Category Archives: healthy snacks

Live from your local Scoop Shop …. Saturday Night Live Ice Cream flavors from Ben & Jerry’s!

promo_bandj-snlEven FoodFacts.com loves the occassional ice cream. But it has to be real ice cream made with real ingredients. You know the kind … thick and creamy. Ice cream that actually melts because when real ice cream warms up that’s what it does, leaving a wonderfully thickened liquid in the bottom of its small cup.

For consumers everywhere, Ben & Jerry’s is the favored brand of ice cream. And in many ways — like their move against GMO ingredients — there are good reasons for that. More, than anything though, consumers love hearing about the new flavors Ben & Jerry’s is constantly introducing to their customers. And that’s what we’re featuring here today.

Are you ready for some crazy deliciousness? Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is releasing four brand-new flavors in conjunction with Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary. The newest flavors include “Lazy Sunday,” based on the infamous Lonely Island sketch, as well as “Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch,” inspired by the crazy, but well-meaning, bow-wearing girl played by Kristen Wiig, as well as two additional yet-to-be-announced flavors. We can’t tell you yet about the other two, but a little birdie may have hinted that the remaining funny flavors will be announced in the next couple of months!

Lazy Sunday, of course, is based off of a love for delicious cupcakes. (Sorry, no red vines included!). The flavor features cake batter ice cream with chocolate and yellow cupcake pieces and chocolate frosting swirl.
And you won’t be “sorry” about the decadent Gilly flavor, made with chocolate and sweet cream ice creams, with caramel clusters, fudge-covered almonds, and marshmallow swirl.

“Our fans have a great sense of humor and we share their affinity for the comic genius of Saturday Night Live,” said Lisa Sholk, Ben and Jerry’s Marketing Manager. “We loved the challenge of creating ice cream personalities for these iconic sketches.”

For the purists among us here are the ingredients listed on the Ben & Jerry’s website.

Lazy Sunday:
Cream, Skim Milk, Water, Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Dried Cane Syrup, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Soy Bean Oil, Corn Syrup, Coconut Oil, Butter (Cream, Salt), Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Cocoa, Eggs, Vanila Extract, Chocolate Liquor, Natural Flavors, Salt, Guar Gum, Baking Powder (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate), Turmeric (for color), Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan.

Gilly’s Catastrophic Crunch:
Cream, Skim MIlk, Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Water, Corn Syrup, Cocoa (Processed with Alkali), Roasted Almonds (Almonds, Peanut Oil), Dried Cane Syrup, Sugar, Coconut Oil, Egg Yolks, Cocoa, Egg Whites, Rolled Oats (Wheat), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract, Butteroil, Guar Gum, Natural Flavors, Pectin, Rice Syrup, Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Paprike Extract (color) Molasses, Baking Soda, Sea Salt, Canola Oil.

We’ve still got some work to do with both of these flavors — like getting rid of the natural flavors and the carrageenan.

If these sound good to you remember you won’t be able to buy packaged pints of your favorite SNL flavor at the local grocery store, because these flavors are only available in scoop or pint form at Ben and Jerry’s scoop shops across America.

http://www.thedailymeal.com/news/live-ben-and-jerry-s-it-s-saturday-night-live-ice-cream/61914

Ohio’s Legendary Pink Cookie Banned from Cafeterias

YouTube-screenshot-WEWS-NewsChannel5-AFP-Getty-Images-Jim-WatsonWe’re all pretty happy about the new nutritional standards for our schools. It’s great to know that there are now real rules in place that govern the fat, sugar, salt and calorie content of the foods our kids choose to consume while they are in their school environment. But there are some things in some places that some people really just don’t want to let go of. And that’s what today’s blog post is all about.

Now, thanks to federal regulations, students in all 11 taxpayer-funded public schools in Elyria, Ohio cannot enjoy the famous Elyria pink cookie anymore.

