In this blog post, I share my favorite and healthiest January Food Finds. Did you know maple syrup is high in manganese? Or, your chicken stock is high in protein? Find out a few eye-opening facts about this month’s January Food Finds.
January Food Finds
The first month of the new year is almost complete, and I have some excellent food finds to share with you. Earlier this month, I went to Montreal, Canada for a last minute vacation with the hubby and went on a fantastic foodie tour around the city. I bought local maple syrup, maple butter, honey, and a few extra goodies at a farmers’ market. At the grocery store in the U.S., I found a few food products that were new to me. If you are interested in food sustainability and our environment, you’ll love two of the products.
Here are a few healthy food items I’ve been loving lately.
1) Canadian Maple Syrup
Why Canadian Maple Syrup?
Canada produces the majority of the world’s maple syrup with Quebec being the primary producer. However, other regions in Canada produce maple syrup including Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and more. Maple syrup is 100% pure and natural, and a healthy alternative to the highly processed syrup that contains artificial ingredients. In fact, maple syrup is a sugar substitute in desserts or baked goods as well as in glazes, rubs, or vegetables. It adds a subtle sweetness to the dish. Have you tried it before?
How to substitute maple syrup
To substitute maple syrup for liquid sweeteners, it’s a 1 to 1 ratio. For instance, if you are using 1 cup of honey or molasses, substitute with 1 cup of maple sugar. The ratio for white sugar is slightly less. Use 2/3 cup of maple syrup for ever 1 cup of white sugar.
Maple Syrup Nutrition
It may be surprising, but maple syrup has a few nutrition benefits worth noting. For one, it’s an excellent source of manganese, which helps with bone development and maintenance, reduces inflammation, and even serves as a powerful antioxidant. Maple syrup is also a great source of riboflavin (vitamin B2) which helps with energy production in your body. Other nutrients found in small amounts include zinc, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
Which maple syrup grade to choose?
The old grading system previously was labeled as either Grade A, B, or commercial grade, but now, all maple syrups are grade A and refer to the color and taste of the sap. My go-to are usually the amber and dark grades because I use maple syrup for marinates or pancakes.
Grade A: Golden Color (best for salads and light dressings)
Grade A: Amber Color (best as an in-between golden and dark)
Grade A: Dark Color (best for pancakes)
Grade A: Very Dark Color (best for cocktails)
2) Wild Planet Tuna
Why Wild Planet?
Wild Planet is my new favorite brand because it values sustainable, earth-friendly practices, uses the pole and line catch way, and is a highly nutritious food. Wild Planet values both human and environmental health as their number one priority and hardly has any by-catch. You can read more about their friendly fishing practices here. It’s fantastic to learn about, especially about where your food comes from and how it is sourced.
Wild Planet Nutrition
The nutrition profile of Wild Planet’s wild tuna is extensive. I want to highlight a few essential nutrients found in Wild Planet’s canned fish. The first is omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are critical for overall health including brain and heart health, inflammation, and beneficial for bone strength. Another essential nutrient to highlight is vitamin D, which is naturally found in tuna. Vitamin D is commonly added to foods, but not fish. It comes naturally. Lastly, I am a huge advocate for eating your protein instead of taking supplements or protein bars, and this is a perfect example of high protein food (20g per serving) that is both nutritious, nourishing, and straight from nature. It doesn’t get better than this!
3) Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Stock
Why Pacific Foods?
Previously, I purchased cheap chicken stock until one day, I glanced at the ingredient list. I was interested to see if there was a difference in ingredients compared to more expensive chicken stock. I compared it to Pacific Foods Chicken Stock brand, and I was shocked! The cheap brands listed ingredients with chicken concentrate and chicken flavor! Using chicken flavor or chicken concentrate doesn’t provide the same intense flavor and plus, it is not authentic chicken stock. Also, the cheaper brand included ingredients such as carrot puree, onion powder, and celery juice! This was shocking to me. On the contrary, Pacific Foods Chicken Stock listed whole ingredients including chicken, a variety of whole vegetables, and spices. Now, you don’t have to stick with Pacific Foods, but you will know what to look out for now.
Pacific Foods Nutrition
Besides the flavor, I recommend using a brand that makes the stock with wholesome ingredients for the nutritional benefit. When comparing the cheap brand to Pacific Foods Chicken Stock, Pacific Foods had more protein per serving. For instance, Pacific Foods had 6g of protein per serving, while the cheaper brand had 3g per serving for the same serving size!
4) Fig Food Co Black Beans
Why Fig Foods?
Fig Food Co is made of ingredients grown and harvested from North American Farms. Their plant-based and regional focus improve the health of consumers as well as our planet. The company prides itself in combating 3 essential issues today: health, fossil fuel independence, and greenhouse emissions. There’s no guessing work in Fig Food Co products. It’s just beans and water, and you won’t find any added salt.
Fig Foods Nutrition
With the ready-to-eat beans, it makes eating healthy a lot easier. Plus, beans are a nutrient dense food item. They are high in protein, fiber, iron, and calcium. Make black bean brownies or add beans to your couscous with a variety of vegetables drizzled with olive oil. Beans are versatile and can go with any dish.