First Impressions: My First Nature Box

After watching countless YouTube videos promoting Nature Box (Hello Shaytards and Shadesofkassie) I finally “caved” and got a trail subscription. I was going to get the cheaper trial box, but it didn’t make sense when there are so many 50% off your first box coupons! So I got my first box, with 6 different snacks to try.

For those of you unfamiliar with Nature Box, here’s a little bit about it straight from the webpage:

how it works

When you join NatureBox, you’ll receive five different snacks every month. You can choose the snacks you want or let us surprise you with our carefully curated selections.

one box, one meal.

For one in six Americans, hunger is a reality. With Feeding America, we promise to donate at least 1 million meals this year. For every box we deliver, we’ll donate one meal.

Let me tell you, I waited very impatiently for about a week for my box to arrive. I hate waiting, I’m from this generation that loves instant gratification. However, when the box finally arrived, all the waiting dissipated and the excitement sunk in.

Here’s what my box looked like:

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And here’s my snacks up close:

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PB&J Granola

Ingredients: Honey, Oats, Natural Peanut Butter (roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil, salt), Chopped Peanuts, Raisins, Oat Bran, Strawberries (strawberries, sucrose, citric acid, natural flavor, medium chain triglyceride oil), Flax, Canola Oil.

These are wheat, dairy, and soy free. The granola clusters are peanut buttery, with dried strawberries in the mix.

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Apple Pie Oat Clusters

Ingredients: Raisins, Brown Rice Syrup, Sugar, Oats, Almonds, Coconut, Malted Wheat Flakes, Water, Canola Oil, Sesame Seeds, Apples, Soybean Lecithin Oil, Natural Flavors, Cinnamon, Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda, Salt, Malt Extract.

This tastes like oatmeal cookies with apples in it. They’re delicious.

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Pumpkin Cranberry Crave

Ingredients: Pumpkin Seeds, Cranberries (cranberries, evaporated cane juice, sunflower oil), Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Papaya (papaya, evaporated cane juice), Raisins, Brazil Nuts, Apples.

This is also dairy, soy, and wheat free. This is a delicious trail mix that I could sit and eat handfuls of.

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Cranberry Almond Bites

Ingredients: Oven Baked Almonds, Cane Sugar, Rice Syrup, Dried Cranberries, Crispy Rice, Brown Rice, White Rice, Palm Oil, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt, Guar Gum.

These are similar to the apple pie bites. They’re a little sweet and a little salty.

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Santa Fe Corn Stix

Ingredients: Yellow Corn Masa, Soybean Oil, Salsa Seasoning (whey powder, tomato powder, salt, maltodextrin, green pepper powder, onion powder, natural flavoring, spices and herbs, torula yeast, beet powder [for color], annatto [for color]).

These are delicious. They taste like nacho cheese doritos to me. They’re also wheat free, and nut free.

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Cherry Ganache Granola

Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Brown Sugar, Dried Cherries (cherries, sugar, sunflower oil), Almonds, Coconut, Pecans, Cocoa Powder, Maltodextrin [dietary fiber], Natural Flavors, Salt, Cinnamon, Mixed Tocopherols (vitamin E, soybean oil).

This is dairy and nut free. This is a nice chocolately granola with dried cherries in the mix. I’m excited to mix this into my vanilla yogurt in the morning.

A couple things I love about Naturebox:

  • Each month you can either choose all 5 snacks you receive, or you can let Naturebox surprise you. Or, you can pick any number of the 5, and let them choose the rest. I picked the pumpkin cranberry granola, and then let them surprise me with my other 5 snacks.
  • You can browse snacks or decide snacks by sweet, savory, spicy, or salty. You can browse by dairy free, wheat free, nut free snacks, so they’re great for any diet restrictions.

For a coupon code, just google, or use the web page below:

Easy, Healthy Snacks/Lunches to Go

Changing from working 8 hour days to 12 hours days means changing my eating schedule. I’ve gotten comfortable eating every couple hours, and having time for lunch. However, a busier unit and longer day means I need to start consider snacks and foods I can bring with me, and eat quickly.
I’ve found a few awesome blogs with ideas, some with just pictures and some with ingredient lists as well. Fortunately, I eat like a kid (little bits – but often, and very simple foods) so school lunch posts are perfect. Foods like fruit, string cheese, cheez-it’s, sandwiches and wraps – those are my jam. So, here’s some awesome ideas I’ve found from a couple different places.

Easy Lunchboxes

This site works really well on my Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 9.17.46 PMiPad in portrait-mode, not so well on my computer screen. But, it’s a collection of pictures of bento boxes, with information on what’s in the picture (in case it’s not clear) underneath. Just an example, here’s #14. I’m not sure if the description is entirely accurate here (it says it’s PB and J on a pita… looks like a cheese quesadilla – I like either!), but it’s got fruit, protein, carbs, and this would be an awesome size for lunch for me.

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I like this site because the ladies searched the web (or pinterest) and found a lot of different and unique ideas, and compiled them into one blog post. I am working on creating a pinterest board of healthy lunch ideas, I’ll get there someday. I like taking bits and pieces from these boxes to make my own lunch. Some are a little stingy and I would need to add more protein but otherwise they look great! (They are meant for kids lunches, to be fair). The picture I chose to share has cucumbers, carrots, crackers, cheese, ham, and fruit, as well as what looks like kind of a treat. I like this box, but I would likely double the amount of food for my lunch¬†, at least the fruit, and add a few more crackers to make cracker sandwiches.

Fitsugar, a website branch from Popsugar¬†has published an awesome list of the best healthy swaps for common lunch-box food. Some may surprise you, like keeping bread in a sandwich vs a wrap (more fiber and protein – if you choose the right bread!), anScreen Shot 2014-08-03 at 9.08.34 PMd some are as simple as getting Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies instead of Goldfish (made with whole-wheat instead of enriched flour). Here’s there chart, because there’s no way I could make it better. And, click on the chart for a link to the full article, and check out the other articles on their page – this is one of my favorite sites for workout and recipe ideas.

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Other foods I’ve seen and would suggest including:

  • hardboiled eggs
  • leftovers from dinner
  • pasta salad
  • mini tacos (cut wheat tortillas into small circles and bake in a muffin tin for a few minutes. Then add lettuce, tomatos, guac, etc for make-your-own)
  • laughing cow cheese/string cheese
  • greek yogurt (my favorite – if you have a way to keep it chilled)
  • For a treat: dark chocolate. Still semi-healthy (especially in moderation), but satisfys that sweet tooth.

And finally, the most important part of healthy lunches, is something to drink. I found that buying a cute water bottle helped encourage me to drink water throughout the day, when otherwise I might not have. I have a multitude of water bottles that I rotate through, to keep myself excited and interested. My favorite – Camelbak Eddy, or my plastic mason jar with a handle that I got from Target for $12. To “spice” things up a bit, I put lemon in my water. Our cafeteria at work has Tru Lemon packets, which are dried, powdered lemon wedges. So, no extra color, flavor, sweetener, and it’s free. I just grab a few when I go down for lunch (the cafeteria has windows so I eat there a lot), and stock up for the next day.

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What do you eat for lunch?

What are some quick, easy lunch suggestions you have?