This time of year, with the cold weather adding extra stress to our post-holiday season, who has time to think about healthy eating? Elizabeth Somer, registered dietitian and author of Age-Proof Your Body, gave us some simple snacks and meals using brand new items on grocery store shelves that boost your health and might even slim your waistline.
1. What was the criteria in choosing these winners?
There are some really hot new foods on market shelves that save food-prep time, yet are nutritious, taste great, and are good for you. I based the criteria for a healthy food award on:
1) A high nutrient density - the food provides a wealth of nutrition for few calories.
2) Low sodium and saturated/trans fats
3) High fiber and/or healthy fats.
And, of course they had to taste great and make your life in the kitchen or your struggle to get your kids to eat right a little be easier.
2. Kopali Dried Fruits
These exotic fruits are organic and fair-trade certified. When you are tired of craisins or raisins, try dried Kopali mulberries or goldenberries. They have no added sugar, oil, or sulfates, and are packed with fiber and antioxidants. Snack on them as is, or make your own trail mix by combining them with the next hot new year snack item.
3. Sahale Nuts
All the nuts in this line are slightly sweet glazed nuts, some with a mix of dried exotic fruits. Take for example, Sing Buri, which is a Thai mix of cashews with pineapple, peanuts, lemongrass, and mild Chinese chili. Or, Dauphine, a mix of walnuts with blueberries, bananas, coconut, ginger, and lavender. These would be great mixed with the Kopali fruits or as great appetizers for your winter parties. Or, chop them and sprinkle over vanilla pudding or your morning cereal.
4. Campbell’s Select Harvest Light Soups
These soups are brand new. They have little or no fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. They have no trans fat, are lower in sodium than most canned soups, and are rich in vegetables and fiber. Better yet, you can have the whole can for under 170 calories, and they taste great. They contain the magic three ingredients: fiber, protein, and water that fill you up on few calories, so they are a great comfort-food meal or snack to help curb appetite this time of year.
5. South Beach Living: Buffalo Style Chicken Pizza
This frozen entree is brand new. It has some whole wheat and 8 grams of fiber, which is better than most pizzas. Yes, it’s a bit high in sodium and fat, but it is automatically portion-controlled, so you are less likely to keep eating. Add extra vegetables to the top or serve with a big tossed salad and this pizza can help curb your hunger for fewer calories.
6. 8th Continent Complete Soymilk
This is the only soymilk on the market that has it all. It is rich in soy protein to lower heart disease risk, calcium and vitamin D to save your bones, fiber (3 grams per cup), and the omega-3 fat DHA. Like the Campbell’s soups, this soymilk has the magic fiber, water, and protein to curb hunger, and it just won a national award for the best tasting soymilk in the country. A glass can make a great between-meal snack, or add to your morning smoothie.
7. Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta
This pasta has three-times the fiber (6 grams/serving) of regular pasta, the calcium equivalent of a glass of milk, and less calories than regular pasta, yet it looks, cooks, and tastes like regular pasta. Top it with bottled spaghetti sauce, such as Ragu, and you have an instant lunch or dinner.
8. Kashi 7 Whole Grain Flakes
Like most of the cereals in the Kashi line, this cereal tastes great, is made from whole grains, is low in added sugar and high in protein, fiber, and nutrients. Top it with the Sahale nuts or Kopali fruits and the 8th Continent Complete soymilk and you can’t get a more nutritious breakfast than that!
9. Mission Life Balance Whole Wheat Tortillas
Brand new on the market, these are the only tortillas I know of that are fortified with the omega-3 fat DHA. They pack extra fiber because they are made with some whole grain, and have no lard, cholesterol, or trans fats. They also are fortified with 23 vitamins and minerals, and contain as much calcium as a glass of milk. Whew! Heat them on the griddle and fill with black beans, low-fat cheese, and salsa, and you have an healthy snack or meal in less than 5 minutes!