC ambiance, but the music and the instructor. Just like the Handle Bar and Soul Cycle, it utilized free weights during the class. Unlike SoulCycle though, I didn’t really feel like our rhythm was set to a beat or that we were having a dance party or engaging in any choreographed moves on the bike. It was simple and straightforward, which I liked….and the instructor played some kickass beats. What I also enjoyed that was different was that each bike came with a calorie tracking/monitoring device on each bike. I actually got to see roughly how many calories I was burning- which I always wondered about in a spin class. The device also tracks heart rate zone, average speed (RPM), average power, total power, distance, and more. I was told you could burn typically 600-800 calories in an hour session and that’s sooooo not true! I burned about 450 calories working my butt off the entire time, so chances are your average Joe is likely only burning about 300 calories a session (my spin instructor friends would agree if you doubt me).

Anyways, if you go online, you’ll also notice that B/Spoke offers online performance tracking, nutritional advice, and a regular journal to act as a guide to living a fun, healthy, and balanced life in Boston! How cool is that!

To tell you a little bit about their other amenities:
Shoes

You don’t need to even bring your own. Shoe rentals are free of charge at the front desk. (NOTE: Their pedals are ONLY compatible with SPD shoes. So if already own LOOK compatible shoes oh well, I encourage you to take advantage of their complimentary shoe rental.)

Lockers
There’s no need to bring your own lock. The guest lockers have coded locks to keep your stuff safe.

Water
Yup- they even provide free bottled waters at the front desk, plus a purified water refilling station for you to fill up your reusable water bottles. For those who forget their water bottle, they sell S’WELL brand bottles at the front desk that are 100% BPA Free.

Showers
SIX showers(!) and separate changing areas, equipped with amazing Aesop brand bath products (THAT SMELL DELICIOUS IF I MUST SAY SO MYSELF). There are also plenty of hairdryers, straighteners, and other beauty products available, so you can head back to the office or out on the town looking and smelling great.

Okay- if that’s not enough to entice you to try out this studio, maybe the fact that your first ride is complementary will. B/Spoke invites newcomers to check out a class!

You can check out prices online here: http://www.bspokestudios.com/buy-credits
B/SPOKE offers single classes and an array of bulk packages ranging from $20-27 per class as well as corporate and student discount programs. With six classes scheduled each weekday and four weekend options, B/SPOKE caters to any hectic schedule and lifestyle with the utmost convenience. Bikes can be reserved online up to seven days in advance via http://www.bspokestudios.com and walk-ins are also welcome.

B/SPOKE Studios is located at 101 Federal Street in Boston’s Financial District and is open Monday through Friday from 5:00am through 8:00pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30am through 11:30am. For more information, please call 617.951.9900 or visit http://www.bspokestudios.com. Follow B/SPOKE Studios on Twitter at @BSPOKEstudios, Instagram at @BSPOKElife and Facebook at /BSPOKEStudios.

I definitely hope you check it out and let me know what you think!

Have any of you already tried B/Spoke? Thoughts?
Photo credit given to studio TROKIA

Product Review +New Partnership! Vigilant Eats Superfood

I probably spend more time thinking about nutrition than one can imagine. Plus, in my line of work, I have to always keep my eyes peeled for the latest in health trends. Juice cleanses, cacao powder, maple water, you name it- I’ve likely heard of it. This summer, goji berries, kombucha, coconut, and cacao seem to be the hot topics, but what exactly makes them so “nutritious?”

For starters, goji berries are chockfull of antioxidants, and they’re also a good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin C. Cacao on the other hand is another great source of antioxidants as well as magnesium, which is important for muscle and nerve function. While I am not touting either as a cure for cancer, I do think both of these foods make a tasty and convenient addition to any diet.

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This week I was lucky enough to review and sample Vigilant Eats super food cereal- which uses goji berries and cacao in their “cereals.” Super cool label, gluten-free, organic, non-gmo, and vegan, this disposable cup packed with nutrition is an easy on-the go option for those summer rendezvous. Orrrrr for your other summer activities 🙂 Essentially, Vigilant Eats provides its consumers with a modern, convenient solution for the active or busy lifestyle.

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Several of the ingredients are raw and all of the flavors are made with certified gluten free oats. All of the flavors are vegan and all you have to do is add some water or milk!

