Here are my latest Calorie Bargain findings.
Calorie Bargain: The USDA's Food and Nutrition Information Center's Interactive DRI for Healthcare Professionals
The Why: This is a useful tool that can calculate daily nutrient recommendations based on Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). You put in information such as height, weight, age, activity level, and the tool tells you what nutrient levels you should be getting on a daily basis. These numbers represent the most current scientific knowledge on nutrient needs developed by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine. Not sure what DRI means? Dietary Reference Intakes is a set of four reference values: Estimated Average Requirements (EAR), Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), Adequate Intakes (AI) and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL). EAR is the average daily nutrient intake level estimated to meet the requirement of half the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group. RDA is the average daily dietary nutrient intake level sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all (97 to 98 percent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group).AI is the recommended average daily intake level based on observed or experimentally determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group (or groups) of apparently healthy people that is assumed to be adequate. It is used when an RDA cannot be determined. And UL is the highest average daily nutrient intake level that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population.
The Health Bonus: The tool also gives you your body mass index and your daily calorie needs.
What We Liked Best: It's not always easy to determine the amount of nutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein and amino acids, etc.) a person should get on a daily basis.
The Price: Free
Where to Buy: http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/interactiveDRI/
Calorie Bargain: Starbucks Bistro Box Chipotle Chicken Wrap
The Why: It tastes great and is relatively low in calories.
The Health Bonus: Not only is it low in calories, it is also high in fiber and protein.
What We Liked Best: Taste and convenience. When they put their mind to it, Starbucks does a great job making low-calorie tasty foods.
Nutrition: 380 calories; 15 g fat; 35 g carbs; 6 g fiber; 26 g protein; 970 mg sodium
The Price: $6.95
Where to Buy: www.starbucks.com/store-locator
Calorie Bargain: Super Sprowtz
The Why: It's not easy to find entertaining and engaging nutrition information for kids. However, Super Sprowtz, a new media company focusing on childhood nutrition education through story, adventure, music and play, fits the bill. The Super Sprowtz picture book series introduces kids to the Super Sprowtz heroes using fun adventures in which the Super Sprowtz battle the "bad guys" Pompous Pollution, Processa the Processed Queen and their henchmen Junk and Greasy. The Super Sprowtz have super powers that are directly related to the nutritional benefit of the vegetables they represent (i.e., Colby Carrot has Super Sight), and children learn about the importance of leading healthier lives without being told to eat their vegetables.
The Health Bonus: At the back of each book are recipes donated by celebrity chefs and a glossary with photos of real vegetables to reconnect kids to their food.
What We Liked Best: A creative and cute way of showing the fantastic power of veggies. In November 2011 Super Sprowtz is also launching four Super Sprowtz puppets to play with at mealtime.
The Price: Baby board book: $7.99; Picture books: $13.99; puppets: $24.00 (available Nov. 1).
Where to Buy: www.supersprowtz.com
Calorie Bargain: Hungry Girl Supermarket Survival: Aisle by Aisle, HG-Style! by Lisa Lillien
The Why: Hungry Girl makes it easy to find low-calorie foods, and this guide will surely help any and all dieters succeed in finding foods they can eat and stay trim. Here is more on her new book from the publisher: "a real-world guide that will help you navigate the supermarket and stock up on guilt-free foods, from mealtime must-haves to snack finds and more. ... Inside you'll find: HG All-Stars and grocery-store standouts; calorie counts and comparisons for foods in every aisle; guilt-free meal ideas and snack solutions for every craving and situation; easy-to-digest info about nutrition labels and ingredient lists; HG's complete supermarket list with aisle-by-aisle food finds."
What We Liked Best: The HG standouts, which are Lisa's favorite products in various categories.
The Price: $12.99
Where to Buy: Amazon.com or BN.com
Calorie Bargain: Delicious Heart Healthy Latino Recipes/Platillos Latinos Sabrosos y Saludables (bilingual English, Spanish) (NHLBI produced publications)
The Why: Latino dishes can be high in calories and unhealthy fat. This e-cookbook provides recipes for 26 popular "taste-tested" Latino dishes created in a heart-healthy style (lower in fat and sodium than traditional versions). The book also includes heart-healthy food substitutions, a glossary of international terms for Latino cuisine and nutrient analyses.
What We Liked Best: You can download it free of charge and start cooking these healthier recipes tonight.
The Price: Free
Where to Buy: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/other/sp_recip.pdf
Calorie Bargain: National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine's Herbs at a Glance
The Why: It's not easy to find helpful and scientifically sound advice on herbs or botanicals. Herbs at a Glance is produced and maintained by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (part of the prestigious National Institutes of Health) and is a series of fact sheets that provide basic information about specific herbs or botanicals, including common names, uses, potential side effects and other important information. You can get information for a variety of herbs, including acai, aloe vera, bitter orange, black cohosh, chamomile, echinacea, fenugreek, ginger ... and the list goes on.
What We Liked Best: Science-based information about herbs.
The Price: Free
Where to Buy: You can view free here: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/herbsataglance.htm, or download a PDF here: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/NIH_Herbs_at_a_Glance.pdf.
Charles Stuart Platkin, Ph.D., M.P.H. is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com.