Friday, September 11, 2009

Get the new Mambo Sprouts coupon book!


Here's what you will receive when you sign-up with Mambo Sprouts:



Photo courtesy of mambosprouts.com

  • FREE! Coupon books for natural & organic products mailed directly to your home (only mailed 3 times a year). This mailer also includes the Mambo Messenger (an educational and informative printed newsletter) and free product samples sent occasionally. NOTE: The next issue is scheduled to arrive in homes by Februrary 2010.
  • FREE! E-Coupon alerts, special offers and chances to win great products and prizes.
  • FREE! Monthly E-Newsletter with healthy living tips and recipes

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Long Hiatus!

I have to apologize again for being away from my blog for so long. I've been a little sick for the past few months and just lost my Father in Law last week.

I plan to start posting very soon. Thank you all for being patient. :-)

~Dina

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!

I hope everyone is having a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Love Mambo Sprouts! Sign Up For Free Coupons!


Photo courtesy of mambosprouts.com



Sign-up with Mambo Sprouts!



You'll get:

  • FREE! Coupon books for natural & organic products mailed directly to your home (3 times a year). This mailer also includes the Mambo Messenger (an educational and informative printed newsletter) and free product samples sent occasionally.
  • FREE! E-Coupon alerts, special offers and chances to win great products and prizes.
  • FREE! Monthly E-Newsletter with healthy living tips and recipes

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Apologies

I had to take a little time off because I've been pretty sick this past month. I'm feeling a little better and hope to recover quickly. I plan to start blogging again next week.

I truly have to thank all of my readers for sticking with me and understanding!

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Mother's Day!

~Dina

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Fun Way For Kids To Learn About Fruits & Vegetables

Kids and parents will find fun and educational games on foodchamps.org. The site was put together by the non-profit Produce for Better Health Foundation. Their mission is to create a healthier America through increased consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables.

The games are for kids between 2 to 8 years old. Kids will love the online interactive games and will also find coloring sheets, activity pages and easy recipes that they can make with adults. There is also an art gallery where kids can submit their original creations!

Fun and Educational games for kids ages 2-5:
  • Fruit & Veggie Matching Game
  • Fruit & Veggie Naming Game
  • Fruit or Vegetable?
  • Find the Fruits & Veggies
  • What Color are the Fruits & Veggies?
Games for kids ages 6-8 - Learn how food gets from farms and orchards to your dinner table!
  • Fruit & Vegetable Math
  • Fruit & Veggie Pyramid Game
  • Healthy Choices Maze

I really like the activity sheets on foodchamps.org. The Supermarket Scavenger Hunt will make grocery shopping an adventure for your kids. The Fruit & Veggie Eater Meter is also a great tool for kids to track their fruit and veggie consumption.

Nutrient and fiber rich fruits and veggies will keep your kids healthy and strong. They may eventually crave fruit and veggie snacks and eat less sugary treats!

Easy Fruit & Veggie Recipes




Check out the site Fruits & Veggies More Matters to learn all about the benefits of fruits and veggies!

I love the quick and easy recipes on the site. The recipes are full of fruits and veggies and will help add extra vitamins, minerals, fiber and other important nutrients to your diet.

Kid Friendly Recipes

Quick Recipes: 30 Minutes or Less

Tips on How to Cook with Fruits and Vegetables

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pineapples



Pineapples are my favorite fruit! They are so juicy, sweet and tart. They make you feel like you're on a tropical island.

Pineapples (Ananas comosus) take eighteen months or longer to grow! They must be grown from the crowns or tops of other pineapples and are only harvested when they are ripe.

Pineapples are grown in Hawaii, Costa Rica, Brazil, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Thailand, China and the Philippines. Christopher Columbus was the first person to bring pineapples to Europe after finding them on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in 1493.

Pineapples are Healthy

Pineapples are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, copper, manganese and dietary fiber. One cup of pineapple provides 94% of your RDA of vitamin C and only 74 calories. Pineapples also contain a group of digestive enzymes called bromelain. Bromelain is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. There have been many research studies that focus on bromelain.

