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Archive for Low Calorie

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bai 5 Low Calorie, High Antioxidant Drink

Bai 5 is a new addition to the “healthy drink alternatives” category, and certainly worth checking out if you’re looking for a better beverage choice. It has just five calories and one gram of sugar per serving*, and it’s packed with antioxidants.

It’s also packed with lots of natural flavor. Unlike so many low-calorie drinks, there’s not a hint of artificial flavor.

What there is, surprisingly, is coffee fruit, the red berries that are the fruit of the coffee tree. Coffee beans are actually the seeds of this fruit.

The coffee fruit on its has no taste of coffee (In fact, the green seeds of the berry don’t taste like coffee until they’re roasted. Like the beans, the fruit contains caffeine. A serving of Bai 5 has 35mg of caffeine, roughly the same as a cup of green tea.

Coffee berries are rich in antioxidants, with more than touted antioxidant fruits like blueberries, pomegranates and raspberries.

The line is all-natural, low-glycemic, OU kosher, GMO-free, and gluten-free—not that you’d expect to find gluten, a cereal protein, in a conventional beverage; but it seems that everything these days is touted as gluten free, including olive oil, pasta sauce and other foods that have never been near gluten†.

   

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The Bai 5 line is low in calories and high in
natural flavor. Photo courtesy Bai.

 

 

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One of the 10 flavors of Bai 5. Photo courtesy Bai.

 

Flavors include Brasilia Blueberry, Congo Pear, Costa Rica Clementine, Ipanema Pomegranate, Limu Lemon, Malawi Mango, Molokai Coconut, Panama Peach, Sumatra Dragonfruit and Tanzania Lemonade Tea.

There are also carbonated versions we have yet to taste, in Bolivia Black Cherry, Gimbi Pink Grapefruit, Guatemala Guava, Indonesia Nashi Pear, Jamaica Blood Orange, Peru Pineapple and Waikiki Coconut.

You can turn Bai 5 into a spritzer with an equal amount of club soda, with some optional gin, tequila or vodka. But we’ll keep enjoying the refreshing fruit taste, straight and chilled.

Discover more at DrinkBai.com.

*Note that the 18-ounce bottle contains two servings.

†Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, wheat and other grains: bulgur, farro, kamut, spelt and triticale, for example. Botanically, cereal refers to the entire stalk of grass—think of corn stalks or rice stalks. The grain is the edible part of the grass, e.g. the kernel.

 

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Diet Ice Pops

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Turn diet soft drinks into ice pops. Photo
courtesy Taza.

 

Looking for something sweet, cool, and virtually non-caloric?

You can buy sugar-free or no sugar added ice pops from Edy’s or Popsicle. Or, you can make your own from your favorite diet soft drink.

It couldn’t be easier. Prep time is five minutes plus freezing time.

RECIPE: DIET ICE POPS

Ingredients

  • Diet soda, diet fruit beverage, tea (steeped to double strength, as with iced tea)
  • Ice pop molds
  • Optional: yogurt
  •  
    Preparation For 6 Ice Pops

    1. POUR 20 ounces of beverage into a large pitcher.

    2. POUR the mixture into the pop molds; freeze for 3 hours or until completely frozen.

     

    Variations

  • Tea. If you’re a tea fan, experiment with fruit teas, sweetened with noncaloric sweeteners or a bit of agave (which is twice as sweet as sugar or honey, so use half as much).
  • Mix-Ins. Add chopped fruit (fresh or frozen) or citrus zest; for example, diet raspberry soda with chopped raspberries or diet lemon-lime soda with lime zest.
  • Layers. Create layers of different flavors. Add the first flavor, freeze and add the next layer.
  • Yogurt. For a few extra calories, mix flavored, no sugar added yogurt with the beverage. Or, create a separate yogurt layer. We couldn’t find the No Sugar Added Creamsicles at our store, so we made our own with diet orange soda and vanilla yogurt.
  •  
    On a related note, you can also make flavored ice cubes by freezing your favorite diet beverage in an ice cube tray. Toss them into your drink instead of regular ice, and the melting cubes won’t dilute the flavor.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pan-Seared Fish, Crispy Skin

    Sear that skin until it’s crisp! Photo courtesy
    Pollen Restaurant.

