Nut-Free Chocolate Energy Bites

My son has started kindergarten and is in a tree nut-free school. He packs his lunch pretty much every day, and we’re always looking for new treats for him to bring for snacktime and lunch. His favorite dessert of late are these granola bars, but we decided to switch things up and create a new treat — introducing these energy balls! They’re sweet enough that he eats them after his lunch and we’ve started calling them chocolate cookie balls.

If you’re seeking a snack recipe for school (or home) that has no tree nuts or peanuts (read: no almonds, etc.), then you must try this! Please note that they have coconut, which can be another allergen, and sunflower seeds, which aren’t a nut. These take 5 minutes to make and only have 6 ingredients! Plus, they’re so easy to make, my 3-year-old daughter had a blast helping me. 

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Nut-Free Granola Bars

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my firstborn starts kindergarten THIS YEAR. I could (and should) write a full post on how fast time flies, how I’m not ready for him to go to real school (during a pandemic nonetheless) and also how amazing he is. So instead, I’m taking out my anxiety and emotions by baking and making sure we’re prepared and ready to start! One of the ways we are doing this is by making sure we have snacks, since FW has a morning snack he must bring every day. Snacks (and all foods) must be tree nut free, so that leaves out so many of our usual go-tos, like PB&J, or energy bites. Luckily, I found a recipe for granola bars that FW (and the rest of the family) enjoys, so this is going to be part of our new rotation.

If you’re seeking a snack recipe for school (or home) that has no tree nuts or peanuts (read: no almonds, etc.), then you must try this!

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Satisfying Snack Cravings with Special K Snack Bars

Here’s something obvious if you know me – I’m a snacky person. I eat 3 meals a day, but snack all day long. Some days I plan ahead – yogurt and fruit, carrots and peanuts, celery and PB2, a sweet potato, etc. But other days I haven’t meal prepped and am forced to simply eat what is around me – my apartment, the office, or wherever I am. A handful of nuts here, a few peanut M&Ms there, rarely am I satisfied and often I’m left wishing I’d planned ahead.

I’m usually hungry at my desk at 2 or 3pm and I’ve found a snack that I’m so excited about – Special K Chewy Snack Bars. They’ve just come out this month and meet the needs of my snackattack – are delicious, nutritious and only 100 calories! Disclosure – Special K sent me the bars to try out (along with a sweet – no pun intended – care package) and asked me to review them.

Sweaty selfie – taking a bite after a workout

What I liked:

  • Wide variety of flavors: I’m a fan of all the choices – there are fruity flavors and chocolatey flavors! Flavors include berry medley, blueberry bliss, salted caramel chocolate and salted pretzel chocolate. Berry medley may be my favorite.
  • The texture: I’m not a big fan of crunchy granola bars – I believe that crunchy bars belong chopped up in my yogurt. So these are a perfect, delicious, chewy snack option! And you can actually see (and taste) the chunks of goodness (fruit, chocolate, pretzels, etc.) in them!
  • Portable: I can fit one (or three) in my purse easily – or a box in my car for road trips. I wish I had these with me on the airplane during my recent Asia trip!

What I didn’t like:

  • They’re teeny tiny. Well, at least smaller than I was hoping. But, at only 100 calories, what can be expected?
  • The ingredients aren’t as “clean” if I were to make these bars myself – but again, that’s to be expected. These are a great on-the-go option for those times I don’t meal plan or make granola bars or other snacks.

For more info on the new Special K Chewy Snack Bars, visit

Some questions for you:

  • Any new snack recommendations?
  • How do you like your granola bars – chewy? Textured? Smooth? Crunchy?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Special K.


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Gettin’ Over Hanger (trying out a new snack)

We’ve all been there. We’re suddenly so hungry that our vision is blurred. We need food – fast – otherwise not only will our stomach start to growl but we will too. That’s right, I’m talking about HANGER.

