Blog : coworking

Member Spotlight: Bobby Villarreal

Member Spotlight: Bobby Villarreal

Member Spotlight: Bobby Villarreal

Bobby Villarreal talks a little about his experience here at Grindstone Coworking as a member in our community. Bobby, a digital marketer, has developed a team of creatives that fill the space with ideas and energy on a daily basis.

L&F Distributors presents Four Corners Happy Hour

L&F Distributors presents Four Corners Happy Hour

A Chingon Pizza Party

Grindstone Coworking had the pleasure of hosting a Four Corners Happy Hour sponsored by L&F Distributors in Edinburg, Texas. George Esquivel, Co-Founder of Four Corners Brewery in Dallas, TX, introduced their newest craft beer, Sol y Luna. Check out the highlight video of the event.

Summer Time Hustle

Summer Time Hustle

We’ve reached the midpoint of 2017. How’s it going so far? With half of the year already spent, it’s great timing to evaluate where you are, and whether or not you’re where you want to be.

Sure, those New Year’s resolutions you made are all well and good, but if you’re like 99% of us, you forgot all about those by mid-February. If you find you’re falling behind in any of the following areas, it may be time to step up your game. You’ve still got the second half of 2017 to turn things around. What are you waiting for?

Health/Wellness

So that no bread/no dairy/no gluten diet you intended to stick to suddenly fell through. But just because you fell off the wagon doesn’t mean you have to give up entirely. The second half of the year is a great time to get fit. Commit to that healthy eating plan, and get yourself to the gym or park for a run at least three times per week. If you’re in need of some extra motivation, convince another unmotivated friend to join you and tackle your fitness journey together. Being your best, most creative and productive self is most possible when the other aspects of your life are running smoothly, including your health. 

Organization

The first step toward productivity is organization, and no one knows the ins and outs of multi-tasking quite like the entrepreneur.  If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve currently got about a thousand (give or take) things on your plate. Organizational apps are ideal for keeping your thoughts and tasks uncomplicated. Download an app like Trello or Asana on your phone and laptop to keep you on track when your work piles up. Set deadlines, communicate freely with coworkers, and keep files all in one place. Productivity takes a major nosedive when your universe is in disarray. Don’t fall into the trap this summer!

Goals

Are you following your passion? I mean, really following your passion? If not, there’s no better time than now. Whether you’re a painter, a photographer or a web designer, it’s never too late to begin your journey to entrepreneurship. With the laid-back vibe of summer comes renewed opportunity to truly explore your talents. Don’t waste your days being unproductive. With great hustle, comes great rewards!

Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Call us to schedule a tour of Grindstone Coworking!

Hive Effect: NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

Hive Effect: NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2017
Hive Effect
956-900-2190
[email protected]

Hive Effect Entrepreneurship Initiative Now Accepting Applications for Second Cohort
Sponsored by Grindstone Coworking and the Edinburg EDC

Applications due by June 1

Edinburg,Texas: Grindstone Coworking, in collaboration with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, has kicked off the second cohort of Hive Effect – an entrepreneur development initiative aiming to help local businesses thrive. The program, accepting applications through June 1, will offer 15 business owners the opportunity to grow their respective businesses through curriculum, coworking, and mentorship.

Daniel Rivera of Grindstone Coworking and director of Hive Effect said, “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with the Hive Effect since its launch last September. Our coursework, mentorship and implementation of the coworking concept has helped ten entrepreneurs achieve great things for their respective businesses, and we’re looking forward to introducing a new set of members to our growing community.”

Gus Garcia, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation added, “The EDC is excited to partner up with Grindstone Coworking to promote this initiative. The Hive Effect program has become a valuable resource for some of our city’s most exciting new businesses.”

About Grindstone Coworking: Grindstone Coworking is a membership-based office in Edinburg,Texas. Designed for mobile workers, freelancers, and startups, the office provides workspace, phone booths, private suites, conference rooms, training rooms, a copy center, mailboxes and other amenities for today’s modern businesses.

About Edinburg EDC: The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation serves local companies by providing assistance with expansion plans, programs to help retain business, and advocating for policies that enhance the region’s economic competitiveness.

Hive Effect will be accepting applications through the month of May. If you’re an entrepreneur hoping to take your business to the next level, visit www.hiveeffect.com to learn more.

