A handy way to eat apricots year-round

Apricots have long been one of my favorite fruits, but they tend to be delicate and only available for a short span of time in our northern climate. So I was excited to see these dried apricots recently while visiting a Shop & Save supermarket in a nearby suburb.

The Awesome Apricot Yummy Fruit Bus. I'm on board with it.
The Awesome Apricot Yummy Fruit Bus. I’m on board with it.

The product would seem aimed at children since the apricots come in individual trays inside a box that looks like a small school bus. It’s branded the Awesome Apricot Yummy Fruit Bus.

Still, reading the nutrition label, this seemed like a no-brainer to try — no fat, almost no sodium and 11 grams of sugar per tray, considerably less than other dried fruits, such as figs, that I’ve bought in the past. Continue reading “A handy way to eat apricots year-round”

Why fresh vegetables aren’t on sale at supermarkets

Supermarket ad flyers feature what the industry calls loss-leaders, items a supermarket is marking down to draw you into the store so you’ll buy processed foods with higher mark-ups. Vegetables used to be among these loss-leaders but I’ve been noticing lately than they’re not popping up on sales as much as they once did.

Mondelez has to compete with fruit for the healthy snack trade, can it?
Supermarkets realize shopper demand for fruit and vegetables is going up, so expect to see those items put on sale less often than in the past.trade, can it?

The reason is that people apparently are finally getting the message that they should be eating more fresh veggies and fruits and so are buying more. This was driven home to me in a recent Supermarket News opinion piece that’s worth a read. While it’s aimed at stores, it makes the point, “The growth of fresh and perishable products has been steady and strong.” Continue reading “Why fresh vegetables aren’t on sale at supermarkets”

Oreo maker plans healthy snacks? Really? Here’s the rub

Mondelez International, maker of Oreos, caught my attention last week when it said it wanted to make more healthy snacks.

“Management stated that it plans to offer more good-for-you snacks and expects 50% of its product portfolio to comprise “well-being” items by 2020 instead of one-third at present.

Mondelez has to compete with fruit for the healthy snack trade, can it?
Mondelez has to compete with fruit for the healthy snack trade, can it?

“Apart from simplifying the ingredients and improving nutritional benefits of the existing products, the snacking giant will also develop products to cater to the growing consumer demand for healthier and natural items,” reported investment site Zacks.

Welcome to the dilemma facing major food processors today. I love Oreos, absolutely love them so know that I am not a Oreo basher by any means.

But I no longer eat them since having an angioplasty in 2012 because of my concerns about clogging my arteries and/or driving my blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Continue reading “Oreo maker plans healthy snacks? Really? Here’s the rub”

Making fruit salad from old fruit can taste great

Fruit has become a bigger part of my diet sicne my 2012 angioplasty but the problem with fresh fruit is that it doesn’t last very long once you get it home. That amkes stocking up when there’s a sae rpoblematic. Cab you eat all the fruit you buy before it rots in your refrigerator?

Turning aging fruit...
Turning aging fruit…

One solution is to mae your own fruit salad form aging fruit. I recently did a frig cleanout at our hsoue and found aging pars, peaches and blueberries. I decided ot buy a small watermelon that was on sale at a local supermarket to ad to what I add and created my own fruit salad.

Continue reading “Making fruit salad from old fruit can taste great”

A belated Pi Day treat

Math geeks know that March 14 is pi day, because it starts with the first three digits of the mathematical symbol Pi, which is widely used in geometry and also an infinite number (it’s been calculated out to one million places, last I read).

This year’s pi day was super special, in math circles at least, because it actually could produce the first 10 digits of pi, 3-14-15-9-26-53 at 9:26:53 a.m. (some people did it at night too, but that’s not really fair because night hours also can be expressed in military time, so that would really have been 21:26:53, but I digress.

Many places have pi day festivals in which employees bring in pies to share. we did that at my last job, in fact, where I worked with a lot of researchers who get excited about pi day.

Or just serve it for summer cookouts, watermelon slices covered with other fruits.
Or just serve it for summer cookouts, watermelon slices covered with other fruits.

I can’t eat pie since my angioplasty, so I was very excited to come across this fruit pie recipe that a Realtor friend from the Washington, D.C. area posted on Facebook. It is literally a fruit pie, watermelon is the base, covered with a variety of other fruits.

It looks like something fun to serve during the summer cookout season. I’d switch in something for the avocado, I dislike those and they give me gas.

I know current thinking is they have so-called good fat, but I’m sure that theory will change as most food theories do, so I’m avoiding it for the fat as well. Oranges might be nice, or other berries, pick what you like. It looks like a fun, healthy dessert and a great conversation piece too.

