Month: April 2017

The Healthiest Sandwich Choices at Panera Bread

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With everything from paninis to flatbread sandwiches, Panera’s menu plenty of tasty choices. Here’s the catch—because of high-fat and high-sodium ingredients, a whole-sized sandwich is far too often a poor choice. If you downsize to a half sandwich, nutrition will stay in check, and with healthy additions such as an apple, baked potato crisps, or half salad, you can have a balanced meal.

To keep fat in check, choose sandwiches made with lean proteins such as roasted turkey and tuna, or go meatless and pile on the veggies. If you crave the creaminess of cheese or mayo, try substituting avocado, which is high in healthy fats but much lower in sodium. Lastly, the more basic the bread, the better—whole grain, sourdough, and the sprouted grain bagel “flat” are all nutritionally solid options.

Below you’ll find our top sandwich and side choices, but we encourage you to read Panera’s full nutrition information (available online) before your next visit.

Healthiest Sandwich Picks at Panera

Tuna Salad Sandwich on Honey Wheat (Half)
Cal: 260 Fat: 8g Sat Fat: 2g Sodium: 550mg Sugars: 6g

Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT on Sourdough (Half)
Cal: 270 Fat: 12g Sat Fat: 2g Sodium: 470mg Sugars: 1g

Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich on Tomato Basil (Half) 
Cal: 280 Fat: 6g Sat Fat: 1.5g Sodium: 700mg Sugars: 10g

Roasted Turkey & Caramelized Kale (Half)
Cal: 290 Fat: 11g Sat Fat: 3g Sodium: 640mg Sugars: 2g

Smart Sides:

Half Seasonal Greens Salad (No Vinaigrette)
Cal: 90 Fat: 6g Sat Fat: 1g Sodium: 75mg Sugars: 7g

Fat Free Poppyseed Dressing (Half-Portion)
Cal: 15 Fat: 0g Sat Fat: 0g Sodium: 45mg Sugars: 2g

1 Apple
 Cal: 80 Fat: 0g Sat Fat: 0g Sodium: 21mg Sugars: 15g

Panera Baked Crisps (1 Bag)
Cal: 130 Fat: 2.5g Sat Fat: 0.5g Sodium: 150mg Sugars: 1g



Source: Nutrition

Avocado Chocolate Bars Have Finally Arrived

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Sure, maybe Avocado has been a wee bit overexposed. It’s on toast and in smoothies. There are entire restaurants dedicated to serving only avocado. But it's still damn good. And starting today, you can now get avocado in your chocolate.

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You can thank Compartés for the creation, a gourmet chocolate shop which produces colorful, artistic designs for their line of bars in flavors ranging from potato chip to birthday cake. They’re best known for their Rosé chocolate bar, which came out last summer.

RELATED: Why Researchers Recommend Eating Avocado Every Day (Yay!)

Compartés teamed up with the California Avocado Commission to create their newest chocolate concoction, so you can rest assured the avocados in your artisan chocolate are not only locally sourced from farmer’s markets, but they’re both organic and sustainably farmed.

Trying what we think sounds like a divine combination will cost you though: Each bar retails for $10.

But if you can get all the well-known health benefits of avocados while indulging in one of the best comfort foods out there, it might just be worth it.

Source: Nutrition

Coca-Cola Is Adding Fiber to Coke. Is That Even Helpful?

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When I heard about Coca-Cola Plus, a zero-calorie Coke with added fiber, I thought it was an April Fool’s joke I somehow missed. Especially when the company claimed this ridiculous product is meant for a "health-conscious consumer." No sugarcoating here: Adding fiber to soda of any kind, regular or diet, doesn’t make it healthy.

According to Coca-Cola, one Coke Plus a day—which is currently available only in Japan—can help "suppress fat absorption" and "moderate the levels of triglycerides in the blood." Even if a double-blind study comparing Coke Plus to a placebo supported these claims, I still wouldn’t recommend the soda.

First of all, the added fiber is bundled with an artificial sweetener, and artificial sweeteners can wreak havoc in the body. Studies suggest they may increase sweet cravings, alter gut bacteria, potentially induce glucose intolerance, raise stroke and dementia risk, and modify metabolism in ways that increase body fat.

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Secondly, soda isn’t where you should be getting your fiber. Fiber is important. But simply adding it to foods like candy, ice cream, donuts, and soda isn’t very helpful. It’s your overall diet that has the greatest impact on wellness and disease prevention. In other words, the benefits of fiber don’t cancel out the risks of consuming too much sugar or artificial additives—or missing out on vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a healthy balance of macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs).

Instead of stocking up on "fiber-added" products, I advise my clients to keep nutrient-rich whole foods and treats in separate mental categories. The former should be the focus of your daily diet, while the latter should be occasional (and ideally planned) indulgences.

RELATED: Here's Why It Feels Like You Always Have Room for Dessert

So if you want ice cream, consider it a treat, and enjoy your favorite version of the real thing. Don’t be fooled into thinking that adding any kind of nutrient to an ice cream makes it good for you, or okay to eat every day.

As for fiber, it’s true that most of us fall short of the recommended 25 to 30 grams per day. The average daily fiber intake for Americans is 16 grams. But the smartest way to fill the gap is to up your intake of whole foods that are fiber-rich and also chock-full of other important nutrients. The best sources include pulses (beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas); vegetables (especially those with tough stalks or skin, like artichokes, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts); fruit (think edible seeds, skins, strands, and membranes, like raspberries, blackberries, pears, apples, oranges, and mangos); whole grains (quinoa, black rice, oats); nuts; seeds; and avocado.

RELATED: 23 Best Foods for Fiber

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Eating the following three foods would get you over 25 grams: Half an avocado (9 grams), 1 cup of raspberries (8 grams), and 1 cup of black beans (15 grams). I could list dozens of other combos of plant-based foods that would help you hit or surpass the mark. In fact, by aiming for at least five servings of produce per day, choosing whole grains over refined grains, eating even a half cup of pulses per day, and making nuts, seeds, and avocados staples in your diet, you’ll rack up plenty of fiber and nutrients daily–no doctored-up soda or other treats needed.

Cynthia Sass is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and consultant for the New York Yankees. See her full bio here.

Source: Nutrition