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From Brunch to BBQs: Healthy Tips for May

Posted on November 16, 2017


The fifth month brings more than May flowers; it offers the start of warmer weather and ample occasion to get outdoors and focus on good food, family, and friends— including fresh spring brunches to festive seasonal BBQs!

With a few simple recipes and a bit of planning, spring brunch can be delicious as well as nutritious, and attractive. Start with a bouquet of flowers on the table to bring the outdoors in or better yet, host the meal outside! Toast the festivities with freshly squeezed juice from organic fruits, and fresh water with slices of cucumbers or lemons.

For those who like eggs, Shreddy Eggs Benny are the perfect spring brunch starter, and they take only 15 minutes to make. A perfect complement to the eggs are Barbara’s Perfect Pancakes, which are naturally sweet and made with Barbara’s Oats & Honey Granola. If you are a waffle lover, whip up a batch of Puffin Waffles, which get their natural goodness from Puffins cereal, applesauce, flaxseeds, and whole-wheat flour (adding a nice amount of fiber!).

If you’re looking for something a little sweet to accompany the fresh brewed coffee or tea, serve Puffin Biscotti, made from multigrain Puffins cereal, whole wheat flour, and a touch of cinnamon. They are ideal for dunking, and kids love them too!

As the end of May draws near, we prepare for summer by pulling the covers off of our BBQs! The Memorial Day BBQ is typically the first one of the year, so we want it to be extra special. To help keep the BBQ on a healthy track, focus on fresh, organic foods for the menu, such as green salads, potatoes on the grill, roasted corn on the cob, and vegetable kabobs sporting cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions.

Every BBQ needs snack foods! Instead of sour cream, try dipping baked tortilla chips into homemade salsa, or try Barbara’s Cheese Puffs, a light as air, healthier alternative to traditional chips. Available in four fabulous flavors, they are made from non-GMO stone ground corn and are wheat-free. Put them out alone or prepare Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls Seasoned Snack Mix, which is a mixture of cheese puffs with three natural Barbara’s cereals.

Finish off your festive BBQ with Barbara’s Berry Greek Dessert Shots. Made from Puffin cereal, Greek yogurt, and fresh berries, these beautiful desserts will wow every guest so they won’t even realize they are enjoying a healthful treat. What better way to end a BBQ and the month of May!


Posted in Nutritionist Newsletters

Why Fiber Is So Fabulous!

Posted on November 16, 2017


Only about 5 percent of people get enough fiber in their diet. “Enough” is defined as 25 to 30 grams or more per day, yet most people get only about 15 grams. Why is fiber so fabulous and what can you do to help your clients and their families boost their fiber intake?

Let’s face it: fiber isn’t sexy, but it can be fun and delicious!

Facts on dietary fiber:

  • Has no calories because the body cannot digest it due to its structure
  • Doesn’t add any carbs to your diet, even though it’s present in carbohydrate foods (e.g., whole grains, veggies, fruits)
  • Grabs onto waste, fat, cholesterol and toxins as it leaves the body, making it a great detoxifier and a supporter of heart health
  • Makes you feel full, which helps with weight control
  • Keeps blood sugar levels in balance
  • Assists with digestion and works to keep you regular

Now how do you get your clients to add more fabulous fiber to their diet? High-fiber foods such as split peas, beans, lentils and green peas make for tasty fiber filled soups. These same foods can also complement salads, sandwiches and grain-based dishes.

Here are two tasty fiber-filled recipes, combining Barbara’s cereals with other high-fiber foods.

Summer Squash Fritters (4-5 fritters)

  • 1 lb zucchini or yellow squash, grated (pat dry)
  • ¾ Barbara’s Shredded Wheat, crushed
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated cheese
  • 1 whole egg plus 3 whites beaten
  • Oil cooking spray
  • Combine the squash, shredded wheat, cheese, onion, and eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).
  • Spray a large nonstick skillet with the cooking oil and place over medium heat. Scoop 1/3 cup of the batter for each fritter.

Flatten the batter and cook until golden brown (3-4 minutes), then cook the other side. Serve hot.