Flavors include: Goji Cacao
Gluten-Free Oats
Oat Flour
Goji Berries
Cacao Nibs
Hemp Flour
Coconut Palm Sugar
Yacon Powder
Maple Powder
Cinnamon
Coconut Maple Vanilla
Gluten-Free Oats
Oat Flour
Dates
Hemp Flour
Dried Coconut
Coconut Palm Sugar
Coconut Flour
Lucuma Powder
Maple Powder
Vanilla Extract

Espresso Maca Mulberry and Maca Double Chocolate

I’ve listed ingredients for the first two so that you get a general idea of what is in these superfood cereals. My favorite personally though was the Coconut Maple Vanilla. MMMMMM. yum. It was delicious and indulgent! But it did contain 21 grams of sugar- YIKES! I applaud the company though for using natural sweeteners such as fruit and coconut. The goji one only contains 6g of sugar per serving, which is a little more reasonable in my opinion. Nonetheless these are a healthy, quick option to have as a snack or for breakfast.

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My favorite thing about this product is the company behind it. Their tag line is Delicious Justice, which means great taste and a product that is produced in a socially and environmentally conscious way. Furthermore, Vigilant Eats supports organizations like the Farm-to Consumer Defense Fund, a national organization that protects and defends the legal rights of consumers to buy directly from farms.

I hope to see Vigilant Eats cereals in more locations in and around Boston very soon! But in the mean time you can purchase it online at http://www.viglant-eats.com/shop-online/. Use the discount code sknutrition to get 10% off plus free shipping on any item on the web store except for the 4-cup sampler pack.

Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

New Bestowed Box delivers monthly assortment of best health food!

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With so many monthly box subscriptions on the market (hello Birchbox and Naturebox), it comes as no surprise that there is now a subscription to receive a box of healthy products handpicked by a Dietitian. So when I was told that I was signed up for one, I couldn’t wait to see what handpicked delicious and nutritious treats I would receive.

As an RD myself, saying that I adore snacking is an understatement. I am endlessly on a quest to find the best of the best healthy products on there to satisfy my snack cravings, and just when I thought I knew about every gluten-free, vegan, non-gmo product out there, Heather Bauer, the expert behind Bestowed, proves me wrong.

The box consists of healthy snacks, beverages, and other goodies delivered to your home or office. All products are expertly curated by nutritionist Heather Bauer and unlike other boxes, every box is loaded with expert tips, recipes, and advice!

Here’s what I received and what I thought about each product:

Because it is the summer months, Heather created my Bestowed Box with 2 things in mind: 1) Easy and convenient for travel and 2) Healthy and beach body friendly. My first product was a package called ALMOST NUTS: a gluten-free, non-gmo soy bean snack dipped in chocolate and packed with 9 grams of protein per serving! Heather’s tip was to put these in my yogurt or use as a healthy ice cream topping! Love the idea!

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2) AgroLabs Wheatgrass Boosts: I was a little hesitant to try this second product as I have NEVER had wheatgrass (yuck!). But, surprisingly, this gluten-free superfood was pretty tasty. It was packed with B vitamins and super convenient. It had somewhat of an aftertaste though, similar to what you might find in energy drinks, but is a healthier pick-me-up.

3) CleanWell Wipes: Considering I now go through more baby wipes than someone with a baby since my boyfriend insists we wipe our dog’s feet after playing outside, these were incredibly useful and exciting to receive. They are made with thyme oil and are cruelty-free, biodegradable, and free of alcohol!

4) Harvest Hemp Pro70: One of the highest quality hemp protein powders you can find, I thought this was by far one of the coolest products in my box. I think I know my protein powders well, but this was one I had shockingly never heard of. 20 grand of protein per 30 gram serving packet, this plant-based protein is easily digestible and offers all essential amino acids. It’s perfect for vegans and is also gluten-free! I suggest using this as a base for a smoothie or add to recipes for added protein.

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5) Mighty Leaf Iced tea bag: I received two of these in mango, which offered a sweet, cooling, and refreshing beverage post-workout as well as a mid-afternoon treat at the beach! With no sugar, all natural and no artificial flavors, this tea is perfect for the summer months! I made a huge pitcher and kept in my fridge to cool me down on hot days.

6) Raw Revolution Spirulina Dream: Okay, so these bars I have tried before. I tried them last year at the Crossfit Games and they have really taken off since then. These bars contain many things you want in a healthy snack. They are organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, and delicious! Plus spiraling is a superfood rich in protein and contains all essential amino acids. The only thing I didn’t like about this all-natural bar was the sugar content. However, you can pack in your beach bag for a nutritious snack OR pair with lunch or breakfast (eat half at one meal and eat half at another or as a snack so as not to ingest all that sugar at once and go into a sugar coma).

