Healthy Hollywood: Wellness Wednesday – Future Of Healthy Foods!

Healthy Hollywood is always on the hunt for the latest trends in the wellness world. “Natural Products Expo West” is one of the great forecasters of what’s happening on the healthy products front. Thousands of wellness folks launch or showcase their goods here at the 4-day event in Anaheim, California.

Nutrition guru and author of “4 Habits of Healthy Families”, Amy Hendel, offered to scour the Expo and report back to Healthy Hollywood on her favorite finds. So, Healthy Hollywood readers can be on the lookout for these new and worthy foods to try.

Chips & Snack Category:

1. Instead of dried fruit or licorice I am IN LOVE with “Matt’s Munchies” fruit snack. They come in several flavors and most have between 35/40 calories/pack. You peel small squares of pressed fruit off a long folded paper, so you “slow down and savor” the 16 or so bites. Handmade from real fruit, with no added sugar, I especially love the “Ginger Spice,” ” Island Mango” and “Applicious” flavors. Perfect for on the go, at your work desk or for your kids

2. “Beanitos” white bean chip. Low glycemic/high fiber/protein rich/low sodium/gluten free/no added sugars; the chip still delivers on taste. “Beanitos” uses whole beans as the primary ingredient and you get 12 nice size chips for 140cal.

3. “Hi I’m Skinny Sticks, Multi-grain Tangy BBQ sticks.” Loved these!! The mini bag has 100 calories, low sodium, no trans-fat or saturated fat – I feel like I’m eating a healthier version of crunchy French fries. With 12 grams of whole grains per bag, vegan and non GMO sourced ingredients.

Sweeteners Category:

1. “Monk Fruit” in the raw is the hottest new sweetener. It has zero calories and is made from vine ripened monk fruit (Asia). It is 300 times sweeter than sugar and no strange after taste like “Stevia” can have.

Side Dishes:

1. “Alexia.” They have a whole repertoire of healthier fries, but the new “Hashed Browns” with onion garlic and white pepper is brilliant. You simply ‘dump’ a serving on a hot griddle or in a coated frying pan and cook them up in about 8-10 minutes.

2. “Garden Lites.” I’m a big fan of their line of soufflé vegetable side dishes, but the new “Veggie Chili & Cornbread Melt” is a “he-man” satisfying main dish (if you eat the whole thing) with 200 cal/serving and fresh ingredients + 9 grams of protein. The sodium count for the full serving is a bit high (650 mgs), so I suggest having half as a side dish with an egg white omelet or with a small serving of grilled fish or with a bean salad.

New Peanut Butter:

1. “Barney Butter” has 4 new flavors. They use minimal amounts of evaporated cane juice, a small amount of coconut oil, and 2 of the 4 new offerings have either seeds or flax – sprouted almonds + chia almond butter and honey + flax almond butter. This offers an alternative to traditional peanut butter with added nutrition from almonds, chia and flax.


1. “Lilly’s Hummus.” Unique flavors like “Smoked Tomato and Basil”, “Cracked Pepper,” “Roasted Jalapeno” – there are 8 robust flavors in all and ingredients are simple - organic garbanzos, gluten and trans fat free, low sodium, no preservatives and about 70 cal/serving (2 tbsp).

2. “French’s Mustard.” Mustard should be your go-to condiment on its own, because it’s virtually calorie free, or as a mix in to more fatty or caloric options. You can mix low fat mayo with mustard for a delicious spread or dip.


1. “Australia’s Barramundi.” Get to know this fish because it’s being served in dishes made in your local supermarket deli counter. Australia is the main source of this fish and you can now buy flash frozen filets in stores like “Safeway,” “Whole Foods,” “Stop & Shop,” “Giant and Fresh Direct.” Rich in omega-3s and a sustainable fish.

2. “Better 4U” Pizzas. If you want a ready-made option, that has multi-grain thin crust, simple ingredients, no preservatives and options like “Mediterranean” (with artichokes, olives, peppers, onions and spinach + feta cheese), “Roasted Vegetable” (with roasted eggplant, 2 kinds of peppers, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese), or a traditional “pepperoni” pizza - both still under 280 calories/serving with significantly less saturated fat – then “Better4U” pizza is ‘for you!!’

3. “Tandoor Chef” “Naan” Pizza. If you love the idea of a “Naan” style pizza, then “Tandoor Chef,” the original “Naan” pizza is for you! You can eat the entire “Cilantro Pesto Naan Pizza” for under 450 calories and a pretty solid nutrition profile (2grams of saturated fat), though you will hit over 800 mgs of sodium. So have half instead with a salad topped with beans for a delicious meal that will satisfy your taste and your desire to ‘eat healthier foods that still taste good!’

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-- Terri MacLeod

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