(Teacher) Gift Ideas–Fill a basket with your favorite products!

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Ah, time is flying by and summer is just around the corner, wow!  As my kids end their school year, we wanted to say thank you to our special teachers.  With teacher appreciation week last week, I saw many students bring in flowers, gift cards, special hand soaps and more, but I wanted to show my gratitude to our teachers with something different!  But what? So this is what I came up with . . . .

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Yes, it may be a little dorky but who doesn’t love food, right?  I put together a basket of my favorites! Ah-ha!  Why not share with them some of my favorites products?  You know just like how Oprah gives away her favorites, har,har,har! Except I am not Oprah and my standards of “favorites” do not come to par with hers, eh?  Oh well, I love food and made up the baskets anyway! Luckily our teachers enjoyed them, whew!

So, here are my some of my favorite snack foods: Hy-Vee Black Bean & Quinoa Tortilla Chips, Protein 02 Water, Brookside chocolates, Hy-Vee HealthMarket Pineapple Salsa, Think Thin Crunch Bar (Caramel), Newman’s Own Organic Popcorn, Stash Teas (Ginger Peach & Acai Berry), and non-food item, a generic version of (Burt’s Bees) beeswax chap stick, love them all!

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First off,  I had to include my absolute favorite salsa, Hy-Vee HealthMarket Pineapple salsa (if don’t have this store brand, try Annie’s). This salsa is so fantastic and because it is a little sweet it is perfect for little kiddos, too!  I always put this salsa on my egg wrap in the morning, so darn awesome! IMG_0112IMG_0133

Since I included a salsa I had to include a tortilla chip.  I have lots of favorites but this one seemed to go well with this salsa!  Hy-Vee Black Bean & Quinoa chips,  I don’t know if I have had a tortilla chip that I really don’t enjoy, hmmm?

And there always has to be something sweet, of course, that would have to be my go-to Brookside chocolates.  They come in a variety of flavors and they are all good.  Whenever I have a sweet-tooth craving I pull out 4 or 5 of these little guys and pair them up with a handful of almonds, yum, just perfect!  The. Best. Snack. Ever! Plus, they contain dark chocolate (even better for you!) matched with a some antioxidants from the different flavors: goji berries, blueberries, raspberries or acai berry.  Not sure how many antioxidants I am really consuming with this snack, it may just a be a marketing pull, but they tastes great! My one-year-old even loves these chocolates but my older kid are not fans, they would rather have their Hershey milk chocolates.  I still would have to say, even if you are not a fan of dark chocolate you will probably enjoy them anyway!

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Next up, I wanted to showcase one of my favorite drinks, Protein 02 water.  This is great drink to have on-hand during an afternoon when you just want to eat and eat or after a hard workout!  The protein is filling and the flavor is a refreshing carbonated, berry (or lemon) flavored drink.  I always have one on the weekends after a looooonnng run! This drink is perfect for a post-workout when you don’t want to mess up the calorie burn that you just worked your butt off for, right? However, I have one request for the manufacturers, please change your sweetener to stevia, thanks! This product has 15 grams of protein per serving (entire bottle) with the benefits of added electrolytes..  It is really hard to find a product similar to this one with that much protein and electrolytes!

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I could have included a variety of protein bars but I only included just one, Think Thin Crunch Caramel Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nuts.  This is an awesome bar and I will usually treat myself to a yummy bar while the rest of the family enjoys a donut on Saturdays, ha!  I don’t know if I could stop with just one donuts?  Anywho, this bar contains 190 calories; 12 grams of fat; 2.5 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fat; 115 mg sodium; 15 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 6 grams sugar; 9 grams of protein.  A wonderful balance of nutrients!  Not too much bad fat (saturated), not too much sugar and a good amount of protein and fiber. Ingredients are very basic and it does not contain any artificial sweeteners!

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Next up is good ole’ popcorn!  Ahh, microwave popcorn.  I do buy organic microwave popcorn because 1) tastes great 2) no harmful chemicals in the packaging.  Correct me if I am wrong, but to my understanding organic microwave popcorns do not contain the toxic bag liners with the harmful chemical, PFOA, or no chemical flavors such as diacetyl butter flavoring, and that is why I tend to buy organic popcorn! (I also included the chap stick, very good!)

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And my favorite teas! I love trying new varieties of tea but I still stick to my old favorites, Stash’s Acai Berry Herbal Tea and Ginger Peach Green Tea.  If you are not a tea drinker, try an herbal tea for starters, you may need a to add a little sweetener at first but your taste buds will grow to enjoy the flavor. By trying this herbal tea is how I kicked my habit of diet soda!  I do like to have this herbal tea before bed, cold or hot, for me it helps curb my sweet cravings at night.  Instead of a late night bowl of ice cream, I try to be a good girl and opt for my acai berry herbal tea, of course we coming upon DQ blizzard season and I will obviously have splurge once a week for a mini Snickers blizzard, right?

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My next favorite is Ginger Peach Green Tea.  I came across this tea when I was pregnant, trying to fight off all those yucky nausea feelings, ugh! I remember having to choke down my ginger chews (oh that feeling was just awful!) and wanted to find an easier way to relieve my nausea and lucky for me this tea did help! And I still love this tea today!  Plus, it is nice to find a yummy green tea as we hear about all the benefits of green tea.

So, you may want to have fun and try some of my favorites yourself or share them with your friend, teacher or family member, but as always enjoy!

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