Friday, November 21, 2008

Healthy Breakfast at Starbucks!

What could be a better way to start your day than with a cup of vanilla latte or flavored steamed milk from Starbucks? A breakfast treat to go along with it that won't undermine your goals of healthy eating.

On a recent trip to Starbucks, when I inquired about the oatmeal, the guy in line in front of me offered up his opinion: "I eat the oatmeal every day--it's great! But today I'm having a chocolate donut!." And that's a healthy eating attitude, my friends--eat healthy most of the time with that occasional splurge...He was not the only guy to order oatmeal during my visit either--a few suits, joggers and students also ordered it. Maybe we should say "Real Men eat Oatmeal!" 

OK, so back to those new items for those watching their waist, cholesterol or general health--in other words, all of us! Here are my two cents on the items I've tried:

Vivanno: Here's the scenario--you're on the road to a meeting and you need something to tide you over until your early dinner. You don't want to spill ketchup on your suit from a burger--or smell like a fast food eatery either. Best choice for a tasty, meal to sip: Vivanno, which is a healthy smoothie containing real banana, whey protein and fiber. I've had the Orange Mango Banana Blend as a lunch replacement and it's filling as well as tasty, which I can tell you from personal experience, is sometimes difficult to achieve when concocting with whey powder!! I've heard from other dietitians that moms with morning sickness have found the Vivanno to go down really well, too. It's also a perfect mid-morning or afternoon snack for Moms-to-be, people trying to gain weight, or as an after workout replacement.

Vivanno Nutrient Breakdown: 270 calories, 5 grams fat, 16 grams protein, 5 grams fiber

Chewy Fruit and Nut Bar: Imagine one of those little fruit and nut granola bar that comes in a little package and leaves you wanting just a little more. Now imagine it baked fresh with the dried fruit still moist and tangy. That's the Chewy Fruit & Nut Bar-great to go with your morning java.

Chewy Fruit and Nut Bar Nutrient Breakdown:  250 calories, 4 grams fiber, 5 grams protein

Perfect Oatmeal: I'm an oatmeal kind of gal, while my husband is not--he says it's because I always put cinnamon and spice in it. Well, what he liked about this oatmeal was it's purity--no extra spices, unless you put your own! I liked the fact that the brown sugar was pre-measured in a little packet, which ended up being the perfect amount of added sweetness. The dried fruit, also in a little pouch, was nice and moist and contained raisins, currants and cranberries-which again added the perfect touch of sweet and sour.  A nut medley pouch also came with--giving the customer the option of putting it or not. This is great for those allergic to nuts, because there is no chance of cross contamination.

Perfect Oatmeal Nutrient Breakdown: up to 390 calories, depending on the toppings, and 1.5 servings of whole grains.

Apple Bran Muffin: OK, so if you have ever tried to bake with whole grains, you know that it's an art. Consider this a masterpiece! It's made with whole wheat flour, oats and wheat bran and has apples, tart cherries and honey. I like the nutrient balance--being high in fiber and protein for a muffin--which means it's probably going to carry you until lunch! Bran muffins tend to be either very dry, or greasy--this was neither, telling me that while not fat-free, it probably has a moderate but not excessive fat content.

Apple Bran Muffin Nutrient Breakdown: 330 calories, 7 grams fiber, 7 grams protein.

The Bottom Line: Do your diet a favor this holiday season--eat regular meals and snacks starting with breakfast to keep your energy up and your stress level down. Starbucks makes it easy with their healthy new breakfast options.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New MyPyramid for Preschoolers!

There's good news for parents--it's a new interactive tool to help parents feed their little ones. It's the MyPyramid for Preschoolers. Developed by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNNP), it was developed in record time under the direction of the new director Brian Wansink, PhD, with guidance from Madeleine Sigman-Grant from the University of Nevada Coopeand Trish Britten from the USDA CNNP.

Here's what you can find on the site:

Customized Eating Plan: Simply plug in your child's height, weight, age and sex and you get a customized eating plan specifically for your child. Pretty cool!

Growth during the Preschool Years: You can find information about typical growth patterns as well as create a custom growth chart for your child.

Developing Healthy Eating Habits: A Wealth of Advice about Common Questions

Physical Activity: Lists ideas for family activities, age-appropriate activities and more

Food Safety: All you need to know about food safety as well as choking hazards.

Sample Snack Patterns: Gives 2 examples of meal and snack patterns

Check out the new MyPyramid for Preschoolers at: