One of the perks of being a “seasoned” dietitian is having food companies reach out to provide products for us to try. It’s a great way for us to “try before we buy” as well as have recommendations for the clients we see. While I’m seeing clients via Zoom and not in a typical office these days, it’s a bit harder to give them a free sample, but I can send coupons in the mail or provide recommendations on email or my blog, as I’m doing now.
Right around Christmas time, I received a box of Keto nut and seed and granola bars by Munk Pack. It’s a company out of Greenwich Connecticut with THE most adorable logo of a chipmunk. As a cat fan, I have a thing for small furry animals.
Beyond the cute packaging, the bars are very tasty and comply with a lower carb/keto diet if that’s what you’re looking for. I have several clients with pre-diabetes and diabetes that these bars would be perfect for. The carb count is 12 to 15 grams per bar, but once fiber and allulose (sweetener) is subtracted, most bars provide 2 to 3 grams of net carbs. Ironically, the bars also contain monk fruit extract as a sweetening agent. Holy cow, there’s a whole new marketing angle there!
From a calorie stand point- most of the bars run between 140 to 150 calories, which is great for a between meal snack or sweet treat after dinner. They are low in sodium with less than 100 mg per bar in most and provide between 3 to 6 grams of fiber and 5 to 6 grams protein per bar. The bars rely on allulose as a sweetener, which is and FDA approved, low-calorie sweetener. Read more here: What is allulose? Health benefits and possible risks (medicalnewstoday.com)
The saturated fat on a few of the bars (chocolate and coconut based) were a bit higher (10-15% of the Daily Value) than the nut and seed bars (such as pecan almond and pumpkin seed cinnamon almond) which provide 8 to 10% of the Daily Value. The bars are non-GMO and do not contain sugar alcohols, which can be poorly absorbed.
For those looking for a gluten-free option, this is a great option. Munk bars are also cholesterol-free, but again- watch the saturated fat content on some varieties.
The bars are available at Walmart Super Stores, Whole Foods, Amazon or the Munk Pack web site. You can find more information on the company here: Munk Pack | Keto Bars | Keto Snacks | Vegan Protein Cookies
Now that the weather is warming up (slightly), I’m in more of a mood for salad than soup. It’s still winter in Ohio, but I can pretend it’s spring. I recently received a lovely sample box of pears from USA pears and couldn’t wait until they got ripe enough to eat. They’re the pearfect treat for this food-loving dietitian.
Pears are not only beautiful (I have a collection of pear art and trinkets), they’re nutritious and delicious. A natural source of fiber, pears provide over 5 grams of dietary fiber in 1 medium piece of fruit. Adult men need roughly 38 grams of fiber daily while women should aim for at least 25 grams. Be good to your colon and eat that fiber!
In addition to fiber, pears are a source of phytochemicals- plant compounds that help reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. They’re a versatile fruit that can be eaten by themselves or used in baked goods to reduce the amount of added sugar. Use 1/2 cup of pear puree for 1 cup of added sugar. You’ll need to adjust recipes a bit as pears and other fruit adds moisture to your recipes.
Here are a few ways to enjoy pears:
- “Pear” them with low-fat cottage cheese for a quick breakfast or snack.
- Top your breakfast oats with chopped pears.
- Slice or dice them and include in your salad.
- Try pears in a compote for meat or fish.
- Eat them with a side of nuts and blue cheese and pretend you’re in France.
Below is the recipe for my lunch!
Chicken and fresh pear salad with dried cherries and almonds
2 cups mixed greens, baby spinach or bagged kale salad
2-3 ounces cooked chicken or turkey
1 ripe D’Anjou or other fresh pear
1/4 cup almond slivers
1 Tbsp. dried cherries
1 tsp. blue cheese crumbles
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Place the greens in a salad bowl.
- Add the chicken to the greens.
- Rinse, dry and cut the pears into chunks and add them to the salad
- Top with almond slivers, dried cherries and blue cheese crumbles.
- Whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard to make a vinaigrette.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss and eat!
Makes 1 pearfectly delicious lunch.
