All posts by guest blogger

snack & sail

beach bag necessities

guest blogger: julie hammerstein, family wellness expert & nutrition coach

summertime is a great time to break free of cold-weather food routines and try something new. it’s hot, you’re busy, and everyone’s looking for treats that satisfy, but that also keep the waistline and sweet-tooth in check. with proper planning and a little creativity, you can fill your bags and coolers with healthy foods, and reserve the typical pool and beach fare of burgers, candy and fries for special treats.

to be successful, always have fresh foods along with healthy brand-name snacks at home so that you can easily throw them into your tote when heading to the beach or pool. here are some of my favorite beach-bag necessities that you can find in your mainstream grocery stores:

-frozen grapes – these are a delicious low-calorie and naturally sweet treat that are easy to prepare. just remove red grapes from the stems and place them in a freezer-safe bowl. place the grapes in the freezer and freeze for several hours. take them frozen in a cooler to the pool or beach and they’ll be frozen or very chilled when you’re ready to enjoy.

-fresh fruit – you can’t go wrong with the delicious array of summer fruit. we choose varieties that are portable and don’t spoil – your best choices are cherries, apricots, plums, strawberries, and chunks of pineapple and watermelon.

-fresh veggies – when kids are hungry, they’ll eat most anything, so use pool time to serve favorite veggies like edamame, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, jicama and kale chips. these are great summer options that can be served on their own or with hummus or natural-brand salad dressings as dips.

popchips – never fried, never baked, just popped and packed with flavor – these naturally delicious chips have less half the fat of regular fried chips. try their new sweet potato, jalapeño and chili lime flavors. kids love these and they’re fun to bring to parties and picnics.

-  string cheese – this is a super easy source of protein, and i like that it’s portable and stays fresher longer than cheese on a sandwich. choose the organic brands like horizon.

- stretch island fruit leathers – all natural, 100% dried fruit that satisfies a sweet tooth without all the dyes and sugars of other commercial brands.

- fruit-puree pouches – these contain 100 percent fruit with no added sugar or artificial ingredients and come in fun flavors like mango and banana. my favorite brands are the safeway-brand applesauce varieties , along with the peter rabbit organics and happy tot and happy morning brands that contain real fruit and sometimes veggies and whole grains. i eat these before or after a workout, but they’re great on the run or for a summertime snack.

- kind bars – these are delicious all natural whole nut and fruit bars made from ingredients you can see and pronounce  – fun flavors like apple pecan and cranberry almond are my faves, and the new nuts & spice varieties contain only 5 grams of sugar!

- open nature meal and snack foods – i’m really excited about this brand, as the ingredients are all natural and they have a great variety of lunch meats, crackers, yogurt, bread, etc. – go to the website to see all the products that you can get at safeway, von’s and other sister stores.

- stonyfield farms yogurt tubes – there’s way too much sugar in fruit-flavored yogurts ~ in fact some brands contain more sugar than a pack of m&m’s. rather, freeze these yogurt tubes and serve as a replacement to sugar and dye-filled popsicles.

-  avoid the enhanced waters, sodas and juices, and stick with the following better beverages: canada dry and lacroix brand seltzer flavored waters; coconut water; honest-brand teas sweetened with honey.

-  homemade lemonade made with freshly squeezed lemons and stevia (add to desired taste)

-  homemade herbal sun teas sweetened with stevia or honey.

as you make healthier choices this summer, you’ll easily integrate these options into the school year and beyond. remember, plan ahead and store your fresh foods in containers or smaller-serving baggies so that you can just grab and go. serve the fruits & veggies first, then offer up the chips, bars & sweet treats to create more balance and to acclimate palates to fresh food. enjoy the ice cream and bbq fare as celebration, which is easy to do if you’re building healthy habits around food and know the difference between a healthy snack and a treat.

snack on!

don’t see yourself as the summer sports type?

guest blogger: peter lavelle, co-founder & fitness specialist, ultimate bootcamp

while there are many images synonymous with summer (swimsuits, sand castles, barbeques, piña coladas..!) not everyone immediately thinks about sports. in fact, the word “sports” can often conjure up other images – football season in the winter, gold medalists competing with their every fiber of being, teams muscling it out on the baseball field, or individuals with race numbers strapped to their chest.

well, you can – and should – use that very word to your advantage! summer’s warm temperatures allow for us all to become more active, simply by getting outdoors. sometimes, however, we need a wee push; a hint of encouragement. that’s where sports come in. if you find yourself looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors, either alone or with a friend, sports offer up easy and accessible ways to do it. your very own neighborhood is probably littered with public tennis courts! all you need is a racquet, and off you go! outdoor swimming pools (not to mention the many beaches along the ocean) give us a chance to don the suit and do a little swimming! and with that bike downstairs, covered in dust and doing a great job as a clothes rack, the endless trails and bike paths throughout the area, you have an easy and affordable way to get your cycling hat on!

