With summer on the horizon, hummus is a rich, creamy and healthy way to feed your family and beat the heat. Sabra Hummus comes in 14 mouthwatering flavors, including Classic, Sun-Dried Tomato, Pine Nut, Greek Olive, and Roasted Garlic. Slather hummus on sandwiches or in pita bread and wraps, serve it as a protein- and fiber-rich dip, or warm it up and use as a sauce over grilled meats, poultry, seafood and veggies. Sabra Hummus is available in 7-ounce, 10-ounce, and 14-ounce tubs, and convenient "to go" packs at supermarkets and wholesale food retailers nationwide as well as select online food retailers. Visit Sabra.com for more information.
Price: Varies depending on size and retailer
Unlike typical couscous with its diminutive size, Casbah Toasted Couscous, in Original and Wild Mushroom flavors, boasts giant pasta pearls (couscous is a pasta, not a type grain) that your kids will find intriguing — and you will find versatile and quick to fix. Cook as a side-dish with chopped herbs, nuts and feta; toss with edamame or chopped cooked chicken for a complete meal; or cook the Original Toasted Couscous with milk, cinnamon and dried fruit for a filling breakfast dish. Casbah Natural Foods offers a complete line of versatile and great-tasting vegetarian prepared mixes and side-dishes, including Couscous, Tabouli, Saffron Jasmine Rice and more. Toasted Couscous and other products are available at supermarkets and natural food retailers nationwide as well as online food retailers. Visit Casbah.com for more information.
Price: $2.99 per 6.3-ounce box
If your go-to dishes, like meatloaf, burgers and broiled chicken, have your family (and you) yawning, adding a tasty exotic twist will make dinner an exciting and delicious surprise. Dulcet Exotic Ketchups — in Mild Indian Curry, Peppery Moroccan, and Sweet Orange Chile flavors — will not only enliven your regular meals, they will also inspire you to create some new standby recipes for your family to enjoy. You can give your stuffed peppers, sausages, lamb, steak, shrimp, sweet potato fries, stews and sauces exotic flair with the simple addition of a gourmet ketchup — how easy is that! Even better, ketchups are 100 percent natural, contain no preservatives and are gluten- and wheat-free. Dulcet Ketchups are available at fine food retailers and Whole Foods Markets nationwide, and can be ordered online at DulcetCuisine.com.
Price: $7 per 14-ounce bottle
Peeved when your kids (or spouse) nibble off the muffin top and leave the stump behind? You can buy a muffin top baking pan or you can stock your freezer with an even more nutritious alternative. Vitalicious VitaTops pack a mere 100 calories plus a whopping 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, 15 vitamins and minerals, and only 2 grams of unsaturated fat per 2-ounce serving. These conveniently packaged and portable treats are a tasty way to start the day, and can also double as a filling, healthy snack. Choose from the new Banana Nut or the over dozen other satisfying muffin top flavors, including BlueBran, Deep Chocolate, Golden Corn and AppleBerry. Visit Vitalicious.com to find a store near you or to order online.
Price: $16 per box of 12 or $29.50 for 24
A far healthier alternative to soft drinks and a tastier alternative to sports drinks, Vita Coco Coconut Water comes in six nutrient-rich flavors: Original, Pineapple, Passion Fruit, Tangerine, Peach & Mango, and AÃ§aÃ & Pomegranate. An 11.2-ounce serving contains almost 700 milligrams of potassium and approximately 15 times more electrolytes than the average sports drink in a similar serving size. This refreshing drink is available at natural, conventional, and specialty grocers, such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats, as well as outdoor supply and athletic stores. Visit VitaCoco.com for more information.
