Frozen Fruit Bars with Fiber

coconut fiberFiber helps you lose weight by giving you a sense of fullness. A study in 2009 by Appetite found out just how much you can save in calories by focusing on filling up with fiber. They gave three different groups of people apples, applesauce, or apple juice with added fiber before eating lunch and then measured how much each group ate in calories on average. Those who ate an apple ate 15% fewer calories than the other two groups. Scientists think that fiber helps fill you up and that we judge how much we’ve eaten by volume instead of by calories. When we will up with fiber, that takes up more room in our stomachs but has fewer calories than foods rich in fats and sugars.

Focusing on fiber from real sources instead of artificially added fiber can help reduce the amount of calories you eat in a day. If you save 15% of calories on every meal, you can reduce your calorie intake by 45%. When you’re trying to cut calories without feeling deprived, fiber can help you get there.

Figuring out just how much fiber you need is the first step to make sure you’re getting enough. Women should get at least 25 grams of fiber and men should get 38 grams per day. If you’re dieting, getting an extra dose of around 5 grams can help you feel fuller within your calorie limits. This means women should get around 8 grams of fiber in each meal if they eat three meals a day and men should get 12 grams.

Adding in a snack with fiber from fruit and vegetables helps increase fiber intake without resorting to additives, which the study above shows isn’t effective at helping you eat fewer calories. Eating foods with at least 2 grams of fiber can make it easier to get fiber throughout the day. Caribbean Mix, Pina Colada, and Raspberry Fruti bars all have 2 grams of fiber, making them a great choice for a snack if you’re trying to add more fiber into your diet. That’s as much fiber as you’d get in a handful of baby carrots or a slice of whole wheat bread!

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Top 10 Healthy After-School Snacks Kids Can Fix

snack alternatives- by -d sharon pruittBusy moms may not be home when the kids arrive home from school. Kids can’t wait for dinner when they’ve been active all day — but neither do you want to come home to a kitchen that looks like it’s been visited by locusts. The solution is twofold: teach your children to reach for fruit and vegetable based snacks to stay healthy and stock your kitchen with goodies they’ll like.

Try these ten healthy trade-offs:

  1. Fruit Chews → Frozen grapes Fruit chews and fruit snacks that are really popular after-school snacks have next to no nutritional value and are high in sugar. Instead wash off some grapes and put them in the freezer for an easy snack that requires no prep. Just grab and much!
  2. Chewy oatmeal and granola bars → Trail mix Granola and oatmeal bars are made chewy by adding in sugar or other additives. Instead, skip the additions that keep the bits together and just have trail mix. You can customize it to your family’s tastes, put in high-fiber mix-ins like dates, and nix the sugar. Make a huge batch and store it in individual baggies in the cupboard where your kids can get them.
  3. Potato chips → Baked apple chips Fall is apple season so why not use them to make a great alternative to high calorie potato chips? Core and slice some apples, sprinkle a little cinnamon on them, and bake until they’re dried out. We love to make bags of these on the weekend together.
  4. Ice cream → Fruti bars Ice cream is a favorite snack for many kids but it’s likely to be high in saturated fat, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial additives. Instead, try a Fruti bar. Single serving sized bars control portions while you’re gone so you don’t come home to find yet another empty ice cream carton in the trash two days after your shopping trip.
  5. Mac and cheese → Cream cheese and veggies Orange cheese laden with preservatives and processed noodles may be a hit with kids but there’s a better alternative. Spread cream cheese in celery for a tangy flavor and creamy texture with more nutritional value.
  6. Nachos → Microwaved sweet potatoes with cheese and salsa Nachos made with high-salt tortilla chips, sour cream, and tons of cheese is like a heart attack on a plate. Instead, microwave a sweet potato and top with low-fat cheese and salsa.
  7. Cake → Parsnip muffins If you can secretly bake while your kids are asleep, parsnip muffins can help you sneak in root vegetables in their diet without them even knowing. We love this recipe by Alton Brown for fooling our own kids. Shhh—it’s a mom-to-mom secret.
  8. Pizza → Cherry tomatoes and string cheese If your child is craving tomato sauce and cheese, instead of pizza they can try cherry tomatoes and some mozzarella string cheese for a pop of flavor and fun.
  9. High sugar cereal → Berries and granola Another snack many kids reach for when they get home is a bowl of cereal but they offer very little that’s healthy for your kids. Nutritionists say sugary cereals are the equivalent of a candy bar with vitamins. Try replacing sugary cereal with fresh berries and granola.
  10. Popcorn → Roasted Chickpeas Popcorn is a healthy food packed with fiber, but microwave-ready packets often contain lots of fat and artificial flavors. Canned chickpeas can be quickly roasted for a great popcorn alternative. Coat in curry or olive oil and a dash of salt and in no time you have a crunchy snack that’s much healthier than butter-coated popcorn.

