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We Tried It: Barbara's Pumpkin Puffins

We Tried It: Barbara's Pumpkin Puffins

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Calling all pumpkin lovers! Take my advice: drive to the grocery store and buy Barbara's Pumpkin Puffins NOW. Made with real pumpkin, these beautiful orange pillows deliver light and delightful earthy flavors that will please the taste buds of those with and without dietary restrictions. Sure, it's bold in color, but don't let that deter you. Grab a handful from the box and eat it without milk, or pour into a bowl and indulge—either way, you're in for a treat. This fall favorite is only available for a limited time, so stock up while you still can!

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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The Official Carb Lover's Guide to Weight Loss

What if I told you that you didn't have to choose between carbs and a trimmer waistline? Would you declare a national holiday in my honor? Would you wire me a million dollars? Well, go ahead and get the paperwork going, because that's exactly what I'm declaring. Yes, Oprah was right carbs are not the enemy! Bagels, waffles, and bread are basically just the Pitbulls of the food world. They have a rap for being dangerous, but not all of them will do you harm if you bring them into your home.

To help you eat all your favorite carbs—while working to shed that pesky belly fat, we've gathered 15 of our favorite slimming swaps for carboholics. Scroll down, find your favorite treats, and discover our Eat This! options for each. And for even more winning ways to eat carbs, check out these 25 Best Carbs for Weight Loss!

We Tried It: Barbara's Pumpkin Puffins - Recipes

I think I may cry! I have recently been diagnosed with Meniere's disease and also am a salt addict. This was the one thing I have been so very sad about was my beloved fall treat of snack mix. Now I have hope! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you also for the helpful links. It is hard finding resources for NSA and lowso items that my grocery store doesn't carry!

Becky, thank you for your kind words. I understand how difficult this low sodium journey is at the beginning. I wish you the best! Don't let yourself get overly discouraged. You will, over time, develop some good and tasty recipes and find lots of low sodium products and resources.

I know what you mean about the snack mix. It really is tasty and crunchy and satisfies that craving for a savory snack. In fact, today making some of the Mexican inspired mix is on my agenda. We like a small bowlful as an afternoon snack. And, I'm not kidding, with all the spices, it tastes really good.

Again, wishing you the best. Please continue to write if you have any concerns.

Bars + Bites (Non-Perishable + Packaged)

I am a big fan of bars and energy bites as a way to pack a lot of nutrition into a small, convenient package. With so many bars over-saturating the market, however, it can quickly become overwhelming to know which ones to buy. Since bars and bites can vary a lot in their taste, texture, and overall nutritional as well, I have also included a bit of information below on each bar/bite includes that will hopefully help guide you in your buying decisions a bit about which to buy and why.

Here are a few nutritional considerations for how I came to select the following bars:

Sugar: Many “healthy” bars on the market have considerable amounts of added sugar. Considering many children already get more added sugar than they need in their diet, parents should consider the source and amount of sugar in the bars and bites they buy. Looking for bars with only naturally occurring sugar in the ingredients list (from sources like dates) is ideal. Otherwise, select bars with limited sources and amounts of added sugar. If an ingredients list states several sources of added sugar and/or exceeds around 6 grams of sugar per serving (equivalent to 25% of the max amount of added sugar a toddler should have in a day), try to avoid and select another bar or bite instead. Wondering how much sugar your child needs? Read more here >>

Fat: Bars and bites are an excellent way to get healthy fats into children without the choking hazard of whole nuts. This fat source in bars also provides satiation, so kids won’t become hungry as quickly after eating. Since children need more fat than hey do protein in their diets, prioritize a bar that offers healthy fat over “protein bars” that might be more intended for adults. Wondering how much fat your child needs? Read more here >>

Protein: Protein that comes naturally-occurring from sources like nuts and seeds make a great option in snack bars or bites that you want to sustain your child for longer than say, a carbohydrate-rich bar would. Otherwise, there is rarely a need to choose bars or bites for young children though that have added sources of protein (i.e. in the form of protein isolates). That’s because when distributed across three meals and two or three snacks a day, most children are already getting their protein needs met without such added sources. Wondering how much protein your child needs? Read more here >>

Top 10 Bars + Bites (in no particular order):