Can you use some humor right now? I sure can. This month, I’m partnering with Jonathan Valdez, a fellow fun RD in NY. Jonathan runs Genkinutrition, a food and nutrition communication agency. Jonathan’s got a flare for style and fun personality, so I thought I’d reach out to collaborate on a food pun giveaway.
This giveaway is unique- 3 winners will pick their own tee, tank, tote, mug or onesie! I’m also running a 25% off sale- use GENKINUTRITION at check out for 25% off until Jan.31.
Now until Jan 19, enter our Instagram contest! Details here:Jonathan Valdez (@genkinutrition) • Instagram photos and videos
NEW YEAR GIVEAWAY TIME! I’m partnering with @nutrigirl66 (Sound Bites Nutrition) to bring you a very special treat. We’re giving THREE winners ONE FREE swag item from Sound Bites Nutrition Store filled with food puns on mugs, totes, unisex shirts, onesies, and tank tops (unfortunately, long-sleeve isn’t part of the giveaway). The store can be found #linkbio.
Here’s How To Enter:
1. LIKE this photo
2. FOLLOW @genkinutrition and @nutrigirl66
3. TAG a friend in the comments! One Tag in the comments is an additional entry. THERE IS NO LIMIT ON ENTRIES
4. Share this photo in your story and tag both of us for an additional 3 entries.
And guess what? I have a special discount so EVERYONE is a winner! Use code “GENKINUTRITION” at checkout for 25% off your next Sound Bites Nutrition swag order through the end of the month. Sound Bites Nutrition also has a “Lettuce Beet Hunger” giving program. Each purchase contributes to food insecurity by providing counseling, programs, and nutrition education. Purchase with a good purpose! Part of proceeds to go to @lasoupecincinnati and St. Francis Seraph Ministries.
It can be difficult for people with food sensitivities or allergies to find tasty alternatives. While it may be cold outside, ice cream and ice cream pops remain popular desserts. But, most contain dairy, which may be off limits to those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergy.
In addition, some people may be trialing Veganuary (AKA vegan January). There’s plenty of meatless alternatives out there, but most desserts include milk, butter and eggs. Enter Chloe’s!
As a dietitian, I was happy to try samples of a new dairy free frozen dessert. While the company is called Chloe’s fruit pops, they also offer a non-dairy alternative made from oats. Being the curious culinary professional, I tried both the fruit pops and oat milk pops.
The fruit pops are made from just that- fruit, cane sugar and water. I love that they don’t include artificial colors, sugar alcohols (which can aggravate those with IBS) or any artificial flavors. To quote Willy Wonka, “the strawberry tastes like strawberry!”.
The fruit pops come in 9 delicious varieties including raspberry, blueberry, mango, banana, pomegranate, tangerine, cold pressed coffee, dark chocolate and strawberry. I’m a huge fan of mango and cold pressed coffee.
They also make dairy-free oat milk pops. The three fabulous flavors include salted caramel, raspberry chip and mint chocolate chip. All varieties are dairy free and low in fat.
My favorite was the mint chocolate mint oat milk pop. It wasn’t overly sweet, but had a smooth texture and refreshing spearmint taste with mini chocolate chips. They contain just 120 calories and a few grams of fat, which is awesome for anyone watching their waistlines this new year.
They also make a more decadent variety of dipped pops including banana, coconut, dark chocolate and strawberry. These will run you about 180 calories each, which is still within reason for dessert.
Check out their selection and locations to buy. You can find a coupon on their web site or drop me an email and I’ll send you one! Chloe’s Pops | Frozen Fruit Pops and Bars (chloesfruit.com)
Email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
#ambassador #product review #freecoupons
If you’re still eating the pre-packaged oatmeal with 3 tsp. of added sugar, it’s time to up your oatmeal game. While that’s a quick, convenient breakfast, it’s less expensive and more delicious to make your own.
I received a few sample packages of Arctic® Apples | Distinctly Nonbrowning Apples this week, which are a genetically engineered apple. They were Golden Delicious and Granny Smith varieties in individual pouches. This makes it easy to grab and go for snacks.
Before you get upset about GMOs, know the facts. GMOS are genetically modified organisms. Scientists modify plants by transferring a beneficial trait from one plant to another plant. One example would be insect resistance. The products undergo several years of testing for health and safety, including allergy testing. Read more about them here: GMO Answers | GMO Facts – Everything to Know About GMOs
To date, there are 10 GMO crops including alfalfa sprouts, soybeans, corn, sugar beets, canola, summer squash, potato, papaya, cotton and a few varieties of apples. If a food contains a GMO crop, it will be labeled bioengineered food. Any food that is 100% organic will not contain any ingredients that are GMO. GMOs are used globally to help reduce crop waste, hunger and prevent malnutrition.
In the case of Arctic apples, which are labeled bioengineered, the producers “knock out” the enzyme polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme that makes the apple turn brown when it’s exposed to air. This engineering makes the apple more shelf stable once cut and helps to reduce food waste. Consumers tend to be more likely to toss out apples or other fruit (such as avocado) once they start to brown.
What I liked about these apples was both the taste and texture. Like regular Granny Smith apples- Arctic apples were tart and somewhat firm. They chopped up easily and added some great color to my otherwise beige breakfast.
The recipe below is better known as “loaded oatmeal” in my house. I like to throw everything but the kitchen sink into my cereal to boost the taste, texture and nutritional value. You can use chia seeds if you don’t have ground flaxseeds and any chopped nut will do.
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground flaxseed
1/2 Granny Smith Arctic apple
1 tsp. chopped walnuts
- Place rolled oats in a microwave safe bowl.
- Add cinnamon, flaxseed, apples and chopped walnuts.
- Add 1 cup water and mix ingredients together.
- Cover the bowl with a glass or other microwave safe lid and microwave for 2 mintues.
- Mix and serve.
Makes 1 large serving.
Between our sourdough hobby and pandemic banana bread baking, the virus has taken its toll on our waistlines. At the beginning of the pandemic, many of us became more acquainted with our kitchens while juggling Zoom calls. With 9 months into Covid, many of us are experiencing cooking fatigue.
While the jury is out as to how ‘widespread’ weight gain is since the pandemic, health experts estimate anywhere from 3 to 20 pounds gained. In a survey of over 1,000 WebMD readers, almost 1/4 of male readers and ½ of females complained of weight gain due to COVID. As the rate of the virus rises and cooler temps set in, we need to be prepared for another potential lockdown, which could to lead to more rings around the waistline. 1
The good news is that it’s never too early to consider a diet reset. With 2021 right around the corner, now is a perfect time. If losing weight or eating healthier is on your resolution list, Pritikin Foods may be just what you’re looking for.
I received samples of Pritikin Foods to try in exchange for my honest review. If you’re not familiar with the product, they’ve got quite the reputation and have been around for over 40 years.
Pritikin’s philosophy is to use whole or barely processed foods to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Meals are low-calorie and contain lean protein-rich foods such as fish, beans or soy-based products as well as vegetables and whole grains. Added sugar, sodium and unhealthy saturated fat is kept at a minimum.
In over 100 peer-reviewed studies, research shows that the Pritikin Program, including The Pritikin Eating Plan may help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease.
I sampled the Lemon Cod meal for lunch this week and was pleasantly surprised by the nutritional quality and taste of the product. The fish was flaky and tender with a mild vegetable-based sauce including onions, tomatoes and garlic. The whole grain brown rice was lightly seasoned with a perfect texture. A serving of bright, steamed broccoli rounded out the meal.
Compared to other frozen meals, Pritikin Foods provide only a third of the sodium (210 mg) and are low in sugar, fat and saturated fat. In addition, the fish provided 24 grams of lean protein, which is very satisfying.
If you’re thinking that frozen meals are inferior to homemade, you may change your mind after trying these. A low-fat, high-fiber frozen meal beats a calorie-laden, carry-out meal when you’re concerned with your arteries and waistline.
Give them a try. You’ve got nothing to lose but that Covid spread.
New Pritikin Foods customers can get 20% off their first 10 or 24 meal package when they use SOUNDBITES20 at checkout.