for the more adventurous, there’s kayaking, golfing, windsurfing, sailing…the list is endless. if you can’t break away from the pack, get your buddies involved too! grab a frisbee, hit the park, and learn how to play ultimate frisbee! wiffle ball anyone..?  trust me – a cooler full of lemonade and a slinky beach chair after an active day of sports will be your slice of well-deserved heaven! you can even reward yourself with some guilt free snacking like a fruit smoothie, nuts, fresh fruit, or popchips! 

so now – don’t recoil from the word “sports”, just because you’re not competitive, or because you don’t belong to any clubs. think about the endless ways to have fun while enjoying some sporting activities, and you’ll have a really, really enjoyable summer!

why peter pops: a native of ireland, peter has worked in the sports and fitness industry for many years as a fully certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and has a certificate in sports nutrition. his energetic and entertaining training style keeps participants smiling as their bodies burn calories “like a furnace”. as a personal trainer for ultimate bootcamp, peter works with a variety of clients whose goals range from weight loss to increasing athletic ability and performance. peter’s interests include multi-sport events such as triathlons, as well as running marathons, playing golf and enjoying as much of new england’s outdoors as possible. his philosophy is: “we’re not here for a long time – we’re here for a good time.”

the goodie monster!

guest blogger: mark jacobs – proud father of the goodie monster

hi everyone. my name is mark. i live in oregon with my wife and two little boys, and in my spare time i’m trying my best to put a dent in our childhood obesity epidemic.

last year, i took an old, junk-filled vending machine, and, with the help of a fellow snacker and friend, turned it into the goodie monster. he serves tasty, healthier snacks, and he loves popchips.

he’s also more than a vending machine. he’s on a mission to spread health and happiness wherever he is. just the other day he helped a bunch of preschoolers (my son’s class) invent their own healthy trail mixes.

my goal now is to create more goodie monsters and put them in schools, children’s hospitals, rec centers…places where they can fuel kids’ fitness and creativity. but first things first: i need to fully demonstrate the power of this idea. so i want to put one goodie monster in one school in portland, oregon. i’m currently looking for that soul mate of a school who wants to experiment and see the benefits goodie monster can bring to their community.

i believe we’re going to turn this health crisis around…one goodie monster, one popchips bag, one kid at a time.

thanks to a generous donation, we’re now giving away *a lot* of popchips. just go to our facebook page and tell us your 3 biggest excuses for not eating healthier. we’re looking for the most honest answers. three winners will be chosen.

thanks, popchips. you guys not only give us good snacks to serve, but you’ve gone out of your way to help the goodie monster. i really appreciate it.

if you want to follow the goodie monster’s journey, friend him on facebook. he won’t bite.

quickiechick’s dating power tools.

guest blogger: “quickiechick” laurel house gives readers a sneak peek at tasty tips from her new book, “quickiechick’s cheat sheet to life, love, food, fitness, fashion and finance on a less than fabulous budget” (st. martin’s, may 2012)

it takes more than a perky attitude, cute smile, and sexy dress to have a good date. that’s why every chick needs a set of power tools. dating power tools. i’ve got an arsenal of tricks to up any chick’s chances of putting her best self forward – a combo of confidence-boosting, body-perfecting, skin-beautifying secrets. here are a few…

power tools:

  • first you need a base- popchips
  • hangover prevention- asparagus
  • de-puffing- yams and cucumbers
  • calming- sunflower seeds and soybeans
  • beautiful glow- greek yogurt
  • slimming- coffee grinds
  • confidence- power panties
  • quickie workout in bed
  • confidence- post-its
  • focus- intention board
  • how to stand out- fab bag or stilettos

let me explain…watch here for the full scoop on these power tools.

oh, and all of these tips, plus a lot lot more, are in my new book- “quickiechick’s cheat sheet to life, love, food, fitness, fashion and finance on a less than fabulous budget” (st. martin’s, may 2012). hangover prevention, better sex, weight loss, finding an awesome job…it’s all in there. pretty much every chick needs it (and every dude who wonders what’s happening in a chick’s head too).

why laurel pops: i’m laurel house, a fit lifestyle author, personal trainer, and the “quickiechick.” no, not the late night booty call kind of quickie. my “quickies” are all about making the most out of every moment- whether it’s a saddlebag-burning “quickie workout in bed,” a metabolism-boosting “bites with benefits” meal, or how to get a $150 spa-quality skin peel out of a $1 tomato and lemon at-home refrigerator facial. my youtube videos have received over 7 million views and now you can get even more quickie tips in my new book “quickiechick’s cheat sheet to life, love, food, fitness, fashion and finance on a less than fabulous budget” (st. martin’s, may 2012). 