APPLY HERE: https://hiveeffect.typeform.com/to/t5TXh6

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5 Easy Apps for DIY Content for Your Small Business

5 Easy Apps for DIY Content for Your Small Business

Create DIY Content for Your Small Business with Five Easy-To-Use Apps

In the small business world, content creation is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, good content can powerfully impact your sales, your brand image, and your overall reputation. On the other hand, good content comes at a price, whether it be monetary, time consumption, or mental effort. Great content doesn’t always come easy, but as a business owner, you already know that great things rarely come easy. These easy-to-use apps, however, can help you on your path to kick-ass content creation in no time.

Trello

The MAOA (Mother of All Organizational Apps), Trello, is one of the single best tools you can use to get your thoughts, projects and assignments organized. Many people are visual learners by nature, and Trello’s easy-to-use, image-centered set-up makes organizing ideas easier than ever before. Create cards for different ideas and arrange them by column, color or project. Drag and drop to suit your needs, and tag team members on each card to communicate ideas freely and in real time. Notifications are sent straight to your phone, so if you’re on a deadline, you can be sure you’re not losing precious time. If you’ve got a big project coming up, and you don’t know where to start, Trello is a safe bet.

Canva

Not everyone is gifted in graphic design. Don’t beat yourself up about it. For the design-challenged among us, there’s Canva. This must-have app is a Godsend for small business owners who don’t have the funds to outsource graphic design projects, big or small. Don’t waste time searching job boards and paying big bucks for simple projects like newsletter design or social media design work. Instead, download Canva, create your own graphics using their easy lay-out and current selection of images and fonts, then carry on with your day as the adaptable boss that you are.

Pexels

Image selection often goes hand-in-hand with creating your own graphics. For this, there’s Pexels.com. A round-up of all the internet’s best free stock photos, there are thousands of high-quality images to choose from, so you’re bound to find the perfect picture to represent your brand and target audience. Whether for Facebook ads, social media memes or websites, Pexels.com is a stellar source for imagery.

Grammar.ly

While a good copywriter can be a great asset for your business, there are plenty of writing tasks you can tackle all on your own, with the right app, of course. Grammar.ly is a fantastic resource if easy-to-read, mistake-free content is what you’re going for – and you should be. Cut down on embarrassing typos and take your overall writing style to the next level with this easy-to-use program.

Wordswag

So you’ve got the right words, but how do you present them in the right way? Wordswag is the answer. With the popularity of social media at an all-time high, meme creation is basically a necessity. Spice up your brand’s images with Wordswag, then sit back as they spread like wildfire across your favorite channels. It’s really that simple.

Have any questions or other apps you want to share? Message us on Facebook or drop us a line at [email protected]

Freelancing Your Way to Freedom in the RGV

Freelancing Your Way to Freedom in the RGV

Freelancing in the RGV

Owning a business can be intimidating. If the prospect of diving head first into owning a business fills you with a sense of dread, you may not be entirely ready for such a huge undertaking. And that’s OK. It may take months, even years, to find the confidence to start your business. In this case, the phrase, “don’t quit your day job” is well intentioned. Instead of quitting your 9-to-5 job on a whim, there are other ways to truly explore the concept of entrepreneurship before commitment.

Freelancing may be your best option for bringing in significant income without the pressure that comes with full-on entrepreneurship. Luckily, there is an ever-growing array of websites to help you on your path to freelance success, though not all are created equal. Upwork.com has proven inexplicably valuable in helping me establish my growing business. Here’s a breakdown of the internet’s most valuable website for freelancers.

Upwork Ecosystem

The largest of its kind on the web, Upwork.com is where a lot of freelancers go to jumpstart their careers. Born from a merger between freelance heavy-hitters Elance.com and Odesk.com, Upwork.com attracts millions of clients and freelancers, utilizing a comprehensive interview process to provide a perfect match.

With an almost-overwhelming amount of job prospects, the Upwork job board is easy to navigate. Whether you’re a graphic designer, a writer, photographer or accountant, Upwork may be just the avenue you need to gain the confidence to venture out on your own. There is absolutely no cost to set up and get started. Simply create your user profile, upload your resume, then begin bidding on projects based on your desired income and experience. A growing number of large companies are joining by the day, many recognizing the convenience that comes from employing remote workers on a contract basis.

The Upwork interview process showcases the very best of the internet’s potential. Skype calls with people from all over the world are not uncommon. I’ve encountered dozens of international clients throughout my time on Upwork.

