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Archive for Low Calorie

TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bare Fruit Apple Chips

An apple never tasted better. Photo by Elvira
Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

Our favorite packaged sweet snack, Bare Fruit apple chips has expanded the line to two new “flavored” chips. The lineup now includes

  • Chili Lime Apple Chips
  • Cinnamon Apple Chips
  • Fuji Red Apple Chips
  • Granny Smith Apple Chips
  • Sea Salt Caramel Apple Chips
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    They’re as satisfying as candy—in fact, much more so, since they’re a guilt-free, all fruit and just 50 calories per bag. Each bag is the equivalent of eating an apple, so you also contribute to your recommended daily fruit and fiber servings.

    Caramel Apple is perfect for Halloween; all varieties of these naturally sweet chips (no sugar added but a special baking process caramelizes the apple’s natural sugar) are great for:

  • Dieter Gifts
  • Glove compartment, desk drawer, gym bag, etc.
  • Stocking Stuffers
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    Here’s our favorite packaged salty snack, which also should be on your stocking stuffer radar: HalfPops, fiber-filled half-poppped popcorn that we like even better than conventional full-popped.

      

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    RECIPE: Fruit Salad Cocktail or Mocktail

    We love this idea of a “seltzer-fruit cocktail” from Polar Seltzer: refreshing and low in calories. The Worcester, Massachusetts-based bottler makes seltzer in numerous yummy, calorie-free flavors:

  • Year-Round Flavors: Black Cherry, Blueberry, Cherry Pomegranate, Cranberry Lime, Georgia Peach, Granny Smith Apple, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Pomegranate, Raspberry Lime, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Strawberry, Triple Berry, Orange Vanilla, Vanilla.
  • Limited Edition Summer Flavors: Limited editions change yearly, but summer flavors have included Ginger Lemonade, Mint Mojito, Orange Mango, Piña Colada and Pineapple Passionfruit.
  • Limited Edition Holiday Flavors: What a great idea for calorie-free drinks! No wonder past flavors such as Boston Cream Pie, Butter Rum, Candy Cane, Cinnamon, Eggnog, Mint Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice and Vanilla Pear have sold out.
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    The mixologists at Polar Beverages always provide cocktail and mocktail ideas for the different flavors. You can find them on the company’s website and Facebook page.

     

    Cocktail or mocktail with “fruit salad.” Photo courtesy Polar Seletzer.

     

    FRUIT SALAD COCKTAIL-MOCKTAIL RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 different fruits
  • Flavored seltzer to match
  • Optional: a shot of your favorite spirit or liqueur
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE fruits: wash, pat dry, slice as needed.

    2. FILL glass with ice cubes, seltzer and optional spirit.

    3. ARRANGE fruits at the top of the glass. The ice cubes serve as a base to anchor the fruit.

    4. SERVE with a straw and a cocktail pick or cocktail fork for the fruit.

     

    “Creamsicle” seltzer: Orange Vanilla seltzer
    with an orange wedge. Photo courtesy Polar
    Seltzer.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLUB SODA &
    SELTZER

    A Glossary Of Sparkling Waters

    Any effervescent water belongs to the category of carbonated water, also called soda water: water into which carbon dioxide gas under pressure has been dissolved, causing the water to become effervescent. The carbon dioxide can be natural, as in some spring waters and mineral waters, or can be added in the bottling process. (In fact, even some naturally carbonated waters are enhanced with more carbonation at the bottling plant.)

    Carbonated Water: In the U.S., carbonated water was known as soda water until after World War II, due to the sodium salts it contained. While today we think of “soda” as a carbonated beverage, the word originally refers to a chemical salts, also called carbonate of soda (sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, sodium monoxide). The salts were added as flavoring and acidity regulator, to mimic the taste of a natural mineral water.

     
    After the war, terms such as sparkling water and seltzer water gained favor. Except for sparkling mineral water, all carbonated water/soda water is made from municipal water supplies (tap water). Carbonated water was invented in Leeds, England in 1767 by British chemist Joseph Priestley, who discovered how to infuse water with carbon dioxide by suspending a bowl of water above a beer vat at a local brewery. Carbonated water changed the way people drank liquor, which had been neat, providing a “mixer” to dilute the alcohol.

    Club Soda: Like the original carbonated water, club soda is enhanced with some sodium salts.

    Fizzy Water: Another term for carbonated water.

    Seltzer or Seltzer Water: Seltzer is carbonated water with no sodium salts added. The term derives from the town of Selters in central Germany, which is renowned for its mineral springs. The naturally carbonated spring water—which contains naturally dissolved salts—has been commercially bottled and shipped around the world since at least the 18th century. When seltzer is made by carbonating tap water, some salts are added for the slightest hint of flavor. And that’s the difference between seltzer and club soda: Club soda is salt-free.

    Sparkling Water: Another term for carbonated water/soda water. It can also refer to sparkling mineral water, which is pumped from underground aquifers. Note that not all sparkling mineral waters are naturally effervescent. Many are actually carbonated from still mineral water. Some are lightly carbonated by nature, but have extra carbonation added at bottling to meet consumer preferences.

