Monday, April 23, 2012

Foodtrainers Favorite Snacks and Giveaway

There’s a certain selection process we go through when choosing snacks for our clients; at times we feel like admissions officers.

Nutrition- as nutrition nerds, we first look at nutrition. In the Foodtrainers’ admissions office this category is the “transcript”. What are the ingredients? Where does it derive its sweetness? Is the ingredient list short and in “English”? If we need to Google ingredients, it’s not looking good.  How much fiber, protein and sugar are in a food? And it’s not so much making sure that there isn’t “too much” of something but more about how is this going to satiate us?

Gluten - after basic nutrition, we look at other areas. Increasingly, it’s important to us that products, particularly items in the Foodtrainers’ store, are gluten free. Many can call gluten a fad and just because something is GF doesn’t make it healthy but less gluten is a good thing.

Taste- this is akin to the interview. Many people and products look good on paper, their scores and numbers sound right but do you want to be around this person? Are they bland? Too aggressive? Or, enjoyable and fun? We’re Tulane girls and to us well roundedness is everything; many snacks do not pass our Foodtrainers’ taste tests. We get a lot of applicants and while we don’t send rejection letters per se, if you look in our recycling bins, you’ll know not everyone is admitted.

Abusability/Bingegibility- some snacks are good, maybe too good. We’ve held off on some of our favorite companies because we had concerns. Oftentimes it’s “servings per package” that we see as a red flag. It’s the dietary equivalent of the smart student who’s disruptive in class.


What kind of a company do they come from? We have personal relationships with the companies we work with. Many are founded by passionate people who care about food and spreading the healthy word. The food’s “family” and background story matters a great deal to us.

We’re thrilled to “admit” Hail Merry Individual Nut/Seed Snacks to Foodtrainers,
We’re so excited about these products that we’d admit them “early”.
Nutrition: stellar ingredients and preparation, nuts and seeds are soaked and then dehydrated.
Gluten: not only are these gluten free they’re raw, vegan and kosher.
Taste: first we sampled the Salt and Pepper Sunflower Seeds, the pepper was unexpected and delicious. Then came the Vanilla Maple Almonds- sweet but not too much so, reminiscent of NYC street nuts but these have “living enzymes” versus well we’ll avoid guessing what’s really in those nuts, they smell good.
Abusability: none, these come in single serve/eat the whole thing 1oz. beautiful packages. No cause for over-graze control, no snacking red flag.
Family: we have nothing but good things to say about Hail Merry. And they were so excited for one of you to sample their goods that they have a giveaway or "snack scholarship" in one of our lucky reader’s names. To be eligible be sure to comment here and either like us on Facebook or tweet about this by Thursday night 4/26 (there’s always some jumping through hoops involved, right?).

Giveaway goodies: Hail Merry "one of each" Product Assortment, t-shirt and tote bag
From Hail Merry’s site:
 “Hail Merry is about the journey to higher health and the unique path we each must take to achieve our goals for a happier, healthier life with friends and family.”
What criteria above is most important when you choose a snack? Any applicants you'd like to suggest to us? Are you familiar with Hail Merry?

40 comments:

  1. I agree with ALL Of your criteria (aside from the gluten free part, since that doesn't really bother me a whole lot). I think the "bingeability" factor is important to me too....single servings are great, or even things like pistachios that take a long time to eat (the non-shelled ones). I also like snacks that are a mix of both savory and sweet (but not too much of each). I think the Hail Merry products sound like real winners!! And, I love that shirt.

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    1. Totally agree about pistachios (peel and eat shrimp, organic edamame) call them activity foods.

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    2. Crawfish? Just had some last night--so good!

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  2. crawfish a great activity snack, how did I forget. I have to find some crawdaddies in NYC before season is over. Hmn, craving them at 8am. Love the new mama coming to read the blog.

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    1. And Bryna, Hail Merry is from Texas :)

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  3. All "hail" the delicious snack! Coming up with a healthy snack is often a greater challenge than making a healthy meal. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. love the snack humor, interesting snacks make life fun, right?

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  4. I LOVE Hair Merry products! Found them when I was working very close to a Whole Foods at the last office where their Chocolate Macaroons got me through an incredible stressful website launch! The Vanilla Maple Almonds made it into my snack drawer as a 3PM handful snack, too! Love this brand! Must try the salt and pepper sunflower seeds next. Honestly, all of your criteria is super important, but without taste, I am stuck with the boring apple and half of a Justin's alternative.

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    1. if it doesn't taste GREAT you will not read about it here. Life's too short to eat sawdust (unless topped with something delicious)

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  5. I'm glad you include "abusability." That's a big one for me, and it falls just behind nutrition. I love love love these seemingly innocent little ginger thins from Trader Joe's, but the box doesn't last long at my house!

