February is all about making your heart find love (and chocolate), but don’t forget that it's also about taking care of your ticker, as a part of American Heart Month.
The American Heart Association pays special attention to this organ in February to draw more attention to cardiovascular diseases—the number one killer in the United States.
And while there are plenty of ways to get your heart beating at its best—exercise more, reduce your saturated and trans fat intake—that doesn’t mean you have to cut out all the goodies you love. Determined to find ways to indulge, while still protecting your pumper, Patch dropped in on two local Pelham bakeries to investigate their heart healthy options.
Much to our sweet tooth’s surprise, both the and have substituted butter or canola oil for partially hydrogenated oils—and still whip up delicious desserts.
The Bakery at Four Corners carries several products made with whole wheat flour (whole grains reduce appetite and improve laxation ). One of the most popular is the “Morning Glory” muffin with added carrot, raisins and apples (read: antioxidants and more fiber!) You can also choose from whole wheat bagels, breads and rolls and sliced whole wheat cinnamon toast.
For those of you who are watching your caloric intake, but don’t like substitutions, Four Corners has taken on one of hottest food trends recognized by the National Restaurant Association--smaller portions, so you consume less total fat and sugar. Choose from individual fruit tarts, and medium size black and white cookies, or even smaller bite-size mini cookies, chocolate eclairs, cream puffs, and cannoli.
Soon to arrive--a new line of low fat sugar free muffins, and gluten free cookies. For those of you who have to restrict this (or any other) allergen from your diets, talk to Four Corners manager, Lisa, and she will gladly work with you to fill your request.
Provisions Bakery also offers the ever popular, "Morning Glory" Muffin (there was only one left in each store when I arrived!). Made with white whole wheat flour, it has the same whole grain benefits as red whole wheat flour, but has a golden hue and a mild, sweet taste. And, it looks—and tastes—very much like the real thing. Also available, is a maple-glazed white whole wheat scone and lower-cal Peanut Butter Cookies. At just 100 calories each, these sweets can be bought individually or in packs of eight. The Oatmeal Raisin weighs in at 110 calories and has the benefit of an additional gram of fiber.
While you continue to investigate healthful dessert options on your own, consider these tips:
- When shopping for baked goods, remember that a dark brown color doesn’t necessarily mean the product is made from whole grain. Make sure you see the words "whole wheat” or “whole grain” listed first on the ingredient list of a package, to ensure that you are getting the real deal.
- Buy ground up flaxseeds--a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestrogens--to add to your muffins. You can also just stir into yogurt and cereals.
- Use whole oats in your bread, cookies or muffins—a good source of soluble fiber, niacin, folate and potassium.
- Walnuts contain omega 3 fatty acids, but all nuts will provide you with various combinations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as vitamin E, magnesium, iron, selenium, fiber, as well as good fats.
- Use deep, richly colored berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and strawberries) in your tarts and muffins, as a source for beta carotene, lutein, polyphenols, vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber. Fresh is best as it has no added sugar.
If you have any other personal heart-healthy faves, we would love to hear about them.
Laurie Goldberg, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian-nutritionist who practices in Manhattan and Riverdale. Have questions? Email her at LaurieSGoldberg@gmail.com