This year, back to school can be healthier than ever as America’s food companies are making more single serving, lower calorie, lower fat and more convenient offerings. Here’s a few of my picks for the 2006 school season:
Propel Calcium: From the makers of Gatorade, this new line of enhanced water not only hydrates but includes calcium (100 mg of calcium per 8-ounce serving). Available in three flavors: mango, mixed berry and mandarin orange. Available in sports bottles as well as other smaller sizes. www.propelwater.com
YummyEarth Organic Lollipops: This product makes me want to be a kid again! All natural, certified organic lollipops made with real fruit extracts and planet friendly organic ingredients. No chemical dyes, no corn syrup, 100 percent natural colors (red cabbage and purple carrots) and 100 percent natural flavors (watermelon, lemon oils, orange oils, pomegranate, and raspberry). Flavors: Pomegranate Pucker, Orange Squeeze, Wet-Face Watermelon, Cheeky Lemon and Razzmatazz Berry. www.yummyearth.com
Yves Veggie Deli Slices: Here's a soy-based alternative to luncheon meats that are low-fat, have no cholesterol and are a good source of protein. Available in Veggie Bologna Slices, Veggie Ham Slices, Veggie Turkey Slices, Veggie Salami Slices and Veggie Pepperoni Slices. Use in sandwiches, salads, wraps. Sold in the deli or dairy refrigerated section. www.yvesveggie.com
Crispy Green Crispy Fruit ‘Grab & Go’ 6-pack: One of the hits of the year! High quality freeze-dried fruit snacks with 40 or less calories per serving, no additives or preservatives. Available in three flavors: Crispy Apples, Crispy Apricots and Crispy Peaches. A sophisticated freeze-drying process removes the water from fresh, sweet fruit, leaving behind the fruit’s true essence in a light and crispy texture that’s prefect for snacking. A delicious, convenient way to add more fruit to your daily diet. www.crispygreen.com
Sara Lee’s new Soft & Smooth Made with Whole Grain White Bread: A fresh bread that is soft, smooth and white and provides eight grams of whole grains in every two-slice serving and three grams of fiber. Made with a blend of enriched flour and Ultragrain whole-grain flour that gives tried-and-true white bread lovers the taste, texture and appearance of white bread, but delivers whole-grain nutrition. www.saralee.com
Lightlife Smart Tortilla Wraps: Lightlife's new Smart Tortilla Wraps, a part of Lightlife's new grab n' go vegetarian meals, are made with Ultragrain whole-grain flour. The wraps come in three varieties including: Breakfast Scramble, Mexican Style and Ranchero. The wraps are more than 50 percent organic with at least five grams of fiber per serving, with no cholesterol and at least 16 grams of protein per serving. Available in the refrigerated section. www.lightlife.com
Diana's Homegrown POPPSystem: This revolutionary packaging technology may be the end to the soggy sandwich! This company has invented, patented and manufactured what they call the Pull Out Pouch System (POPPS). It allows the contents of a sandwich to be packaged separately from the bread until the consumer is ready to eat, at which time they pull the red tab and the contents are emptied into the bread. These sandwiches (Gourmet NM Green Chile Chicken Salad, Gourmet Lean Ham & Cheese, Gourmet Tuna Salad and Gourmet Old Fashioned Peanut Butter and Jam) contain no preservatives, additives, fillers or sugars. The POPPSystem gives chilled fresh foods a longer shelf life, while extending freshness and portability. www.dianashomegrown.com
And now there are 100-calorie packs for everything!
- Snyder's of Hanover Pretzel Packs: 100-calorie pretzel snacks are available in Pretzel Sticks, Minis, and Snaps. www.snydersofhanover.com
- Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs: Oreo Thin Crisps, Chip Ahoy Thin Crisps, Wheat Thins Minis, Honey Maid Cinnamon Thin Crisps, Ritz Snack Mix, Ritz Chips Minis, Planter's Peanut Butter Cookie Crisps, Kraft Cheese Nips Thin Crisps. www.nabisco.com/100caloriepacks/
- Frito-Lay's 100 Calorie Mini Bites: Baked! Cheetos, Doritos Nacho Cheese, Doritos Cool Ranch, Cheetos Asteroids and SunChips. www.fritolay.com
- Right Bites 100 Calorie Packs: Keebler Fudge Shoppe Mini Fudge Stripes, Keebler Sandies, Keebler Chips Deluxe and Sunshine Cheez-It crackers. www.kellogg.com, www.cheez-it.com, www.keebler.com
Phil Lempert is food editor of the “Today” show. He welcomes questions and comments, which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the mail box below. For more about the latest trends on the supermarket shelves, visit Phil’s Web site at SuperMarketGuru.com.