Puffins Parfaits (4-6 servings)

  • 2 cups raspberries and/or blueberries (both high in fiber)
  • 2 cups Puffins Cereal, Honey Rice, crushed
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt (Greek or regular)
  • 1/3 cup flaxseeds, hempseeds, or chia seeds (optional)
  • In parfait glasses, layer each of the first three ingredients in a 1:1:1 ratio. Sprinkle flaxseeds, hempseeds, or chia seeds on top for extra fiber!

Including more fiber in your diet is a fabulous, tasty way to support your health. Adding a little extra fiber at every meal and snack can bring you closer to your health goals every day.


Posted in Nutritionist Newsletters

Why Lowering Sugar Intake is Important: Take our Lower Sugar Challenge!

Posted on November 16, 2017


Brought to you by Barbara’s in collaboration with Andrea Donsky

As nutrition experts, we are familiar with the benefits of reducing our sugar intake.
And communicating these benefits to our clients is crucial in helping them achieve their nutrition goals in 2016. To help you do so, I have put together a list of six reasons you can share with your clients as to why lowering their sugar intake is important:

Help keep your intestinal tract (gut) in balance. Too much sugar promotes the growth and spread of bad bacteria, which leaves you vulnerable to development of inflammation and various diseases such as diabetes, celiac disease, and gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.Since the brain and gut are connected via the brain-gut axis, it’s critical to keep the “highway” fairly clear of sugar.

Improve your mood. Being addicted to sugar can feel like riding a rollercoaster when it comes to your feelings and emotions. Once you step off that ride, your mood will improve. High sugar intake can worsen feelings of anxiety and increase the risk of depression.

Clear your mind. You’ll feel more alert, better able to concentrate, and help preserve your memory once you shed the extra sugar from your body and brain.

Enhance your sense of taste. Similar to smoking, high intake of sugar can dull your sense of taste. After a few months of limiting your sugar intake, you will begin to appreciate the natural flavors of foods again…or perhaps even for the first time. You will even start to crave healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, instead of sugar!

Help you feel energized. Although it’s true that sugar can provide a brief spike in energy, chronic high intake of sugar results in systemic inflammation, which slows your body and mind down. Therefore, cutting back on sugar and relieving your body of that stress will help keep your energy levels high and even.

Reduce your urge for sugar. Once you bid adieu to your sugar addiction, you won’t feel the anxiety and “urge” for candy, sugary beverages, or other sugar fixes. When these stressful situations are no longer a part of your life, you will achieve a more balanced state of being.

An important step in having our clients shake their sugar habit is to teach them how to read labels so they can familiarize themselves with how much added sugar is in the foods they choose for themselves and their families.

With the new Dietary Guidelines of 50 grams of sugar per day put forth last month, it’s important to review common foods and beverages, including those that claim to be healthy but still contain a lot of sugar, with your clients.

If you are looking for some added help, Barbara’s recently launched a 28-Day Sugar Reset Challenge that I put together for them. I encourage you to share the Challenge with your clients as it provides them with a day-to-day guide on what to expect while reducing the amount of sugar in their diet.

Posted in Nutritionist Newsletters

New Year, New You!

Posted on November 16, 2017


Brought to you by Barbara’s in collaboration with Andrea Donsky

One of the best things about the New Year, besides the parties, is the opportunity to start fresh. When I hear the words to “Auld Lang Syne,” it’s a signal to sweep out the old and welcome the new. The new includes—you guessed it—New Year’s resolutions!

Most New Year’s resolutions revolve around health, such as vowing to eat healthier, lose weight, exercise more, or quit smoking. Regardless of the resolution, you can help your clients and yourself stick to those promises by adopting the following tips:

Take small, manageable steps. If your clients want to lose 30 pounds by June, plan out their goals based on weeks rather than months. Set an attainable objective to lose one pound per week or every 10 days, which is less intimidating than focusing on the “big” number. They will still be encouraged to reach their goal, but with minimal stress.

Keep your resolution alive. Do you keep track of important events on your calendar? If so, encourage your clients to do the same with their resolutions. Tell them to schedule time to accomplish their goals such as “gym at 10.00a.m.,” “swimming at 2.00p.m.,” or “buy organics at farmers market on Monday.” They can also set alerts on their phones to remind them of their resolution commitments.

