New Food Products of 2006 - Top 10 (cont.)

Dannon advertises this yogurt line as being clinically proven to help regulate your digestive system naturally. The "good" bacteria (bifidus regularis) it contains seem to encourage fully functioning intestines. I can tell you from personal experience that it may also help you if you tend to have faster intestines (or suffer from the diarrhea-predominant type of Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Activia comes in vanilla, mixed berry, peach, strawberry, and blueberry. One 4-ounce container contains 110 calories, 2 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 75 milligrams sodium, 19 grams carbohydrate, 17 grams sugars, 5 grams protein, and 15% of the Daily Value for calcium.

8. Light Brie

I love Brie, but it has been one of those cheeses that only come one way -- full fat. Imagine my surprise when I spotted the new Trader Joe's Light Brie, with 50% less fat and 30% fewer calories than the regular variety. In a 1-ounce serving, that translates to 4.5 grams of fat as compared to 9, and 70 calories instead of 100. (One ounce also contains 2.5 grams saturated fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 230 milligrams sodium, 1 gram carbohydrate, 7 grams protein and 15% of the Daily Value for calcium.) The texture isn't as creamy as the full-fat stuff, but the taste is in the ballpark. It's definitely worth trying if you like Brie as much as I do.

9. Slow-Churned Light Ice Cream

Light ice cream is certainly not new, but I'm sure the relatively new Slow-Churned products from Dreyer's (Edy's) are responsible for gobs of new "light ice cream" converts. I could go on and on about the "slow-churned" technology, but the real question, of course, is "How does it taste?" Many agree that these light ice creams leave you satisfied, and perhaps even a little suspicious that you were really eating regular ice cream after all.

10. Convenient Legumes

Edamame (green soybean) options abound these days, not only in the frozen vegetable aisle but also in the refrigerated produce section. Melissa's Produce now offers organic, ready-to-eat edamame -- with or without the shell -- available mostly in Safeway stores. They are packaged using a system known as modified atmosphere packaging, which allows the packaged edamame to be refrigerated for up to 21 days.

Another convenient new product is Melissa's pre-cooked and ready-to-use steamed lentils, which you'll find in Trader Joe's stores. Up until now, if you wanted to add nutritious lentils to assorted dishes, you needed hours to soak, boil, or steam the lentils. Now all you need is a pair of scissors to trim the top off the vacuum-sealed pouch.

Published January 5, 2007.


SOURCE: Robert Schueller, director of public relations, Melissa's Produce.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

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