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Smart Summer Snacking

5 Jul

Smart Summer Snacking

Summer is in full swing and backyard BBQ parties are about to hit hard!

For summer snacking party prep, I spent some time in Sacramento (110 degrees F – ouch!) last week sharing some of my favorite smarter snacking tips on the Sac & Co show (full segment here).

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Now you know snacking is on the upswing – but apparently people want healthier choices. One recent survey found that 33% of respondents said they are looking for healthier snacking options.

So as you shift your summer into high gear, check out a few of my favorite summer snacks:

 

California Avocados

California Avocados Logo

We are in peak California Avocado season (June is actually California avocado month). There’s no better way to sass up your snacks than by including this nutrient dense superfruit. Avocados are nutrient dense because they contain substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients for relatively few calories.

My favorite avocado snack are these super easy California Avocado Cucumber Cups that I created for the California Avocado Commission.

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You slice cucumbers, hollow them out with a melon baller, mix up some avocado and use a zip top bag snipped at the corner to pipe the mixture into your cucumber cups. They’re easy, delicious and 6 cucumber cups has just 100 calories.

You can get this and other great recipes using California avocados at californiaavocado.com.

 

Tessemae’s Salad Dressing

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Snacks don’t have to be super hard. I like it to keep it simple for summer and make smaller versions of my favorite meals into mini meal snacks. And there’s no meal I love more than a big old salad; but a salad is only as good as the dressing you put on it!

That’s why I love Tessemae’s – a line of 25 organic salad dressings, marinades and condiments. They contain no added sugar, fillers or additives like you sometimes find in other commercial dressings.

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All of the Tesseemae’s products are USDA certified organic and made with real, whole food sourced ingredients. They go great on your salad, to marinade meats or veggies for grilling out, or just to dip your favorite veggie stick in for a smart snack on the go.

 

BODYARMOR

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Hydration is essential to beat the summer heat. But as an active person on the go, you don’t need the sodium and artificial ingredients you sometimes find in other sports drinks.

That’s why I love Bodyarmor – a premium sports drink with natural flavors and sweeteners. Bodyarmor also has potassium-packed electrolytes, coconut water and vitamins. It comes in 8 great tasting flavors, so there’s something for every flavor profile!

 

Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties

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Overly restrictive diets are not conducive to my summer lifestyle! I challenge you to stop taking all of the fun out of food, and instead indulge your sweet tooth a bit. My secret weapon for my sweet tooth this summer is a steady stash of Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties.

These decadent bite-size treats have a dark chocolate shell made with 100% cocoa; inside they’re filled with 100% organic raw white honey blended with other natural flavors like peanut, pomegranate and mint.

All of the Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties are made with 4 ingredients or less and they contain less than 60 calories per patty. To top it off, all of their flavors are Non-GMO project verified, plus they’re gluten, dairy and soy free so they work with all sorts of dietary patterns.

For more about my favorite summer snacking tips, check out my segment on Sac & Co.

Disclosure: I have a financial relationship with the products mentioned in this post; I was not paid to write this post but I was paid for the product mentions in the TV segment appearing in the post.

Lean Green Food Finds

17 Mar

Lean Green Food Finds

Disclaimer: I have a financial relationship with and was paid to represent the products in this blog post and associated TV segment.

With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, you may have Irish-inspired menu ideas on the brain. But when it comes to green food fare, your food choices can also be good for the planet. Here are my top picks for some lean, green food finds:

KIND: Simplified, Sustainable Ingredients

KIND

  • Looking to simplify your life? Why not start with your ingredient list! The shorter an ingredient list is, generally the more clean and wholesome the food will be.
  • KIND bars are packed with simple wholesome ingredients you can see and pronounce – not to mention they do not contain genetically engineered ingredients.
  • KIND Nuts & Spices have 5 grams of sugar or less per bar with no artificial ingredients or sugar alcohols, so they’re a bar you can feel good about eating.
  • To learn more check out www.kindsnacks.com

Pistachios: Eating Local…and Loaded with Lutein!

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  • Pistachios are an excellent option when it comes to nutrition and health; pistachios are among the lowest fat and lowest calorie snack nut out there. They’re packed with protein and fiber which help you stay full for longer.
  • Did you know the hint of green in pistachios comes from antioxidants like lutein?
  • If you’re trying to make an environmental impact by eating locally, pistachios are a great option. Over 99% of all pistachios grown in the US are from California
  • Wonderful pistachios come in a variety of delicious flavors like salt and pepper and sweet chili and a serving size of 49 pistachios has just 160 calories (1/2 cup in shell or ¼ cup out of shell)
  • For more information check out www.getcrackin.com

good2grow: BPA-Free for Me!

