Chop to it! Win Quick Healthy Dinners with ChopBox

Have you heard the news that Americans can’t/don’t cook?  As a country, we spend more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking.  Cooking, however, allows us to have more control over what we put in our bodies than eating takeout or processed pre-cooked foods.  So if you can’t cook (yet) or feel like you are too busy, healthy meal delivery services can dissolve both of these problems while being affordable.

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ChopBox is a Chicago based company that provides:
  • Family friendly dinner kits for 4.  Price per person is around $10 a person, less than you usually spend at many healthy fast restaurants.
  • Pre-portioned meals changed weekly to add variety. They do the shopping and portioning. You cook and enjoy!
  • Delivers the recipes and ingredients directly to your house so you can get your chef on.  Unlike other meal delivery service, you can either try ChopBox once OR sign-up for weekly meal service.

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Now We’re Cookin’

We were given 2 meals to sample in exchange for an unbiased review:
  • Tofu Stir Fry with rice noodles and veggies
    • Bright colorful vegetables and perfect amount of tangy sauce.
    • Delicious, filling, and we had more than enough for 4 people.  YAY healthy leftovers!

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  • Raspberry Pecan Crusted Chicken with sauteed asparagus and jasmine rice
    • Crunchy dark green asparagus, spicy sweet raspberry sauce and juicy pecan crusted baked chicken…yum!
    • Recipe cards are colorful with easy step-by-step instructions.
    • (Tip: Make sure you read carefully.  Kate missed the fact that egg white was pre-portioned and included, thus she needlessly cracked two eggs and wasted them.  Umm and she overcooked the jasmine rice so try not to multi-task).

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  • Both recipes were ones that Kate hadn’t made on her own so you get guidance and encouragement to try new foods.

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To the Chopping Block

  • The weekly menu options are a bit more limited than other meal services we have seen and/or tried with slim to no vegetarian options.  ChopBox is willing to work with you on any allergy or diet requests, however, so put your foodie desires out there.
  • If you are an experienced chef, you may want to add your own flava’ to spice it up to your taste.
  • If you don’t cook AT ALL, please note that you will need some basic ingredients like salt, pepper, olive oil, and pans to make these meals work.
  • You may have to chop ingredients 😉 for some recipes so we hope you have some decent knives.  The chicken dish actually required very minimal prep (no chopping) compared to the tofu.

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Wanna skip the line tonight?

  • Enter here to WIN your own ChopBox and feel like the next Master Chef.
  • Giveaway runs from July 11th-July 18th.
  • You must live in the following states to win and delivered: Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana.
  • Ready to roll with a ChopBox?  Sign up here!

 

Snap to Quick & Healthy Eating

Say you just kicked butt in your HIIT workout with your friends and you all want a post exercise snack…but one of you is gluten free, one’s paleo and one’s veggie.  What’s a diverse group of gals n’ guys gonna do?  Snap your fingers and put some spring in your step because there’s a pop of healthy foods at the ‘new to Chicago’ Snap Kitchen.

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Snap Kitchen originated in Texas and is described as “fresh, healthy take away” food.  The company works up a sweat partnering with local farmers and food producers while practicing sustainability.  Their to-go lime green containers are BPA free, microwaveable, compostable and recyclable.  They honor a wide range of dietary needs and 99% of their meals and snacks are gluten free.

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matboxing and snap

Another core value of Snap Kitchen is their transparency.  Containers are marked with allergen information, nutrition counts and, best of all, symbols that easily snap shot what is or is not in the dish (think dairy free, vegetarian, sodium conscious, paleo, and more).  Snap gives you a choice of 3 sizes of meals ranging for different body needs.  Calorie counts range from 200-300 calories a dish for a small and up to 500 calories for a large meal.  As they serve up breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options, it’s easy for Snap Kitchen to supply your every meal.  Customers who are interested in uncomplicated weight loss can also try their 21 day Snap Commit Program, a 3 day quick start, or a variety of juice cleanses.

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When we checked out the Lincoln Park Snap Kitchen, we were surprised by the open layout and organization.  The location is relatively new so the raw juices were not available yet BUT we were given breakfasts, lunches and snacks to sample. Kaitlin, the Lincoln Park GM, explained that the meals were organized by nutritional needs.  Vegetarian and vegan meals lined bottom shelves while meatier options were above.  Meals are chef inspired so you won’t find any run of the mill “diet meals” here.  Although there’s a small seating area and a microwave available in store, Snap Kitchen is mostly for on-the-go people trying to simplify their food life.  We could totally imagine dropping in after a hard training day for a quick bite or a refreshing juice.

