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Healthy Halloween Treats That Won’t Bore You to Death

29 Oct

Healthy Halloween Treats That Won’t Bore You to Death

Do you know that 4% of all candy consumed in the US is done so on Halloween? And this year the average American will spend $23 on Halloween candy.

Before the Halloween holiday breaks your bank – and your calorie budget, check out these healthy Halloween tips that won’t bore you to death:

Be Calorie Conscious

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Keep Kids on Track

  • Kids are excited for trick-or-treating, but they shouldn’t go out on an empty stomach. Feed your kids a healthy, balanced dinner before hitting the streets for trick-or-treat.
  • Incorporate fruits and vegetables in fun and innovative ways for Halloween celebrations this year. Check out good2grow’s 100% fruit and vegetable juices in spill-proof cartoon character sippa-tops. This is a non-GMO, BPA-free product parents can feel good about that kids actually love!

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Be Allergy Aware

  • 1 in 13 US kids has a food allergy. When it comes to classroom Halloween parties, selection foods to distribute that are tree nut free and peanut free
  • Somersault Snacks are nut-free sunflower seed snacks that come in 1/2-oz, 1-oz, and 2-oz portion sizes. They’re perfect for Halloween trick-or-treaters and are an allergen-free option with minimal amounts of added sugars in 5 delicious flavors.

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For more information on healthy Halloween tips that won’t bore you to death – check out my segment on Channel 7 NBC San Diego this week.

Next Generation Nutrition: The New Superfoods

27 Oct

Next Generation Nutrition: The New Superfoods

Superfoods get a lot of love. But there’s actually no legal or medical definition for the term superfood.

When a food wins the tagline “superfood” – it generally contains high levels of antioxidants or other nutrients.

If you think about it, all fruits and vegetables are especially “super” – given that they contain dietary fiber and other important vitamins and minerals.

But if you love healthy, high fiber foods and you’re looking to spiff up your superfood arsenal, check out these 5 new super foods you need to know about:

Amaranth

It’s time to cool it on the quinoa! Amaranth is an awesome, gluten free grain that has more essential amino acids than any other plant food:

  • Amaranth is the only grain with vitamin C
  • You can prepare amaranth as a hot cereal grain or combine into starch dishes as you would quinoa or barley
  • If you want a killer way to incorporate more amaranth, check out KIND Healthy Grains – a granola mix with 5 super grains, including amaranth

Super Seeds

If you’re tired of flax on your cereal and in your smoothies, check out these new super seeds:

  • Chia Seed: made from the same stuff as chia pets, chia seeds are high in fiber and help you feel fuller for longer
  • For an on-the-go chia solution, check out Chia Slims stick packs from Chosen Foods – simply add a Chia stick pack to 16 oz of water for 12% of your daily value for fiber
  • Daikon Radish & Broccoli Seeds: your favorite vegetables are now available in seed form, packed with antioxidants and great flavor too
  • Way Better Snacks’ Simply So Sweet Chili and Simply Unbeatable Blues tortilla chips contain sprouted daikon radish and broccoli seeds; sprouting increases digestibility and antioxidant content in these gluten-free and non-GMO corn torilla chips

Beet Juice

The green juice revolution is so passe! Red juice is now where it’s at!

  • Beet juice is an incredibly nutrient dense superfood with the proven capacity to boost energy for exercise and improve blood flow and blood pressure

Avocado Oil

Everyone knows olive oil is a heart healthy fat. But avocado oil is coming up strong as an alternate!

  • The majority of the fats in avocado oil are heart healthy mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • The high smoke point of avocado oil makes it a versatile tool in your kitchen

For more tips on becoming super food savvy, check out my segment clip from Good Morning San Diego.

Dorm Room Diet Done Right

21 Aug

Dorm Room Diet Done Right

Colleges and universities are back in session, and that means students are busy stocking their dorm room refrigerators.

As students are gearing up for a new school year – many have questions about how to eat healthy on campus without gaining the dreaded “Freshman 15”. Here are some tips for staying lean and mean this semester:

Eat Small Frequent Meals

Going long stretches without eating is a major downfall for people trying to eat right. Small frequent meals help you stay alert, keep blood sugar levels stable, and help you avoid overeating late in the day. Choose easy-to-prepare on-the-go meals, like this new Pirate’s Booty Mac & Cheese made with organic wheat pasta, real cheese and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Find Time for Fruit

Fruit is not just a fantastic between meal snack, it’s also a great way to incorporate nutrition into your meals. Try this Cranberry Chicken Salad on Flatbread recipe as an example of a super easy way to incorporate cranberries into your back-to-school meal planning.