I am used to eating food pretty much every few hours of my day. A sample day in the life of my stomach includes:

  • 8 a.m. post-workout breakfast, typically egg whites and vegetables.
  • 10 a.m. snack, typically some sort of fruit and a handful of nuts. Or if I’m out of fruit and need something quick, half of a protein shake.
  • 12:30 p.m. lunch! I tend to eat some sort of protein (chicken or veggie burger), some sort of bean and veggies. So yesterday, for instance, I had a homemade pumpkin black bean veggie burger with cabbage and quinoa salad.
  • 2:30 p.m. afternoon snack – either a protein shake, some yogurt with granola and fruit or fruit with a handful of nuts.
  • 3:30 p.m. afternoon snack #2 (don’t judge!) – usually some cut up veggies like broccoli or carrots or celery.
  • 7 p.m. dinner!  And maybe something sweet afterwards.

Hmm, writing this out makes me realize how much I snack … a coworker once told me that she thought I was “always eating” and now I see why!  But if I don’t – and especially if I’ve worked out in the morning (which is 9/10 days) – I get HANGRY. Yes, you know the drill – I’m mean, not fun to be around and certainly not fit for a client-facing job.

That’s why, when Hillshire contacted me about the new product line, Hillshire Snacking, I was super pumped to try out them out. Hillshire has created a new snacking option perfect for busy adults, young professionals, etc. Take a look at all the cool varieties of somewhat healthy (I like my snacks to be 100-200 calories, if possible – especially when I eat so many a day!), high protein options! The perfect opportunity to beat hanger.

I had a chance to try the Grilled Chicken Bites with Sweet Chili Sauce and I was surprised at how good it was. I’m a fan of snacking on high-protein options, like chicken, so this was a perfect snack. At 140 calories, this gluten free snack pack was fun – it reminded me of being a kid and having snacktime at school!

hillshire snacking grilled chicken bites with sweet chili sauce

Some unique ways I enjoyed my  snack included:

At a networking event. Ok, I don’t make it a habit of bringing my own food but I happened to have one in my bag and I was so glad! The event was supposed to have food but they ran out.  Yes, I took a selfie of me and my bling (not the necklace – the chicken :)).


On my floor, after a workout. Sometimes you can’t wait to shower and make lunch or breakfast – so this was a perfect quick option! And with 15 grams of protein I felt good about refueling with this.


At my desk before an 8 a.m. meeting. I had meant to bring it for a lunchtime snack but sometimes you get a craving for chicken at 7:30 a.m. – don’t you?

Here’s what it looks like:

Yup, eating on the floor!

Yup, eating on the floor!

The sweet chili sauce is just that – sweet. Since I prefer my snacks with a little kick, I tried adding some hot sauce one day. Amazing!


Some questions for you:

  • Have you tried the Hillshire Snacking line? If not, leave a comment – I have a coupon for a free one that I’d be happy to send to you! Just let me know which one of the cool varieties you’d like to try and answer the other 2 questions I have below!
  • What’s your go-to snack?
  • How many snacks do you have a day? 1? 2? 3? I can’t be the only one who has more than 1 snack … right?
#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship with Hillshire. This means that Hillshire provided compensation, including product, for me to try out! But all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What I’m Loving Lately: Snacktime Edition

Snacks on snacks on snacks! I’m not one of those people who eats three meals a day and that’s it. I have always been a snacker – I love eating several times a day and definitely get int that 3 p.m. snacktime mode. Here are a few snacks I’ve been enjoying lately:

Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

B and I picked up these beauties in Costa Rica and I can’t tell you enough HOW GOOD they are. They’re sweet and caffeinated at the same time – a great afternoon pick-me-up or really just anytime snack. I personally love the white chocolate (they taste like lattes!) but the dark chocolate aren’t that bad either (am I the only person who prefers milk and white chocolate to dark chocolate?).


My Oatmeal: 

I got a chance to sample this for free thanks to a Sweat Pink promotion and I am IN LOVE! My Oatmeal has a ton of fun oatmeal varieties (like PB&J Cupcake!) and they also let you make custom oatmeal from a a variety of ingredients listed on their website – they then ship your custom oatmeal to you directly. There are about a bazillion combinations (okay, maybe not that many) and the one I opted for had the following: rolled oats and flax, brown sugar and oatmeal cookie flavors, with coconut, ginger, date, mangos and apricots. YUM! Oh and of course I called it Melissa’s Blend because I’m just that creative.