While there is a fee to utilize Upwork’s services, they pale in comparison to the perks. Upwork guarantees payment on contract gigs, meaning if the client decides not to pay up, the website will have your back. As someone who has lost over $2,000 to unpaid invoices, the security that comes with Upwork is invaluable, and can save major headaches and heartaches along the way.

Like most things in life, true effort is your best bet for success. Whether it’s starting your own business, jumpstarting your freelance career, or even maintaining personal relationships, you’ll most likely get what you put in. Before you rule out launching your own business, experiment with Upwork.com to see if working on your own accord is right for you.

Sara Cantu is a freelance writer from Edinburg, Texas. Her work has appeared in Lifestyle for Men Magazine, Lady Couture Magazine, RGV Magazine and numerous lifestyle websites. Contact her at [email protected]

How Working From Home Can Destroy Productivity

How Working From Home Can Destroy Productivity

How Working from Home can Destroy Productivity

If you’ve been on the 9 to 5 grind for several years now, the thought of working from home is an exciting one. There’s the late mornings, the absence of annoying coworkers, and, for the most part, the freedom to do whatever you want. But beneath the shiny surface working from home can lead to some major issues for freelancers and entrepreneurs. From the daily distractions, to the ever-present threat of procrastination, working from home isn’t your one-way ticket to career freedom. You’ll need to tread carefully for your productivity and your sanity. Here are some ways working from home can backfire:

Distractions

The television interview seen ‘round the world has drawn attention to a very real issue: children in the work place. Sure, hilarity ensued and it was awesome, but people bursting in and out of the room while you’re trying to get work done can be both frustrating and enormously distracting. Unless you’re working at home alone all day and night, chances are good that you’ll have some unexpected visitors killing your vibe. For optimal productivity, you’ll need a quiet, comfortable place to work, away from the demands of spouses, kids and pets.

Procrastination

Do you love Netflix? So do we! It can be hard to tear yourself away when you’re knee-deep into your new favorite show, “Just one more” you say as you throw your mounting pile of work to the wayside. While Netflix and TV are a great (addictive?) way to pass the time on evenings and weekends, indulging during the workday can spell disaster for your groove. Do yourself a giant favor and keep distractions to a minimum while you work. Resist the urge to web surf, log out of your Netflix and throw your phone across the room to avoid the productivity black hole that is social media. Doing so can make a huge difference in how much you get done – trust us.   

Isolation

The thing about working alone? It gets, well…lonely. Not everyone can handle hours upon hours of solitude, and that’s OK. Even the most headstrong person will encounter a moment of silence that makes them miss people, and when that time comes, you might even yearn for the traditional office setting. There’s no mistaking that coworkers often become friends. Dealing with this void may be one of the hardest things to adjust to when you embark on working from home.

Did we scare you? Good.

Coworking is the answer to all these issues, plus so much more.

Grindstone Suites Now Open!

Grindstone Suites Now Open!

Grindstone Suites – Open for Business!

We’re excited to announce the opening of Grindstone Suites, Edinburg’s newest coworking space. With five private offices primed for productivity, the new space offers the perfect spot to take your business’s operations to new heights.

The coworking concept has revitalized the employment landscape in Edinburg. Grindstone Coworking is expanding its offices to accommodate a growing number of entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking space to call their own. The new office building, located adjacent to Grindstone Coworking’s first building, offers newly remodeled private offices suites to house companies of varying sizes.

Situated in one of Edinburg’s most bustling areas, across from the University of Texas – RGV and in close proximity to City Hall, Grindstone Suites’ offices offer a convenient location ideal for business.  The building, which combines classic components and an urban influence reminiscent of larger cities, offers a glimpse into the future of coworking in the RGV.

At Grindstone Suites’ new private offices, you’ll receive all the benefits of coworking with the privacy you need for optimal productivity. Five private offices, currently hosting JINKS Realty and Ben Briones Photography, provide a unique space to help your company’s vision come to life.

The first of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley, Grindstone Suites offers freelancers and entrepreneurs new opportunities to network. Available amenities include Moonbeans coffee, high-speed Wi-Fi and a clean, comfortable environment that promotes efficiency. With kitchen space, an updated interior and new appliances, the suites contain everything you need to effectively run your business. The space is even home to one of Edinburg’s oldest trees, visible from University Drive.

