A Few of My Favorite Things…

by Brooke Joanna Benlifer, RD

There are countless ways to enjoy apples! Some of my favorite varieties include: Jonagold, Fuji, Rome, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, and Gala. Remove the core and microwave for 3 minutes on high for a baked apple. Next, top with cinnamon, and add a scoop of vanilla protein powder for some sweetness and protein. Also, try adding 2 Tbsp Trader Joe’s Golden Roasted Milled Flaxseed with Blueberries for some Omega 3 fatty acids and a nutty, blueberry flavor!

Enjoy a raw, sliced apple with 2 Tbsp peanut butter.

Asian pears are large and juicy! You can find them at Asian grocery stores (like 99 Ranch) and at supermarkets such as Ralph’s. Pears taste great topped with a melted slice of low fat Jarlsberg cheese.

Try adding thinly sliced pears to a salad of mixed greens, low fat gorgonzola, and candied walnuts!

Scoop out the seeds inside and fill 1/2 cantaloupe with yogurt and granola or Grape-nuts.

Freeze seedless grapes and enjoy as a nighttime snack, and a healthy alternative to other freezer favorites, like ice cream.

White Peaches…distinctively lighter on the inside than yellow peaches, these are sweet and flavorful!

Bagged Salad Greens
These are a blessing and make for quick & easy lunches and dinners. They are now found in all supermarkets and come in many varieties (spinach, mesclun mix, baby spring mix, lettuce mix, etc.). They also come in organic versions. Open one and simply add: beans, tofu, wild salmon, chunk light tuna, sardines, grape tomatoes, olives, carrots, beets, radish, jicama, cheese, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, cashews, raisins, cottage cheese….the list is endless! You can also use bagged salad mixes to add greens to your sandwiches, pasta sauces, lasagna, and soups.

Jarlsberg Lite Swiss cheese…tastes just as good as the full-fat version. Melts well & compliments fruits, salads, and sandwiches!

Fage Greek yogurt
The 2% milkfat version has a taste much like that of sour cream. It takes some getting used to, if you are more familiar with sugar-sweetened yogurts, but the natural flavor of the Fage yogurt is a refreshing alternative to overly sweet and artificially flavored yogurts.

Precious Low Fat Mozzarella…tastes great alone or as part of any Italian dish!

The Laughing Cow Light cheese wedges (Light: Swiss Original, Garlic & Herb, French Onion)…great by themselves, spread on toast or added to a wrap.

Sunkist Almond Munchies (6 flavors: Roastie Toasties, Nudies, Buttered Up, Honey Dipped, Hot and Sassy, In the Raw) Trader Joe’s Golden Roasted Milled Flaxseed with Blueberries…amazing roasted flavor with a hint of sweetness. Excellent on its own, or added to smoothies, cereal, breads, muffins, yogurt or as an ice cream topping. High in omega 3 fatty acids, protein and fiber!

Trader Joe’s Just a Handful of Nuts (pre-packaged snack-sized packs of dry roasted, unsalted almonds). The bag contains 13 snack-sized packs of almonds, perfect for portion control!

Trader Joe’s Egg White Salad (2 versions: Egg White Salad with Chives and Spicy Ranchero) A hidden gem! Each container is only 100 calories (50 calories per serving). It is wonderful atop salads or cooked vegetables, in sandwiches and wraps. The Egg White Salad with Chives tastes delicious mixed with a high fiber cereal, like Fiber One!

Okinawa sweet potato
“A native of the Japanese island Okinawa, the Okinawa Sweet Potato with its light brown skin and unusual purple flesh is richly nutritious and surprisingly sweet. Scientifically classified as a yam, this root vegetable is a staple among the people of Okinawa and Hawaii, and has surpassed the popularity of the ordinary yam due to the presence of of the antioxidant, polyphenol. Because of its delicate sweet taste, it is often simply boiled, cut into chunks and served, but those with a more creative flair treat it in less traditional ways. Picture a wilted spinach salad piled in the center of a salad plate with rosettes of the warm, slightly sweet Okinawas piped around the salad, or a mound of caramelized onions and apples and a couple of lamb chops. Mashed, mixed with grated ginger and topped with sesame seeds, Okinawa Sweet Potatoes are often served toward the end of the meal. For a taste of the Orient, serve purple sweet potato tempura as an appetizer or a side dish.”
– The Produce Hunter

Want to wow your friends at a dinner party or your colleagues at lunch? Serve up some Okinawa sweet potatoes. Their purple color may catch you off guard, but fear not, these spuds are nutritious and delicious!

High Fiber Cereals
Look for cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. They can be mixed into yogurt, puddings, or smoothies, and sprinkled on ice cream, in place of other toppings. You can also make high-fiber trail mix by combining cereal, nuts and dried fruit. High fiber cereal paired with light chocolate or vanilla soy milk or almond milk makes for a hearty breakfast. Kashi Go Lean, Kashi Go Lean Crunch, and Fiber One are particularly high in fiber and easy to find at most major grocery chains.

Enjoy Life granola cereal
Enjoy Life products are free of the 8 most common food allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy and fish! Besides being allergen free, they taste great, with real clusters of granola!

Better ‘n Peanut Butter Low Fat Peanut Spread
For a mere 100 calories and 2.5 gm fat per 2 Tbsp, this spread is a good substitute for standard peanut butter. It tastes slighty sweet and spreads smoothly; no need to stir. Eat it with a sliced apple or banana, or mix it into a smoothie or ice cream. It’s especially tasty on toasted cinnamon raisin bread.

Whole Kids Organic Peanut Butter…great for kids and adults alike!

La Tortilla Factory Low Carb/Low Fat/Whole Wheat Tortillas… low calorie and highly satisfying!

Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Flourless Tortillas…heart healthy, filling, and wonderful for healthy quesadillas and with Trader Joe’s Egg White Salad!

Flat Out Healthy Grain Multi-Grain Flatbread
These are excellent for wraps, quesadillas, pizzas and just about anything else for which you might otherwise use bread.

  • Brooke Joanna Benlifer, RD is a Cornell University graduate and Registered Dietitian with expertise in a variety of medical issues, from diabetes and cardiac care, to renal health and GI issues. She has a strong interest and background in weight management, emotional eating, sports nutrition and corporate wellness. She maintains a private practice, working with clients of all ages, from pediatric to geriatric, and has done freelance writing for DrWeil.com. Call 619-206-8022 to schedule an appointment.
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    admin on July 23rd 2007 in Uncategorized