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7) Smooch Snacks: I can’t tell you how fun these snacks are! Not only is the name awesome but the packs are super cool as well! If you have ever heard of Fuel for Fire- these are like those packs! Easy to take anywhere, convenient, and packed with vitamin C and omega 3’s, these are a a new favorite. I loved the natural flavor with the chunks of fruit and chia seeds that I got. A great mid-day snack for both adults and children. Heather suggests throwing in your beach bag for a quick energy boost.

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8) And lastly Sour Cream and Onion BOPS Organic Potato snacks: BOPS are essentially baked potato chips or “crisps” free of additives and preservatives. Another Non-GMO product, gluten-free, and certified organic. The flavor was spot on, but the chips were a bit too airy and there honestly wasn’t much too them. You could definitely tell that less fat was used, but ultimately I think this is the best healthy comparable to potato chips. So if you want a healthier alternative but really love potato chips, give these a try!

Overall, I loved my Bestowed box and loved even more that I was given healthy food that made it easy to stay on track and make good food choices. I’m looking forward to getting future boxes, knowing that all snacks are hand-picked by a health professional that I can trust!

 

Have any of you tried Bestowed? What did you think?

 

 

 

What I recently realized as a weight loss coach

As much as I would love to write about the exciting new healthy Bestowed Box I got in the mail this week, that post will just have to wait. Because, as I have recently just started a “desk” job position (oh no!), I’ve begun to realize a few things. 

Staying Healthy and moving throughout the day just ain’t that easy.

When I worked just as a Personal Trainer, I took for granted how much movement I got throughout the day. I used to be ENVIOUS, that’s right, envious of those with desk jobs. How nice it must be to sit all day, take lunch breaks at your leisure, instead of running into the break room between clients to shove half a sandwich down your throat, anticipating the other half in the next hour when you  have another 5 minutes between clients. My boyfriend used to work a desk job, and he would complain how much it sucked, but hey at least he got to stay consistent with his meals and snacks ( which is extremely important when on a strict workout and meal regimen). 

And, as much as I really do love my desk job, I owe an apology to all of my weight loss clients, who I urged to get up and move every hour, to skip that Starbucks latte on their way into the office, and to simply try harder.

Well let me tell you, my office is right above a Starbucks, with the smell lingering throughout the hallways at all hours of the day. I can’t even go for an afternoon walk without the rich smell of coffee beans hitting my nostrils. Not that an afternoon walk ever really happens anyways, because by the time I look up from my desk, it’s already 330pm and I have an hour and a half to get the rest of my piles of work done. And you can bet that 9 out of 10 times, I’m stopping into Starbucks for a pick-me-up…I honestly haven’t missed a day yet. 

I’m not trying to say that coffee is bad, but that I get it. I GET IT. As an RD, it’s easy for me to skip the cream (not that I want to), order the skinny frappe, get up early for my workout, or leave work and go right to the gym, but that’s not the case for everyone. Perhaps you are struggling with your weight and whenever you pass a Starbucks, it’s not quite as easy to walk in and just order the healthier option, let alone pass it up altogether. 

With this new position, I’ve realized just how tough it can be, and so my new plea is to simply take it one day at a time. 

Failure is a part of success.

Stop beating yourself up. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about trying and progressing. 

Some days I am so buried in work I can’t always get up and move for 5 minutes. But I do try to take an hourly stretch break, walk to the kitchen, do a lap around my office, or walk to a coworkers desk, because at least I’m getting up and recharging my mind and re-energizing my body this way. Fortunately, my office has an adjustable desk that I can stand at some times- which is another great option for those of you that work desk jobs and don’t get many breaks. 

At the end of the day, weight loss is as much about our thoughts as it is our behaviors. Don’t ever tell yourself “I wish I had more self-control.” You do! You just have to get used to replacing old habits with new ones, accepting where you are at, and choosing to believe you can get to where you want to be. Sometimes our behaviors won’t always match up with what our mind is telling us (no you shouldn’t have that), but overtime choosing those daily healthy actions will get easier, and who knows? Maybe you’ll be able to walk into a Starbucks soon and order the nonfat latte or skip it altogether! 

 

 

Motto Sparkling Matcha Tea Giveaway!