If you’re interested in making Grindstone Coworking your new office space, don’t wait. Three offices have already been leased. Contact us at 956.900.2190 or visit www.grindstonesuites.com for more information about leasing and how to integrate the coworking concept into your growing business.

Why Coffee Shops Suck for Freelance Work

Why Coffee Shops Suck for Freelance Work

Freelancing in the RGV

Imagine a freelance graphic designer waking up at 10 a.m., heading to his nearest Starbucks and ordering a Macchiato. He sits at an isolated booth by the window, sets his sights on a nest of blue jays perched atop a nearby tree, and pulls his laptop from his leather backpack. He throws on his headphones, tunes into his favorite station,  and spends the afternoon sitting quietly, calmly, sipping coffee as the ideas and creativity flow through him like wine. It all seems so glamorous, doesn’t it?

Trust us; The coffee shop life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Here are a few things that can go wrong when you choose a coffee shop or restaurant as your office:

Your Wallet Will Suffer

What’s worse than weak coffee? Weak coffee that costs $5. If your income allows you to spend upwards of $25 on coffee alone each week, more power to you. But if you’re like a lot of other freelancers and budding entrepreneurs, frivolous spending might not be in the cards. Ditch the unnecessary spending and instead invest in a coworking space that offers free coffee ‘round the clock – like the Grindstone.

Distractions Abound

You might think your nearest coffee shop is a great place to shun distraction, but you’d be wrong. Between checking out the cutie that just walked in, to the temptation of pastries seen through your peripherals, it can be hard to get in the zone when you’re not really “in” your zone. Coworking spaces boast the benefit of familiarity. There are no surprises. You come in, you sit, you work. That’s all there is to it.

Cramped Spaces

Once you make the trek to the coffee shop, where will you sit? What if you’re a “booth” person, but all that’s available are small tables? What if heights freak you out, but all that’s left are those tall ones? You shouldn’t have to fight for space when it comes to your work. At coworking spaces, there is plenty of room to get down to business. You don’t need to wake up at the crack of dawn just to get a good spot. Wake up at noon if the mood strikes you – the Grindstone welcomes those who aren’t bright-eyed and bushy-tailed until they’re ready to be.

The Crowds

Kids are adorable, but when you’re trying to get your work done? Eh, not so much. One downside to the coffee shop is the unexpected crowds. If you don’t appreciate toddlers running around and throwing spitballs at you when you’re on a deadline, a coworking space might be right for you.

Don’t take our word for it, give it a try. Grindstone week trials are only $39 and give you the opportunity to get your feet wet in the coworking movement. If you decide to join, we will roll in the $39 to your first months membership fees. Contact us at [email protected] to set up your appointment for a tour.

Member Spotlight: Eduardo Robles

Member Spotlight: Eduardo Robles

Meet Eduardo Robles, a remote technology solutions expert, up-and-coming entrepreneur, and our featured Grindstone Coworking member this week in our Member Spotlight Series. In this Series, we sit down with Eduardo in a rapid fire Q&A to find out a little bit about him, what he does, and how he works in Grindstone Coworking while being a Hive Effect member.

Q: Tell us about your business? What do you help your clients do?

I run a business where I provide remote desktop support for my clients. If a client’s computer needs to be fixed I do what I can to fix it remotely.

Q: How did you get started?

I always had a passion for technology and tinkering with gadgets so I decided to put my skills into a business. I got the opportunity to start my own business in late 2015 when I saw a potential to gain clients who were looking for low cost and fast technology solutions.

Q: How long have you been with your business?

For less than a year.

Q: Where did your passion for said business come from?

As a kid I remember I built my own doorbell for my room. I learned about basic principles of electricity and how to build a simple circuit with an AA battery, an LED bulb, and some wire. I built my simple doorbell which wasn’t really a doorbell because it didn’t have a ‘bell’ but I had fun building it. Since then I had been interested in technology, specifically gadgets.

Q: What’s your creative outlet?

I like to discover new music and reconnect with classic music as well.

Q: Where is your go-to place to relax?

My place of peace and relaxation is my couch with my wife and 2 dogs.

Q: Where is your go-to place to fun?

I enjoy going to the movies a lot. At least once a month, I try to go see a new movie. I love cinematography, production, and the experience of going to the movie theater.

Q: What’s your favorite book?