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  • Good2Grow Fruit & Veggie Blends & Juicy Waters are a great way to quench your kids’ thirst without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
  • All of the good2grow products are non-GMO, the bottles are recyclable and the tops are BPA-free.
  • The good2grow character sippa-top containers are reusable, which cuts down on waste seen with other disposable water and juice bottles.
  • For more information check out www.good2grow.com

Lowering Your Food-Based Carbon Footprint

  • Climate friendly foods favor plants over animals; if all Americans eliminated just ¼ pound serving of beef per week, reduction in global warming gas emissions would be equivalent to taking 4-6 million cars off the road
  • When selecting seafood, choose locally caught, sustainably managed fish or herbivorous farmed stocks like tilapia, catfish and carp. Check out www.seafoodwatch.org for sustainable seafood selections
  • Buying organic is another great way to positively impact your environment; organic production means the food is free from pesticides, herbicides, drugs, fertilizers and genetic modification

For these and other lean, green food finds, check out my segment on San Diego Living at: http://www.cw6sandiego.com/lean-green-and-eco-eats/

Not so Fat Tuesday Tips

9 Feb

Not so Fat Tuesday Tips

Fat Tuesday has arrived! It’s the hedonistic last hurrah before Lent begins tomorrow.

Today I had the opportunity to go on the San Diego Living show to demonstrate ways to celebrate Fat Tuesday without sacrificing your figure. (Click here for the link) Check out some my Mardi Gras diet makeover tips:

 

Get Your Good Fats On

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  • Not all fats are created equal. A study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that corn oil, like Mazola, helps lower cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil
  • I love cooking with corn oil because of both its taste and nutrition benefits: corn oil has a very mild flavor profile and it also contains more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils (4 times ore than olive oil and 40% more than canola oil!)
  • This Orange Rosemary Skillet Chicken Thighs with Wilted Kale recipe from Mazola.com is a great way to incorporate these good fats and to dress up a weeknight dinner just in time for Mardi Gras

 

Ply Your Guests with Pomegranate Juice

POM Wonderful

  • Forget those boozy, slushy Hurricane drinks that will pack on the pounds. This year I’m serving my drinks with a pomegranate juice base
  • Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice is 100% pomegranate juice, with no fillers or additives, no added sugar or preservatives and plus it’s gluten free
  • An 8 oz serving of 100% pomegranate juice contains juice from 2 whole pomegranates. Serve it up with alcohol, or without: check out the Pomtini recipe here or the Spiced Pom Cider recipe for a nonalcoholic offering

 

Practice the Pistachio Principle

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  • Snack calories can creep up on you, which is why I prefer to serve pistachios at my parties. Two preliminary studies suggest that eating in-shell pistachios may offer a visual cue about how much has been eaten, potentially curbing calorie intake.
  • Pistachios are one of the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie snack nuts. There are 49 pistachios in a 160 calorie serving (1/2 cup in shell or 1/4 cup out of shell), not to mention these guys are a good source of protein and fiber, tasty on their own, roasted and salted, or in delicious flavors like sweet chili and salt and pepper.

 

Sweet Scarletts to Seal the Meal Deal

Sweet Scarletts

  • I have a nasty sweet tooth, but I’ve found these wonderful Sweet Scarletts Texas Red Grapefruits can curb my cravings with their incredible flavor
  • Half of a medium grapefruit gives me 100% of my daily vitamin C, and they’re naturally fat, cholesterol and sodium-free in just 60 delectable calories
  • Tonight at my Mardi Gras party I’ll be wrapping up the festivities with bruleed Sweet Scarlett grapefruits with brown sugar for dessert.

 

Disclosure: I have a financial relationship with the brands featured in this post and the segment.

Buffalo Wing Popcorn

6 Feb

Buffalo Wing Popcorn

Need a last minute Super Bowl snack that will rock your Super Sunday with fiber and fire? Look no further than Buffalo Wing Popcorn.

This spicy caramel popcorn from Bon Appetit is the easiest, most delicious way to incorporate that timeless whole grain: popcorn.

Popcorn by itself has 4 grams of fiber in 3 cups of air popped popcorn. Once you add all this butter and sugar though….you don’t wanna know!

Buffalo Wing Popcorn

Ingredients

  • Nonstick spray
  • 8 cups plain, popped popcorn (made from 1/2 cup kernels)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and a large bowl with nonstick spray and add popcorn to bowl. Set aside baking sheet.
  • Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally, until caramel is a deep amber color, 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; stir in hot sauce and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to a boil and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in salt, baking soda, and cayenne. Working quickly – and carefully because the caramel is very hot – pour caramel mixture over popcorn and toss to coat.
  • Spread popcorn on prepared baking sheet and bake, tossing once, until dry, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

 

 

Back to School Roundup

25 Aug

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was paid to represent the brands featured in the blog post and the associated TV segments.

Back to school season is in full swing! Evidence suggests that a well fed kid is more academically successful than a hungry one. Makes sense: it’s hard to concentrate if you’re hungry!

