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Archive for Sugar-Free

PRODUCTS: Fiordifrutta Sugar-Free Jam

That spoonful of jelly, jam or preserves can be up to 70% sugar and so sweet that the first thing you taste is table sugar, not fruit.

If you’re trying to cut back on sugar, switching jam and preserves is one place to start.

The producers of the Fiordifrutta (“flower of the fruit”) line of no-sugar-added jams (actually fruit spreads*), imported from Italy, say that they “work with nature” to produce their products.

*Per U.S. Food & Drug Administration definitions, a jam or preserve sweetened with something other than sugar is called a fruit spread.

The taste is right from nature. It’s as if you picked and cooked the fruit in your own kitchen, modestly sweetened with apple juice.

The only ingredients in the jar are organic fruit, organic apple juice and apple pectin, resulting in about 30% fewer calories than conventional products.

The 100% organic line works with nature in a second way: Organic agriculture is sustainable agriculture. By choosing an organic product, you help maintain the environment for your family and for future generations.


Spread more for less: There are less sugar
and fewer calories in this line of apple-
sweetened organic fruit spreads. Photo
courtesy Fiordifrutta.

You can enjoy Fiordifrutta in apricot, blackberry, cherry, cranberry, lemon, orange, peach, plum, raspberry, strawberry, wild blueberry and wild berries.

Spread away: on bread, with cheese, as a dessert or pancake topping, in sauces, in smoothies, in plain yogurt.

The suggested retail price is $5.99 per 9.52-ounce jar. All of the flavors are available online at Or, phone the importer at 1.305.470.7583 for a retailer near you.

One note: Since the fruit spreads are organic and made without sugar, there is no preservative—natural or otherwise. Thus, the shelf life is shorter than other jams in the fridge. Enjoy your Fiordifrutta within 6 to 8 weeks of opening. Most people won’t have to worry about this: The jar will be empty within a week or two.

Organic Hazelnut Spread

Apart from the fruit spreads, Nocciolata chocolate and hazelnut spread, an elegant version of Nutella, is a must-try. According to the company, Nocciolata contains 15% more hazelnuts than Nutella.

Learn more at


FOOD VIDEO: How To Choose Healthy Snacks


If you’re one of the millions of people who have just made a New Year’s resolution to pursue better food choices, here’s an “inspirational” video. It shows some simple, portion-controlled snack ideas that let you treat yourself without going overboard.

Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer savory flavors—and there’s no reason you can’t have both—pick up some tips to maintain your 2011 eating plan.

Some of our favorites:

  • Quality lower-calorie, fat-free and no-sugar-added ice cream is as close as your local supermarket. If your goal is to have more ice cream more often, trade away the superpremium brands for those with half the calories, fat and carbs. It’s not plain vanilla: Edy’s, Dreyer’s and Breyer’s, among others, make exciting flavors.
  • Check out different sugar-free preserves. You can’t tell the difference with the best ones, imported from Europe made sweetened with maltitol. Or check out the organic Fiordifrutta line, sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar and available in an orchard of flavors: Apricot, Blackberry, Cherry, Cranberry, Lemon, Peach, Plum, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry, Wild Berries and Wild Blueberry.
  • No Sugar Added preserves also make good low calorie dessert toppings for ice cream and yogurt, as well as pancake toppings.
  • Salsa is low in calories but bursting with flavor and nutrition. Salsa and baby carrots are a ready-to-eat, healthy snack. Check out some of our favorite salsas and salsa recipes.
  • And speaking of veggies, treat yourself to pickled vegetables. Our two favorite brands are Rick’s Picks and Tillen Farms. Asparagus, okra, red pepper strips, string beans and other veggies never tasted so good!

    Find more healthy ideas in our Cooking Videos Section.

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    Cooking Video: Low Calorie Cocktails


    You can still enjoy a few drinks on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, without breaking the calorie bank.

    Registered Dietician Elizabeth Somer provides tips that help you to “drink this, not that,” to borrow a phrase from the popular book by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding.

    In fact, the book series that includes Drink This, Not That, Eat This, Not That and Cook This, Not That will help jump-start your New Year’s diet.

    But back to our weekly cooking video: Spend a few minutes with it and you’ll be mindful of which drinks are highest in calories and which alternatives are just as satisfying. Or as we see it, trade off drink calories for a piece of pecan pie or cheesecake.

  • Enjoy these low-carb cocktail recipes at your Christmas dinner, New Year’s party and throughout 2011.
  • Find more food and drink videos in our Cooking Videos Section.
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    GIFT OF THE DAY: The Best Toffee, Regular & Sugar-Free

    Our vote for World’s Best Toffee. Photo

    We taste lots of toffee each year, but have never found one we like as much as Enstrom’s.

    It’s a very buttery toffee; and that rich, buttery flavor combined with excellent chocolate and nuts makes the product stand out.

    There’s so much butter that the company recommends refrigerating the toffee (but don’t worry, it’s even delicious right from the freezer).

    • The company also makes a sugar-free toffee that is almost indistinguishable from the full-sugar version (and to compensate for all the butter, we’ve come to prefer it)
    • Toffee popcorn—loaded with real toffee, not caramel syrup—is also made in a sugar-free version
    • Enstrom’s peppermint bark is another “best we’ve ever had” (no sugar free, alas) 
    And, the line is certified kosher!


    PRODUCT: Minute Maid Light

    A satisying O.J. Lite. Photo by Erika Meller |


    If you’re still stuffed from Thanksgiving dinner, it’s a good time to read about Minute Maid Light fruit drink, instead of some rich, heavy food.

    At only 15 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate per 8-ounce glass, it’s an orangey way to start your day or quench your thirst throughout it. Each 8-ounce serving contains 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

    We tried Orange Tangerine and Lemonade fruit drinks. The products are made with real juice from concentrate, sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), and are certified kosher by Triangle K. Both can also be used as low-calorie cocktail mixers.

  • Orange Tangerine scored well with us; we’ll buy it again. For very few calories, we’ll trade the natural O.J. at 110 calories a glass for 15 calories per glass. You know you’re drinking a light version, but for those who can quickly drain an eight-ounce glass, it’s a good substitute (and makes a nice reduced-calorie Screwdriver).

  • The Lemonade didn’t fare as well with us. Even though we added a two teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, it didn’t perk up as we’d hoped. We could taste the artificial sweetener and the drink reminded us of Crystal Light. It’s easy to squeeze a lemon and make a glass of fresh lemonade sweetened with low-glycemic agave nectar or a packet of sucralose (e.g., Splenda).
  • The line also includes Limonada-Limeade and Raspberry Passion, which we couldn’t track down at our local markets. A colleague tells us that Limonada-Limeade, some Orange Tangerine (substituting for the Cointreau) plus tequila makes a lower-calorie, No Sugar Added Margarita.

    Minute Maid, the world’s largest marketer of fruit juices and fruit drinks, is a brand owned by The Coca-Cola Company.



    PRODUCT: Paciugo Gelato

    If there’s a Paciugo Gelato near you, you may want to head over for a few scoops and see why the readers of DMagazine in Dallas chose it as “Best Gelato.”

    Christina and Ugo Ginatta and their son Vincenzo moved from Turin, Italy to Dallas, where they started the city’s first gelato caffè in 2000. Using artisan techniques and the finest ingredients, they developed a recipe list of 200 flavors in rotation (with a selection of 30 to 38 available on any given day). The company is now a mini-chain of more than 40 stores in 11 states plus Mexico.

    Just looking at the list of flavors makes you want to try every one (and if you really want every flavor, ask about having your own franchise).

    What we especially like about Paciugo Gelato is its ability to provide a frozen treat for just about everyone.


    Gelato for everyone! Photo courtesy Paciugo.


  • Vegan or lactose-intolerant? No worries: There are gelato flavors made with soy milk, as well as dairy-free sorbetto.
  • Cutting back on sugar? The No Sugar Added gelato is terrific: If No Sugar Added gelato tastes this good, who needs sugar?
  • On a lowfat diet? The fat content is 3.5%—much lower than a superpremium ice cream (which can be up to 16% milkfat).

    While we’ve only gotten through eight of the 200 flavors, we’re in love with the Mediterranean Sea Salt Caramel and the No Sugar Added flavors (we tried NSA Hazelnut and Panna cotta flavors). (We haven’t tried the soy-based gelato yet, but we look forward to it.)

  • See how gelato is different from ice cream.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Regular Or Sugar-Free Sorbet

    It’s easy to make sugar-free sorbet.
    Photo by Dusan Zidar | BSP.