“George Washington Gomez” by Americo Paredes.

Q: What’s your favorite part about working at Grindstone Coworking?

The people I get to interact with are great so I really enjoy the conversations we have about business, news, and life events. Consequently, I’ve learned a lot since I joined the team. 

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve received that has helped you with your business?

Make sure you are always prepared for the next step.

Q: What kind of music do you like listening to while you work?

While I work I listen to wide range of music; anything from Electronic/Dusbstep, Rap/Hip-Hop, and Metal/Rock. Fast paced music helps me stay concentrated.

Q: What streaming service do you use? Pandora, Spotify, Apple, Other?

Spotify FTW

Q: Apple or Android?

Both, I’m a geek like that.

Q: What’s one tip for mobile workers you would like to share?

Invest in good gear like a bag/backpack or computer. If you’re going to be a mobile worker, efficiency can really help with productivity.

Q: What’s your favorite social media platform? Why?

I like Twitter because it has the ability to show a wide range of topics in a narrow environment.

Q: What lead you to own your own business rather than go work for a company?

I once saw a video in which entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk spoke about treating employees better than he treats his clients. I image the statement came as a shock to many entrepreneurs but it made perfect sense to me. Vaynerchuk went on to say that your employees have the skills to make sure your company is successful. I’ve only had 2 jobs in my life when I’ve felt that the boss genuinely cared for my opinion on how to improve the company. So I decided to put my ideas into practice and see if I could make a successful business. I may fail but I least I learned how treat employees as people.

Q: How is Grindstone/ Hive Effect helping you and your business?

The classes provided by Hive Effect have been really helpful at getting my business in order. It’s very easy to forget about or put off every important thing about your business. So it’s nice to have the Hive Effect program be a fresh reminder of those things.

If you are interested in contacting Eduardo Robles, our featured Hive Effect member this week or just want to find out more about Eduardo and what he does follow him on his social media channels.

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://eduardorobles.com

Twitter: @hardrived

Instagram: the_eduardorobles

 

 

What is an SBA Loan?

What is an SBA Loan?

This is a guest blog post by Grindstone Coworking member Angel Melgoza. Angel is a fee-only financial planner. you can find out more about Angel and his company MyLife Financial at www.my-life.financial.

 

WHAT IS AN SBA LOAN?

The Rio Grande Valley is full of ideas, energy, and entrepreneurship. A lot of the time, some of these ideas are not realized because of the lack of education in funding options available to budding entrepreneurs. There are also business owners whose energy and passion fades away because of high startup costs that eat away at their pockets. This causes them to doubt themselves and think twice about their venture. As it is, being a small business owner is stressful and full of risks, but there are resources available to help alleviate the financial risk involved. Enter the Small Business Administration…

I should start off by telling you who the Small Business Admiration (SBA) is and what they do. The Small Business Administration is a government agency that helps provide support to small businesses & entrepreneurs in the form of counseling and loans. So, what is an SBA Loan? An SBA loan is a loan that is provided to small business owners by a local bank or lending institution that have partnered up with the Small Business Administration (SBA). A certain portion of these loans are backed or guaranteed by the SBA in case the borrower defaults on the loan.

SBA Loan vs. Conventional Loan: What’s the Difference

There’s not much of a difference between a conventional loan vs. an SBA loan when it comes to credit. Both loans require the borrower to meet certain credit requirements; that’s just the nature of seeking credit. Where they may differ is the flexibility in collateral needed as well as the length of repayment. In a conventional loan, banks have certain requirements that borrowers must meet (i.e. credit, collateral, cash flow, etc..) before they loan someone money because if the borrower defaults, the bank loses out. However, with an SBA Loan, these requirements loosen up a bit. Why? Because they are guaranteed not to lose as much money since the SBA is backing up, or taking on financial responsibility of a certain portion of the loan.

Different types of Loans

Not all business owners are in the same phase of their business or in the same industry so the SBA has different types of loans. The most basic is the 7(a) Loan Program which borrowers bust apply through a participating lender. This loan is for anyone starting up their business or looking to expand their operation.  There are also loans that help small business owners that have been affected in disaster areas; these types of loans help endure losses that businesses attain through things like tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. Another popular loan is the 504 Loan Program; this loan is meant to purchase fixed assets such as buildings, machinery, or do renovations on used buildings.

What do I need to apply?