It arrived while I was on vacation and it was such an awesome surprise to open after we got back. I was pumped. Take a look!



Look at that dried fruit!

Look at that dried fruit!

Obviously you can eat it as regular oatmeal. But some other cool things you can do:

  • Make granola with it. In my favorite granola recipe, just swap out the oats with the oatmeal! You probably can use less dried fruit if you want to since my blend has dried fruit in it AND less sweetener (brown sugar and/or honey) if you choose an Oatmeal that’s sweet.
  • Make cookies! I love oatmeal cookies and don’t doubt that adding some of this oatmeal would be a delicious add-in.
  • Eat it dry. I’m not gonna lie – I took a bag with me to work to eat as a snack – and just ate it dry. I had fully intended to cook it up and then just ate it dry. And I enjoyed it.


I love tabbouleh and the first time I tried kalebouli I also fell in love. One of my favorite ways to eat kalebouli is actually on a wrap with hummus (okay I guess this isn’t quite a snack) – and the Flaming Ice Cube in Cleveland has an amazing kalebouli wrap.

But if you want to try making your own kalebouli so that you can try it as a snack – here is a recipe from the blog, Fragrant Vanilla Cake. You can make yur own pita chips and dip them in the kalebouli, or serve it with chopped veggies, pita, and hummus. Yum!


My standard from the Flaming Ice Cube - Kalebouli Hummus Wrap!

My standard from the Flaming Ice Cube – Kalebouli Hummus Wrap!


Some questions for you:

  • What are your favorite snacks to beat the 3 p.m. hunger? All of the above. Also a fan of anything sweet/salty – chocolate covered pretzels, Chex Mix, etc.
  • Are you a snacker? Prefer 3 meals a day and that’s it? Yup, i’m a snacker. But B isn’t. He has pretty much breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes he’ll eat carrots and peanut butter at work but that’s it. I bring LOADS of snacks and get pretty hangry when I don’t!
  • Do you like oatmeal? Do you ever eat it “raw”? I can’t be the only one ..
  • Dark chocolate? White chocolate? Which do you prefer?


Disclosure: I was given a free sample of My Oatmeal to try out via Fit Approach. All opinions are my own and I was in no other way compensated for this post. I have not been given any free kalebouli, free Flaming Ice Cube (unless you count the gift card my parents got me for my birthday?) or free chocolate covered coffee beans – but I’d love any of those! 

Microwave Potato Chips!

This weekend, B and I were sitting around, a little hungry but not wanting to eat much after a late lunch, and I got an idea. I’d make something with that potato we’d had sitting around for a week.  Baked potato? Nahh, didn’t want to wait. Wasabi mashed potatoes? Sounded good, but I didn’t feel like going to that much effort for just one potato. Then it hit me – I would make my own potato chips – in the microwave – just like I’d seen all over Pinterest a few months ago. 

I admit I was skeptical that it would work and that they would actually taste good — but they came out perfect. Even B was really surprised at the crunchy, salty goodness I had created. Next time I’m trying more fun combinations – spicy, sweet, vinegar, and more!

Potato Chips in the Microwave

Potato Chips in the Microwave

Potato Chips – in the Microwave

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 baking (russet) potato
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pam or another spray type oil
  • Other flavors for seasoning, optional – we tried Parmesan cheese and oregano

Here’s what you do:

  • Clean and dry the potato.
  • Slice the potato into paper thin potato-chip like slices. Key words here are paper thin.
  • Spray a small plate with Pam.
  • Arrange the potato slices evenly across the Pam-sprayed plate. Sprinkle salt (or Parmesan and oregano … or other seasoning!) evenly throughout slices
  • Microwave chips for about 6-8 minutes. I nuked mine for about 2 minutes, checked on them, 2 minutes more, and then another 2-4 minutes, checking often. Chips will be golden brown when done – be careful not to overcook (they’ll taste burnt) or undercook (they’ll just be mushy gummy messes) slices.
  • Cool – and then enjoy!
Slice the potatoes really thin ..

Slice the potatoes really thin ..

microwave them for 6-8 minutes

microwave them for 6-8 minutes

homemade microwave chips