Make that watermelon slice fairly substantial to hold up under the weight of everything else and maybe even serve the slices in individual small plates with forks to avoid anyone trying to pick it up to eat and making a mess in the process. By the way, that’s white chocolate shave don it, I’d go for regular even though it doesn’t look like cheese which was the intent here.

Fresh figs are a favorite food of mine

Fresh black figs in the fall were one of my favorite treats as a child. My grandfather had a fig tree in his yard behind his Brookyln brownstone and, even after he died, the family maintained that tree so it produced wonderful figs every fall.

Black figs are a wonderful sweet treat that are low in fat and sodium...and taste great.
Black figs are a wonderful sweet treat that are low in fat, sodium and taste great.

An aunt took an offshoot of it and planted that in her yard, creating a second tree that also produced wonderful figs for many, many year until she sold that house and the tree along with it. Her grandson had an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn for years and he would use figs from her yard for special fall treats there. Continue reading “Fresh figs are a favorite food of mine”

Florida’s natural organic nuggets, not a snack I can recommend

Snacking on a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet pretty much means eating a piece of fruit now and then and otherwise going hungry. Chips, pretzels, candy and other more common snacks all are off-limits these days for me, and for you if you need to eat low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar. I have found some low-fat, relatively low-salt crackers and a few fat-free cookies, but they have other issues that keep them from being everyday snack items.

So I’m always looking for new snack alternatives. I recently tried some that marketed themselves as organic and fruit, but they sadly disappointed me. The lesson to remember is that a lot of foods these days are marketing themselves as healthy but in reality they’re far from it. I’ve written about that before and am sure I will be again.

Florida's natural fruit nuggets aren't very good, or very healthy given how much sugar they contain.
Florida’s natural fruit nuggets aren’t very good, or very healthy given how much sugar they contain.

The snack I’m writing about here calls itself Florida’s natural organic fruit nuggets. They’re basically gummy type chewy things filled with sugar and little else of redeeming nutritional value. Calorie count is kept low by doling them out in tiny packets. I would normally eat two or three and still not feel any snacking hunger quenched. You can see the nutrition readout here, 11 grams of sugar per pouch. Continue reading “Florida’s natural organic nuggets, not a snack I can recommend”

Food trainers don’t eat, but I once loved

Celebrity fitness trainers aren’t people I normally pay much attention to, but I was drawn to a recent article entitled 8 Foods Celebrity Fitness Trainers Won’t Eat because I wondered what the eight foods could be.

Not surprisingly, the list included foods I once loved, like fried foods, diet soda, bread, crackers and croutons. But surprisingly, some foods I’ve taken to eating since my angioplasty also made the list. These included yogurt, bananas and grapes.

What would a celebrity trainer say about Drake's Yodels?
What would a celebrity trainer say about Drake’s Yodels?

Yogurt is called out by one trainer because most yogurts are high in sugar. I normally look for the sugar-free yogurts, but that opens the debate about what sweetener is used instead in those. Continue reading “Food trainers don’t eat, but I once loved”

100 calories: can you fill up on it? Depends on what you pick

Counting calories isn’t all that important to me anymore. That’s because switching to a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet has meant I’ve cut out all the high calorie treats I once ate like cookies, cake, fatty beef, ribs, etc. I routinely eat less than the 2,100 calories a day I’m supposed to eat to maintain my weight these days, which is why I’ve lost 30 ponds in the 18 months since having my angioplasty.

You will not get fat eating fruits and vegetables. Check the chart I've linked to here to see why.
You will not get fat eating fruits and vegetables. Check the chart I’ve linked to here to see why.

I now firmly believe it’s impossible to get fat eating only healthy foods, that is foods without salt, fat or sugar added. You would have to eat prodigious amounts of vegetables and dry white meat chicken to gain any weight. This view was bolstered by a chart I found recently about 100 calorie servings. Continue reading “100 calories: can you fill up on it? Depends on what you pick”

Blackberry: expect to be seeing the flavor more places in 2014

Flavors come and go in the food and beverage world and we either respond to them as consumers or let them die out quietly. I’m old enough to remember when kiwi strawberry was a hot flavor combination and more recently when mango started invading everything imaginable.

Blackberry will be the hot flavor next year, predicts flavor company Firmenich.blackberries-noxubee-refuge-116

Blackberry will be hot because of its “abundance of antioxidants as well as its ‘delicate nuances’ and ability to ‘surprise the palate with every bite,’’ reports Advertising Age. Continue reading “Blackberry: expect to be seeing the flavor more places in 2014”

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