This year, set your kids on the path to better learning with these tips on building a better lunchbox:

Way Better Snacks

  • I love chips – but they have to taste great. That’s why this BTS season I’m into Way Better Snacks – a revolutionary line of chips and crackers that feature 100% whole grain, premium ingredients like sprouted flax, chia and quinoa.
  • In addition to being nutrient dense, they also taste amazing and have no artificial ingredients and are GMO free.
  • Personally, the 2 flavors I can’t get enough of right now are Sweet Potato and Simply So Sweet Chili – each have 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber to help keep you fueled throughout the day – on top of a killer taste profile!
  • Way Better Snacks are available at Whole Foods, or you can learn more at www.gowaybetter.com.

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BODYARMOR

  • Healthy hydration is important at mealtime – but if you’re like me, and not a straight water person, you need to spice it up, and so BODYARMOR is a nice alternative.
  • BODYARMOR is a new, natural sports drink that is packed with potassium, electrolytes and coconut water, along with no artificial ingredients that comes in 7 great tasting flavors.
  • It’s a great option for younger athletes who don’t need all of the extra sodium and artificial ingredients found in other sports drinks – so one of those things kids love because of the taste, but parents love because of the quality.
  • Learn more at www.drinkbodyarmor.com.

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Cranberries

  • CDC data suggests that 60 percent of children do not eat the recommended amount of fruit per day (1-2 cups/day depending on age).
  • Cranberries are a great way to get more fruit in your kids’ diet and to keep back to school lunches exciting while helping them get the nutrition they need to succeed.
  • Cranberries are naturally low in sugar and high in acid, so they require some sweetening to make them palatable – but they have no more sugar than other dried fruits.
  • Check out this easy Cranberry Chicken Salad Sandwich on Flatbread recipe for a healthy and convenient lunch option.

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Peanuts

  • Protein is clutch for keeping you full – and we all know we should be eating more plant protein. Enter peanuts. With 7 grams of protein per serving, peanuts have more protein than any other nut; not to mention over 30 other vitamins and nutrients that make them truly a superb superfood!
  • I love peanuts for school lunch because they’re an affordable and convenient source of protein. You can pack a peanut butter and banana sandwich, a packet to dip apple slices into, or even add peanut butter to your smoothies for a meal on the move.
  • Peanuts also like to party. Try incorporating peanuts into your next gathering with this awesome Edamame Hummus with Peanut recipe.

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BarkTHINS

  • When I was a kid, lunch wasn’t lunch unless there was dessert. Even as an adult I still have a sweet tooth – but as a dietitian, I know the importance of calorie control. Which is why I love BarkTHINS. Oh my word, these are amazing – especially the pretzel flavor!
  • BarkTHINS – whose tag line is “Break up with boring” – is a snackable chocolate made with real, simple ingredients like dark chocolate, pretzels, pumpkin seeds and coconut.
  • I love that all of their products are Fair Trade US Certified and non-GMO. They even come in resealable pouches – so you don’t have to eat the whole bag at once!

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Three Bridges Pasta

  • If sandwich fatigue is getting you down, swap that sammie for some pasta! I love Three Bridges‘ line of refrigerated pastas and sauces. They’re convenient, delicious and super fresh for a healthy lunch in a jiffy.
  • I recently sampled the Organic Spinach & Cheese Tortellini. It’s a great option for families on the go who care about premium ingredients. Whereas a lot of frozen pasta products taste rubbery and are heavy on the pasta, light on the cheese – the Three Bridges tortellini are plump and fresh because they’re right out of your refrigerator!
  • There’s nothing artificial in any of the Three Bridges products, and I love that they even have “superfood” sauces that include ingredients like kale and porcini mushrooms.

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good2grow Organic Juicy Waters

  • Despite my distaste for plain old water, I’m still a huge hydration fan. But I feel it when parents say that most kids drinks are laden with extra sugars..because they are! That’s why I love good2grow Organic Juicy Waters.
  • These guys are just 30 calories per bottle with no added sugar. Kids love the adorable character sipper-toppers and parents love that they don’t spill, are BPA free and also reusable.
  • I found Organic Juicy Waters at 7-11 but they’re also available at Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS pharmacies.

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Biena Chickpea Snacks

  • 3 meals a day doesn’t cut it for kids (or adults for that matter). You gotta have some in between meal snacks to meet your needs and prevent overeating at the next meal. And those snacks should of course feature fiber.
  • I recently had the chance to sample the whole line of Biena chickpea snacks, and let me tell you – these are A+ on the snacking report card. They’re crunchy but not fried and each serving has 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.
  • If you like spicy, you’ll love the Habanero flavor. All of the Biena products are non-GMO and gluten free. You can find these at Target or online at www.bienafoods.com.

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For more info on Building a Better Back to School Lunchbox – check out these 3 BTS segments I did last week: