Posts Tagged ‘snacks’

Summer Surprises from Ecocentric Mom

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My May/June Ecocentric Mom boxes arrived this week and, once again, they are packed with stuff I have already started putting to good use.  This time around, I received both the “Mom” Discovery box and the “Mom-to-Be” box. While I’m not expecting (yet!), as a Doula I like to know and share the latest safe and eco-friendly products available for mama and baby. This month I discovered some great new stuff. Check it out…

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May/June Ecocentric “Mom” Box

~Playmaker Nutrition All Natural Gummy Vitamins – So far, this might be the best surprise I’ve ever gotten through my Ecocentric Mom boxes….TWO full-size bottles of Playmaker Nutrition! I received the multi-vitamin, as well as the Calcium Vitamin D. These typically sell for $13.99 per bottle! Talk about this subscription box paying for itself! Best part is…my daughter loves them. I love them because they give my active 7 year old extra nutrients she might need without any added junk most vitamins contain…and they are made in the USA. I also received a 20% discount code.

~Licious Organics Raw Honey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie – what a great treat. These unbaked cookies come from an old family recipe and are made with only the finest ingredients. They are gluten, soy and wheat free and made with organic chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, peanut butter…and Utah Pink Salt. You would swear they were baked. Each cookie costs $1.20. I also received a 10% discount code.

~All Natural Chocolate Caramel Swirl by The Lovely Candy Co. – sweet treats! Love that these are made with all natural ingredients and contain no GMOs, no gluten or soy, and no high-fructose corn syrup. My daughter and I truly enjoyed the soft, buttery chocolate caramel. I received 6 caramels. A full 6oz bag sells for $3.99-$4.99.

~Boiron Arnicare Gel -another favorite. I am a big fan of Boiron products and recently purchased the Arnicare Gel. It works great for when my daughter gets those inevitable bumps and bruises from playing in the school yard. Arnica montana is a homeopathic remedy that helps with muscle pain, stiffness, swelling and bruising. The gel is unscented, non-greasy, absorbs quickly and is paraben-free. I received the travel-size which sells for $1.99 and will be taking with me on my Summer travels. A full size sells for $10.99.

~The Sili Squeeze with Eeeze – what a great invention. This reusable squeeze pouch is ideal for toddlers and school-aged children. It is made of 100% toxin-free materials and has a free-flowing spout, making it safe and easy for them to use. You can fill it with smoothies, yogurt, applesauce and the like. Perfect for school lunches. I received one Sili Squeeze which sells for $14.99, along with a 10% discount code.

~ORGLAMIX All-Natural “Hot Mama” Eye Shadow – I love getting make-up samples and learning that there is a big variety out there that is safer than conventional brands. Orglamix is free of parabens, sulfates, synthethic fragrances and dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs and Triclosan. The eye shadow I received is the perfect natural shade I typically use. It sells for $9. I also received a 20% discount code.

~Antioxidant Rich Organic Nightly Repair Nectar by La Mav – I received a sample of this serum and used a little the same night. I have to say, I noticed a little boost in my tone and firmness almost immediately. It contains omega 3 and 6 in Acai Pulp Oil and Lingonberry Oil and is formulated to fight signs of aging and protect skin. I’m hoping this “natural botox” really does help smooth fine lines and wrinkles with continued use. The full size sells for $49.95. I also received a 10% discount code.

~Monarch Farm Rose Complete Rejuvenating Face Cream – Another great skincare product! I used this face cream just this morning and my face felt very moisturized and soft. It absorbs quickly and smells like a beautiful bouquet of fresh roses. It is made with Rose petal infused Rosehip Seed Oil, Rose Absolute & Rose Hydrosol, all formulated to regenerate the skin and fight the advancement of skin aging. I received the  travel size which sells for $5. There is also a 1.75 oz for $15 and a 4 oz for $25. I also received a 15% discount code.

~Rise & Shine Organic Coffee Body Scrub by Simply Rustic – I love coffee, but coffee on the skin? YES! This scrub will truly awaken your skin. It is 100% natural, loaded with antioxidants, and has so many benefits. The caffeine can help reduce inflammation from fluid build up, promote circulation and even breakdown fat cells! I received a $3 value travel size. A full 8 oz size sells for $12. I also received a 20% discount code.

