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Archive for Low-Carb

TIP OF THE DAY: Strawberries For The Holidays

Holiday season is high-calorie season. But you can help your calorie-stressed guests.

In addition to serving crudités as an option to the seductive Brie Torte, provide fresh fruit for guests who are watching calories or carbs, don’t eat refined sugar or are doing their best to avoid plunging into your brownies and butter cookies.

Fresh fruit pickings are slim in December, but a big bowl of strawberries is seasonal in color, festive in appearance and usually abundant, thanks to California’s strawberry growers. (It’s warm enough in the southern part of the state to harvest strawberries in December.)

Packed with antioxidants that are heart-healthy, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory. Strawberries are just about perfect as a fruit. Just compare:

  • Apples: 65 calories/cup, 17.3 g total carb, 16.2 g sugar
  • Grapes: 62 calories/cup, 15.8 g total carb, 14.9 g sugar
  • Pears: 96 calories/cup, 25.5 g total carb, 16.2 g sugar
  • Pineapple: 78 calories/cup, 20.3 g total carb, 20.3 g sugar
  • Strawberries: 49 calories/cup, 11.7 g total carb, 7.4 g sugar
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    A bowl or basket of strawberries is a healthy
    and low calorie holiday option. Photo courtesy WellPict.com.

    The numbers to note are carbs and sugar: Strawberries have half as much sugar than most other fruit, including canteloupe.

    Serve strawberries with a low-calorie, fat-free cinnamon-yogurt dip. Sweeten with a non-caloric sweetener or low calorie, low-glycemic agave nectar.

    Nutrition information from CalorieCount.About.com.

     
    A nice presentation is to place the strawberries in a napkin-lined basket with a bowl of dip in the center. If the caps on the berries are bright green and perky, leave them on—they add to the beauty. Just provide a small bowl for the discarded stems.

      

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    PRODUCT: Sugar-Free Margarita Mix

    Have a Margarita for just 5 calories on top
    of the liquor calories. Photo by Katharine
    Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

    A few weeks ago we wrote about Skinnygirl Margarita, a 100-calorie Margarita-in-a-bottle sweetened with low-glycemic agave nectar.

    There’s a new contender on the market: The Original Skinny Margarita, made by Jordan’s Skinny Mixes. It’s joined by the Original Skinny Appletini and the Original Skinny Cosmopolitan.

    The mixes are made with natural flavors and sweetened with sucralose (Splenda). The Margarita mix has five calories per four-ounce serving; the other varieties contain zero calories.

    The five calories make a difference: The zero-calorie varieties were more “diet” tasting. It’s easier to make a lemon-flavored, almost-calorie-free Margarita mix than to duplicate the flavors of apple schnapps or cranberry juice.

    There’s a need in the marketplace for sugar-free or low-glycemic agave-based cocktail mixes. A regular mix adds hundreds of calories, many of them sugar, to a cocktail. We applaud the introduction of these sugar-free cocktail mixes, and hope that a line of agave-sweetened mixes is forthcoming.

    There’s a store locator on the SkinnyMixes.com website, plus links to purchase online.

     

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Low Carb Burger Salad

    We made reservations (a week in advance for an 8 p.m. slot!) at Five Napkin Burger in New York City’s theatre district. We arrived, wended our way through the packed room to our table, perused the list of burgers and placed our order.

    Before our (delicious) ahi tuna burger and bacon cheddar burger arrived, the duo at the next table received their order: large salad bowls filled with bell peppers, celery, chopped greens, cucumbers, green beans, radishes, red onion slices, tomatoes and Roquefort cheese—topped with burgers. We asked to see the menu again. There it was, in the salad column: Burger Salad.

    The burger salad from L.A.’s O! Burger. Photo
    courtesy OBurger.net.

    When our burgers arrived, on thick, white-flour buns, we were filled with carbohydrate remorse.

    While we ate every bite of our buns, we can’t wait to go back to have a burger salad. It’s available with any of the burger choices (which also include an Italian turkey burger, lamb kofta burger and veggie burger).