RXBARs have permanent residence in my own life these days. As one of the few bars that legitimately keep me feeling full between meals or when my own mom lunch gets bumped hours behind when I feed my kids, I can’t even count how many times these have protected me from getting hangry. When RXBAR came out with the kids option of bars, I was immediately sold. The ingredients list is unmatched in the industry for being full of the fuel I want my kids to eat and yet can’t conveniently get into them on the go in the way RXBAR Kids has captured to in this smaller sized bar. With kid-friendly flavors, RXBAR Kids are now one of the top bars we tuck into the diaper bag or in the car as an emergency snack as I know they will tie us over longer than many more carbohydrate-rich bars. From our own experience, RXBAR keep us feeling full the longest, which makes them great when you need a more substantial snack bar (or to avoid if you need a light snack close to a meal). The texture of RXBAR Kids is a bit more tough to chew through than other bars and can get stuck to teeth, so I know it took some getting used to for both myself and my girls. With some re-exposure though, we have started to enjoy these bars as one of our favorites. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon. I find the RXBAR website and Sprouts tend to have the best deals on these bars.


LARABARs have long been a favorite of mine, even before the “bar market” exploded into what it is today. They were early adopters of the simple ingredients list and keeping bars a wholesome source of nutrition. I particularly appreciate that all LARABARs use dates in their base as the source of sweetener, as this makes them tasty to kids without needing to add any additional sugar. While the nutrition facts reads higher in sugar than some other bars, this again is from real food (dates) rather than added sugar, and thus less of a consideration or concern in my book. For parents with small children, I often encourage LARABARs as a safe way to include nuts in a child’s diet. Compared to offering kids bars with large nut pieces or a handful of nuts when active or out and about, I feel more comfortable recommending snacks like LARABARs that offer the nutrition of nuts without the same choking hazard. While I love all of the LARABARs, their LARABAR minis are another great option for small children as one to toss in a lunchbox, have as a light snack, or offer alongside something else. The smaller size helps lessen the situations when your child might only eat half of a bar and then potentially waste the rest. I am unsure if they are phasing out the minis (as they aren’t shown on the LARABAR website), but they have been and will continue to be a favorite here as available. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon. On the LARABAR website (as of this posting), the mini bars do not exist. I continue to see them in stores like Kroger and Target though, as well as on Amazon.

If your kids are used to granola bars that more closely resemble a candy bar, this can be a great way to food chain to a healthier alternative. With 5 grams of sugar, this is less than most competitors while also being made with much more natural and nutrient-dense ingredients. There are also some tasty nut-free flavor options that make this a fun “competitive" food” for school (should your kid be like mine and want “what everyone else has”)! Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon.

KIND Healthy Grains Bars

While a little bigger than the KIND Kids bar, this one still only has 5 grams of sugar per bar. It is a tasty granola-bar option for bigger appetites, bigger kids (or adults, as my husband and I eat these too!), or when a bit more snack is merited. There are several flavor options as well, again with nut-free options that add some variety to snacks for school or after school sports. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon.

Health Warrior Chia Bar

This chia bar packs several real food ingredients into a small bar, making it perfect for little tummies who need good nutrition in smaller sizes. With only 3 grams of sugar and several flavors to try, this is a great way to go for a granola-bar alternative. My kids love the new chocolate chip flavor! Similar to the texture of a LARABAR, this too is a softer option of bars for kids who might not be able to bite into other bars or need small pieces torn off to eat. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon. Use discount code veggiesvirtue20 for 20% off of first purchase when shopping on

Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bar

These pumpkin bars are organic and made up of simple ingredients (just pumpkin seeds, honey, and spices) and yet taste like a treat! With nut free flavor options, we have found them helpful as a convenient pre-packaged bar option that we can send to school. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon. Use discount code veggiesvirtue20 for 20% off of first purchase when shopping on

Made in Nature Figgy Pops

Tied with maybe muffins, I live by energy balls as quick and easy options I can eat with one hand while still getting a decent amount of nutrition packed in. Since I am not always able to make them at home though nor do I always have the right ingredients on hand, I have become particularly fond of these Figgy Pops for a pre-made energy bite option. With several flavors and even nut free options, these Made in Nature Figgy Pops are a new mainstay for #momlife and fueling active little kids with healthy AND convenient snack options. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon.