This cookie is no ordinary cookie, according to The Chronicle-Telegram, the Cleveland suburb’s local newspaper.

It’s a velvety, cake-like, scrumptious delicacy glazed with a huge dollop of sugary pink icing. Cleveland magazine dubbed the Elyria pink cookie the “Best Cafeteria Cookie” in 2009. Locals will even call up asking for special bulk orders of the tasty treat.

The originator of the Elyria pink cookies, Jean Gawlik, formulated the legendary confection almost 40 years ago using a simple, personal recipe her late mother had given her. It includes lots of butter, a couple different kinds of sugar, some Crisco and sour cream.

As local ABC affiliate WEWS notes, the cookie has been a staple on the local school menu since roughly the Carter administration.

This year, though, students in the Elyria must say goodbye to all that because of calorie restrictions.

“We can’t have them in the cafeteria for sale, period,” Scott Teaman, who runs the district’s cafeteria services, told The Chronicle-Telegram. “The guidelines for snacks are very strict, and there is no wiggle room.”

FoodFacts.com would have to bet that there are plenty of home cooks in Elyria who already know the recipe for the scrumptious pink cookie. While we know it will be missed, we’re certain it won’t die as a community tradition. We do understand that folks are upset — but we’re willing to go out on a limb here and say that the beloved pink cookie will live on. And we’re happy about that. We do still, though, think it’s best that we all stick to the nutritional standards currently being enforced in our schools.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/23/now-michelle-obama-has-caused-americas-best-cafeteria-cookie-to-be-outlawed/#ixzz3Bq6ThJrL

Fruits and veggies … it’s not just five a day anymore!

Eugen WaisWe all work pretty hard to fit five servings of fruits and vegetables into our diets every day. Sometimes it feels like it’s quite a challenge. It appears as though it may become even more challenging soon. New research from the University College London suggests that we need at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day for optimal health. Holy zucchini! That’s a lot of produce.

In the study, published in March, people who ate at least seven portions of produce a day had a 42 percent lower risk of death from all causes. Specifically, they had a 31 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and stroke and a 25 percent lower risk of death from cancer. The study authors called the results “staggering.”

FoodFacts.com wants to offer some ideas that can make the concept of increasing your fruit and vegetable intake by another two servings every day.

Let’s talk about breakfast
Fruit and breakfast are definitely great partners! If you enjoy oatmeal in the morning, you’ll find it even more enjoyable when you mix in a cup of fresh berries. You’ll add flavor and texture as well as variety. If you’re having yogurt as part of your morning meal, don’t buy the fruit flavored varieties. Instead stir in a cup of chopped peaches, apples, plums or melon. This is much tastier than the pre-mixed options. You can try peanut butter on toast topped with sliced apples. Breakfast is an easy opportunity to really enjoy your first serving of the seven for the day.

Expand your plate at lunch
We know that we can happily add lettuce and tomato to a sandwich. Those additions add texture and flavor and help keep us fuller, longer. If we’ve decided on a salad, we’ve got between one and three servings of vegetables on our lunch plate. Whatever our lunch choice, let’s put it on a plate and add some fruit salad we’ve prepared at home. We’ve got lots of great seasonal choices this time of year. Fruit salad is easy to store and travels well in small containers if need be. This isn’t just a great way to add another serving of the seven to our day, it’s another way to help you feel satisfied.

Veggies make great mix-ins
We’ve all probably done this at some point for children, but it really works to increase your vegetable consumption as well. If you’re making a meatloaf, add shredded zucchini for added flavor and texture and it helps make a more moist meatloaf. Burgers on the menu? Try chopped onions and mushrooms in the mix. Try chopped spinach in meatballs or sauteed spinach in your morning eggs. Don’t forget about pasta sauce as well — peas, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, spinach — any combination of veggies make pasta sauce a much richer experience.

Swap out your snacks
If you need a little something to hold you over in the afternoon before dinner, fruit is a great sweet snack. Fruit can satisfy your hunger, without killing your calorie consumption.

Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can be easier than you might think. A little creativity and out of the box thinking can go a long way. With the benefits described in this new study, it’s certainly worth it!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/knowmore-tv/fruits-veggies-_b_5234536.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living

Move over Samoas, there’s a new Girl Scout cookie in town and it’s gluten-free!

It’s that time of year again. Whether you have a Girl Scout in your family, or in a co-worker’s family, or you’re being visited by a Girl Scout at your front door, you may very well be ordering a box (or two or five) of your favorite Girl Scout cookies.

About this time last year, FoodFacts.com took a look at the ingredient lists for a few different Girl Scout cookie varieties. We weren’t very excited by what we discovered and shared the facts with our community. We felt as though products branded by the Girl Scouts should be more conscious than your average cookie brand of the ingredients they choose to include in their confections. You can read the ingredient lists for Samoas and Tagalongs on our site.

Back in 2011, a New York mom whose daughter was a Girl Scout, started a petition to convince the organization to offer a gluten-free cookie option. She collected more than 12,000 signatures after the companies that make the cookies told her there was not enough of a market for a gluten-free version.

Fast forward to 2014 and all that has changed as the Girl Scouts introduce the Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie.

According to the website of ABC Bakers, a maker of Girl Scout Cookies, the Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie will be making its debut in 20 test markets this year. The gluten-free snacks will be available in some parts of Maryland, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York and Wisconsin, among a handful of other states.

“ABC will conduct research during and after the sale to determine whether to go national with this cookie in the future since ABC Bakers is all about staying on the cutting edge, and bringing people what they want in today’s world,” the company’s website reads.

FoodFacts.com did a little digging and discovered that the new gluten-free Girl Scout cookie also carries a better ingredient list than its relatives, Samoas and Tagalongs. The Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie contains no partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup or artificial and natural flavorings.

This is undoubtedly great news for gluten-free Girl Scout cookie fans. But it’s also great news for all Girl Scout cookie aficionados who’d rather not consume the ingredients in some of the other, more popular options. When manufacturers (and organizations) listen to the voices of their consumer base, it usually results in better, healthier options for everyone. It makes their regular purchasers happy and it helps them acquire new customers as well. We all know the old saying, “the customer is always right.” Thanks for listening, Girl Scouts! Now you might want to get to work on some of the ingredient lists in the other cookie varieties everyone wants to love.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/girl-scouts-gluten-free-cookie_n_4690222.html

https://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/meet_the_cookies.asp

 

 

 

Are you ready for some football?

FoodFacts.com can’t wait! We’re busy planning the party. We’re sure many of you are too. Unfortunately many of the traditional Super Bowl foods we all know and love are laden with calories, fat and sodium. And we just couldn’t resist putting a healthier spin on some of those favorites. We think you’ll find them to be just as flavorful and satisfying as the old standards.

Buffalo Wings are standard Super Bowl fare. The restaurant-style wings we’re all familiar with are pretty unkind to our diets. They’re deep-fried. And the typical serving (two wings) contain an average of over 850 calories, 62g of fat, 25.6g of saturated fat and 1418 mg of sodium Let’s be honest, no one stops at two wings. So here’s our take on lighter Buffalo Wings:

What you’ll need:
2 pounds chicken wings split at the joint
¼ cup good quality hot pepper sauce

What you’ll do:
Put the wings in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the wings to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
While the wings are boiling , preheat your broiler
Drain the wings and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet
Broil about 6” from the heat source for 5 or 6 minutes, then turn and cook another 5 minutes
The skin should be browned and blistering.
Remove from the broiler and place in a large bowl
Drizzle with the hot sauce and toss to coat

The serving size for this recipe is 4 to 5 wings. Each serving contains 240 calories, 12g of fat and 710 mg of sodium.

How about some blue cheese dressing for those wings? The average blue cheese dressing will cost you over 240 calories and over 25 g of fat for just two tablespoons. Try this instead.

