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    Archive for the ‘Dr. Praeger’s’ Category

    In A Pinch? These Products Make Healthy Dining A Cinch!

    amys-tradbeansI hear it often.

    • “By the time I get home from work and the gym, the last thing I want to do is cook a meal, even if it’s just twenty minutes.”
    • “I love cooking healthy meals when I have company, but when it’s just me on a Tuesday night, I’m not as motivated.”
    • “Is it at all possible to eat healthy without getting extra pots and pans dirty?”

    These statements make complete sense.  I, too, often come home some evenings feeling more lazy than chef-like.  I love to cook, and there are nights when all I want to do is press a button and have dinner served to me; I can only imagine what a kitchen-phobe must experience!

    Alas, the products listed below have often come to my rescue by allowing me to have a healthy meal with simple ingredients in minutes on days where an avocado, hummus, and sprout sandwich just won’t cut it.

    Please note this is simply a personal list of my favorite items.  While extensive, it is not a definitive “end all, be all” compilation.  There are plenty of other products that would fit the bill but are not listed simply because I have not tried them.

    All of these products get high marks from me for flavor, nutrient composition, and agreeable ingredient lists (no test-tube Frankengredients in sight!).

    For easier navigation, I have divided them by category.


    • Seeds of Change Tigris or Uyuni microwaveable rice pouches: these whole grains are already seasoned, but unlike other brands, the sodium content is absolutely reasonable (220 milligrams per cup).  Bonus: they are certified organic!
    • Tasty Bite microwaveable brown rice: a great way to get whole grains that allows you to flavor to your liking.  Super quick and easy flavoring ideas:
      • Soy sauce, ground ginger, toasted sesame oil
      • Raisins and cashews
      • Curry powder and olive oil

    BEANS AND LEGUMES (best used as side dishes):


    • Seeds of Change Indian simmer sauces: transform a simple stir-fry into a palate-popping dish — without sketchy ingredients or ridiculous amounts of calories and sodium.
    • Dave’s Gourmet pasta sauce: with so many commercial pasta sauces laden with sodium and added sugars (but very little flavor), these are an absolute delight.  The butternut squash pasta sauce turns pasta night into a culinary treat.
    • Alessi pasta sauce: imported from Sicily, so they don’t get “green points”, but I justify my purchases by thinking of all the local produce I purchase!
    • Rao’s pasta sauce: I occasionally have a craving for whole wheat penne a la vodka.  When I do, this is the sauce I turn to.  The price tag is hefty, but one jar lasts me three or four months.


    • Pre-washed greens (if the bag or container says “triple washed”, I don’t bother with additional rinsing or washing  Straight into my plate or bowl it goes).  My tastebuds become putty in arugula’s hands, so that’s generally what I use, but use whatever you prefer.
    • Grape or cherry tomatoes.  Love these.  All they need is a quick rinse.  No chopping or slicing needed, unless you want to.
    • Canned whole kernel sweet corn: Just needs a quick rinse.
    • Pre-shredded carrots: Ready-to-go betacarotene.
    • Jarred roasted red peppers
    • Pitted olives
    • Seeds.  Pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia.  Whatever.  Sprinkle two or three tablespoons to add protein, fiber, phytonutrients — and crunch!
    • Raisins.  Easy way to add sweetness to a salad straight out of a container.  Dried cranberries also work, though all varieties contain added sugar.
    • Shredded organic cheese (dairy or alternative): Again, open the bag and sprinkle over your salad.  Takes all of, what, 20 seconds?


    I don’t have much experience in the realm of frozen meals (and most of what I have tried classifies as “pretty decent” at best, and therefore not fitting for this “best of” post).  However, here are a few items (entrees and side dishes) I like to have handy and enjoy eating.  FYI: I prefer cooking them in the oven, which does require a good amount of time:

    • Evol Burritos: I wish they were slightly lower in sodium, but as long as they are an occasional “I’m in no mood to cook” SOS item (think no more than twice a month), it’s fine.  Top with a few tablespoons of salsa if you want to feel more accomplished.
    • Dr. Praeger’s sweet potato pancakes: When you don’t have a sweet potato to bake, this is a good alternative.
    • Trader Joe’s Thai vegetable dumplings: I sometimes enjoy these as a snack or an appetizer.

    And, please, help inform fellow Small Bites readers by leaving your favorite “in a pinch” products that deserves two thumbs up for great flavors and lovely nutrition labels.


    You Ask, I Answer: Fiber Intake & Dieting

    Andy, I want to add more fiber to my diet, but I don’t have a lot of calories to spare.

    I’m trying to do 1200 cal per day (it’s been a real struggle) and usually really consume about 1400+ per day. I’ll try the flax seed, everything else I already do.

    — Laura Lafata
    Miami Beach, FL

    I am assuming 1200 calories is a number a health professional (such as a Registered Dietitian) came up with for you.

    If it isn’t, make sure you have it double-checked by someone with a background in nutrition to ensure that you are not slowing down your metabolism unnecessarily.

    In situations where calorie intake is in the 1200 – 1400 range, it is important to have high-fiber foods throughout the day.

    Here are some examples:

    • A half cup of chickpeas adds up to 5.3 grams of fiber and 143 calories.
    • A 2/3 cup serving of a high-fiber cereal (like Barbara’s Bakery’s Puffins) offers 6 grams of fiber and just 100 calories.
    • A Dr. Praeger sweet potato pancake clocks in at 60 calories and 3 grams of fiber.
    • A 1-ounce serving of Triscuits (that comes out to 6 crackers) add 3 grams of fiber and just 120 calories to your day.
    • A medium banana contains 105 calories and 3 grams of fiber.
    • A half cup of raspberries offers 4 grams of fiber and only 32 calories.

    If you included all of the above-mentioned foods in your meals tomorrow, you are getting 24.3 grams of fiber from just 560 calories!


    To: Your Freezer From: A Heart Surgeon

    Many heart surgeons share healthy eating guidelines for optimal cardiac health, but Dr. Peter Praeger took his advice one step further by creating a line of healthy and delicious frozen products.

    From vegetarian burgers to appetizer-sized spinach bites, his products definitely deserve room in your freezer.

    Last week, I tried the sweet potato pancakes for the first time and was instantly hooked.

    A glance at the ingredients list immediately put me at ease: Sweet potatoes, egg whites, potato flakes, onions, expeller-pressed canola oil, arrowroot, brown sugar, salt, pepper.

    No wonder the product’s tagline is “Where you recognize all the ingredients.”

    The pancakes also boast a neat nutritional profile, with each one containing:

    • 80 calories
    • 0 grams of saturated fat
    • 140 milligrams of sodium
    • 3 grams added sugar
    • 3 grams of fiber

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