Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

Nov
09

When you are on a low sodium diet, some of the foods you miss most are the snacks. However most snacks you want are usually very high in sodium, fat and low in nutrition. Let’s see if we can come up with some better low sodium party food and heart healthy snacks.

  1. Fresh Vegetables: Of course fresh vegetables are great for the heart. Packed with nutrition, low in calories, low in fat, high in fiber and very satisfying. For snacking try something with a crunch. Vegetable sticks or crudites. Depending upon how you cut them they are excellent for dips, spreads and vinaigrettes. Carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, etc. are good choices, by themselves or with a dip. A vegetable many don’t know about and makes a great snack is jicama. Somewhat of a cross between an apple and celery. It’s crunchy, and is very good to use like a chip for dips.
  2. Fresh Fruits: Are another healthy snack choice. Fruit is low sodium, low fat, full of nutrition, fiber and very satisfying. Try anything with a crunch. Apples are great and there are so many varieties. The more tart apples like Granny Smith are lower in sugar. Pears are good. Freezing seedless grapes taste a lot like popcicles.
  3. Traditional Snacks but Low Sodium: There are unsalted versions available of the most common snack foods. Look for unsalted potato chips, unsalted corn chips, popcorn without salt, unsalted nuts, no salt added nut butters, low or no sodium crackers. Taro root chips or banana chips are good. Many of these snacks are baked or dehydrated instead of fried. Note: Avoid any trans fats and hydrogenated oils. Very bad for the heart.
  4. Choose heart healthy options for dips:Guacamole: Avocados may be high in fat but it is the good fat that is good for your heart.Fresh salsa: Without salt (use fresh limes or lemons instead). Many types including fresh mango salsa.

    Bean dips: Blend or mash your own prepared beans or no salt added canned beans (drained and rinsed). When most folks think of beans for a dip they think pinto bean dip. Try using other beans such as, black beans, red beans, garbanzo beans (chick peas) for hummus, cannellini beans, etc.

    Dairy based dips: For a more traditional dairy based dip, you can use nonfat or low fat dairy products versus the regular versions. Choose a dairy, soy or non-dairy sour cream as they are all good tasting, just watch the sodium. Most brands have different amounts of sodium. Note: Remember regarding most products, the lower the fat, the higher the sodium.

  5. Low sodium ways to flavor dips: You can add a tasty salt substitute, salt free seasonings, herbs and spices, freshly ground black pepper (try the mixed peppercorns as they are beautiful in a dip), minced fresh chili peppers (from hot to mild, in red or green), minced bell peppers, (red, yellow, green and more), a dash of hot sauce, freshly minced herbs, and the juice of fresh lemons or limes work great. A drizzle of flavorful extra virgin olive oil, even flavored nut oils, like lemon, garlic, or chili, taste great in dip or as a dip.

Almost always add fresh minced garlic and onions to your dip recipes. Instead of just using the regular yellow or white onions, try some of the other varieties. Try shallots, green onions or scallions, red onions, sweet onions like maui, walla walla, vidalia, and chives. Just by adding a variety of onions or adding roasted garlic or caramelized onions you can make very flavorful low sodium dips.

Now the low sodium diet folks, do not need to feel left out during the holidays, parties, or celebrations. They have delicious low sodium party food and a variety of heart healthy snacks.

May
18

Our family loves Ginger Snaps. When we were children, my siblings and I would find all types of creative ways to use the delectable disks. From spicing up a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich to adding fire to ice cream, the Ginger Snap had a fixed place in most of our menus. So you can imagine how disappointed I was when, in one of those adult moments, I flipped the box over to see just what caused the Ginger Snap’s appeal. The answer horrified me. How could this be? Is it a mistake on the label or am I possibly misreading it? The snap came from the arch-enemy of dentists: sugar!

I had read the packaging correctly, and unfortunately my days of consuming 10-15 cookies in one sitting had come to an end. Not only was there sugar, there were other forms of sugar disguised in creative names.

As we enter that adult phase of our lives, many of us try to reduce our sugar consumption for personal reasons or under the advice of our medical practitioners. But the desire to cut back on the sweet stuff is made even more difficult because food manufacturers often disguise sugar with legal – yet crafty – labeling. Most often, the list of ingredients on food products begins with the ingredient of greatest quantity and continues in descending order until the final ingredient (of least quantity) is listed. Some manufacturers find ways to list sugar with different names, thereby making it appear as if each sugar is an insignificant part of the product.

Beware! The truth is that, when combined, all these sugar pseudonyms often equal almost half of the ingredients in common food products.

Returning to my Ginger Snaps, I found sugar for sure. Reading further, I found brown sugar, corn syrup, and dextrose. Though labeled differently, in the end they are just various forms of sugar. Naturally, there are some ways to avoid falling into manufacturers’ sweet snares.

First, become aware of the common alternative names for sugar that you will see listed on ingredient lists. These monikers include sugar (obviously), honey, brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, lactose, maple sugar, sorghum syrup, turbinado sugar, caramel, dextrin, fructose, grape sugar, invert sugar, maltose, and molasses.

Second, if you want to ease back on the amount of sugar that you consume in your food and beverages, choose sugar-free options. Sugar free beverages are often indistinguishable from their sugar-laden counterparts. The multitude of sugar substitutes offer another way to cut back on your sugar intake. Most of them are safe, but it’s a good idea to do at least some preliminary research before using them. The FDA regulates food safety, but an overworked and understaffed federal agency can’t catch everything.

Third – and this is only if you can really do without sugar as we commonly consume it – opt for either black strap molasses or Sugar in the Raw. These products are the least processed forms of sugar available, and they retain quite a bit of the nutrients not found in white sugar. As a matter of fact, in order to obtain snowy white sugar, manufacturers wash it an average of seven times, stripping many of the natural nutrients. Raw sugar is usually washed only twice.

Finally, and most effectively, you can just take simple sugar out of your diet. This seemingly extreme measure does not mean you can’t enjoy the great tastes of foods, but you will have to find healthy alternatives to satisfy that sweet tooth.

We still love Ginger Snaps, but we have sought out the similar snacks that use unprocessed sugar or no sugar at all. If we do want to relive the youthful, carefree days, we might slip in four or five of the decadent Ginger Snaps every once in a while.

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