Benefits of Bromelain

  • Anti-inflammatory action
  • May inhibit platelet aggregation
  • May interfere with the growth of malignant cells and tumors
  • Enhanced absorption of drugs (amoxicillin)
  • Skin debridement properties (The healing of burns, pressure ulcers, etc.)
  • May dissolve the fibrin in blood clots facilitating wound healing (Fibrinolytic activity)
  • May help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
  • May act as a blood thinner and help relieve symptoms of angina and thrombophlebitis
Cancer Prevention

Scientists at Cornell University found that pineapples reduced the formation of nitrosamines (potential carcinogens) in humans.

Using Pineapples

Find a pineapple that is heavy for it's size, free of soft spots and bruises and free of darkened "eyes." Pineapples stop ripening as soon as they are picked, so choose one that has a fragrant sweet smell at the stem end. They can be kept at room temperature for about 1 to 2 days or stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Pineapple juice is a perfect base for marinades. Since pineapple contains bromelain, it acts as a meat tenderizer.

Pineapple Recipes


Grilled Pineapple

Maui Gold pineapple recipes

Baked Plantain and Pineapple Dessert

Vegan Light Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Rum-Spiked Grilled Pineapple with Toasted Coconut

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Surf Sweets - Natural and Organic Candy

Sometimes I really crave candy. Fruit and veggies don’t always fix that craving. (Not for me!) Well, one day I was at Whole Foods and went directly to their candy aisle. I love jelly beans, so I immediately noticed Surf Sweets Jelly Beans. I checked out the label and was happy to see that the ingredients were all natural and 97% organic. Traditional jelly beans are usually full of corn syrup and artificial ingredients. I found that organic evaporated cane juice is one of the main sweeteners used in Surf Sweets Jelly Beans. Cane juice is a better alternative to refined sugar because it’s less processed and retains more of the nutrients that are found in sugar cane. I’m not saying Cane juice is healthy! It’s just a better alternative when you’re looking for a sweet, occasional treat. I bought a bag or Surf Sweets Jelly Beans and was surprised at how tasty they were!

I’m a Dietitian, so I’m always checking out labels. I personally don’t like artificial sweeteners and try to avoid corn syrup. Surf Sweets are made with organic fruit juice and sweeteners, natural colors and flavors, and are fortified with vitamin C. You won’t find corn syrup or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their products. You also won’t find Yellow 5, Red 40 and other artificial colorings that are said to be linked to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children.

Surf Sweets products are made in a nut free facility and are also gluten and casein free. They are a great treat for people who have specific food allergies and intolerances since they are free of the eight most common allergens. The eight most common allergens are: Milk, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts), Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder), Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp), Soy and Wheat. Many of Surf Sweets products are also vegetarian and vegan.

I was on Twitter about a week ago and decided to let Surf Sweets know that I was impressed with their candy. I didn’t even expect a reply, but I ended up getting a box from Surf Sweets a day later with their entire product line. Thank you Surf Sweets!




Surf Sweets Jelly Beans (click on the link to get Nutrition Facts and Ingredients)

The Jelly Beans are vegetarian and made with 97% organic ingredients (Products with at least 95% organic ingredients can use the word "organic".) I believe they aren’t vegan because of the confectioner’s glaze. It’s hard to tell, but I think the flavors are grapefruit, cherry, lemon, orange and grape. Since natural colors are used (black carrot juice, turmeric, annatto), the jelly beans are muted in color. Pectin is used as a gelling agent. The jelly beans have a hard shell and have a chewy consistency like traditional jelly beans.

Surf Sweets Sour Worms

The Sour Worms are vegan and are made with 92% organic ingredients. They are tart, but not very sour. The worms have a pleasant citrus flavor and are soft and chewy.

Surf Sweets Fruity Bears


The Fruity Bears are vegan and made with 96% organic ingredients. They are soft and chewy. I believe the flavors are the same as the jelly beans.

Surf Sweets Gummy Swirls

Gummy Swirls are vegan and made with 87% organic ingredients. The Gummy Swirls were my favorite because they were unique and had a little bit of a “creamy” flavor. They are very soft and chewy, which I like.

Surf Sweets Gummy Bears

The Gummy Bears contain gelatin, so they aren’t vegetarian. They contain 91% organic ingredients. They look similar to traditional gummy bears, but have a stronger fruit flavor. They are very chewy. I recognized one of the flavors to be grapefruit.

