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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.

 

Blue Corn Bonanza

27 Nov

Blue Corn Bonanza

What’s the biggest nutrition bone to pick with tortilla chips?

They’re fried in fat, loaded with salt and have no fiber.

So what then, is the RW Garcia brand doing to turn this chip frown upside down?

Well, one taste of their 3 Seed Blue Corn Dipping Chips Dippers and you’ll know…

If you’ve gotta eat chips – then you’ve gotta try these. A 1 oz serving (10 chip strips) has 140 calories, 8 grams of mostly good fat, only 50 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber and 3 g protein.

Sure, they’re chips – which means they’re a sometimes food – but there’s nothing sneaky about the ingredient list:

  • Corn
  • Oil
  • Flaxseed
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Sea salt
  • Water
  • Lime

If you know a thing or two about snack foods, you might do a double-take when you see only 50 mg sodium per serving. That’s impressive, considering that in the US, a food with 140 mg sodium or less per serving can call itself “low-sodium”. This too, in a country where – according to the CDC – the average American eats 3,500 mg sodium per day.

On top of that, the product is proudly GMO-free. Another win, especially when 85% or more of the corn in the US is genetically modified.

I admire a company that puts out a wholesome, quality, GMO-free product with an impressive ingredient list, friendly fiber profile and just a hint of salt. Well done RW Garcia – keep up the good work!

 

 

Way Better Black Bean Chips

13 Nov

Way Better Black Bean Chips

Chip week is under way! First up in the chip brigade is a review of Way Better Snacks’ Simply Beyond Black Bean Tortilla Chips.

These chips are gluten free, contain no GM ingredients and have a straightforward ingredient list consisting of corn, oil, sprouted black beans, sprouted flax seed, sprouted quinoa and sea salt.

What’s the deal with the sprouted grains?

Way Better Snacks says on the packaging that, “Sprouting our grains and seeds increases their nutrients and allows your body to better absorb them.” That’s a bit of a stretch – as sprouted grains have not scientifically been proven to be more healthful than whole grains. They are certainly a better bet than white flour-based, refined grain products though – that’s for sure.

The packaging goes on to say that, “Every serving has over 275 mg of healthy Omega 3 essential fatty acids to help keep your cells happy.” Problem is, it’s not the more preferable EPA+DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids that we know convey anti-inflammatory and heart health benefits.

Why should you eat these chips?

Well, as the manufacturers point out, “Oh, and our chips are yummy!” And that they are. The chips have a slightly nutty flavor and are not overly greasy. If there’s any reason to eat them – it’s because they taste good. And their nutrition profile isn’t half bad either:

  • A one-chip serving (1 oz, about 11 chips) contains 130 calories, 6 grams of mostly good fat, 110 mg sodium, 3 g fiber and 2 g protein.

That’s a pretty good nutrition profile if you’re checking out chips.

So, stick to the fish for your omega-3s, don’t forget to eat some unprocessed whole grains and fruits and vegetables for your fiber – and if there’s room left, this dietitian certainly recommends the Way Better Black Bean Tortilla Chips as a sometimes food and a super tasty snack.

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!

 

Prep Kitchen: Avocados

27 Sep

Prep Kitchen: Avocados

 

Just beneath the pebbly skin of every hand-picked California Avocado lies a myriad of culinary wonders: taste, texture, nutrition – these fruits have got it all!

California Avocados are in season. And in keeping with this week’s avocado theme, here are a few kitchen tips for getting the most out of these premium fruits at their tastiest time of the year:

Selecting an Avocado: Gently squeeze the avocado in the palm of your hand – if it’s ripe and ready to eat, the fruit will be firm but will yield to gentle pressure

Cutting an Avocado: take a ripe avocado, cut lengthwise around the seed and rotate the halves to separate from the seed; guide a spoon gently under the stone to separate it from the fruity flesh

Peeling an Avocado: with the cut-side facing down, use a sharp knife or your fingernails to peel away the skin, starting at the small side; remove skin slowly, preserving the fruit closest to the skin which has been shown to be the most concentrated source of phytonutrients

Ripening an Avocado: If your avocados are just a tad shy of ready-to-eat, speed up the ripening process by placing the fruit in a brown paper bag, store at room temperature for 2-5 days, and VoilĂ ! – a perfectly ripe result every time

For a DIY, hands-on approach, check out Chef Trey Foshee’s demonstration of how to cut an avocado:

Now that you know the finer points of avocado preparation – put your creative juices to work and enter the Fiber is the Future Recipe Contest by clicking here.

You could win an avocado-lover’s dream prize pack, compliments of the California Avocado Commission.

For more great avocado tips, visit the California Avocado Commission’s website at www.CaliforniaAvocado.com.