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A few months ago at a cross fit blogger event,  I came across this unique new drink, called Motto. Bottled up like beer, but alcohol free of course, I was immediately intrigued. I’ve been a big tea drinker for years ( hello I’m a frequent Steeper at David’s Tea), but of course my relationship with tea comes and goes with the seasons, with me and tea sharing a closer bond in the colder months. Which is unfortunate, because tea is so good for you! Studies have even found that some teas may help reduce cancer and heart disease risk. Tea also appears to have antimicrobial qualities.

When it comes to matcha tea, Motto is the world’s first bottled matcha green tea beverage delivering the health benefits of this centuries’ old elixir in a ready-made proprietary formula. Motto is handcrafted in small batches, containing premium matcha: stone-ground green tea leaves, sourced from Japan. One bottle of Motto delivers the health benefits of 12 cups of steeped green tea with one-third the caffeine of a single cup of coffee. Apparently when you drink matcha you ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water but usually you might find matcha served steeped not with the whole leaf. However, Motto sources their matcha from Japan and ensures that the whole leaf is present!

Motto match tea also contains antioxidants. One of biggest the buzz words in nutrition, antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that help prevent chronic disease. Fruits and vegetables naturally contain antioxidants, but according to some studies, matcha contains the antioxidant EGCG, which is believed to be a powerful anti-carcinogen.

In Motto you will find: Matcha Green Tea, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey, Organic Agave, Fresh Lemon Juice, Sparkling Water and Natural Plant Extracts.

As a result you WILL find a high sugar content because honey and agave are sugar- 14 grams! (whoa!) and the daily allotment for females is no more than 20 grams of added sugar. With that being said consume in moderation or as a sweet treat. I like to drink half one day and half the other so as not to consume more than half my day’s allotment on one product. So, just be mindful!

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Health Benefits:

  • Chlorophyll: Matcha is grown in the shade, which is why it is richer in chlorophyll than other green teas. Chlorophyll is a powerful compound that cleans red blood cells and creates new ones, helping the body detox and stay strong to fight inflections.
  • Catechins: Highly concentrated in green tea, Catechins are super antioxidants that are 25 times as potent as Vitamin C and 100 times as potent as Vitamin E. Catechins protect our cells from oxative damage and fight free radicals.
  • Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is a powerful immune booster and promotes skin and eye health.

Motto is currently sold in over 400 retailers in 28 states—everywhere from Whole Foods Market to gourmet delis and small, locally-owned, natural grocers. It originally began being sold in a natural and organic cafe in Nantucket and is now sold in Boston here. 

You can find out more about Motto at  www.DrinkMotto.com

Because I love Motto so much I am hosting a giveaway to one lucky reader who will win a case of Motto!  To enter, simply enter/click the rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also Like on Facebook for an extra chance to win!: https://www.facebook.com/drinkmotto

Raffle Ends July 6th! Open to U.S. residents only in the GREATER BOSTON AREA!

 

 

Best Protein Shakes Available

Years ago I started using protein powders post workout. Not a huge supplement junkie, protein powders are one supplement I will recommend. 

Why? Well let’s look at the general function of protein first:

1. It helps provide structure for your bones, teeth and skin 
2. It helps to catalyze chemical reactions 
3. It helps in bringing glucose within the cell to provide energy
4. It builds the muscle fibers actin and myosin
5. And it also helps in immunity 

Most protein powders consist of whey protein, which gets quick delivery to the muscles and usually these powders contain all the essential amino acids required fin our daily diet. 

Working in a gym setting I can attest to amount of people with their shake bottles in hand that likely contain some sort of added whey protein. However, with so many “proprietary” blends out there, how do we really know what we are getting? Truth is we don’t as many products are not FDA regulated. Most of those powders have been found to contain arsenic and lead along with lactoperoxidase, relaxin, lactollin, and other “unique blends,” whatever the heck that means! Yikes!

So naturally, when I was asked what some of the best protein shakes and meal replacement shakes out there are, I decided I would share my response with you. Below is my approved list of protein shakes- not powders but shakes that you can grab on the go. Not all are perfect but SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER than many out there..(ahem slim fast ….hydrogenation to the max!)

1) Svelte – organic/natural, low in sugar with 11 grams of protein. Soy-people friendly!

2) Orgain – an organic nutritional shake- also available for kids. 