Some of these require some prep work on the part of an adult, but it’s fun to make a big batch on a weekend for snacks throughout the week.

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Walking Workout Routine to Jumpstart Fitness

walkSummer is gone, the kids are back in school, and the holidays are right around the corner. It can take a couple of weeks to get back on schedule as you work out the details of after-school activities, but by now things are probably settling down.

According to the calendar, summer is over, and your mind is bound to be on fall, but there’s still plenty of good weather.

It’s time to jump start your workout routine if you let it slide over the summer — or to change it up if you relied on the air conditioned gym or on swimming. Maybe you’ve never been much for exercise but this is the year that changes.

Walking is a great way to get outside and get moving . Try this 45 minute routine and tips to get the most out of your walk.

45 Minute Walking Workout

Minutes Activity Effort Level
0-5 Warm-up 4
5-15 Moderate Walk 5
15-17 Brisk Walk 6-8
17-27 Moderate Walk 5
27-29 Brisk Walk 6-8
29-39 Moderate Walk 5
39-45 Cool-down 4

Tips

  • Be sure to breathe and engage your core muscles by tightening your abs to exhale
  • Lean slightly forward from the hips—not only does this engage your core but propels you forward and decreases the risk of injury
  • Bend your elbows and pump them quickly to get your feet moving faster during brisk walk minutes
  • Don’t elongate steps to go faster but instead increase the number of steps you take—long strides hurt joints and don’t make you work as hard

As you get better at this routine and it becomes easier, increase the amount of time you spend brisk walking and decrease the amount of time you spend at a moderate walk until you’ve eliminated the moderate walk times completely. Make a goal of walking at 4mph for 35 minutes straight with a 5 minute warm-up and cool-down.

After this becomes easier, you can start jogging and use this same routine but with brisk walking instead of moderate walking and jogging in the place of brisk walking. It’s a great way to start a running program without injuring yourself by starting out too quickly.

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Learn While You Workout

reading-while-workingout-by Mike Burns

Instead of reaching for a mindless magazine or the latest top 40 playlist while you’re doing time on the treadmill, reach for an audiobook or novel. Studies show that learning while exercising can help you retain information better than you can while sitting quietly. Now that school is back in session, students can take advantage of this knowledge while prepping for a big exam.

One experiment had participants study after sitting quietly for 30 minutes, after exercising, or during cardio on a bicycle. Participants that studied on the bike did better in tests on the new knowledge. Another study found that really vigorous exercise didn’t improve retention as gentle exercise did, and immediately after the workout students had a harder time recalling information.

It makes sense. While your body is doing light activity, your attention is heightened so you’re more able to memorize facts. But if you’re giving it your all and focusing on working hard, your brain is occupied with your body rather than getting in new information.

The old saying is “Mens sana in corpore sano” — a healthy mind in a healthy body. When you hit the gym for a long spell of cardio work on the bike or elliptical, listen to something that piques your interest and you’ll be smarter for it later. Then turn up the tunes and work hard during the rest of your workout.

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Zero-Calorie Noodles and Rice- Are they Worth It?

shirataki-noodles-by sewtrashyIf you’re on a mission to lose weight, you’ve probably heard of these zero-calorie noodles, called Shirataki, and zero-calorie rice. At $2.50 per serving, these noodles are very expensive when compared to whole wheat pasta. One pound of conventional whole wheat pasta costs around $2 and is enough for multiple meals. But the claims of zero calories attract a lot of people to these noodles and rice made from processed konnyaku, or Japanese yam.

Konnyaku is used as a gelatin substitute for vegan recipes and it has a very rubbery consistency. While in Asia this processed yam has additives to give it taste and color, zero-calorie noodles are made from the yam itself without anything added. Glucomannan, or the chemical that makes up these noodles is a soluble fiber. What this means is that your body doesn’t absorb any of it but it simple passes through your body. Studies conclude that the chemical helps increase weight loss and balance cholesterol levels. The chemical is given in the United States to patients who are suffering from constipation.

Reviewers describe the noodles as chewy, fishy smelling, gummy strings of pasta-like strands. They don’t absorb any taste around them and provide nothing in the way of nutrition so if you eat them with regular pasta sauce, you’re just getting sauce. Many reviewers go on to note that they just couldn’t eat them without feeling ill.

So is it worth it? Probably not. Whole wheat provides flavor and needed nutrients as well as fiber that helps dieters lose more weight and lower cholesterol levels, just as the strange noodles claim to. If you’re avoiding gluten, look for traditional rice noodles or modern gluten-free varieties.

 

It comes down to this: what’s the point of eating? If it’s to provide fuel for your body, you need calories — preferably calories from wholesome, nutritious foods and not from substances so processed that they no longer should be called food. If it’s for the pleasure of sharing a delicious meal with friends or enjoying a treat, natural foods are your best bet.

Instead of looking for a miracle, focus on eating healthy foods that provide your body with nutrients it needs to function, like fruits and vegetables. It’s much more enjoyable and tasty!

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Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day from all of us at Fruti! Don’t forget to grab some Fruti bars for your cookout today and enjoy the last few bites of summer.

Labor Day in America

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New Workout Trend: Hula Hooping

hula-hoop-fitness-by-adam-bakerWith the holidays fast approaching and the kids back in school, it’s a great time to start a routine of healthy exercise before the hectic holiday season hits. Finding the time to work out is a difficulty for most moms but a new trend can turn play time into a quick and effective workout. It’s hula hoops! Celebrities like Beyonce have become addicted to hooping so why not give it a whirl?

Hula hooping for an hour will burn as many calories as step aerobics, very brisk walking, and even a boot camp, studies say. The best part is that hula hooping targets your core and just an 8 minute workout can burn up to 50 calories. So while you’re playing with your children, why not grab a hoop for this quick workout? Try this routine for a fast, fun, calorie torching time with the kids.

  1. Position your feet so one foot is behind you and one is in front. Place the hula hoop in the small of your back and give it a quick push to get it started. To keep hooping, simply shift your weight backwards and forwards.
  2. After you’ve got the hang of it, step with your back foot forwards so it’s now the foot in front. If you start to lose the hoop, squat slightly to move your torso lower to speed the hoop up and then return to standing position.
  3. Continue stepping forwards and backwards with your feet but start to involve your arms. Start by extending your arms out to the side and on the next step, raise them above your head. It take take practice to get the coordination but just remember to engage your core to push your torso backwards and forwards.
  4. Do this for eight minutes and you’ll burn around 50 calories!

For more advanced workouts, try using a weighted fitness hoop for more resistance, try moving in different ways, or using the hoop around your arm or leg.

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Tropical Tea Bread

teabreadChunks o’ Fruti Pina Colada Bars meet bananas in an elegant tea bread with a hint of coconut.

Delicately flavored and slightly sweet, this light, moist bread makes a lovely afternoon snack with hot or iced tea.

Try it with cream cheese for a buffet, too. Slice into 2″ fingers, spread with cream cheese, top with sliced fruit if desired, and serve along with other sweet or savory snacks.

Tropical Tea Bread

  • 2 Pina Colada Fruti Bars
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 t coconut extract
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 2 1/2 c. self-rising flour

Melt Fruti Bars and butter together in microwave. Beat in coconut extract, bananas, and eggs with an electric beater till mixture is smooth and creamy.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about one hour, till a knife pushed into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from pan, and cool completely before slicing with a serrated knife.

teabread2

Remember, you can’t make Fruti recipes with frozen juice bars or ice bars. Make sure that fruit is the first ingredient for any bar you try in this recipe. You can find Fruti bars at Sam’s Club, Market Basket, or Walmart — use our store finder.

 

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Encouraging Healthy Lifestyles in Teenagers

teen-sportChildhood obesity rates might be falling, experts say, but we have a long way to go to encourage healthy lifestyles in our children and teenagers. Some states have seen increases in childhood obesity rates and others are stagnating. But how can you encourage a healthy lifestyle in your teenager, the most stubborn of all age groups, when there’s so much to compete against?

Let them take the lead

Teenagers may resent even the most well-meaning efforts to make them sign up for sports or P.E. classes, and they may resist joining family bike rides or walks even if they’ve always participated in the past. Instead, ask them what activities they would like to do to stay healthier and use their ideas. Options like kickboxing, rock climbing, or belly dancing might be different enough to pique their interest.

Ask if they want company

A lot of parents think bonding over getting healthy together is a great idea but this can act as a deterrent. Not all teenagers want to be seen in spin class with their moms. Instead,  give them the space they need but still get healthy on your own. When the going gets tough, they will notice you’ve been doing it too and it might open opportunities for bonding. If not, at least you’re both getting healthier!

Be a TV role model

One of the biggest deterrents to exercise in teenagers is the large amount of time they spend in front of the TV. Teens spend 4 hours a day in front of a screen. When you’re watching TV together, do some quick exercise during commercial breaks or at different cues in the program to make it more fun. Better yet, turn off the TV and head out to shoot a few hoops instead.

Replace junk

Healthy exercise choices get better results when you combine them with health eating. Replacing junk food in your home with healthier alternatives can help. For instance, they might reach for a bowl of ice cream every day after school while you’re still at work. Instead, put a package of Fruti bars in your freezer. They’ll still enjoy a frozen treat, but they’ll get more nutrients and fewer calories.

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New Government Regulations for Gluten-free Labeling

gluten-free-by-ilovememphisIn 1999, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. proposed labeling laws for food allergens to protect people from dangerous allergens. The act became a law in 2004 and required products to be labeled if they contained or possibly came into contact with the “big 8″ most common allegens: milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy or wheat. Meanwhile, the term “gluten-free” was a source of controversy. Almost ten years later, the FDA has weighed in.

Why did it take so long? Researchers had to figure out a safe level for people allergic to gluten, as well as those with celiac disease, who suffer from an auto-immune reaction when they consume gluten. Scientists determined that 20 parts per million of gluten or less can be labeled and marketed as gluten-free and that few people will react to such low levels.

However, don’t expect change overnight. August 5, 2014 is the date all goods must comply with this change in labeling law. This law does have some caveats, however, so be aware of the following:

  • The labeling law doesn’t apply to alcoholic beverages — even beer, which often contains gluten.
  • Any phrase other than “gluten-free” isn’t regulated this way.
  • Testing is up to the manufacturer — the FDA doesn’t have the resources to do spot checks.
  • Products can be made with gluten-based sources as long as the product undergoes a process to bring gluten levels below the 20 ppm threshold

We look forward to better choices for consumers come next August when the law goes into effect! Our Fruti bars are already gluten-free and will continue to comply with this updated regulation so feel free to enjoy as many of our delicious frozen fruit bars as you’d like, even if you have a gluten allergy.

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