    Two Cents Plain: Another word for soda water, coined during the Great Depression, when plain soda water was the cheapest drink at the soda fountain.

    MORE TYPES OF WATER

    Check out our Water Glossary for the different types of water, including the difference between mineral water and spring water.

      

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    RECIPE: Thai Iced Tea

    WHAT IS THAI ICED TEA?

    Thai iced tea, known as cha-yen (cha is the word for tea), is served in Thailand, Vietnam, elsewhere around the Pacific Rim and in Thai restaurants in the West and elsewhere around the world. It is made from strong-brewed black tea and sweetened condensed milk, which adds body and creamy mouthfeel.

    The brewed tea can be enhanced with spices, such as cardamom, clove, nutmeg, star anise and tamarind. If you like chai tea with milk and sweetener, you’ll equally like Thai iced tea.

    For visual appeal, the deep amber tea and white condensed milk are swirled together or layered. The drink can be topped off evaporated milk, coconut milk, half and half or whole milk.

    The countries where it’s most popular are known for hot.steamy summers. Thai iced tea is a welcome refreshment—and a complement to spicy food. If your neck of the woods is as hot and steamy as ours is, it’s time to try the recipe.

     

    The milky swirl of Thai iced tea is a visual treat. Photo courtesy ArborTeas.com.

     

    THAI ICED TEA RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup black tea leaves (approximately 3 ounces)
  • Optional spices: cardamom, ground tamarind, nutmeg, star anise or others (cinnamon works for us), to taste
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or equivalent noncaloric sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk to top (you can substitute coconut milk, half and half or whole milk)
  • Ice
  •  

    Thai iced tea. Photo by Jeff Kramer |
    Wikimedia.

     

    Preparation

    1. STEEP the tea leaves (and any optional spices) in boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves. Using an infuser (tea ball) makes this step easier.

    2. STIR in sugar while the tea is still hot, until dissolved; then stir in condensed milk.

    3. COOL to room temperature or ideally, chill in the fridge.

    4. ADD ice to tall iced tea glasses and pour in tea mixture until glasses are roughly 3/4 full. Slowly top off glasses with evaporated milk.
     
    VARIATIONS

    If you find yourself in the Pacific Rim, you can have what Americans think of as iced tea.

  • Dark Thai iced tea (cha dam yen) is simple iced tea without the milk, sweetened with sugar.
  •  

  • Lime Thai tea (cha manao) is dark Thai iced tea flavored with lime. Mint may also be added.
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    If you’re looking for unsweetened iced tea in the Pacific Rim, you may be out of luck. It‘s the birthplace of sugar.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SUGAR

    Sugar is native to Southeast Asia, with three species seeming to have originated in two locations: Saccharum barberi in India and Saccharum edule and Saccharum officinarum in New Guinea.

    Originally, people chewed on the raw sugar cane stalks to enjoy the sweetness. Refined sugar appears around 500 B.C.E., when residents of what is now India began to make sugar syrup from the cane juice. They cooled it to make crystals that were easier to store and transport. These crystals were called khanda, which is the source of the word candy.

    Indian sailors carried sugar along various trade routes. In 326 B.C.E., Alexander the Great and his troops saw farmers on the Indian subcontinent growing sugar cane and making the crystals, which were called sharkara, pronounced as saccharum.

    The Macedonian soldiers carried “honey bearing reeds” home with them. But sugar cane remained a little known crop to most Europeans for the next thousand years, a rare and costly product that made sugar traders wealthy.

    In the 12th century, Crusaders brought sugar back to Europe from the Holy Land, where they encountered caravans carrying the “sweet salt.” Venice began to produce sugar in Lebanon to supply Europe, where honey had been the only available sweetener. By the 15th century, Venice was the chief sugar refining and distribution center in Europe.

     
    HOW MANY TYPES OF SUGAR HAVE YOU HAD?

    Check out the different types of sugar in our Sugar Glossary.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Deconstructed Crab Cake

    Save calories and carbs with a
    “deconstructed” crab cake. Photo courtesy
    Wild Mushroom Restaurant | Texas.

     

    Crab cakes are a popular item on menus nationwide. The crab is good for you, but the fat for sautéing is less so.

    You could place the crab cake(s) on a large bed of salad for a healthy offset. Or you could make these “deconstructed” crab cakes from Chef Jerrett Joslin of The Wild Mushroom Steakhouse in Weatherford, Texas.

    Chef Joslin takes the components of crab cakes and works them into an uncooked crab cake:

    DECONSTRUCTED CRAB CAKES RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Fresh lump crab or other crab meat
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Aïoli (garlic mayonnaise) and/or chimichurri sauce for garnish; you can substitute chile, curry or other flavored mayonnaise
  • For The Salad

  • Baby arugula, cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
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    Preparation

    1. MAKE aioli, if desired (recipe).recipe)

    2. PLACE crab meat in a bowl, chopping as necessary so that it can be easily mounded. Add fresh parsley to taste.

    3. MIX 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Use as needed to bind crab mixture so that it can be molded, using a metal mold, cookie cutter or table spoons.