You’ll need:
½ cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon 2% milk
¼ cup mayo
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
salt and pepper

What you’ll do:
Whisk together the yogurt, milk mayo, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne. Fold the blue cheese in gently and add salt and pepper. Refrigerate the dip overnight.

For two tablespoons, this dip has 91 calories and 8 grams of fat. That’s a sizeable difference!

Let’s not forget about those loaded nachos with beef, beans, cheese and hot peppers. A typical serving of nachos like these runs over 800 calories, with over 50 grams of fat, with over 20 of those grams attributable to saturated fat. That’s pretty bad, considering the serving size is only 4 to 5 chips worth.

Our version is a lot lighter. And while they’re not loaded the way the restaurant versions are, they’re quite flavorful and spicy.

What you’ll need:
36 organic baked tortilla chips
1 cup shredded low-fat Monterey Jack Cheese
1 14.5 ou can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 plum tomatoes chopped
½ red onion finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

What you’ll do:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray
Spread the chips in a single layer on the sheet
Sprinkle with cheese
Cover with remaining ingredients
Bake 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted

A serving size here is 9 nachos (so double the serving size for the traditional loaded version). That serving will contain only 222 calories and 1 gram of fat.

So now that we have some healthier options lined up for game day, we can turn our attention to other important issues. Like which of the new commercials will win our favor this year … and how incredible do you think that half-time show will be?

Have a great Super Bowl Sunday!

Your brain on junk food …

Was there a word just on the tip of your tongue recently that you couldn’t quite remember? Are you having a difficult time staying focused at the office? Or maybe you’re having trouble remembering events from your not-so-distant past that were once easily accessible to you. Don’t be too quick to pass it off as an age-related issue or a momentary mental “glitch.” It may very well be diet-related!

A new study coming out of the University of New South Wales in Australia has linked a diet high in sugar and fat to restricted cognitive abilities — after just one week! It is thought that the results of this study may improve the current understanding of how obesity and excessive weight gain affect the body.

FoodFacts.com has reported on older studies that have linked obesity with mental health difficulties like depression. But is hasn’t been clear whether or not unhealthy dietary habits actually affect the brain. This new study sought to clarify this by evaluating cognitive changes in rats fed a diet high in both sugar and fat.

For a one week period, the test animals were assigned one of three meal plans — a healthy diet, an unhealthy diet emphasizing cake, chips and cookies, and a healthy diet taken with sugar water. The first and second meal plan groups represented control and treatment groups respectively. The third plan was experimental and attempted to isolate the effect of excessive sugar intake.

It was found that in both the treatment and experimental group, the subjects exhibited cognitive impairments after only one week. These impairments were exhibited as a reduced ability to recognize certain objects. The results suggest that even a temporary diet high in sugar and fat may have serious consequences. Researchers were surprised at the speed with which the cognitive deterioration took place. In addition, preliminary data may suggest that this damage is not reversed when the subjects are switched back to a healthy diet.

In addition, these rats had signs of inflammation in their brain’s hippocampal area — a cerebral center associated with spatial memory. This suggests that the inflammatory responses recorded in obese people may not be limited to fat tissue.
Researchers are hopeful that these results are relevant to people. They noted that while nutrition affects the brain at every age, it is critical as we age and may be significant in preventing cognitive decline.

So the next time you reach for a high fat, high sugar food option, it might be important to remember the results of this study. And if you’re having trouble reaching for that information, well … let’s say that might just be your brain on junk food! It’s time for us all to consider the way our diets affect our brains, as well as the rest of our bodies.

Read more here: http://health.yahoo.net/articles/obesity/one-week-junk-food-could-impair-your-memory

The new food year — expected trends in food and nutrition choices in 2014

Every new year brings with it new food choices and consumer trends in nutrition. So what are dietitians expecting 2014 to bring? FoodFacts.com has looked into what the experts have to say that might help shape the contents of our grocery store shelves in the coming 12 months. Have you been thinking about any of these trends as they pertain to your own diet?

 

Wheat-Free Eating
Dieticians predict that consumers will continue their interest in going wheat-free in the new year. While there’s no factual evidence supporting wheat or gluten free diets for weight loss or health (unless someone has a sensitivity or disease), consumers are finding wheat-free eating a fast tool for weight control. Wheat-free diets will make it to the top of the list for popular diet plans in 2014.

The decline of the low-fat diet
Dietitians are expecting that the low-fat diet will be the least-embraced diet plan of the year. Low-carb diets may pick up in popularity, while interest in low-fat eating falls off. We might attribute this to the renewed interest in healthier eating and ingredients as consumers become more concerned about how low-fat foods are produced.

Healthy eating becomes a bigger focus for food shoppers
More and more consumers are becoming educated shoppers. Ingredients and nutrition labels are a bigger concern than ever and consumers everywhere are spending more time considering the nutritional value of their purchases. This trend is expected to continue and grow in the coming year, giving food manufacturers a bigger opportunity than ever to respond to consumer concerns.

The continued lack of sound nutritional information
While it’s a good thing that consumers are more concerned than ever about the nutritional value of the foods they consume, dietitians are reporting that most of the nutritional information consumers are using is based on personal beliefs and popular concepts that are half-truths. Shoppers aren’t relying on actual published research for their information. This trend is also, unfortunately, expected to continue into the new year.

Increased interest in local and sustainable foods
Dietitians tell us that more and more consumers are looking to be more eco-conscious at the grocery store. The trend with their clients seems to be towards increasing purchases of locally produced and more sustainable foods.

The search for more and better nutrition and diet information is on
The majority of dietitians agree that American’s interest in nutrition and weight loss information will continue to grow in 2014. We hope that instead of relying on friends, relatives and articles from less-reliable sources, consumers turn to FoodFacts.com and other viable information resources in answer to their nutrition-information quest. We’ve got some big plans for the new year that will help nutritionally-conscious consumers stay committed to their healthy lifestyles!

FoodFacts.com wishes everyone in our community the happiest, most prosperous and healthiest of new years. Have a wonderful 2014!

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20131227/Dietitians-identify-14-diet-nutrition-and-food-trends-to-shape-Americans-waistlines-in-2014.aspx?page=2

Holiday Cheer: Party Snack Mix Edition

Most of us have more than a few gatherings of family and friends coming up. And some of those gatherings are planned in our own homes where we’ll be preparing the food for our guests. During most of these events, we’re likely to put out some appetizers and snacks for our guests to enjoy with a holiday cocktail or beverage as we’re putting the finishing touches on the meal.

What will you be serving prior to your dinner? For many of us here at FoodFacts.com, party snack mixes are a big hit with guests. These snacks tend to be a combination of salty and sweet goodies that are easy to pick up and eat while sipping a drink. And snack mixes also offer the advantage of convenience for many party hosts.

Generally FoodFacts.com associates convenience with problems like bad ingredients, or too much fat, or too much salt – or all or any combination of those three issues. And party snack mix is no exception to that rule. Here’s a typical ingredient list for a mainstream brand of party snack mix:

Flour Enriched (Wheat Flour, Barley Malted Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)) , Corn Meal Degermed Yellow, Wheat Whole, Vegetable(s) Oil (Soybean(s), Rice Bran and/or, Canola) , Flour Bleached Enriched (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)) , Soybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Sugar, Contains 22% or less Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Maltodextrin, Rye Flour, Yeast, Garlic Powder, Corn Syrup Solids, Corn Syrup High Fructose, Margarine (Soybean(s) Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Whey, Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Palmitate, Flavor(s) Natural) , Malt, Baking Soda, Barley Malt Extract, Corn Syrup, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial, Malt Syrup, Spice(s), Soy Lecithin, Milk Non-Fat Cultured, Sodium Diacetate, Onion(s) Powder, Almond(s) Flour, BHT To Retain Freshness, Calcium Carbonate, Color(s) Added, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Monoglyceride Distilled, Garlic, Molasses, Monocalcium Phosphate, Peanut(s) Flour, Sesame Seed(s), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Soy Sauce (Wheat, Soybean(s), Salt, Maltodextrin, Caramel Color) , Tamarind Extract, Trisodium Phosphate, Wheat Starch, Whey, Corn Flour Yellow

