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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. 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.

 

 

Auld Lang Fiber Snacks

29 Dec

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, you may be banging your head on the kitchen counter deciding what to serve family & friends for the final festivities.

But don’t fret just yet – I’ve teamed up with Kohnstamm Communications to bring you a quick rundown of some high fiber foods that will blow your guests’ mind this New Year’s Eve:

Among Friends Baking Mixes

amongfriends

Looking for a homemade treat without the hassle? Among Friends hand-crafted baking mixes include gluten-free brownie, cookie and cake mixes that are loaded with whole grains and great flavor. Check out ‘Liv it Up Chocolate Cake Mix with its brown rice flour, gluten-free whole grain oat flour and 3 grams dietary fiber per delicious serving.

 

Angie’s Boomchickapop

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Fiber and fun collide in Angie’s Boomchickapop – an addicting, gluten-free, non-GMO popcorn snack. With flavors like Holidrizzle and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, you’ll love the way these simple ingredient snacks grace your plate. Check out the Lightly Sweet Popcorn flavor for 3 grams of fiber per 120 calorie serving.

 

Biena Foods

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Craving a crunch but over nuts? Biena Foods‘ protein-packed chickpea snacks are the answer. My personal favorite is the Cinnamon Crunch flavor, slightly sweet but super savory – and 5 grams protein, 6 grams fiber per 120 calorie serving to boot!

 

Grainful

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Are you seeking a smarter side? Grainful makes mouthwatering entrees and sides made with 100% whole grain steel cut oats.  Whip up one of these heart-healthy dishes like Tomato Risotto, Cheesy Oats, Jambalaya or Madras Curry (with 5g fiber!) that will torque your tastebuds.

 

Way Better Snacks

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Sprouted grains are going to be all the rage in 2016! Why not get a head start with Way Better Snacks’ delicious gluten-free chips in fantastic flavor profiles such as Sweet Chili, Sweet Potato and the special holiday edition Oh My Sweet Punkin’ Cranberry? Not only are sprouted grains easier to digest and increase nutrient availability, but these Way Better Snack chips also pack 3 g dietary fiber or more per serving.

 

For more tips on holiday entertaining, check out my “Give Guests What They Need – And Want” post available here.

 

Disclosure: I have a financial relationship with Biena Foods and Way Better Snacks; I was not paid for any product mentions in this post. Thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not otherwise compensated for this post. 

Bananas in a Bag: Freeze-Dried Crispy Fruit

9 Dec

Bananas in a Bag: Freeze-Dried Crispy Fruit

Fiber fans know, fruit is a great go-to snack. Whole, intact fruit is a nice option for naturally occurring fiber packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.

But when plain old fresh fruit won’t duo, there’s a whole slew of packaged and processed fruit snacks available to today’s consumer. The problem is, most fruit snacks are packed with added sugar, stripped of fiber, and in their finished form they end up hardly resembling anything even remotely close to fruit.

But there’s a better fruit snack out there: Crispy Fruit from Crispy Green. Thanks to samples provided by Crispy Fruit’s PR company, I was recently able to try the freeze dried crispy bananas.

Crispy bananas have one ingredient: bananas. And not surprisingly, they taste like…bananas. If you’ve ever had astronaut ice cream, the crispy fruit has a similar texture. It’s a tad on the chalky side, but that’s what you get when you remove all of the water from a high water-content food group like fruit.

For the ultimate in taste-tester feedback, I tried the crispy bananas out on my one-year-old daughter, aka the Banana Bandit.

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This girl can put down a whole banana in no time flat, so I appreciated that the crispy bananas kept her entertained for a bit longer than the full fruit. She can’t talk yet, but I’m pretty sure she liked those crispy bananas, since she polished off the whole bag….and tried to eat the bag too.

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The crispy bananas come packaged with 6 individual serving bags, which would make a great addition for school lunch or snacks on the go. Each individual serving bag contains 1/2 cup of bananas (about 1/2 of a whole medium-sized banana), as well as:

  • 55 calories
  • 13 g carbohydrate
  • 2 g dietary fiber
  • 1 g protein

There’s no added preservatives and (as one would hope if just eating bananas) the snacks are gluten free, dairy free, vegan, peanut and tree-nut free and kosher. They are also non-GMO project verified.

Crispy Green’s 7 Crispy Fruit flavors have all undergone a freeze-drying process to remove water and sterilize the product:

 

Freeze-Dry-Process_Final

 

You can pick up crispy fruit at your local retailer (store finder here) or purchase online directly from Crispy Green.

Disclosure: I was provided with free samples of Crispy Fruit for this post; thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not otherwise compensated for this post.

Turn Your Tailgate UP

28 Oct

Turn Your Tailgate UP

Disclosure: I have a professional relationship with Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds and KIND Snacks; however, this post is not sponsored by them.

Football season is in full swing – and that means tailgating food is in high demand.

According to one survey, when it comes to tailgating food:

  • 42% of tailgaters spend more than $500 a season on food and supplies
  • 95% of tailgaters prepare their food at the stadium
  • And good old-fashioned math tells us that a 13-ounce bag of Doritos has 1,820 calories

If you’re hosting a parking lot party or just game-watching at home, chances are you are filling up on not-so-good-for-you foods.

But I have 2 top picks this season to help fix your football food fails!

KIND Bars

KIND

  • I love working with KIND snacks because their products include real ingredients like premium nuts, whole grains and seeds
  • The KIND Nuts & Spices line has 50% less sugar compared to the average snack bar
  • Whereas your typical slab bar can have 20-30 g sugar per bar, KIND Nuts & Spices has just 5-6 grams per bar
  • There are no artificial sweeteners and the sugar in these bars comes from dried fruit and honey

Check out KIND’s Nuts & Spices and all of their bars at the KIND online store.

Pistachios

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  • Pistachios make a great go-to snack for any football watching party. They’re a good source of protein and fiber and come packed with good fats. In fact, almost 90% of the fats in pistachios are the healthy, unsaturated type.
  • I love pistachios because they are one of the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie snack nuts. In-shell pistachios can keep your hands busy during those nerve-wracking parts of the game – and the leftover shells provide a visual due for portion sizing.
  • Pistachios are delicious on their own, roasted and salted – or try them in other delectable flavors like sweet chili and salt and pepper.
  • A serving size of pistachios is 49 pistachios, which provides 160 calories and 3 grams of fiber; 49 pistachios works out to 1/2 cup of pistachios in shell or 1/4 cup shelled

You can learn more at getcrackin.com.

For more healthier twists on football tailgating, check out my segment on KRON4 San Francisco this week.