Kelly’s Picks for 2018

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Are you looking for some healthy foods to work into your repertoire this year—foods that are totally healthy and actually taste delicious? Well, I have some picks for you! I love these all equally and they are all becoming regular “participants” in my healthy lifestyle!

My first pick is Lifeway Kefir. Kefir is a fermented beverage that tastes like a yogurt drink only it is way more loaded with probiotics. Lifeway Kefir has 12 live and active cultures. These probiotics may help regulate digestion and boost immunity. Lifeway Kefir may help build your healthy gut bacteria, which has long-lasting positive effects like improving your metabolism. It contains bone-building calcium also! It’s high in protein, which is great for your muscles. I recommend kefir for breakfast!

My second food pick is what I reach for when I’m having a snack attack—PopCorners!  They’re like guilt-free chips! They are air-popped and so delicious! They come in sweet and spicy flavors, but my favorite flavor is the “Salt of the Earth” flavor. These have three simple ingredients: yellow corn, sunflower oil, and sea salt. Each serving only has 110 calories—plus PopCorners are gluten-free and GMO-free. I suggest keeping this healthy snack at your desk, a much better option than visiting the vending machine!

My third pick may take you aback a little bit. It’s cottage cheese—wait keep reading. Say goodbye to boring cottage cheese—there’s a new cottage cheese on the block and it’s Muuna Cottage Cheese. Muuna cottage cheese comes in handy single-serving cups. High in protein and so rich and creamy, Muuna cottage cheese has real pieces of orchard fruit in their variety of flavors like raspberry, strawberry, peach, and pineapple to name a few.

My fourth pick is another snack I recommend keeping at your desk—Setton Farm pistachios! Pistachios are heart healthy and provide your body with amazing nutrition. Filled with antioxidants, they’re also a great source of vitamin B6, protein, and fiber. Setton Farms has offers far more than the standard salty pistachios. One of my favorite choices they offer is their Salt & Pepper flavored pistachios. When I am craving something sweet, I happily reach for their dark-chocolate covered pistachios—they’re amazing!

My fifth pick is a beverage. Maybe like me, you are looking for something more than water to consume? I have added Sunsweet Amazin Prune Juice into my repertoire. This delicious juice is an excellent way to help maintain good digestive health and give you the fiber that you need. Their juice also comes in a light variety with a mere 100 calories and 8 grams of sugar per serving.

My last pick isn’t technically a food, but it is a supplement I recommend Just Thrive probiotics, not to replace healthy food, but to supplement a healthy diet—hence why they are called supplements! Probiotics keep your digestive tract functioning optimally and also help your immune system and reduce the inflammation that is a precursor to almost every disease. Just Thrive probiotics have a powerfully potent and effective strain that is patented—Bacillus Indicus HU36®.

So there you have it! My top picks for 2018! Try them out and add some healthy pizazz to your food routine,

For recipes and more information on Kelly’s Choice, check us out at www.kellyschoice.org.

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Representing Daiya at FNCE

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I can’t even begin to explain how exciting and energizing the past few days have been! I have been happily busy at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Chicago. Every year, this is an opportunity for me to learn about everything cutting-edge when it comes to food and nutrition. And it’s my chance to connect with other awesome dietitians from all over the country! Basically, this is THE PLACE TO BE if you are a professional in the field of nutrition!

Saturday, I took a course on how genetics impacts nutritional recommendations revolved around mental health. Fascinating! The portion I really loved was about integrative and nutritional strategies for anxiety. This can be helpful to so many people I work with.

The most exhilarating part about my time at FNCE this year was working with Daiya. As a reminder, Daiya is the leading maker of delicious plant-based foods that are free of three of the top food allergens: dairy, gluten and soy . Click here to read why I am in love their products.

Being at the Daiya booth was so fun! Their unique booth was magnetic and word got around about how delicious the food samples were too!  The booth was nonstop busy as people dropped by to learn more. Everyone I spoke with was enthusiastic and so delighted to learn about the Daiya food line. Many were surprised by the variety of products that Daiya offers.

I was able to tell so many of my colleagues why I love Daiya so much and I was able to introduce them to new products, including the new Cutting Board Collection Shreds, IMG_3188that melt and stretch just like dairy-based cheese.

Gina said, “I absolutely love the flavor of the vanilla yogurt and the amazing protein content!”

 

Speaking of Daiya yogurt, I was able to attend Daiya’s Yogurt Parfait Bar this morning that featured their new Plain and Vanilla Greek Yogurts. They also offered a hopping mid-afternoon Happy Hour. While there I was able to help serve their new plant-based pumpkin cheesecake and Dairy-free Smoked Gouda and Jalapeno-Havarti blocks that my dietitian friends enjoyed with champagne.

Daiya will be hosting both of these events again tomorrow, the Yogurt Parfait  Bar from IMG_31879-10 a.m. and the Happy Hour from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. so be sure to stop by booth # 955 to say hi! Overall, my experience with Daiya made me fall in love with their products even more! And I’m so excited to have introduced these products to dozens of dietitians, who will be able to recommend a plant-based, dairy-free and allergen-free line of products to their clients whether they have specific diet preferences, are dealing with food allergies, or are simply interested in living a more plant-based lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

Plant-based Finds at FNCE

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As a Registered Dietitian, there are times when I get REALLY excited about food. It’s so fun to learn about foods that are healthy and delicious. And when I learn, my favorite thing to do is to educate! One of my latest favorite food lines is Daiya Foods—their products are deliciously dairy and allergen free!