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    1. Good in theory, does not mean good if we overdo it. Ginger thins, yum. Have you tried Glow ginger snaps?

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  6. as a future RD i look at nutrition first...then it must be backed up with taste!

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    1. nutrition + taste can't have one without the other, right? Good luck with your RD Lindsay.

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  7. First time I've heard of Hail Merry! Looking forward to trying their products!
    I generally follow the same criteria as Foodtrainers when choosing a snack. It's important that the snack is satisfying, which would fall under the abusability category.

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    1. Totally, if not satisfying then we abuse, right?

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  8. Hail Merry Snacks were hands down, my favorite finds at The Natural Foods Product Expo. Although I am not a Tulane girl, I like a goof well rounded snack as well, plus the other criteria is important for me. I do prefer to get my snacks in bulk, and portion them out myself to cut down on packaging waste, but I do think pre-portioned packets can be a good idea for clients who are learning portion control. I haven't tried the pepper sunflower seeds yet, but I can imagine they are pretty delicious!

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    1. totally agree about packaging love when "greener" or we can DIY.

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  9. Love your blog!!! Those snacks sound delish!

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    1. thank you Erin, totally delish and nutrish

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  10. These sounds perfect for tossing in the gym bag! Can't wait to try them, thanks!

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    1. These are great, what are you currently tossing in that gym bag? Seems everyone has a gym bag I stuff it all in my purse.

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  11. Almost always on the go, portability (in addition to your other criteria) is a must for me.

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    1. portability and lack of perishability important, absolutely.

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  12. Love that you care so much about the foods family and background.

    I often carry around Trader Joe's Plantain Chips which are fantastic, gluten-free, don't go bad, and are easy to find. Have you tried them?

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  13. I think "family" is important because if there isn't passion about quality and ingredients and a commitment to putting out a great product, something is fishy and it usually has to do with $ not health. Haven't tried TJ's Plantain Chips but we are big plantain fans in our house.

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  14. You were kind enough to throw some of these in as a freebie with my last order and I have been craving them ever since! They even past the picky boyfriend test. Love your "admission" criteria! I felt satisfied after one packet of the almonds. Thanks for introducing me to another great company. Love a great freebie...maybe I should direct patients who send me food gifts to you. Last night I got chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles. Didn't taste them, but the nurses told me they were stale!

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    1. ooh the picky boyfriend test, impressive. If people knew others would love healthy food gifts they would send. Teas, spices, delicious nuts (like hail merry) make great gifts. Stale pretzels...nut so much.

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  15. Great review! The vanilla maple almonds sound fantastic. I have to agree with your snacking standards, good to know there's no risk of abusing these snacks :)

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    1. who wants a snack if you just feel full of guilt afterward, right?

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  16. My greatest criteria for picking a snack is the less processed, the better and a short ingredient list is usually a good indicator for that. I can't even think of snacks we usually have on hand...occasionally I'll buy TJ's Olive oil potato chips, pretzels (yea. I know.), and organic dark chocolate (at least 80%).

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    1. Love less processed as criteria but why the pretzels/chips? OK you know, you know. And I'm with you on the chocolate 100%.

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  17. I don't generally like anyone on Facebook. But I do like you in real life, so that has to count for something, right? Ha!

    Lauren - either for a future post or maybe you've done it in the past - do you have any tips for people who overeat between work and supper? Because I have a...ummmm...friend who does this sometimes. And I...I mean...my friend...is having a hard time figuring out what kind of afternoon snack will hold her over so that she doesn't eat the caloric equivalent of an extra meal or two between 4:00 and 5:30.

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    1. I think I can definitely post and help "your friend" out. You...I mean your friend..is not alone in this challenge. And since when is this "real life"?

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  18. I agree with you on all your criteria!
    I do like single serving packages to help keep me from over doing it on some of my favorite snacks. :)

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  19. These sound delicious. It is so difficult to find real healthy snacks. I avoid food that come in a package, so I snack on a handful of home roasted nuts or seeds, a fruit, raw veggies. I love nuts and seeds and find it hard to stop after a few. The packaged snack might really help to sustain willpower.

    These days, I am in bikini-body preparation mode, so I eliminated my daily 5 pm snack, my only snack of the day. I drink a glass of water, put on some music and move instead. So far, so good. I doubt I am really hungry, it's more of a bad habit to eat at that time.

    My favorite activity food: artichoke.

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    1. love artichokes. You are in hard core bikini mode, for summer or a trip?

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    2. both! Going back home for the whole summer break - French Riviera and the Alps.

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  20. This is awesome and terrifyingly familiar. And I love the Hail Mary snacks...delish!

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    1. as a college lady, was our criteria good?

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  21. I haven't heard of Hail Mary snacks... sounds great. I am trying to eat "better" and this would be a great way to start (and I love the tote)!

    tweeted @mandaoverturf

    mandaoverturf at yahoo dot com

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