pitchin’ popchips

guest blogger: frank o’brien, founder of “the pitch” winning conversation agency

when we got the call to pitch popchips, we were already familiar with the brand and  were surprised to find out that more people weren’t. we were even more excited when we heard that the goal of the assignment was to raise awareness because at that point we were looking at all of the great marketing material already put out by the brand thinking “holy (pop), how are we going to top this?!”

something special stood out to us about popchips – something you don’t see in every brand, much less a brand that has been around for only a few short years. it’s something that we at conversation see in ourselves: a strong culture, a focused brand, and an unwavering attention to detail. we were a perfect fit to work with this brand.


it’s rare that you feel, or know, that you’re going to hit a home run. agencies tend to have a level of superstition around them and talk a lot about karma, so throughout the process we didn’t want to be too confident but we knew that we were on to something special. all of the pieces lined up – the assignment, the brand, our process, the idea – but there was still one piece outstanding. no matter how right we felt, you never know until the decision is made. the brand has the final piece to the puzzle, the final say.

fortunately for us, our initial instincts and feelings throughout the process were dead on:  the popchips team gets it. from the agency side, winning a pitch isn’t always about what concept you pitch. it’s about who you are, how you pitch, and what you show while in that pitch room. if

all you’re pitching are ideas, then you’re only as good as your last idea. we pitch partnership, creative thinking, an ability to “get it done,” and a true focus on our clients’ business. by choosing conversation, it was clear that popchips was committed to adding that building block to their story to take it to the next level, which is something we focused on most in developing our campaign – a campaign that worked just as hard and that was as passionate as the agency and the client in the pitch room.

everyone at conversation puts their heart and soul into our business and our clients’ business. (after all where would we be if we didn’t have a hand in making our clients successful?)  we live our mission the way popchips lives theirs. it’s special when you find that kind of synergy, and we’re proud to be a part of the extended popchips family.

thank you, popchips, for the opportunity to work with such an amazing brand, amazing team, and an amazing business. let’s keep poppin’ with the year of pop

popstar of the month: stephanie

guest blogger: stephanie m., regional marketing manager, pacific northwest/vancouver bc

hi!  my name is stephanie, and i’m the proud and honored to be chosen as popchips’ april ‘popstar’ of the month!

here at popchips, a big part of our our company culture is giving back to causes we believe in. each month, an employee is honored as a “popstar of the month,” and (in addition to scoring a really cool trophy) empowered to donate $1,000 to their charity of choice.  not only is this a great way to recognize the hard work, passion, and dedication of individuals that make up our company – it’s also a great way to see what organizations and causes are near and dear to each co-workers heart; and allows you to know and understand people on a different, more human level.

so i bet you want to know what charity i chose, right?! i’m getting there…

since watching the movie FOOD INC., i’ve been inspired and fascinated by the impact that food, and the business of food has on our society.  growing up in the midwest and having ‘farm fresh’ and ‘free range’ food my entire life (my uncle owns a farm) – i never gave much thought to ‘where’ my food was grown, or ‘who’ was growing it; it was just there.  but as i grew older, and lived in bigger cities where these labels are seen and used as a premium in selling and marketing items – it really put it in perspective that not everyone is in control of their food sources, or choices.  the film also does an amazing job at bringing to the forefront the impact that food has on our society.  land must be maintained for growing crops and animals.  doing this in a humane and ethical manner means higher prices at the grocery store; and in an economy that demands bigger, cheaper, quicker – these two hardly (if ever) go hand in hand.  pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are added to make plants more robust and increase the likelihood that a farmer can harvest a good crop to feed not only his family but hundreds of others – and animals grow bigger and quicker with the ‘help’ of growth hormones and scientific feed.  and that is just the tip of the iceberg.  if you haven’t seen the film, i highly encourage you to watch it.

the film doesn’t support any one charity or cause.  what it does do is list a plethora of ways that we can all get involved.  one of those ways is to support farming practices that are good for animals, humans, and the planet.  for this reason, i chose to donate to my local chapter of the humane society.  as part of their mission statement, the humane society “seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. they are america’s mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation and neglect, as well as the most trusted voice extolling the human-animal bond.”

you can find out more about the organization, and find your local chapter at:

when I was growing up, i never thought or intended to be working in the consumer packaged goods industry.  however, i’ve somehow managed to work for some pretty amazing brands.  brands that not only fulfill a desire or a need; but brands that are striving changing the world for the better – one bag or bottle at a time.