Surf Sweets Gummy Worms

The Gummy Worms also contain gelatin, so they aren’t friendly to vegetarians or vegans. They contain 91% organic ingredients. They were a little too hard and chewy for me. My teeth hurt a bit after having a couple worms.

Wrap Up


Surf Sweets natural and organic candy is a good choice for an occasional treat. I’m not saying the candy is healthy and should replace nutrient dense snacks like fruit and vegetables. However, some children and adults want a sweet treat once in a while. Surf Sweets products are great for holidays, to take along to the movies, or just as a small treat!

  • Made with Organic Fruit Juice & Sweeteners
  • Natural Colors and Flavors
  • 100% of Your Daily Vitamin C
  • Free of Corn Syrup and GMOs
  • Made in a Nut Free Facility
  • Gluten Free
  • Casein Free
  • Gummy Swirls, Fruity Bears and Sour Worms are Vegan
  • Jelly Beans are Vegetarian

Additional Links

Surf Sweets FAQ

Feingold Association of the United States

American Academy of Pediatrics ADHD and Food Additives Revisited

Monday, April 13, 2009

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt Review

I'm a big fan of Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is thicker, creamier and richer than regular yogurt. That's not even the best part! It has more than twice the protein of regular yogurt and is lower in sugar and lactose.

The higher protein content will help you feel full for a longer time! Like regular yogurt, Greek yogurt also contains live cultures (probiotics) for healthy digestion.

Why is Greek Yogurt Different Than Regular Yogurt?

Greek yogurt is strained to remove the whey (the liquid), giving it a thick and dense texture. You won't see liquid on top of Greek yogurt when you pull off the lid. Also, Greek yogurt can stay fresher longer since the whey is removed! Greek yogurt contains less carbohydrates than regular yogurt and therefore contains less lactose.

*Make sure to select low fat and non fat varieties of Greek yogurt. There are full fat versions out there that contain a significant amount of fat!

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt



I use Stonyfield Farm Organic Yogurt often, but I haven't had the opportunity to try Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt. Recently, I was approached by the nice people at Stonyfield Farm. They sent me some coupons so I could try their Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt. Thank you Stonyfield Farm!

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt is made by the world's leading organic yogurt-maker, Stonyfield Farm, in partnership with Euphrates, makers of authentic old-world foods.

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt has 0% fat and twice the protein of regular yogurt.

Here is what Stonyfield Farm's website says about Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt:

Called “yiaourti” in Greece, Greek yogurt is creamier than regular yogurt. Authentic Greek yogurt like ours owes its extra creaminess to a centuries-old straining process that removes the whey (liquid) from the yogurt.

For hundreds of years, Greeks have prized strained yogurt for its richness and creaminess, and because it makes a wonderful cooking ingredient that’s less likely to curdle when heated. Before the time of mechanical refrigeration, Greeks also knew that yogurt stayed fresh longer with the liquid strained off. Today we know that straining makes Greek yogurt richer in protein than regular yogurt, and lower in lactose.



Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt is also different from other Greek yogurt products because it's organic! Stonyfield Farm makes it clear that Oikos is made from organic milk produced without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, or artificial growth hormones (rBST). You can find more information about organic farming from the Stonyfield website: http://www.oikosorganic.com/WhatIsOrganic/

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt is Versatile

You can use Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt in many recipes!

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt can be used as a healthy cooking ingredient in a variety of recipes. Since Oikos is strained, it is thicker than regular yogurt and more versatile in recipes. You can use Plain Oikos to make fat free dressing, spreads, creamy dips, fat free desserts, delicious smoothies and more.

Oikos is a great substitute for mayonnaise, cream, sour cream, cream cheese or ricotta cheese. Oikos is less likely to curdle when heated since the whey is removed. Try some plain Oikos on your baked potato or use it on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise.

My Review of Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt

Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt comes in Plain, Honey, Vanilla and Blueberry. I only found Vanilla Oikos at Whole Foods. I was lucky to find Plain and Honey a couple days ago at another store close to my house. I'm still looking around for Blueberry Oikos. The suggested retail price is $1.99, but each 5.3 oz container at Whole Foods was over $2.00. Oikos is a little expensive, but it costs more to produce organic food.