Think journey, not resolution. Words are powerful, so if “resolution,” “diet,” or “eat more vegetables” make your clients feel helpless, here are some strategies on how they can take back their power! Viewing their New Year’s promises as a “journey” rather than a chore enables them to stay in control. Encourage them to use positive mantras like, “From now on I’ll walk to the post office instead of driving” or “I’ll try three healthy recipes each week.” (Hint: Barbara’s has many delicious suggestions!) If they think of their endeavor as a living journey, and not a sacrifice, they will be more likely to succeed and reach their goals.

Buddy up. A resolution can be easier if we share it with a friend. Whether we walk together, call each other daily to encourage each other’s healthful eating plan, exchange low-sugar recipes, or clip and swap coupons to save money, making your journey to health a shared experience can improve chances of success.

Celebrate! I’m a big fan of acknowledging my achievements along the way, and treating myself once I reach my goal. For example, if one of your clients loses 10 pounds, perhaps it’s time for them to get that massage they dreamed about or check out that movie they wanted to see. If they’re looking for a sweeter celebration, they can try Barbara’s no-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffin Balls, which are full of low-fat, dairy-free, wheat-free goodness that they’ll be excited to celebrate with!

Re-evaluate often. Every few weeks, ask your clients to take inventory of their journey. If something isn’t going quite right, that’s okay. They can make adjustments and give themselves credit for what they have accomplished thus far. Reassuring and supporting them every step of the way could mean the difference between success and failure.

Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year!

Posted in Nutritionist Newsletters

Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Posted on November 16, 2017


Brought to you by Barbara’s in collaboration with Andrea Donsky

When I think about the month of December, it immediately brings up three emotions: joy, happiness and appreciation. My joy is sparked by thoughts of the upcoming holiday season, my happiness comes from spending time with family and friends, and my appreciation comes from eating a lot of healthy and delicious food.

Although the holidays are synonymous with overindulgence and excess, planning healthy, guilt-free meals and treats throughout the month, that satisfy everyone’s palates, is doable. Offering healthier options to some traditional dishes will allow everyone to indulge without knowing they are actually eating something healthy! The following tips will allow your clients to feel a little naughty AND nice this month:

Make healthy food convenient. Accessible snacking is the key to staying on a healthy track at this time of the year. Keep healthful snacks and finger foods within easy reach. Place a few fresh vegetable and dip platters around the house so when people want to nibble, they can crunch on a carrot or piece of celery instead of chips. For a dip, opt for hummus or bruschetta instead of full fat sour cream-based options, and jazz it up by filling Medjool dates with peanut butter or cashews. Fill bowls with healthy classics like Snackimals cookies, which are a hit with kids and grown-ups alike.

Make healthy eating attractive. An attractive presentation can make all the difference when serving food. If you want your younger guests to dive into the healthy stuff, make it appealing. For example, create faces on whole-grain bread squares with organic cream cheese and veggies or make whole grain mini veggie pizzas (kids LOVE pizza) for lunch.

Avoid empty calories. Empty calories are just that – empty of essential nutrients. Making your clients aware of what they are eating and drinking this month will help them to be mindful of poor food choices. Providing them with a list of healthier options (a healthy cheat sheet) will empower them to make better decisions. For example, when choosing a snack, opt for one that is made from whole grains, contains fiber and protein, and is lower in sugar. Your body will thank you for it.

Involve your kids. Most kids love to help prepare food, especially when it comes to baking. The holidays are a great time to introduce them to healthful choices they can help you make, such as Snackimals Baked Apples and Barbara’s Better Granola Oatmeal Bars. Research shows that when children are exposed to healthy foods at an early age, they develop a liking for them[1].

Consider food gift certificates. Not sure what to get someone on your gift list and want to keep it healthy? How about a gift certificate to a natural product store or healthy local restaurant?

Give gifts of health. It’s easy to buy a gift, but making one makes it extra special. You can tailor it to the receiver’s needs and desires (e.g., gluten-free, vegan, low-fat, non-GMO), or use it as an opportunity to introduce cleaner foods to someone who is open to trying them. Bringing a homemade gift (e.g., a basket filled with several goodies, including fresh organic fruit, organic ciders and wines) will show the receiver you put a lot of effort and planning into their present.

All of these tips also can prepare you and your family and friends for those New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier! Happy holidays!

Posted in Nutritionist Newsletters