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It may not be the first thing most people think about when it comes to looking fit and living healthfully, but dietary fiber can be good for just about every, well, fiber of your being. These facts may provide you with some food for thought on adding more fiber to your diet.

How To Add Fiber To Your Diet

It’s wise to get fiber from the food you eat. To do so, pick foods that are naturally high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and products that have been fortified with added fiber. Read the labels of the foods you buy and try to find those that provide 10 percent or more of the Daily Value for fiber. Eat a variety of different types of dietary fibers to get all of the benefits dietary fibers have to offer.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to find foods that are high in fiber. Lately, the food industry has begun adding dietary fibers to a myriad of foods and beverages that people enjoy every day. Added dietary fibers can now be found in yogurt, cereals, breads, fruit juices, milk, tortillas, baked goods, and nutrition supplement bars and beverages.

However, it’s important to remember that people should try to eat a variety of different types of dietary fibers to get all the benefits that dietary fibers have to offer.

Why To Add Fiber To Your Diet

The health benefits of dietary fiber include:

• Weight management: Scientific studies consistently show that the more fiber in your diet, the lower your risk of obesity.

• Improved digestion: Some dietary fibers can help regulate your digestion and help your intestines defend you from germs.

• Lower cholesterol: Certain dietary fibers reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to lower blood cholesterol.

• Reduced glycemic response: Some dietary fibers can slow down the absorption of glucose and lower the glycemic effect of food.

• Healthy microflora: Some dietary fibers can give a boost to the beneficial bacteria in the intestine (and defeat the bad ones) to help them fight inflammation and possibly even cancer.

• Increased mineral absorption: Certain dietary fibers help the body to better absorb minerals, especially calcium.

• Increased insulin sensitivity: Some dietary fibers have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.

• Increased satiety: Research suggests that some fibers can encourage the body to produce hormones that leave you feeling fuller, longer.

No single fiber or food provides all of these necessary health benefits. So you need to eat a wide variety of fiber-containing foods to improve your well-being.

Where To Learn More

For further information on fiber, visit www.fiberfacts.org.

*Article courtesy of NAPS. Image provided by FreeDigitalPhotos.*

When “Mom” first heard the words “oat-based beverage,” she envisioned a thick, not exactly appealing drink! However, one sip of Sneaky Pete’s, the first soluble oat beverage of its kind, was absolutely amazing! What a refreshing surprise!

Sneaky Pete’s is a nutritious low-calorie way to help you meet the daily requirement for fiber. Sneaky Pete’s boasts a mere 40 calories per bottle and is low in sodium and sugar. Plus, it is the only oat based beverage to provide the same amount of soluble fiber (3g) as an entire bowl of oatmeal. For those who do not enjoy the consistency of oatmeal but want to consume their daily intake of fiber, this is a wonderful option!

Sneaky Pete’s is available in 5 delicious flavors, including Apples Away, Mango Mystique, Peach Perfection, Grape Escape & Raspberry Beret. “Mom” and her family tried the Mango Mystique, Peach Perfection and Raspberry Beret flavors, and fell in love with all three! They all tasted refreshing and light – not what you would first expect when you hear the words “oat-based beverage!” That Pete – he sure is sneaky!

Not only is Sneaky Pete’s good for your health, but it is good for the environment, as well!

Sneaky Pete’s uses the PET bottle, which not only feels like glass but is also recyclable. They are created by a company, Amcor, with an excellent carbon footprint, which proves their commitment to the environment. In addition, the bottling facility is an USDA Organic certified plant that operates as a “Green Facility,” meaning it practices modern art energy conservation, which will boast the lowest carbon footprint of any hot fill facility in the United States.

To learn more about Sneaky Pete’s or to locate a retailer near you, please visit sneakypetesbeverage.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

15 minutes from start to finish is all it takes to make this picnic-friendly salad this summer! Whether you are gearing for an afternoon spent poolside, a friend’s barbeque, or your family’s annual 4th of July celebration, this salad is lively and fresh!

Three Bean Salad

Ingredients

12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
6 small radishes, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium shallot, minced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons brined capers, drained and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preparation

Prepare an ice water bath by filling a bowl halfway with ice and water; set aside. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add green beans and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Strain beans and plunge the strainer into the water bath until the beans are cool. Remove beans from the water bath and spread out on a clean kitchen towel or a paper towel to dry. When green beans are cool, transfer to a large bowl and add radishes, cannellini beans, and kidney beans; set aside.

Combine shallot, vinegar, capers, parsley, and sugar in a medium nonreactive bowl. While whisking continuously, add oil in a steady stream until completely incorporated. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add vinaigrette to bean mixture and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

*Recipe and image courtesy of CHOW.com.*

Hidden Health Benefits of Holiday Classics

Celebrity Chef Katie Brown (host of PBS’ “Katie Brown Workshop,” author of best-selling cookbooks Katie Brown Celebrates and Katie Brown’s Outdoor Entertaining and the current Splenda Signature Chef) has shared her tips on the hidden health benefits of some holiday classics.

Katie Brown shows us how we can add the following nutrient-rich foods to any festive menu that are naturally low in calories, and offer fiber, essential vitamins and minerals to help you take small steps toward a healthier diet while still enjoying the bounty of the season!

Katie’s suggested foods to embrace this season include:

SPINACH

A great source of Vitamins C and A, this dark, leafy green vegetable is a versatile high-fiber food. Use it in salads to kick-off your holiday menu, like in this Baby Spinach and Bacon Salad or as a stand-alone as a side dish sauteed with garlic.

