Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Don't Donate Anymore Food Until You Read THIS

We all see them- the boxes at our local food stores. Around the holidays, they pop up like mad and you want to help, you want to give to a family that needs a little extra TLC. Who doesn't? Next time, stop and look inside those food donation boxes- what's actually in them? You will see multiple items from the food store that hosts it (which is wonderful) but mainly, you will see a lot of items that people with food allergies cannot use safely. As I have shared before, imagine being that person that has to make a choice between starving or eating a food that you know will make you sick. Or worse (yes, there IS something worse) being the parent of a child with food allergies and having to make this choice for them.

As a mother that has a child with food allergies, I cannot even fathom being in either spot. No matter what our budget or situation is, I make it a point to donate what I can, when I can. It's important. It's necessary. And the more that you donate allergy-friendly products, so will others. It's a visual share- those without allergies don't realize that other products can and should be donated. It's about raising food allergy awareness without even saying a word to anyone. The best marketing is seeing it, talking about it so why not be a part of it?

How to Donate on a Budget I am never one to judge because all families have their own time of need. Sometimes, we simple cannot donate as much as we want to fill the entire box for someone else; it's a choice between our family and another so we must choose our own for that space in time.There are ways to help others, even when you are in a tight spot as well. I am happy to share some tips here but in the meantime, just know that even donating one box is better than nothing. In your mind, you are probably asking "What can one box do?" but for a family that has nothing, that one box could mean dinner or several meals.

Donate Coupons This may or may not be obvious but I got the idea when I had a bunch of SunButter® coupons. Why not share them? If someone is receiving the product because they need it, then why not include coupons so that they can get more at a lower price? Or, for those who may not have tried a product like SunButter before, a coupon is a wonderful way to help that person try out a product and not feel as if they are going above their budget, especially if it is already limited. Shelf-stable products are acceptable within the food stamp item list as well which means SunButter would qualify as a healthy food that is allergy-friendly and increases protein without increasing money spent. All you have to do is attach some coupons to the jar and place them into the food pantry donation box.

Donate A Piece of Your Heart Since it is the holiday season, I also got the idea to attach an easy recipe using SunButter as well. Yes, my donations of SunButter were THE only donations that looked like holiday gifts but I was proud of that. If someone is not familiar with SunButter, then they may not know how versatile it can be as either. By sharing a personal recipe, you share additional choices that could help them through a rough patch but you are also sharing a a small piece of your heart. Essentially, you are letting them know that you cared enough to put it all together for them to share with their family, hoping they might start a new recipe tradition.

Why I Donate SunButter Our family has been a long time SunButter family. Their products have gotten us through times of need, inspired us to create new recipes and from a mother's point of view- it's a really easy way to add extra protein into the foods that any child eats (muffins, cookies, pancakes). I wanted to donate a product that I know we personally trust and that I know tastes goes too. My goal is to ensure that whatever I give can be enjoyed by many safely. SunButter is a company that works behind the scenes on so many levels to give back to our community. They are a part of amazing partnerships like Mend Hunger and to ensure that nobody has to be fearful of their foods. Because SunButter is top 8 allergy free I know I am sharing products that will leave a smile on someones face at the end of the day.  And if giving a jar of SunButter can accomplish that, imagine the faces across the US if all of us shared our I corny? Heck yeah but am I sincere? Absolutely!

Take my SunButter challenge - share & donate.
Happy Holidays ~

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the TreeTop

I am lucky enough to be approached by companies for samples and my opinions. What could be better? "Eat this and tell me what you think", right? But I am picky about what I do and don't try out. Does our family eat perfectly all of the time? No. Do I strive to find products that are healthier for us but will also save me time and not break the bank? Always. I guess you could say that I like products that multitask so I don't have too.

The wonderful people at Tree Top sent me some of their products but check out this adorable lunch kit and reusable Rubbermaid containers that they included as well. They must have done their homework because I am a self-professed Kitchen Geek who adores all kitchen items, especially those that are reusable. They thought one step ahead, knowing that NutriFamily are lunch packers and that the Lunch Blox kit and the adorable apple-shaped cookie cutter and container that also holds a dip for your apple slices (not pictured) would make me squee (yes, squee is a technical term). Just in time too as NutriDaughter was in need of a new lunch bag! Although TreeTop sent me their squeeze pouches of their apple sauce, they also make apple juice, other juice, organic juice boxes and fruit snacks (gummies, who doesn't love gummies?!).

You Wanna a Pouch in the Mouth?! This is an inside joke with my family but I digress.... TreetTop sent me their pouches. So you may ask "Nutrimom, why should I buy TreeTop products instead of my typical brand?" Good question because that was the first thing that popped into my mind too. Upon researching their website, I noticed that TreeTop applesauce pouches have some labeling information that your current brand may or may not have:

  • Their pouches are BPA free (this is HUGE to me, isn't it for you?)
  • No sugar added
  • No high fructose corn syrup (..shouldn't it just be apples? Pat on the back TreeTop)
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Kosher certified
  • Gluten free
The ingredients? Just three- apples, water and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). 

TreeTop sent me three flavors- Apple, Strawberry and Tropical. Now, I am not a huge applesauce person although I use it for baking and recipes. And NutriKids are both teenagers now so I was kind of looking at the squeeze pouches like "Ummmm, yeah... do I pack one in one of the kids's lunches? Is that ok to do in Middle School? Will she even eat it? I over thinking this, I should just pack it and see what she says." To be fair, I also packed one in my lunch so that I could get the full experience too. I mean, if I was worried about using a product that may not be age appropriate, then me bringing it to work would have the same atmosphere, right? 

Just Squeeze It The results? NutriDaughter reported similar thoughts that I had and both pouches were consumed. We both concur that A) it's a bit of an adjustment to go from a spoonable applesauce to a squeeze pouch but it's not a bad thing and B) we both assumed that because there was no sugar added, the apple sauce pouch would be tasteless. I can assure you that no sugar does not mean no taste. These little pouches taste like they were just picked off the tree that morning, smooshed and whatever else they do and delivered right to our fridge. When I tried the Tropical- WOW! What a great flavor combination! The Tropical pouch was more like special drink and not an applesauce at all. Again, the flavors popped and tasted very fresh. No funky aftertaste, just freshness in a pouch. Their products are also free from: crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, soy, tree nuts and wheat.

Fruit With a Purpose You know I am also a sucker for companies that give back so when I saw the community information on TreeTop's information I smiled from ear to ear. Their videos explain how giving back is a huge part of their team mission and how they get their employees involved in their approaches. Can I just say that I wish they were located in North Carolina?! I would be banging at their door - This just in, Nutrimom found peering into the windows of local manufacturer. News at 11." (face pressed up against the windows, eyes wide) ... does this seem a bit creepy? Totally not meant that way! I would have ideas, so many ideas..TreeTop, we should collaborate to avoid that news headline. 

In the meantime, take the safe route and stop by their website, Facebook page, Instagram pageTwitter and Pinterest too. Please let them know that you read about them on Nutrimom's blog review (all I get is a thank you but I'll take it!).