    On the opposite coast, O! Burger, an organic burger restaurant in West Hollywood, has two burger salad options. The large mixed salad bowl on the menu—baby greens, chick peas, cucumbers, napa cabbage and tomatoes—can be topped with one or two beef, turkey or veggie patties. There’s also a “Super Bowl”: two patties with grilled vegetables.

    While diners and other casual restaurants have long offered a “diet plate” of a bun-less meat patty with a side salad, in the hands of chic burger emporia it seems a treat, not a deprivation. The higher quality of meat and salad fixing has a bearing on this, of course.

    The best-of-both-worlds burger salad gives you the burger you pine for, while replacing the largely high-carb and nutrition-free bun with a choice fiber- and vitamin-filled salad, tossed with a fine vinaigrette.

    For those who don’t want that many veggies, Five Napkin Burger restaurant also serves an Inside Out Burger: a ground chuck patty and pickles wrapped in lettuce leaves with tomatoes and special sauce—no bun.

    Burger salad, inside out burger and super bowl deliver low carb nutrition and high palate enjoyment. We’ve started making them at home (with the amazing Built Burgers). The effort is minimal, and it beats trying to get a reservation.

     

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    GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats & “The Skinnygirl Dish” Book With Recipe Cards

    We love bread, and we love companies that figure out how to make it less caloric. That’s why we’re fans of the new 100-calorie Deli Flats from Pepperidge Farm, this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize sponsor. The winner will receive three packages of Deli Flats, which are easy to substitute for standard bread (and we think, are more fun). We use them as morning toast, for sandwiches and snacks with PB & Polaner Sugar-Free Preserves.

    Want some more ideas of how to use the Deli Flats? The winner will also receive a copy of “Real Housewife Of New York” Bethenny Frankel’s latest book: The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes For Your Naturally Thin Life, plus her exclusive sandwich recipe cards for Deli Flats. Check out more of what we did with Deli Flats in THE NIBBLE’s review. (Also check out our review of Bethenny’s Skinnygirl Margarita.)

    A chicken sandwich on Deli Flats. Photo
    courtesy Pepperidge Farm.

    • THE PRIZE: One winner will take home three packages of Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats along with The Skinnygirl Dish book and Ms. Frankel’s exclusive Deli Flats recipe cards. Share the recipes with your carb-watching friends and take turns making delicious, low-carb meals.
    • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Diet Nibbles Section and enter your email address for the prize drawing. This contest closes on Monday, June 21st at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!

     

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    PRODUCT: Zoku Ice Pop Maker

    You can become the most creative glacier in town with the Zoku Quick Pop Maker from Williams-Sonoma.

    It’s easy to create your own customized frozen pops, including cream-filled varieties, in as little as seven minutes.

    Use your favorite juices and other beverages (coffee, tea, kefir, smoothies) or fresh fruit purées to make the gourmet pops of your dreams.

    Designed to be very user friendly—quick freezing, easy release from molds, reusable plastic pop sticks that have drip guards—Zoku looks to be the best pop-making option we’ve seen.

    Why should you give up storage space to a pop-making machine?

    It’s easy to make gorgeous ice pops with
    your favorite flavors and add-ins. Photo
    courtesy Williams-Sonoma.

    • You can make gourmet pops in the exact flavors you want, and express yourself artistically in flavors, colors and patterns. (One of our favorites is to freeze cocktail mixes into Margarita Ice Pops and savory Bloody Mary Mix ice pops. Alcohol doesn’t freeze well, but you can try a teaspoonful per pop.)

    • You have something new and special to serve guests.

    • Things you’d normally drink for health can be turned into pops—from pomegranate juice to probiotic peach kefir.

    • You can control for dietary needs—reduced sugar, no sugar or kosher, for example—and allergies.

    • Ice pops have fewer calories than ice cream and are fat- and cholesterol-free (unless you elect to make cream pops).

    • It’s a fun way to teach the whole family that they can enjoy preparing their own food.

    • And thanks to the plastic sticks, there’s no yucky wood flavor that we so dislike with commercial ice pops.

    Find more of our favorite frozen treats, plus recipes, in our Ice Cream Section.

     

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