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We have seen many restaurants update their menus this year to provide patrons with healthier options. The new Kids Live Well campaign provides families with healthier choices when eating away from home to help kids maintain a healthy weight. While some reports suggest the new healthy options aren't popular, many restaurant chains aren't giving up and are striving to be on board with the First Lady's anti-obesity campaign.
Throughout 2011, we have highlighted some of the healthier fast food and casual dining options in our Food on the Run and Diet Friendly Dining reviews. Here are 10 of the healthiest menu options we've seen this year:
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One of the primary meat sources of many Plains Indians was the buffalo also known as the Plains bison. Native Americans did not just eat the meat as a rich protein source. They also used every part of the animal to meet their day-to-day needs such as the fat to make candles and soap or the bones to make shovels and other farming equipment. Unfortunately, the Plains bison nearly faced extinction in the late 1890's when European settlers were killing many for their hides to be shipped to the eastern U.S. and Europe for leather processing.
Today, bison are making a comeback and there are almost 400,000 throughout North America. Yellowstone Park is home to the largest free-roaming bison population with about 3,500 for visitors to observe and enjoy. In addition to public federally protected free-range bison, private ranchers raise bison and their farm-raised meat is showing up in supermarkets around the country. Is it something we should be including in our diets?
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The high fiber cereals of years ago offered little taste for the nutritional benefit they provided. Today, that has changed and you can get a great tasting cereal that is also a good fiber source.
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. Not only does it aid in weight loss by helping you feel full and satisfied longer, it also helps reduce risks of heart disease, lowers blood pressure, and aids in blood sugar control. Many people need more fiber in their diet and breakfast cereal provides a great option for maximizing your daily intake by getting the day started with a fiber rich meal.
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We're continuing a popular new feature on the dailySpark: food reviews written by you, our loyal readers!
Jessica Dudley aka MRSDUDLEY first wrote about the food that gave bread the boot in her house! Now's she's back to write about how she's adding more fruit to her day.
By Jessica Dudley
What is the product called? Fruit2Day
Where did you buy it? Shop-n-Save, Collinsville, IL; it is located in the refrigerated case in the produce aisle.
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Stacks of boxes sit behind my desk most days. What's in them? Foods, usually snack foods. Sometimes we ask companies to send us these foods, and sometimes they send them out of the blue.
Sometimes we get sent foods that are little odd. Those never make it onto the blog. (Some of you have asked why we never do "bad" or negative reviews. It's because we like to be positive and share with you foods you want to eat. We only review products that our tasters would eat again.)
Other times, the surprises that land on my desk knock our socks off! And this is one of those cases.
A few weeks ago, the Sahale Cashews with Pomegranates and Vanilla were delivered to my desk. They were gone in no time flat!
What They Say:
"We think we've found a perfect combination of sublime flavors: pomegranate, vanilla and cashews. Our whole roasted cashews are teamed with pomegranate and apple, and balanced with pure vanilla bean. Our light glaze adds just the right amount of sweetness." Read More ›
Yoplait recently contacted us about a new product they've just launched: the Yoplait Delights Parfait. These parfaits are marketed as a 100-calorie treat that is ideal for the times when your sweet tooth acts up. We asked a reader to try these and tell us what she thought. We also gave them a try!
What they say:
"In a recent study, nearly nine out of 10 women stated they were interested in 100-calorie foods that could help them tame afternoon cravings. Helping to make mid-day snacking satisfying and guilt-free, General Mills introduces new Yoplait Delights, a rich and creamy layered yogurt parfait with 100 calories per serving. Yoplait Delights’ unique flavor combinations include Chocolate Raspberry, Triple Berry Crème, Lemon Torte and Crème Caramel. (NOTE: Get a $1 off coupon at the website!)
New Yoplait Delights have two luscious layers, giving a taste experience unlike any other. Each cup will satisfy cravings with 100 calories per serving and 1.5 g of fat. Yoplait Delights is available nationwide at a suggested retail price of $2.99 for a package of four-4 oz cups."
Also, Yoplait has said: "As of August 2009, General Mills has made the commitment to eliminate milk sourced from cows treated with rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin), a synthetic hormone also referred to as rBGH, in the production of its category-leading Yoplait yogurts."
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We recently chatted with Hungry Girl, aka Lisa Lillien, the queen of guilt-free food. (Read the interview here.) One of the perks of her job is seeing her animated likeness on various food products that she endorses.
She and Fiber One have a long history. She has pulverized their breakfast cereal and used it to fake fry everything but the kitchen sink, and she's a big fan of other Fiber One products, too. Fiber One offered us some samples of their newly reformulated and lower-calorie yogurt. They sent us the strawberry and key lime pie flavors, and with Lisa's assurance that we'd like them, we asked some SparkPeople employees to try them. (Learn how to buy the best yogurt!) Read More ›
I'll just come right out and say it. We're nutty!