USDA Certified Organic
16 grams of Organic Protein
Organic Complex Carbohydrates from Brown Rice
Organic blueberries, bananas, acai berry, apple and raspberry
Organic kale, beets, spinach, carrots, tomatoes
No caffeine, preservatives, gluten, soy, corn syrup, saturated fat, hormones or antibiotics

They also have a high protein shake that is: 

USDA Certified Organic
25 grams of Organic, Grass-Fed Protein
3 grams Net Carbs
150 Calories
No Sugar Added
Gluten Free
Non-GMO
No Artificial Sweeteners
Doctor Developed

3) Okay last but not least and also probably my last recommendation but..Isopure

Definitely doesn’t taste the best and does have both natural and artificial flavors but does not have sugar, glycerin, carrageenan, and hydrogenated oils like many others.

I’d love to know if you have tried any of these before or found any protein shakesyou like better. Please leave a comment and let me know!

Boston Blogger Meetup + Healthy New Arrangement!

It’s summertime, and for most in Boston that means endless parties, drinks on our roof decks, too many cocktails subsequently, and attempts to escape to the Cape or Nantucket. Fortunately, two weekend ago, I got to enjoy a little roof deck getaway with some of my favorite bloggers (Susan, Georgina, and Vanessa) in Boston’s historic North End. A gorgeous view, delicious food, great company..what more could you ask for?

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Appetizers and drinks were abound, with one of the highlights being the Crudite Creation I brought! Based out of Newton, I touched base with them a week prior to get the scoop on this healthy piece of art, which complemented my summertime attempts at eating more salads and veggies anyways in the hopes of fitting into my minuscule bikini before my first summer vaca. While I am not too sure my efforts are paying off, it helps having a company who makes healthy eating easy. And, I get to show off my skills in “party dish-bringing.” I absolutely cannot cook nor do I have the time to try and make something somewhat edible before parties, hence the Crudite Creation solution.

What is Crudite Creations? Crudite Creations are delicious, healthy arrangements, similar to Edible Arrangements, but with fresh vegetables arranged in an artful way! Instead of selecting candy coatings and chocolate like you would for fruit, the vegetables are prepared with a variety of gourmet dips, such as Caramelized Onion, White Bean, Hummus, and Ranch. Because I am a huge hummus fan, we got to try the gourmet hummus dip, which was hands down the most heavenly dip I have ever tasted. Plus, everything was gluten free 🙂 If you have food allergies, you can let them know and they are more than happy to accommodate.

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To tell you a little more, all the vegetables used in the Creations are from local suppliers and if you check out their Creations page, there are quite an abundance of selections to choose from. I got to talk to David, one of the owners, and he was generous enough to not only provide me with the arrangement but also answer a few questions below:

1) What areas do you deliver to?

a. We deliver to all areas in Eastern Mass.

2) What is the one thing you wish the public knew about your company that they probably do not?

a. Vegetable bouquets are great addition to any event or celebration, but we also work on corporate events. The vegetable bouquets are also great to send as a sympathy or condolence gift.

3) Where do you source from?

a. We source from local suppliers and when available local farm stands.

4) What is your mission?

a. To create a work of art using healthy and delicious vegetables that adds beauty, flavor and health to every occasion.

5) What does a day in the life of your business look like?

a. Creating new designs and finding new vegetables to include on the bouquets

b. Working with customers

c. Creating awareness for our products

Lauren Brooks, the creator of the company, is clearly passionate about sharing healthy food and I couldn’t be more ecstatic to have found out about this nutritious venture of hers. The Creation needless to say was a HUGE hit, that looked absolutely beautiful, and could be enjoyed by everyone. As an RD, I will admit, I won’t bring sugar to a party and the typical veggie and fruit platter can get a tad boring. You can bet I will be bringing more of these creations to my summer festivities!

If you want to know more or book a creation you can contact them at:

Crudite Creations
617-416-2609
info@cruditecreations.com

Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: Although I received an arrangement for free to sample and review for my blog, I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

 

 

Blue Apron Vs Plated: What’s for Dinner?

This past week I had the opportunity to try, not one, but two (!), well-known food delivery services, Plated and Blue Apron. My parents have done Plated a few times and a good friend of mine has been raving about Blue Apron. And, when I heard that I would get delicious ingredients and easy recipes, based upon my preferences, delivered right to my doorstep, it didn’t take me long to sign up for their trial week.  This new concept takes grocery delivery and combines it with pre-portioned, ready to cook meals! Who hasn’t come home from a long day of work and wished the menu was already planned for the night? We’ve all been there…okay okay except for maybe me since my boyfriend does the cooking and we plan all of our meals for the week but still…you get the point. It’s nice to have healthy meals planned and pre-portioned for you.