One half cup (the serving size) of that same mix contains:
Calories: 140
Fat: 6g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Sodium 390mg

At first glance that really doesn’t seem so bad. But considering the serving size, we’re pretty sure that most of our guests are going to consume more calories, fat and sodium than this suggests. We can definitely do better preparing a party snack mix ourselves with less ingredients that are better choices while we lighten up on the calories, fat and sodium.

Ingredients
• 4 cups organic squares cereal (such as Cascadian Farm or Nature’s Path)
• 2 cups organic mini pretzels (such as Shiloh Farms)
• 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
• 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon organic Worcestershire sauce

To Prepare
• Preheat oven to 350°F.
• Mix cereals, pretzels, Parmesan, garlic salt, onion powder, pepper and cayenne in a large bowl. Toss with oil and Worcestershire. Spread on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
• Bake, stirring often, until toasted, 40 minutes.

Here are the nutrition facts for every half cup of this snack mix your guests will enjoy:

Calories: 61
Fat: 2g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Sodium: 189mg

In addition to lightening up the obvious problems, this party snack mix doesn’t contain any partially hydrogenated oil, MSG, caramel color, hidden MSG or artificial flavor.

Enjoy good food for the holidays. Offer your guests the flavor and goodness that comes from your kitchen – that includes the snacks and appetizers. They’ll appreciate your efforts – and enjoy indulging on treats that are better for them from the ingredients to the calories, fat and sodium!

‘Tis the season for Holiday parties!

Everyone enjoys a good holiday party. The kind of gathering with a tabletop full of finger food and perhaps some decadent cocktails where we mingle with friends both old and new! Holiday parties are a great tradition during this season. So FoodFacts.com thought we’d fill you in on how you can enjoy those great gatherings with less guilt by listing a few of the more common offerings in seasonal spreads that would probably be better to avoid.

Chocolate martinis
While specialty cocktails are especially fun during the holidays, a chocolate martini can weigh in at about 300 calories per drink when it includes vodka, chocolate liquor and syrup (which most do). Chocolate liquor can have as many as 103 calories per shot and 11 grams of sugar. Since there are probably other sweet treats you’ll be enjoying during a party, we’d suggest you stay away from the chocolate cocktail. You may want to stick with a glass of white wine. One five ounce glass is just 120 calories, with 1.4g of sugar.

Eggnog
This holiday classic is laden with calories, cholesterol and sugar. About 343 calories per cup, 150 mg of cholesterol and 21g of sugar. There are better ways to spend the calories this season. Perhaps your hosts are offering hard cider – just as festive, but with about 190 calories in 12 ounces, you’ll still be leaving some room for the other goodies gracing the table.

Cheese straws
These can be hard to resist, but to be honest you should try your best to stay away from them. Typically, cheese straws contain only about 160 calories per serving – but that same serving provides one third of your daily limit of saturated fat. That’s a lot for a snack. We’re sure you’ll find chips and salsa at just about any holiday gathering … not to mention pretzels or fresh vegetables and dip. Any of these would be better options.

Swedish meatballs
Believe it or not, it’s entirely possible that one serving (about five bite size pieces) of Swedish meatballs can contain about 400 calories, 47% of your daily allowance of saturated fat, 54% of your daily allowance of cholesterol and over half of your daily allowance of sodium.

