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Snack Hacks to Avoid the Fat Trap

14 Apr

Snack Hacks to Avoid the Fat Trap

More than half of all Americans now snack 3 or more times per day. And about 25% of our daily calories are now coming from snacks instead of meals.

But is your snack making you fat? Here are 3 snack hacks to help you avoid the fat trap!

Thin is In!

Have you noticed the proliferation of thinned-out foods? There’s thin bagels, thin breads and now even thin crackers.

While the ship has sailed on the paltry 100-calorie packs, I recently sampled Nonni’s Mango Coconut Almond Thins. Their generous serving of seriously delicious real fruit and California almond-laden crackers comes in individual serving sizes which are great for snacking on the go.

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Get Serious About Seaweed

The tide is turning in snack foods and seaweed is rising to the top!

Annie Chun’s makes a delicious roasted seaweed snack that comes in 4 great flavors. At just 50 calories per package and 25% of your daily value of vitamin C, these seaweed snacks go a long way to fueling you between meals!

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Make a Mini Meal

Snacks don’t have to be elaborate undertakings. In fact, some of the best snacks are just mini meals.

I’m a big fan of KIND Healthy Snacks and love their KIND Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds. Pair this gluten free, hearty granola (packing 4 grams of fiber) with some nonfat plain, Greek yogurt and fresh berries, and you’re good to go on the mini meal fiber front.

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For more tips on hacking your snacks, check out my segment on NBC 7 San Diego Mid Day.

Sponsored Post Disclosure: I was compensated for product mention in this post & TV segment – thoughts & opinions are my own.

Popchips’ Fiber Finally Poppin’ Off

13 Feb

Popchips’ Fiber Finally Poppin’ Off

I’ve always liked the idea of popchips – an un-fried potato product with “nothing fake or phony” – but I do admit I wasn’t a fan of their low fiber count.

The original popchips had just 1g fiber per 120 calorie serving. And while the ingredient list was clean, the starches consisted of potatoes, rice, and potato starch (white on white on white carb crime)… so the OG ones weren’t really a snack food worth a fiber fan’s time.

But I recently got my hands on a bag of the new veggie popchips. They caught my eye because they boast a better fiber profile. I bought the sea salt flavor, which this time around has 3g fiber in 120 calories.

The reason for the change? Popchips has wised up to the power of legume flour.

The ingredient list still starts with dried potato, but it goes on to include chickpea flour, navy bean flour, tapioca starch, beet powder, spinach powder, pumpkin powder, pea fiber, tomato powder, red bell pepper powder and kale powder.

In addition to the fiber pump, I think these veggie popchips also have a better, more nuanced flavor than the original popchips. They still stick a little too much to my teeth, and like all potato starch products, the texture is still slightly chalky.

Regardless, I would recommend the veggie popchips over the original popchips based on taste, fiber, and ingredient list alone. You can eat 1/3 of the bag (23 chips) for 120 calories & 3g fiber – and at 200 mg, the sodium count isn’t half bad either.

Now, you have to remember: if it looks like a chip and it tastes like a chip, it’s still a chip…and certainly not the same thing as eating real vegetables. You’re missing out on valuable nutrients like potassium and vitamin C there. But in a pinch, if you gotta grab a chip, I say the veggie popchips are a pretty good product.

 

Sneaky Healthy Super Bowl

1 Feb

Sneaky Healthy Super Bowl

If you’re the average American, the Calorie Control Council says you’re gearing up to wolf down 2,400 calories this Super Bowl Sunday.

To keep your feeding frenzy in check, try out some of these sneaky healthy Super Bowl tricks:

Be Choosy About Your Chips

  • Americans will eat over 11 million pounds of chips this Super Bowl Sunday
  • Be choosy when you choose your chips, and look for those that  have 3 grams of fiber or more and at least 3 grams of protein per serving
  • I love Way Better Snacks, a line of whole grain, sprouted grain chips that are great tasting and better-for-you – they all have 3 g fiber or more and pack flavor and nutrition in a hearty, healthy bite

Get Wise to Leaner Wings

  • Wings are king on Super Bowl Sunday! Americans are poised to eat more than 1.25 billion wings this SBS
  • If you love wings but want to skimp on the fat, try baking your wings instead of frying. I love the Serious Eats approach to crispy baked wings: toss in baking powder & salt before sticking in the oven
  • To give your wings some serious kick without the calories, toss in lighter sauces. I’ve been playing around with Lee Kum Kee’s new Sriracha Chili Ketchup which makes a great wing sauce

Finish Line Favorites

  • Ain’t no party like a Super Bowl Party and you have to have dessert!
  • Serve your guests decadent treats in bite size portions that will satisfy without all the sugar
  • This year I’m serving up LEVEL Life Peanut Butter Cups - with only 3 grams sugar per 2 PB cup serving, these guys go all the way with 80% less sugar than your standard peanut butter cup

For these and other sneaky healthy super bowl tips, check out my segment on NBC 7 San Diego.