Like any other loan, there is a loan process. The process for SBA loans is much quicker through a preferred lender of the SBA. Some of the things a preferred lender may ask you for are:

  • Background and Financial Statement
  • Profit & Loss Statement
  • Projected Financial Statements
  • Ownership and Affiliations
  • Business Certificate /License
  • Loan Application History
  • Income Tax Returns
  • Resume
  • Business Overview and History
  • Business Lease


Want to know who can help you with your business venture? For a list of the SBA Preferred Lenders in the Rio Grande Valley, click here. (<– list coming soon) 

 

Angel Melgoza

MyLife Financial

[email protected]

956.507.0257

 

Grindstone Coworking Member Spotlight: Melissa Gauna

Grindstone Coworking Member Spotlight: Melissa Gauna

Member Spotlight: Melissa Gauna

Today we caught up with Melissa Gauna, nutritional therapist and featured member this week in our Member Spotlight Series. Melissa just moved to the Rio Grande Valley in the past year from Atlanta, Georgia, and we sat down with her in a rapid fire Q&A to find out a little bit about Melissa, what she does, and how she works.

Q: Where are you from?

I was born in Chicago but grew up in rural Oklahoma. In my 20’s, I moved to Georgia and spent 10 years there. I recently moved to the RGV less than a year ago.

Q: Tell us about your business? What do you help your clients do?

I’m a Nutritional Therapist,Nutrition educator and counselor. I help people find healing through foods.

Q: What’s your creative outlet?

Cooking and baking; I get creative combining different flavors and textures.

Q: Where is your go-to place to have fun?

For fun, I enjoy trying new things like aerial yoga. I also enjoy baking with my kids and watching girly movies.

Q: Where is your go-to place to relax?

Being out in nature is extremely relaxing; it allows me to stay grounded.

Q: What’s your favorite book?

Big Magic! by Elizabeth Gilbert. It inspired me to “fall in love with creating” and to never stop creating. 

Q: What’s your favorite part about working at Grindstone Coworking?

My favorite part has to be the collaboration that takes place being surrounded by people from different backgrounds and different areas of expertise.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve received that has helped you with your business?

In your business, don’t try to be clever or gimmicky. Be RELEVANT.  It’s not about you; it’s about them!

Q: What kind of music do you like listening to while you work?

I get distracted easily, so I prefer non-popular music, songs I don’t know the words to. Otherwise,I may dance in my chair or break out in a song!

Q: What streaming service do you use? Pandora, Spotify, Apple, Other?

Apple Music & Amazon Music

Q: Apple or Android?

Apple all the way!

Q: What’s one tip for mobile workers you would like to share?

Establish good habits and focus on three things daily that will make you more profitable.

Q: What’s your favorite social media platform? Why?

Facebook  because it’s the one I’ve used the longest, but I’m learning more about Snapchat.

Thanks to Melissa for being our first member featured on our Member Spotlight Series. To find out more about Melissa and what she does, follow her on her social media and check out her recent blog on the “Top 10 Snacks for People On the Go in the RGV.”

 

Melissa Gauna, NTP

[email protected]

www.melissagaunantp.com

https://www.facebook.com/melissagaunantp/

https://www.instagram.com/melissantp/

https://www.snapchat.com//add/melissagaunantp

The top 10 snacks for people on the go …when you can’t make them yourself!

The top 10 snacks for people on the go …when you can’t make them yourself!

You walk into any grocery store or convenience store and you’re faced with hundreds and hundreds of choices for “foods of convenience” a.k.a snacks. We’ve made snacking a normal part of our everyday routine. And if you’re a parent of a small child, you know how important snacks are, particularly to avoid melt downs in public. Whether out of habit or necessity, snacking helps provide sufficient energy until our next meal. Although in a perfect world, we’re better off sticking to three main meals a day… well-balanced that is so that we’re not hungry an hour later, unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world. In the real world, we’ve got places to go, people to see and an eternal list of to-do’s. Meal times get cut short and often times you have no choice but to grab something quick and on the go. So rather than hitting a vending machine and hoping for a miracle that there’s something remotely nutritious available, why not visit your local Sprouts and stock up on healthy foods that are easy to carry and actually provide you with little things called nutrients.

top 10 snacks(1)

1. COCONUT WATER

Okay, this is technically a drink, however who couldn’t use more hydration. Many times when we feel hunger, we’re actually thirsty, so why not add coconut water to your daily routine and let your body soak in the electrolytes like potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Sometimes referred to as “Mother Nature’s sports drink” due to it’s natural electrolyte content, coconut water contains less sugar than regular sports drinks and much less sugar than sodas and fruit juices. Your local Sprouts in McAllen carries a variety of coconut water brands; however stick to the non-flavored, unsweetened brands in order to avoid unwanted added sugars.

