Inside Scoop: New Foods on the Market

A round-up of healthy new products from the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo.

Every year I attend the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo and scout the expo for the newest must-have foods. This year I found a variety of new chips, fun dairy flavors and one hot blender.

Chips made from various grains and legumes are very trendy right now. These bean chips come in a variety of flavors such as Black Bean (my favorite), Pinto Bean & Flax, and Black Bean Chipotle BBQ. They are non-GMO certified, corn-free, gluten-free, kosher and high in fiber (contains at least 5 grams of fiber per serving). One serving of the Black Bean Chips (about 10 chips) has 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. It also provides 6% of your daily dose of iron (pretty good for a snack chip!).

This second type of chip is made from 70% organic ingredients. The package has the Whole Grain Stamp and the Non-GMO verified label. There are 9 flavors available—I tried the Sea Salt (my favorite), Sesame & Seaweed and Sante Fe Barbecue. One serving of Sea Salt Rice Chips (about 9 chips) has 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of fiber,and 2 grams of protein. First ingredient listed on the package is organic whole grain-brown rice – a whole grain!

The term “dried plums” is now being used instead of “prunes” but they’re one and the same. Dried plums have a similar texture and flavor to raisins and can be in place of them in recipes. Add diced plums to muffins and breads, oatmeal, yogurt and cold cereal or make your own trail mix with them. This is a nice way to add fruits to your healthy eating plan, especially when winter hits and not many local fresh ones are in season.

It’s no secret that many Americans are crunched for time when it comes to breakfast. Belvita’s breakfast biscuits are a great alternative to many of the not-so-healthy packaged breakfast products. Each package contains 4 crunchy biscuits for 230 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. They're also packed with 19 grams of whole grains. It’s a fantastic way to meet the daily recommendation of at least 48 grams of whole grains each day. Eat them with a container of nonfat Greek yogurt or a piece of fresh fruit for breakfast or enjoy 2 of the biscuits with cheese as a snack.

A fun new addition to your natural sugar repertoire, coconut sugar has now hit the market. It’s available in 16-ounce packages or single-serve packets (great for company). It can be used to sweeten beverages, in baking and desserts. Substitute coconut sugar in place of granulated sugar in a 1:1 ratio. This brand is also Non-GMO certified.

When I was a little girl, my dad used to chomp beef jerky snacks on every family car trip. These jerky-type snacks are made from either chicken breast or beef sirloin and are made without nitrites. They come in yummy flavors like Dried Chicken Breast with Black Bean Salsa and Dried Chicken Breast with Apples & Cherries. One package (1 ounce) of the Dried Beef Sirloin with Apples & Cherries has 60 calories, 0.5 grams of fat and 8 grams of protein. Sodium is also about 1/3 less than some popular jerky brands on the market. My dad was at the expo and tasted these and was immediately in love.

String cheese just got a little hotter, literally. You can now find string cheese in both Jalapeno and Cracked Black Pepper flavors. The one-ounce Jalapeno cheese stick (made from part-skim mozzarella cheese) has 80 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams saturated fat and 7 grams of protein – pretty much the same nutrition info as plain string cheese since the spicy flavors don’t add calories.

I tried a Blendtec blender during my cooking demo at the conference and it worked so beautifully (and quietly) that I went back to their booth to get more info. Their Total Blender Classic Series has 1560 Watts and comes with a Smart-Touch Tec-nology, which allows the blender to speed up and slow down, then shut off when the task is complete. The downside is the cost, but if you're the market for a high-end blender they all range from about $430-$500.

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