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Friday Faves – February 17

Hey hey…it’s Friday!

Every Friday, I’m going to post 5 of my favorite products.  Some are new, some are new to me, some are just cool and I want to share them with you.  If they are food items, I will always give you the Fooducate grade (if you’re not using Fooducate, you need to be). And, I will post the price I paid keeping in mind, that I’m trying to share products that are reasonably priced.

So, here are my Five Friday Faves for this week…

Campbell’s Well Yes! Soup.  Fooducate grade(s): A- to C+. Price – $2.29

What is it: A new line of healthier soups from Campbell’s. image1

Why do I love it? It’s winter and who doesn’t love soup. I grew up on Campbell’s and still consider their tomato soup paired with a grilled cheese as a cure for any emotional or physical distress one might incur.  Today, in my quest to live and eat cleaner, prepared soups aren’t exactly on the top of the healthy food pyramid (Campbell’s Tomato soup’s second ingredient is high fructose corn syrup).  So, I’ve been on the hunt for healthy, perhaps organic, canned soup (or soup that comes in those cool carton-like aseptic containers). While every one I’ve tried usually scores well on the nutrition side they almost always score low, low, low on the taste side.  Until now.  I stumbled upon these new soups from Campbell’s at Target and I’m in soup heaven. They were on sale and there was a Cartwheel discount too (if you don’t know what Target Cartwheel is, we can’t be friends). I bought 5 flavors and have tried and loved each one.

What you need to know: Soup really is good food.  It fills you up, adds veggies to your diet, keeps you warm and is typically lower in fat (if you’re not eating the creamy potato with bacon variety).  With this line of soups, there are 9 flavors, most of which are a unique twist on a traditional favorite like minestrone, tomato or chicken noodle.  They are not certified organic but they are MSG-free, do not use any artificial colors, flavors, or ingredients and several of them are preservative free too. Calories range from 80-170 per 1 cup serving.  Sodium isn’t the lowest I’ve seen but I will swap corn syrup for salt any day.  My favorite so far is a tie between the Tomato Carrot Bisque and the Black Bean with Red Quinoa.

Nabisco Good Thins – The Corn One with Sea Salt.  Fooducate grade: B. Price: $2.79

image2What is it? A line of snack crackers made from Potato, Rice, Chickpea, Corn or Oat. I am focusing on The Corn One with Sea Salt (yes, that’s the flavor name).

Why do I love it? I’m all about texture when it comes to my food and I love crunch. These little corn crackers are almost chip-like and mimic a tortilla chip in a lot of ways.  I crumble them on top of black bean soup (see above on my favorite soup) or I use them for dipping in salsa or guac. They’re tasty, salty enough and satisfy that need for crunch without a lot of fat and calories. And, you get a lot of bang for  your caloric buck with 120 calories per serving and 41 pieces is a serving.  I almost never use the whole serving at once.  I portion it out for lunch and maybe a snack later.

What you need to know: They’re salty, flavored snacks. In a perfect world you wouldn’t want to eat salty snacks but you do and because you do, you need to choose wisely. Yes, you can make kale chips and zucchini fries but sometimes you want a freakin’ chip. And, it’s ok to give into those cravings once in a while so you don’t overdo it one day and eat yourself into a Doritos coma. With this line, there are 9 varieties of Good Thins. Some are gluten-free, which is a bonus for my celiac friends. Not all are super healthy – but what snack cracker is? It’s a processed food. All of them score a B on Fooducate though so they aren’t the worst thing you could snack on. This is about satisfying a craving with something that’s ok in small amounts.

Benner Green Tea with Lemon & Ginseng (Aldi product) .  Fooducate Grade: A-. Price: $1.19

image4What is it? Green tea infused with Lemon and Ginseng. 20 Count package.

Why do I love it? I love straight up green tea with a little honey.  I’ve tried other “lemon flavored or infused” teas but they taste too lemony (is that a word?). Or, the lemon flavor seems artificial.  This is truly a lemon tea and it’s a subtle flavor that tastes amazing. All natural ingredients, no flavorings — Green tea, lemon grass, lemon peel, natural flavors, asian ginseng root.  The ginseng is a bonus and I’m hoping the claims that it has anti-inflammatory benefits are true!

What you need to know: There are a lot of benefits to Green Tea. From WebMD – “Green tea has been shown to improve blood flow and lower cholesterol.  A 2013 review of many studies found green tea helped prevent a range of  heart-related issues, from high blood to congestive heart failure.”  This brand is only at Aldi from what I can tell.  You may be able to purchase online too.  Aldi carries other varieties of Benner’s and I have the regular green tea as well.  For the price and quality, you can’t beat it.

Market Pantry Whole Grain Pasta.  Fooducate Grade: A-. Price: $0.97

What is it? Target’s brand of whole grain pasta.image5

Why do I love it? Well, this ought to sum it up – a quote from my 17-year-old picky eater son. “It doesn’t taste gritty.” And, it doesn’t.  It’s a firmer pasta but not cardboard like and you don’t feel like you’re eating raw wheat.  In addition, it holds up well for leftovers. Some whole grain and gluten-free pastas become rock-like the next day if you want to reheat for lunch.  I also love the price. It’s not organic but I’m alright with that.

What you need to know: We all know that if you are going to consume grains, you should look for whole grain options.  Fiber is a key component to managing weight, helping to keeping your heart healthy and keeping your digestive tract working as it should. So why not get the most from your penne, nutritionally speaking?  I was surprised that Target had a whole grain line of pastas and that it scored so well.  I guess that’s because it’s minimally processed, has no sodium, contains a decent amount of fiber (5 grams), and is a good source of iron.

Pampered Chef Mini Scraper. Price: $10.50

What is it? A tiny kitchen wonder that scrapes, spoons, mixes, folds, blends and doesn’t melt when you leave it in a hot pan.

Why I love it.  This little workhorse is literally the best kitchen utensil ever.  I use it for everything.  Mixing dips, cooking scrambled eggs, scraping out the last drop of my protein shake from the blender or getting the most out of a jar of mayo, carton of yogurt, or container of coconut oil.  The best part is that no matter how hard I try – I cannot melt this sucker.  I leave it in a pan over a high flame all the time and nope, doesn’t melt.  It’s heat resistimage3ant to like 1000 degrees or something.  Not really, but it’s ridiculously durable.  Also – the head of the scraper is one piece with the handle.  I found out the hard way that’s important when a cheaper scraper’s head fell off into my eggs and started to melt.  Not yummy.  It’s tiny enough to get into the jar of mayo or jelly, yet large enough to mix up a batch of chunky guac. I have two and I don’t believe that’s enough.  They are always in the dishwasher.

What you need to know: You need one. Now. It has a big brother scraper too that’s larger, but this one is the best. It’s $10.50 well spent. You’re welcome.

That’s all for this week! Have a happy and healthy weekend.

xo

Niki

 

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