If you're concerned about the sugar content, then Oikos Organic Plain Greek Yogurt is your best choice. You can add fresh fruit or nuts for extra nutrients and flavor. I added some honey and walnuts to my Plain Oikos and it was delicious! It is a bit tangy (which I like) and especially thick and creamy for nonfat yogurt! I definitely recommend it.


Oikos 5.3 oz Plain: 90 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 6 grams sugar and 15 grams of protein.

Oikos Organic Honey Greek yogurt is also thick and creamy with a subtle honey flavor. I was surprised to find honey at the bottom of the container! I didn't realize it until I was almost done. Yummy!


Oikos 5.3 oz Honey: 120 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 17 grams sugar and 13 grams of protein.

Oikos Organic Vanilla Greek yogurt has a gentle vanilla flavor and is thick and creamy. However, it is a little too sweet for me. I expected the honey yogurt to be sweet, but I'd like to see the vanilla yogurt have less sugar. It's still pretty tasty though.


Oikos 5.3 oz Vanilla: 110 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 11 grams sugar and 15 grams of protein.

I still would love to try Oikos Organic Blueberry Greek yogurt! For now, I'll just add fresh blueberries to my plain Oikos!

Oikos 5.3 oz Blueberry: 120 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 15 grams sugar and 13 grams of protein.

Conclusion

Oikos Organic Plain Greek Yogurt was my favorite followed by Oikos Organic Honey Greek Yogurt. I liked plain the best because I prefer adding my own ingredients like fresh fruit, honey or agave syrup, nuts or low fat granola. All the flavors are very thick and creamy. I was satisfied and remained full for a few hours after having Oikos.

Benefits of Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt

  • Low in calories (120 calories or less per serving)
  • 0 grams fat
  • High in protein (13-15 grams of protein per 5.3 ounce serving)
  • Certified Organic
  • No artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors
  • Higher in calcium than other brands of Greek yogurt
  • Contains probiotics for a healthy digestive system
  • Thick and creamy
  • Can be used in various recipes and won't curdle easily
  • Delicious!

Links:



Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Health Benefits of Mushrooms




Did you know that mushrooms are the "fruits" of fungus called mycelium? They grow in soil, wood or decaying matter. There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms and to untrained eye, it's very difficult to identify the differences between edible and poisonous mushrooms. Don't pick a mushroom from the ground unless you're sure it's safe to eat!

Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms contain large amounts of the antioxidant selenium. They actually contain more selenium than any other fruit or vegetable. Mushrooms also contain the antioxidant ergothioneine, known for its anticancer properties. They are a great source of B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. White, portobella and crimini mushrooms are excellent sources of potassium and white button mushrooms are rich in vitamin D.

If white mushrooms are exposed to ultraviolet light for 5 minutes after harvesting, they may contain 869% of the daily value of vitamin D!(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12370708/)

A recent Australian study found that women who consume mushrooms daily may reduce their risk of breast cancer by two-thirds! (http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/9327)

One serving of mushrooms contains 20 calories and no fat!



Click the links below to learn more about mushrooms!

Discover Mushrooms: Nature's Hidden Treasure (American Dietetic Association PDF)

Mushroom Council



Thursday, April 2, 2009

Teff - Another Gluten-Free Wheat Alternative


image courtesy of shilohfarms.com


Teff is definitely not a new food! It is said to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 B.C. and 1000 B.C. Teff seeds were discovered in the ruins of the Dassur Egyptian Pyramid which was built in 3359 B.C.

Smallest Grain in the World!

Teff is one of the smallest grains in the world. The grain is 1/32 of an inch! Actually, "Teff" means "Lost" in Ethiopian because if you drop it on the ground, you'll never find it!

Teff is an annual grass with very tiny seeds that have a nutty flavor. There are three types of teff: white, brown and red. White teff tastes a little like chestnuts and can only be grown in the Central Highlands of Ethiopia. The flour is used to make injera, a flat bread that is used by most Ethiopians. Brown teff tastes a little like hazelnuts and can be used like oatmeal. It's also used to make alcohol in Ethiopia. Red teff is the least expensive and isn't used as much, but it is very high in iron.

Why is Teff Healthy?