~LrCrem Naturals “LeRevital Riche Body Souffle” – I love this stuff! It feels so light and fluffy on your skin and has such a pleasant, light, cherry scent. It leaves your skin feeling revived, moisturized and soft. Best of all, it is all natural…made with neem, rosemary, jojoba, avocado and essential oils. There are no extra additives, petroleum or parabens. I received a travel size which sells for $3. The full size (8oz) sells fo $24. I also received a 10% discount code.

~Wild Orange Natural Organic Solid Deodorant by Natures Natural – Finding the right natural and/or organic deodorant can be a challenge. Well, thanks to Ecocentric Mom, this is the 2nd deodorant I learn about that truly works for me! It has a great citrus scent and is 100% organic. I wore it all day today and it did the job! I received a travel size which values at $1.95. The full size sells for $5.95.

~Along with all these goodies, I also received a $15 gift card for KISS ME ORGANICS.

~Last, but not least….the topics for the Ecocentric Mom May/June Expert Tips Postcard were: “Eco-Friendly Picnics” and “A fun family workout that you can do with kids of any age.”

As if all that wasn’t enough, I also received the “Mom-to-Be” box,which included several of the same items, but some great new finds too…

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May/June Ecocentric “Mom-to-Be” Box

~Sunshine Organic Herbals Healing Herbal Sitz Bath – this will make a great recommendation for my doula clients. This blend of healing herbs will help reduce postpartum inflammation, aches and pains and help speed up the healing process. I received a 1 oz bag that sells for $4. There is a 1/2 lb bag available for $16 or a full pound for $30. I also received a 10% discount code.

~Ancestry Shampoo Bar by SoapMuffin Organic and Holistic Products – I have yet to use this but love it already. It is made with raw coconut milk, fresh herbs and….the secret ingredient…clay. This shampoo bar claims to be rich in lather, leave your hair soft and manageable, and rinse out with no residue. If for some reason it does not live up to its claims, I’ll make sure to update my post! 😉 I received a travel size sample. A full bar sells for $5.

~Novena Organic Anti-Aging Mineral Sun Block SPF 30 – A few months back I received a sample of Novena’s Eye Gel in my Ecocentric Mom Box and fell in love with it. I know I will definitely be putting this sunscreen to use this Summer too. It is made using high quality ingredients that are safer and more effective than conventional brands. I received a full size which sells for $26.99.

~Knocked Up Nails – Exclusive 50% Ecocentric Mom Discount Offer to shop online for this pregnancy-safe nail polish line that has been featured on E! TV, Baby Talk Magazine, American Baby Magazine, etc.

The following items were featured in the “Mom” box as well:

~Licious Organics Raw Honey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie

~All Natural Chocolate Caramel Swirl by The Lovely Candy Co.

~ORGLAMIX All-Natural “Hot Mama” Eye Shadow

~Antioxidant Rich Organic Nightly Repair Nectar by La Mav 

~Monarch Farm Rose Complete Rejuvenating Face Cream

~LrCrem Naturals “LeRevital Riche Body Souffle”

~Wild Orange Natural Organic Solid Deodorant by Natures Natural

~Expert Tips Card

As usual, I was introduced to several products that I will most likely use again. Just about every single one I would recommend to clients, friends and family. If you’re interested in a subscription box service or know someone who would love to receive goodies every-other-month, I highly recommend Ecocentric Mom.  They never disappoint.

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Organic Snacks & Backyard Game Contest

CAM00403Convenient, healthy snacks are something I write about frequently. In today’s busy society it is sometimes difficult to have fresh and nutritious snacks on hand. That’s why when I first discovered CLIF Kid I knew I had struck gold. CLIF Kid is the maker of organic snacks for kids…Zbar, Zbar Crispy and Zfruit. 5 years later, my daughter still loves the Zbar energy snack bars…and so do I!

