All Posts In Grocery Shopping

6 Healthy Pantry Must-Haves

by in Grocery Shopping, Healthy Tips, July 9, 2013

sambal oelek

Could your pantry use a healthy makeover? Use these six ingredients to infuse recipes with flavor.

1. Sambal Oelek
Quite possibly one of my favorite ingredients of all time, this blend of fresh ground chiles, salt and vinegar adds a flavorful heat to sauces, stir-fries and marinades. Mix with mayo, nonfat Greek yogurt and lemon juice for a sauce that tastes good on just about anything.

Recipe: Spicy Turkey and Green Bean Stir Fry

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How to Pick a Healthy Frozen Treat

by in Grocery Shopping, Healthy Tips, July 8, 2013

frozen treat
Nobody loves a good frozen treat more than I do, which is why it bugs me when I see store shelves overflowing with “diet” offerings that fool folks into thinking they’re better than good old ice cream. The next time you’ve got a hankering for a frozen treat, here are some useful tips.

Low-Fat Ice Cream
Light and low-fat ice creams make up for the removal of fat by adding thickeners like guar gum, locust bean gum and carrageenan (just to name a few). Since fat also provides flavor, some lightened varieties include more sugar to make up for it, which means the calories can wind up being similar to regular ice cream. More sugar, less fat, same calories – not exactly healthier. And don’t be fooled by the term slow churned; some brands may be using new technology to alter the consistency, while others may simply have more thickeners added in.

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Taste Test: Salsa

by in Taste Test, May 30, 2013

salsa
Grab your tortilla chips! I tasted some of the most popular brands of salsa just in time for your summer parties — find out how your favorite brand scored on our list.

The Criteria
Mild versions of jarred salsa were sampled and rated using a 5-point scale (5 being the highest). Specific attention was paid to flavor, texture and nutrition info, focusing on calories and sodium.

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New Products Made With Greek Yogurt

by in Grocery Shopping, May 21, 2013

greek yogurt frozen pop
Everyone seems to be going ga-ga for Greek yogurt these days! While the tangy, creamy goodness makes for flavorful chicken salad, smoothies and dips, food manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon offering all kinds of Greek yogurt-filled goods.

Greek Goodness
Folks dig Greek yogurt for it’s thicker texture and pungent flavor. It’s also higher in protein than regular yogurt, plus it offers those tummy-pleasing probiotics. Our recent taste tests (for plain and flavored varieties) unveiled that there’s quite a difference in flavor across the numerous brands out there.

Frozen Treats
The freezer section has gone Greek! Not only can you find pints of Greek fro -o (Vanilla Honey Carmel from Ben & Jerry’s anyone?), you can also find portion-controlled frozen bars made with Greek yogurt and real fruit. As far as we can tell, the majority of these frozen goodies are made with real Greek yogurt, but buyers should beware of the health “halo” – many brands have just as much sugar and calories as ice cream!

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Shop Smarter: Savvy Grocery Shopping Tips from Mary Abbott Hess

by in Grocery Shopping, May 5, 2013

grocery shopping
Confused by all the choices at the supermarket? I had the chance to speak with dietitian Mary Abbott Hess, author of The Pocket Supermarket Guide. Her savvy supermarket shopping tips will have you reaching for healthier choices during your next trip to the market, and saving money too.

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Taste Test: Strawberry Greek Yogurt

by in Taste Test, April 28, 2013

Greek yogurt
Back in 2010, we did our Nonfat Greek Yogurt Taste Test and there were only a few brands to choose from. Today, the number of companies making Greek yogurt has exploded, and so have the flavor options. So how do the flavored varieties stack up? Find out.

The Criteria
I used our typical 5-point scale (5 being the highest) to rate these yogurts. For nutrition, I paid close attention to calories, protein and sugar content. Even plain Greek yogurt contains some natural sugars from milk (aka lactose) but when looking at flavored varieties, there’s often a large variation of ingredients. Sugars on the label can come from milk, fruit and/or added sugars.

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Kid-Friendly Breakfast Ideas

by in Grocery Shopping, Healthy Recipes, Kid-Friendly, March 16, 2013

breakfast bars
I make quick, easy and kid-friendly breakfast every day for my 3 kids. If you’re not a believer that you can make breakfast happen in a flash, try any of my tips to make it happen.

Food Groups Matter
It’s not just about throwing together easy foods, but making sure your little ones gets the nutrients they need from a variety of food groups. As a rule of thumb, I make sure at least 3 food groups are represented in any of my kid’s breakfasts. Choose from dairy, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and lean protein. The more food groups you can include, the better.

Quick Recipe Ideas
Simple, no-fuss recipes you can throw together in less than 10 minutes.

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How Much Fruit Should You Eat?

by in Grocery Shopping, Label Decoder, February 14, 2013

blueberries
The serving size for any food isn’t “one size fits all.” It depends on numerous factors like the food group, shape and nutrients provided. I’ll layout your standard fruit serving sizes and delve into the nitty-gritty details of some not-so-traditional foods (like those squeezable fruit pouches) so you’ll know what one serving of fruit actually is.

The Recommendations
According to the USDA’s MyPlate, any fruit or 100% fruit juice can make up a serving of fruit. Fresh, canned, frozen, freeze-dried, dried, whole, cut up and pureed fruit all count. How much fruit you need each day varies by gender, age, and level of physical activity. Here are the guidelines for men and women ages 19 and older:

Women:

  • 19 to 30 years: 2 cups
  • 31 years and older: 1 ½ cups

Men:

  • 19 years and older: 2 cups

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New Products to Stock Up On

by in Grocery Shopping, January 10, 2013

quinoa
It’s a new year and a good time to stock up on fresh, healthy foods. The next time you hit the supermarket, take a good look around—you’ll see many new products on the shelves. Here are some of our favorite finds.

Whole Grains

Colored Quinoa
Besides the basic pale yellow color, quinoa can be found in a vibrant shade of red. Several companies including Eden Foods, Trader Joe’s and Quinola sell them. You might see black quinoa on the market as well.

Freekah
This ancient grain is derived from young green wheat. It cooks up similar to wheat berries and is a great way to mix up your daily grains. It does take a bit more time to cook than rice– so cook up a double batch to use throughout the week in dishes like soups, salads and pilafs.

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Talking With the Co-Founder of Garden Lites

by in Grocery Shopping, December 8, 2012

garden lites
This line of gluten-free frozen dishes, soufflés, and veggie muffins has taken the market by storm. I spoke with Garden Lites’ co-founder Jeff Moskowitz to find out the secret of their success.

Q1. How did you come up with the idea of creating Garden Lites foods?
I wanted to make foods that would help people live a healthier lifestyle. There’s no healthier food than vegetables, but people seem to look at veggies as something they HAVE to eat versus something they WANT to eat. I wanted to change that perception.

Q2. You have a delicious line of soufflés. Are they meant to be eaten on their own or can they be used in cooking?
Our consumers eat them for breakfast, lunch or a hearty snack as well as cut them up and serve as a side dish. The soufflés also make a wonderful ingredient. We started a partnership with Meatless Monday where we post meatless recipes using our soufflés on our social media and cross promote it on Meatless Monday’s Facebook page. That has been very successful. We have a lot of really amazing recipe ideas (like our Veggie Lasagna below), which you can find on our website. We will also be expanding our recipe section on our new website starting in January 2013.

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