Peanut butter, almond butter, it doesn't matter… we love nut butters here. Nuts are full of fiber, heart-healthy fats and protein, and they're a quick, portable snack.
We recently reviewed some new nut butters that contain flax seed and a few other tasty ingredients. Right around the same time, we learned about another nut butter company that's fortifying nut butters.
This one is called Naturally Nutty, and it was started by--get this!--a SparkPeople member. Katie Kearney used the site to lose her baby weight, and in a way, SparkPeople helped motivate her to start her business! Read More ›
We're kicking off a new feature on the dailySpark: food reviews written by you, our loyal readers!
Jessica Dudley aka MRSDUDLEY celebrated her first Spark-versary on July 7! Shortly before that remarkable day, she wrote the dailySpark to share with us a new product that she just loves. She wanted us to review it, but we asked her to do the honors, as she has such an affinity for this product. Read on to learn more about the food that gave bread the boot in her house!
By Jessica Dudley
What is the product called?
Arnold Select 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins. They are also available in Multi-Grain, Whole Grain White, and while I have not seen them in the store, their website shows them being available in Seedless Rye. (yummy...I'm thinking Reuben) Read More ›
When I was growing up, fruit leather was all the rage. First it just came in a rolled-up red sheet, but eventually it came in fun shapes and a variety of tie-dyed colors. I knew there wasn't much fruit in it, but I could sucker my dad into buying them from time to time. My friends and I would suck on the roll-ups while making puckered faces, the fruit leather glued to the roofs of our mouths like "retainers," which gave us a tell-tale lisp and an air of maturity, so we thought. (Only later, after two painful years in orthodontia, did I realize that lisping from a retainer was not something "cool.")
Like skinned knees and schoolyard crushes, fruit leather became a distant memory. Since adopting a healthy lifestyle that's free of most processed foods, I'd long forgotten all those staples of American brown-bagged lunches. Then along came Stretch Island Fruit Co., which makes fruit leather made from--get this--real fruit! Reader, I have rekindled a childhood flame.
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When the mercury started rising, we hit the supermarkets, scouring the freezer section for the tastiest low-calorie ice cream treats. We tried a few, and we selected three 100-calorie treats to share with you. (There were a few higher-calorie runner-ups, too!)
Read on to find out what we thought!
Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle bars
They say: "My divinely decadent chocolate ice cream bar, drizzled with chocolatey ribbons, is surprisingly skinny."
We say: "The Skinny Cow Truffle Bars are delicious, amazing, fantastic. Seriously, I love these. They're creamy and chocolatey."
"I tried the truffle and it was very good for 100 calories. I would consider buying them.
I usually buy Skinny Cow at home. This would just be another lighter ice cream option."
"One word: Ahhh…"
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Remember when Coach Nicole interviewed her friend Kelly, who participated in a figure competition?
During her brutal training, she ate a very restrictive diet. One of the few foods she really loved was fancy almond and peanut butter made with flaxseed. She shared some with Nicole, who LOVES peanut butter. It was such a unique product that we assumed it would be really pricey and only available at specialty stores.
Au contraire, Kelly told us. She buys hers at Wal-Mart for less than $4!
And so we reached out to the folks at Naturally More.
They sent us samples of the peanut butter, almond butter--and organic peanut butter!
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If it's crunchy, we'll try it!
So when Kashi recently sent us a couple of their newer products to try, we put the foods in the SparkPeople and people happily dug in.
What we say:
The Island Vanilla Kashi cereal is great. It's like a vanilla frosted wheat, minus the frosting. It's sweet and filling. I ate it for breakfast twice.
I love shredded wheat, and this is even tastier. There's no frosting, but it's definitely sweet. I could see flecks of real vanilla bean floating in my milk—delicious! The cereal is really good. I'd definitely buy this again.
We tried the three flavors in one box version of the crackers–Original 7 Grain, Country Cheddar and Fire Roasted Vegetable. The first ingredient in these is wheat flour, not whole wheat flour, so there is less fiber than I'd like. Still, they are made from more natural ingredients than some other brands of crackers.
These were a great, salty afternoon snack. I liked them, and they were portion-controlled!
Tasty. I had the cheese crackers, and they were nice and cheesy--just how I like them.
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Earlier this year, we were introduced to Food Should Taste Good chips.
Back then, they had seven flavors: Multigrain, Olive, The Works, Buffalo, Sweet Potato, Jalapeno and Chocolate. Now, they've added four new flavors: Yellow Corn, Potato and Chive, Lime and Cinnamon.
Like with the other varieties, the flavor is in--not just on--the chip, so they're great on their own or with a healthy dip.
Food Should Taste Good happily shared samples at the Spark Your Life Convention in San Diego on May 2, and they sent some to the office for us to try, too.
We still love these chips! Read More ›