One bar contains around 10 grams of whole grains, 12 vitamins and minerals, 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, 11 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber. What I love most is that 95% of the ingredients are Certified USDA Organic. No high fructose corn syrup. No hydrogenated oils. No preservatives. No trans fats. No artificial flavors or colors.

IMG_20130409_111439These snack bars are a great way to provide some nutritious energy for young active kids (and adults!) when you’re on the go. They are the perfect treat and can even pass for a nutritious dessert. We get them for only $1.69 at TJs or WholeFoods. They are vegan too!

The Zbars are soft and chewy and come in a variety of flavors. My daughter’s favorites are the Iced Oatmeal Cookie and the Honey Graham. I love the Chocolate Brownie. They also come in Smore’s. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip. CLIF Kid recently added a Zbar Crispy Rice variety. It’s like having a special rice krispy treat only it contains plenty of good for you stuff.  So far we’ve tried the Cookies ‘n Cream. They also come in Chocolate, Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter.

CLIF Kid recently announced that they are bringing back their CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year contest. It is designed to encourage kids ages 6-12 to explore outdoor play by inventing their very own backyard game. Individual category entrants could win a $10,000 scholarship, a bike from Specialized Bicycles and a Bell helmet. This year a group category has been added and entrants have the opportunity to win a $15,000 donation to the non-profit of their choice. In addition, select finalists will win a trip to San Diego to showcase their games at the 2013 CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year Playoffs.

The contest is running now and ends on June 17, 2013. Backyard game ideas can be submitted at www.CLIFKidBackyardGame.com.  For all contest submissions, kids ages 6-12 are asked to invent original backyard games that bring kids together to play outside. The games can utilize common household items such as balls, hula hoops, beanbags and, most importantly, kids’ imaginations for hours of fun.

Co-authors and outdoor play advocates, Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer, are sharing fun outdoor activity tips for families on the CLIF Kid Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CLIFKid) during the contest phase and will also serve as judges at the CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year Playoffs. Tornio and Keffer’s book, “The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things to Do in Nature Before You Grow Up,” launched on April 2 and is a year-round how-to activity guidebook for outdoor exploration.

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“All of us here at CLIF Kid remember what a blast it was being kids, exploring the outdoors and creating wacky games to amuse ourselves and friends,” said Jennifer Yun, brand director for CLIF Kid. “With Backyard Game of the Year, we’re providing a spotlight for kids to share their creativity and build the confidence that starts from playing outside.”

 
 
For more details and information on the contest visit: www.CLIFKidsBackyardGame.com
For more info on Clif Bar & Company visit: www.clifbar.com, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/clifbar and follow them on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/clifbar.  

March Boxes for Mom & Baby

CAM00543I still can’t get over my first Subscription Boxes from Ecocentric Mom.  I received both the “Mom” and the “Baby” March boxes and am wowed by the quality of products and savings I received.  If you’re unfamiliar with subscription boxes, they are the latest and greatest way to sample and save on new products through a monthly subscription. For as little as $17, you can get a box in the mail once a month from Ecocentric Mom filled with goodies like the ones pictured above. You can subscribe to the “Mom”, “Mom-to-be” or “Baby” discovery boxes. You can even subscribe for more than one box for more fun stuff and savings.  I highly encourage anyone looking to discover and save on new, green, and healthy products and services to check out Ecocentric Mom and sign-up now!

Take a look at the stuff I got in the March box for Moms. (I’ve included the regular retail price of each in parentheses and some thoughts on the products):

1. Amazing Grass Kidz -Wild Berry Sample. I’ve been thinking about buying this for my daughter for a while and now we got the chance to sample it first! I put the powder in her smoothie and she instantly got the equivalent of 3 servings of fruits and veggies…and she loved it. Much easier than making her take vitamins/supplements. I received a 20% off coupon to purchase a box online too! ($21.99 for 15 count packets)

2. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars. ($0.99 each) I received two of them. My daughter and I absolutely LOVE them, both the Fig and Raspberry flavors. They are dairy-free, Kosher and made with stone ground whole wheat. Better alternative to other energy bars. Make a healthy treat or snack. Taste like you’re eating fig newtons or soft, yummy cookies.