Teff grains consist primarily of the bran and germ. Since the bran and germ are the most nutritious part of any grain, this makes teff extremely nutrient dense. Teff is an excellent source of amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Teff also has a high calcium content and ounce for ounce, it supplies more fiber than any other grain. There are 15.3 grams of fiber per 4 ounces of flour). Other important nutrients found in teff are iron, phosphorous and thiamin. Since teff is gluten free, it can be used safely by people with celiac disease.

How to Use Teff

Teff can be found as a grain and in flour form. You can find it in most health food stores, in ethnic food stores and online. It can be stored in an airtight container or can be refrigerated for longer storage.

Teff can be used in baked goods, pancakes, as a thickener in soups and stews, in casseroles and even in stir fry dishes.

For leavened bread, use whole wheat flour with up to 20% teff flour.

To cook teff, put 1/2 cup teff and 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes.

Once teff is cooked, it can even be used to make vegetarian burgers.


Teff Links



Teff Burgers (Bob's Red Mill)




Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How To Save On Organic Produce



Join a Co-Op - Join a Farm Co-op or a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group. You can purchase a share in a local farm and in exchange, you'll get a portion of the food that the farm produces. You can find an organic co-op or CSA in your area by going to Local Harvest.org.



Buy in Bulk - Warehouse stores like Sam's Club and Costco have great deals on organic produce. Go shopping with family members or friends so you can share the cost and split the merchandise.

Find Coupons Online or at Natural Grocery Stores - Earthbound Farm has coupons on their site. (You have to take a quiz in order to get a $1.00 coupon.) My local Whole Foods sometimes has coupons available inside the store. Also, check out Mambo Sprouts for online coupons.

Look For Low Cost Produce - Search for reduced prices on produce that needs to be used right away. I often find bags of organic spinach and veggies at Kroger that need to be used within 1-2 days. They are sometimes 50-75% off the original price!

Check Circular Ads - I've noticed that some local grocery stores advertise sales on organic produce. Walmart and Meijer have sales on organic produce often!

Grow Your Own Produce - Plant an organic garden in your yard. You can even grow some veggies on your windowsill if you don't have space for a garden. You may spend a little more for organic seeds, but you'll save money in the long run!

Shop Locally - You can find lower priced organic fruits and vegetables at local Farmer's markets. If you don't have any markets in your area, then look for locally grown organic produce at your grocery store. The price of local produce will be lower since they don't have far to travel.

Buy Produce That's in Season - All produce is less expensive when they are in season.



Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables Month-by-Month (Frugal Living section of About.com)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Shopping for Organic Produce

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released their 5th annual "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides" on March 10th, 2009.



The Shopper's Guide to Pesticides is a tool that will help you identify fruits and vegetables that are the most susceptible to pesticide residue. Choosing organic for the produce determined as the “Dirty Dozen” can reduce pesticide exposure by up to 80 percent. You'll notice that fruits and vegetables that have thin skins are more likely to have a higher amount of pesticides.



The "Clean 15" are fruits and vegetables that have the lowest levels of pesticides. Since buying organic may not be feasible if you're on a tight budget, stock up on the "Clean 15" more often.



Remember that you need to incorporate fruits and veggies in your diet for necessary nutrients!




Image courtesy of the Environmental Working Group

Download Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides (It will be available as an iPhone application soon)

The full list of 47 fruits and vegetables

Read EWG's recent statement: Organic Fruit and Veggies Still Recommended

The Organic Center also has a Pocket Guide for reducing pesticide dietary exposure - It is more extensive and considers the pesticide exposure to farmers, citizens and wildlife who live near farms that use harmful pesticides.


What is Organic?

The USDA National Organic Program's (NOP) definition of organic:

Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too. (Consumer Brochure, USDA National Organic Program, http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/Consumers/brochure.html)


What to Look for on Labels When Buying Organic:

  • A food that has a "100% organic" label will have no synthetic ingredients and can legally use the USDA organic seal.

  • A food that is labeled as just "organic" has to have at least 95% organic ingredients and can use the USDA organic seal.

  • A food that has a label that says "made with organic ingredients" must contain at least 70% organic ingredients with strict restrictions on the remaining 30% including no GMOs (genetically modified organisms) . This food can't legally use the USDA organic seal.

  • Products that use less than 70% organic ingredients are able to list organically produced ingredients on the side of the package, but aren't able to put organic claims on the front of the package.

