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Nuts & Spice & Everything Nice

5 Feb

Nuts & Spice & Everything Nice

Smart snackers, you are in luck!

Fresh from the land of high-fiber, low-sugar snack bars comes KIND’s latest offering: KIND Nuts & Spices.

With a commitment to all-natural ingredients, minimal processing or added sugar and salt, this new high-fiber bar line is a hit.

Thanks to samples sent by KIND, I recently tried the KIND Cashew & Ginger Spice bar.

At 200 calories, this product has a great nutrition profile if you’re looking for a satiating snack. An ideal paring of good fats, fiber and protein will fill you up without filling you out!

For 200 calories, this bar gets you:

  • 14 g fat (2 g saturated)
  • 15 mg sodium
  • 16 g carbohydrate
  • 5 g dietary fiber
  • 4 g sugar
  • 6 g protein

I love the hearty texture of KIND bars, and the flavor Cashew & Ginger spice was amazing: subtle ginger notes with the heavenly scent of roasted nuts!

These bars pack a lot of flavor and nutrition with no added salt and no more than 5 grams of sugar. Which is no small feat, considering the other measly 100-calorie salt and sugar-laden alternatives jamming today’s snack food shelves.

The only drawback of KIND bars is that the 5 g of fiber do not come solely from the nuts. All four Nuts & Spices flavors do contain chicory root flour (inulin), a functional or added fiber – that while certainly not harmful, has yet to be shown to convey the same health benefits as do naturally occurring or intact fibers.

For a comparison, if you eat 200 calories of mixed nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds) you get 3 g dietary fiber. So this 200-calorie, 5 g fiber offering likely has close to 3 g fiber from nuts (natural fiber) and 2 g from inulin (added fiber).

A good rule of thumb is to try to get at least 3 g fiber per snack – so these Nuts & Spices bars on their own will meet the mark. Even better idea? Combine a KIND bar with a piece of fresh fruit, for an excellent 300-calorie snack with 8-10 g fiber (roughly 30% of your daily fiber needs).

KIND Nuts & Spices are gluten-free and come in four flavors:

  • Cashew & Ginger Spice
  • Madagascar Vanilla Almond
  • Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt
  • Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan

You can pick these bars up at a store near you (check the KIND find tool) or order directly from the KIND online store.

12 Fabulous Fiber Finds

12 Dec

12 Fabulous Fiber Finds

Today is 12/12/12 – and in honor of the last time we will ever encounter the same month, date, year in our lifetime, here are 12 fiber finds to check out before your end of days:

1 – Pears – most fruits have 2-4 grams of fiber per serving, but a large pear clocks in at 7 grams. How to know when your pear is ready? “Check the neck” says USA Pears.

2 – Lentils – these powerful legumes are packed with fiber. A one-half cup cooked serving has 8 grams of fiber. Use in soups, casseroles or cut your ground meat in half and replace with lentils for less fat, more filling.

3 – Avocado – this versatile fruit is chock-full of good fats, and a great fiber find. One-fifth of a California Avocado has 50 calories and 2 grams of fiber, takes you throughout the day – from scrambled eggs to salads.

4 – Oatmeal – eat more soluble fiber or eat more insoluble fiber? Why split hairs? Just eat more fiber! Most foods – like oatmeal – contain soluble and insoluble fiber, in the case of oatmeal, 2 grams of each in a 1/2 cup dry serving.

5 – Raspberries – one cup of raw raspberries gets you 8 grams of fiber for just 100 calories; a sweet addition to any meal or snack.

6 – Edamame – also known as Japanese soybeans, one cup boiled has 8 grams of fiber and 110 calories, proving a pre-sushi snack can be as healthy as it is satisfying.

7 – Artichoke – one medium artichoke clocks in at 10 grams of fiber and 100 calories, try Parmesan cheese to flavor – and stay away from the dipping butter!

8 – Whole wheat pasta – whole wheat pasta generally has at least twice as much fiber per serving – and occasionally more protein than it’s more refined white pasta counterparts. Smother in a healthy sauce, and you won’t even know the difference.

9 – Sunflower seeds – these nutritious seeds come packed with 3 grams of fiber in a 200-calorie 1/4-cup serving. They have the highest Whole Foods’ ANDI score for aggregate nutrient density in the nuts and seeds category.

10 – Sweet potatoes – not to mention their vitamin A content, these babies are a powerful source of many nutrients, including 3 grams of fiber in a 100 calorie medium-sized baked sweet potato with skin.

11 – Apples – an apple a day, sends 4 grams of fiber your way. With a great combo of 2 grams soluble and 2 grams insoluble, when the afternoon hunger pains strike, turn to apples as a great go-to snack.

12 – Brown rice – it might not sound like much, but switching from white to brown rice bumps your fiber up from 0.6 to 3.5 grams per 200 calorie cooked serving – a great swap wherever rice is served.

 

MOJO: Where Salty Meets Sweet

31 Oct

MOJO: Where Salty Meets Sweet

When it comes to snacking, salt comes to mind. The problem with the packaged and processed chip set tends to be sodium. If you’re cutting back and thinking bars for a snack, most bars fall flat with too much added sugar.

But when the snack attack set in – salty or sweet, which direction do you go? Why not both? Cue the Mojo Clif Bar!

Mojo Clif Bars strike a pretty excellent balance between a salty and sweet snack, all wrapped up in a convenient and tasty little bar. Billed as a Trail Mix Bar, Clif says, “Mojo is all about different flavors and textures to satisfy your sweet (and salty) tooth.”

