What’s The Best Choice?

Blog, Food

by Melinda D. Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDE

As a dietitian, I am often asked, “What’s the best__ (bread, crackers, cereal…) for me to eat?” While there is no “best,” we want to offer you some “good-for-you” selections – and share some tips for how you can judge a food for yourself. As a general rule, the fewer ingredients – the better. That usually means it’s less processed. Check the label and see how the food fits in your calorie and carbohydrate (carb) budget and always aim to minimize sodium and saturated fat, while maximizing fiber. Certainly, taste is important.  If you don’t like it – don’t bother! The same with price.  With so many different products available,  these suggestions will give you an idea of what to look for.  

Breads

When choosing bread, look for choices that include whole wheat as a first ingredient and have a lot of dietary fiber. While you don’t have to choose a “thin-sliced” or a low-carb bread, it does tend to save you calories and carbs which you can “spend” on other parts of your meal. Nutrition facts for all choices are for one slice of bread / one tortilla.

 

Calories

Carb (gm)

Protein

(gm)

Fiber

Notes

Dave’s Killer Bread – Thin Sliced

60

12

3

3

Comes in several varieties.

Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread

80

15

4

3

Found in the freezer section.

Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Whole Wheat Bread

40

7

2

1

A good choice for a sandwich when your saving calories for other dishes

Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins

140

28

6

4

Another tasty sandwich choice

Joseph’s Mini Pita – with flax, oat bran and whole wheat

50

7

5

2

Check the label.  These come in many sizes.

Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Tortilla

45

12

4

10

The “carb balance” variety is less than half the calories and carbs compared to a regular tortilla.

Crackers and Crispbreads

These crackers all minimally processed, meaning they have very few ingredients. Many come in a variety of flavors – so check the label for sodium or to see if there are too many additives.(Gluten Free crackers are marked GF)

 

Calories

Carb (gm)

Protein

(gm)

Fiber

Notes

Wasa Crispbread, Light Rye–  2 slices

40

11

2

4

Comes in several varieties.

Ryvita Whole Grain–

2 slices

70

13

2

3

Hearty enough to hold up to a smear of peanut butter.

Mary’s Gone Cracker (GF*)–

6 crackers

70

10

1.5

1.5

Made with whole grain brown rice, quinoa, flax and sesame seeds.

Triscuit, hint of sea salt–

3 crackers

60

10

1.5

1.5

A simple classic.  

Suzie’s Thin Rice Cakes (GF*)– 3 thins

54

12

1

1

There are many varieties?

Frozen Convenience Vegetables

There are so many great frozen veggie options available that can save you time.Check the label to make sure the one you choose does not have extra “sauce” or “seasonings” which can add additional calories and sodium. 

 

Calories

Carb (gm)

Protein

(gm)

Fiber

Notes

Green Giant Mashed Cauliflower – Original with Olive Oil and Sea Salt–

½ cup

80

7

3

2

A quick low-calorie alternative to mashed potatoes.

Cauliflower Rice, frozen–

¾ cup

25

3

2

2

A low-calorie, low-carb swap  for rice. 

Birds Eye Steam Fresh Italian Blend Frozen Veggies–

¾ cup

30

5

1

2

Explore the variety of these quick-cook steaming options.

PictSweet Farms Vegetables for Roasting (Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, onions)–

1 cup

50

11

2

3

A great mixture for roasting. 

365 Organic Zucchini Spirals–

1 cup

30

4

2

2

You can find many veggies that have been turned into “noodles” – but zucchini will be the lowest in calories and carbs.

Quick Breakfast Meals

When you don’t have time for your usual breakfast, it’s good to have some options for quick grab-and-go breakfast foods in your freezer or pantry. Here are some options that will give you the protein you need to start your day, yet are still low in overall calories. 

 

Calories

Carb (gm)

Protein

(gm)

Fiber

Notes

Kellogg’s Special K Spinach, Egg and Cheese Flatbread Sandwich – 1

170

19

10

2

Keep in the freezer and microwave for less than 2 minutes.

Jimmy Dean Delights Turkey Sausage, Egg White Breakfast Sandwich – 1

270

31

18

2

Another breakfast sandwich option.

365 Organic Multigrain Frozen Waffles; 2 waffles

160

28

4

6

A tasty alternative to toast with peanut butter.

Morning Star Farms Sausage Patties (vegetarian)– 1 patty

70

3

9

Add to a whole grain English muffin and you’re out the door.

Rx Protein Bar

230

30

12

9

Made of only a few ingredients (egg whites, nuts, dried fruits). Comes in several flavors.

Snacks – Savory

Looking for a crunchy snack that is not sweet?  These suggestions are tasty and good-for-you in that they are good sources of fiber. Remember that all nuts and seeds will be low in carbs and high in protein, but are also high in calories – so watch the portion size. All of these choices are gluten free.

 

Calories

Carb (gm)

Protein

(gm)

Fiber

Notes

Skinny Pop Popcorn

3 ¾ cup

150

15

2

3

Comes in several varieties.  Check the label.

Plain kernel popcorn

2 Tbsp

100

20

2

4

Make your own – any variety.

Food Should Taste Good Multi-grain tortilla chips

10 chips

140

17

2

2

Tasty and only include a few simple, wholesome ingredients.

Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds  

1 oz / 28 almonds

160

6

6

3

No matter what brand, nuts are a great choice.

Wonderful Pistachios

½ cup

150

8

6

3

Remember to stick to the portion size for calorie control.

To learn more about different eating habits, click here.

To find a weight management physician in the United States near you, click here.

To find a weight management physician in Canada near you, click here.

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