3. Go Raw Spirulina Energy Bar. ($1.19 per bar) This bar is purely raw, organic, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free. soy-free and GMO-free. Made with Spirulina and sprouted seeds and only 70 calories…perhaps the most perfect healthy snack.

4. Snikiddy Eat Your Vegetables Snack Chips ($2.99-$3.99)  These chips are so yummy and contain a full serving of vegetables in every ounce! I received one 4.5 oz bag of the Sour Cream & Onion variety. GMO-free, gluten and wheat free, no artificial colors or preservatives or MSG. My daughter LOVED them…so did I! I’ll be using the $1 off coupon I also received asap!

5. EBOOST ($1.79 per packet or $28 for box of 20) I received 2 packets…Daily Health Booster in Orange and Natural Energy in Pink Lemonade. You just mix these little packets in your water to get extra vitamins, green tea and more to help boost your immune system or give you a little extra energy during a workout. I haven’t tried them yet or looked into all of the ingredients but I’m positive they are a better alternative to sugary, chemical-filled drinks. Came with a 20% off online coupon.

6. Waxelene The Petroleum Jelly Alternative ($1.99 per sample/$6.99 for 2oz jar/$15.99 per 9oz jar) I received a sample packet of 3 applications. Petroleum Jelly aka Vaseline has been said to not be as good for the skin as many believe. In fact it can be very toxic and is actually bad for the environment as well. Waxelene offers a much better and healthier alternative. It is aerated so it won’t clog your pores like petroleum jelly. It contains Organic soy oil, beeswax, vit E oil and organic rosemary oil. Can be used for everything from chapped lips to diaper rash. It is also biodegradable. Also received 10% online coupon.

7. Treefort Naturals Soap ($5.50 per bar) I received a bar of the Hemp Lemongrass soap. The small mom-owned business offers other bath and skin care products handmade from natural, local and organic ingredients. While I’m not a fan of the lemon scent, it made my skin feel great. Also received 20% online coupon.

8. Mama Willow Tree Green Tea Herbal Eye Balm ($3.50 sample/$10 full) I received a sample size that comes in the form of a chapstick. Makes for easy application. I’ve been using it every morning to help with tired, puffy eyes. So far so good. Also received 10% online coupon.

9. Heaven’s Alchemy Exquisite Perfumes ($5 sample) I recieved 2 sample vials…Monaco and St. Petersburg. I really like the latter’s scent. They are alcohol/paraben/phthalate and color additive free. Created by a husband and wife. 15 scents named after some of the greatest cities of the world. Received a 15% off online coupon too.

10. Essence of Vali’s Sleep ($18 for full size) I received a sample vial of this 100% natural and vegan blend of lavender, marjoram, cedarwood and ylang/ylang. I’ve actually been having trouble sleeping recently. For the past couple of days I’ve been putting a drop on the end of my pillowcase as stated in the directions. I like the scent and I have to say I’ve had better sleep the past couple of nights. Coincidence? Also received 20% online coupon too.

11. Hazel Village Postcards (Set of 3 postcards -$3) These beautiful cards are handmade from organic cotton. I received 3 with pictures of bunnies and other Spring/Easter related animals, so my daughter and I mailed them out to friends and family. Received a 20% off online coupon too.

12. Mineral Hygienics -$15 Gift Card! Known for it’s longest lasting makeup and short list of ingredients. I took advantage of this one and got a free lipstick online!!!

13. Sprout San Francisco -$10 Gift Card. A natural and organic children’s boutique. Shop for clothing, personal care, toys, furniture, etc.

14. iTRAIN -$50 Gift Card! A website where you can download fitness classes, music, videos, etc. I’ll be taking advantage of this one very soon!!!

And if that wasn’t enough, I also got the March Box for Baby:

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1. Branam All Natural Xylitol Tooth Gel-Go Go Grape ($5.69) This tooth gel is recommended by dentists and pediatricians for children 6 months to 4 years of age. It contains Xylitol which is known as a safer alternative to help clean teeth and remove plaque. It does not contain fluoride (considered controversial and unsafe by many) and is safe to swallow. Received a 25% off online coupon too.

