Archive for the ‘Food Recommendations’ Category

Watermelon Season is Here!

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I’m so excited: I bought a watermelon yesterday for just $3.99, which means it’s officially Watermelon Season in my book! Watermelon is one of my all-time favorite fruits… I don’t want to look like one, but I love to eat them!

I cut half of it up to enjoy with dinner tonight, and it was finger-licking, lip-smacking, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. When I fed a bite to my husband while he manned the grill, he said “Holy crap! That’s quite possibly the best watermelon I’ve ever had!” I couldn’t agree more. Sweet, juicy, bright pink – simply perfect.

Run out and buy yourself a watermelon – and then eat it. It’ll fill you up with its delicious fiberifficness!

How to Choose a Watermelon

  • Look the watermelon over: You are looking for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents.
  • Lift it up: The watermelon should be heavy for its size. Watermelon is 92% water; most of the weight is water.
  • Turn it over: The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

Health Benefits of Watermelon

  • Watermelon is the Lycopene Leader in fresh produce, having higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. In fact, fresh watermelon contains higher levels of lycopene than fresh tomatoes – a 2-cup serving of watermelon contains an average of 18.16 mg and one medium-sized tomato contains 4 mg.
  • Watermelon has heart healthy properties because it is naturally low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol.
  • Watermelon is practically a multivitamin unto itself: A 2-cup serving of watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamin A (important for optimal eye health), Vitamin B6 (used by the body to manufacture brain chemicals [neurotransmitters], such as serotonin, melatonin and dopamine, which preliminary research shows may help the body cope with anxiety and panic), and Vitamin C (which helps bolster your immune system’s defenses against infections and viruses and is known to stimulate the immune system and protect against free radical damage.

For more information on watermelon’s health benefits – and all things watermelon! – visit www.watermelon.org.

Food Recommendation – Pink Lady Apples

Monday, November 30th, 2009

We’ve all heard the old adage “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well there’s some real truth to that. From Suite101.com:

The Health Benefits of Apples

  • Help protect bone health
  • Help prevent asthma, heart disease, and cancers such as lung, breast, colon, and liver
  • Research also suggests that the phytonutrient called quercetin may help to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism
  • Pectin in apples can help to lower LDL cholesterol
  • Good for diabetes and weight management
  • Good source of vitamin C
  • Good source of soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Excellent source of flavanoids and antioxidants

Besides the health benefits, apples are great because they’re portable, highly versatile, inexpensive and delicious.

My favorite apple variety is the Pink Lady. They’re the perfect combination of sweet and tart, incredibly juicy, nice and firm, and not the least bit gritty. I hate gritty apples.

Pink Ladies are in season right now! Do yourself a favor and pick up a bunch – they make a great snack! When selecting your apples, keep in mind that the pinker, the better.

I heard somewhere that when you’re hungry between meals you should eat an apple… And if you can’t bring yourself to have an apple, you’re not that hungry.

Food Recommendation – Chocolate-Covered Banana

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Diana's Bananas – The World’s Best Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana

I know, I know – that doesn’t sound like a healthy food recommendation at all. And it’s definitely not steamed broccoli, but sometimes you need a little something sweet. On those occasions, allow me to suggest a dark chocolate-covered frozen banana!

I’m a bit obsessed with these. I never had them as a child, and the idea of a frozen banana sounded a bit odd to me at one time.

And then I watched Arrested Development (best. show. ever.) and after hearing about The Banana Stand so much, I felt compelled to try a chocolate-covered banana. Boy was I not disappointed!

The best I’ve found is by a company called Diana’s Bananas. They have two sizes: A full-size banana, and banana “babies,” which is half of a banana. I find the big one is totally unnecessary – stick to the half.

From Diana’s Bananas website: “Our team personally selects only fully ripe, creamy, sweet white bananas, which we quick freeze to -20 degrees fahrenheit. The result is an easy-to-bite banana with texture so smooth, you’ll think you’re eating ice cream.

After our quick freezing process, we dip the bananas in real bar chocolate (dark or milk, and some are dipped in nuts). We never use chocolate flavored coatings or other inferior substitutes. The world’s best bananas deserve real chocolate—you do, too!”

I’ve tried both the milk and dark chocolate versions. I know dark chocolate is better for you, but I’ve always preferred milk chocolate (or at least I used to). With the bananas, the dark chocolate was far superior. I’ve never had the ones with nuts – even though I’m sure it’s delicious – because I don’t want the extra calories.

Speaking of calories, one dark chocolate banana baby has 130 calories, and since it’s half a banana, about 60 of that is from the banana. That means only about 70 calories in the chocolate, and I can handle that every now and then. Diana’s Bananas brand is also all-natural, which is fabulous. If they aren’t carried in your grocery store, you can order them from their website.

Incidentally, I’ve tried the chocolate-covered bananas from Trader Joe’s and was not impressed. I don’t recommend those.

Our Products_ creamy bananas dipped in real bar chocolate | Diana_s Bananas

Food Recommendation – Cocoa Roast Almonds

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I recently purchased Cocoa Roast Almonds from Emerald Nuts. They have them in 100 calorie packs, which seemed like a wise decision for me since I have a tendency to misplace my restraint when it comes to large packages of food.

When I opened the box and saw the size of each individual pack, I was rather disappointed. I knew they would be small, but it felt like there were only 5 or 6 almonds in there! What’s the point!? I tucked them away and didn’t think about them again.

Until this afternoon, that is, when I needed a chocolate fix. Three o’clock slump, anyone? I pulled out a pack and made myself a cup of hot tea, hoping the that would help fill me up, since there clearly weren’t going to be enough almonds to do it.

First of all, the almonds are REALLY GOOD. There’s just a dusting of cocoa powder on them – they’re not covered in chocolate – but they have a very distinct dark chocolate flavor. There’s also a hint of salt, and of course, the almond itself.

Secondly, there were far more in the little package than I expected – 18 to be exact (of course I counted…). When you think about it, none of those 100 calorie packs give you much; they’re mostly to satisfy a craving, which these definitely did. I made each almond three bites, too, so they’d last longer. I’m all about prolonging gratification.

Besides being a delicious chocolate-craving killer, almonds have a lot of health benefits: They’re a great source of Vitamin E, have good amounts of magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fiber and are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat, which helps to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol. They contain more calcium than any other nut which makes them great for vegetarians who do not eat any dairy products. In addition, although almonds are high in fat and calories, eating them in moderation can actually help with weight loss – just remember that word moderation.

Read more about the Health Benefits of Almonds in this article by Fiona Wilkinson!