Reducing Pesticide Residues:
  • Wash and scrub produce under running water to remove dirt, bacteria and surface pesticide residues. Make sure you also wash produce that has inedible skin such as cantaloupe. You don't need to use soap. (Make sure to wash organic produce this way as well)

  • Remove the peel from fruits and vegetables.

  • Remove the outer leaves from leafy vegetables

  • Try to eat a variety of foods from various sources.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Healthy Snacks Around 100 Calories or Less

Stop spending money on those 100 calorie packs and start making your own healthy snacks!

Buy some snack bags and portion out snacks like fruit, veggies, nuts, dried fruit and whole grain crackers ahead of time.


Plan ahead by keeping a variety of nutritious, ready-to-eat snacks on hand at home, at work or whenever you need something when hunger strikes. When you're prepared, you won't have to buy snacks from vending machines, convenience stores or fast food restaurants.

Snacks can contribute to a healthy diet! Choose a variety of nutrient dense snacks in small portions. Make sure to make snacking a conscious activity though. You can overeat easily while watching TV, surfing the net or doing other activities!

Healthy snack suggestions:

Fruits and vegetables provide a feeling of fullness with little to no fat and very few calories. They provide important vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

Nuts and seeds provide protein, so you'll feel fuller longer. They can be high in fat, but the fat is mostly monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Nuts and seeds are high in calories, so watch your portions!

Whole-grains are rich in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium and dietary fiber. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Look for products made with whole wheat flour, brown rice, wild rice, whole oats, whole rye, whole grain cornmeal, buckwheat, bulgur, graham flour, triticale, sorghum, amaranth, millet, quinoa,

Low-fat dairy products are good sources of calcium and protein. They are also rich in many other vitamins and minerals. Dairy products can be high in fat, so choose low-fat products.

Protein rich snacks like beans, soy and hard-boiled eggs will fill you up and keep you energized.

*I will update the snacks often! I'm just starting with a few snacks today.


Vegetables:


1 cup chopped raw broccoli - 31 calories

20 baby carrots (about five calories per baby carrot) - 100 calories

1 large stalk of celery (11"-12" long) - 10 calories

½ cup steamed edamame in shell – 95 calories, 8 g protein, 4 g fat, 4 g fiber

1 cup crisp snap peas - 45 calories

One can Low Sodium V-8 100% Vegetable Juice - 30 calories, 1 g protein, 80 mg sodium

Fruit:


1 small banana (6" to 6-7/8" long) - 90 calories

1 medium banana (7" to 7-7/8" long) - 105 calories

1 cup blueberries - 84 calories

1/2 medium cantaloupe - 100 calories

1 cup raw sweet cherries - 97 calories

1 cup raw sour cherries - 78 calories

1 cup grapes - 104 calories

1/2 medium pink or red grapefruit (3-3/4" dia) - 52 calories

1/2 medium white grapefruit (3-3/4" dia) - 40 calories

2 medium kiwi fruit without skin - 92 calories

1 cup mango chunks - 107 calories

1 small orange - 70 calories

50 raisins - 78 calories

1 cup raspberries - 64 calories

2 cups strawberries - 100 calories

1 cup watermelon - 46 calories

Earth Kidz Organic Applesauce Cups - 50 calories

Nuts (raw and unsalted):



25 pistachios (4 calories each) - 100 calories

8 walnut halves (14 calories per walnut half) - 112 calories

10 cashew nuts (9 calories each) - 90 calories

15 almonds (7 calories each) - 105 calories

16 dry, roasted peanuts without salt (6 calories each) - 96 calories

Crunchy Whole Grain Snacks:



6 Reduced-Fat Triscuits – 98 calories, 2 g fat, 3 g fiber

3 cups air-popped popcorn (no oil) - 93 calories

13 Guiltless Gourmet Spicy Black Bean Tortilla Chips with 2 Tbsp. Salsa - 88 calories, 1.3 g fat

1 Wasa Hearty Rye Crispbread - 45 calories, 1 g protein, 2 g fiber, 0 grams fat

Low Fat Dairy:



1 stick mozzarella String Cheese - 80 calories

1 stick Frigo® Light String Cheese - 60 calories

4 oz low fat cottage cheese - 90 calories

1 cup nonfat milk - 80-90 calories depending on brand

1 cup Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt - 120 calories, 20 g protein, 0 g fat