This is why I will be available to chat all things plant-basedat the Daiya Foods booth (#955) at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Chicago Oct. 21-24. Daiya makes deliciously dairy-free foods and plant-based alternatives that are free of dairy, gluten and soy. And all of their products are free of the common allergens I mentioned above. So for those of you who are vegan, vegetarian, annoyed with food allergies, or are simply looking to eat more plant-based foods, I highly recommend Daiya.

While I am not a vegetarian or vegan, I am a big-time promoter of a plant-based diet. Hundreds of peer-reviewed, published studies have proven the incredible benefits of eating a plant-based diet from boosting your immune system to reducing your risk of heart disease and even preventing cancer.

Plant-based food is my go-to for energy and for protection from diseases. For example, when you eat more plant-based food, you are more likely to have a healthy blood-pressure and a healthier cholesterol level (your LDL and triglycerides will lower an your healthy HDL cholesterol will rise making your overall cholesterol ratio way better)! And a healthy blood pressure and remarkable cholesterol level reduces my risk of heart-disease, which is the number-one cause of death for women in the United States.

Also, did you know that plant-based food is so good for your gut? Meat-based protein takes forever to digest, but plant-based protein digests easier with the help of the fiber it contains! Also, too much meat can actually disrupt the healthy gut flora in your digestive system, which could lead to big problems down the road, including an increased risk of colon cancer. Dairy-free is actually great for your gut too because many people are sensitive to the lactose contained in dairy products.

I must also say that my skin glows from my plant-based diet. This has been true for many of my clients who have started their journey on more of a plant-based diet.  Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins such as A, C, E, and K. They also contain tons of antioxidants and phytochemicals that have been shown to be beneficial for skin health. And trust me, it shows!

If you’re attending the conference this weekend, two awesome offerings at this booth that you will NOT want to miss are their Yogurt Parfait Bar on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23 from 9-10 a.m. and their Happy Hour from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23. Daiya’s Yogurt Parfait Bar includes their smooth amazing coconut-based Greek Yogurt with fruit and granola and their Happy Hour includes champagne served with their Smoked Gouda and Jalapeno-Havarti blocks…AND  a heavenly  pumpkin spice cheesecake made with their dairy-free cream cheese.  Dairy Free never tasted so delicious!

So give Daiya a try—you’ll be so happy you did! If you aren’t attending FNCE this weekend you can still find their products are available more than 25,000 grocery stores across the US and Canada, including Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway and Publix.

For more information about Daiya, please visit www.daiyafoods.com, become a fan on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

 

My New Favorite Treat: Setton Farms Blueberry-Flavored Pistachio Chewy Bites

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One of my favorite things about being in the nutrition business is that I get to try nutritious foods before they hit the market.  I am so excited about a nutrient-dense treat that hits the market TODAY: Setton Farms’ blueberry-flavored Pistachio Chewy Bites. And I am going to GIVE AWAY three bags of them to one lucky reader! Keep reading to find out what you have to do to be a contender for this awesome prize!

First of all, let me get it straight about what it means for a treat to be nutrient-dense and then I will tell about how yummy these treats are, how they qualify as nutrient-dense, and I will also give you some scenarios where it would be PERFECT for you to have these treats on hand.

Nutrient-dense foods are food choices that are loaded with nutrients but relatively low in calories, saturated fat, and trans fat. It’s often difficult to find nutrient-dense snacks. Virtually all fruit and veggies would be considered nutrient-dense as would raw nuts and seeds.

But what about packaged food? Sometimes you just crave a candy bar, right?

When examining a nutrition label, some markers of a good, nutrient-dense selection in my opinion are: less than 250 calories per serving, less than 4 grams of saturated fat, at least 5 grams of unsaturated fat (these fats are GOOD for you), at least 3 grams of fiber, and at least 4 grams of protein.

I can’t think of a candy bar that qualifies as nutrient-dense, but Setton Farms’ brand-new blueberry-flavored Pistachio Chewy Bites are the perfect alternative. They’re so sweet and yummy. Made with pistachios, blueberry-infused dried cranberries, maple brown-PCB BLUEBERRIES - IMG_5843-Edit-2rice syrup, and coconut, you cannot go wrong with this treat. And here are some markers of their nutrient density!

Each serving (2 chewy bites) has:

  • 200 calories
  • ZERO trans fats
  • Only 2 grams of saturated fat
  • 9 grams of unsaturated fat
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 5 grams of protein

Here are some scenarios where these treats would be great to have on hand:

  • Great to have in your desk drawer at work for that 3:00 dip in energy.
  • Keep them in your purse for when you are out and about longer than planned and need something to hold you over before your next meal.
  • Attention athletes! These are the perfect fueling snack and can also work effectively as a recovery snack!
  • Got kiddos? These are a great choice to add to their lunches! My girls even asked for them for dessert one night!
  • These are also perfect to pass around as an appetizer at a dinner party!

In the comments below, by Friday June 9 at 8:00 PM EST, tell me why YOU would love to try these tasty snacks for a chance to win three bags (9 servings) of Setton Farms’ blueberry-flavored Pistachio Chew Bites. I will announce the winner over the weekend!