Calorie Bargain: Banana Saver
The Why: Do you love bananas? They are delicious and packed with nutritional benefits, and a medium banana has only 105 calories. However, have you ever tried putting one in your pocketbook, a child's lunch bag or a briefcase? The USA-made Banana Saver is designed to protect individual bananas from getting bruised on the go. It's basically a case specifically designed for one banana.
The Health Bonus: Bananas are loaded with potassium. One banana contains 422 milligrams of the 4,700 mg per day that the Institute of Medicine recommends as an adequate supply for adults, and more than 90 percent of Americans are not meeting this recommendation. Potassium is necessary for muscle contractions (including your heartbeat), transmission of nerve impulses and the delicate balance of fluid and electrolyte regulation.
What We Liked Best: You can put the entire unpeeled banana right in its very own case. Also, the Banana Saver has a built-in slot for making frozen banana pops -- just peel the banana and put it in the freezer.
What We Liked Least: I was a bit concerned about the latch because it appears flimsy; however, it's not. According to the company, it is "a living hinge designed for high usage applications."
What It Replaces: Bruised bananas.
The Price: $3.95 each, plus shipping of $3.65 if you can't find it at a store.
Where to Buy: www.bananasaver.com
Calorie Bargain: AquaVee Pilates Plus
The Why: The AquaVee is a unique apparatus that looks almost like an octopus made of exercise bands. The bands can be used in several ways -- to do a "watered-down" version of Pilates or as a tool to swim in place. If you have access to a pool and want to swim for exercise, but it's not really practical to swim laps, this can be your answer. High-pressure suction cups adhere to the pool tiles, then you attach the bands to your legs with straps -- and swim. If you decide to do a band workout after, you just keep the bands strapped to your legs.
The Health Bonus: Doing exercises in water helps to reduce wear and tear on your joints.
What We Liked Best: It weighs less than 4 pounds and can travel with you wherever you go in its own mesh carrying bag.
What We Liked Least: It's a bit pricey for bands, and swimming in place with straps on your legs is a bit awkward.
What It Replaces: Suntanning, eating fries and doing nothing at the pool.
The Price: $99.
Where to Buy: www.aquaveeonline.com