Sponsored Post Disclosure: I was compensated for product mention in this post & TV segment – thoughts & opinions are my own.

 

The Skinny on Potato Skins

15 Jan

The Skinny on Potato Skins

Carb smart consumers know, when you’re sizing up starchy foods, “If it’s white…walk away!”

We’re talking white bread, white rice, white pasta, white crackers…and then someone inevitably asks, “But what about white potatoes?”

For this fiber fan, white potatoes are the exception to the walk away from white foods rule.

A common misconception is that most of the potato’s nutrients are found only in the skin. According to the US Potato Board,  “The majority (>50 percent) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself.”

A medium-sized potato with its skin on has about 4 grams of fiber; and half of the potato’s fiber is found in the skin. So if you ditch the flesh, you’re depriving yourself of half of your potato’s fiber goodness.

And it’s not just fiber that one finds in potatoes. That same potato has more potassium than a banana and almost half (45%) of your daily value for vitamin C.

Now granted, it’s sometimes what you put ON the potato that can set you back. The Loaded Potato Skins appetizer at TGI Fridays has 1,430 calories and a day-and-a-half worth of saturated fat. And you can bet it’s not the potato that’s the problem there!

If you want a skinny skin, try scooping some of the flesh and piling on steamed broccoli, reduced-fat shredded cheese, and some low fat sour cream for good measure.

For some great potato recipe ideas, check out the US Potato Board’s recipes at www.potatogoodness.com.

Sponsored Post Disclosure: I have previously been compensated by the US Potato Board; I was not paid for this post and the thoughts & opinions are my own.

Hot Food Trends for 2015

8 Jan

Hot Food Trends for 2015

More than 20,000 new food and beverage items hit US grocery store shelves every year.

But what is going to be hot in 2015?

Here’s a round up of some of my favorite food trends for the New Year:

Thins are In

  • Consumers want more creative ways to control calories – and they’re thinning out their foods to prove it. Everything from sandwich bread to brownies is getting a thintastic makeover to satisfy cravings without overindulging.
  • I am loving Nonni’s THINAddictives almond thins for a satisfying 100-calorie snack made with real California almonds and fruit. The individual portion packaging makes this a great snack on the go, without going overboard! They come in 5 fabulous flavors, and you can find them at a local retailer near you.

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Big Bold Flavors

  • 90% of Americans eat at least 1 snack per day. In 2015, sweet is out and savory is in. Look to flavoring your foods with herbs and spices instead of sugar and sweets.
  • KIND Healthy Snacks recently introduced their KIND & Strong line of snacks, their first entree into the world of savory snacks. I love the Honey Smoked BBQ KIND & Strong bar, packed with tons of flavor and 10 grams of whey and soy-free protein. These guys are chock full of ingredients you can see and pronounce,  they’re gluten free, and like all KIND products, non-GMO too.

 

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Sprouted Grains

  • Whole grains are good, but sprouted whole grains are even better! This year sprouted grains are picking up steam and coming to a store near you!
  • Sprouted grains help block anti-nutrients and may help your body to absorb more valuable minerals and nutrients like calcium and iron.
  • Way Better Snacks has a line of sprouted grain, bean, and seed chips that are sure to satisfy in the New Year. My favorite are the Way Better Snacks Black Bean sprouted grain chips, which have 3 grams of fiber to keep me going throughout the day.

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Potatoes are on the Prowl

  • A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition demonstrates that people can eat potatoes and still lose weight. This is great news for those who want to incorporate their favorite foods, but keep it within a calorie budget.
  • One medium-sized, skin on potato has 110 calories, more potassium than a banana, and almost half your daily value for vitamin C. On top of that, potatoes are fat free, cholesterol free, have no sugar and 3 grams of fiber to boot!
  • Check out this awesome Roasted Potato Fries with Avocado Aioli recipe, with under 150 calories and just 5 grams of fat per serving. For more recipes featuring the nutritionally powerful potato, visit www.potatogoodness.com.

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To learn more about food trends in 2015, check out my segment from Good Morning San Diego this week.

Sponsored Post Disclosure: I was compensated for product mention in this post & TV segment – thoughts & opinions are my own.