Eat more veggies! Try Garden Lites Veggie Muffins

I’m always searching for healthy snacks for my son and me, usually for food that’s quick to prepare and easy to take with us on the go. Whenever I find something interesting on store shelves, I check the back label, looking for minimal ingredients and plenty of nutrition. Recently, I received several boxes of Garden Lites Veggie Muffins to review. I was pleasantly surprised by the ingredient label and the taste!

 Garden Lites Veggie Muffins- My Life: A Work in Progress

Baby J and I tried out the following flavors:

  • Veggie blueberry oat
  • Zucchini banana chocolate chip
  • Zucchini chocolate
  • Carrot berry
  • Golden corn

The muffins arrived at our door tucked away with ice packs inside a styrofoam cooler box. Baby J and the cats, of course, immediately thought there had to be something incredibly awesome in a box like that. If my memory serves me correctly, Baby J’s words were, “Oh woooow!”

Keep the muffins frozen, until you’re ready to eat them. I would assume this is how the company avoids filling them with preservatives.

To eat, leave the frozen muffins inside their individual packaging and heat them in your microwave for about 35 seconds. They’ll be a little hot at that point, but soon afterwards cooled enough to eat. It’s also fine to toss them in the fridge and let them defrost. Then you only have to put them in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

One morning I also tossed a frozen muffin in the diaper bag when I knew we’d be gone all day running errands. By late afternoon, it was defrosted enough to eat, but I didn’t enjoy the texture. It’s edible, but these definitely taste better heated up.

The zucchini chocolate veggie muffins were my least favorite, but Baby J loved them. He’s more of a chocolate fan than I am. I liked the veggie blueberry oat muffins the best. Here’s the ingredient list:

Zucchini, Pasteurized Egg Whites, Evaporated Cane Juice, Pasteurized Whole Eggs, Blueberries, Soluble Corn Fiber, Certified Gluten Free Oats, Sorghum Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Corn Starch, Dried Blueberries (blueberries, sugar, sunflower oil), Certified Gluten Free Oat Flour, Carrot, Canola Oil, Baking Powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), Blueberry Flakes (blueberries, cane sugar, natural blueberry flavor), Salt, Vanilla Extract.

Not bad at all! I love that the first ingredient is zucchini. The other muffin flavors have similar ingredient lists too. These muffins really are packed with veggies, and each muffin is only 120 calories with 0 trans fat.

Garden Lites Veggie Muffins- My Life: A Work in Progress

In the fall and early winter, I bake muffins that I like to call “Harvest Muffins.” The ingredients change, but I always keep them filled with veggies and fruits like squash, carrots, beets, and apples. Although making something fresh at home is usually the cheapest way to go, I can’t deny the convenience of keeping a pack of these individually-wrapped healthy veggie muffins in the freezer. We have a couple of muffins left in the freezer, but when we’re out of them, I will buy more.

Garden Lites Veggie Muffins are sold at numerous retailers, like Whole Foods, Publix, and The Fresh Market. Flavor variety and availability will vary.

Have you tried veggies in muffins before? What’s your favorite healthy snack?

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Two-Ingredient Fruit and Nut Balls (Fitness Friday)

I previously blogged about making fruit and nut bars (homemade Larabars), and today’s post is a variation of that recipe. If you don’t have a food processor, you may want to check out the original post, as that gives you an alternative to make them with a pastry cutter and an immersion blender.

With just two ingredients -dates and peanuts- you can make inexpensive fruit and nut balls that are packed with minerals, protein, fiber, and carbs. Store them in the fridge or the freezer, and grab one when you need it. They’re great for a post-workout snack or to keep your energy levels up during a run. My toddler won’t eat peanuts or dates by themselves, but together… he can’t get enough of them!

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Homemade Fruit & Nut Balls


  • 1 cup halved peanuts
  • 15 medjool dates


Remove the pits from the dates. I like to slice them lengthwise, until I feel resistance from the pits. Then I stop, open the date, and just pop the pit out.

Soak the dates in a cup of water for about 5 minutes, to soften them (optional step). In the meantime, put your peanuts into the food processor and grind them until they’re finely chopped (about 10 seconds). They should look like the second photo below.

Remove the nuts from the food processor and place them into a bowl. Now put your dates into the food processor and pulse them for 15 t0 20 seconds. Add them into your bowl with the nuts.

(Sometimes I put the dates through the food processor first and then the nuts second. It doesn’t really matter, but if you’re soaking the dates, it saves time to chop the peanuts during that time).

Use your hands to mix the peanuts completely with the dates. Make sure it’s mixed really well and there aren’t any loose peanuts on the bottom of the bowl.

Then separate and roll your mixture into little balls. I make mine about the size of Swedish meatballs (1-1.5″ diameter). This mixture will make 14 balls that size. You’ll want to refrigerate (or freeze) them as soon as possible. They’re easy to wrap individually with plastic wrap, place in baggies, or just line them up inside a Tupperware-type container. (That’s what I do.)

If I make 14 balls from this mixture, then each one has about 128 calories along with protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Both dates and peanuts naturally contain calcium, iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium. Peanuts also contain magnesium.

(I was going to list the exact number of grams of each vitamin and mineral, but my brain was starting to hurt, and I was afraid I was just going to type the wrong thing! I’m horrible at math.)