Protein-rich snacks:


1 large hard-boiled egg- 78 calories, 6 g protein, 5 g fat, 212 mg. cholesterol

1 large hard-boiled egg-white - 16 calories, 3.6 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 mg, cholesterol

1 Tbsp. MaraNatha® Organic Almond Butter - 95 calories, 3.5 g protein, 8 g fat

1 Tbsp. SunButter® Natural Sunflower Butter - 100 calories, 3.5 g protein, 8 g fat

Now you can mix everything up! Put some almond butter on whole grain crackers or make your own trail mix with raisins and nuts!


*Used the USDA National Nutrient Database

Monday, March 23, 2009

How to tell if a fruit or vegetable is organic or conventionally grown - PLU Codes


Have you ever wondered why there are stickers on your produce and what they really mean?
Price Look-Up codes, or PLU codes, are identification numbers put on produce and other products to make check-out at stores faster and more accurate. You’ll be surprised to know that those stickers can also tell you whether or not a product is organic or conventionally grown.

The first step is to count the number of digits on the sticker.

  • A conventionally grown product (grown with chemical assistance) will have a 4 digit PLU code. (Example: conventionally grown Red Delicious apple: 4015)

  • An organic product will have a 5 digit code starting with the number 9. (Example: organic Red Delicious apple: 94015)

Below: A PLU code of 94090 on a bag of organic spinach.



picture courtesy of bedfordind.com

Friday, March 20, 2009

Quinoa - A Super Food!

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) refers to the seed of the Chenopodium or “Goosefoot” plant. It is native to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru and was a staple food of both the Aztecs and the Incas.

Quinoa is technically not a grain, but is used as a grain and substituted for grains because of its cooking characteristics. Quinoa is now available in many forms such as pasta, cereal, flour and even polenta.



photo courtesy of Ancient Quinoa Harvest - http://www.quinoa.net/


Why is Quinoa considered a super food?

Quinoa is a considered a super food because it contains more protein than any other grain. The protein in quinoa is complete and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is especially high in lysine, methionine and cystine. Quinoa is rich in iron, calcium, riboflavin, potassium, B6, niacin and thiamin. It’s also a good source of manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and folate. Another great reason to eat quinoa is that it’s high in dietary fiber.

Quinoa is a gluten-free whole grain food, so people who are on a celiac diet can safely use it. The American Celiac Sprue Association lists quinoa as a good choice for a gluten free diet. Additionally, quinoa is the perfect food for vegetarians and vegans because of its high protein content!

1/4 cup of cooked Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa Grain has 170 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 2 mg of sodium and 7 grams of protein.


Cooking Method:

Quinoa kernels have a waxy protective coating called saponin which leaves a bitter taste. Quinoa should be rinsed under running water before cooking to remove the saponin. Many manufacturers now rinse quinoa before packaging, but it still should be rinsed just in case there is some saponin remaining. Quinoa expands up to 4 times its volume when cooked and has a mild, nutty and earthy flavor. It tends to takes on the flavors of the food it's cooked or served with.

To cook, use two parts liquid to one part quinoa. Bring the quinoa to a boil using a medium saucepan, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the grains are translucent and the germ has spiraled out from each grain. It has a crunchy texture when cooked for about 10 minutes and a soft and chewy texture when cooked for about 15 minutes. Quinoa tastes great in soups, stews, casseroles, stir fries and even cold in salads.





Some additional links about Quinoa:

Eden Organic - Red Quinoa

Ancient Quinoa Harvest

Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa

Recipes:

Emeril's Quinoa with Toasted Pecans

Quinoa with banana and mango for Passover

3 Simple Quinoa Dishes

Quinoa Corporation Recipes

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Fun Nutrition Quiz from the Dole Nutrition Institute!

Test your knowledge about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables! This fun and educational quiz has 4 levels. Click the link below to begin:

Are you a Nutrition Novice or a Produce Pro?





Feel free to share your results! I got a couple wrong. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Shop Smart - Get the Facts on Food Labels

Print out this fact sheet from the American Dietetic Association to learn about food labels:

Shop Smart - Get the Facts on Food Labels

I also like the video below from monkeysee.com. A Registered Dietitian explains food labels in detail.