GREEN BEANS

A favorite green side dish, green beans are naturally low in calories and are an excellent source of vitamins K and C as well as potassium, iron, folate, fiber and more. Serve by sauteing in garlic and olive oil with a dash of kosher salt for a simple side dish that is sure to please!

PUMPKIN

Give your favorite holiday pumpkin recipe a fiber boost by ditching the sugar and baking with Splenda with Fiber, Granulated, a no-calorie sweetener for foods and beverages with three grams of fiber per tablespoon. Whether it’s in pies, muffins, cookies or bread, you’ll get a two-for-one bonus – more fiber with less added sugars.

SWEET POTATOES

A classic in seasonal casseroles, pies and soups, sweet potatoes are on the top of the list when it comes to great-tasting, versatile and healthy vegetables. The benefits of this festive vegetable include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients. Bake a Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole or pie to enjoy a delicious treat with some serious health benefits, or simply mash up and serve as a side dish to your turkey!

CRANBERRIES

Great as a salad-topper, in muffins or as the staple side-dish to your Thanksgiving turkey, cranberries are a sweet treat that happen to be healthy for you too. Not only rich in antioxidants, cranberries are also a source of fiber and have been proven to help lower cholesterol.

Bite into history with First Ever™ Whole Grain Einkorn Pasta, developed from the world’s most ancient wheat! This hearty, nutritious pasta has a distinctly unique flavor that sets it apart from other whole wheat pastas available today. There is a good reason for the texture and taste!

When scientists unearthed the body of Ötzi, the Bronze Age man found perfectly preserved in a glacier in the Italian Alps in 1991, they discovered he had eaten an ancient species of wheat called einkorn for his last meal. A group of Italian researchers became curious about the grain and started what would be more than a decade of discovery. Their findings so intrigued the founders of Jovial™ that they began to work closely together to bring the supply of seeds and grain back to life.

Certified USDA Organic, Einkorn Pasta boasts a multitude of health benefits that are not found in other pasta varieties today. The flavor alone makes Einkorn stand out from the crowd, but the nutritional highlights include a whopping 9 grams of protein (vegetarians and vegans will rejoice about that little trivia fact!) and 4g of dietary fiber per serving. In addition, Einkorn Pasta contains as much lutein as is found in one whole egg, and is high in both thiamin and B vitamins. This historical little grain is truly a superfood!

Jovial™ Whole Grain Einkorn Pasta is available in five varieties: Rigatoni, Penne Rigate, Fusilli, Spaghetti and Linguine. The pastas are available at Whole Foods Market nationwide. For more information, visit www.jovialfoods.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

For a nutritious snack on-the-go, Sun-Maid California Apricots are an excellent choice! Boasting 3 grams of fiber per serving, with no added sugars, and only 100 calories, this antioxidant-rich snack is a treat for adults and kids alike! These chewy dried apricot halves can be added to cereal, oatmeal, homemade trail mixes, salads, or just enjoyed by the handful. For nutritious recipe ideas, you can visit Sun Maid’s website for new ways to enjoy this healthy snack!

Sun-Maid California Apricots can be purchased at any national grocery store. For more information, nutritional information, or free recipe booklets, please visit www.sunmaid.com

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

For those seeking an alternative to sweetening their coffee, tea, cereal, and other beverages and foods with sweeteners that contain aspartame or other artificial ingredients, SUSTA™ Natural Sweetener is a great-tasting option! This new, all-natural sweetener contains fiber, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, orange peel and other natural extracts to sweeten things with a subtle, fruit taste.

With only five calories per packet, SUSTA™ Natural Sweetener helps to tame foods with a high glycemic index, which assists in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. You can use SUSTA™ when cooking and baking, as well as add it to drinks and beverages of your choice. For delicious recipe ideas that call for SUSTA™, visit the website – there are an array of tasty options, from French Silk Pie to Apple Raisin Bran Muffins!

To learn more about SUSTA™ Natural Sweetener, to locate a retailer near you, or to purchase online, please visit the website.

*Company generously provided samples, images and information for this review.*

In honor of the baskets of strawberries purchased over the weekend at the local farmer’s market, “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom decided to round up some of the best facts about this amazing little berry!

Strawberries are fiber-packed, high in folate, potassium and phytonutrients that will boost overall health, lower heart disease and cancer risk, plus improve your memory

Eight medium strawberries contain only 45 calories and provide you with more vitamin C than a single orange. In addition, 8 strawberries provides 140% of the daily recommended daily intake of vitamin C for children

Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside, and the average strawberry has approximately 200 seeds

Strawberries are a member of the Rose family

Strawberries are also rich in nitrate, which can increase the flow of oxygen and blood to the muscles by 7%, which helps to prevent muscle fatigue

The antioxidants found in strawberries include anthocyanins type 2, which has been shown to be effective in reducing the risks of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory-related diseases

Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the springtime, and are grown in all 50 states in the United States

For more interesting facts on this delightful little fruit, visit here.

“Mom” at Tiny Green Mom just adores anything in miniature! These oh-so-cute and super healthy mini-muffins from Kiwi Magazine are sure to be hit with the whole family! Filled with extra fibrous goodies, such as ground flaxseed, whole-wheat flour and pumpkin, this is a fabulous way to sneak in your recommended daily serving of fiber! Top 5 Fiber-Rich Foods

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini-Muffins

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup 1% lowfat milk or ½ soymilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 24 mini muffin cups with oil or nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the two flours, ground flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, milk, oil and vanilla, and stir until well mixed.
4. Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Mix in the chocolate chips.
5. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake 15 to 18 minutes (if you’re making 12 full-size muffins, bake for 20 to 23 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes before removing the muffins.

This delicious recipe and many others can be found on Kiwi Magazine\’s website.