I was recently invited to attend the launch of the Smart Choices food labeling system. Smart Choices is a front of packaging nutritional food label system developed by an alliance of U.S. food manufacturers and retailers. Products must meet specific guidelines to be included. The program is funded by the participating food companies – basically, a company pays for the label. Smart Choices is “designed to promote public health by helping shoppers make smarter food and beverage choices,” says the program’s press statements.
The basic premise couldn’t be more simple. Qualifying foods are stamped with a green check mark, which is designed to help a shopper make the healthiest choice within a particular category. (All fresh fruits and vegetables are automatically included – but they don’t get a green check mark because they are grown on a farm and not represented by a company.) If you are buying peanut butter, the green check mark container might contain the best choice in terms of health. (more…)
Snacking isn’t the evil that everyone portrays it to be in a diet. In fact, a healthy snack has a tremendously powerful presence in your daily caloric intake. Of course, what you choose to snack on is key – chocolate cupcakes and Cheetos won’t give you the edge that almonds can. (Darn it!)
The timing of your snacks is extremely important to your weight loss success, too. Try to have a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack, both in the neighborhood of about 300 calories, to keep your blood sugar level and help you avoid overindulgence at the next meal. Here are some great, healthy choices to keep on hand. (more…)
If you’re like me, peanut butter is one of your most beloved comfort foods. From soft PB&J sandwiches in your school lunchbox to chewy homemade peanut butter cookies imprinted with the signature criss-crosses, peanut butter is one of the most nostalgic and comforting of the comfort foods.
But like all comfort foods, it packs a heavy weight with about 200 calories per 2 tablespoon serving and 16 grams of fat. Yes, you can rationalize your generous spoonful of peanut butter on your morning toast as a healthy fat and protein source, which it is, but dig into the jar a bit deeper and you’re looking at few hundred calorie splurge. Any way you spoon it, peanut butter is a very energy-dense food.
In the past few years, food manufactures have worked feverishly to concoct a low-fat version of this nutty spread while still retaining its divine flavor and creamy texture. As a peanut butter devotee, here is the low-down on a variety of peanut butters. Some are reduced-fat, some are really reduced fat, some are great and some miss the mark. (more…)