“be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ―mahatma gandhi

follow @popchipsSeattle @popchipsPDX for more of how how we’re chipping in to make a difference in the community.

power panties + vitamin d = happy!

guest blogger: laurel house, quickiechick

bunnies are making even more babies, birds are tweeting their songs so loudly that they are waking you up in the morning, and flowers are blooming with such fervor that they are seemingly spitting their sneeze-provoking pollen everywhere! so why are you in such a bummer mood?

it’s time to edit your mood, boost your ego, and put a smile on your face! not so easy and turning that frown upside down? here are a few tricks to help:

ego: power panties

dudes have power ties, and chicks have power panties! let me explain… according to feng shui belief, the color red help to cup confidence, ego, and luck in all areas of life- including business. but you can’t always wear a glaring red suit to a meeting with a room full of muckety mucks. so instead i say wear red panties. yes, power panties! you’ll have the power of feng shui (plus that secret “i have on some seriously sexy panties on” smile).

get happy: vitamin d

i talked to a holistic practitioner who told me that i need to lay outside naked for 20 minutes- 10 on my back, and 10 on my stomach- so that the sun’s vitamin d can soak through my skin. because i don’t have a private backyard and i’m pretty sure that public nudity along a busy street is illegal in los angeles (or pretty much anywhere for that matter), i choose foods and supplements to up my d. what’s so great about it? d has been shown to help improve the mood, making you happy, fighting off seasonal depression, plus assist with both sleep and weight loss. sign me up!!! but here’s the kicker: you get d from the sun and from some, but only some foods. not that many foods are naturally stuffed with the stuff (though lots are fortified with it). a few d-rich foods include:

  • eggs
  • mushrooms
  • salmon
  • herring
  • tuna
  • sardines

get happy: popchips-spiked skinny tuna lettuce wraps recipe:

  • 1 can tuna
  • 2 tbsp low fat cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 1 tbsp relish
  • 1 tsp spicy mustard
  • 4 butter lettuce leaves
  • 1 share bag of sour cream & onion popchips - crushed

mix it all together!

some people like to make tuna sandwiches, but i’m not so big on bread, so instead i choose lettuce wraps. the extra necessary oomph comes in the flavor-packed form of a crunch – sour cream & onion popchips. the onions and sour cream pair perfectly with the tuna. it’s a flavor and texture explosion in my mouth- which is always a good and happy-making thing.

why laurel pops: i’m laurel house, a fit lifestyle author, personal trainer, and the “quickiechick.” no, not the late night booty call kind of quickie. my “quickies” are all about making the most out of every moment- whether it’s a saddlebag-burning “quickie workout in bed,” a metabolism-boosting “bites with benefits” meal, or how to get a $150 spa-quality skin peel out of a $1 tomato and lemon at-home refrigerator facial. my youtube videos have received over 7 million views and now you can get even more quickie tips in my new book “quickiechick’s cheat sheet to life, love, food, fitness, fashion and finance on a less than fabulous budget” (st. martin’s, may 2012).

smart snacking in the uk

guest blogger: azmina govindji, rd, consultant nutritionist & award-winning dietitian

hi, i’m azmina and i’m thrilled to be the popchips nutritionist for the uk. i’ve been popping for over a month now, spreading the news of how you get less than 100 calories per bag. i work with the media, national organisations, charities and the food industry and i’m very particular whom i choose to collaborate with. when i heard about the ‘never baked never fried’ concept, i just had to find out more!

i thrive on making tasty food healthy, and believe you can eat the foods you love, so long as you keep an eye on the whole balance of what you eat, and make some smart choices. snacking is often seen as a dirty word in the uk, but when you deny yourself snacks you want them even more! so, my trick is to keep the healthier snacks accessible and give away those foods that don’t help you meet your healthy lifestyle goals. in a way, it’s a sort of ‘eat this…forget that’ concept:

  • choose popped chips instead of fried crisps
  • choose lightly salted homemade popcorn instead of buttered microwave popcorn
  • choose a handful of nuts instead of a bag of sweets
  • choose a skinny cappuccino instead of a regular latte
  • choose 2 jaffa cakes instead of a chocolate bar

until next time…happy popping!

why azmina pops: azmina govindji, rd mbda, is a mum with a passion for good food, fun and friendship. underneath that softer side lies a busy professional – she’s an award-winning registered dietitian and nutritionist, known in the uk for her no-nonsense simple tips and realistic outlook on healthy lifestyles. she is a national media spokesperson for the british dietetic association (so the press like her) and was itv’s this morning nutritionist from 2006 to 2007 and has appeared on bbc’s the one show, watchdog and the wright stuff: she now works as a consultant nutritionist to itv’s lorraine show and as an expert for various food companies and organisations. azmina has written over a dozen books including the best-selling gi plan, the hot body plan, diabetes uk’s the diabetes weight loss diet, and weight watcher’s millennium cookbook. her lively personality and down-to-earth approach help her to communicate scientific dietary principles using everyday practical language. she believes that healthy food can be tasty and is on a mission to help spread this philosophy. find azmina here: facebook,