2. Living Green Baby Natural Bamboo Lux Wipes ($10.49 for a pack of 6) I received 2 Lux Wipes from Living Green Baby. This family owned business makes reusable alternatives to every day disposable products. The wipes are made with high quality bamboo. They are very soft, but durable. Great way to go green. Received 15% of online coupon too.

3. Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35 ($15 -4oz) I received a sample size of this sunscreen and will definitely be taking it with me when I travel this Summer. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Contains safe minerals with aloe and green tea extract. It is top rated by EWG for safety. Can be used by newborns on up!

4. Squishy Snack Pak ($5.99 ea) This reusable spouted pouch is great for homemade baby food, yogurt, smoothies and anything squishy you want to take on-the-go. Makes it easy for little ones to eat. It’s BPA free and has a choke proof cap. You fill it from the bottom and the little one squishes out just enough from the top. Can also be used as freezer storage. Great and easy way to go green.

In addition. this box also came with some items I mentioned above…

5. Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars

6. Waxelene The Petroleum Jelly Alternative

7. Hazel Village Set of 3 Postcards

8. iTRAIN $50 Gift Card

9. Sprout San Francisco $10 Gift Card

CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT COMES NEXT MONTH!!!

Get more info & sign-up to get your monthly surprises: Ecocentric Mom

My Cassava (aka Yuca) Chips Craze

Earlier this year, while shopping at my local Trader Joe’s, I was approached by one of the employee’s who saw a bag of these Cassava Chips in my shopping cart. She asked if I was aware that they would no longer be carrying them. SAY WHAT? I rushed back to the Chip Aisle and grabbed 3 more bags. The following week I noticed the shelf restocked. I asked if perhaps there had been a mistake. Sadly, the chips were definitely discontinued. They had simply put out the last stash from the back. That was it. No more Cassava Chips at my Trader Joe’s. So, I did what seemed the natural thing to do. I bought the last 12 bags! NO shame, that’s how much I love them. The employees were not surprised at all. I’m in there every week and they were used to me buying a bag just about every time I shopped. My family loves the healthier snack alternative (see nutrients and simple list of recognizable ingredients below). They are gluten-free, low fat and calorie, lightly salted and very satisfying. In two months we went through all the bags. I’ve learned that they are still sold in certain Trader Joe’s throughout the country. So, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones, you need to try them asap!

If you are unfamiliar with it, Cassava is a root found in tropical lands, particularly South America. Known as Yuca (often confused with Yucca, spelled almost the same but entirely a different plant species) in many Latin cultures, it is high in calcium and vitamin C and can be cooked in so many different ways. It has both a sweet and bitter taste, at the same time. Being of South American heritage, it was a very common dish in my home while growing up. I’ve enjoyed yuca patties, stews with yuca in place of potato, boiled yuca, yuca fries, etc., etc. Today I continue in the tradition of serving yuca with my own family’s meals. One of my daughter’s favorite side dishes (and mine) is Yuca Frita (fried cassava).  I am fortunate enough to find frozen cassava (by Goya) at my local Super Giant grocery store. I boil the yuca chunks, cut them into thinner slices, then fry them in some Grape Seed or Olive Oil, sprinkle with some sea salt, and serve with sliced cheese, specifically Queso Blanco Fresco. Deliciousness.

Fortunately, while disappointed not to find the Cassava Chips at my Trader Joe’s anymore, I have been comforted in finding very similar products since then. While in California, I discovered Crisp Root Cassava Chips at a local Whole Foods Market. Same convenience and delicious cassava taste, but these chips have a couple of advantages. First of all, they are thick and ridged, making you feel like you’re indulging in some fantastic potato chips, only with less fat and more fiber! Crisp Root Chips also come in different flavors. Our favorites are the Original and the Sea Salt. You can also find BBQ flavored and Thai Ginger Chips. Lastly, and best of all, you can order these great chips online!!! Back here in PA, my Whole Foods does not carry them, so this is a huge plus for me. Just click the image to the right to visit their website for more info and/or place an order.