We bet there’s some kind of ham on the table – a mini-spiral, perhaps. You can enjoy a serving of ham for 110 calories, about 9g of fat and believe it or not, waaay less sodium than those meatballs.

Spinach and artichoke dip
It’s spinach and artichokes … how can it NOT be good for you???? Sadly, that’s a pretty easy answer – mayonnaise, sour cream and cream cheese. Just a few tablespoons (enough to fit on just a few chips or crackers) of this rich dip can contain about 200 calories, 17g of fat and 7g of saturated fat. And let’s face it, most of us don’t stop at just a few chips worth of this very tasty dip.

If your host has included deviled eggs as a finger food option, you can easily substitute a few halves for the chips and dips. These will weigh in at about 64 calories per half-egg serving, 7% of your daily recommended intake of saturated fat, and only about 3% of your RDI for sodium.

These are a few ideas to help you navigate your nutritional way through the holiday season. FoodFacts.com knows that most of us will be attending more than a few gatherings through the new year. We all want to enjoy ourselves as much as we can, without overdoing. Go ahead, indulge a little … with a little thought behind our consumption those indulgences won’t hurt us as much as they could. And we won’t have the regrets we might have if we’d paid less attention!

Control hunger … snack on almonds

FoodFacts.com knows that there snacking has become an issue of sorts here in the U.S. There are so many unhealthy snack choices that surround us daily. Our grocery shelves are filled with them. Most contain countless questionable ingredients, too much salt and too much sugar. And our snack habits have contributed to our current struggles with obesity. We need some help choosing snacks that will work to curtail hunger that don’t work to put on the pounds. Today we read some interesting information that may provide that help.

A new study published in the October issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that study participants eating 1.5 ounces of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day experienced reduced hunger and improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated (“good”) fat intake without increasing body weight.

An estimated 97% of Americans are consuming at least one snack per day. In light of increasing snacking frequency and snack size among U.S. adults, combined with continued increases in obesity rates and widespread nutrient shortfalls, it becomes increasingly important to identify snacks that pose little risk for weight gain while providing health benefits.

The newly published four-week randomized, controlled clinical study, led by researchers at Purdue University, investigated the effects of almond snacking on weight and appetite.
The study included 137 adult participants at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants were divided into five groups: a control group that avoided all nuts and seeds, a breakfast meal group and lunch meal group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds each with their daily breakfast or lunch, and a morning snack group and afternoon snack group that each consumed 1.5 ounces of almonds between their customary meals. All almond snacks were eaten within approximately two hours after their last meal and two hours before their next meal.

Participants were not given any other dietary instruction other than to follow their usual eating patterns and physical activity. Participant compliance to consuming almonds was monitored through self-reported dietary intake assessments and fasting vitamin E plasma levels. Despite consuming approximately 250 additional calories per day from almonds, participants did not increase the total number of calories they ate and drank over the course of the day or gain weight over the course of the four-week study.

“This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight,” says Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD, distinguished professor of nutrition science at Purdue University and the study’s principal investigator. “In this study, participants compensated for the additional calories provided by the almonds so daily energy intake did not rise and reported reduced hunger levels and desire to eat at subsequent meals, particularly when almonds were consumed as a snack.”

The new study suggests snacking can be a weight-wise strategy, depending upon the foods consumed. The combined positive effects of daily almond consumption seen in participants on hunger, appetite control, and vitamin E and monounsaturated fat intake without any impact on body weight suggests almonds are a smart snack choice that can help support a healthy weight.

FoodFacts.com likes this research for a number of reasons. We know folks like to snack. And we know that healthy snack options aren’t always as convenient as people might like. Often, grabbing that bag of chips or snack cake off the rack is easier than planning and preparing a snack to travel with you during the day. Almonds are actually pretty convenient. They don’t require preparation. They travel easily. And portion sizing is simple. They’re healthy for many reasons and they can stave off hunger until your next meal. Easy. Satisfying. Nutritionally valuable. We should all give this a try!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267214.php