This passion, of course, extends to my family, particularly the little Bear. Scotty is not vegan mainly because if you take out a food group, you have to add one in. I'm okay eating things like kale-quinoa salad (actually, it's one of my favs), but there's no way he would touch it (I've tried). Hell, for about two years, I could barely get him to eat at all. I swear, the kid existed on nothing by bread crusts and oxygen for most of 2014. I don't know how he survived. Ribs showed. Looking at his skinny little chicken legs made me wonder how childhood obesity even exists in this country; clearly, that was not going to be an issue in our home. I wasn't about to introduce exotic miso or foreign seitan to the mix; I was happy that he would choke down two or three dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets with a glass of whole milk.
Things have dramatically improved in the last few months and now he has a much wider palette. Just the other night, he ate broiled salmon, cous cous and raw spinach for dinner. I was so excited, I posted a pic of it on Facebook. Honestly, it felt like I had won Powerball. But while he's eating super nutritious foods, I realized -- they aren't exactly high in calories. Quite frankly, he eats like a rich woman on a diet. Perhaps he'd like a glass of Pinot Grigio to go with that salmon? Beneficial, yes, but his whole dinner was under 200 calories and very low in fat (despite my attempt to hide some extra olive oil in the cous cous). He's weighing in at a svelte 46 lbs these days, which puts him in the lower 50% for his height. Not bad, but not good either.
Consequently, I'm constantly looking for new foods to add to his diet that a.) are highly nourishing, clean and offer substantial calories and b.) is something he will eat willingly. Enter the good people from Slammers Snacks (www.slammerssnacks.com). I get a lot of requests to review products through this blog and am very, very selective about what I accept. When Angela told me about their product, I was curious. Then she offered to send some samples. I said sure. When the giant box arrived, I immediately read through the ingredients on all four flavors, looking for words I didn't know or couldn't pronounce (thank you Michael Pollan). To my surprise, not only did I recognize everything, it was all organic too. Just to give you an example: in their Awesome Slammer, the total ingredients are: banana, apple, water, blueberries, strawberries, beet, acai, amaranth, lemon juice, citric acid, and ascorbic acid (Vit C). That sounds like a smoothie I would make.
Scotty tried Watermelon Kiwi Burst, Awesome, Pumped, and Epic. The only one he didn't care for was Pumped and that's only because he doesn't care for the taste of cinnamon (my dad hated cinnamon, too - I swear, it's genetic). The other three? He sucked them down. Quickly. Without question. And best of all - without me prodding, cajoling, and pleading. While Awesome, Pumped and Epic contain 1-2 grams of protein per serving, The Watermelon Kiwi Burst boasts 7 grams of protein (coming from whey protein isolate) per pouch. I don't eat whey (it's dairy-based) but is it good for a little kid who needs to put some weight on? Absolutely.
They've recently come out with two new flavors that sound amazing - Pomegranate Grape Crush and Chill'n, a combination of blueberries, butternut squash, Greek yogurt and yumberries (cousin to the raspberry). All flavors have no added sugar, are gluten-free, packed full of antioxidants, and contain no artificial ingredients. Best of all, they are all nut-free, so I can pop one in his school lunch without worry.
I can't say enough good things about Slammer Snacks. I feel like I've been given an easy solution to get more fruits and veggies in my kid without having to fight him or dirty the blender. Plus, they are super portable; this is a great snack on those busy afternoons when we are running from school to baseball or soccer and he needs some food. In the past, I would bring a banana and a cookie. He would eat the cookie and leave the banana (naturally - he's no fool). Now I just bring a pouch or two with some apple slices and he's good to go.
They are also great in the morning during the pre-school rush. Just today, he had a bowl of cereal, his vitamins, and a half of banana. As I kissed him goodbye, he shouted at me from the car: "Mom, you forgot my pouch!" Seriously. He asked me for it. That's a win. Now I know he's consumed at least 200 calories of a healthy combination of fats, protein, and carbs before 8am, hopefully staving off that 10am Kindergarten crash.
Slammer Snacks are sold at most major stores (Target, Kroger, Safeway, Publix - sometimes even Costco and Walmart) and retail for $4.99 for 4 pouches. Just over a dollar a pouch. That's pretty awesome. Check 'em out - such a great option, whether you have picky eaters or not.
Big thanks to Angela and the good people of Slammer Snacks for introducing me to your product and for sending so many great samples. We can't wait to try more! Follow them on Facebook (Slammer Snacks) and Instagram (@slammerssnacks) for the latest info and news.