2. FRUIT/VEGGIE STICKS

So this one is a no brainer and lucky for us most grocery stores already carry pre-packaged “snack-size” portions of fruits and veggies, including apple slices, carrot sticks and even celery sticks. Let’s not forget the easy to take with you fruits that don’t necessarily need packaging…including oranges, mandarins and even kumquats. These healthy carbs offer a nutritional punch including fiber which can help you stay full longer. Costco is a great place to buy organic, pre-packaged sliced apples that are great to grab on the go or add to a kid’s lunch.

3. NUT BUTTERS

These are actually one of my favorite snacks to carry for emergency situations like being delayed at an airport or during all-day trainings and conferences with long hours between meals. Nut butters, like almond and peanut butter, boast both protein and healthy fats which provide satiety and long lasting energy. So instead of carrying tubs of almond or peanut butter, opt for the single serve packets which now come available in a different variety of combinations like walnut or hazelnut butters and even coconut and sunflower seed butters.

4. KALE CHIPS

So you feel like eating chips but want to avoid the guilt afterwards. Try kale chips to satisfy the cravings for something crunchy or salty. Considered a nutritional powerhouse, kale contains many nutrients that are sure to nourish you on the go.

5. ROASTED SEAWEED

Trust me on this one. I always thought the only way to eat seaweed was to eat sushi. But luckily we have roasted seaweed easily available at Sprouts or Costco. Seaweed is a good source of iodine, which your thyroid relies heavily on to function properly. It comes in individual packages, which make it an excellent on the go snack. These tasty treats come in sheets and can be enjoyed on their own or crumbled in different foods.

6. TIGER NUTS

If you’ve never heard of tiger nuts, (you’re not alone); however they’ve been around for over 4,000 years. And they’re not even a nut, they’re small crunchy tubers (like potatoes) that contain lots of fiber and have a sweet, nutty flavor. I was very surprised to see them in my local Sprouts in McAllen and are ready to eat out of the bag. If you like to venture out and try new foods, tiger nuts are for you. They also can be used to make a delicious grain-free granola!

7. OLIVES

Rich in heart-heathy mono unsaturated fats, olives are an excellent, satisfying snack. And since they’re available in single serve packages at your local Sprouts, it makes it easier to start that Mediterranean diet you’ve always wanted to try. I’d run, not walk, for these.

8. Real PROTEIN BARS

If you’re considering a protein bar, try EPIC bars, which are available at Sprouts and HEB. These life savers are made from actual protein meat, like bison, beef, chicken & turkey rather than protein powder. They are combined with dried fruit like cranberries and nuts for a surprisingly tasty treat. And if you’re adventurous, consider cricket protein. They say cricket protein is the way of the future. Made from cricket flour, these bars are excellent for workout recovery as they contain complete proteins, and are a great alternative to high-sugar granola bars. Lucky for us we now have cricket protein bars available at Sprouts.

9. JERKY

Jerky has been a favorite for many years as a high protein snack, whether it’s from beef, turkey or bison. It’s one of the easiest snacks to grab on the go, just be careful to avoid jerky with excess added sugars or fillers. There’s even liver jerky, but let’s not push it.

10. PUMPKIN SEEDS

Many people know these as pepitas. Pumpkin seeds make an excellent snack not only because they’re easy to grab and go but because they’re also high in several key nutrients like zinc, calcium and magnesium. They’re also a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid that gets converted to serotonin and eventually melatonin for a good night’s rest. Enjoy them roasted, on salads or even in trail mixes. You can find sprouted pumpkin seeds at Sprouts and they can be easily added to trail mix or salads.

October Community Lunch

October Community Lunch

With October coming to an end,our 2nd monthly community lunch party was a success- Finger Foods & Halloween Treats! Though not all members could make our Thursday lunch party, seats filled up quickly as we shared great food and conversations with each other in the Grindstone Cafe’. Check out our quick video and let us know what you think.