I enjoyed putting together my last round of healthy food finds so much that I decided it was time for round two! Here are ten more products I’ve come across recently that are healthy, delicious and fun!
The Good Bean
I first saw bean-based snacks when I traveled to Asia, and I loved the idea so much I tried to recreate them myself. Now I don’t have to. The Good Bean makes roasted chickpeas seasoned with sea salt, cracked pepper, smoky chili and lime, or cinnamon. A quarter pf a cup packs 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein and 8 percent of both your daily calcium and iron needs. I first spotted them at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but you can also order them online. I hope they’ll come out with an unsalted version, but I love that there’s now a healthy gluten-free alternative for people who can’t satisfy their crunch-tooth with nuts or roasted edamame.
Move over soy, coconut, hemp, and rice milk; there’s a new choice on the shelf: sunflower seed milk. Like many non-dairy milks, it’s low in protein at 2 grams per cup, but the original flavor contains 4 grams of fiber and is a good source of vitamin A and folate. If you like sunflower seed butter, you’ll enjoy the subtle layer of flavor it adds to hot or cold cereal, or a fruit smoothie. Yum!
Just about anything in a mini-version is irresistible, and amidst the current coconut obsession I fell head over heels for these cuties. Cultivated from Chilean Palm trees, coquitos are nuts that closely resemble tiny coconuts, about the size of a large marble. They share coconuts’ rich, nutty flavor, with a crunchy texture, and you can eat them right out of the package, with no washing or peeling necessary. How cool is that?!
Popcorn counts as a whole-grain and I’m addicted to it. I love eating it one flake (the technical term for a popped kernel) at a time, and I'm one of those people who savors the half-popped nuggets at the bottom of the bag. But now there’s an alternative. Popghum is organic-popped sorghum, which is also known as Egyptian Millet. When popped, this whole-grain resembles popcorn with slightly more crunch. The only ingredients in the grey sea salt version of this ‘clean eating’ snack are organic sorghum, sea salt and organic sunflower oil. Fun!
Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour
Continuing the coo-coo for coconut craze, you can now bake with coconut flour, which is made simply from pulverized organic coconut. Bakers can replace up to 20 percent of the flour in any recipe to add a rich texture, natural sweetness and fiber (5 grams per 2 tablespoons). I love it in oatmeal or dark chocolate chip cookies, but it’s also great as a coating for anything from tofu to shrimp to baked onion rings.
Republic of Tea Red Velvet Cuppa Chocolate Tea Bags
This tea is made simply from a blend of rooibos (red tea that is naturally caffeine-free), beetroot bits, sweet blackberry leaves, chocolate and vanilla flavoring, and after being steeped for about five minutes, it's heavenly for your senses. I’ve also added the bag’s contents to add flavor to fruit smoothies.
This relative of quinoa has been cultivated for thousands of years throughout South America. A staple grain of the ancient Aztec and Incan cultures, this whole-grain is high in protein, minerals and antioxidants like its cousin, but about half the size. A quarter cup dry, which makes about a half-cup cooked, packs 7 g of protein and 60 percent of the daily value for iron. I like it cooked, chilled and folded into coconut milk yogurt, along with fresh fruit, cinnamon and sliced almonds
POM Wonderful Arils
Now you don’t have to wonder how to eat a fresh pomegranate. Available from October through January POM Wonderful now offers 4.3 oz containers of antioxidant packed arils, those little seeds inside fresh pomegranates. You can eat them as is, and they make an awesome addition to a bowl of steamy oatmeal along with some dark chocolate chips!
Stahlbush Island Farms Frozen Black Barley
Trends surveys show that most Americans are trying to eat more whole grains, and this product makes it almost effortless. The only ingredient is fully-cooked organic barley you can heat and eat, or thaw to add to a garden salad or cold vegetable side dish. I love this product and its packaging. I keep my freezer stocked with frozen fruits and veggies, and I’ve always felt a little guilty about the plastic they’re packed in. But Stahlbush Island Farms recently launched the first-of-its-kind biodegradable bag for their frozen goodies. The bags degrade in months, rather than the hundreds of years it takes standard polyethylene packaging to break down. Gotta love that!
I spotted these squeeze bottles in the dairy case at Whole Foods. Made from a blend of miso paste, canola oil, vinegar and seasonings, this product is a zesty vegan-friendly mayo alternative. I’ve been recommending miso to more of my clients for its health benefits, and this is a unique way to enjoy it. In Japan, a recent study found that women who had three or more bowls of miso soup each day reduced their risk of getting breast cancer by about 40 percent compared to those who had only one bowl. I like to toss a tablespoon with a half-cup of beans before adding to a garden salad.
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.