My meals arrived Saturday afternoon in a neatly packaged cardboard box lined with ice packs to keep the contents cool for a few hours. Both packages (blue apron and plated) contained all of the ingredients needed to cook each meal, feeding 2 people, complete with recipes and photos. Literally, EVERYTHING is included from the major poultry and fish items all the way down to the lemon, butter, and fresh herbs, such as mint and basil. The only things not included were olive oil, and salt and pepper. Blue Apron even included little bags for each of the meals, called “knick-knacks,” which included items like butter and cheese for their beet pasta dish. This added bit of organization went a long way as I tend to lose things in my refrigerator.

We started with one of our Plated meals first, which consisted of Swordish with Spicy Mango Salsa and Israeli Couscous. The meals for both services range between 500-750 calories ( a little high for me), but use healthy ingredients for the most part. What I really loved was that with Plated you can choose between vegetarian or omnivore dinners. By selecting land, sea, or veggie, you will presented with a variety of options to choose from each week.  The menu is released a few weeks prior to delivery so if don’t like it, you can opt out a week! Unfortunately with Blue Apron, you don’t have much of a choice for what you get for the week you select, so we got stuck with beet pasta, which we don’t really eat. Plus, I would say, with Blue Apron, it’s not as healthy as Plated.

Instructions 

So our first attempt was the Swordfish. While the recipe card came with step by step photo instructions, the list was quite cumbersome and overwhelming. On the website, it said this meal was easy (they have different difficulty levels listed) and certainly it was easy to prepare but it took forever! I was under the impression that everything came prepared, which some of it did, but for the salsa, there was still a lot of peeling, rinsing, cutting, mincing, and chopping that had to be done, which took quite awhile to do. An hour and a half later and dinner was finally served!

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Unimpressed with the overall flavors, I don’t think this dish was worth an hour an a half of my time. The couscous were bland and honestly I felt like I didn’t get enough swordfish. I left hungry after this mediocre meal and I wish there had been more veggies. The only thing left to do was try Blue Apron!

On the menu for the week was: Lemon Parsley Chicken thighs, Fresh Beet Pasta, and Maple and Ginger Glazed Salmon. We decided to try the Lemon Parsley Chicken Thighs first. I liked how a separate instruction sheet was sent describing all three meals. It told us that our chicken is done when the juices run clear and that thinly slicing the yellow squash and zucchini is the best way to serve them. This was super helpful in addition to the recipe care they provided us for all 3 meals.

Similar to Plated, the recipe card came with step by step photos instructions, but once again there was plenty of peeling and mincing to be done. I couldn’t believe the amount of prep needed! However, this meal came out MUCH better than the Plated meal. This one was full of flavor, rich and delicious, and actually left me completely stuff afterwards. There was more than enough veggies, protein, and quinoa, and I finished the meal 100% satisfied, with plenty of leftovers too! After further consideration as an RD, I would even say this meal yielded enough for 3 or 4 people.

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Not only did this meal taste great but it looked great too! At the end of the day, I was very pleased with both options, but do wish they had some more health conscious and paleo friendly options.

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(Maple and Ginger Glazed Salmon)

Here are the pros and cons in my opinion

Pros

Convenient and ingredients sent to you

Great way to get more people comfortable with cooking

Fun activity to do with a partner
Meals will keep for at least a week

You can skip a week

Emphasis on local and seasonal food.

Some specialty ingredients you likely won’t find on your own

Cons

Time consuming! Definitely not practical for me during the week
Reoccuring payments if you are not careful to skip a delivery or opt out of the service-you would automatically be shipped another week by default.

Need lower calorie options

Not always the freshest produce

Plated Vs Blue Apron Prices $$

Blue Apron- $10 a person per meal for 1 week- this includes 3 meals for two people

Plated-$12 a plate Membership Price / $15 a plate A-la-Carte

At the end of the day you are paying for convenience. And while I absolutely loved trying new foods and recipes and getting to experiment a little, I won’t be using this weekly meal service. Both services impressed me with their organization and their ability to make my in-home dining experience feel a little bit more luxurious. I applaud them for their creative menus and who knows maybe I will periodically order from them! I just don’t have an hour and a half to spend during the week for non-paleo meals!

 

Tell me: Have you tried Blue Apron or Plated? What did you think? Do you prefer one over the other?