Price: $1.99 per 11.2-ounce serving
Need breakfast in a hurry and tired of your usual cereal routine? Keep your freezer stocked with convenient breakfast goodies. Van's International Foods, the country's leading all-natural frozen waffle brand, recently expanded its breakfast offerings to include a variety of all-natural, frozen Pancakes and French Toast Sticks. Van's Pancakes are available in Buttermilk and Wheat Free Homestyle varieties, which are free of gluten, dairy and egg ingredients. Van's French Toast Sticks are offered in Homestyle and Wheat Free Cinnamon, and are an excellent source of calcium. Partner these convenient breakfasts with yogurt, fruit and nuts and you've got one quick and healthy morning meal. Van's products are available in the freezer section at many fine natural foods retailers nationwide. For more information, visit VansFoods.com.
Price: $3.29 per 6-count box of French Toast Sticks or 8-count box of Pancakes
With bakery and store-bought bagels reaching 5-ounce portions (and over 500 calories!), Little Lender's (70 calories each) and Lender's 100-Calorie bagels make portion control and maintaining a healthy weight deliciously convenient. Whether you need to take a bagel on the go for a snack (pair with some cheese, yogurt or nuts) or want to surprise your kids with mini-bagel sandwiches for lunch, these new Lender's Bagels come in 10- and 12-count packages that can be kept in your freezer and quickly thawed when needed. You can find these scrumptious little goodies in the refrigerated section of grocery retailers nationwide. For information on these and other bagel products, visit LendersBagels.com.
Price: $2.59 per package
For moms who want to minimize the family's sugar and/or dairy intake, Turtle Mountain has created the world's first agave-sweetened frozen fruit bars. Made with imported, organic agave syrup and fortified with fiber from chicory root, these creamy, low-glycemic, portion-controlled frozen novelties are fat-free and contain no dairy, soy, gluten or coconut milk. At 70 calories per serving, you can feel good about giving them to your kids as a treat as well as savoring a refreshing fruit bar yourself. The 2.3-ounce bars come four per pack and are available in the following flavors: Orange Passion Fruit, Raspberry and Strawberry. Look for them at your local Whole Foods Market and other natural foods retailers. Visit SoyDelicious.com to learn more about these and other dairy-free products.
Price: $4.99 per box
If your kids nix the idea of fresh fruit because they want something crunchy, hand them a single-serving bag of Sonoma Crisps. Ideal as healthy, on the go snacks, Sonoma Crisps come in three crunch-satisfying varieties: Apple Sticks Original, Apple Sticks Cinnamon, Apple Sticks Golden Delicious, and Raisin Crunch Original. Made from the highest-quality fruit sourced in California and Washington, Sonoma Crisps are baked slowly to preserve their natural flavors and give them their characteristic crisp texture. The Apple Sticks varieties provide the equivalent of 1-1/2 apples per serving at only 70 calories while the Raisin Crunch Original is a mere 60 calories (as compared to 130 calories per small 1/4-cup of regular raisins). All are fat-free, high in fiber and made naturally. These conveniently packaged snacks are available in grocery stores nationwide and are available for order online at Amazon.com. Visit SonomaCrisps.com for more information.
Price: $2.20 per 1.05-ounce bag
Love baking cookies but short on time to make them from scratch? Try Celebration Generation Cookie Mixes, which bake up cookies that are as obscenely delicious as the product's namesake bakery in Plymouth, Minnesota. These tasty and easy-to-bake mixes are made from all natural ingredients and come in four kid- and adult-pleasing flavors: Chai Shortbread, Spiced Oatmeal Raisin, Chewy Chocolate Mint Chip, and Chewy Chocolate White Chocolate Chip. Best yet, you can have them in and out of the oven in 20 minutes or less. Simply add a combination of butter, vanilla, water and eggs to the mix (think: fun summer activity with your kids) and bake as directed. Available for order online at CelebrationGeneration.com.
