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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.

Healthy Holiday Tips & Tricks

29 Dec

Healthy Holiday Tips & Tricks

With New Year’s upon us, the holiday entertaining season is still in full swing. And if you’re like most Americans, you can expect to gain 1-2 pounds this holiday season.

But good news: you don’t have to be just another heavy holiday statistic! If you want to Beat the Creep this year, check out these simple tips for curbing holiday weight gain:

Follow the “Rule of Ones”

  • If a holiday party buffet is about to ruin your day, follow the rule of ones: grab one appetizer, one main dish, one side, and one dessert.
  • With the rule of ones you have to make your choices matter. Start out strong by amplifying your appetizers: pump up flavor & spice, not salt and fat.
  • This holiday season I am loving the convenience of Bibigo Korean BBQ Sauces & their fully cooked Chicken & Cilantro Wontons. Pair the 2 together for a tasty, convenient appetizer packed with authentic Korean BBQ flavor that won’t break your calorie budget.

“Three Bites: Now Say Good Night”

  • Attack that holiday meal by following the three-bite rule: the first bite is the best, the last is to savor, and one in between is for good measure.
  • Be a smart stocking stuffer with savory and sweet treats in bite-size, calorie controlled portions which help you satisfy without overindulging.
  • My favorite tasty treat this holiday season is the Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond KIND bar – it’s packed with ingredients you can see and pronounce, and only has 5 grams of added sugar!

Power Up with Protein in Peanuts

  • Fiber and protein are the 2 nutrients that help keep you full – and peanuts have a great combination of both; with 7 grams of protein per serving, peanuts have more protein than any other nut.
  • Everyone leaves Santa cookies, but why not also pack him some peanuts to power his present delivering through the night?
  • For a delectable and protein packed treat, check out this great gluten free Ultra Peanut Butter Cookie recipe from the National Peanut Board

For these and other healthy holiday tips, check out my recent 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.

Tiger Nuts: A Tuber Full of Fiber

22 Dec

Tiger Nuts: A Tuber Full of Fiber

On a recent stroll through Gansevoort Market in New York City, a vendor selling Tiger Nuts caught my eyes and ears. The hawker was extolling the high fiber content of his tiny little withered snacks – Organic Gemini Tiger Nuts – which turns out aren’t nuts at all.

I was intrigued by these tigernuts, which look a little like dried garbanzo beans. They pack an impressive 10 grams of naturally occurring, intact fiber in a 1 oz 120-calorie serving.

So what exactly is a tigernut? The botanical name is Cyperus esculentus – and the use of “nut” in the name is misleading. Tiger nuts aren’t nuts, but rather, tubers that grow underground in many parts of the world.

Tigernuts are eaten roasted and salted as a snack in West Africa, and they can be used as one of the bases for the “milk” in the variety of horchata popular in Spain.

The brand of tigernuts that I tried – Organic Gemini’s – were chewy, nutty in flavor, and definitely felt full of roughage. They had a neither sweet nor savory flavor, but were actually quite bland. Not bland in a bad way… just lacking any real, overpowering flavor profile. I can’t say I would find myself binge snacking on tigernuts anytime soon, but they are a very satiating and certainly unique snack.

Because tigernuts are virtually unknown in the US, the USDA Nutrient Database doesn’t list their nutrition information; however, other analyses of the tuber’s nutrition content do indeed indicate that it is a very high fiber food. In addition to 10 g fiber per 120 calorie serving, tigernuts contain iron (10% daily value per serving) as well as 7% DV for magnesium and zinc, and 6% for potassium. They are gluten free and contain prebiotics which may be beneficial for proliferation of good gut bacteria.

In researching tigernuts, I came across some interesting applications of this high fiber tuber in the processed food supply. One study looked at the nutritional effect of adding high fiber tigernuts to chorizo (a fiber-free food) while another analyzed its addition to pork burgers.

While I think I’ll stick to my fiber free meat products for now, I do have to say I’m a fan of these tiny tubers and I hope to see more of them in the fiber friendly marketplace soon.

The Good Bean: Crispy, Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

8 Dec

The Good Bean: Crispy, Crunchy Chickpea Snacks

As a dietitian, I find myself constantly extolling the benefits of legumes:

  • Want more plant protein? Eat legumes.
  • Looking to fill up with fiber? Eat legumes.
  • Need a nutrient rich carbohydrate? Eat legumes.

The actual practice of eating more legumes, however, is easier said than done. Sure, you can sub out meat for kidney beans in your chili or look to lentils for more filling soups.

But how do you incorporate legumes into snacks? Well, I think I’ve found the perfect answer: The Good Bean.

I recently sampled the Sweet Cinnamon flavor of these crispy, crunchy chickpea snacks – and let me tell you, legumes have never looked better!

A one ounce serving (about 1/6 of the bag) of The Good Bean chickpea snacks has:

  • 120 calories
  • 3g total fat
  • 5g dietary fiber
  • 5g protein

If you want a snack that keeps you sated, you look for protein and fiber. This snack has both, and 5 grams of each are pretty impressive stats. They are nut-free, gluten free, soy free and vegan.

I loved the Sweet Cinnamon flavor: it was – as the name implies – sweet, but not overly so, with just 6 grams of sugar. The first ingredient is roasted chickpeas, which is nice to see considering that so many other vegetable snacks start out chock full of potato starch.

You can find The Good Bean chickpea snacks at Whole Foods or Sprouts Market. Or check out their online Store Locator for a retail outlet near you.