Mauer: Prevention magazine offers tips on healthy buys
For me, grocery shopping's mostly an on-the-run, in-and-out Saturday errand. Quick-trip food shopping leaves me little to no time to read packaged product ingredient lists and places me in at a disadvantage when it comes to selecting the healthiest options.
So I appreciate it when Prevention magazine does the work for me and comes up with its cleanest foods awards. To qualify, foods must contain no genetically modified ingredients; must have no more than 10 grams of added sugar or less than 200 milligrams of sodium per serving; all cans must be BPA-free; all fish must be sustainable, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium criteria and definitely must be absolutely delicious.
Some winning brands you may have never heard of, while others on the list may surprise you.
Among the products that surprised me: Smucker’s organic peanut butter, Heinz organic ketchup, Kerrygold pure Irish butter and Morningstar Farms breakfast patties made with organic soy.
I was happy to see some of my favorites on the list, including Organic Prairie grass-fed ground beef 85/15 (higher in fat than I'd like, but great flavor and makes a terrific healthy burger), Bionature whole wheat pasta (cooked in lots of water for the right amount of time produces a pasta that tastes as good or better than some of the best standard pastas), Organic Valley pasture butter (tastes so good you can easily use less), Organic Girl's fresh herbs and greens (its romaine makes my salads sing), Green Valley Organics lactose-free kefir, plain (in my fridge right now, and tastes great for my breakfast with organic fruit and sweetened with organic stevia), Applegate Farms organic roasted turkey breast (with sliced farmers market tomatoes and organic romaine on whole-grain bread makes the best sandwich), Applegate Farm's The Great Organic Beef Hot Dog (not a Ballpark frank, but it still will leave you smiling), Applegate Farms organic Sunday bacon (terrific taste with minimal guilt) and Bob's Red Mill chia seeds (if you're into the Aztec diet, this is one of the best).
For better-for-you snacking, Prevention gives a nod to Horizon Organic reduced-fat cream cheese, Wholly Guacamole's organic guacamole, Tribe's organic roasted hummus, Better Bean's wholly chipotle bean dip and Muir Glen's organic salsa as well as Kettle's Bakes sea salted potato chips, Newman's Own Organic honey wheat pretzel rounds and Mary's Gone Crackers (gluten- and wheat-free).
Gimme Coffee! organic beans, Tipu's organic Indian chai slow-brew tea and Whole Foods' 365 coconut water came up winners in the beverage category. For dairy alternatives, Prevention stands behind Pacific Natural Foods organic almond milk, Silk Pure Coconutmilk, WESTSOY organic unsweetened soymilk and Whole Foods 365 organic rice milk.
I don't have room to include all 100 products on Prevention's Eat Clean list, but you can see them all at: prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/100-cleanest-packaged-food-awards-2013.
Try this recipe: For this amazingly moist and delicious cake I started with David Leite's take on Hershey's Cocoa Chocolate Cake and then I headed to the dark side via Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa. I also did away with Leite's frosting (and its two sticks of butter) and ended up with cake that's several thousand calories lighter; yet one of the best I've ever tasted.
Don’s Dark Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavored applesauce
Vegetable oil and flour spray
2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup mild olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Place a wire mesh strainer over a bowl deep enough to keep the bottom of the strainer from touching the bottom of the bowl and add 1/2-cup applesauce. Set aside.
Position oven rack in the middle and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13-by-9-inch pan with foil and then lightly coat with vegetable oil and flour spray. Set aside.
Add sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large mixing bowl and, using a wire whisk, stir together until combined. Add eggs, milk, oil, 1/4-cup drained applesauce and vanilla and, using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the boiling water. (The batter will be thin; that is normal).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Place on a wire rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar (or a 50/50 mixture of sugar and cocoa). Serves 12.
Nutrition values per serving: 270 calories (22 percent from fat), 6.6 g fat (1.6 g saturated), 52.4 g carbohydrates, 2.7 g fiber, 4.4 g protein, 37 mg cholesterol, 267 mg sodium.
Don Mauer’s “Lean and Lovin’ It” column appears every other Wednesday. Don welcomes comments, suggestions and recipe makeover requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.