Weekly Column_120 / August 16, 2012

Diet Detective’s Calorie Bargains: Fruit Pouch, Anatomy and Marathon Books, and a new CLIF Bar

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Calorie Bargain: Peter Rabbit Organics fruit pouch, Strawberry and Banana

The Why: It’s not easy to find good quality, healthy, low-calorie snacks for adults, much less for toddlers and kids. But these handy, BPA-free pouches of snacks are sensational. Peter Rabbit Organics contain 100 percent natural, puréed organic fruit with no added sugar or artificial ingredients. The product comes in a convenient squeezable pouch that cuts down on mess and has a 12-month shelf-life, which means it can be stored anywhere until it’s opened. The pouches are also resealable, but once they’ve been opened they need to be refrigerated.

The Health Bonus: It has fiber, antioxidants, and it’s low in calories.

What We Liked Best: No straws or spoons are required. Similar to squeezable drink pouches, these are easy to drop into a diaper bag, lunchbox, or purse without breaking or spilling.

What We Liked Least: The product is hard to find, and for adults it’s still not better than eating a piece of whole fruit.

What It Replaces: Unhealthy drinks with added sugar and no fiber.

The Price: $1.79 at Amazon.com and $1.99 at Starbucks for a 3.5-ounce pouch.

Where to Buy: All three flavors (Apple and Grape; Strawberry and Banana; and Mango, Banana, and Orange) are available on Amazon.com and at some Starbucks stores.

Nutritional Information: 1 pouch: 70 calories; 0 g fat; 16 g carbs; 2 g fiber; 1 g protein.

Calorie Bargain: Running Anatomy by Joe Puleo, Golf Anatomy by Craig Davies and Vince DiSaia, and Dance Anatomy by Jacqui Haas

The Why: This amazing series of books published by Human Kinetics is inspirational to say the least. The series, which also includes books on strength training, cycling, swimming, yoga, and more, provides detailed illustrations highlighting specific muscles and bones and showing how your body works during a particular exercise. Each two-page spread focuses on a specific exercise and explains how it pertains to the sport. Chapter 2 of Golf Anatomy, for example, is titled “Mobility For Optimal Swing Angles” and walks you through a series of exercises intended to improve your swing. Dance Anatomy features 82 of the most effective dance, movement, and performance exercises designed to promote perfect alignment, improved placement, proper breathing, and the prevention of common injuries. The accompanying illustrations capture the dancer in motion and highlight the active muscles associated with each movement. It’s obvious that running requires the use of your legs, but what about your hips? Torso? Arms? Running Anatomy shows them all.

The Health Bonus: Improving your technique ensures that your workout provides optimum rewards.

What We Liked Best: The side-by-side illustrations of each exercise and the explanation of how it applies to your workout, plus they’re available as eBooks.

What We Liked Least: Written descriptions of exercises can be harder to follow than seeing an exercise demonstrated in person or on video.

What It Replaces: Not knowing how your body works.

The Price: $19.95.

Where to Buy: HumanKinetics.com

Calorie Bargain: Run Your First Marathon by Grete Waitz and Gloria Averbuch

The Why: Preparing for and running a marathon can be a life-changing experience that forces you to eat well and get in shape. But the process of training for a marathon is daunting, and would-be racers often drop out before the process is over. Waitz and Averbuch’s book, Run Your First Marathon, provides a 16-week training program in addition to tips, methods of preparation, and motivational tools to keep you on track.

The Health Bonus: Getting ready for a marathon requires healthy eating and regular exercise, both of which should be incorporated into your life whether or not you intend to run a marathon.

What We Liked Best: The 16-week training program is clear and easy to follow. The first day begins with a five-minute walk, followed by 12 minutes of alternating jogging and walking, and ending with another five-minute walk. The following days and weeks progress gradually so that you build strength without becoming overwhelmed.

What We Liked Least: At times the book can be a little text-heavy. However, its diagrams and photo-by-photo instructions for stretches and exercises make up for that problem.

What It Replaces: Sitting around watching television and eating chips.

The Price: $17.95.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com and BN.com

Calorie Bargain: CLIF C Bars

The Why: Most granola bars and fruit snacks are full of sugar and artificial ingredients, making them unhealthy and usually packed with calories. CLIF C bars are made exclusively from organically grown fruit and nuts and contain a pinch of sea salt, making them both healthy and delicious. They are available in Raspberry, Apple, Blueberry, and Cherry Pomegranate flavors.

The Health Bonus: Loaded with natural fiber, with no sugar or artificial anything; pure and natural.

What We Liked Best: Chewy and naturally sweet, these bars are delicious. They also have fewer calories than Larabars and other comparable granola bars. (I still like Larabars, too.)

What We Liked Least: I’m not a huge fan of any kind of bar; however, when you’re looking for something fast and on the go, and/or something sweet, this is a good choice.

What It Replaces: Traditional sports and protein bars.

The Price: $1.39/bar, $15.00/box of 12.

Where to Find: Natural food and select grocery stores nationwide; also available at Clifbarstore.com and Amazon.com.

Ingredients: Every flavor has particular ingredients, but they are all made with fruit and nuts. The apple flavor, for example, contains organic dates, almonds, organic apples, macadamia nuts, organic apple juice concentrate, organic lemon juice concentrate, organic cinnamon, sea salt (Real Salt), natural vitamin E.

Nutritional Information per serving (Apple bar): 1 bar (40 g): 130 calories; 4.5g fat; 260 mg; potassium, 25 g carbs; 4 g fiber; 2 g protein.

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