There are 8 segments, so make sure to click the "Next Segment" button after each video is finished. It will take you to the monkeysee.com site after you watch the first video.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today is Registered Dietitian Day!

It's the 40th anniversary of the RD credential! Learn about how a Registered Dietitian can be beneficial to your health:

Top Ten Reasons Why Consulting with a Registered Dietitian Can Benefit You


Check out some fun nutrition related games from the American Dietetic Association:

Nutrition Sudoku for Kids & Adults

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Face the Fats Pocket Guide

Print out this informative pocket guide from the Face the Fats website (By the American Heart Association.) You can take it with you when you're shopping, eating at a restaurant or use it at home when you're cooking up a healthy meal!

Face the Fats Pocket Guide Adobe PDF, File Size 1226.0 KB


Test Your Fats IQ

Take a short quiz by the American Heart Association to test your knowledge about specific fats!

Test Your Fats IQ Now!




Feel free to share your results. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Craving Some Chocolate?!?

Who wouldn't be happy to learn that a small amount of cocoa and dark chocolate may actually be good for your body? The Aztecs were way ahead of us!




Photo courtesy of FreeFoto.com


Cocoa beans are full of plant chemicals called flavanols. Flavanols are antioxidants that may reduce blood platelet stickiness and help prevent blood clots. According to the American Dietetic Association, Cocoa and dark chocolate may actually have up to 10x more antioxidant power than other antioxidant rich foods! Cocoa and Dark chocolate can be a good source of calcium, potassium and magnesium. Chocolate even contains vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E. The vitamins and minerals found in chocolate products can vary depending on the way the chocolate was processed.


Be sure to choose dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa. Also, watch your portion sizes since chocolate is high in sugar and fat. You only need a small square (about 1 oz) to get the benefits! Read more about the benefits of natural cocoa and dark chocolate here:

Cocoa and Chocolate: Sweet News! (The American Dietetic Association Fact Sheet)

Daily Consumption of a Dark Chocolate Containing Flavanols and Added Sterol Esters Affects Cardiovascular Risk Factors in a Normotensive Population with Elevated Cholesterol The Journal of Nutrition

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Test your Nutrition Knowledge

Rate your eating habits with this quiz by the American Dietetic Association (ADA): Are you "eating right?"

Another quiz to test your nutrition knowledge (Also by the ADA): Nutrition Quiz
(Requires Adobe® Flash Player)

Let us know your results! :)

March is National Nutrition Month®

National Nutrition Month® is an annual nutrition education and information campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association. The campaign helps increase awareness of the importance of good nutrition and physical activity.





To help you have a healthy March, here is a PDF file that the American Dietetic Association put together:

Step Up to Nutrition and Health - This fact sheet focuses on the importance of eating right and being physically active. Print it out and share it with your family and friends!

Also, March 11, 2009 is Registered Dietitian Day!

Why Registered Dietitians can benefit you and improve your health:

Top Ten Reasons Why Consulting with a Registered Dietitian Can Benefit You

Monday, February 23, 2009

10 Healthy Foods Under 1 Dollar - WebMD

This is a very helpful article that I found on WebMD. "Even with rising food prices, it's possible to shop for healthy foods without spending a fortune."


10 Healthy Foods Under 1 Dollar


Sunday, February 22, 2009

25 Healthy Snacks For Kids

This is a great PDF nutrition fact sheet that was put together by the American Dietetic Association. The snacks are good for everyone, not just kids. :)

25 Healthy Snacks For Kids - PDF

Saturday, February 21, 2009

ZEVIA® Review soon!

FedEx just delivered 6 cans of Zevia® - The Natural Alternative to Soda. I can't wait to try it!

There are 4 flavors: ZEVIA® Natural Ginger Root Beer, ZEVIA® Natural Twist, ZEVIA® Natural Cola and ZEVIA® Natural Orange. I'll give my opinion about Zevia® soon.

ZEVIA®


Friday, February 20, 2009

All new to me

I have a lot on my mind lately, but I really want to start my blog about nutrition and product reviews. I am a Registered Dietitian who loves to find new, healthy food products. I plan to review at least one food product every few days and provide detailed information about the health benefits of each product. I think it will be fun!