Sun’s Out Soup’s Out!

The snow has finally melted, the sun is out, and it is officially marathon season! I think I have seen at least 3 different marathon postings on FB- Boston, Madrid- marathons are happening everywhere and what better way to refuel than with some hearty soup? Yes, yes we often think of pasta, gummies, goos, and sports drinks to help us tackle such a feat. But soup can be a great option too pre and post workout! I’m not saying chug soup during a run (that would be quite difficult!), but consider it as a meal around the time you exercise. One of the biggest challenges some runners face when training for a marathon is teaching their stomach to accept certain foods before, during, and after exercise.  Carbohydrate, fluid, and electrolyte balance is vital to a successful run and optimal recovery. Ideally a runner should focus on consuming foods that are high in easily digestible carbohydrate and low in fat and protein before and during runs. And post-workout, the focus should be on refueling with adequate protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Eating a high-carbohydrate snack with a modest amount of protein in the immediate post-exercise period has been shown to replace glycogen stores used during the exercise bout.

Some marathons soup examples perfect for post-workout nutrition include:
· Lima Bean and Barley Soup – protein, healthy fats, fiber and plenty of carbohydrates for sustained energy

Calories 371
Protein 19g
Carbohydrate 65g
Fat 7g; Saturated Fat 1g;
Sodium 390mg

· Greek Orzo, Lemon, and Chicken Soup – protein, carbs, citrus for an energy lift and satisfying meal. A little high on the sodium side so I would sub in low sodium chicken stock. 

Calories 298
Protein 26g
Carbohydrate 32g
Fat 7g; Saturated Fat 2g;
Sodium 729mg

· Mediterranean Chickpea, Lentil and Rice Soup – protein & fiber from rice, lentils, chickpeas 

Calories 284
Protein 16g
Carbohydrate 35g
Fat 12g; Saturated Fat 2g;
Sodium 613mg

Not running a marathon? No worries! New England Soup Factory still has you covered with nutritious seasonal selections of soups, including gluten-free soups,  lobster soups, and chilled seafood gazpacho that will leave you refreshed and not weighed down before the summer. We all KNOW how easy it is to dive into burgers, beer, and BBQ when it starts to get warm, but we also know there’s another way to hit that sweet spot and satisfy a craving in a healthy way.

The daily menu at New England Soup Factory is filled with a seasonal selection of their award winning soups, sumptuous sandwiches, artistic salads, prepared foods and their own house-baked cookies and treats. They also offer a freezer case packed with some of their delicious homemade favorites including: Bolognese and Marinara sauces, Matzo Ball Soup, Skinny Vegetable Soup,  and several flavors of frozen pints of soup.

Located in both Newton and Brookline you can find their soups at

Brookline New England Soup Factory
2-4 Brookline Place, Brookline MA 02445
Soupline 617.739.1899 Phone 617.739.1695

Newton New England Soup Factory
244 Needham Street, Newton MA 02464
Soupline 617.558.9988 Phone 617.558.9966

Let me know what you think!!

Kind Bar Controversy

Yes, yes I am a little behind on posting my opinion on what is being called the Kind Bar Controversy. But better late than never.

I am sure you have heard about the warning letter the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent to Kind, LLC regarding four of its bars: Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot, Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut, Kind Plus Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein, and Kind Plus Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants. Essentially, the issue is that these KIND bars use the term “healthy” on the label when they do not meet the criteria to market the bar in this way.

There’s a definition for healthy?? Yes there is! FDA rules state that in order for a product to use the word “healthy” it must, among other things, be low in total fat and saturated fat per serving. Since the Kind bars in question contain nuts, which are naturally high in fat, they don’t meet this criteria. These named bars above didn’t make the cut to be labeled “healthy” because one of the criteria is that the they must contain 1 gram or less of saturated fat or no more than 15% of calories from saturated fat specifically. At about 2.5 grams or more of saturated fat per bar, KIND bars do not meet this criteria.

However, keep in mind a good portion of the saturated fat used in the bars comes from: 1) a high nut content and 2) use of coconut or palm oil. The jury is still out on how good or bad coconut oil is for us. But, many of my colleagues find the logic behind this confusing because nuts are otherwise known to be nutritious and high in healthy unsaturated fats, fiber and vitamin E. Hence, the controversy.

So, as a nutritionist, what’s my take on this?

1) The legal definition of healthy needs an update because HELLLLOOO many whole foods don’t even meet this definition!

And on the flip side, many foods that are low in total and saturated fat, and meet the criteria for the term “healthy,” are foods I wouldn’t recommend because they are processed.

Cynthia Sass, RD said is best when she wrote “Nutrition is an evolving science, and I think we’re at the point where the notion of what’s “healthy” has expanded in the minds of both experts and consumers and while proper food labeling is important, but there should be updates and priorities.”

2) I still wouldn’t recommend some of the kind bars to my clients and I wish the FDA had focused on the sugar content of these bars, not the fat.. While many were left scratching their heads and thinking, “Really? That’s where you’re going to focus your resources?” I am actually kind of glad the FDA chose to focus on these so-called “healthy” bars. It’s important that both processed foods AND healthy foods get focused on because if we only choose to focus on the crap, the public will continue to remain uneducated and buy what they think are healthy products. We have an obesity epidemic and with 16g sugar per bar, there are better bars out there. Again, I wish the FDA had focused on sugar because that’s the real issue with some of the bars. If I had to guess, I would say in a given week about 95% of the people I see are eating KIND bars, thinking they are doing themselves a favor. Well let me tell you, that full sugar KIND bar and flavored Chobani yogurt you’re eating is making your waistline bigger. We need to shed light on the fact that even our “healthy” products are being spoiled by the food industry.

I’m not saying don’t buy a KIND bar or yogurt, but here’s what you should look for when choosing snacks:

Low Sugar. Aim for 6-8grams of sugar or less, Natural sugars found in fruits and dairy products (lactose), vegetables, etc, are better obviously but sugar is still sugar- HONEY IS SUGAR PEOPLE! If you are going to buy a KIND bar- opt for the 5g of sugar or less. For yogurt,

The more natural the better. I love my quest bars and I always will- are low sugar KIND bars better for you?- totally but they stick to my teeth and personally I enjoy Quest bars more. Skip any bars though that have an excess amount of sugar alcohols in them.

Protein. A good rule of thumb? Opt for a bar with protein of at least 5g or more. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a good wholesome bar though with loads of protein. Do the best you can. I personally really like NUGO slim bars, Nogii bars (GF and paleo), Quest bars, and Larabars. My least favorite: Clif Bars and Balance bars.

My overall recommendation: Always watch the sugar, and of course, watch the number of bars you eat! Never is an excess consumption of bars good for you.