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

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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. 

Greger’s 5:1 Fiber Ratio Rule

18 Dec

Greger’s 5:1 Fiber Ratio Rule

A colleague recently turned me on to the daily videos published by Michael Greger, MD of nutritionfacts.org.

Dr. Greger’s entertaining video snippets do an outstanding job of summarizing the vast amount of published nutrition research, delving into what the studies really say (and don’t say) – and saving you a boatload of time by not having to navigate the peer-reviewed published articles in journals yourself.

I was intrigued by a video this week called “The Five to One Fiber Rule” – which basically advocates for every 5 grams of carbohydrate aim to get at least 1 gram of dietary fiber.

 

 

Example of a food that meets the 5:1 fiber rule – Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread - it has 15g carbohydrate and 3g dietary fiber for a perfect 5:1 ratio:

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Now, to be fair, Greger certainly isn’t the first one to advocate a carb:fiber ratio (see previous post on Harvard’s 10:1 ratio); but as a hard-line plant-based diet guru, he gets strict on the quality of your carbs.

This 5:1 ratio rule helps eliminate junky carb foods that start with the first ingredient including the word “whole” and then contain, as Dr. Greger puts it, “corn syrup and a chemistry set”.

Greger is one of those rare doctors who definitely gets it when it comes to fiber, highlighting a number of research studies extolling the benefits of more dietary fiber. These benefits include:

And just how can the medical community help lower chronic disease risk with diet? Another study highlighted in Gerger’s video implores clinicians to, “Enthusiastically and skillfully recommend that patients consume more dietary fibre.”

You do that by eating more whole plant foods:

  • Getting soluble fiber from oats, nuts, seeds, legumes and most fruits
  • Getting insoluble fiber from whole wheat, wheat bran, brown rice, other whole grains and most vegetables

If you’re interested in more of Dr. Gerger’s refreshing takes on whole foods and nutrition research, check out his information-rich site at nutritionfacts.org or his new book “How Not to Die” (…review coming to the fiber blog soon!)

 

Bad Diet Trickle Down: 1 in 5 US Kids has High Cholesterol

10 Dec

Bad Diet Trickle Down: 1 in 5 US Kids has High Cholesterol

A new report released today by the CDC shows that 21% of children and adolescents have at least one abnormal cholesterol reading, putting them at increased risk for heart disease development down the road.

“Abnormal” cholesterol values captured in the data included either:

  • Low HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • High total cholesterol, or
  • High non-HDL cholesterol (namely LDL “bad” cholesterol)

There were only slight differences in rates between male and females and values did not differ significantly by race.

The report summarizes data from 2011-2014, and does not delve into exactly how much of that elevated cholesterol can be attributable to diet or lifestyle (vs. genetics).

But there is no doubt that overweight and obesity are certainly contributors driving these rates of what historically was an “adult” disease, now being seen in children.

As I commented in today’s Healthline article on the report, “We’re seeing the effects of poor lifestyle choices trickle down into the younger generation.”

A diet high in the wrong types of fats (saturated and trans fats) and low in dietary fiber contributes to cholesterol abnormalities.

Depending upon what data you are looking at, the typical American only eats about 16 grams of fiber per day. This is roughly half of the recommended amount of dietary fiber that individuals needs to help support optimal health.

For more information on the report, check out the CDC’s report here and the Healthline article here.

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:

 

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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.

Juiceology: Not Doing Much for the Fiber Gap

1 Dec

Juiceology: Not Doing Much for the Fiber Gap

As any fiber fan knows, eating your fruit is far superior to drinking it.

The problem with juices are that they extract and discard the most important parts of the fruit: the pulp and peel – which is exactly where the fiber is found.

In an article posted today at Food Navigator, the CEO and founder of Juiceology Gelipe d’Avila explains his angle in trying to fill the “white space” in the juice category…fiber:

“The challenge is that many consumers know they should get more [fiber], but they see fiber as a boring thing, so we have to market the benefits without lecturing people about it. We have to make it fun.”

Fiber…boring?! I beg to differ!

If you want fun and fiber together, why don’t you just eat fruit?

A 15.2 oz bottle of Juiceology has 200 calories and provides 32% daily value for fiber (8g). The only problem is, that’s not naturally occurring fiber. According to d’Avila, the fiber comes from oats and barley and chicory root.

But guess what, oats and barley and chicory root are not naturally found in fruit. And there is no evidence to suggest that these fake functional fibers – when added to low-fiber foods like juice – convey the same health benefits as foods that naturally have fiber in them.

According to Food Navigator, you have to shell out between $2.99-$3.49 for a 200 calorie bottle of juice. Why not just eat 2 pieces of real fruit for a fraction of the cost? You would save about 100 calories and get those 8 grams of fiber from a naturally occurring source.

And don’t look to the Juiceology website for any real nutrition nuts either. It’s packed with broken links, misleading copy and typos, like “The Original Fiber Boost” and “Non GMO daily Welness”

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Bottom line: if you want the benefits of fruit, save yourself some cash and eat real fruit!