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Posts Tagged ‘whole grain’

KIND has released some new flavors. I got to try the Blueberry Pecan one this morning. It. Is. Delicious. It’s amazing: when you use real ingredients, things taste like real ingredients. This bar stars: Almonds, blueberries (blueberry pieces, whole dried blueberries), raisins, pecans, honey, cashews, non GMO glucose, crisp rice, chicory fiber, soy lecithin. This is a KIND plus bar, this one has added fiber.

Their other new flavors include:
Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants
Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein
Apple Cinnamon & Pecan
Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio + Antioxidants
Peanut Butter & Strawberry

And this fabulous Healthy Indulgence Cube. This is awesome. I should get this for our studio.

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I love almond flavored food. When Nature Valley came out with Roasted Almond flavored granola bars, I was quite happy. Then, at a recent event they had incredibly healthy snacks, including an assortment of Kashi granola bars. One of the flavors was Roasted Almond Crunch. JACKPOT! I’m a convert (which I guess gives you an idea of where this article is headed). I’ve been buying the Kashi bars for a month or so now, but the other day I ran out. I found a lone Nature Valley bar in the back of my desk drawer and had myself a snack. Wow. Huge difference from the Kashi bars. The NV bar was really sweet. It also seemed in some way less substantial. I’m here to compare the ingredients and the nutrition facts. I’ve added links to uncommon ingredients to give you a better idea of what these are made of.

Nature Valley
Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Almond Pieces, Brown Sugar Syrup, Yellow Corn Flour, Soy Flour, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor.
Ingredient total: 11
Calories per serving: 190
Total Fat: 8 grams (1 gram of saturated fat)
Sodium: 170 milligrams
Total Carbs: 28 grams
Dietary Fiber: 2 grams
Sugars: 11 grams
Protein: 4 grams

Kashi
Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals, Rolled Whole Grain Blend (Hard Red Wheat, Oats, Rye, Triticale, Barley), Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Natural Roasted Almond Butter, Soy Protein Isolate, Almonds, Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame Flour (Whole: Oats, Hard Red Wheat, Rye, Brown Rice, Triticale, Barley, Buckwheat, Sesame Seeds), Chicory Root Fiber, Honey, Rice Starch, Wheat Germ, Evaporated Salt, Gum Arabic, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Bicarbonate, Natural Flavor, Mixed Tocopherols for Freshness.
Ingredient total: 30
Calories per serving: 170
Total Fat: 6 grams (0.5 gram of saturated fat)
Sodium: 150 milligrams
Total Carbs: 26 grams
Dietary Fiber: 4 grams
Sugars: 8 grams
Protein: 6 grams

I’ll be honest, I thought there would be a very clear winner here.

If you look at the number of ingredients, NV wins with 19 fewer ingredients. Michael Pollan’s Food Rules might suggest NV is the winner. If you look at the nutritional facts, Kashi has lower everything except for fiber and protein, which you want more of. There’s a lot of stuff in the Kashi bars, both good stuff, and ingredients that make me wonder why they were included. I’d love to get a play-by-play of why each ingredient is used. Is it to up the density? Is it to hold it all together? Is it to improve the texture, the crunch, the visual appeal? Kashi has a lot of information on the website about their ingredients, more exploration is needed. NV has a few ingredients that I wish were replaced with more nutritious substitutes (yellow corn flour for one).

I’d love to hear other perspectives on this face-off. What would Alton choose?

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On Alton’s ‘NEVER’ list is “Processed meals/frozen dinners”. I get that. Alton doesn’t want us to eat Lunchables, or Hungry-Man dinners. They are full of…whoa! However, I am a working mom and sometimes you have to break the NEVER rule. I feel ok about it. Here’s one frozen line I think Alton would be ok with.

Kashi Frozen Meals

These all natural meals from the good people at Kashi are delicious, full of nutrition and sometimes even have KALE! Kashi’s tagline is 7 whole grains on a mission, so in each meal you get a delicious combination of tastes and textures, and that is just the base of the meal. The vegetables taste fresh, and there are unusual flavors you almost never find in a microwaveable meal.

The Lemongrass Coconut Chicken is really good, it’s kind of like a healthier version of what you might get at a Thai or Cambodian restaurant. I highly recommend it.

Today I ate the Mayan Harvest Bake for lunch. This has a polenta base made of their 7 whole grains mixture, plantains, sweet potato, black beans, kale and a mildly spicy sauce. It has a sweet/spicy flavor, with lots of texture and it makes for a quick, filling meal.

The best part about Kashi meals is that when you look up the ingredients, you don’t wince. In fact you maybe stand a little taller, knowing that you have just eaten really healthy, have checked a number of foods off the list (Everyday: Fruit, Whole Grains, Greens, Nuts; 3x: Sweet potato). Better yet, you recognize almost everything on the list. I’m not going to say that I knew what triticale was, but when I looked it up, I was pretty pleased with what I saw.

I think Alton would approve.

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My son and husband LOVE mac and cheese. I usually make this version. I decided to give this an Eat Like Alton makeover.

Mac And Cheese Madeover

The first change I made was to add about 1/4 cup of wheat germ to the flour butter mixture before letting it bubble. I love wheat germ, I add it to smoothies, sweet breads and a family favorite is toast with peanut butter, honey and wheat germ. It’s a great snack.

The second change I made was to use whole wheat elbow pasta. I found a store-brand in our local grocery store, but there are also name-brands out on the market too. I cooked it a little longer than the 8 to 10 minutes suggested, thinking that often whole wheat pasta is tougher, but I may have overdone it. The pasta had no tooth and was just this side of mushy. Next time I’ll follow the time suggestions on the bag.

What are those little orange specs you wonder? Carrots. I put about 1/2 a cup of baby carrots in our mini food processor and tossed these in just after adding the milk. These cooked up, but still had some texture after the whole thing was baked. My husband said he liked them and although it caused my son to stop mid-song and ask “what are those orange things” after hearing they were carrots, he ate up as usual.

The two other changes I make from the recipe above: I have an older version of this recipe, before they modernized it with ground mustard and Worcestershire sauce, though I bet those would be good additions. I usually add a little bit of nutmeg, and on top I add bread crumbs or panko.

Close up of mac and cheese

The end result tasted very similar to my usual mac and cheese, both guys liked it, and this recipe makes plenty for left overs. Next time I’m going to add spinach at the same time I add the carrots. I love spinach, but the other folks in my house are not fans.

Lets recap: I added 2 whole grains (whole wheat pasta and wheat germ) and carrots, both on the ‘eat every day’ list. It’s still mac and cheese, made with butter and cheese, but it’s a step in the right direction. Remember, pasta is a once a week food, so bring the leftovers into your  work mates!

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