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  • E13: 🥔The Evolution of the Potato Chip, Creative Hotel Fitness Offerings

E13: 🥔The Evolution of the Potato Chip, Creative Hotel Fitness Offerings

Plus: A salsa-slaw hybrid, a clever Costco cart upgrade & why you should stop "fitness hopping"

Happy Thursday! Let’s get to today’s dose of healthy, snackable news. What we’re covering this week:  

  • The creative ways that hotels are helping you to stay fit while traveling

  • The evolution of snack chips, direct from the Fancy Food Show

  • A new Spirits Network chef series allows you to shop ingredients in real-time

  •  The unique hot dog “relish” to stock up on for the Fourth 

  • A Costco grocery cart hack, why you should stop “fitness hopping,” & the Kelce brothers’ new craft beer investment

If you have friends who would love The Skinny or a part of this week’s edition, you can share the love by forwarding this email. And if someone already in the know sent this, you can subscribe here.

Globe-trotting

New hotel offerings help you stay fit while traveling 

Photo by Jesse Schoff on Unsplash

The Skinny: Staying on top of your fitness and health goals while traveling has become easier: as “wellness travel” is still on the rise, we’re seeing hotels worldwide meet this demand with a host of new initiatives and programs. Here, a quick rundown of what’s new—from unique to creative and ultra-luxe: 

  • Sleep tight: Equinox Hotel hosted a “sleep symposium” earlier this month, and has an ongoing program designed as a “transformative sleep experience”

  •  Hotels are also focused not just on rest, but recovery: This new hotel in Dubai offers IV drips, infrared saunas and cold plunges, while LA’s Hotel Figueroa has a full “rest & recovery” suite with products including Hyperice, a post workout recovery tool, and red light lamps. 

  •  Overall, hotel gyms have vastly improved and, as Conde Nast Traveler reports, the hottest amenity is “anything to keep you fit.” 

  •  The big chains have also caught on: Westin’s runWestin program includes “run concierges” and customized local routes, while Hyatt has teamed up with Peloton to offer points for rides to its loyalty members. 

Pass the chips

The evolution of the salty snack

 

The Skinny: Move over, potatoes. We never say no to a bag of chips but after attending the Fancy Food show this week, the OG potato chip might need to reinvent itself. Because what we found on the floor were chips of every kind but potato (with those “wine chips” in the above picture as an exception). 

We’re talking shiitake mushrooms, jackfruit, snake fruit, bananas, figs, shrimp, jalapeños, okra, mangoes (and this is likely only a fraction of what was there, because we had limited time). But how do these new variants stack up against the good ol’ potato chip? 

Nutritional benefits: It seems obvious that if you eat, say, a shiitake mushroom chip vs. a potato chip, that you’d benefit from nutrient-dense ’shroom. But after looking at the shiitake chips’ nutrition label, we were confused. We’d heard that dried mushrooms have the same benefits as fresh or cooked, but the label didn’t list anything beyond fiber, protein and a little bit of iron. 

After consulting an expert—Dr. William Li, medical doctor and New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Beat Your Diet: Burn Fat, Heal Your Metabolism, and Live Longer—we learned that dried mushrooms do in fact retain the same health benefits. 

“Dried shiitake mushrooms will still contain these bioactives,” said Dr. Li, also noting that ingredient labels—regulated by the FDA and USDA for packaged foods—generally includes a minimal amount of information about nutrition content, such as serving size, calories, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. 

We covered mushrooms in a recent edition, but Dr. Li provided a way more comprehensive benefits list. He said that fresh shiitake mushrooms contain:  

  • Dietary potassium, and vitamin B6—which is important for metabolism, brain & immune health;

  • Beta-D-glucan, a dietary fiber that activate your body’s immune defenses and that is beneficial for vascular health and your gut microbiome;

  • Polysaccharides to improve immune function, as well as a bioactive called eritadenine that in the lab has been shown to have lipid lowering effects, and even can lower anxiety in lab studies using animal models

  • In general, he said, “from a food-as-medicine perspective, shiitake mushrooms are beneficial for gut health (microbiome), immune function, and for lowering inflammation.”

Deliciousness-wise, the alt-chips we tried (jalapeño, banana, plantain, and shiitake mushroom) were definitely snackable, and with tasty flavor profiles. While we don’t envision eating them EVERY DAY, creative possibilities abound  with these new “chips.” Think: toppers, crumbled up as a crust (banana chips), etc. Thumbs up for the non-potato chip category in general, especially as a more nutrient-dense, but also tasty, alternative. 

Crème de la Skinny  

The salsa-slaw hybrid your dogs deserve

The condiment we discovered this week: Slawsa

We almost missed this at the Fancy Food Show—which is shocking since their hot dog stand themed booth should have intuitively been on our radar. As we passed, someone asked if I was ready for something life changing. The answer was yes. People, we are talking about Slawsa and this is the high- yet low-brow topping everyone’s hot dog needs now. Fresh, sweet, and a little tart: As they say, it’s slawesome.

Pantry raid

Shop the newest cooking show!

Photo courtesy of the Spirits Network

The Skinny: Ever seen a recipe on TV/YouTube/wherever and become excited about making it, only to find…it’s impossible-slash-inconvenient to source the ingredients or tools needed? Problem solved with “The Pantry,” a new cooking show streaming on the Spirits Network. Hosted by restaurateur and celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, the series turns chef-led inspiration and how-to content into actual action. Using v-commerce technology, the series includes a patented "buy bar" that allows viewers to purchase featured ingredients and tools with a single click.

We checked it out; it’s cool and we kind of love everything about it, including the first season’s star-studded lineup that includes: Marcus Samuelsson, Kristen Kish, Stephanie Izard, Spike Mendelsohn, J.J. Johnson, and actor Liev Schreiber.

OHM, THERE'S MORE

This week’s newsfeed

Shout-out to Supermarket News for alerting us to this next-level, DIY Costco grocery cart upgrade.

ICYMI, the Kelce brothers are diving into brewing and marketing, aiming to score big in craft beer by investing in Garage Beer. They seem to know a little something about winning, so we’re already placing bets.

Stop “fitness-hopping”: find a routine and stick with it. They say it takes 66 days on average to create a routine that sticks—and this goes for workouts as well, even if it’s just “exercise snacks” (one of our favorite topics) 

Today’s high food prices have brought new meaning to the adage: “If I can make it at home, why order it in a restaurant?” According to Food Dive, consumers are revolting by making at-home versions of restaurant meals and pricier packaged foods. One to try? This beet hummus recipe (using one of our fave brands, Spicewell).

In similar news and according to the above article, private label sales grew to record highs in 2023, “accounting for nearly 21% of grocery store purchases.” Have you seen Walmart’s new better-for-you label, Bettergoods? We hear most items are under $5…

Pull up your drugstore panty hose and orange short-shorts if you didn’t see this coming: Hooters’ appetizers are now available in the frozen section of your local Pubix Publix. (Thank you, Sporked, for this entertaining write-up.)

*If you purchase something linked in The Skinny, we may get an affiliate commission—but at no additional cost to you.

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