Friday, July 9, 2010

Break Out the Bikini

Summer is in full swing, and it's time to get outside. Whether you are traveling to the beach to put your toes in the sand or headed out to the backyard for a dip in the pool, swimsuit season is alive and well. Are you ready to don a bikini? More and more companies are offering healthier snacks to help you stay on track and fit into that two-piece. Have you noticed the trend? Packages display phrases like high in fiber, low in sugar, less sodium, no trans fat, or low calorie, as health and wellness has become top of mind for many food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies.

For instance, Sweet'N Low recently introduced a new line of sugar-free candies. The fat free hard candies come in butterscotch, fruit, and mint flavors, and contain only six calories per piece. More and more companies are manufacturing their products with the no calorie sweetener Splenda, including various Ocean Spray juice cocktails, Breyers CarbSmart ice creams, and Hershey's Ice Breakers gum to keep calorie counts low on some of the most popular sweet treats.

With today's savvy consumers seeking more wholesome ingredients in the foods they buy, CPG companies are doing their part to make items healthier. Manufacturers are adding more whole grains to their products, which according to the Whole Grains Council, lowers the risk of many chronic diseases. One serving of Wheat Thins provides up to 11 grams of whole grain, while one serving of Sun Chips packs 18 grams of whole grain. Pepperidge Farm now sells whole grain Goldfish crackers, and even Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies are now made with 100% whole grain.

The elimination of trans fat has also been an important trend in the past year. Mars eliminated trans fats in its Snickers and Mars bars, while Sara Lee also removed trans fat from its Earth Grains breads. Girl Scout cookies have been trans fat free since 2006.

Additionally, portion control has become popular during the past few years. To help keep nibbling in check, companies like Blue Diamond Almonds, Hostess, Lance, and Nabisco have amped up their offerings of 100 calorie snack packs.

Finally, as consumers seek lower sodium in their diets, CPG companies have stepped up, creating products with less salt. All 25 varieties of Campbell's Healthy Request soups are certified by the American Heart Association for their low sodium, low cholesterol recipes. Peanut butter lovers now have alternatives as well with Smucker's no salt added creamy natural peanut butter. Just days ago, Frito-Lay launched Fritos Lightly Salted corn chips and Ruffles Lightly Salted potato chips to join Lay's Lightly Salted potato chips on grocery shelves.

No matter what your diet, there are plenty of products on the market today that will help you stick to your eating plan and watch your waistline. So snack healthy this summer and wear that bathing suit with confidence!

What healthy snack has helped you to land poolside this summer? Leave me a message...maybe I'll find a new favorite, too!

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