     

    Fish is healthy, low-fat protein; we all should eat more of it. Grilled or pan-seared fish is at the top of the list many nutritionists suggest for making better changes in your diet.

    This is not news.

    The news is: the fish doesn’t have to be dull. You can prepare it exciting without a cholesterol- and calorie-laden butter sauce.

    Here’s how to keep it health and delicious.

    1. Sear the skin. Crispy skin is a treat, without being a no-no. Yes, there’s some fat—but far less than chicken skin.

    2. Use a very light sauce. Serve the fish in a bowl of broth (just a half inch or so). You can use clear stock, tomato-based broth or even vegetable soup. Another option: tomato sauce, like a chunky pasta sauce. Better brands, without added sugar, are very low in calories. We often use diced San Marzano tomatoes, straight from the can with some fresh herbs.

     

    3. Top the fish with healthy vegetables. Steam the vegetables or lightly sautée them in olive oil. Combine three different vegetables for more arresting color and flavor. Don’t forget the super-healthful cruciferous group, including, among others, bok choy, chard, kale and Napa cabbage. Or instead of a topping, use vegetables as a base with the fish on top (spinach is great as a bed), and hold the broth.

     

    4. Serve with whole grains, beans or legumes. A bed of barley, beans, brown rice, lentils or quinoa hits the trifecta: attractive, healthful, tasty. Or with a dollop of yogurt seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, and maybe some grated cucumber, radish, and garlic. Perch it on a bed of greens with an assertive vinaigrette.

    5. Garnish with something artistic. Consider edamame, microgreens, snipped fresh herbs, sprouts, thin slices of baby radishes. Celery leaves are great for this purpose. Most people toss them out, but they’re an attractive and tasty garnish.
     
    HOW TO GET CRISP SKIN

    Crispy skin on a fish filet is a treat. Here’s how to do it.

    1. HEAT a heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron is great, nonstick doesn’t work as well) until it gets very hot; then reduce heat to medium-high heat for several minutes before you start cooking.

     

    Get rid of the butter- or cream-based sauce. Photo courtesy Nobilio.

     

    2. PAT the skin fry with a paper towel before seasoning (season both sides). If the skin sticks to the skillet, either the skin is too damp or the pan isn’t hot enough.

    3. BRUSH fish with oil (canola or grapeseed) and apply an even coating of oil to the pan. It will smoke; that’s when you add the fish, skin side down. When the fillet curves upward, use a spatula to press it once and it will flatten out, ensuring full skin contact.

    4. COOK until you see a golden brown color on the edge of the skin. The fish will be about 70% cooked. Then, gently slide the spatula under the fillet and flip it; cook for a few more seconds. You want to flip it just once; flipping it back and forth impedes proper cooking.

    5. PLATE and serve.

      

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    PRODUCT: Pineapple Coconut Smirnoff Vodka For A Low-Cal Piña Colada

    Great flavor with fewer calories: Pineapple
    Coconut vodka from Smirnoff Sorbet Light.
    Photo courtesy Smirnoff.

     

    The Smirnoff Sorbet Light vodka line is targeted to women who enjoy a regular cocktail, and would like to shave a few calories from each drink.

    The reduced calories are achieved by lowering the proof of the alcohol: The Sorbet Light line is 60 proof/30% ABV* while original Smirnoff (and most vodka) is 80 proof/40% ABV.

    We like a good flavored vodka: It’s like a cocktail without the extra calories. When we tasted new Sorbet Light Pineapple Coconut, it reminded us of one of our favorite drinks—the Piña Colada—without the extra calories of pineapple juice and coconut cream.

