Kefir, pronounced just like the first name of actor Kiefer Sutherland and not to be confused with kaffir, a type of lime, is a cultured milk. “So many people don’t know what it is,” says Jennifer Lynn Bice, owner of Redwood Hill Farm and Green Valley Organics, who starting making kefir on her family farm back in 1978. “It’s like a sister or cousin to yogurt in that it starts out with milk and we add beneficial bacteria or cultures.” Bice says the process leaves kefir liquidy and drinkable, whereas yogurt remains spoonable. The differences don’t stop there.
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We scoured this year’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo to find the best new healthy snacks, products and foods about to hit store shelves. Here are our top-five choices. Read more
Are you falling for claims that many brands of frozen macaroni and cheese are reasonable options for a healthy dinner? Check out the results of this evaluation before your next trip down the freezer aisle. Read more
The rising popularity of cold-press juices has brought an influx of bottled products to the market. But is there anything specific you should be looking for when you buy? For starters, it helps to know what “cold-pressed” means: Also known as high pressure processing (HPP), cold-pressing applies very high pressure to raw juice in order to kill any harmful microorganisms that may be present. Once HPP is applied, the juice is placed into a bottle, sealed and refrigerated.
For this taste test, each variety of cold-pressed juice contained at least one green vegetable (be it kale, celery, cucumber or anything else with a verdant tint). We rated the bottled stuff on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest score), assessing each juice for taste, nutrition, serving size and cost. We were also on the lookout for any ingredients that surprisingly jack up the calories. Bottles ranged in size from 10 fluid ounces to 16. Read more
Halva, the Middle Eastern sesame candy, is a dessert favorite. Dense and rich, it tastes like peanut buttery fudge and is often layered with ribbons of chocolate. What could be better? Just one problem: It’s traditionally loaded with sugar. Israeli native Shahar Shamir was a huge halva fan too, but as a former dancer keen on keeping healthy, he was hesitant to dig in.
A home cook since the age of eight (his mother taught him everything he knows), Shamir decided to fiddle with a recipe of his own, grinding sesame seeds with honey and roasted nuts, and making something that more closely resembled a nut butter than a candy. His rendition also dispensed with the usual hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors. He served his new-fangled halva spreads to friends at dinner parties. They went wild.
Looking for something refreshingly fun to beat the heat this summer? Check out these sensible sippers. Read more
With the season of backyard food fests in full swing, Healthy Eats vetted the most popular hot dog brands around to see which ones deserve a coveted spot on the grill grates. Find out which frank emerged as top dog.
We rated beef wieners on a 5-point scale (5 being highest), judging the dogs on taste, ingredient quality and nutrition and paying special attention to calories, fat and sodium. We stuck with regular franks instead of the reduced-fat versions, as many of those use a considerable amount of fillers made from potato starch to displace some of the meat (no thank you). We were also on the lookout for the presence of preservatives such as sodium nitrite. Hot dogs ranged in size from 42 to 57 grams (1.5 to 2 ounces) per piece. Read more
Have you browsed the cracker aisle lately? In addition to stocking the classic varieties, shelves are overflowing with versions made from whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. But are these options really what they’re cracked up to be?
For this taste test, we chose the plain or original flavor crackers. Each was tasted alone, without any toppings or condiments. The crackers were rated on calories, fat, fiber and sodium, along with ingredients (including preservatives and additives), flavor, texture and cost. Each brand was rated on a 5-point scale, with 5 being highest.
Kashi Original 7 Grain Snack Crackers (above)
Cost (per ounce): $0.44
Nutrition Info (per serving: 15 crackers): 120 calories; 3.5 grams total fat; 160 milligrams sodium; 3 grams fiber
The Healthy Eats Take: With plenty of crackers per serving (15!) and a respectable amount of fiber, these delicious crackers won’t leave you hungry. The snacks have a hearty crunch and a well-rounded list of whole-grain ingredients, including millet, oats, hard red wheat, brown rice, barley, buckwheat and sesame seeds.
Crunchy versions of this leafy green vegetable are taking the chip aisle by storm. There’s no doubt kale is delicious and nutritious — but do its dried spin-offs live up to the hype?
We rated these leafy snacks on a 5-point scale (5 being highest) and judged them on taste, texture, price and nutrition, with special attention paid to stats such as calories and sodium. All of the brands were vegan and gluten-free, but none contained only kale. Most featured various spices and nuts, so it’s worth reading labels carefully, particularly for anyone who has food allergies.
Have you noticed all the popcorn snacks popping up on supermarket shelves? Some might even merit a spot in your shopping cart. This whole-grain snack (yes, corn qualifies) is naturally gluten-free and filled with fiber, protein, iron and antioxidants. One ounce of kernels will pop into more than 3.5 cups of popcorn and total only about 100 calories.