Thanks to some samples provided by the fabulous Clif Bar dietitian Tara Dellolacono Thies, I recently test drove the Clif Mojo Mountain Mix flavor. And let me say, it did not disappoint!

Now, to be straight – Mojo bars are not for the faint of heart. This is no flimsy little crackerboard that’s gonna leave you feeling hungry later like other granola bars do!

For 190 calories, the Mountain Mix Mojo packs 9 grams of mostly good fat, 2 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. Fat, fiber and protein – the perfect combination to promote satiety, that feeling of fullness that keeps you going throughout the day.

If I had to pick one area for improvement, it’s the leading ingredient: sugar. As a dietitian, as much as I love Clif Bars, it does bum me out when their lead-in ingredient is sugar. In this case, the sugar is dressed up as Organic Brown Rice Syrup – but as we say, sugar is sugar is sugar.

Despite the added sugar setback, the Mojo’s magical flavor and texture combination of fruit, nuts, seeds – and a few chocolate chips – still makes for a truly sensational snacking experience. These bars are a great go-to for that hard to please palate!

If you don’t see Mojo stocked where you buy Clif Bars near you, get yourself some from the Clif Bar Store…and let that Mojo start moving your snacking selection!

 

Mrs. May’s Mystifying Snack Stick

10 May

Mrs. May’s Mystifying Snack Stick

Ever look at something and think you’re not going to like it – then you end up loving it – and wonder how you ever thought you’d hate it?

That just happened with Mrs. May’s Trio bar. Had one today at a meeting, where it was known from the outset that the best part of this meeting was going to be the snack you picked from the circulating snack bowl.

Since this meeting’s other blubber bowl options consisted of Corn Nuts and Nature Valley’s Fat & Sugar Bar, I’m obviously going with this previously unknown nuts and seeds and fruits bar. Mrs. May’s Trio Bar – interesting.

Now, I – like most Americans – dabble in the Costco devilwork from time to time. One impulse buy per trip. If you’ve been to Costco, you’ve likely seen – and fallen for – Mrs. May’s Naturals line of “Classic Crunches“: nut clusters that are deceptively healthy looking, but must be eaten in moderation due to the fact that they’re nut clusters. Good fat…but still, fat is fat – that stuff adds up fast.

Back to this Trio bar. A trio of what? Fat, sugar and wheat - à la the aforementioned Nature Valley Ubiquitous Bar? No. A trio of nuts, seeds and fruit. These things not only contain a trio of ingredients, but a trio of a variety of those trio of ingredients.

As fate would have it, I selected the Pomegranate Blueberry Trio Bar: 3 nuts, 3 seeds and 3 fruits. Ya right. This thing looked syrupy and shiny – the silver lining – these guys probably think sugar is a fruit, right?

But no, seriously – I got down and dirty with the ingredient list and they were all there (in order of appearance):

  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Blueberries
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Dates
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Raisins

Count them: 3 types of nuts, 3 types of seeds, 3 types of fruit.

The thing was delicious – and since it tasted like it had 20 grams of sugar, I was pumped to see that this particular bar’s sugar capped at 8g – not angelic, but decent considering the sodium maxed out at a paltry 60 mg.

What’s the catch? Well, once you get over the 16 g of fat per bar tab, you’ll see this stick for what it’s really worth: a 230 calorie snack with 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. It’s going to keep you full between meals, it tastes good and it’s made from real food.

My only concern: why is it called Pomegranate Blueberry bar? I don’t see pomegranate listed as one of the three fruits. Further down the ingredient list, there’s “freeze dried pomegranate powder” – which seems a little disingenuous to use an end-of-the-ingredient-list ingredient in your “Pomegranate Blueberry Trio” bar.

So, Super Sleuth goes online – and notices – the Trio Bars product page features Blueberry Trio Bar. But no Pomegranate Blueberry Trio Bar. Now, either my meeting is stocking out-of-date product (plausible), or – Mrs. May’s changed their subbed their lineup. Which, if they did, good for them – get off that pomegranate train. If you want your antioxidants, eat blueberries. Or any fruit, or vegetable. And preferably one that doesn’t come juice-ified in a five dollar, needlessly refrigerated fancy bottle.

If you’re dying to know the answer to where the pomegranates went, I have submitted a query to Mrs. May’s about the switcharoo. (In addition to the question, “How do you pluralize Mrs. May’s’ ?”) Will keep you posted.

But in the meantime, any of these Trio Bars are a great go-to source of fiber for between-meal snacks. And, in summary, if you’re freaked out by 16 g of fat and 230 calories per bar – stick to your 100 calorie pack lingering hunger pangs, and leave the snacking to your momma, Mrs. May’s.

Celebrate National Almond Day

16 Feb

Celebrate National Almond Day

February 16 is National Almond Day. According to the California Almond Board, almonds are one of the most nutrient-dense tree nuts you can get your hands on. Almonds are packed with vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, protein, calcium and fiber.

How much fiber? A one ounce serving – approximately 23 almonds – has 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, along with 163 calories, 16 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat – 13 of which are unsaturated (the “good” fats).

Almonds make a great snack: combine a piece of fresh fruit with a 1-oz serving of almonds for an 7 or 8-gram of fiber, 250-calorie mid-day pick-me-up.

Not sure if you can keep yourself to just 23 almonds? Check out these perfectly portioned almond tins, great for calorie controlled snacking on the go – available here.