    Through the miracle of noncaloric flavor infusions, a shot of the vodka has all the satisfaction of fresh juicy pineapple combined with the luscious coconut. It’s not creamy, but to us, that doesn’t matter. It’s the pineapple-coconut flavor we crave.

     
    *ABV is Alcohol By Volume. Double the ABV to get the proof of any alcoholic beverage.

     

    If you want to “stretch out” the calories, add coconut water like Zico—60 calories for 11 ounces, 30 calories for half of that in your cocktail.

    You can mix up any number of cocktails. Here are some from Smirnoff. All of the recipes are under 150 calories.

    RECIPES

    RECIPE: PIÑA COCO SPRITZER

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1.5 ounces Smirnoff Sorbet Light Pineapple Coconut
  • 2 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 2 ounces club soda
  • Glassware: rocks glass
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a highball glass with ice; add remaining ingredients.

    2. STIR and garnish with an orange half wheel.

     

     
    RECIPE: TROPICAL TREAT

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce Smirnoff Sorbet Light Pineapple Coconut
  • 2 ounces coconut water
  • 1 ounces pomegranate juice
  • Garnish: lime wheel or pineapple wedge
  • Glassware: Martini glass
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.

    2. GARNISH and serve.

      

    RECIPE: BLANK SLATE

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1.5 ounces Smirnoff Sorbet Light Pineapple
    Coconut
  • 2 ounces coconut water
  • Glassware: Martini glass
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.

    2. GARNISH with an edible flower or a pineapple chunk.

     
    RECIPE: MANGO TANGO

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1.5 ounces Smirnoff Sorbet Light Pineapple
    Coconut
  • 1.5 ounces Crystal Light lemonade (4 ounces
    water to one packet)
  • 1.5 ounces mango juice
  • Glassware: Martini glass
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.

    2. GARNISH with a mango slice.

     

    The “Blank Slate”: a low calorie riff on the Piña Colada. Photo courtesy Smirnoff.

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Hearts Of Palm

    Back in the day when we still seriously dieted, we created what we called a luxury salad—absolutely delicious and “luxurious” because the ingredients were relatively costly:

    KAREN’S LUXURY SALAD RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Hearts of palm
  • Pimiento (roasted red pepper)
  • Sliced red onion
  • Black olives
  • White wine-olive oil vinaigrette
  • Optional: frisée, radicchio or other salad greens
  •  
    Preparation

    Just combine and serve!

     

    Hearts of palm. Photo courtesy Foodesto

     

    Whenever we’re feeling diet-minded—or simply want to detox from the rich foods we eat all day, we whip one up. If you can get to a club store, artichoke hearts and hearts of palm are more affordable.

    Hearts of palm are best chilled or at room temperature, and thus best with cold dishes. Add chopped hearts of palm to:

  • Green salads
  • Cold grain salads, such as barley, tabbouleh or quinoa salad
  • Vegetable salads
  • On skewers with water chestnuts, olives and cherry tomatoes
  •  

    Some people serve hearts of palm on a crudités platter with dip, or deep fried with dipping sauce. But that, to us, covers up the delicate flavor of the hearts of palm, which at best need only a light touch of vinaigrette.

    WHAT ARE HEARTS OF PALM

    Hearts of palm are the edible hearts of young palm trees. Palm branches are harvested and cut; the bark and leaves removed to expose the tender inner core.

    Hearts of palm have a smooth, firm consistency, a snap to the bite, and a flavor similar to artichoke; they can be used in as a substitute for artichokes in a recipe. They can be either white or pale yellow, depending on whether the palms are wild or cultivated.

    Hearts of palm have only 50 calories per cup, is a great source of dietary fiber and is a good source of protein, riboflavin, potassium and, vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and zinc. The only caveat: They can be packed in water with a high sodium content.

    WHERE DO HEARTS OF PALM COME FROM?

    Due to poaching in Brazil, Ecuador is now the largest producer and exporter of hearts of palm. Costa Rica is the largest exporter of to the U.S, and Hawaii also produces some palm hearts.

      

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