MySuperSnack Granola Bites

These include what you love about an oatmeal cookie in a convenient snack-sized shape. With more fat and fiber than most bars on the market, these aren’t the highly refined granola bar option void of the fiber or fat that keep us full. Instead, these granola bites are a tasty way to convert “cookies” into a healthier snack option that is still sweet and satisfying. Shop for in stores or on Amazon.

Nourish Snacks

These granola bites option are more like a crunchy take on oatmeal cookies than the above granola bite while again packing much more nutrition in than a cookie-esque snack option. Again packing in less added sugar than other granola-based snacks, these granola bites were created by a fellow dietitian mom to satisfy the needs of a nutrient-dense snack while also catering to cravings of a sweet tooth. With a variety of flavors, my girls are really fond of taking a larger back of these Nourish Snacks to share or an individual bag of the nut-free options to school. Shop for in stores or on Amazon. You can select the 1-ounce single serve or 4-ounce snack-to-share size bag when buying on Amazon.

Matt N’ Mikes SuperKid Bar

The newest bar in the bunch, these bars by Matt n’ Mike have been ones we have really enjoyed. I am fond of the ingredients list being made up of simple, real foods while still being sweet enough and in a size that my kids enjoy. As a smaller business than some of the other bars listed above, these might not be as easily available at the grocery store but they are readily available online. Shop for in stores or online.

10 of the Healthiest Cold Cereals to Keep in Your Pantry

Kashi Pilaf Original: With 44 grams of whole grains in each serving, this versatile pilaf is a nutritious foundation for any meal, from breakfast to afternoon snack.
170 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 0 milligrams of sodium

Grape-Nuts: This 100 percent whole-grain cereal is delicious alone, with yogurt or sprinkled with berries for natural sweetness. The high fiber content will keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
210 calories, 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 270 milligrams of sodium

Nutritious Living Hi Lo 100% Natural Cereal - Original: Fuel up for the day with this all-natural cereal that's packed with protein and fiber, but extremely low in sugar and fat.
90 calories, 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, 95 milligrams of sodium

Uncle Sam Cereal (original): One of the higher-fiber cereals you'll find, it's also extremely low in sugar and has enough protein to stave off mid-morning cravings.
210 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar, 9 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber, 140 milligrams of sodium

Barbara's Shredded Wheat: Wheat berries are the star of this sweet, satisfying and sugar-free breakfast.
140 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 0 milligrams of sodium

General Mills Wheat Chex: Made from 100 percent whole grain, this diet-friendly cereal is also a good source of iron and calcium.
160 calories, 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, 270 milligrams of sodium

Mom's Best Toasted Wheat-Fuls: All shredded wheat, all day long. Plus, it has less than one and a half teaspoons of sugar and is a good source of iron.
200 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of sugar, 6 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 10 milligrams of sodium

Kay's Naturals Protein Cereal - Honey Almond: Although one gram shy of the "five fiber" rule, it's packed with protein and low in sugar, making it a great way to power up for the day.
120 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 160 milligrams of sodium


3/4 cup frozen DOLE® Mixed Berries, divided
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup 2% milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk of choice (“Mom” prefers organic unsweetened almond milk)
1 tablespoon peanut butter or your favorite nut or seed butter (“Mom” prefers No Nut Butter from The Sneaky Chef)


1. Mix 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries, oats, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, vanilla and milk in a container with a lid.

2. Cover mixed oats and store in the fridge overnight.

3. When you’re ready to eat, uncover and enjoy cold or heat in the microwave 1-2 minutes on high.

4. Top your overnight oats with peanut butter, fruit preserves, and remaining berries, which can be enjoyed from the freezer or thawed for 30 seconds in the microwave.

Note: Add your favorite fruit preserves for extra sweetness. For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free rolled oats.

Makes: 1 serving
Prep: 5 min.

*Recipe and image courtesy of RD Jessica Cording.*

16 Delicious Gluten-Free Products You Can Buy at the Supermarket

Anyone who follows a gluten-free diet knows that certain products can be pretty hard to find. Sure, there are a ton of gluten-free options available in supermarkets these days, but a lot of them just don't hold up to their wheat-based, gluten-filled counterparts. Many of the bread options are dry and too crumbly, the cookies can be hard and stale tasting, and most of the pastas have a little too much texture. Plus, some products that probably don't naturally contain gluten—oats, corn tortillas, popcorn, granola, etc.—are processed alongside gluten products—meaning they're not totally gluten free—and that's a no-go if you have celiac disease.

For this year's SELF Healthy Food Awards, we found hundreds of healthy supermarket items that fit strict criteria set by registered dietitians, then taste-tested everything and chose the 56 best products as winners. And guess what? Over half of the products we chose are certified gluten-free! You won't find all of those products on the list below, because things like yogurt, ice cream, nut butter, and iced coffee are pretty much always gluten-free, so it seemed silly to include those here.

What you'll find on this list are 16 healthy, delicious, widely-available gluten-free products that will make your gluten-free lifestyle a little bit easier and so much more delicious.

Oh, and for the record: Research shows that you don't need to go gluten-free unless you're diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. That said, non-celiac gluten sensitivity is still a pretty misunderstood condition. If you think cutting gluten out of your diet is the right choice for you, talk to your doctor before making any major lifestyle changes.

6. Teavana Pumpkin Spice Brulee Oolong Tea

0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein

Not only does this loose leaf tea have mouthwatering notes of chocolate, pumpkin, and toffee, it's a powerful fat-fighter, too. Like green tea, oolong is packed with catechins, which help to promote weight loss by boosting your body's ability to metabolize fat. A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine found that participants who regularly drank oolong tea lost six pounds over the course of the six-week time period. Sounds like a great reason to get your hands on the stuff, if you ask us! For even more simple ways to slim down, check out these 20 Easy—and Cheap—Ways to Lose 5 Pounds.

America's Most Delish

We tested hundreds and hundreds of supermarket products so you don't have to.

You can't make a list of America's most delicious foods without trying all the foods. So we did&mdash331, to be exact&mdashand we landed on this: an official guide to the best, well, everything in grocery stores. We've got you covered with 100 favorites&mdashfrom breakfast foods to dinner must-haves to the snacks you sneak at midnight.

Jump To

Breakfast Favorites | Condiments | Dairy | Dinner Favorites | Drinks | Snacks | Sweets & Baking

Our kitchen experts determined that Boar's Head comes out on top in the ultimate bacon battle. That's because it's crispy but slightly chewy&mdashand perfectly smoky, but not brittle. There was no requisite salt overload, and its uniform size made it a consistently satisfying experience, bite after bite.

Some bagged bagels taste like the plastic they were wrapped in. Not Dave's Killer Bread. Even Delish's picky, New York-based editors think the brand struck gold with the chewy texture.


Puffins hold their crunch, even when drowned in milk. And unlike many flavored cereals, the peanut butter variety only packs six grams of sugar per serving.


Shh, don't tell your kids: There are chickpeas hiding in this cereal. But it's so fun to eat, they won't even notice. The pillowy corn puffs are filled with jammy apple and strawberry centers.


You'll find Coombs in major grocery stores, but you're actually supporting small businesses. The company sources its maple from a collection of 3,000-plus family farms. The syrup itself is richer&mdashin both color and taste&mdashthan most others on the shelf.


As opposed to some of its competitors, Bob's oats cook up to become hearty, creamy, and not gluey. Go ahead and eat it as you normally would for breakfast&mdashbut promise you'll try throwing it in your next smoothie for some extra oomph, too.


We thought great-tasting "just add water" mixes were an oxymoron&mdashuntil Birch Benders' package landed in our test kitchen. The pancakes turn out wildly fluffy, considering they're from a store-bought mix.


The whole grains (and other real ingredients) are probably what account for the conspicuous lack of gross freezer flavor here. And that gets our stamp of approval.


If your sandwich bread pick is fueled by nostalgia, reach for Arnold's Country White. It tastes like childhood, but is substantial enough to hold up to cold cuts and condiments (unlike another loaf that rhymes with Shmonder Shbread).


There are two reasons to love Dave's Killer Bread. One: The company stands for change, employing people with criminal backgrounds as part of its Second Chance Employment program. Two: The bread tastes, well, killer. The slices strike the perfect balance between airy and dense.

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix

Product: Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix – $4.49+

It was October 2014 and I was entering the great land of Trader Joe’s in Louisville, Kentucky. I had just passed the big center display of bananas when my gaze fell upon an end cap that was holding a bunch of pumpkin goodness. I love anything pumpkin. This is no secret. And a Trader Joe’s mix with pumpkin pancake-y goodness? HELLO! Sign me up.