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Let’s snap, crackle and review the most pop-ular dishes in our opinion!

Carnivore Choices (Kate)

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Home, home on the range…where the deer and the bison playyyy.  So, I never thought I would like bison.  I tried buffalo once and wasn’t a fan.  The Bison Breakfast bowl with house made apple maple bison sausage (yumm), scrambled eggs and sauteed spinach and the lunch Bison Quinoa “Hash” with organic kidney beans, red quinoa and brown rice topped with scallions and cheddar cheese were my highlights.  I tried something new and loved it!  I also appreciated that the meats are grass fed and free range, thus cutting out some worry about hormones, antibiotics and corn fed lifestyle.

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Veggie Visions (Monica)

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Snap Kitchen offers unique vegetarian options.  I sampled the spinach, scrambled egg whites, goat cheese and sweet potatoes and vegan peach oatmeal for breakfast.  What could be easier than just grabbing a container out of the fridge on the way to work?  For lunch, I munched on Caveman Quickies (granola, dried cranberry, honey and almonds with a sprinkle of cinnamon) and no guilt chia pudding.  I ended my long days at the office with a quick gluten free dinner of mixed vegetable “lasagna” or Mediterranean eggplant “lasagna”, both nutritious and light but filling to my tummy.
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Just Desserts!

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Gluten free brownies and chocolate chip cookies you say?  Yes, you can have delicious unprocessed desserts with Snap. Ingredients like coconut oil, flax seed and taste like whoaaa, you really can’t go wrong when loving these desserts feels so right and light.

With 3 locations in the Chicago area and 2 more on the way, Snap Kitchen is a convenient moderately priced options for people on the go who want to make healthy choices.  Interested in winning $500 worth of this good stuff?  Enter Snap Kitchen’s Snap in the City Contest for a shot at not cooking for months!!

A Souper Lunch Option: Smart Soups

Forget you, Olive Garden!  We are bringing our own soup and salad to work.  Soup is an awesome option to consume more veggies AND feel full with fewer calories but packaged soups often have too much sodium, weird looking meat pieces, or too many additives.  We were souper (hehe) excited to try some samples of Smart Soups because they are (ehem..be jealous cans o’ soup) none of those things.  Creator, Anne Chong Hill has long history in the prepared food industry and recognized the need for high quality, easy to make food and her recipes are inspired by her international background and travel experiences.

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Smart Soups are:

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free (Hooray!)
  • Made with REAL FOOD and no preservatives
  • American Heart Association Certified (cholesterol free!)
  • Low Calorie and controlled sodium (as one of our friend with high blood pressure was amazed to notice during our lunch break)

Taste:

With 7 souperb (ha ha ha) flavor options, we had a hard time choosing what to try first.  We received 5 options.

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Greek Minestrone was Kate’s first go to.  Packaged minestrone tends to be bland or have too many noodles in the way.  The Greek Minestrone was packed with veggies and rich in herby flavor, possibly the best Minestrone out there except what your grandma might be able to make (if she can cook).  Pairing tip: Greek Salad with feta, olives, artichokes and mixed greens.

Thai Coconut Curry is Mon’s fave Smart Soup.  Full of coconut water blended with fresh red curry made an amazingly authentic dish, especially tasty on a rainy day.  It includes plenty of baby corn, bamboo shoots and red pepper.  Pair with side of grilled spiced tofu.

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Sante Fe Corn Chowder is vibrant with red peppers, black beans, and corn, balanced with a squeeze of lime.  Dunk a vegan tostada and plenty of avocado in it!

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Vietnamese Carrot Lemongrass is filled with rich tasty Asian flavors and veggies.  Pair the satisfying soup with a Tofu Bahn Mi sandwich.

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French Lentil Soup makes a hearty meal with green and red lentils, leeks and moorish spices.  Mix it up with a baguette and nicolaise salad.

Cooking:

Smart Soup stores easily in the freezer and couldn’t be more simple to make.  You open the bag and pop it on the stove or in the microwave and then you’re done.  You can get creative with Smart Soups too by integrating them into new recipes as well.

What’s the most delicious soup you’ve ever tried?  Maybe you could inspire a new Smart Soup!