My friends tease me because I’d rather spend a day at a food market than a department store, but I just can’t help it. One of my biggest thrills is discovering healthy new foods to test and recommend to my clients. Here are 10 of the latest products I’ve fallen in love with:
Organic Brocco Sprouts
These peppery tasting sprouts, which are made from broccoli, are bursting with antioxidants, but an entire four ounce package provides just 16 calories. I use them to spruce up veggie burgers, hummus, stir frys, soups, wraps and sandwiches.
Numi Aged Puerh Tea Brick
This product made me fall in love with tea all over again. Each box contains a compressed brick of organic tea that looks like a chocolate bar. You break off a square, crack it into small pieces and place it in a 12 ounce teapot. Next, “rinse” the tea by pouring boiling water over it and then quickly pouring it out. After that, re-pour boiling water into the pot and steep for two minutes. Each piece can be used three times. Unlike most tea, which is oxidized for eight hours, Puerh is fermented for 60 days, which gives it an earthy, bold flavor. I love the ritual of it. The tea also comes in bags and is available in unique flavors such as chocolate and magnolia.
OrganicVille Stone Ground Mustard
This mustard is made simply from water, organic vinegar, organic mustard seeds, salt and organic spices. I use this zippy condiment on whole-grain rye bread for sandwiches or as an ingredient in my tofu-based mock egg salad. One tablespoon provides just five calories but loads of flavor. Additionally, mustard seeds are a member of the cruciferous plant family (broccoli, cabbage, etc.) so they’re rich in antioxidants linked to cancer prevention and anti-inflammation.
Bob’s Red Mill Peppy Kernels
Bob’s calls this “a new reason for rising,” and I agree. This whole-grain hot cereal is simply made from: rolled oats, rolled wheat, cracked wheat, sesame seeds, hulled millet and wheat bran. A quarter cup provides four grams each of fiber and protein and 15 percent of the daily value for iron. You can cook on the stovetop or in the microwave, or add it to cold cereal, fruit or yogurt for a little extra crunch and nutrition.
International Collection Indian Oils
I have long loved this line of unique all natural cooking oils, which includes hazelnut, macadamia nut, pumpkin seed, toasted sesame and many others. Now they offer two Indian oils: Indian Hot Wok Oil and Indian Mild Curry Oil, both of which can be drizzled on whole grain naan or used to sauté or roast veggies. It's a healthy way to add a little heat and antioxidant rich spices and good-for-you fat.
Scharffen Berger Coca Nibs
I can’t get enough of these. Nibs are the essence of chocolate – they’re roasted cocoa beans separated from their husks and broken into small bits with no added sugar. In fact, they have no added ingredients at all. They add a nut-like crunch to both sweet or savory dishes, from cereal to a garden salad, and two tablespoons provides an impressive four grams of dietary fiber and 8 percent of the daily value for iron.
This is such a great idea - this organic, unsweetened crushed fruit in a squeeze pouch comes in three flavors. You have your chocie of mango, pineapple, banana and passion fruit; apple, pear and spice; or, strawberry, banana and kiwi. It’s a great “emergency back-up” to keep in your fridge or at the office in case you run out of fresh fruit. It’s a fuss-free, on-the-go option, that doesn't require any washing or chopping.
Lucini Cinque e Cinque, Savory Rosemary
I’ve been a huge fan of this brand since I discovered it at the Fancy Food Show three or four years ago. They continue to win awards and add new products and this is an amazing one. I’ve been to Rome and Florence, but Cinque e Cinque, also known as Faranita, was new to me. It’s essentially a thin chickpea cake, made from just chickpea flower and rosemary, similar to a rice cake, that’s popular in Italy. It's actually a lot like dried hummus. One serving, which can be topped with chopped tomatoes and onions and drizzled with balsamic vinegar or spread with sundried tomato or olive tapenade, provides five grams of fiber and nine grams of protein, so it’ll really satisfy and stick with you.
Arrowhead Mills Puffed Whole Grain Cereals
The best thing since sliced bread! These puffed whole grains, including kamut, wheat, brown rice, corn, and millet have no other ingredients, so they’re just pure whole grains, but because they’re puffed they’re super versatile and they're low in calories. In fact, one cup only contains about 60 calories. They can be eaten as a cold cereal, added to yogurt, or crushed and used in place of bread crumbs. I also fold them into melted dark chocolate along with ingredients like fresh grated ginger or cinnamon, minced dried fruit and chopped nuts, then roll into little balls to make ‘superfood treats.'
Artisana Coconut Butter
I’m really head-over-heels for coconut these days, and clearly the craze has caught on across the country. Although there are lots of coconut products on the market, this is something different. The coconut butter is made only from pureed 100 percent organic, raw coconut meat. It can be spread just like peanut butter (this company also makes other nut butters). The benefit of this product is that it captures all of the key nutrients found in coconut, including heart healthy oil, fiber and antioxidants. I like to add it to fruit smoothies or to enjoy it right off the spoon!
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.