I snagged a box of it and gave the sad Celiac eyes to my roommate. And…yes…we fit them into the budget. Sad Celiac eyes work wonders!! So, checkout was complete. And fall turned into winter. And then spring came around. And while I had been making things for breakfast…pancakes even…I had other mixes and flour blends that had to be used first. But, as the great kitchen pantry purge continues…Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix was up to bat today!

So, this morning, I decided to haul out the Mickey (Mouse) waffle maker and make some pancake waffles. Why? Because waffles are delicious and fun…and these are shaped like Mickey. They win. Always. I mean, pancakes probably would have been less labor intensive but…I was craving waffles for awhile. In fact, I sort of promised my roommate I’d make waffles after we went to our gluten free bakery Saturday morning for breakfast and she lamented that she wished they still offered their gluten free waffles (and pancakes). So, a promise is a promise.

Mixing up the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pancake Mix is super easy. Simply get out a bowl and crack an egg inside. Then, add 2 tablespoons of melted butter (or oil). I melted down 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance. Then, whisk them together. Add in 2/3-cup of water plus 2 additional tablespoons and whisk that up as well. Then, scoop out a cup of the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix and add it to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. It’s okay if it’s a little lumpy.

So easy. I had all that done by the time my roommate hauled herself out of her room. Perfect timing. I ladled the mix into the waffle maker and closed the lid, allowing it to cook to that perfect crusty outside, soft inside consistency. It usually takes about five minutes to get there. And while that was working, I warmed up some pure maple syrup to pour over it. YUMMY! I lifted the lid of the waffle maker when the steam subsided and lo and behold…the perfect pumpkin-y gluten-free waffle shaped like Mickey Mouse. YES! I was already feeling good about this mix. I slathered it up with some Earth Balance spread and then dowsed it in some maple syrup. I then got my own waffle working and prepared to do the same thing. Once again, the perfect waffle emerged, with this golden crust on the outside. I was elated. As the third (and final) waffle (now in the freezer) was working, I settled in to enjoy my breakfast.

So…it was awesome. Let me just say that. Some flour mixes and pancake mixes don’t get that golden crust on the outside, but Trader Joe’s managed it to perfection with this mix. It had the perfect amount of pumpkin spice flavor. Not too much. And not too little (although my roomie says that she didn’t get much pumpkin). I disagree with the roomie and think that the amount of pumpkin flavor was spot on. As I am the pumpkin freak…I know best. The crust on the outside was crisp and crunchy and the inside of the waffle was light and soft and just…so amazing. I was in love with each bite. I may have hoovered it, using the last bite to mop up any extra syrup lingering on the plate. Really, very impressed.

The Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix was a new product that was introduced last October due to numerous requests from their fans of the original Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake Mix, who had found themselves now eating a gluten-free diet. The Trader Joe’s peeps went to work for months to get the right texture (no soggy, heavy pancakes allowed) and finally it it spot on, even getting the seasoning right to bring that warm fall-ish feeling to the finished product. The recipe for the pumpkin pancakes (the one I listed above) was on the side of the box to make sure you succeeded on your pumpkin pancake quest. They did well. They did very well.

The Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix is made from white rice flour, potato starch, cane sugar, dehydrated pumpkin flakes, buttermilk powder, tapioca flour, molasses powder, baking powder, sea salt, organic vanilla flavor, expeller pressed canola oil, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground ginger, xanthan gum, annatto for color, and ground nutmeg. This mix is gluten-free and cholesterol free.

A serving of Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix is 1/3 cup dry mix or 2 pancakes prepared. A serving of the mix will provide 130 calories and 0.5 grams of fat. It contains 250 mg sodium and 7 grams of sugar. The dry mix will also give you 29 carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. When it is prepared as per the instructions on the side of the box, you will be taking in 210 calories and 8 grams of fat. You will be taking in 70 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium, and 7 sugars. Prepared, you will have29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber and 4 grams of protein.

Honestly, it is one of the better gluten-free pancakes mixes out there. I was above and beyond happy with the way my Mickey waffles came out. Not only were these full of perfect pumpkin flavor, they were crispy and soft and the texture was right where it needed to be. Trader Joe’s definitely nailed the gluten-free pumpkin goodness in these. I hope this mix is back on the shelves this upcoming fall. Total yum!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Mickey Waffles made with Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix

Watch the video: Barbaras Pumpkin Puffins Cereal Review (June 2022).


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