by Toby Amidor in Grocery Shopping, December 8, 2012
by Dana Angelo White in Taste Test, November 2, 2012
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.
by Toby Amidor in Grocery Shopping, October 28, 2012
There are so many brands of this lunch-box classic. Which is best for snacking?
There’s a wide range of granola bar options and an even broader range of ingredients. Some brands do a much better job of making their bars with quality stuff. They all contain some form of sugar (they wouldn’t taste very good without it), but we looked at all the ingredients very carefully to evaluate the best options.
For this taste test, we rated chewy chocolate chip bars on taste, ingredients and nutritional information—focusing on calories, fat and sugar. We rated each on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest).
by Toby Amidor in Grocery Shopping, September 6, 2012
Every year I attend the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo and scout the expo for the newest must-have foods. This year I found a variety of new chips, fun dairy flavors and one hot blender.
Chips made from various grains and legumes are very trendy right now. These bean chips come in a variety of flavors such as Black Bean (my favorite), Pinto Bean & Flax, and Black Bean Chipotle BBQ. They are non-GMO certified, corn-free, gluten-free, kosher and high in fiber (contains at least 5 grams of fiber per serving). One serving of the Black Bean Chips (about 10 chips) has 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. It also provides 6% of your daily dose of iron (pretty good for a snack chip!).
Lundberg Rice Chips
This second type of chip is made from 70% organic ingredients. The package has the Whole Grain Stamp and the Non-GMO verified label. There are 9 flavors available—I tried the Sea Salt (my favorite), Sesame & Seaweed and Sante Fe Barbecue. One serving of Sea Salt Rice Chips (about 9 chips) has 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of fiber,and 2 grams of protein. First ingredient listed on the package is organic whole grain-brown rice – a whole grain!
by Toby Amidor in Back to School, Grocery Shopping, Taste Test, August 23, 2012
Fooducate is an easy-to-use, free smartphone app that helps you make healthier food choices. To use it, scan a packaged item’s bar code or search for food items and you’ll see its letter grade (A to D) with an explanation of its nutritional benefits, or lack thereof. When I recently introduced this app to a table of women they couldn’t believe their favorite so-called “healthy” snack foods scored so low (they received a C- or D+). They now use it to help them make more healthful food choices. I had the opportunity to speak to Fooducate creator, Hemi Weingarten, to learn more about it.
Q: Fooducate is a fantastic app that’s easy to use at the market or at home. How did you come up with the idea?
A few years ago, when my children were still babies, we bought a glow-in-the-dark yogurt in the supermarket. I was curious as to the source of the bright pink color and read an ingredient list for the first time in my life. I was shocked to discover Red #40, a synthetic dye, with potential links to hyperactivity and cancer is being used in kiddie yogurt. In Europe it is banned and beet juice is used instead.
I started researching the modern food industry and discovered many other ingredients or processes for food manufacturing that seemed to make good business sense for companies, but were not in my family’s best interest. Fooducate started out as a blog to help myself and other parents be more cognizant of the food we buy for our families. When smartphones started to become popular, I put together a team and we built the mobile scanning app.
by Toby Amidor in Taste Test, August 14, 2012
With all the so-called “healthy” messages on juice boxes, it’s tough to decipher which is really the best choice for your little ones. We’ve tasted and anylized popular juices so you’ll be better informed on your next trip to the market.
Even if you’re giving your kids 100% juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following:
- 1 to 6 years: Limit juice to 4 to 6 fluid ounces per day
- 7 to 18 years: Limit juice to 8 to 12 ounces per day
Remember, fruit juice shouldn’t be used as a substitute for whole fruit. There are no nutritional benefits of drinking juice over whole fruit. It’s important to stick to the AAP guidelines as too much juice in your kiddos’ diet can lead to obesity, poor nutrition and tooth decay.
When shopping for juice, not all boxes are created equal and not all markets are stocked with the same brands. You want to look for those that are made from 100% juice as opposed to mostly sugar + water. Size also matters—for kids 6 and under, opt for the smallest (4.23 fluid-ounce) box whenever possible.
by Monique Volz in Grocery Shopping, May 18, 2012
With so much talk about hot sauce, we had to taste test all the popular varieties for ourselves. We got our mouths fired up for this spicy taste test. Find out who topped our list.
It’s All About Sodium
Hot sauce is the new ketchup. Dab a little on sandwiches, pizza, pasta dishes, chili, grilled meats, eggs – almost any dish. If you check out the label, you’ll notice that there’s not much nutrition information per serving—no calories, fat, saturated fat, carbs, or protein (or at least so little that it can be listed as zero by food labeling guideline). What it does have is sodium—and some brands have more than others.
by Toby Amidor in Grocery Shopping, April 7, 2012
- Vegan Pina Colada Smoothies
We’re hosting a Healthy Every Week Challenge for the month of May; a month-long initiative to develop healthy eating habits. The plan is to develop a manageable healthy habit each week that will carry through the new year. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter .
Between work, exercise and a busy social life, sometimes I find it difficult to prepare myself meals during the week. It’s time consuming and after a long day in meetings the last thing I want to do is cook a meal for myself. It’s usually easier to heat up a frozen meal or to stop and grab a sandwich on my way home. So what’s the problem with this? Well I’m spending money that could be saved and I’m also not 100% sure of what additives or hidden calories are in my food. Okay and I’ll admit: I’m a firm believer that cooking at home is a creative energy that should be explored by all.
by Dana Angelo White in Gluten-Free, Taste Test, April 6, 2012
- Should you believe everything you read on food labels?
There are some packaged foods that make me want to scream! Some try to make not-very-healthy foods seem like they’re super nutritious, while others take healthy food and make them less nutritious. Oftentimes the first thought in my mind is “who thought this up?” Check out these outlandish foods, and keep in mind that if a label claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You’re better off eating real, whole foods over packaged or manufactured foods any day.
#1: Snap Infusion Supercandy
This candy is marketed as having “the deliciousness and instant gratification of candy, packed with super benefits.” It’s packed with a variety of B-vitamins, the antioxidant vitamins C and E, and a variety of electrolytes.
Instead: Be careful popping these over-fortified candies. Eat a balanced meal to get B-vitamin from proteins, vitamin C and potassium from fruit and veggies, vitamin E from healthy fats, and electrolytes from dairy.
by Toby Amidor in Grocery Shopping, Label Decoder, March 13, 2012
- Is your favorite gluten-free bread on our list?
The gluten-free phenomenon has lead to dozens of new products on store shelves. Breads and baked goods are some of the hardest foods to make tasty and sans gluten. We polled our readers and took their favorite brands for a test drive.
For this taste test, we rated breads based on taste, texture, nutrition and cost. Each variety was rated on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest). Gluten-free breads are famously higher in calories so we tried hard to find some smart and tasty options. Most of the brands recommended toasting for best taste –this was definitely the preferable way for just about all of the options.
Food for Life – Millet Bread
Nutrition Info (per slice): 100 calories; 21 grams carbohydrates; 0.5 gram fiber
Our Take: The millet gave this bread a pleasant nutty and sweet flavor. While many GF breads are dry and crumbly, this was almost too chewy. The slices are tiny and overall, not worth the price.
- Carrageenan is on the ingredients list of many products in the dairy aisle, but what is it?
This ingredient is found in foods like ice cream, jelly and even infant formula. Find out what it does and if it’s safe to eat.