Price: $12 per mix
When unexpected — or even planned — guests arrive, ease your hostess stress by serving impressive quick-to-the-table finger food. Keep a box or two of these neatly wrapped scrumptious two-bite size rolls in your freezer, and you have the makings of a pre-dinner nibble or a decadent little dessert that is ready in 15 minutes. Proud of their all-natural, vegan, vegetarian, kosher, and organic products, The Fillo Factory also offers a variety of appetizers, main course meals, desserts and (when you have the time) fillo shells and sheets that can be transformed into a countless number of goodies. Available at most supermarkets and natural foods stores nationwide. Visit FilloFactory.com for information on the company's wide variety of fillo-based products.
Price: $9.59 per box of 12 rolls
What mom can't use a little chocolate? Especially when the chocolate is made from the finest hand-picked organic cacao beans and comes in a tasty array of irresistible flavors. (You did know that eating chocolate helps you live longer, right?) Choose from Milk Chocolate (43 percent cacao) and Dark Chocolate (61 percent cacao) as well as Milk chocolate with Puffed Grains, Dark Chocolate with Cherries & Vanilla, Dark Chocolate with Coconut, and Dark Chocolate with Mango & Cashew. All six flavors come in individually wrapped 28-gram bars (about 140 calories per bar), three bars to a package, making Seeds of Change chocolate perfect for moms wanting easy portion control. These luscious little indulgences are available at Whole Foods Market and other health food stores nationwide. Visit SeedsofChangeChocolate.com for more information.
Price: $3.69 per package (three bars)
Moms don't ever have time to be sick — nor do they want to be! But keeping your immune system in prime form to ward off those nasty bugs your kids or coworkers carry in can be daunting, particularly when your schedule keeps you from eating well, exercising or getting enough sleep. In addition to striving for the healthiest lifestyle, you can also fortify your diet with supplemental help. The new Emergen-C Multi-Vitamin Plus delivers 500 milligrams of vitamin C to boost the immune system, B vitamins for energy and all day staying power, choline to support healthy brain function and 11 key vitamins and minerals that provide 100 percent or more of the recommended daily value. Simply add a packet of the Apricot Mango or Cherry Pomegranate Multi-Vitamin Plus to your water bottle — you'll stay hydrated and stay well. Emergen-C products are available at supermarkets, wholesale food retailers, health food stores and drug stores. Visit EmergenC.com for information on this and the company's many other immune boosting products.
Price: 30-packet box for $13.99.
Having a child with a food allergy is challenging and even scary. It seems like you can never know enough, and are always in fear that your child will inadvertently be exposed to the offending food. To alleviate some of the stress, a company called Mind Flight has created Food Allergy Awareness Cards for your children, your loved ones, and anyone else who spends time with your child. Beyond a Peanut — Food Allergy Awareness Cards incorporate comprehensive food allergy safety information in an easy-to-learn format. The flashcards introduce cross-contamination, the importance of label reading as well as the importance of always carrying emergency medication. This education generates a greater understanding of the safety challenges around the allergy, and why vigilance is necessary to create a safe-food environment. Some of the flashcards are specific to nut allergies, but they have proven to raise awareness and understanding of all food allergies. For more information or to purchase, visit BeyondaPeanut.com.
Feeling guilty because you aren't sure how to introduce your kids to the kitchen, and their friends are already budding chefs? Don't distress, get your kids in the kitchen with Playful Chef Cooking Kits. A fun new way for parents and children to make kitchen time a fruitful experience, these cooking kits help teach children all of the amazing lessons that cooking has to offer: nutrition, hygiene, science, math, teamwork, and motor skills. Among other things, the Playful Chef Cooking Kits contain Playful "Parent Instruction" recipe cards that provide you with just the right words and steps to walk a child through a culinary education while creating memorable quality time together. Kits are available for kids ages 3 to 5 and 6 and older, and include six educational and entertaining recipe cards, an apron, backpack, mixing bowl, baking pan and up to 10 kid-sized kitchen tools. All of these tools make a much more complete system than any other cooking kit on the market. Visit PlayfulInc.com for more information on the cooking kits and to find an online or local retailer.Price: $39.99
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