If you can’t find dates at your regular grocery store, try a Middle Eastern grocery store. I’ve found dates at both a nearby military commissary and a Lebanese cafe/store. Another option would be to use raisins or dried cranberries. In that case, I’d use 1 cup of either to 1 cup of peanuts. Have a peanut allergy? You can use cashews, walnuts, or whatever suits your fancy. If you’re allergic to tree nuts too, then I’m sorry. 🙁

Fitness Friday Details:

Each Friday, I’m linking up with some awesome bloggers at and to motivate each other on our fitness and/or weight loss journeys. We’d love for you to join! Don’t have a blog? Leave a comment and tell us what your goals are and how you did this week.


This week I finally decided that my goal to build muscle probably won’t happen unless I eat more, especially protein. Once I came to that conclusion, I upped my limit on MyFitnessPal. But the limit wasn’t the problem; the issue was I just wasn’t hungry and eating enough. The first day, I forced myself to eat about 700 calories more than I wanted to. My stomach hurt that evening.

The next day… Oh wow! I was ravenous almost all day! It was like my body went crazy over the extra food and just wanted more. And I realize that’s what happened to me last week after my cheat day. I had trouble reigning my appetite in. I think I just haven’t been eating enough to sustain my current lifestyle.

Now that I know I need to eat more, I have to find the balance of exactly how much protein I need and how many carbs. I’ll probably switch it up a bit…heavy on the protein on lifting days and carb load if I have a big run.

I did do better at eating even more veggies and fruit this week, so that’s a win.


Still right at 152 lbs. It hasn’t changed in two weeks, and I think that’s a combination of not eating enough (plateauing) and building muscle. I think I look more toned though, and that has me excited. Next week I’ll post my measurements, and we’ll see if I’ve made a difference in the last month.


Wow, this week was a difficult one. Like many people, the Polar Vortex has kept me and my toddler inside. We had almost a foot of snow here in Southern Virginia, which is not normal at all. Everything shut down for several days. I think schools are still closed today, actually. I can’t run outside with the jogging stroller, and even if the base gym were open (it’s probably not), Baby J has a bad cough, so I can’t take him there to infect other little ones.

If you want, you can read more about my internal struggle to LET GO over on my other blog. Home workouts have been the way to go this week!

Monday– Ran outside since the weather was decent. Got 5.4 miles in, then walked around the playground while Baby J played for 45 minutes or so.

Tuesday– Visited the base gym with the family workout room. Ran 1.2 miles on the treadmill (varied pace) as a warm-up before lifting weights. I only lifted about 10 or 15 minutes before Baby J started fussing because he was tired. I would’ve let him just cry and lay on my jacket to rest, but there were other moms in there, and I didn’t want any judgment for being “that mom.” So we headed home, and I lifted a bit at home with my adjustable Bowflex weights.

Wednesday– Did 40 minutes of a Brazil Butt Lift workout and lifted for about 20 minutes. By Wednesday night I really wasn’t sore at all and felt like I hadn’t been doing enough on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday– I was able to get in a pretty intense ab workout once Baby J was in bed. I also did lunges, squats, and lifted with the Bowflex weights.

Friday– The forecast is supposed to be in the upper 40s today, so if this snow melts quickly enough, I’m going to try to run outside this afternoon. It’s supposed to be in the upper 50s tomorrow, so you can bet I will be outside running then! If I’m able to get in 5 miles between today and tomorrow, I’ll have met my Winter Miles Challenge for this week. I’ve really wanted to up my challenge from 10 miles to 20, but that hasn’t been possible with the weather and illness. Maybe next week!


So all things considered, it was an okay week! No, it did not at all go as planned, and I probably didn’t push myself as hard as I could have. But I did stay active even though I was cooped up alone with a sick toddler for almost 3 days!

Did you meet your goals this week? What are your goals for next week? What do you have planned this weekend?
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Giveaway: YumEarth Candy 8/5-8/31

Your kids will inevitably want candy. Why not give them a healthy, delicious candy that is packed full of only the best ingredients like organic brown rice and organic fruit juice? A product that isn’t just healthy but delicious?

Then it’s about time your kids try YumEarth. A candy “born out of the need to feed families only healthy food free of chemicals and full of real fruit extracts and planet friendly ingredients.”

In celebration of back to school YumEarth wants to send your little ones off with some delicious and nutritious treats to fill their bellies and keep moms happy. They are launching their 100% vegan and gluten-free Fruit Snacks, with all the flavor and deliciousness of a candy using only the best ingredients.

From YumEarth:
So many families contacted us and asked us to make
VEGAN fruit snacks.  You asked us to make them not sticky like the other ones, fruity and flavorful, vegan, and gluten-free.  Our first four flavors are Banana, Cherry, Peach, and Strawberry. Shaped like their real-life fruit friends, we hope you and your families will have as much fun devouring these as we do! Made with real fruit extracts and no gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, or artificial colors and dyes. Click here for Ingredients.

Find out more about these delicious treats from Conservamom’s review.
Now for the best part! YumEarth will be giving away a year’s supply (12 bags) of YumEarth Vegan Fruit Snacks to one winner! This giveaway is valued at $48! Send your little one back to school year with only the best snacks filled with only the best products around!
This great giveaway is sponsored by YumEarth
Hosted by Conservamom and cohosted by :Everything Mommyhood and Viva Veltoro
To purchase these delicious treats go to YumEarth.You can purchase directly from their site, or check out other online retailers you can get this wonderful product from!
To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This giveaway is in no way associated, sponsored, or in association with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or any social media outlet. This
event was organized by Conservamom. Please contact with questions,comments or concerns. My Life: A Work in Progress is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

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