What I was able to find at my local Whole Foods are Inka Chips, by Inka Crops from Peru.  This brand offers different snack products and are committed to providing healthier more eco-conscious alternatives.  The Mixed Variety bag pictured below contains all my favorites: Plantain, Sweet Potato and Yuca Chips. Individual bags of each are also available. Inka Crops’ products can also be ordered online. Visit their website for more info and/or to order.

If you have not tried Cassava yet (be it as chips or at the growing number of trendy restaurants offering it as a side dish) I hope I’ve inspired you to give it a chance.

New Whole Foods Market Cookies

Yum! This week I’ve been munching on 4 of the 9 different varieties of the new line of Whole Foods Market cookies. What a treat! They are small enough that you can indulge a little, but packed with enough flavor to satisfy your sweet tooth. Sweets and desserts are some of the biggest battles in my home. I have a huge sweet tooth, I’m not going to lie. Unfortunately my daughter has inherited that tooth.  I try to find items that she will enjoy as an occasional treat or dessert, yet not contain too much sugar. Even more difficult is to find sweets that won’t contain some of the other hidden culprits: artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, GMOs, dyes, etc. I do not want to deprive her (nor myself), so I do my best to teach her about moderation and the effects of sugar and other harmful ingredients. These cookies are a great option! They are all natural and contain no trans fat. They are also made with non-gmo unbleached flour, regular cane sugar, natural coloring and flavors, even an organic soy lecithin emulsifier is used. Depending on the variety, a serving size (3-5 cookies) contains anywhere from 6-11 grams of sugar. I can deal with that. My “little” is perfectly happy with 2 cookies….I tend to crave the third.  With 9 varieties to choose from, there is definitely something available for everyone. So, I sat down after dinner with my daughter, hubby, and mom who was in town this week, and took tasting notes as we each sampled all four of the cookie flavors below:

First up: Oatmeal Raisin Crisp – 4 cookies contain 140 calories and 7 grams of sugar. You’ll get 1-2 raisins per cookie, which is perfect for the size. (Each cookie is a little bigger than a silver dollar.) My mom and the hubbs agreed that this was their absolute favorite flavor of the bunch. I’m a chocolate fan, but I have to agree that this might very well be one of the best tasting oatmeal raisin crispy cookies I’ve had. The “little” thought they were pretty good too. They had a nice cinnamon/nutmeg kick to them that blended perfectly with the oats and raisins.

Second: Meyer Lemon Chocolate – 5 cookies contain 150 calories and 6 grams of sugar. The cookies are topped with a light dust of powdered sugar and chocolate drizzle. I am not a fan of lemon in my dessert at all, but mom and hubbs are and well, the chocolate helped. Mom and hubbs were a little disappointed. Hubbs thought they tasted like grass. I can sort of agree.  However, the “little” loved the taste. She said it was lemony and her 2nd favorite of the bunch. 😉

Third: Dark Chocolate Almond – 4 cookies contain 130 calories and 11 grams of sugar. For being little cookies, they sure gave them some big chocolate chunks…and I’m not complaining! The dark chocolate is light, not too dark or bitter. Everyone agreed that the chocolate overpowered the almond taste though, but again, I’m not complaining.  Hubbs and mom thought they were ok, but not memorable. They were my favorite and my daughter agreed that they were pretty good. What a great alternative these are for popular conventional brands of chocolate chip cookies.

Last, but not least: Caramel Chocolate Chunk – 3 cookies contain 130 calories and 11 grams of sugar.  This cookie reminded me of a Chips Ahoy. While it was definitely good, and bigger in size than all the others, the chocolate overpowered the caramel taste. The result was a great chocolate chip cookie taste. This was my daughter’s favorite of them all.  It came in a close second for me. Hubbs and mom were a little disappointed as they are both caramel fans but agreed that it was still a good cookie.

While opinions and personal taste are going to differ, we all agreed that we were pretty impressed with all four varieties of the cookies. Whole Foods Market has done a great job, once again, of offering a healthier alternative for the whole family to enjoy. Best part of all, they are definitely affordable at $3.69 a tub! ENJOY!

Other flavors include: Sweet Ginger Snap, Classic Chocolate Chip, Classic Almond Windmill, Caramel Corn, and Raspberry Thumbprint.