    There’s a lot of good “No Sugar Added” ice cream out there, but it’s tough to find a sugar-free sorbet.

    If you’re on a sugar-free diet and miss sorbet, you can make it with unsweetened fruit juice or puréed fruit.

    Sugar or no sugar, sorbet is a better choice in general than ice cream: it’s fat free, cholesterol free and full of nutritious fruit. Whether you want a sugar-free or a sugared dessert, make some from delicious fall fruits. We adore apple and pear sorbets. Clementine/orange/tangerine, cranberry, grapefruit, kiwi and persimmon are other fall favorites.

    For a juice-based sorbet:

    • Freeze 2 liters of unsweetened juice in your ice cream maker, along with artificial sweetener equivalent to one cup of sugar (you can adjust the sweetener to taste—the less you use, the better).
    • Sweeten with maltitol, a low-glycemic sweetener that can be purchased online in crystal or syrup form. Splenda is a good second choice.
    • Experiment with spices—cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla, for example; fresh basil or mint, which compliment most fruits; or a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice.
    • Think about the presentation—which dish or glass plus garnish—that will make your sorbet look irresistible.


    To make sorbet with fresh or frozen fruit:

    • Dissolve 2/3 cup sugar or non-caloric equivalent in 2/3 cup boiling water. Chill syrup.
    • Purée 4 cups fruit to yield 2 cups fruit purée. Sieve fruit as necessary (to remove berry or kiwi seeds, for example).
    • Mix sugar syrup into fruit.
    • Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.


    Find more sorbet recipes in our Gourmet Ice Cream Section.



    PRODUCT: Chili Chocolate Sauce & Caramel Sauce

    Our new favorite chocolate sauce is Three Chilies Chocolate Sauce from The King’s Cupboard. The excellent Three Chilies Caramel Sauce is the runner up, only because we prefer chocolate to caramel.

    Imagine ice cream that is both hot and cold. That’s what you get when you pour Three Chilies Chocolate Sauce on it. The cayenne, chipotle and jalapeño spice blend is a terrific complement to The King’s Cupboard’s superb dessert sauces.

    In addition to ice cream, the sauces can be used to enhance poached pears, pound cake, waffles or any food in need of chocolate or caramel sauce.

    The King’s Cupboard is one of our perennial favorite brands of dessert sauce. The ingredients are the finest; the regular and flavored chocolate sauce and caramel sauce varieties are just perfect. There’s a sugar-free chocolate sauce that is a godsend for chocolate lovers who need to restrict sugar. And, the products are certified kosher by OU.

    Spice up your ice cream with “hot”
    chocolate and caramel sauce. Photo
    by Philip Wilkerson | BSP.



    PRODUCT: Sugar-Free Barbecue Sauce

    Barbecue sauce can have as much refined sugar as dessert (we call the super-sweet ones “meat sugar”). People on sugar-free diets have limited choices if they want some BBQ.

    One manufacturer offering help is Chef Hymie Grande. The company has created a line of all-natural barbecue “glazes” flavored with low-glycemic agave nectar instead of other sugars.

    Chef Hymie Grande claims to be the first BBQ sauce [glaze] to carry the American Diabetes Association mark on the bottle’s label; the company contributes 5% of sales to the ADA. The line is also vegan-friendly.

    Three varieties are available:

    • Mild New Mexico Sweet Barbecue Glaze, sweet and gentle-tasting with a suggestion of sweet spice (think cinnamon).
    • Polapote* Barbecue Glaze made with ancho and chipotle, billed as medium-heat but delivering a nice amount of mild-to-medium heat.


    We have no idea what “polapote” means. It’s not in the dictionary.

    An BBQ glaze for people on sugar-free
    diets. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

    • Cascabel Express Barbecue Glaze labeled “Surprisingly Hot,” but actually a full-medium heat.


    All three glazes have a nice texture from crunchy onions. Two tablespoons contain 30-35 calories plus 5g-6g sugars, 7g-8g total carbohydrate and 15mg sodium.

    By the way, glaze is a thin sauce. If you haven’t used glazes, the consistency is more like a vinaigrette dressing than a traditionally thick barbecue sauce.

    If you’re looking for a sugar-free traditional barbecue sauce, take a look at Bellycheer Grilling Sauces.

    Find all of our favorite barbecue sauces in our Rubs, Marinades & Glazes Section.



    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 website, plus links to purchase online.


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