Cranberries not only taste great, they are also really good for you. You probably know they help prevent urinary tract infections, which is true – but all cranberry products (like cranberry juice cocktail, dried cranberries, cranberry sauce and fresh and frozen cranberries) contain flavonoids. A specific type of flavonoid that is unique to cranberries actually prevent bacteria from sticking to cell walls, which prevents UTIs.

A new study in the journal Advances in Nutrition found that the bioactive compounds in cranberries not only help reduce the incidence of certain infections and maintain a healthy urinary tract, but they also improve heart health by improving blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and reducing inflammation.

Snack Smarter

Did you know that 91% of American snack every day? And kids in particular need snacks, as their small stomach size can’t always meet daily nutrition needs in 3 meals alone.

But what you snack on matters – and here is a smart snack for you: sprouted grains chips. Way Better Snacks’ line of chips has sprouted grains, beans, and seeds. Sprouting helps to reduce certain anti-nutrient compounds that inhibit absorption – meaning that these chips have more bioavailable nutrients, and are more easily digested than other grains.

Grab Good To-Go Options

Now you might not think of a convenience store when you picture health food, but there are some pretty good options available out there today, and in particular at 7-11. The Fresh Food line at 7-11 offers fresh salads, sandwiches, seasonal fruit and snacks that would make any dietitian proud! Look for options with whole foods, minimal processed ingredients, and those that contain protein and fiber, which help keep you full.

For more tips on how to eat right on campus, check out my segment on KUSI Ch 9 Good Morning San Diego this week.

Fig Facts from the Farmer’s Market

22 Jul

Fig Facts from the Farmer’s Market

Figs are a fruit-lover’s fickle friend. They make a brief appearance in market from June-July, with a second showing again in August-October.

On the whole, fig season is a short one – but it’s worth catching these high fiber fruits while you can.

A one-half cup serving (roughly 3-4 whole figs) contains 120 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and is a good source of potassium (10% daily value).

Fig Fun Facts

If you find yourself needing more fig facts, here are some interesting tidbits from California Figs…and they should know, with California being home to 90% of the US fig farming operation:

  • If you like fashion, thank figs: a fig tree was responsible for the first clothing in the Bible, from which Adam & Eve drew fig leaves from to fashion clothing
  • Because of their high alkalinity, figs are beneficial for people looking to stop smoking
  • Figs aren’t fruits – but rather flowers that have inverted onto themselves; the fig seeds are the real fruits (or drupes)
  • Figs are the only fruits (self-inverted flowers?) to ripen and semi-dry on the tree
  • The word sycophant (essentially – a self-seeking, servile suckup) derives from the Greek word meaning “one who informs against another for exporting figs” – figs were so revered that ancient Greek law forbade the exporting of high quality figs.

Fixing up Figs

So what do you do with figs? Personally I love to eat them whole – with a penchant for black Mission figs.

But figs aren’t just delicious and nutritious – they’re nice to look at too. Figs are gorgeous when sliced.

Add this appealing appetizer to your pre-party repertoire:

  • Spread 1-2 teaspoons goat cheese on a high fiber cracker
  • Top with a slice of fig
  • Finish off with a dollop of real honey

Are you fretting about not finding figs year round? Check out this interesting story from NPR about more frequent fig availability from advances in growing techniques…and a little fig farmer trickery.

Bolder Flavor from Boulder Canyon

7 Jul

Bolder Flavor from Boulder Canyon

A pleasant surprise greeted me from an otherwise dismal vending machine display the other day: Boulder Canyon’s Chipotle Cheese flavor Rice & Bean Snack Chips with Adzuki Beans.

Sure, these rice and bean chips were still chips – but they were pleasantly light and crispy with a subtle flavor and impressive nutrition profile.

You don’t see a lot of adzuki beans in snack foods – but these were great, with adzuki beans beinng the 3rd ingredient on the ingredient list (after rice flour and corn starch).

Adzuki beans are popular in Japanese cooking, and they’re small and light red-brown in color. A 1/2 cup of cooked beans nets you 8.5 grams of fiber with 9 grams protein for just 110 calories…so they’re certainly a great fiber find…if you can find them.

If you can’t get the real beans, the chips are an ok runner up. A 1.5 oz serving bag (about 30 chips) of Boulder Canyon’s Chipotle Cheese chips provides:

  • 215 calories
  • 11 g fat
  • 2 g saturated fat
  • 280 mg sodium
  • 26 g carbohydrate
  • 5 g dietary fiber
  • 3 g protein

And when you’re in a pinch, I’d say they’re a satiating snack food (albeit a bit high in sodium).