    4. TOSS arugula with vinaigrette, just enough to lightly moisten.

    5. PLACE the crab cake on a plate, then top with He then arranges the ingredients on top of a bed of arugula that has been tossed with citrus vinaigrette.

    The result is a new take and presentation on the favorite dish. You can save calories by substituting a spicy vinaigrette for the aïoli.
     
    TYPES OF CRAB MEAT

    You don’t need to use the costliest jumbo lump crab meat: Use what you can afford. From most costly to least costly, they area;

  • Jumbo Lump or Lump Crab Meat
  • Lump or Backfin Lump Crab Meat
  • White Crab Meat
  • Claw Crab Meat
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    The most expensive crab meat, jumbo lump, is beautiful to look at. But if it‘s getting mashed in a recipe, save you money and buy a less expensive grade. Photo courtesy Miller’s Crab.

     
    Here’s more on the different types of crab meat.

      

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    COCKTAILS: Save Calories With VitaFrute From VeeV

    Ready to drink, VitaFrute lower calorie
    cocktails reduce the sugar calories in
    cocktails. Photo courtesy VeeV Spirits.

     

    Typical mixed drinks can pack on the calories. The standard 1.5 ounce serving of 80-proof alcohol has 96 calories, which seems reasonable. But start to add mixers:

  • Cranberry juice cocktail (8 oz.): 136 calories
  • Light orange juice (8 oz.): 50 calories
  • Orange juice (6 oz.): 84 calories
  • Soft drink (cola, 7-Up, etc., 8 oz.): 100 calories, 25g sugar
  • Piña colada mix (6 ounces): 130 calories, 25g sugar
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    But there are calorie-saving solutions:

     
    LOOK FOR REDUCED CALORIE READY-MADE COCKTAILS

    One easy way to control a sweet cocktail while controlling the calories is the new line of VitaFrute cocktails from VeeV Spirits, in Margarita, Organic Lemonade and Organic Cosmopolitan. The base spirit is VeeV, the world’s first spirit made from the superfruit açaí.

     
    Sweetened with low-glycemic agave nectar, cocktails are under 125 calories per serving. By comparison, a four-ounce glass of wine has 125-150 calories.

    The suggested retail price of VitaFrute is $13.99 to $14.99 per bottle. Learn more about VeeV spirit and VitaFrute cocktails at VeeVLife.com.

    Here are more tips to cut back on the calories in cocktails:

    HOW TO REDUCE THE CALORIES IN MIXED DRINKS

  • If you can, choose savory, not sweet, cocktails, such as the popular Bloody Mary and Martini.
  • Use calorie-free flavored club soda instead a soft drink mixer (lemon seltzer instead of 7-Up, for example).
  • Use club soda and bitters, or diet ginger ale, instead of ginger ale; and use the diet versions of other soda mixers (cola, lemon-lime, tonic water, etc.).
  • Use “light” or diet mixers: eight ounces of light cranberry juice have 40 calories, light lemonade has 5 calories, diet soda or diet tonic water has 0 calories.
  • Avoid premade cocktail mixes; there’s sugar hidden in everything, including spicy Bloody Mary mix.
  • Look at coffee- and tea-based cocktails such as a Chai Tea Martini or Espresso Martini; coffee and tea have zero calories.
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  • Use low glycemic agave nectar or noncaloric sweeteners to sweeten cocktails.
  • Use sugar-free, calorie-free syrups from DaVinci or Torani to sweeten and flavor cocktails.
  • Try sugar-free mixers. We’ve tried Baja Bob’s Margarita and Sweet ‘n’ Sour mixes, but find that we prefer agave nectar and fresh lime juice for a Margarita, and fresh lemon juice and agave for a Whiskey Sour; .5 ounce of lemon or lime juice has just 10 calories.
  • Use fresh fruit and herb garnishes to add flavor and eye appeal.
  • Avoid creamy cocktails, whether dairy cream (Brandy Alexander, White Russian) or cream of coconut (Piña Colada). Substitute coconut water to add coconut flavor to a cocktail, or use coconut-infused vodka (see our next tip).
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    VeeV, the açaí-based mother spirit of VitaFrute cocktails.

     

  • Try infused vodkas straight instead of a similarly-flavored mixed drink; UV Vodka has every flavor under the rainbow including chocolate, and Skyy Infusions’ 12 infused vodkas are a NIBBLE favorite (Pineapple vodka is our replacement of choice for the high-calorie Piña Colada). The infusions add no calories.
  • Dilute your cocktail with club soda or sparkling water (we’ve been enjoying wine spritzers since we were old enough to drink) to half and half, with a squeeze of lime juice.
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    Finally, our favorite calorie-saving cocktail strategy:

  • Alternate cocktails with no- or low-calorie “mocktails”: noncaloric or low-calorie drinks, from club soda with bitters to a Virgin Mary.
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    If you’ve got additional tips, use the Contact Us link to send them in!

      

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